A recent interview posted on the PlayStation website revealed a few details about the upcoming Call of Duty title WWII. In a question asked by a Twitter user, Michael Condrey revealed that there are to be some exciting changes to the current Create a Class system. He stated:
We’re days away from E3 2017 and the team at Sledgehammer Games can hardly wait to share more on our multiplayer plans. We’re particularly looking forward to revealing more on Divisions. Divisions fundamentally redefines how players invest in their Multiplayer soldier career. Replacing the create-a-class system, players choose from five iconic World War II divisions each with specific basic combat training, division training and weapon skills. We think it’ll intrigue Call of Duty series veterans, and we can’t wait for our fans to see it for themselves.
In this article, I will discuss some of my thoughts on how this might impact the competitive scene in the upcoming year.
The system sounds strikingly similar to that of CoD’s biggest competitor, Battlefield. In EA’s latest release, Battlefield 1, the player can specialize in a number of classes ranging from the close quarters’ Assault class to a horseback riding soldier with the Cavalry class.
As in Battlefield, the E3 reveal shows us that it’s likely each division will be restricted to a certain type of weapon. For example, the infantry divisions used at E3 had either the M1 Garand or the BAR while the mountain division made either the M1903 or the Kar98k available.
Separating the different types of weaponry adds more hours of grinding into the game as players will no doubt work to unlock various cosmetics only earned through using a particular class. A thought I had about how it could change the competitive landscape is if there was a limit on how many divisions can be used on one team. If it were limited to just one or two then expert players in one division may be more valuable players than others.
An obvious example would be the mountain division which homes the sniper rifles. If teams have to have a sniper player their value in the esports space would rocket.
Although it’s unlikely to happen, it would deepen the tactical play of CoD and definitely help bring back more defined roles.
Another element to creating the perfect class is the game’s perks. However, in WWII perks have been replaced by various division skills and training. Division skills, as the title would suggest, are exclusive to whichever division the player chooses to use. The ones I saw at E3 seemed fairly basic, for example a bayonet charge melee in the infantry class or being able to equip a suppressor in the airborne class.
The two more exciting ones were sharpshooter in the mountain division and incendiary shells in the expeditionary division. The former allows the player to gain aim assist and see enemy name tags whilst holding their breath. This should be extremely helpful for players using that division since it revolves around the bolt action rifles. However, it should not affect competitive too much since it does not reveal players through walls or anything game breaking like that.
The incendiary shells are shotgun rounds which spark flames that burn enemies to death. I simply picked this one out since it seems like something that could be overpowered. If previous games are anything to go by, shotguns will likely end up being banned anyway, thus making the skill useless.
Division training seems to be division specific perks aimed at directing the player to use that class in a particular way. For example, the division training available for the airborne class at E3 was Pathfinder III which grants the player increased sprint speed, duration and the ability to mantle faster. This suits the airborne playstyle as it focuses on sub machine gun play.
There’s currently not a lot to say on division training since at E3 only one was available for each division.
The final perk related addition to create a class is basic training. Confirmed in a tweet by Michael Condrey, any basic training unlocked can be used across any division.
Basic training is unlocked through player progression and can be selected by any Division.
— Michael Condrey (@MichaelCondrey) June 13, 2017
The most impactful basic training on competitive is probably phantom. This perk gives quieter movement, no fall damage and makes the player invisible to UAV. To long-time players, the perk is better known as dead silence and has been in every Call of Duty. However, it is particularly problematic in this case since players are already limited in what perks they can choose.
Even if the developers have tried to integrate quieter movement into the game, professionals will more than likely choose to use dead silence so their ability to make plays is never hindered. This can make the game stale for viewers as they end up seeing the same setup every map.
Another interesting basic training is smoked. This gives the player a smoke as their secondary grenade. As we’re back to boots on the ground the use of smokes could further tactical depth. I can envision players smoking off certain trench routes to deny the enemy information in the round. The gameplay below is of the map Point du Hoc which looks like it could utilise smoke grenades.
The final perk I will discuss is called scope. This makes the player move faster while aiming down sights as well as adding an additional attachment onto their primary weapon. The reason why this could be impactful in competitive play is if there is no stock attachment.
Stock also allows for faster movement while aimed in and is a favorite among pros as it gives assault riflers a more even playing field against the sub machine guns. It will be interesting to see if riflers opt to take the perk over something standard like phantom.