Black Ops 4 Blackout is here, and with it comes an entirely new, if still familiar, battle royale experience.
There's a lot to take in, with Blackout taking heavy inspiration for PUBG whilst playing, in our opinion, a little more like the lower stakes, faster-flowing Fortnite, and then bringing a load of new elements of its own into play as well.
Here on this page then you'll find our big roundup of general Black Ops 4 Blackout tips and tricks, as well as key Blackout differences from other battle royales we've noticed so far, and other handy things to know now we've spent some time with it.
Black Ops 4 Blackout basic tips and battle royale differences
There's a lot to learn when first coming to Blackout - as there is with any battle royale game, really - and so we've split up our tips below into broad sections like Controls, Perks, and Equipment to help you get a hold on it all. For now though, here are some basic tips, and some key differences between Blackout and other popular battle royales like PUBG and Fortnite.
Blackout basic tips
- There is armour to equip (three levels) and attachments (such as scopes and other items to increase reload speed and stability).
- You can quick equip attachments you come across straight from the ground. Otherwise, you can quickly manage parts of your inventory and activate perks by pressing up on the D-pad. You can also carry spare attachments in your inventory without attaching them.
- Of course, not every attachment works with every weapon. You can still pick them up to use for other weapons, however.
- Run out of space? Find a Backpack!
- First aid in general is quite generous - you can have a lot of health items on you, and can heal at any time with L1, changing which healing item is mapped to L1 for quick use by pressing up on the D-pad and scrolling over to the left to switch them out.
- It's worth searching for 'trauma kits' which restore up to 200 health (adding +50 on top of your ordinary max.)
- You can leap through glass windows (which is noisy - and therefore risky - but fun!).
- The 'gas' - the closing danger circle - does gradually scaling damage as the game progresses. You can survive for a little while early on, but will die much faster to it in the late game. Keep an eye on the blue bar with a running man on it on your HUD, as this indicates where you are in relation to the safe zone.
- You can see teammates health in the bottom left corner at any time.
- The gauge below your mini-map shows your distance from the circle.
- Like PUBG and Fortnite, you can place markers for teammates to see.
- You can use multiple power ups at once.
- Basketballs can be picked up - and do damage when thrown at people!
- There are no weekly or seasonal challenges like Fortnite or PUBG - in traditional Call of Duty they are all available from day one, if you want to view all Blackout Challenges to pick up extra Merits. There are also secret challenges too - Black Ops 4 Dark Ops - which require unique and specific one-off actions, such as netting a basketball, playing a dukebox or killing another player with just your fists.
- Though some character skins unlock through Eschelon progression and the game's season pass, most are unlocked through hidden character mission unlocks, giving you an extra set of temporary objectives as you play a match.
Blackout differences from other battle royale games
- Like PUBG, looting the equipment of other players requires you to stop and search a bag dropped at their location. This leaves you open to attack, so make sure you do so quickly and in safe cover where possible - and the slow speed at which you can rifle through their stuff means this is one of the easiest ways to get yourself killed.
- Unlike PUBG, you can loot weapons fully tooled out with all attachments - they shine gold when using looter powerup.
- Unlike Fortnite, there's no weather or day / night cycle, at least for now.
- You can travel much further from the drop than in PUBG, as Blackout's gliding and diving works much closer to Fortnite. This means there's a far wider spread of players over the map, so there are far fewer 'safe drops' and likewise fewer 'hot drops', as there's less incentive to stay directly under the flight path.
- Blackout's map is considerably smaller than PUBG's, and on early impressions the playable area seems smaller than Fortnite's too, with much of the outskirts actually giving you a 'return to playable area' message when you stray too far. This, combined with the wide spread of players, makes games a bit faster, and there's a higher chance of you consistently running into enemies or hearing them nearby.
- There's no dedicated island at the start of the match, unlike other battle royale games - you just drop somewhere on the map like in later versions of PUBG, which is useful to learn the layout of different locations.
- You can heal whilst moving and running, which is useful and very different to the static healing of PUBG.
Black Ops 4 Blackout advanced tips and tricks
General battle royale tips to bear in mind
- Aim for a balanced loadout - it sounds obvious, but just because you find a rocket launcher or a sniper, that doesn't mean you should necessarily pick it up. You need to be capable of fighting at long, medium, and short ranges at all times, and if you have to sacrifice one of those capabilities it should be long range - medium and short are the most frequent encounters, and the hardest to escape if you don't have the right gear.
- Doors are windows are crucial tools - all doors start closed, and all windows un-smashed. If you find an open door or smashed window anywhere, enemies have been here, and you should plan accordingly. Likewise, if you want to remain undiscovered then avoid smashing windows, and shut doors behind you!
- Ignore downed enemies when fighting several at once - you'll see so many beginners die in squad gunfights because they focus on eliminating downed enemies rather than switching to other targets. Unless you can do so very quickly and safely, it's not worth it in the heat of battle. Focus on those that can kill you first!
- Likewise, if you down a player, make sure you stay alert for their teammates. Your instinct is to go in for the final kill, or even relax and tend to your fallen teammates, but chances are other players are zeroing in on your position. Plus, you can use these downed adversaries as bait.
- Perfect the battle royale wiggle - seriously it's a thing. Never stand still, even when you think you're safe. Always wiggle just slightly from left to right, by about one step each way. This is to stop enemies from lining up sniper shots on you easily while you sit there blissfully unaware.
- As with all battle royales it's possible to sneak your way into the final few survivors, but while it's a great way to get to the final few, it won't help you master the mechanics. Practise by heading to 'hot drop' locations - large, high-loot areas under the fligth path with lots of other players - or even by practising your twitch reactions in regular multiplayer.
- Adapt to what you have - this ties into our point on gear above, but if all you have is a shotgun and a pistol, don't bother engaging at long range. Instead, avoid getting spotted by enemies and sneak up on them for the close-quarters kill.
- Loot is great bait if you're camping - hide inside a building, with line-of-sight on some great loot on the floor, and wait for an enemy to burst in and get distracted snaffling the good stuff so you can ambush and take them out.
- Squads is very different to playing solo. Communication becomes an essential skill, with the team that communicates the best often beating more mechanically skilled players, so learn how to call things out quickly and clearly. "Second floor, blue building, third window from left" for instance is much clearer than "that building over there upstairs". Constantly communicate - and have an agreed call for when you all need to go quiet on the mics to listen to footsteps - and remember to use the numbers and directions on your HUD's compass!
- Keep the circle to your back when you get towards the mid and late game. By which we mean, stay just beside the line of the blue danger zone at all times, and move in with it to the safe zone, then stop and wait on the edge there when it stops closing in, until it starts to move again. It means you can't get attacked from behind, because anything behind you would be taking heavy damage in the gas, allowing you to focus on what's in front and to the sides.
Blackout exploration and survival tips
- There are a bevy of vehicles - quadbikes for ferrying one or two players, while boats, trucks and helicopters can carry up to four - open-backed vehicles you can ride in just by jumping up onto them, rather than pressing an 'interact' button to climb inside.
- There's a Grapple Gun to help you get about (equip it like a grenade).
- Wingsuits have a severe drop from the helicopter, which is good if you want to get playing faster, and like we mentioned there's also significantly more range than in other battle royales.
- You can deploy your wingsuit in-game, when at a suitable height, like in Fortnite, by holding jump in mid-air (from top of Construction Site for example).
- Health drops are surprisingly severe for running out of breath underwater - you can't stay down there for more than a few seconds at a time.
- Spicy areas appear to be zombie locations (like Nuketown and Asylum) while named locations at the fringes of the map (like Construction Site) are full of loot and slightly fewer other players - we'll be looking at loot locations more closely as time goes by.
- Learn the map as best you can - map knowledge is hugely important in battle royale games in general, and will often be the difference between good and great players.
- Boats are probably the secret best vehicle in Blackout. Even though they initially appear less 'mobile' due to their waterbound nature, they can also get to places other players won't expect, and much more quietly than a loud truck or chopper. It's also a viable - albeit cheap - way of hiding on the map until the final waves.
- Helicopters, though fast and able to transport an entire squad with ease, are loud and easily shot down with missile launchers, so use at your peril.
- That said, helicopters can be a useful way to locate enemy players, if you fancy risking it. Rise into the air, and if you get locked on by a missile or shot at with bullets, then drop down as soon as you can.
- Using any vehicles in the final few circles is ill-advised, as they attract more attention than being on foot. They are at their best to transport you and your team over large distances in the opening few circles.
Blackout combat tips
- It's hard to see enemies from a distance, compared to the likes of Fortnite, and similarly it's very hard to hear enemy footsteps, even up close. Players more far more quiet than in PUBG, we've found, especially in close quarters (prepare to be shot in the back a lot more than in PUBG if you stay still for too long).
- That said, inside multi-story buildings footsteps are much louder, and mastering your ability to hear where a player is in relation to you (okay they're above you, but where above you?) is essential.
- Without armour, time to kill is only marginally higher than regular Call of Duty, and higher-quality armour seems to be pretty rare.
- As the community will tell you, level 3 armour is rather overpowered as things stand, but we can probably expect this to change.
- Unlike in the beta, not only can you spectate the player who killed you, you can now also view the Kill Cam - a Call of Duty staple (provided you don't have teammates still active in the match, of course!) - to see how you died. Use it to learn how to improve!
- Instead of a parachute or glider, you use a wingsuit to descend on the map. A useful difference is your drop is faster than other Battle Royale games, getting you into the action faster.
- Positioning is key - think about the terrain and where you are, and attack enemies accordingly. Flank enemies when in squads and use higher ground for line-of-sight advantage over them.
- Distraction is a great tactic if your enemy isn't quite sure where you are - lob a spare grenade in one direction and then move around in the other to get the drop on them, just like you're playing a stealth game.
- You can shoot through thin walls, like corrigated metal! This is great when you know an enemy's camping inside a small hut or building, for instance.
- Be tactical about how and when you reveal your position - if two sets of enemies are fighting, should you engage and let them know where you are? Or should you let them get each other down to low health, wait for one squad or player to lose, and then finish off the other when they relax and think they're safe? (Hint: it's the second one).
- The Trophy System is great to save for the end of matches, as they can help defend you against projectiles thrown against you when you're bedded in and defending against others.
- Perks are special abilities which increase your sensitivity to sound, showcase nearby loot or your teammates, and much more. They are only temporary, so take note of what you pick up and when's best to use them. If you can, save them until the end of a match to give you an edge. That said, it's easy to stockpile them and never use them - so if you feel the need to use one (or multiple at once!) then do so.