While Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies had many strengths, such as a win game loop and upgradable perks. His maps were heavily criticized for being forgettable. Unlike visually spectacular locations like Shadows of Evil and Der Eisendrache, players visited a Russian training center and a Vietnamese village that had previously appeared in the campaign.
Despite reusing Nacht Der Untoten, Die Maschine managed to be the most original place in all Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War zombies. While some of this uniqueness is tied to the lack of reused assets, the Dark Aether dimension also helped the map stand out from the rest of the round-based content in the game. However, outside of this map and Outbreak’s Holdout objective, Dark Aether was severely underused, something that should change in the future.
The Potential of Dark Aether in Future Zombies Maps
Outside of the much-rumored independent Obligations Zombies, Treyarch’s iconic co-op experience, will probably always be treated as a third game mode by Activision’s higher-ups. For this reason, the budget and resources dedicated to the mode will likely remain on the low end, meaning round-based Zombies content will still have to use assets from the campaign and multiplayer modes. While this is a disappointment, Dark Aether is a great way to ensure that even areas players have already seen feel fresh.
While maps like Mob of the Dead will always be preferred due to their totally unique aesthetic, maps with more “boring” settings like Firebase Z would have been much more appealing with the inclusion of Dark Aether. In Die Maschine, this dimension features a purple aesthetic with breakable crystals that provide useful gear. A mighty Megaton constantly marches through the area, while ethereal jellyfish float from the sky and unique portals open. All of this could be used as a basis for future maps.
Similar to Die Maschine, players could enter through a portal to access the Dark Aether, which was a major change from the default version of the map. Adding more unique enemies to fight in the dark aether could be interesting, as certain mini-bosses could become exclusive to the dark dimension. While the stronger red Megaton was off to a solid start in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold WarThe launch map for , was essentially the same as the original version in terms of its attacks. The completely unique enemies tied to this realm could be exciting, as could some non-hostile wildlife like jellyfish.
An interesting way to approach the dark aether would be to have two players spawn inside the dimension and two others spawn in the normal world. like the classic call of duty world at war map Verrukt, these players could be divided from the start, needing to work together to complete tasks before finally meeting. This would be a fun way to make the Dark Aether dimension feel completely unique, since half the map could be linked to it.
Even a simple Dark Aether filter for Zombies maps could be a memorable addition. While some maps might make it a key aspect of their design, others might keep their use of the Dark Aether limited to images and breakable crystals. If players press a certain item on each map, they could give Dark Aether a makeover, changing the appearance of all of its areas. Having two different visual styles for each map would be huge for replayability, as players could switch between the normal and Dark Aether versions of a map whenever they want a little change. If this change brings new enemies to fight and easter eggs to solve, many players would be much more positive on less original maps.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War It is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
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