Although Call of Duty’s popular multiplayer and Zombies modes return in Black Ops 4, it’s the new battle royale mode, Blackout, that’s making waves. At its core, Blackout utilizes the same basic formula as other battle royale games, like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, but Black Ops 4 implements some unique mechanics to differentiate itself from the competition.
One of the more notable additions is the inclusion of perks. Perks do have a long-standing history in Call of Duty, but the mechanic hasn’t been seen in any of the other major battle royale games yet. In Blackout, you can hold onto the perks you find and use them whenever you want, much like the weapons and items you scavenge throughout the match. However, just as long-range weapons have more value at the start of a battle royale and short-range weapons at the end, each perk in Blackout is best suited for different stages of the game.
In this guide, we break down all of Blackout’s perks into three categories: early-game, mid-game, and end-game. If you’re new to Call of Duty, or just struggling to figure out when a specific perk should be used, this guide should help.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. In our review, GameSpot reviews editor Kallie Plagge awarded the game an 8/10, describing Blackout as a mesh of both “multiplayer and Zombies for a take on the battle royale genre that stands on its own.”
Other Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Guides
- Black Ops 4 – Overall Tips For Blackout, Multiplayer, And Zombies
- Black Ops 4 – Everything We Know
- Blackout – Blackout 101
- Blackout – Unlocking Every Character
- Blackout – 11 Useful Tips For Before You Start Playing
- Zombies – Voyage Of Despair Starter Tips
In the beginning of any battle royale, there’s not much risk. You might run into an armed opponent before you’ve found a weapon yourself, but dying so soon isn’t too bad. You can just immediately queue up again into another match. So if you do happen upon a valuable perk, save it and don’t waste it. Instead, look for and use perks that will get you past the initial scramble for weapons, armor, and health.
Looter: Reveals nearby loot and stashes, which is great for arming yourself if you haven’t found a weapon.
Engineer: Reveals all nearby vehicles and enemy equipment, which helps you find transportation for reaching high-level loot areas before other players.
Brawler: Increases melee damage and gain 50 health for each melee attack landed, which is really only ideal if you happen to be unlucky enough to not find a single weapon.
The mid-game is the slowest portion of any battle royale game. You’ll run into small pockets of other players but your biggest concern is staying ahead of the encroaching danger zone. At this point, you and everyone else still alive should already have at least one weapon, so you have to be careful when entering buildings. When trying to survive until the final two circles, you’ll want to rely on perks that ensure you can outmaneuver both the danger zone and enemy players.
Outlander: Take less damage and move faster when outside the safe zone, which helps if you find yourself caught in the danger zone and struggling to return to safety.
Squad Link: Teammates become visible through walls, so you can easily find your friends if they’re suddenly ambushed while you’re all looting.
Paranoia: Creates an audio cue for when you’re being targeted by an enemy, which is more valuable now than in the end-game. You’ll be contending with more snipers in the mid-game.
Awareness: Makes enemy footsteps louder, which is helpful for identifying threats if you’re holed up in a building while you’re waiting for the end-game.
Dead Silence: Silences your movements when running and opening stashes, which, like Awareness, is ideal for making sure you can look through a house without fear of ambush.
Skulker: Moving while crouched and prone, which you’ll specifically be doing a lot of in the mid-game to avoid snipers, is made faster.
Iron Lungs: Gives you steady aim while scoped and allows you to breathe underwater for longer periods of time. The former makes you a better sniper–which is ideal for mid-game–and the latter helps if you’re escaping an enemy player or an approaching danger zone by swimming underwater.
The remaining five perks are best saved for the final two circles in Blackout. At this point, there shouldn’t be more than 20 players and everyone will be very close together. It’s a near constant firefight, and you’ll have to suffer more than a couple hits if you haven’t found an ideal position to hole up.
With that in mind, you’ll want to focus almost exclusively on offense at this point. Blindly running around won’t help, but closing the gap on your enemy and dealing quick, powerful damage is key. Grenades come into play a lot more in the end-game, so even if you’re not the target, you’ll have to contend with flashbangs and splash damage. You always want to be able to see your enemy so you know when to heal and when to fight back.
Consumer: Health and consumable items activate 50% faster, so you can both heal yourself and your teammates more quickly.
Medic: Health items and team revives replenish more health and activate faster, which lets you use your healing items more efficiently and not waste them after taking severe damage.
Mobility: You move and switch weapons more quickly, while also being able to fire, use items, and reload while sprinting. You also don’t take any fall damage. Being able to run, gun down an enemy, and quickly reload is invaluable near the end of Blackout.
Reinforced: Reduces explosion and fire damage, as well as the effect of razor wire, flasbangs, and concussion grenades, which is helpful for both dealing with enemy grenades as well as any bad throws on you or your teammates’ part.
Stimulant: Increases health cap by 100, which increases your likelihood of surviving more powerful weapons and nearby grenades.