When you enter multiplayer for the first time, you will be prompted to select one of four specialist classes (expanding to nine as you gain experience levels in multiplayer). These specialist classes all have varying abilities, as well as strengths and weaknesses in various game modes.
Some are more focused on clearing or protecting objectives, while others are good at enemy detection and various other skills. Using these classes properly gives a skilled player an edge on the blood soaked battlefields of Black Ops III, so take the time to analyze the information about each provided below, and select the starting specialist that suits your playstyle/ preferences best.
Ability 1: Gravity spikes - The spikes are slammed into the ground upon activation, creating a shockwave that radiates out from your position killing nearby enemies. These can be activated in the air or on the ground and are extremely effective in killing enemies who are clustered together (such as when defending an objective), which makes them extremely useful in modes like search and destroy and hardpoint. Quick enemies can avoid it by jumping into the air above the blast. If you get killed after initiating the attack, but before the shockwave hits (i.e: in midair), you will only lose some of your charge energy instead of the whole bar.
Ability 2: Overdrive - Triggers an initial boost of speed (similar to the boost mechanic in Halo 5) and then will allow you to constantly sprint while the power is active. If you stop moving, the bar will continue to drain but at a slower rate. This is useful for quickly reaching objectives in search and destroy or hardpoint, or for evading enemies with the initial boost of speed in other modes.
Ability 1: Sparrow - Think the torque bow from Gears of War and you've pretty much got the idea. A bow that fires explosive bolts that detonate upon connecting with an enemy player or hitting an obstacle (for potential small AoE damage). The longer you hold the trigger before releasing the shot, the more force and straighter the trajectory of the shot will be (just like the torque bow). The variable trajectory can be used to hit targets behind cover by releasing the shot early as well. This can be very useful in team games where you can offer support to charging allies.
Ability 2: Vision Pulse - Sends a sensor pulse into the surrounding area (pulse area is shown on map) to show up all enemies within the detection area. Very useful on modes that have no other way to show enemy combatants on the radar (i.e. kill streaks, weapon attachments). Keep in mind however that it only pulses a certain area of the map, so enemies who enter immediately after the pulse ends may not be detected and can take you by surprise. This is mainly because enemies can see the origin point of the pulse when you activate it. However, you can also use this as a lure to ambush unwary enemies.
Ability 1: Tempest - Wait, wasn't this guy from Crysis? Anyway, this weapon fires a bolt of lighting at the target, dealing large amounts of (usually fatal) damage. This then chains to any additional nearby enemies for more damage potential. Works like the lightning gun used by the Assault class from Evolved. The beam is narrow, but wider than a bullet so it makes it generally easier to target. The bolt is equally accurate when fired from the hip or when using the scope, so skilled players can take advantage of this to blast enemies quickly while moving.
Ability 2: Glitch - 10, 20, redo from start. This ability allows you to restore yourself to an earlier position in time. While not obviously useful, clever players can use it to confuse or get the drop on enemies by changing their position. Reappearing behind an enemy suddenly or instantly teleporting behind cover you moved out of earlier can disorient even the most skilled enemy players. Really use of this ability and it's effectiveness comes down to your skill and imagination. Reappearing in midair over an unsuspecting enemy is extremely satisfying and looks awesome as the final kill cam.
Ability 1: War machine - Think of her abilities as kill streak rewards from earlier CoD games. She gets the war machine grenade launcher as her first ability. This think in the right hands can take down an opponent in a single shot. Similar to the noob tube, grenades fired from this weapon will detonate shortly after lauch or upon impact with an opponent. Unlike those grenades however, war machine grenades split into three smaller grenades upon landing increasing their explosive area. You can also use this weapon like a regular frag grenade, bouncing shots off walls and around corners to catch unsuspecting enemies. It is also extremely effective at taking down/ out enemy scorestreaks.
Ability 2: Kinetic armour - And she get's the armoured vests from earlier games as well. This deflects incoming bullets that hit the armoured vest (headshots and explosive damage will still hit normally though). It also reduces flinching when you get hit making lining up shots under fire much easier. As you can tell, these two abilities make her the perfect assault character type in objective based game modes, and also extremely effective in free-for-all matches too. Definitely a contender if you like your gunplay fast and in your face.
Ability 1: Annihilator - Similar to the Hunter super ability from Destiny, the Seraph is able to fire an extremely powerful revolver for a limited amount of time/ shots. This weapon does equally massive damage at short and long range with extreme penetration power to destroy enemies through cover easily. Due to the high damage output of this weapon, it also is extremely effective in damaging and obliterating enemy scorestreaks. Requires a fair bit of accuracy and skill to use effectively and dying ends the weapon effect prematurely.
Ability 2: Combat focus - This essentially gives you a set amount of time (the bar depletes slowly by itself, dropping significantly when you increase your score) to earn bonus score towards your scorestreaks whenever you obtain points, be it from killing an enemy or capturing an objective. Normally you will gain an additional 200 score if you gain points during each activation. This ability works extremely well when combined with the ante up (start with a set increase to score counter) and the overclock perk (charge the ability bar faster). While it is active, you will likely want to play defensively to ensure your score total isn't lost.
Ability 1: H.I.V.E - When activated, your weapon swaps to the H.I.V.E which launches small pods (that look like red or blue water balloons) filled with nano-drones that can stick to the ground, walls or anywhere you can think of. You can fire off a maximum of five pods before the H.I.V.E is empty, however the traps will remain afterwards. Once they are 'armed' (happens a half second after they land) when an enemy or scorestreak runs over any of these pods, the nano-drones inside are released and they will chase them down, dealing rapid damage often killing the opponent within a second or two. Keep in mind however that the pods will vanish if you are killed, so a defensive attitude is generally best while they are active. Due to the trap-like nature of the H.I.V.E, it is great for defending heavily patrolled areas, defending objectives and protecting your back if you are a sniper, so consider this ability heavily if any of those match your playstyle/ game mode preferences.
Ability 2: Rejack - Similar to a respawn beacon, when you die you will revive at exactly the same position surrounded by green smoke. Deaths still count towards stats even if you rejack, so you can't avoid the increase to the death counter or loss of active scorestreaks this way. If you chose not to activate rejack upon death when the bar is full, you will lose some energy. This ability is most effective in objective based modes (capture the flag, stronghold etc), however it can also be used in kill confirmed to reclaim your dog tags upon death, denying the enemy team a kill.
Ability 1: Scythe - A powerful minigun that appears from Reapers arm, dealing heavy damage when fired at enemy targets. Like most mini-guns in games this one needs to be spun up by holding LT for a half second before it can start firing. You can also keep tapping LT to keep it spinning as well. While you are aiming the mini-gun, you move slower making it difficult to see and react to flank attacks, so long corridors and hallways are ideal. The mini-gun has a large ammo capacity, meaning you can just keep spraying to stop enemies from moving towards/ away from you, keeping them in cover.
Ability 2: Psychosis - This spawns three copies of your character that automatically run forwards from your position (it also makes you glow to look like the copies). This can give you several advantages, such as: Tricking enemies into shooting the clones, scouting unsafe areas to see where enemies fire from, confusing enemies in close range combat plus whatever other tactics you can imagine. The clones will fire at nearby enemies, pointing you in their direction if you are observant. Enemy scorestreaks and abilities will also target the clones which can be useful in luring them out into the open for destruction.
Ability 1: Ripper - A lethal close range weapon, the ripper is essentially a more powerful version of the combat knife. When active, you can melee (R3) an opponent in close range for an instant kill. The cooldown for this ability is much shorter than other abilities, making this ability available to you quite frequently. It also combines extremely well with high mobility loadouts and mid-close range weaponry, so you can take advantage of this ability whenever you get close. When active it also replaces your weapon melee (instead of hitting them with the butt of the gun, you will stab instead), meaning you don't have to remove your weapon to use this ability.
Ability 2: Active camo - This temporarily makes you nearly invisible to enemy eyes. While this can be used in regular combat, any attack on your behalf will instantly deactivate it. This means it is more useful for capturing objectives undetected or crossing dangerous areas safely. If you use it creatively, it can be a fun and rewarding ability to use, just don't expect to spend the whole match invisible.
Ability 1: Purifier - Fires a stream of deadly flames that lengthens as you maintain the stream. If it hits an enemy, it will set them on fire dealing damage over time. This generally means that once you hit an enemy, they are dead. It's only a matter of time. It is best to be agressive when using this weapon, sweeping the stream across rooms and through doorways where players might be approaching/ hiding. Think of yourself as a pyromaniac vermin exterminator and you'll be fine.
Ability 2: Heat wave - This acts as an AoE stun, preventing any nearby enemies from responding after being hit by it for a second or two. It also destroys scorestreaks in the area and incoming missiles/ rockets. This ability can be used both offensively by stunning the enemies in a room, or defensively to stun pursuers as you run away. It is also a useful panic button if you get caught in sudden close combat.