Black Ops 2 Arms Race

The downside of the Black Ops 2 Arms Race variant is the increase in high level scorestreaks

Like looking up at a school of sharks…

It has been just over one week since Arms Race came onto the Black Ops 2 multiplayer scene. We were hopeful that the additional points per kill would result in some insane scorestreaks and padded kills over deaths. What seems to have happened is quite the opposite in many cases, with Team Deathmatch KD ratios dropping by up to 16% in our small group of players and friends. Today we review the Treyarch playlist innovation that is Black Ops 2 Arms Race, what makes it tick, and how you can improve your kill death ratio with this exciting new game variant.

Scorestreaks chart for Black Ops 2 Arms Race kills per scorestreak

More points per kill is better the more kills you get.

What is Black Ops 2 Arms Race?

The game mode, as you probably know by now, was released last week with the latest Black Ops 2 update. The game mode is a variation on the Team Deathmatch game type, with only a minimal change to scoring. In Black Ops 2 Arms Race, you are awarded an extra fifty points on top of the regular Team Deathmatch 100, for a total of 150 points per kill. An extra 50 points per kill means that you basically get an extra kill for every two that you score. It should take one less kill to get to the UAV, two less kills for the Counter-UAV, and three less kills for the War Machine. At first glance, this should be a scorestreak free-for-all.

Why a Drop in Kill Death Ratio?

And it has been a free-for-all, of sorts. Our first reaction was to take advantage of that extra 50 points per kill by upping the level of our scorestreaks. This is awesome! Hellstorm Missile is the new Hunter Killer! Then the reality sunk in. Depending on how your scorestreaks are selected, you are usually counting on about four kills to get your first scorestreak. The challenge is that everyone is getting an extra 50 points per kill, and the benefits do not really impact the average player. To continue from above, the higher up the scorestreak, the bigger the discount becomes–you get a 20% “discount” on the UAV, but a Swarm becomes 32% easier (a Swarm takes 6 fewer kills at 150 pts per kill). Now, the power dynamic has shifted. We see the scorestreak mix in Black Ops 2 Arms Race approaching, if not matching the scorestreak mix of objective games like Domination, and Kill Confirmed. As a normal player your scorestreaks are not coming much faster and your deaths are coming faster.

The Stealth Chopper is a great scorestreak to drive up kills

Stealth Chopper Anyone?

Kills per scorestreak chart for Black Ops 2 Arms Race vs Team Deathmatch

Your Arms Race, Discount and Regular TDM Kills per Scorestreak

How to Improve Your KD Ratio?

The secret for most is going to be a lot less fun than we would like. As discussed above, the higher a player’s average streak of kills, the more of a deal they get with the added fifty points per kill. For a lot of players with kill death ratios less than 1.75, Arms Race alone is not going to get you to those high scorestreaks. We need to get you scoring more regular kills first.

Your first two scorestreak slots should now be entirely dedicated to getting you more regular kills. RC-XD? No. Hunter Killer? No. We are talking non-lethal keep you in the game scorestreaks

For most of us…

  • The first slot should be any of the UAV, Counter-UAV or Guardian rewards.
  • The second slot ideally should be Counter-UAV or Guardian. If you are already hammering the other team with a Counter-UAV in your first slot, you can consider a 700 to 800 pts level scorestreak. But let’s look at it this way: if your scorestreak nets you three kills at 25 pts per kill, versus a regular Arms Race kill netting you 150 pts per kill, why would you focus on low points and relatively low kills per scorestreak?
  • The third slot, as we have suggested in the past, should be your kill-generating scorestreak. Depending on your current level of skill, you are probably looking at a scorestreak within the 700 to 1200 points range. It is challenging to find a non-lethal scorestreak in that mix, and not what we are looking for. Go crazy and get a scorestreak reward that you can enjoy! (We recommend the Stealth Chopper for kills and the Dragonfire or AGR for fun!)

For the “super good” players…

  • First off, congratulations, we all are envious of you. Keep up the good work, just not in our lobbies, okay?
  • Your first slot should probably be a non-lethal as well. If you can pull off an initial string of eight kills fairly regularly, go with the Orbital VSAT. If not, take it easy on the first kill and go with Counter-UAV. If you like knowing where the enemy is, go with the UAV and plough through 8 kills right away. If you insist on a lethal in this first slot, go with something that will drive your enemy to you–a Sentry Gun or an AGR . A care package, shared with a teammate might help you immensely as well.
  • Your second slot should be Orbital VSAT. If you do not think you can score 8 kills for your second reward, you are in the “most of us” category. No worries, you are probably close to this one. But the Orbital VSAT will show you and your teammates everything they need to know on the battlefield. Use it and enjoy reaping an extra several kills.
  • Your final slot is really your choice. We love the Escort Drone, though an EMP may be a really good one to go with in Arms Race (particularly if the other team is high scoring). Enjoy your third scorestreak and pick one that you like.

**Minority Report: A few of us remember the one/two-killstreak scoring technique from MW3. Consider not going with a third streak, instead having all of your Orbital VSAT kills going towards more mini-map radar coverage witht he UAV and another Orbital VSAT. Your teammates will love you–especially if they are one of us!

Black Ops 2 Arms Race is not exactly the godsend game type for everyone. But we hope you are enjoying it as much as we are. Let us know how much you have been enjoying Arms Race in the comments below.

Try rolling with some non-lethal killstreaks and enjoying yourself in Arms Race.
And keep working on your skills… we will be.

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  • Brian Armer

    i would love arms race if was made in a hardcore mode. all i play is hardcore and i don’t think it is right that there are so many game modes that are only core based.