If you, like me, have been playing the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War alpha on PlayStation 4 this weekend, you may have noticed sniper rifles are pretty handy.
I spent most of yesterday evening playing the alpha, getting a feel for the multiplayer portion of the game, its weapons and potential loadouts, and it quickly became apparent that snipers were the go-to weapon.
They’re super powerful, as you’d expect, but also have an extremely quick aim down sights (ADS) speed – much faster than the kind of sniper rifle ADS speed we’re used to from recent games in the series.
The ADS on snipers is so quick – near instant in some cases – that snipers are outperforming assault rifles even at ranges ARs should dominate. The video below, from Call of Duty YouTuber Drift0r, gives you an idea of how snipers work in Black Ops Cold War:
It turns out the current sniper rifle experience in the alpha is not what we should expect from the launch game. Treyarch deliberately buffed sniper rifles for the alpha in order to evaluate their performance, and has already promised a nerf for the upcoming beta.
“We buffed snipers to evaluate their performance in this alpha specifically,” Treyarch’s Tony Flame explained in a tweet.
“Sniper rifles WILL have balance changes for the upcoming beta based on our analytics data this weekend.”
Ok let’s talk Sniping in Cold War.
Crossplay is coming, but we knew it wouldn’t be in Alpha. We buffed Snipers to evaluate their performance in this Alpha specifically. Sniper Rifles WILL have balance changes for the upcoming Beta based on our analytics data this weekend.
— Tony Flame (@Tony_Flame) September 18, 2020
The news has been welcomed by most players, from what I can tell, although some have said they will miss how much fun snipers are to use at the moment.
“I agree that it’s pretty fun, but it is just way too easy,” said redditor ermahgerditsdaddel. “I’m not a sniper and I was still able to go off. They should probably slow the ADS time on the snipers a little. It’s almost instant now.”
I’ve also seen some Call of Duty pros call on Treyarch to leave the snipers as they are. I’m sure if you’re a dab hand at quick-scoping, you’ll be enjoying your time in the Cold War alpha. Nerfing snipers dulls the sharp edge of one of their long-standing tools of destruction. On the other hand, it can be pretty frustrating to be on the receiving end of a blisteringly fast one-shot sniper at pretty much any distance.
Low damage? In my experience (and I?m no sniper) I got a one shot kill at all ranges on 12v12. When you have a higher TTK like in CW snipers need to be balanced. It?s not fair that it takes a full mag to kill someone only for them to one shot you with super fast ADS.
— Chris (@tkdchris2) September 19, 2020
Still, according to Flame, the decision has already been made: snipers are getting nerfed. So go ahead and go, Call of Duty sniper experts. The alpha is yours, but the beta – and the launch version of Black Ops Cold War – may not be.