The release of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was met with a mixed reception from the passionate and often vocal community.
While the return to Black Ops was certainly a positive, there were several features within the latest instalment of the popular first-person shooter franchise that many players and fans weren’t so happy about.
Well-designed maps are a key component that often determines the success of a Call of Duty multiplayer, and despite the variety of new settings and innovative layouts, the Black Ops Cold War map pool has yet to strike a chord with players.
With Treyarch falling back on classic Black Ops maps as parts of post-launch content plans, it goes to show that the new isn’t always as good as what it seems.
New Isn't Always Better
Opinions are split on Black Ops Cold War's maps
Treyarch is synonymous with creating some of the very best maps in the history of the franchise. The likes of Standoff, Summit, Jungle, and many others are still considered to be the best thanks to their simplistic design and spawn mechanics that were easy to understand.
It’s always going to be tricky to follow up or even create maps that live up to such incredible maps, and four months into the Black Ops Cold War cycle, it’s evident that the multiplayer maps on offer have missed the boat.
Spawns that are difficult to predict combined with a range of unnecessary lines of sight that make it impossible for players to see the target are just a few factors that make the Black Ops Cold War map pool one of the worst.
They’re certainly not the worst maps that have ever been seen in a Call of Duty game, but as soon as the 2021 instalment releases, few are going to remember the maps from Black Ops Cold War. Maps such as Garrison feel incredibly constricted due to the lack of routes that can be taken when on the receiving end of a spawn trap while others like Checkmate feature plenty of clutter that often disrupts the flow of traffic through the busier areas of the map.
A further example that proves that new isn’t always the way to go, Treyarch has opted to remaster Raid and Express and introduce them into a map pool that wasn’t resonating with the community.
It’s not just the casual audience that has expressed their positive feedback surrounding the return of Express and Raid. Prior to the start of Stage 2 and the Toronto Home Series, the Call of Duty League announced that Express would be added to the map pool for Search & Destroy due to the lack of maps that are viable for competitive play.
Soon after the two maps were added, it quickly became apparent that both maps played just as well as they did in Black Ops 2, skyrocketing them as the two most popular maps on the game.
Based on the huge popularity of Raid and Standoff, it is rumoured that even more classic Black Ops maps will be returning in future seasons. Is this down to the sheer popularity of the map or a lack of original ideas that can live up to the expectations of the player base?
Focus On The New
Apocalypse has proved a popular addition to the map pool
Although playing the classic maps is always a fun trip down memory lane, the focus in future titles has to be on creating brand-new maps that are fun to play. In recent years, Call of Duty multiplayer has featured a handful of new maps that have come close to reaching the popularity of the classics.
Nostalgia only carries so far, and with players constantly demanding new content to get their teeth stuck into, the focus should be firmly fixated on creating original maps that contain all of the features that made the likes of Standoff and Raid so incredibly popular.
How can Call of Duty developers improve the current design of maps that clearly aren’t proving popular with casual and competitive players? Scrap the elaborate layouts and stick to simplistic maps that feature clear sightlines along with a few power positions that can be utilised to gain an advantage over the opposition.