My first blog post here on TG, figured I'd give this a try.

After waiting for 2 months, the First Strike maps for Call of Duty Black Ops have finally been released on the PC with a price tag of $15 and patch 1.07 has been released to all clients. I've just done some test runs and matches on each map, and so far I'm really impressed with the level designs. I'll take this map by map.


I have to say the level designers for this one earned their pay in terms of appearance. The textures and models used work perfectly creating a brightly colored, almost friendly environment, sans the dead bodies and flying lead of course. I played a round of this on Headquarters mode. Its a smaller map, maybe twice the size of Nuketown, but its doesn't feel small. I don't want to say that it's cluttered but there's so much stuff, so many planters and buildings that there are a lot of routes, making the map feel larger than it actually is. The second floors of the some of the buildings provide nice vantage points, but the field of view from each window or balcony is fairly limited. They seem like they'd be good spots to defend domination or demolition objectives from, but they afford little cover and are obvious enough that they are risky positions to use for long. Aside from that, the map is tight but expansive enough the easily avoid campers and has several routes to approach an objective from. I can't help but feel that this suffers from Grid's spawns though. Maybe it was just because I was playing Headquarters, but players spawned in everywhere A well made map, but perhaps too small and too hectic. When the mod tools come out I'd really love to see an expanded version of this map.


The first thing you notice when joining in on this map is the jumbo jet flying low overhead this rooftop arena at the start of the round. I immediately think of the Rooftop map from MW2 and even Skyline from the Day of Defeat 1.3 days. I have not played a full match on this yet because the DLC map servers are all full, but I did have a run around it in a private lobby. The elevation changes from rooftop to rooftop are handled quite well, with everything from stairs, to zip lines, to ladders, and sheet metal ramps. The map is shaped like a pyramid, with the domination B flag being at the top in the main line of transit and an open building overlooking it. The two zip lines showcased in the map previews from Treyarch are both housed in this top building, providing a fast way to get down to the lower sides of the map, but dismounting the lines at their ends is slow and a player is very exposed on the line. The map offers great close quarters fights in the narrow passages of the level, and has good sight lines for AR and Sniper users. The one problem I have with the map is the ambient noise. The fighting takes place in a thunderstorm, so there's constant thunderclaps and pouring rain, making it difficult enough to hear even without the gunshots and explosions. All in all, a solid map, and well worth recreating as a custom map once the mod tools come out. (Noticing a trend yet? :) )


Yes, another snow map. Thankfully, Discovery seems to capture the fun and action of Array and the close-in fighting of Grid without the open spaces and crappy spawn layout of its respective cousins. I played a round of Domination and I think I like this map best out of all the maps in the game. There's an interesting feature here, as a player can take out ice bridges in a couple locations with enough explosives, limiting the traffic flow of the map. The ones I know of are on the upper side of mid (opposite from the long catwalk) and the ice bridge underneath the center metal bridge. The map has many long sight lines, making it a perfect map for a seasoned sniper or an accurate assault rifle user. The B flag in Domination has little cover, and is exposed from multiple angles to sniper fire, meaning smoke nades and 3 man runs are essential for capping B. I love this map and will definitely play it when pubbing around. An unchanged port of this is a must once the mod tools come out.

Berlin Wall

Wow. I mean Wow. The level of detail on this map is superb, to me surpassing Stadium easily. The interiors of each building are beautiful; in a blown out, gritty, wartorn way of course. I don't know where objectives are on this map, as I only got to play it on a TDM server (Bless me brothers, for I have sinned). The map is about 1.5x the size of Grid. There are two sides of the map, with only 3 openings in the wall to cross from side to side. The center between the walls is completely open, but automated turrets will kill you if you attempt to sneak through, even if you have ghost pro. The only ways I know of to blind the turrets is with Nova Gas or Smoke. Many of the buildings are open, and several have second floors, making this a hectic house to house fight on any mode. I can imagine some interesting rounds of S&D and Demolition on this map.

I don't play zombies much, so I don't have any input on the new zombies map, Ascension. Sorry.

All in all, the maps are wonderful, but they're only worth it if the people you play with have them as well. Since the TG CoD division is going to stick with the stock maps until the mod tools come out, the DLC just isn't worth the $15. Stash that money away for another game.

***EDIT: A poll is going on at this time in the CoDBO TG forum to see how many people are getting First Strike. So we may play some of these maps in events or even regularly on either of TGs 2 Black Ops servers, but nothing is certain yet. The maps are wonderful, but I don't feel that they would be worth running on ranked rotation because I fear it would fracture our player base unnecessarily. Anyone can easily play without the DLC and I think the best option is to just wait for the mod tools to come out to itch the new map cravings***

Also, patch 1.07 was released to all clients today. The biggest changes are that Ninja Pro now makes a player completely silent, except for reloads I think. If you knock a player into second chance, you will now get the kill credit and the person who finishes the SC'r off will get an assist, rather than the other way around. The headshot "ping" sound is only audible if you actually get the kill now. And, the snipers have been tweaked; specifically in that there's less scope wobble, and I think the scope in time is faster. However, when scoping in the scope will drop off and to the left or right initially before stabilizing, which works wonderfully to prevent quick-scopers while still keeping the sniper rifle an effective weapon.

Thats all for now. See you CoD players in game!