Treyarch has, as promised, shaken up the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War meta with its weapon balance update.
The developer issued the update for its shooter yesterday, 15th December, but only now has published the patch notes, revealing the extent of the changes.
The headline change is a significant nerf to the M16 and AUG tactical rifles, both of which were seen as the two dominant weapons in the game. The M16 has seen its maximum effective range and fire rate reduced. The AUG has seen its headshot multiplier, maximum effective range and fire rate all reduced, while the damage for the 19.8" Task Force barrel attachment has also been reduced.
These nerfs should go some way to doing what Treyarch said it would do: shake-up the Black Ops Cold War competitive multiplayer meta in time for Christmas.
Meanwhile, both shotguns in the game, the Hauer 77 and the Gallo SA12, have been slapped with nerfs (shotguns are secondary weapons in Black Ops Cold War, which some believe makes them overpowered). As expected, the AK-47 assault rifle has been nerfed slightly. The Krig 6 has had a slight nerf, too. The underpowered FFAR 1 has been buffed. Other buffs hit the Milano, KSP and Bullfrog SMGs to give them more effective damage range, the M60 LMG to give it increased ADS speed and weapon swap speed, the M82 sniper rifle (although sniper rifles have been largely left alone), and the Magnum pistol.
It's worth noting the Flak Jacket perk - widely considered essential - has been nerfed to reduce explosive damage mitigation (launchers FTW!). The Spycraft perk now has full immunity to Field Mic detection, and the Ninja perk has removed protection from Field Mic detection. Speaking of the Field Mic, it no longer detects users who are crouch-walking, ADS walking or swimming, which amounts to a significant nerf.
My initial impression is this is a decent attempt to level out Black Ops Cold War's meta beyond the tactical rifle dominance we've seen. I'm sure new weapons will emerge as the new meta, as they always do, but for now there's fun to be had experimenting with new weapons in the game.
Other changes worth mentioning include adjusted spawns on Nuketown to reduce spawning in longer lines of sight to reduce spawn-trapping, and the addition of spawns in and around mid-map to reduce spawn-trapping. As a big Nuketown fan, these changes are certainly welcome.
The patch notes are over on Treyarch's website.