Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is here. Unless you live beneath a rock sitting in the corner of a ruined basement in rural Arkansas, you are probably already aware of this fact. What you might not know is that Treyarch implemented some of the biggest changes that the series has seen since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to every facet of the game. Campaign features an odd sort of branching story, Zombies is set in a newly open world, and multiplayer introduces the new Pick 10 create-a-class framework.
It's the last of those that we're going to zero in on today. The class creation feature that fans have grown to love since the first Modern Warfare is a shadow of its former self, replaced by the arguably more robust and customization-friendly Pick 10. It's fun to play with once you get the hang of how it all works, but there's no clear tutorial within the game that explains it.
This is your tutorial. Read on for a rundown of Pick 10 and how to best take advantage of it!
Laying a Foundation
The core of the Pick 10 system is a 10-point budget that all players have to work with for any given class. It's pretty simple to explain: everything that a class can equip, from weapons and equipment to Perks and the new Wildcards, consumes points. You can set a class up with any combination of customizable components until you've maxed out your 10-point budget.
The Pick 10 economy is equally simple, with any class element that you wish to add consuming one of your allocation points. The only factor that complicates this is the new Wildcards. These abilities are set apart from Perks because while they offer no inherent ability buffs, they allow players to enhance a weapon/equipment or Perk slot beyond what is normally allowed. In all cases, using a Wildcard slot effectively blocks off two allocation points instead of just one due to the way your Wildcards work.
For example, the Perk 1 Greed Wildcard allows you to equip two category one Perks instead of just one. So you might want to use Blind Eye, which conceals you from air support Scorestreaks, and Hardline, which reduces the point totals you'll need to hit to unlock each Scorestreak reward.
Adding this second category one Perk ultimately carries a cost of two allocation points: one for the Wildcard and one for the added Perk. Other Wildcards allow for additional weapon attachments and the like, but they're all geared around enhancing another aspect of your created class.
Your experience level still plays an important role in class creation. While the 10-point budget offers more flexibility in how you kit yourself out, the actual gear that you have access to is dictated by your profile's XP level. New weapons, equipment, Perks, and Wildcards are all walled off behind a level requirement.
What's more, each time you advance to a new level you earn an unlock token. Just because you reach the level requirement for one piece of gear or another, that doesn't mean you can immediately equip it. An unlock token must be spent to make the item available for use in class creation, but only after you've hit the level requirement for that item.
Weapon attachments stand apart from all of this. Much like Modern Warfare 3, players earn weapon-specific experience, contributing to that weapon's overall experience level and unlocking the various attachments. You can even activate Prestige mode for a specific weapon once its level is maxed out, which unlocks the ability to do things like display your clan tag on your gun.
Note however that standard Prestige mode doesn't erase your weapon progression. Reset your stats after you've maxed out your level and any progress you've made with one weapon or another will carry over... once you've unlocked it again, of course.
Killstreak rewards aren't new for Call of Duty, but that concept has been tweaked slightly in the new Scorestreaks. Similar to Killstreaks, a Scorestreak total is based on how your play performance in a given spawn. Get fragged and you'll re-spawn with a zeroed out Scorestreak bar.
The big advantage that Scorestreaks offer over the older Killstreaks is flexibility. No longer are these rewards tied specifically to the number of consecutive kills you earn. Anything that adds to your point total contributes to your Scorestreak bar. If all do is capture flags in Domination and you're able to do so without dying, you'll quickly earn your Scorestreak rewards without ever firing a single shot.
Much like Killstreaks, players still go into battle with three Scorestreak rewards equipped. Black Ops 2 features a wide range of rewards and, much like the rest of your class creation elements, many of these unlock as you progress further through the multiplayer experience levels.
Class creation unlocks at level 4, same as it always has. Most players should hit that milestone after their first match or two. While there's something to be said for just diving in with Pick 10 and creating one or more classes just so you can start leveling up your weapons, there's a lot of value in messing with all of the pre-made classes first. They're all equipped with gear and Perks that you won't gain access to until later, but trying them out gives you a good sense of what to expect and what might/might not work for you.
For all that's new in the pre-game setup stage, Black Ops 2 is still a Call of Duty game at its heart. Multiplayer flows along quickly and respawning is frequent. Scorestreaks offer less aggressive players an alternative route to unlocking cool, game-changing rewards, but you'll still need to mix it up with the enemy if you plan on scoring big.
The same tactics that have worked in previous Duty games still work in Black Ops 2. Avoid sprinting too much unless you know that you're in a safe area. Alternatively, equip the Fast Hands perk to improve your recovery time when transitioning from full sprint to aiming down your sights at the enemy who just appeared in front of you. Stick with your team whenever possible and try to play with friends, since that's where communication tends to be strongest.
The flexibility that Pick 10 offers allows for much more experimentation. If you're the sort of player who never bothers to use grenades of any kind, drop them from your class setup. The Wildcards exist to offer those who wish to deviate from "standard" custom classes an option for a more elaborate, tailored setup. Learn what works for you and take full advantage of that.