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Black Ops 3: Competitive Call of Duty is Starting to Look Like DOTA 2

by William Schwartz

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Call of Duty is one of the most popular competitively played shooters in gaming today, and this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 has a ton of features baked-in for both players and observers. This morning in a dedicated presentation, Call of Duty pros squared off in exhibition matches of Black Ops 3 during Gamescom. A number of new features and changes to the game were announced that pertain directly to eSports play.

First and foremost, David Vonderhaar revealed Black Ops 3 Arena Mode. Arena Mode replaces the league play functionality that was found in Black Ops 2, and is described as a more accessible mode than it was before. Something that more closely mirrors public matches according to the developer. Arena mode ranks you on wins and wins only, allowing you to progress through 20 ranks to the Master Division. The math behind Arena mode sounds pretty simple. If you lose two games in a row you are demoted. The more wins you string together the higher you’ll progress.

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Two of the more interesting features that we see this year is in that of Bans and Protects and the Specialist Draft. Rivaling something along the lines of what we see in DOTA 2. Black Ops 3 eSports has players banning and protecting certain items from being used in match. These bans and protects are selected before any Arena match. Since no content was off limits in the public exhibition, players had the option of banning or protecting any of the items in the game. Bans and Protects put the power into the players hands here. Instead of a governing body deciding what is and what isn’t allowed in a match. The pros literally have the option of banning cheese items with this system. Since specialists are going to be a big part of Black Ops 3. These characters with powerful signature weapons and abilities will be drafted in Arena Mode. What’s this mean? It means The Specialist Draft is set up so that not everyone can pick the same powerful character or ability.

These aforementioned features certainly will change the way Black Ops 3 is changed for competitive players, but there have also been revamped feature for observers and broadcasters.  The Codcast functionality that was introduced in Black Ops 2 has been reworked to be easier to use and made to work with preset options.  Also reminiscent of what Valve is doing with DOTA 2, the Black Ops 3 Live Event Viewer will allow players to watch any eSports event right there on the console, in-game.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is slated for a November release on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC.

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