Box art - Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Black Ops 4 Kill Trading

A lot of players have reported their confusion online in relation to Black Ops 4 kill trading. Kill trading occurs when two players kill each other simultaneously, meaning that each player is awarded a kill and a death apiece, with both kills contributing to the overall score of each team.

Although kill trading has featured in many other popular shooters, it was something that Call of Duty tended to steer clear of in previous iterations of the popular franchise. However, Treyarch’s latest installment features the controversial mechanic. At present, it is unclear as to whether this was intentional, or if it’s a kill trading glitch.

Black Ops 4 Kill Trading – Why Does Kill Trading Happen?

Kill trading is directly tied to the way in which video games manage their shooting mechanics. There are two kinds of bullets in shooters: hitscan and projectiles.

Traditionally, Call of Duty titles have favored hitscan over projectiles in most cases, with the exception of rocket launchers and similar weapons, which fire a large projectile that deals splash damage. Assault rifles, pistols, submachine guns, light machine guns, and sniper rifles have all always been hitscan in Call of Duty, which means that the bullets instantly hit their target.

Take the Barrett 50 cal, for instance, which is a heavy-duty sniper rifle. In reality, a bullet shot from a sniper rifle at distance would be influenced by the wind, the weather, and the distance. It would also take time for it to reach its target. However, in Call of Duty, the bullet hits wherever the crosshairs align immediately. This is for the sake of gameplay, as it makes sniper rifles more viable and fun to play.

When all of the weapons are hitscan, there will almost always be a difference in damage calculation. This means that one player will kill the other player before the other player can kill them, even if they’re 1v1. However, a recent Reddit post has drawn attention to the fact that in Black Ops 4, kill trading is a thing. There are also plenty of reports of the phenomenon occurring over at the Activision Forum. Players have expressed discontent in relation to the mechanic, as it is something that is largely at odds with kill-oriented game modes.

Black Ops 4 Kill Trading – Is Kill Trading a Glitch?

Interestingly, in the aforementioned Reddit post, it can be seen that the player who was killed receives a “Survivor” medal, despite dying, This implies that the game registered their HP as above zero at the time in which they killed the other player; however, they still die. By extension, this implies that there is a split second between damage calculation and damage dealt in which the medal can be awarded.

This means that there is a slight lag in hitscan registration, which makes it seem as if this is definitely a glitch. By tightening this window, kill trading could be avoided almost entirely, as it has been in previous Call of Duty games.

As mentioned before, in the instance of a kill trade, both players’ teams are awarded a point each. This is particularly problematic in kill-based game modes such as Team Deathmatch and Search and Destroy. The player on the losing side, theoretically speaking, could have bested the enemy player by a split second. However, due to the current glitch, both teams are awarded the point.

If the game is at match point, then the other player’s team will win. This affords the winning team a competitive edge that shouldn’t be there, especially at professional level, where players will have the means to make use of even the most minor mechanics. This has happened before in relation to the only way kill trading was possible in Call of Duty, which was either a feat players accomplished by accident or with great skill.

Black Ops 4 Kill Trading – Kill Trading in Previous Titles

The only way in which kill trading occurred before was when one of the players in question was using equipment, martyrdom, or a projectile-based weapon. All of these features are time-based, meaning that their damage is directly tied to a fixed amount of time, be it travel time or a countdown.

If a player triggered another player’s claymore as he threw a grenade their way, both players could die. This is because each projectile has a delayed impact, as opposed to the instant registration of hitscan damage. Also, these deaths never immediately coincide. One death happens before the other, and in a 1v1 Search and Destroy situation, there will be a definitive winner.

In relation to the “Survivor” medal mentioned in the previous paragraph, the medal players are usually awarded by killing an enemy after they have died is the “Afterlife” medal. For instance, if a player kills another player but is then killed by that player’s martyrdom, the player with martyrdom equipped will receive an “Afterlife” medal as they are viewing the killcam, as opposed to the “Survivor” medal seen in the Reddit post linked above.

Black Ops 4 Kill Trading – Is Kill Trading Getting Fixed?

It is likely that Black Ops 4 kill trading will need to be patched at some point, as it complicates the game’s competitive nature. In a game like Overwatch, which combines hitscan and projectile-based mechanics depending on hero selection, kill trading isn’t an issue.

Overwatch is objective-based at competitive level, as the only kill-counting modes that are available are in the “Arcade” section of the game. This means that kill trading doesn’t have the ability to influence the game at competitive or professional level, as simultaneous deaths have no direct impact on the objective being contested.

With this in mind, it will be especially important to eradicate kill trading at professional level in Black Ops 4, in the same way that it is necessary to remove peeking emotes from that tier of play. If kill trading isn’t patched in the base game, it will at least need to be restricted somehow at higher levels of play. Otherwise, matches that go to a tiebreaker may remain undecided if the round goes to a 1v1 and a kill trade.

As of now, it seems highly likely that kill trading is a glitch. This wouldn’t be unusual, given all the fatal error codes that players have been experiencing, as well as the fact that Black Ops 4 won’t launch for some players and keeps crashing in theater for others. Call of Duty Black Ops 4 has launched to critical acclaim and implemented a successful reinvention of the franchise as a whole, most notably in relation to its brand new Battle Royale mode, Blackout.

However, Treyarch has a lot of work to do still in order to fix and maintain what has the potential to be a revolutionary first-person-shooter. Kill trading is just the latest entry on a long list of glitches that players have reported online, which all require immediate attention in order for the game to be crafted into the best version of itself.

At present, kill trading is affecting players across all platforms that Call of Duty Black Ops 4 is compatible: PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It is unknown at present as to which platform will see a solution first, or if a patch will be launched simultaneously across all three.