Call of Duty: Black Ops 3's eSports focused Arena mode sounds like League of Duty

The Call of Duty franchise has always had a competitive element to it, but it's Black Ops 3 that's making the series' most aggressive push into eSports thanks to the new Arena mode. Shown today at Gamescom 2015, Arena is how Black Ops 3 players will enter ranked competitive play, where more wins means a higher rank and division, while more losses means lower ones.

What sets this version of ranked play apart from previous iterations is its focus on the Black Ops 3 metagame - in other words, adjusting your playstyle not based on the rules of the match, but how you want to hinder your human opponents. Thinking outside the game case, if you will.

One of the biggest additions to Arena is a "Bans and Protects system," which allows you to kick out or keep in specific content from Create-a-Class, Scorestreaks or Specialists before a match starts. For example, the Specialist named Nomad can revive himself from death using an ability called Rejack. If you think that's a particularly overpowered ability, you can vote to ban Rejack before a match, meaning no one can play outfitted with Rejack as part of their character suite (for clarity, players could still play as Nomad and use his other unique ability). On the other hand, if that's your go-to Specialist and ability, you might vote to protect Rejack.

A Specialist Draft in Arena mode also means that each team is allowed no more than one of each Specialist weapon or ability. Whereas unranked competitive multiplayer could conceivably pit two teams of everyone playing as Nomad with the Rejack ability against each other, Arena games with Specialist Draft make it so that only one person can play as a given Specialist.

Considering Black Ops 3's focus on unique characters with their own visual designs, histories, personalities, weapons and abilities, these mechanics sounds close in concept to drafting in a game like League of Legends. In that game's ranked mode, players choose whether to ban certain characters that they don't want to contend with as they prepare for a match. The idea behind both games is that you, as the player, are paying attention to what content is currently most powerful or dangerous in the hands of your foes, and using that information to decide what you want to get rid of.

You could also think of it like scouting an opposing sports team, figuring out who the star player is, and before the game starts, saying "And by the way, Johnny can't play. He's too good."

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Sam Prell

Sam is a former News Editor here at GamesRadar. His expert words have appeared on many of the web's well-known gaming sites, including Joystiq, Penny Arcade, Destructoid, and G4 Media, among others. Sam has a serious soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.