Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War beta will have three modes, new maps and a ping system

(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War's open multiplayer beta starts today on PlayStation 4 and October 17 everywhere else, and Treyarch has poked its head out of the bunker to break down what you can expect when you smear on the camo and head back to the '80s. 

Cold War's beta will feature new maps, like the jungle of compound of Cartel, spread across a variety of modes, including new ones like VIP Escort, Combined Arms: Assault and Fireteam: Dirty Bomb.

You'll be able to play on Cartel in different 6v6 and 12v12 modes, which has points of interest that include a handy sniper tower in the middle, surrounded by an open area, a warehouse for close quarters scraps and several opportunities for stealth. 

In VIP Escort, one team will have to get a VIP to an extraction zone while the other team tries to stop them. Respawns have been disabled, so you'll have to revive your fallen comrades. Combined Arms: Assault joins Combined Arms: Dominations, which was playable during the alpha, in the list of 12v12 modes. It's a race to capture five objectives, one after the other, taking teams further and further behind enemy lines. 

Finally, there's Fireteam: Dirty Bomb, a surprisingly elaborate race with an extraordinarily grim premise. 40 players, split into ten teams, compete to detonate dirty bombs by fighting over uranium caches. The radiation caused by the bomb's explosion will linger, making part of the map a radioactive hazard and earning the team responsible some points. Players finding themselves in a radioactive area will develop radiation sickness, affecting their perk benefits, slowing them down, reducing health regeneration and finally killing them. Sounds like a fun romp. 

On top of the new maps and modes, the beta will also be an opportunity to check out other new additions, like the ping system. Cold War's not the first Call of Duty to follow the welcome trend started by Apex Legends—that would be Warzone—but it's the first time the series has used it outside of a battle royale setting. The system lets you warn your team about threats, show them loot and communicate without needing to actually chat.

Less relevant to PC players is the expansion of the FOV slider to all platforms, but it's good news if you're planning to play Cold War on consoles. Along with changing the FOV, you'll be able to customise the UI by toggling different elements, like crosshairs, health bars and the compass. 

While you'll have to wait a bit longer to play on PC, expect to see plenty of footage appearing from the PS4 beta in the meantime. You'll also be able to play a little earlier, on October 15, with a preorder. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.