Big Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 update sounds promising – Eurogamer.net

Big Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 update sounds promising – Eurogamer.net

Treyarch has revealed a big update coming to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – and it sounds pretty promising.

Operation Absolute Zero launches next week on PlayStation 4 (other platforms will get it later), and it makes a raft of key changes to the game.

As outlined on Treyarch’s blog, the update adds Black Ops 4’s first post-launch specialist, called Zero. She’s a hacker who can be used in multiplayer and Blackout, and is described as someone who can “disrupt and distract” her enemies, bringing countermeasures to the game.

Usefully, Zero is unlocked by completing Tier 1 in the “newly revamped” Black Market, which means she is essentially immediately available for free to all players.

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She’s the one for me.

Operation Absolute Zero also adds new weapons to Black Ops 4 for the first time. Multiplayer gets three new weapons: the Daemon 3XB SMG, SWAT RFT assault rifle and the Secret Santa melee weapon.

There had been concern Activision would lock these new weapons behind supply drops, and in the process give Black Ops 4 a whiff of pay-to-win. But they are instead Contraband tiers in the Black Market. Developer Treyarch didn’t say exactly which tiers will unlock these new weapons, but the upshot is players will be able to grind them out instead of having to pay for a chance to get them.

Players can also try the new weapons immediately through Blackjack’s Gun Game, which is one of the featured multiplayer playlists that start next week. And they’ll be in Blackout via standard weapon drops.

Speaking of Blackout, Operation Absolute Zero makes some big changes to the battle royale mode. On 10th December, Blackout gets a new armour repair system, audio improvements, SDM and Spitfire weapon balancing and seasonal changes across the map.

The seasonal changes will be seen in foliage and softer winter lighting, Treyarch said, as well as with new smoke trailers to better indicate where everyone is dropping. There are subtle environmental improvements for Nuketown Island, Hydro Dam and Factory (patch notes set for next week will detail these).

Then, on 11th December, Hijacked is added to Blackout on PS4 as the map’s new destination. As Treyarch had teased, this luxury yacht is located on the waters in the northwest of the map, and is inspired by the Treyarch multiplayer map of the same name. Blackout’s getting a new vehicle, too: the ARAV. This two-person armoured vehicle has a turret-mounted machine gun, which sounds fun. Treyarch said custom games, weapon camos, stash interface updates on consoles, holiday map decorations, throwable snowballs and more are all set for Blackout soon.

On the zombies front, most useful is the addition of the daily tier skip. Previously, you couldn’t progress through the Black Market tiers by playing zombies, much to the consternation of players. From next week, if you complete 15 rounds in one game of classic zombies you’ll get your daily bonus Black Market tier.

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She’s all I really need, oh yeah.

And finally, there are welcome changes coming to the Black Market, which has suffered a great deal of criticism since it launched.

The new contraband stream starts with 100 tiers, with themes built around every 25 tiers. This is down from the soul-destroying 200 tiers in the previous contraband stream. Also, every reward for the first 100 tiers can be previewed straight away, so you can track your progress.

Treyarch has added weapon camos, reactive camos, reticles, shared warpaints and new mastercraft cosmetic weapon variants to the Black Market, which is certainly a good thing. There are new Blackout characters (old-school Nikolai is unlockable at tier 45), and reserves now start at tier 101. Reserves include cosmetic content, such as personalisation items and a new mastercraft. Usefully, if you haven’t completed the collection of reserve items from Operation First Strike, they’re included in reserves for Operation Absolute Zero.

All in all, this is very much a positive update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Fundamental issues remain with the microtransactions, of course. The fact you can pay real world money to skip Black Market tiers will always cast a shadow over the pace of progression. And I suspect the Fortnite Battle Pass-style special orders, which force you to pay for the ability to unlock signature weapons, will remain. Still, 100 tiers instead of 200 sounds more achievable for this season’s progression, and ditching supply drops for new weapons is a welcome surprise.

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Game Awards announcements: Far Cry: New Dawn, Dragon Age 4, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 – Notebookcheck.net

Game Awards announcements: Far Cry: New Dawn, Dragon Age 4, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 – Notebookcheck.net

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Real-world photos of physical Samsung Galaxy S10+ smartphone may have just leaked online – Notebookcheck.net

Real-world photos of physical Samsung Galaxy S10+ smartphone may have just leaked online – Notebookcheck.net

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This Is The All-New 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD High Country – CarBuzz

This Is The All-New 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD High Country – CarBuzz

This week, Chevrolet gave us a first look at the all-new 2020 Silverado HD. While we only got to see the aggressive-looking LT variant, the new heavy-duty truck will be available in five trims including Work Truck, Custom, LT, LTZ and High Country models offering different combinations of design, features and technologies tailored for different customers. Now, Chevrolet is ready to show the new Silverado HD High Country.

Compared to the LT’s aggressive styling that would make small children weep, the range-topping Silverado HD High Country adopts a more conservative design with body-colored bumpers, a more conventional grille pattern, and a traditional bowtie logo instead of the Chevrolet stamped bar. The two-tone metallic trim is also exclusive to High Country models.

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The Epic Games Store is the First Real Threat to Steam – IGN

The Epic Games Store is the First Real Threat to Steam – IGN


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Epic’s store could make a bigger splash than most.

This week, Fortnite developer Epic Games announced and then launched a digital storefront housed in the Epic Games Launcher. Apparently that’s the trendy thing to do nowadays since Discord launched its own back in October, but the Epic Games Store feels like the first real threat to Steam’s dominance as the go-to place to buy PC games.

I’m not saying that Steam is certainly doomed, and even if Epic does manage to push it off the top spot it will likely take years. But this new store is in a unique position to do so. Thanks to Fortnite, there are millions of players out there with the store already installed, and Epic doesn’t have to convince or force a player base into using its store in the same way other developer-made launchers like Origin and Uplay did.

More than that, Epic already has massive loyalty from people playing Fortnite on mobile. That audience is much younger, and I would bet most of them don’t even have a gaming PC yet. But a couple years down the line they might, and if Fortnite is still as big as it is now (which seems likely) the Epic Games Launcher will undoubtedly be the first thing that audience installs on their fancy new computers.

The promise of access to that growing player base is undoubtedly an exciting prospect for any major developer, but Epic is also offering devs a significantly larger 88% cut of the revenue than Valve currently does on Steam – a point that’s lead to rising discontent with their platform recently. That means Epic is convincing game makers to get on board with a fervor that Discord or GOG haven’t, and already has the audience waiting to browse.

Epic came out swinging at The Game Awards Thursday night too. It announced that Bastion creator Supergiant Games’ newest game Hades was live now exclusively on the Epic store, alongside Annapurna’s highly anticipated Ashen. Another big surprise was that Journey, previously a Sony exclusive, would be coming to PC on the Epic store, and some games like Satisfactory even removed their Steam listing to switch platforms.

As a bit of a bribe to check it out, Epic even revealed it would be giving away a new game on their store completely free every two weeks, the first two of which are the excellent Subnautica and Super Meat Boy. It’s clear that they are pushing this hard to an audience bigger than your average Fortnite fan, and I’d say it’s safe to expect many more “Exclusive to Epic” announcements by E3 next year.

The Epic Games Store currently has a good foundation to build upon, but is missing some of Steam’s best features for now.

As for the platform itself, the Epic Games Store seems to offer a good start that needs to be built upon. The UI is attractive, though I’m not sure how well it will scale once it has more than a dozen games on it – but, then again, we don’t yet know how Epic is planning to curate the games it adds, or if it will go for the much-criticized “anything goes” policy of Steam.

The store launcher also seems to be missing some of the things Steam (and other platforms) have standardized by now like cloud saves for your account. More concerningly, it hasn’t retained some of Steam’s hard-learned lessons, specifically around Early Access labeling. Hades was released in Early Access, but it lacks any of the warnings, update plans, or other details that Steam has mandated to protect customers from buying into a bad deal. There’s an “Early Access FAQ” that you have to click into, but it lacks the hard, structured answers Steam enforces and is missing much of the same info as a result.

Since Fortnite is pretty much in a perpetual state of Early Access, it’s not surprising that Epic would be less concerned about this, but that doesn’t mean clear warnings and protections shouldn’t still be there. I don’t doubt for a second that Supergiant will treat Hades and its fans right, and maybe Epic plans to vet Early Access games and their developers itself before allowing them onto the store, but would that mean Epic also takes responsibility if a game is abandoned before completion?

Even if I’m optimistic about the store as a whole, there are still a lot of questions left to answer. A million little things could change or go wrong for Epic, and we probably won’t really know if it’s catching on in a significant way for at least the next year. Countless stores have come and gone (or at least been forgotten) in the past, and Epic’s could easily be next.

But with a huge amount of both players and devs already onboard, alongside a younger audience quickly growing up, it’s not unreasonable to think the Epic Games Store could slowly rise toward being the new normal. Even if that happens, Steam likely won’t “die” as a result of that success, but the Epic Games Store is almost certainly the most genuine threat to its crown so far.

Tom Marks is IGN’s PC Editor and pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.

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