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9.4GB Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 update nerfs multiplayer's most annoying specialist

Zombies! Multiplayer! Blackout! Progression! More!

Treyarch has issued a significant update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 to coincide with the launch of Nuketown on the PlayStation 4 version - and it nerfs the game's most annoying specialist.

The update, which weighs in at 9.4GB on PS4 and brings the client up to version 1.05, makes a raft of key changes to the first-person shooter. Technical improvements have been made to Zombies, which had suffered from crash problems, welcome balance changes have hit the specialists and weapons, there's map spawn improvements and, crucially, sped up progression for the much-maligned Black Market.

On multiplayer specifically, Ajax has been hit by a nerf, with a shortened 9-Bang flash effect and reduced accuracy when his annoying Ballistic Shield is up. There are also some useful counters to both Ajax's 9-Bang and shield (Tactical Mask now effectively counters the 9-Bang). Here's the relevant note:

  • Reduced 9-Bang's flash effect duration by 25 per cent.
  • 9-Bang is now countered more effectively by Tactical Mask.
  • Increased bullet spread by 25 per cent in fortify stance when using the Ballistic Shield.
  • Ajax's turn speed is now properly slowed when he's hit by a Concussion Grenade with the Ballistic Shield equipped.
  • Resolved an issue that could prevent Ajax from being hit from certain angles from behind with the Ballistic Shield equipped.
  • Added a third-person sound effect for charges two and three of the 9-Bang.

This Ajax nerf is being celebrated by the Call of Duty community, which has for some time now considered the specialist and his abilities to be overpowered. His shield, in particular, is seen as a powerful tool that can devastate enemies in quick time (it comes with a built-in machine pistol!). Pre-nerf, it looked like this:

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On Blackout, the battle royale, the Bowie Knife has been added to the game, as well as zombies to Nuketown Island on the PlayStation 4 version. Also of note: item pickups now stream in faster at the start of a match.

The update adds Daily Tier Skips in multiplayer and Blackout for all players. To get a skip, you need to win a match in MP or earn a Merit in Blackout. You can do this once a day to redeem a daily Bonus Tier in the Black Market, letting players earn Contraband items faster. This is a permanent addition to the game, Treyarch said.

Related, Blackjack's Shop is now live on PS4 in the Black Market. This lets you buy new customisation items, and it hits PC and Xbox One next week.

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Spawns have been adjusted across multiple modes and multiple maps. For Team Deathmatch, for example, spawn adjustments were made for Arsenal, Summit and Payload. One of the chief criticisms of Black Ops 4 multiplayer since launch has been the spawn points, which sometimes see you return to the game right next to an enemy. Hopefully this update sorts all that out.

Interestingly, the update confirms a major leak we reported on earlier this week that revolved around Zombies mode. A supposed ex-Treyarch developer took to Reddit to spill the beans on Zombies Easter eggs, as well as reveal content coming down the line. As part of that leak, this disgruntled ex-employee mentioned the return of Speed Cola functionality in Black Ops 4's next title update. And, so it has come to pass.

Treyarch still hasn't addressed the leak, but did sort of dance around the issue in its update post:

"We know there's a ton of interest and anticipation about the road ahead for Zombies in Black Ops 4, and we're excited to share more on what's coming when we're closer to debuting each new feature. For now, ensuring a fun, stable Zombies core experience for all players comes first."

All in all, this update is very much good news for Black Ops 4 players - unless you're an Ajax main, of course.

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