Call of Duty: Black Ops 3's multiplayer is faster and more acrobatic than ever before

Time to suit up

Perfecting your twitch reflexes, precision accuracy, and run n' gun skills in Call of Duty multiplayer is what gets you to the top of the scoreboards, but in Treyarch's upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, you have a few new skills to learn if you want to be the best. The developer has made some significant changes. A new traversal system makes the game faster and more acrobatic. There are multiplayer characters with unique weapons and stories attached to them, and the customization options seem almost limitless.

With all of that, the competitive mode still feels very much like Black Ops multiplayer. It has all of the familiar gunplay, map styles, and gameplay modes that would make any CoD player feel right at home, but the changes to the pacing of the matches, abilities, and map design also give the online gunfights a fresh spin over the recent series entries. We've played the game and secured the intel on the new multiplayer features coming to Black Ops 3. Check out what's new in the following slides.

The new traversal system speeds up the traditional competitive gameplay

Black Ops 3's future setting enables your soldier to have access to futuristic weapons, and super advanced, cybernetic enhancements that improve your mobility. Every soldier is equipped with a thruster on his or her back, allowing you to move through the environment using extended or short burst thrust jumps, speedy powerslides, and map-spanning wall runs.

Your movement is momentum based, meaning you can rotate your view and not disrupt your movement while you chain together wall runs, powerslides, thrust jumps. Thrust jumps can boost you in any direction at any time in mid air (you just need to have enough power in your meter for a burst) and you can powerslide in any direction - even backwards. This allows you to track your target, center them in your reticle, and fire on them from any movement state you're in, which can result in some spectacularly complicated (and really cool looking) kills.

The maps are designed around the new traversal abilities

With all of the thrust jumping and wall running capabilities available to players, the multiplayer map design has also seen its share of modifications. To cater to players mobility, there are fairly obvious traversal paths throughout the maps' layouts. For example, in the Combine map, there are paths that allow players to circumnavigate heavily trafficked foot paths by wall running over bottomless pits. A skilled parkouring soldier can chain powerslides under obstacles, wall runs, and jump thrusts to surprise other players, and zip across the map faster than ever before.

Using the new abilities feels like an extension of jumping and vaulting in the previous Black Ops games, so veteran CoD players will most likely get used to the controls within the first few matches. Once you do get a hang of the new mobility, youll develop the urge to explore the map to find the fastest shortcuts to flag captures, and discover the best areas to set up incredible acrobatic kills.

You can swim and shoot underwater

Water has really only been a decoration in previous CoD multiplayer maps. You'd either die instantly if you fell into it, or it would be ankle deep and affect nothing. In Black Ops 3 you can finally jump in, swim around, and have underwater battles. And before you say, "But guns can't shoot underwater!" remember this the future, and there's probably all kinds of water ballistic science in the future.

Jumping into and boosting out of the water isn't just for the fun of it either; water can actually factor into your battle tactics. In the Hunted map, there is a pool of water in the center of the map with a large waterfall flowing into it. In a match, you can avoid gunfire by taking a dip. Once you're in, the wavy water distorts the view from the surface, allowing you to sneak away, or pop back out for a surprise attack.

The above screenshot is from Call of Duty: Ghosts

Gunsmith amps up weapon customization

Treyarch seems to have taken the phrase, "this is my rifle, there are many like it, but this one is mine" to heart. In Black Ops 3, there are tons of options to make your weapon look unique to your soldier. Every attachment you equip on your weapon changes a specific part of the gun. Plus, each attachment has aesthetic variants, allowing you to choose between styles. For example, you can choose between a classic style cylindrical silencer or rectangular boxy version, just for visual variety.

Gunsmith also gives you the option to paint a three-sided section of your gun using an art editor similar to the previous games' Emblem editor. You'll have 64 art layers to work with (double what was available in Black Ops' Emblem editor), so there's plenty of room to be creative. On top of all of that, there is a full set of unlockable camouflages for every weapon. The visual combinations seem almost endless.

Specialists provide new abilities and stylish aesthetics

It seems a few MOBA influences have seeped their way into Call of Duty multiplayer. In Black Ops 3, you won't just be playing as a nameless soldier; before each match you'll choose from one of nine characters - called Specialists - who have their own progression system, story background, and skills attached to them. As you go into battle, you'll choose one of your character's available skills, and your character and skill choices will be locked in for the entire duration of the match.

In the match, your character's chosen ability will activate when your ability meter completely fills, but you aren't required to score kills or points to fill it (though, participating in the match helps fill your meter faster). As time goes on, your ability meter will fill itself, giving you at least one chance to use your super move per match, whether you're getting massive kill streaks or not. If you want more information on the new characters, check out our complete breakdown of Black Ops 3's Specialists.

You can get in the multiplayer beta if you pre-order

If you're looking to get your hands on Black Ops 3's competitive multiplayer, Treyarch will be running a multiplayer beta for those who pre-order the game. The exact dates for the online event are still under wraps, but the game is said to be playable at E3, so expect to hear more on Black Ops 3's multiplayer when E3 2015 rolls around. Until then, be sure to check back for more information on Black Ops 3's multiplayer as we wait for the game's November 6, 2015 release.

Lorenzo Veloria

Many years ago, Lorenzo Veloria was a Senior Editor here at GamesRadar+ helping to shape content strategy. Since then, Lorenzo has shifted his attention to Future Plc's broader video game portfolio, working as a Senior Brand Marketing Manager to oversee the development of advertising pitches and marketing strategies for the department. He might not have all that much time to write about games anymore, but he's still focused on making sure the latest and greatest end up in front of your eyes one way or another.