Blackout, Call of Duty’s take on battle royale, has been out a few days now and a lot of people are enjoying it very much indeed. But there’s one aspect of the game that pretty much all players agree needs a rethink: body armour.
Body armour has been a subject of much debate within the Call of Duty community ever since the Black Ops 4 multiplayer beta came out. The upshot is fans reckon Black Ops 4’s body armour is overpowered – it provides too much protection and mitigates too much damage.
In Blackout, body armour’s impact is exacerbated because there are three levels of it, each providing an increasing amount of protection. As I pointed out in our recent Blackout impressions feature, body armour sometimes makes enemy players feel like bullet sponges. Here’s how a combat encounter can look when you go up against someone wearing level three body armour:
Call of Duty has always been a fast-paced, quick time-to-kill game. With 150 points of health and a healing mechanic, Black Ops 4 already has a longer time-to-kill than previous games in the series. Layer body armour on top and it can feel like you’re shooting tanks.
Or as redditor u/Druid00 said, Blackout body armour makes you feel like Iron Man.
Developer Treyarch, which has so far done a fantastic job of updating the ongoing Blackout beta and communicating with fans, is keenly aware of the debate around body armour. In a post on r/BlackOps4, Treyarch said it was taking a cautious approach to changes to armour during the beta “as we keep an eye on overall gameplay balance”. But what it has done is fixed a bug that meant explosive damage wasn’t impacting level three armour, which is of course welcome. Elsewhere, it’s testing reducing level three armour’s absorption properties, that is, it’ll transfer more damage and break easier. Level two armour will be adjusted appropriately relative to level three armour, assuming a change is made.
As with the debate around armour in the Black Ops 4 multiplayer beta, I’ve seen some say Treyarch should simply ditch body armour from Blackout entirely. I don’t subscribe to that school of thought, but I certainly think body armour needs a nerf in time for the game’s launch in October. That’s what betas are for, after all!