- Related Games:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
It has probably happened to you. You’re skulking around in Black Ops 4‘s multiplayer and you get shot behind cover or killed in some other similarly peculiar way. This feeling is usually predicated on the game’s tick rate, which is how many times per second the title produces and processes data in relation to the server. Investigative players looking for answers have been digging into the Black Ops 4 server tick rate and discovered that not only is the tick rate quite poor, but it has allegedly been slashed by almost 66 percent since the game’s multiplayer beta.
The tick rate during the Black Ops 4 multiplayer beta was around 60Hz, meaning that it updated the server during almost 60 times per second; one of each frame per second. This is a standard for other multiplayer games like Rainbow Six Siege, Battlefield 1, and even Call of Duty WWII. It made the beta feel responsive and was studied by netcode analysis YouTuber Battle(non)sense. However, after conducting some tests, Redditor Smcro claimed that their PS4 that the Black Ops 4 server tick rate had downgraded to 20Hz in the final release.
This kerfuffle caused Battle(non)sense to jump back in and his analysis corroborated Smcro’s suspicions: the tick rate had been drastically cut in the final release of the game on both the tested PS4 and PC versions of the game according to his data (the Xbox One was not tested). Battle(non)sense’s full findings can be found in the picture below. The PS4 bars are a lot higher because he’s accounting for the game being locked at 60 frames per second and players having televisions, not fast gaming monitors.
Blackout further muddies the waters. The Blackout beta (which was separate and a bit later than the multiplayer beta) only peaked at 20Hz while buckling in the beginning due to the large volume of players. This, according to Battle(non)sense’s findings, meant Blackout beta had twice the amount of delay as the regular multiplayer.
The final version of Blackout runs at 40Hz but, oddly enough, starts to dip to 20Hz as players get killed off. This sounds counterintuitive as fewer players would seem to give less stress to the server. In the end, Blackout runs a bit faster in the final game, but not much.
Players have shown their displeasure on the game’s subreddit. Some have called it a deceitful practice, not only because of the alleged tick rate changes since the beta but because developer Treyarch never notified the public of that alleged change. The studio has yet to officially respond. It’s also worth mentioning that the game instantly crashes on PC when it detects that the player is running Wireshark, a program used to test server tick rates.
UPDATE: Treyarch has now responded to the claims on Reddit:
“We’ve also noticed a lot of discussion around network performance over the past couple of days and wanted to take a moment to address this directly. We’re constantly working to optimize the game, and particularly network performance, to ensure the highest quality online experience for our players. For a game launch with as massive a population as ours hitting so many global servers at once, we configure our infrastructure to ensure game stability as the highest priority over all other factors.”
In essence, Treyarch is admitting that some aspects of the game have changed—like the Black Ops 4 server tick rate—in order to carry the weight a game like Call of Duty gets at launch. It appears as though Treyarch has committed to stability over the highest tick rate the studio could achieve.
“Now that we’re past the initial launch of the game, we are focusing on fine-tuning network performance around the globe, using the real-world data that we have collected. Over the course of the next two weeks, we will roll out several updates to our network setup that will continue to improve upon the experience of our players since launch. As we have always said, launch is just the beginning, and we’re committed to making Black Ops 4 the best-supported game we’ve ever delivered. This is a journey that will involve constant adjustments, improvements, and additions. We appreciate your continued support and patience—thank you!”
While it’s a vague post, it does show that Treyarch is saying it will make an effort to bring players a better online service. Whether or not that means a 60Hz tick rate remains to be seen.