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Black Ops Cold War Scorestreaks Explained

Gameplay reveals for major games can contain some contentious elements, specifically if they are annual titles like Call of Duty. Easily, the most controversial segment within the worldwide reveal for Black Ops Cold War’s multiplayer was the change that was made to killstreaks.

Killstreaks have long been a benchmark of proficiency among veteran Call of Duty players. However, the bonuses that you’re used to will no longer be directly tied to the number of kills that you get — and dying won’t matter anymore. This concept isn’t necessarily new (half of it was used in both Advanced and Infinite Warfare), but it’s never quite been implemented in this way before.

During the gameplay reveal we were told what those changes would be, but not how they work; that information came from the alpha players. The implied reasoning, however, is that Treyarch wanted more people to have access to scorestreaks. By allowing players to rack up points by capturing objectives, assisting teammates, and various other actions (in addition to getting kills) — scorestreaks are opened up to players who have lower K/D spreads.

That idea is further helped along by making scorestreaks persistent. This has been possible for a while, although you needed to have the “persistence” perk to be able to do it. No longer will death keep you — or anyone else — from getting a high-level scorestreak. Of course, Treyarch needed to make sure that skilled players couldn’t just rack up streaks unabated, which is why each use comes with a cool-down period.

You can still earn multiple scorestreaks in Black Ops Cold War, but you can’t use them one after the other in rapid succession. Earning them will also still take some skill. Some streamers who were allowed to play the alpha version of the multiplayer reported that the required points were relatively high. The RC-XD cost 600 points; the UAV 800 points; artillery strike 1,900; napalm strike 2,400; and a new streak called air patrol costs 2,750 points. If you want the chopper gunner, it’ll cost you a massive 6,000 points.

Of course, all of this is balanced out by the fact that you acquire score multipliers by achieving multiple kills. At five kills, you’ll get 450 bonus points per kill, for example. Obviously, the major point here is that those points don’t reset upon death, meaning that your score is constantly building until you use those points to purchase a streak.

Therein lies the controversy. This new system is designed to assist lesser-skilled players in getting streaks, while evening out gameplay across the entire match because of those cool-downs. Overall — despite our feelings — it’s a balanced system. We will need to get our hands on it for ourselves to truly say one way or the other, but on paper it’s not as bad as it seems. That’s not to say that veteran players don’t have anything to complain about, because we also agree that death should mean something. Or, perhaps we should say that being able to stay alive longer by improving at the game should be rewarded.

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