Black Ops 4 beta tips from Call of Duty developer Treyarch and us

The Black Ops 4 beta is back, on PS4 and XBox One this time. We’ve got some vital Black Ops 4 beta tips, both from our own experience playing, and Call of Duty senior producer Yale Miller. This weekend’s beta runs from August 10 through August 13 and here's a few things to guide you through it. 

What's the best Black Ops 4 specialist? Depends on how you use them

This year's COD is far closer to things like Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege than it's every been. All of the playable characters have very specific abilities and skills, meaning the right choice can make all the difference depending on maps, game type and what other people are playing. 

Here's all the Black Ops 4 beta specialists, their gear, and best way to use it all. Quick note: the Ability is your characters 'super', the power that takes the longest to charge - usually once a match - and has the most impact, while Equipment is a secondary, that charges several times a match (usually).

Ajax

Ability: Ballistic Shield: Defensive shield with built-in machine pistol.
Equipment: 9-Bang: Tactical grenade that flashes and stuns. Can be cooked for multiple detonations.
Best for: Strong offensive pushes forward. The shield provides cover while still being able to return fire. At the same time the 9-Bang acts as both a flashbang and concussion grenade, meaning you can stun enemies while rushing them. 

Battery

Specialist Ability: War Machine grenade launcher
Fires bouncing grenades which detonate after a short time or when hitting an enemy.
Equipment: Cluster Grenade
A grenade that sticks to surfaces and releases several smaller grenades.
Best for: Support chaos: explosive suppressive fire, hitting enemies around corners or behind cover. Her explosive loadout provides indirect, area of effect damage and, used in tight maps especially, can rout an enemy team. 

Crash

Specialist Ability: TAK-5
Targets up to four allies to heal them and boosts max health. Also affects Crash.
Equipment: Assault Pack
Deploys ammo magazines that provide bonus score for taking down enemies.
Best for: Basic support both for healing and ammo. Crash is a Specialist best used away from the frontline to provide healing and supplies that other, more aggressive, characters can benefit from. 

Firebreak

Specialist Ability: Purifier
Flamethrower.
Equipment: Reactor Core
A radioactive core that when opened damages all enemies in range, through walls, and reduces their overall health for a short time.
Best for: Map control. That reactor core can drive enemies back, or break them from cover, inflicting damage through walls over range. It's especially useful on maps where controlling points or areas is an objective as you can irradiate an area and deny enemy access. The Purifier flamethrower is best used in close quarters where its sheets of flame can cause as much chaos as damage. 

Nomad

Specialist Ability: Attack Dog
Can be commanded to follow you or patrol a location.
Equipment: Mesh Mine
Explosive tripwire trap explosives.
Best for: Good for area denial. Using Mesh Mines to booby trap areas or the attack dog to take on any enemies that enter certain zones can really control part of the map. Because the animal's small and fast it can absolutely destroy an enemy team if they can't land a hit on it. 

Prophet

Specialist Ability: Tempest
A tactical rifle that shoots electric shock rounds that stun enemies and chain to nearby opposition.
Equipment: Seeker Shock Mine
A small two-wheeled drone that tracks down enemies and shocks them.
Best for:
Prophet has great tactical potential but a very specific situational usage. His drone is handy but can rush off and leave you, while his Tempest rifle really needs a bunch of enemies clustered together to really have an impact. That said, in the right place he can utterly ruin the oppositions momentum. 

Recon

Specialist Ability: Vision Pulse
Scan an area to reveal enemies for a period of time to everyone on the team.
Equipment: Sensor Dart
Fireable dart that reveals enemies within its range on the minimap for everyone on the team.
Best for: There's an obvious support value to being able to see the enemy and, used well, Recon can really tip the balance. His sensor dart can render any cover advantage moot if you're having trouble breaking through a point on the map, while Vision Pulse is basically free kills for everyone. 

Ruin

Specialist Ability: Grav Slam
A kinetic weapon with area of effect damage around the point of impact.
Equipment: Grapple Gun
Quickly move to elevations and other locations.
Best for: Rush attacks and getting in the thick of the action fast. Ruin's grapple means he can cover large areas of the map fast. That speed is handy for catching the enemy off guard, but combined with the Grav Slam can also deal huge amounts of damage. 

Seraph

Specialist Ability: Annihilator
Massive high damage revolver that fires bullets with increased surface penetration.
Equipment: Tac Deploy
Deployable spawn beacon.
Best for: While that massively powerful revolver is nice, Seraph's real skill is her portable respawn beacon. Used well it can completely turn the tide of matches. 

Torque

Specialist Ability: Barricade
Deployable cover with a built-in microwave field to slow and damage enemies.
Equipment: Razor Wire
Razor wire can be placed to damage and slow enemies.
Best for: Torque's great for helping to lock down an area, either for tactical value or for control. That razor wire can shut enemy lanes, while the shield can create an instantly defendable area that's hard to counter. 

Learn and use your Specialist equipment 

As we mentioned the Specialist multiplayer characters in Black Ops 4 all have a unique set of abilities and gear that help them perform various roles, and it's basically a freebie. “The one thing that people maybe don’t notice is that your Special Issue equipment actually doesn’t cost a point in the Pick 10 system,” says Miller. “So when you’re building your Create-a-Class, you have ten points to spend. If you stick with your Special Issue, and figure out how to be successful with that, you basically have a free piece of equipment that you otherwise would have to spend valuable points on.”

Learn your guns and play to their strengths. Especially if it has an Operator Mod

“We took a unique strategy with weapons this year, around the idea that each weapon is unique,” explains Miller. “The goal this year was that each gun basically had profile, a trait that we wanted to emphasise. So all the attachments with that gun build on that profile, so if there’s a high-capacity SMG, they’re going to get things like Extended Mag, Extended Mag 2, those kinds of things.”

Using a gun for its intended role or range isn’t exactly a new idea, but Black Ops 4 is really drilling in the concept to really emphasis and coalesce the idea. “If you really want to be good at one of the guns, figure out what its profile is, what its traits are, and lean into those,”says Miler. “So if it’s good at medium-to-long range distances, keep those distances and you’re going to be super, super successful. 

However, while every weapon has its own set of attachments, “more than half of them have an Operator Mod,” he explains. This is a weapon specific ability “which really is for the full expression of the trait of that weapon.” You’ll have to use a Gunfighter Wildcard to access it but doing so will “really take that gun all the way down to the tip of the [skill] tree, and it’s going to be good at its thing.” 

The example Treyarch use to demonstrate this is the Titan light machine gun. It’s built for suppressing fire and has an Operator Mod that actually blurs the screen of any enemy player the bullets pass by. 

Use the new health system to your advantage, and the enemies disadvantage

Black Ops 4 is using a manual healing system this year, with a syringe you can use with a tap of L1. “For the first two matches, maybe one, people forget to heal, says Miller. “Do not forget to heal”. 

However, this new mechanic brings more to the game than just you remembering to tap a button to not die because, according to Miller, it makes for some “fun cat-and-mouse”. If you need to hide for a second to heal, obviously so does your enemy. So maybe you don’t heal and rush an opponent while they’re still weak. Or fake it so they expose themselves thinking you're about to attack while you actually stay put to heal. “Maybe you get some bullets on someone else, and then they get bullets on you and you have that opportunity: are they going to heal? Because [then] I’m going to bunker down for a little bit. Then you can use that as a little play and you can choose to fake people out."

You can also equip the Stim Shot in to you Pick-10 loadout, which gives you faster healing and an obvious advantage.  

Black Ops 4 body armor does not like armour piercing rounds 

The Black Ops 4 body armor is one of the more contentious multiplayer additions this year. The Time to Kill - ie, the amount of time shooting someone takes to kill them - is already a lot higher than most players are used to, and armor only extends it further. 

If a gun can take Armor Piercing Rounds then think about using them to negate the body armor advantage and level the playing field a little. 

Understand how the Black Ops 4 Control mode works

Control is the new Black Ops 4 mode this year and it works a little differently to previous games. It has elements of territory control, as the name suggests, as teams fight to own two points on the map. However, it also gives each team a pool of 25 lives to draw on and winning can come from controlling points, or depleting the opposition's life pool. That slightly changes up the tactics , as you could end up playing more as a deathmatch, or territorial mode depending on how things go. 

If you’re eying up Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 this year then take note: it’s made some changes to the Call of Duty season pass and not everyone’s happy about it.