Great things have happened to the CoD franchise in the last year, and even bigger things are being announced for the next one. Is Warzone getting ready for retirement or a wedding dance with Modern Warfare 2?
When we wrote to you last year about the first year of Warzone, we praised the revolution in the shift of the battle royale concept, but also asked some important questions. Some of them were whether Warzone could experience a second birthday, and whether it would continue to load new content until that day, or whether it would still take a break and fix the existing ones first.
In the last year we got two new maps (or a map and a half, if you feel cheated after the Cold War version of Verdanska), we got an anti-cheat system that greatly improved the problem with cheaters, but perhaps most important of all – we got another Call of Duty title, which, along with the previous Cold War, created enough chaos for Warzone anyway. The second anniversary of Warzone was practically not celebrated by the developers – the only news was the official confirmation that Warzone is coming to mobile devices.
True, we learned a few weeks earlier that a brand new Warzone awaits us in the future, as well as that it will be another revolution in the form of sandbox fashion. Infinity Ward jumps in to wash away problems and once again plays the card of nostalgia – with the announcement of the sequel to Modern Warfare from 2019, the one that gave birth to one of the most successful battle royale games of today. It is up to us to ask ourselves whether this is a move and an acknowledgment that Warzone is driving in the wrong direction on the highway for too long, or does it want to show us that it can be even better than it has ever been? Both, we would say.
COLD WAR “COOLED” PLAYERS ‘INTEREST
Spring is 2021. In Verdansk as we know it, the last buds are blooming before the nuclear disaster. The hype is great – a new map is coming, or the Cold War version of Verdanska, which was supposed to quench the thirst for something new. When I think back to those days today, I feel that all this gradual change of the old Verdansk map brought me more joy than the moment when the nuclear power plant crashed.
Bringing the subway was more tense for me than when I was staring at the ruined stadium of the “new” Verdansk, which definitely lost its soul after that (with tons of concrete blocks). And the subway arrived back in the fall of 2020, when it was the sixth and final season of Warzone as part of the now ancient Call of Duty: Modern Warfare!
Maybe you understand me now as I say that Warzone 2 is playing the card of nostalgia, and I can’t ignore the fact that the section in the skin store for Modern Warfare operatives from 2019 still exists today, it certainly has nothing to do with side earnings and the announcement that we will be in Warzone 2 lose all those skins forever…
Not to be misunderstood, Call of Duty: Cold War and Vanguard have continued to consistently roll out new and free content for Warzone, and it’s something that will always be to be commended. No one is forcing you to buy skins, and they are * mostly * cosmetic in nature, at least until the bugs take care of the opposite. And while during the first year of Warzone the title of the most unjust skin was worn by black Mrs. Roza because of her poor visibility (which is not a bug per se), the second year was marked by a more recent Caldera case for operative Francis and his invisible “Awoken” and some others. skins with the same problem.
RICOCHET IS THE BEST DIVING GIFT TO WARZONE
Not to mention just the problems, we can’t help but mention that a new anti-cheating system, called Ricochet, has managed to significantly reduce the number of fraudsters in Warzone. It arrived on the PC platform with a new map, and that it works quite solidly can be confirmed by many streamers who say that the cheater is gone for a few days, after which they reappear for a day or two and then disappear back into unknown depths.
Also commendable is the recent realization that Ricochet is literally trolling cheaters by reducing the damage they do to bullets to such a miserable amount that even my grandmother with arthritis could eliminate them. In fact, they called it Damage Shield, which makes honest players almost impenetrable, all with the purpose of first gathering information about the cheater, that is, how he cheats, and then ultimately block it. This is a big leap over the beginnings of Warzone, where Activision banned players in waves and believed the need to verify a new mobile account would prevent them from returning.
Yet almost every positive change Warzone somehow manages to sabotage. While Ricochet can be considered an early gift for her second birthday, it would be more appropriate to say that it is a Christmas one. And for Christmas, Krampus arrived, who missed the freshly baked Ricochet and thus turned out to be a kind of legalized form of cheating that wreaked havoc in Warzone and CoD: Vanguard, so much so that the developers had to nerfati. It’s true that it’s been talked about and that it’s still in some ways more positive than negative publicity, so at this point I’m really not sure – does Activision intentionally or accidentally shoot itself in the leg every time it throws out something nice?
BEAUTIFUL CALDER AS “CORRECTIVE” FOR DESTROYED VERDANSK
After months of criticism from players that the Cold War version of Verdanska is not a full-blooded new map, we also got this famous Caldera. Logically, some players will always complain, and one of the more notorious objections was that the map has too much empty space. On the contrary, Caldera’s first impressions were great for me – the lighting is beautiful, the developers not only copied the building templates from Verdansk and planted thousands of palm trees, but you really have the feeling that you are on vacation and that each object brings new freshness.
However, what is not so fresh in Caldera is the old imbalance of weapons, so at the very exit of the map, snipers were practically useless, while their role was replaced by assault rifles. As soon as I killed the first character from a crazy distance on Caldera with STG, and missed with a fully upgraded KAR from Vanguard, it was clear that something stinks there. This is actually an old problem, and I think the map itself (after more or less stabilizing performance and textures) isn’t directly to blame for everything that’s going on in Warzone.
The reason why Caldera is a thorn in the side of many can lie in the large number of clearings and altitude changes, where you need a lot more skill and tactics in advance if you want to avoid death. More experienced players who position themselves early enough can massacre anyone from the first hill, while in Verdanska there were still more opportunities for maneuvering and improvisation, ie cat and mouse hunting in urban buildings. Caldera really does seem to have thousands of palm trees, but they generally don’t provide enough shelter and a chance for less skilled players to enjoy the game.
In other words, Caldera is a much “classic” battle royale map than Verdansk in the sense that it is more open than Fortnite (of course, Fortnite replaces it with structural mechanics), which I would call contradictory, although it will sound completely contradictory. the biggest mistake of her design. Yes, it’s graphically refreshed and beautiful, but it just sits more naturally to me as part of some open story mission from the Call of Duty campaign (and we know we lack them).
CALDER IS NOT GUILTY OF SOME SITTING
With that in mind, Caldera, as a “too classic” battle royale map, forgets the fact that Warzone was never a classic battle royale. It was Warzone that brought about the revolution and hybridized the genre, first with the Gulag and then with its superbly flowing fluidity of cracking from multiplayer.
Maybe that’s exactly what moves some players and streamers to competing Apex Legends, maybe that’s what made me as a regular Warzone player spend a lot more hours on the Rebirth Island map, and a total of far fewer hours in the second year of Warzone than that the first. By the way, a modified version of the Rebirth map has been announced and changed, so our last memories of Verdansk may fade to the end.
It would therefore be rude to say that the developers are not doing anything about Caldera, because as we have already mentioned, there is no shortage of new content. The chemical weapons that have emerged in the current season of Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone are slowly but surely correcting childhood diseases and transition adjustment on Caldera, and I really hope that tropical warmth lasts long enough before Activision forces us back into a third map.
Nor is it questionable that the new maps, whatever they were in the eyes of the individual, raised the popularity of Warzone in both cases. If we look at the data only based on Twitchtracker, we see that in both periods of arrival of new maps (April and December 2021), interest in Warzone has increased significantly. This is logical, but what I consider to be a much more important key to success is its gradual revelation of small details through each new season, such as speculation about the nuclear destruction of Verdansk, which figures show culminated in the fourth month.
WARZONE IS IN CRISIS, BUT IT IS HOLDING
Putting the above data in context, we can conclude that Warzone has been based on the constant expectation of something better and different in the last year, and that this difference in originality compared to competing BRs is decreasing. We can also say that this is not the case at all, and simply wave your hand with the argument: “Well, there are other games!” We can also explain this by the allegations that there will most likely be no new Call of Duty in 2023. One thing is for sure: Warzone didn’t die, but it’s definitely not what it used to be.
This is also shown by the current state of Warzone viewers on Twitch, which used to be much higher than the current figure of barely 40,000. The introduction of a separate Vanguard Royale mode in addition to the standard battle royale further increased the rift, which reminded me of the times when Call of Duty divided the player community each year with special DLC maps. This has been felt most in recent weeks, as evidenced by streamers who are noticing that lobbies are finding it increasingly difficult to fill players, and while they say that, then you know that the situation in Warzone is a bit alarming.
On the other hand, Raven still takes very good care of Warzone’s health, so Vanguard Royale currently serves as a testing ground, where they have increased the basic health of the operatives we play with to 150, while in standard BR mode that value is still at the classic 100 On Wednesday, they also posted a poll on Twitter where players could decide on increased health as a permanent change in other modes, and it seems that this will indeed happen with the arrival of the Season 2 Reloaded update, whose official date is still expected.
That intensive changes are being worked on, no one can dispute. Recently, a ranked system was added to Call of Duty: Vanguard, which is a kind of overture for his announced arrival in Warzone. This supplement, along with increased basic health, would definitely stabilize SBMM which has been Warzone’s problem from the very beginning.
📢 We want your feedback as we work towards building the ultimate Battle Royale experience in #Warzone Season Two Reloaded.
Do you like the current Health pool in BR, or would you like to see us increase it to match Vanguard Royale?
Have your say below! 🗳️
— Raven Software (@RavenSoftware) March 16, 2022
THE YEAR IS IMPORTANT BEFORE WARZONE
At the end of everything that has happened in the last 12 months, we will not say that Warzone is facing a difficult year because it would be a cliché, but if it is unimportant, it is certainly not. Warzone will increasingly have to try to show that it is more original than its competitors, and along the way it will use some old tricks. That is why I believe that the Call of Duty series, to which everything and anything has definitely happened in the last year, will find its way out in nostalgia.
I will not be surprised if the new Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 announce “Verdansk 2” in the foreseeable future. The hype is going to go to heaven again, the stats on Twitch are growing like crazy as streamers are roaring like brats again, and we’re going to download hundreds of gigabytes again and it’s all going to be another hot CoD story.
Finally, we ask the same question again – can Warzone 1, which has never been cleaner and more content-filled, keep existing content under control? With that question in mind, we have no doubt that we will blow out three spark plugs next year (or zero for the Warzone deuce).
What has been your experience with Warzone in the last year? Are you happy with Calder or do you miss Verdansk nostalgically? Do you also feel that there are fewer cheaters since Ricochet was active? What do you expect from Warzone 2? Will you be buying this year’s Call of Duty? We want to hear your opinions in the comments!