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Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is introducing a ton of changes that are going to transform the franchise's multiplayer landscape, but ultimately, your success is going to depend on how well you can fold new mechanics in with the series' tried and true old ways. That's the lesson I've learned from playing a night of Black Ops 3's multiplayer beta, which launches tomorrow for pre-orderers on PlayStation 4 and Aug. 26 on Windows PC and Xbox One — failing to utilize either half of the equation, either old or new, is going to leave you dead on arrival.
In the preview video above, Nick and I break down some of the biggest tweaks to the Call of Duty formula that Black Ops 3 is bringing to the table. Specialists, for example, add another layer of customization on top of the returning Pick 10 system, and provide a guaranteed carrot-on-a-stick several times per match — a stark contrast to Scorestreaks, which are even harder to rack up this time around.
Treyarch also added some brutal gibbing to the game's competitive experience, letting you utilize grenade launchers and exploding arrows to reduce your foes to gory chunks.
Movement in Black Ops 3 has been completely reinvented, giving you a full-blown jetpack to fool around with, and allowing you to chain wallruns together to cross entire arenas without touching the ground.
However, if you're an old guard Call of Duty player, you might be relieved to learn that those maneuvers essentially turn other players into clay pigeons for you to shoot from the ground. Successfully wallrunning around a group of enemies to flank them feels satisfying, but flying directly into battle usually just leaves you exposed.
For more thoughts, check out the preview video posted above, or you can watch a full, unedited match here. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 launches on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on Nov. 6.