Black Ops 4's battle royale mode, Blackout, is already a huge hit. But if you're looking to fine-tune your skills and topple those 87 rivals, these seven tips might help you get the job done.
Whether you're working with a partner, a squad of four or flying solo, there are a few basic guidelines that should help you improve your game across all Blackout modes. Even if you're a seasoned veteran coming in from games like Fortnite or PUBG, the team at Treyarch has thrown in a few unique wrinkles to separate its big free-for-all mode from the pack and, thus, require at least a bit of preparation before diving in. Similarly, even if you're a longtime Call of Duty fan, Blackout is a completely different beast when compared to the modes you're used to finding in a game like Black Ops 4.
So whether you're just now getting ready to take Blackout for a spin or need a few pointers to improve your odds, here are our seven tips for survival.
Don't Be Picky About Your Gun
Whether you're dropping into a crowded region on the Blackout map or aiming to pick through a few outlying buildings with the hopes of staying out of firefights in the early goings, the first thing you want to do when you hit the ground is find a gun.
Given the fact that this is a shooter, that might seem like a no-brainer. But you'd be surprised how many people just start grabbing anything and everything that's lying around before arming themselves with a useful weapon. And by "useful weapon," I mean anything that shoots bullets. Even if you don't plan on hanging onto that pistol, if it's the first gun you come across on the map, you should be picking it up.
The Blackout map is positively littered with gear, so it's understandable that your eyes might get bigger than your stomach upon first parachuting in. But the best way to make sure you're one of the first people to be sent to a new match is to lollygag around, grabbing ammo, healing items and various other pieces of gear while an opponent you didn't see snags the first firearm they came across and gets the drop on you. Grab a gun, listen for approaching enemies, and then you can feel a bit more confident while filling out the rest of your arsenal.
Use Your Perks
One of the things that sets Blackout apart from other battle royale modes is the inclusion of Perks. The thing about a Perk, though, is that it doesn't do you any good if you don't activate it. While more advanced players will learn to use Perks when they're most advantageous, newcomers can benefit from these items by using them the moment they pick them up. Just like all of the other gear in Blackout, Perks are peppered all over the map and can lend you a massive advantage over the competition. The Awareness map makes it easier to hear enemies as they approach, while Dead Silence lets you move quickly and almost in complete silence while in a crouch. And then there's my personal favorite, Paranoia. If an enemy is looking at you, Paranoia will give you an audio cue, making it easier to avoid being sniped from a distance.
Many new players hang onto their Perks in the hopes of having them ready to roll when the circle gets smaller, but the best way to even get to the final phase of Blackout is to constantly keep those perks active.
Again, this one might seem obvious for a shooter, but it's easy to forget the importance of headshots in Blackout, especially when you're playing a mode where respawn isn't instant and a missed shot could result in your opponent turning the tide on you.
There are only three types of armor in Blackout currently, and the first two tiers only provide protection to the body. Since the third tier of armor is pretty rare, that means the vast majority of enemies you come across on the map won't be donning head protection. While nobody has done the exact math just yet, comparison videos show that a couple of headshots from an assault rifle will drop an enemy far faster than a spray of rounds to the body.
Since you're unlikely to have too many firefights in a single round of Blackout, I'd recommend jumping into some rounds of Multiplayer or Zombies to improve your aim. The twitch aiming skills you'll earn from constant repetition in those other modes will translate nicely into the three or four firefights you find yourself in each round while exploring the Blackout map.
Trauma is Good
In Blackout, you'll find three types of healing items on the map including First Aid (bandages), Med Kits (small red boxes) and Trauma Kit (larger red boxes). Healing in blackout takes longer than in Multiplayer, requiring the player to hold down the heal button for a second or two each time they want to use an item.
Unlike the top tier of armor, the top tier healing item (Trauma Kit) is far more common. What's important to remember is that, as soon as you grab a couple of them, you'll want to use one of them immediately, even if you aren't hurt.
First Aid items heal the player up to 25 HP at a time, all the way up to the normal maximum of 150 health. Med Kits, on the other hand, will heal you by 50 HP at a time. Trauma Kits, though, heal the player completely and even give you an extra 50 HP for a total of 200. So even if you haven't been hurt, using a Trauma Kit early means you'll have a health advantage on other players. Combine that with some decent armor and you'll be giving yourself the best fighting chance possible.
Given the slower pace of Blackout, it's easy to forget that you've been collecting a pretty diverse set of gear to assist you on the battlefield. You should be using that gear all of the time, incorporating it into firefights whenever possible. If you're going to explore or hunker down in a large building and you have a Sensor Dart available, shoot it into the wall and keep your eye out for the radar ping if an enemy ever approaches your location. If you're going to make a sprint across a large field and you have a Shield in your inventory, have it ready to use in case you need to drop down immediate cover. Approaching an area where you saw an enemy a moment before? Chuck a 9-bang in there and proceed knowing there's a good chance they've been momentarily blinded.
Pick Your Spot
A lot of folks seem to subscribe to the idea that you should drop down to the map as soon as you're able to in Blackout. That's fine if you like the idea of having a mad dash to get a gun and outlive a whole bunch of opponents in the opening moments of a match but, especially for newcomers to the mode, that's not exactly ideal. The goal is to be the last player standing, so what good is lowering your odds by parachuting into the same area as 15 other players?
I think this is a holdover from other battle royale games, where people recommended rushing to the ground in order to get some solid practice against as many opponents as possible before trying to go for actual wins. As noted earlier, you can get all the practice you need in other game modes, so chancing a long respawn just to "git gud" exclusively in Blackout seems like a waste of time.
While the Blackout map isn't what I would call massive, it's still plenty big and home to lots of large points of interest and smaller buildings to boot. I say hang out in the plane a little longer and find a spot that isn't going to be as heavily populated. That'll give you the opportunity to loot in peace, take part in a couple firefights and, once the map starts shrinking, you likely won't be too far away from a vehicle if you need to hightail it to the safe zone.
Blackout isn't Multiplayer
While I wholeheartedly endorse playing Multiplayer to improve your skills, learn the weapons and even get a handle on some of the same gear you'll find in the Blackout mode, I can't stress enough that the two modes are very different and therefore require a different mindset to excel at.
While your skills will transition from Multiplayer nicely, the big difference here is the pace of the game. You'll spend a lot of time all alone on the Blackout map, wandering from location to location in a bit of a lull that occasionally gets punctuated by a fierce firefight.
A lot of players jump into the mode and think they're playing deathmatch, constantly sprinting to the firefights they hear over the horizon and charging into regions or buildings without taking a moment to assess the situation first. Blackout is a slow burn and, again, your goal is to be the last player standing, not get three or four quick kills and then exit the match ranked 30th.
There's no better reminder of this than the time it takes to get back into the action. In Multiplayer, some players throw caution to the wind and charge forward valiantly because they know that, if they die, respawning is damn-near instantaneous. In Blackout, each time you die means you've got to exit the current match, watch the results screen, load back to the menu, select another round, drop into the loading zone and, eventually, you'll be back on the plane and ready to roll. If you don't play Blackout at least a bit more methodically, you're going to spend more time getting into matches than actually playing them.
Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.
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