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Modern Combat 5: Blackout – The first mobile eSport is on its way

Gameloft’s Modern Combat 5: Blackout is set to become the first true mobile eSports. The First-person tactical shooter will feature a variety of multiplayer (MP) modes and features akin to that of a PC or console game, including team chat and competitive play. Because of this, I believe the first mobile eSport is on its way so competitive mobile gaming is far from dead.

Multiplayer modes announced – Competitive Squad versus Squad

Gameloft is doing an excellent job so far to produce a game that can actually be played in a truly competitive manner on mobile gaming devices. The Squad versus Squad is a separate MP mode that will have access to all 4 game styles available in solo play. The difference is that you can now pick certain players to form a team instead of the random selection in solo play.

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Gameloft’s Ryan states on the official blog: “Squad vs Squad matches will bring competitive team battles to a whole new level.  Players will be able to form persistent squads with their friends or other people they meet in the game.  After creating the squad, players will be able to engage in the Squad vs Squad matches against other teams from all over the world.  Similar to other team games, coordination and strategy will really come into play in this game mode. 

Individual skill will as always be useful, but teams with great communication and strategies will go far!  With strategy being such a huge part of Squad vs Squad, the Dev team really wanted players to have a solid, native system in game to chat with their teammates.  This leads us right into the Squad Chat feature.  Players will be able to actively chat in real time with other players who are part of the same squad to discuss loadouts, strategy, and anything else that will help them dominate their opponents.” - Source

Creating a team and coordinating tactics is the staple of any team based eSport. Modern Combat 5: Blackout is set to deliver just that with their Squad versus Squad mode. However, the biggest thing I am excited about at the moment is the real time chat function being added, as communication in a real multiplayer eSport will be key to a team’s success.

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At the moment, four different MP modes have been announced, these include:

  • Capture the Flag
  • VIP
  • Free for All
  • Team Battle

Capture the Flag and Team Battle will most likely be the staple of the game regarding competitive play, as the Free for All game mode has never really worked in eSports. Finally, VIP looks to be a escort and protect mission based multiplayer mode. Although fun, VIP will surely be a distraction from the more hardcore Team Battle and Capture the Flag.

The game will also feature Solo and Squad Limited Time Events where players will be rewarded on individual performances, with better rewards being attained the higher they place. This, coupled with a global and local leaderboard will help foster competitive play in the community.

What I would still like to see added is a Squad leaderboard, which will further push players to compete together and form a well oiled machine akin to that of eSport teams from PC and console gaming.

Unified Player Progression and Classes

A solider can level up through completing missions in Single Player (SP) and by playing in a MP match. Modern Combat 5: Blackout lets players carry over progression from SP to MP.

This means that players who first play the SP will not have a disadvantage going into the MP game mode, which is wonderful news. Coupled with the fact that there will be no power unlocks specific to just SP is a great start to a balanced game.

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Gameloft’s Ryan states on the official blog: “Modern Combat 5 will feature four soldier classes which, just like your weapons, are playable across single and multiplayer.  These classes are a huge contributing factor to the unified progression system that’s being included in the game.  As you level up, you will receive Skill Points and these points can then be used to unlock skills that augment the effectiveness of a class.  Each of the four classes are defined by the weapons it can equip and a few class-specific skills that offer bonuses to these weapon types.” - Source

Different class builds and finding the correct skill route could foster more community discussion on which class or build is the strongest. This is such a good thing, as player discussion and community involvement is key to a thriving eSport.

Classes of Modern Combat 5: Blackout

Assault - Equipped with assault rifles and pistols, this class is the staple of any shooter. It is an aggressive fighter that specializes in medium ranged combat and an absolute favorite of mine during my time with various Call of Duty games.  

Heavy - Using shotguns and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), this class is suited best for close to medium ranged combat. Players who like blowing stuff up will love the “Heavy".

Recon -  Fast paced, close quarter combat is the name of the game with the Recon class. Efficient in close range combat, the class utilizes Small Machine Guns (SMGs) and pistols to dispatch their foes.

Sniper - Equipped with a sniper rifle and pistols, this long range class focuses on stealth and sharpshooting. Obviously efficient at long distance combat, the sniper class in any game has always been something I both dread and love to play.

Variety such as this in classes is just one more aspect that makes a great eSport title. Tactics will most likely be developed based on specific squad

Release date and pricing

Modern Combat 5: Blackout is set for release this winter on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices, yet the exact date is still unknown. At least year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Gameloft gave us the first details and a teaser trailer. In a week’s time at this year’s E3, we will find out exactly when the game will be released and all the final details of the game will be revealed.

Although the pricing has not been revealed yet, if we take a look at the R70 price of Modern Combat 4 on Google Playstore, I would guess the game will be priced at under R100 on release. Gameloft has also announced that the game will not feature any In App Purchases (IAP), which is exactly the way an eSport should be, as buying power is completely unacceptable if they really want to foster competitive play.

Closing Thoughts

I am extremely excited to finally see this game’s MP in action, as I believe it has all the makings of a real eSport. The developer seems to know exactly what is needed to create a real mobile eSport, so I believe competitive mobile gaming is far from dead. Modern Combat 5: Blackout could be the beginning of great things to come for mobile gaming.

Do you think Modern Combat 5: Blackout can become the first mobile eSport? Have you played previous games in the Modern Combat franchise? Which mobile device do you game on? What do you think about the Squad versus Squad mode and chat function in the game? Will these functions, variety in classes and unified progression be enough to elevate the game to an actual eSport? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Source: Gameloft Blog

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