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'Call of Duty: Black Ops 2' level progression, unlocks detailed

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The ol' carrot-on-a-stick

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 looks to rewrite the franchise's multiplayer rules, and developer Treyarch recently explained one of the new elements: the game's revamped level progression.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 looks to rewrite the franchise's multiplayer rules, and developer Treyarch recently explained one of the new elements: the game's revamped level progression.

Treyarch design director David Vonderhaar took to the Black Ops 2 forums to provide details on the system and get feedback from fans. Progression in the game was previously known to have 55 military rank levels and 10 levels of prestige. The studio is seeking to "return some simplicity to the progression system," Vonderhaar told Polygon last month.

According to Vonderhaar, the total amount of experience points over the 55 levels is similar to the requirements to prestige in Call of Duty: World at War and the original Modern Warfare, but it's "easier to level up" in Black Ops 2 because "you earn more XP than ever."

Each rank offers one token that can be spent on weapons, equipment, or perks. Level 4 is where the customization fun begins with the unlock of Create-a-Class, which has been overhauled for Black Ops 2 with a new system called "Pick 10." At level 4, you'll have "about a dozen" options to purchase with tokens, along with a list of free unlocks:

  • 1 Assault Rifle
  • 1 SMG
  • 1 LMG
  • 1 Shotgun
  • 1 Sniper Rifle
  • 1 Perk from each of the 3 perk categories
  • 1 lethal grenade
  • 1 tactical grenade/equipment

A new perk comes at level 5, and equipment arrives at level 6. Then level 7 unlocks Scorestreaks, which replace killstreaks with a system that rewards you for getting lots of kills and being a team player. (For more details, see the "RIP Killstreaks" section here.) Another perk comes at level 8, and level 9 provides a new scorestreak.

At level 10, an unlock pattern takes effect, with a few exceptions on the way to level 55. "At every major rank change, which is every 3 levels," said Vonderhaar, "we give you a gun and usually 'something else' as a bonus for reaching a major rank change." And at the two levels between major ranks, you'll get equipment and a scorestreak, respectively.

For example: at level 10, you'll get a gun and "something else"; at level 11, lethal or tactical equipment; and at level 12, a new scorestreak.

Vonderhaar pointed out that this system isn't final yet, so get on the forums and give Treyarch some ideas if you have them.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be out on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on November 13th.