Although the release of COD 2021 is several months away, the Call of Duty community has already begun to turn its attention to the next instalment of the first-person shooter franchise despite over three seasons of post-launch content remaining for Black Ops Cold War. Treyarch’s latest iteration of the Black Ops series has been met with polarising feedback with several features proving popular and others that appear to have missed the mark among players.
Despite a lack of official confirmation, it is widely believed that Sledgehammer Games is spearheading the development of COD 2021, with reports suggesting that the franchise will be returning to World War 2 for the first time since 2017. The rumoured choice of setting has already divided opinions but Sledgehammer has the potential to create a Call of Duty that appeals to all corners of the community thanks to Treyarch falling short in a number of areas such as a sub-standard League Play mode, lack of social features, and more.
With plenty of time until the launch of COD 2021, there are some elements that Sledgehammer Games cannot fall short on in order for the game to be a success. Here are three areas where mistakes must be avoided.
Read More: What Is The Name Of COD 2021?
1) Return Of Headquarters
The Headquarters social hub that made its first and only appearance in World War 2 was an excellent addition to the Call of Duty franchise and it’s somewhat surprising that this particular feature failed to catch on in the releases that proceeded it. The area enabled players to open their supply drops in front of friends and other players who could react to what items they had unlocked, there was a firing range where multiplayer classes could be tested, and even an area where you could compete in 1v1 duels against other players. This level of interaction had never been seen before in Call of Duty and was arguably one of the best parts of the game.
It would make a lot of sense for Headquarters to return in COD 2021. The featured added a real sense of community that had never been seen before and with the Call of Duty universe more united than ever thanks to cross-platform play, the return of the Headquarters would be welcomed by several players.
In my opinion, the Headquarters should never have been removed from Call of Duty. On Black Ops Cold War, the only social aspect is when you join a party of players in the pre-game lobby and you walk around as a group. Other than that, there are very few ways to interact with other players which is disappointing for one of the largest communities in gaming. If the social element of COD doesn’t feature in COD 2021, it’s a major oversight from the developers.
2) Regular Weapon Balancing
All in perfect balance
One of the main issues that has plagued Black Ops Cold War since its launch is the lack of weapon balancing in multiplayer. Treyarch was quick to address various issues with the balance of the weapon arsenal in the first few weeks but as the game reaches the halfway stage of Season 2, it’s been over 100 days since there was any form of balancing to the weapons in the game. Not exactly ideal when the launch of a season and the mid-season updates sees new weapons added which can have a drastic impact on the existing metagame.
The lack of weapon balancing has become one of the most infuriating parts of Black Ops Cold War. I find myself being outgunned on a regular basis by an LC10 SMG in a long-distance duel when I have the Krig 6 or XM4 equipped. In an ideal scenario, the assault rifle should outclass an SMG at long-range but thanks to Treyarch’s lack of balance, the LC10 is more than capable of outgunning an AR from a distance.
In order to prevent a repeat of an imbalanced arsenal, Sledgehammer must stay on top of the current state of the metagame and implement any kind of changes as quickly as possible in order to maintain some form of balance. There is always going to be a handful of weaponry that stands out from the crowd in terms of outright performance but making sure that there are other weapons that have the ability to contend with the best weapons is extremely important to encourage variety. One or two-gun metas are boring!
3) A Well-Built Ranked Playlist
The return of League Play to Black Ops Cold War was met with plenty of excitement from the competitive scene but when it eventually released, many were left disappointed thanks to the convoluted ranking system, rulesets that did not follow the official rules used in the Call of Duty League and in-game gems that hold next to no value whatsoever.
The competitive playlist that appeared in World War 2 is widely regarded as the best ranked playlist that has ever featured in a Call of Duty game and it is clear to see why. Ranked play on World War 2 featured easy-to-understand ranks ranging all the way from Bronze to Master and a matchmaking system which pitted players of a similar MMR in 4v4 competition to create an even playing field. The mode used exactly the same rules as the professionals, making it the ultimate proving ground for players looking to get their fix of competitive action.
It’s clear to see how easily the boat can be missed when it comes to creating a comprehensive playlist for competitive play and although it’s a small minority of the community that plays the game on a competitive level, it’s essential for Sledgehammer Games to obtain plenty of feedback from pro players and the rest of the community as there’s a real chance of building the best ranked playlist that Call of Duty has ever seen.
Can It Be Done?
If Sledgehammer Games is capable of avoiding mistakes when it comes to these three integral features, COD 2021 is well on its way to becoming a resoundingly successful instalment of the franchise.
In theory, all three of the points mentioned above are easily achievable for a studio that has made plenty of new hires and already knows how to build a successful Call of Duty game.