I spent a lot of time playing the Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War beta over the past few days, but there was one thing that stifled the fun in some of my matches, and that was the prevalence of sniper rifles. Snipers aren't exactly a new problem in the Call of Duty series, but this doesn't make them any less frustrating to play against when you're hopping into the multiplayer's rotating quick play playlist.
There were two sniper rifles on offer in the Cold War beta: the Pelington 703 and the LW3 – Tundra. Both felt incredibly powerful, and therefore proved to be very popular over the weekend. However, following Activision's decision to extend the beta by a further 24 hours, and unlock the attachments for every weapon in the game, snipers were insufferable yesterday evening.
The Pelington 703 became a staple of the 'Best Play' sequences at the end of my games, regardless of the mode. This is somewhat tolerable in Team Deathmatch, where your sole purpose is to annihilate the opposing side at all costs. However, having teammates who prefer to sit back with a sniper rifle and ignore the objectives in other matches quickly soured my experience.
Four of the five quick play modes require players to capture points, or collect items in addition to eliminating players on the opposite team, but I found that all too often these objectives were ignored. The mode in which this was most apparent (and frustrating) was Kill Confirmed. If you've played any Call of Duty game in the past, you'll know that there's a recurring issue with players running straight past the dog tags that are left on the floor in this mode. Bizarrely, I've seen countless players—even those wielding SMGs and assault rifles—skitter past tags as if they're not the entire point of the mode, and this has been the case across multiple Call of Duty games in recent years.
As someone who loves the idea of this objective, I usually finish these matches with a minimum 2:1 ratio of tags to eliminations, simply because others refuse to scoop them up. But it genuinely feels as though the sniper rifles are to blame this time around. Rather than contribute to the team's score, there are too many players that prefer to sit back in the buildings on Miami, or lurk in the dunes of Satellite and snipe across the map.
This issue continues across the quick play carousel in modes like Domination, Control, and Hardpoint. Rather than actively try to capture a point, overpowered sniper rifles encourage players to set up elsewhere on the map and guard each zone from afar. This would be a solid strategy if there were only a few snipers on each team, but when the majority of the server is rocking a Pelington, there are few folks left to actually capture the points. Those who prefer assault rifles are caught in the crossfire every time they respawn, and this felt tiresome after a while.
Surprisingly, we didn't even experience the full wrath of Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War's snipers this weekend—they were actually worse in the PS4-exclusive alpha back in September. Unfortunately, it appears as though the balance changes weren't enough to curb their presence in the beta. I really hope that Treyarch makes a few more adjustments between the beta ending later on today, and Cold War's release on November 13.