Call of Duty: Warzone originally launched in 2020 as “Call of Duty: Warzone”, only to be renamed as Warzone: Caldera when Call of Duty: Warzone 2 launched in November 2022, however a mere seven months later, Call of Duty: Warzone 2 would, in turn, drop the “2” and rebrand as Call of Duty: Warzone in June 2023 as to avoid overcomplicating the branding and to better associate the game with what people call it.
I think a big part of why Activision handles such things in such a confusing way is due to the robust cross-progression between the mainline Call of Duty releases and Warzone, which has proven to be both a blessing and a curse to the franchise.
While there is greater player retention and profit because of Call of Duty: Warzone’s robust cross-game progression system, it makes Call of Duty: Warzone unwieldy after several premium releases, with developers having to balance the perks and weapons of multiple titles each season, alongside new seasonal updates and weapons.
Towards the conclusion of Call of Duty: Warzone’s “Vanguard era”, it became exceedingly clear how challenging it was to strike a balance between modern-day weapons and World War 2 era weaponry included in loadouts without making players feel as though they were swindled, particularly those who invested in both the main title and premium weapon blueprints from the store.
Going forward, I feel the developers should only carry over account level and battle pass progression between the mainline and free-2-play games, which would allow Call of Duty: Warzone to have its pool of weapons and gadgets, which would, in turn, make it far easier to balance, and ensure Call of Duty: Warzone’s longevity, which would benefit players and developers alike.
Fortnite handles this better. Going forward, I would love to see Call of Duty: Warzone become a true live service title and receive multiple years of support instead of relaunching and rebranding itself every 18 months.
While, at first glance, the operator list at launch appeared to be predominantly white males in ghost masks or mil-sim gear, upon closer inspection, there was a fair amount of female operators and people of colour, and their numbers have only increased with each passing season.
As nice as this is, I would have liked to see a few more easily identifiable ethnicities that are immediately recognizable and do not require closer inspection, in a similar style to how Vanguard’s operators often wore uniforms that represented their culture and ethnicity, making it one of the most diverse FPS on the market, something which earned it praise from some people and scorn from the less savoury elements of the FPS community.
The operator Nova is based on Jasmine Colgan, a famous model and activist who has vitiligo, a long-term condition where pale white patches develop on the skin, making Modern Warfare 2 the second major game in just over a year to introduce a playable character with vitiligo, with Fortnite adding the character Joy in late 2021.
Call of Duty games, almost without exception (Black Ops 3 was pretty bad), have been widely regarded as having some of the best gunplay the genre has to offer, and Call of Duty: Warzone is no exception.
In Call of Duty: Warzone, I can always count on impactful gunplay regardless of the weapon I find. Although some weapons may be stronger than others, all are comparable, and no single weapon is overwhelmingly superior or inferior to any other.
When combined with a wide array of perks, kill-streaks, gadgets and secondary weapons, Call of Duty: Warzone has some of the most enjoyable and well-balanced gun play available in 2023, and regardless of how they may feel about “live service titles”, I feel that Call of Duty: Warzone is unmissable to fans of the first person genre, and Call of Duty in general.
Call of Duty: Warzone offers players a decent selection of variations on the battle royale formula, including:
Resurgence: Players who perform well (or stay alive long enough) can keep respawning until the last few circles, when the ability to respawn is removed so that a final winner can be decided.
Battle Royale: Call of Duty: Warzone’s default 150-player BR mode, where players who died must prove themselves in the gulag if they wish to renter the battlefield.
Plunder LTM: The player or team who banks the most cash wins, in the capitalist spin on the Battle Royale genre.
Mini Battle Royale LTM: In this mode up to 75 players enter a much smaller battlefield, resulting in frantic and frequent encounters, as players quite literally “drop like flies” and battle over the best items that can be found in this miniature Warzone map.
Ranked: Call of Duty: Warzone’s default 150-player BR mode; however, every win and loss affects your seasonal score and placement on the leaderboard for those who enjoy a little extra pressure and prestige.
What I like most about the maps used in Call of Duty: Warzone is that they do not feel like Battle Royale maps but rather a map comprised of traditional 6 v 6 Call of Duty maps, with almost every point of interest feeling like an entire map unto itself.
With each location offering a wide variety of advantage (and camping) zones, entering even a seemingly abandoned POI feels much more intense in Call of Duty: Warzone than in any other BR that I have played (and trust me, I have played most of them).
Call of Duty: Warzone looks, feels, sounds, performs, and plays like an AAA title, and except for Fortnite (which has an entirely different aesthetic), I feel that Call of Duty: Warzone is the most visually pleasing and optimized BR on the market, with even the most minuscule aspects of its design showing great attention to detail.
Call of Duty: Warzone has a massive development team with eight studios actively involved, including fan favourites such as Toys for Bob and industry veterans Treyarch and Infinity Ward.
Call of Duty: Warzone has one of the best Battle Pass offerings in the genre, and the fact that players can progress it by playing Call of Duty: Warzone, Call of Duty: DMZ or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is just icing on the cake.
With each season offering a wide array of cosmetic items, weapon blueprints, and COD Points, there are very few tiers of the pass that feel like filler (though I could do with a few fewer weapon charms, TYVM); unfortunately, it is rather grindy and lasts only two months (unlike the industry standard of three months) which means players will have to play around 1 hour per day if they intend to finish the entire battle pass without purchasing tier skip tokens (which can get very expensive at 150 COD points per tier)
Call of Duty: Warzone is a first person shooter video game developed by Infinity Ward, Raven Software, Beenox, Treyarch, High Moon Studios, Sledgehammer Games, Activision Shanghai, Demonware, Toys for Bob and published by Activision-Blizzard, it was released on 16 November 2022 and it is Free-2-Play.
Call of Duty: Warzone is available on the following platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, XBox One, Xbox Series X|S.
Call of Duty: Warzone remains in active development, with the developers releasing sizable content updates at the start and mid-point of each season.
Call of Duty: Warzone is likely to remain in active development until 2026, which is believed to be the year that Activision has designated internally for the release of Call of Duty: Warzone 3.0.
However, they may continue to update Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0, similar to how Fortnite has undergone multiple chapter refreshes after releasing a new client.
Call of Duty: Warzone is very active on all platforms due to its robust cross-platform support and exceptionally high production values, making it one of the most played Battle Royale games in the world.
As of November 2023, around 40,00,000 people play Call of Duty: Warzone on a fairly regular basis.
Call of Duty: Warzone is extremely active, and instantaneous matchmaking is possible in most regions 24/7; however, in very remote regions, there may be wait times of around one minute to find a full lobby.
While we do not know exactly how many people play Call of Duty: Warzone across all platforms, the Steam community peaks at around 60K concurrent users during the off-season and 100k closer to the launch of a new season.
Apart from PC, Call of Duty: Warzone has been in a constant battle with Fortnite for the top spot as the most popular free-to-play game on Playstation and Xbox, a trend expected to continue for some time.
While Call of Duty: Warzone has successfully challenged Fortnite for the free-2-play throne on console multiple times, it has only managed to eclipse Apex Legends on PC a handful of times, with EA’s flagship Battle Royale frequently surpassing 400k concurrent users on Steam alone, not including its sizable EA launcher and console communities.
Call of Duty: Warzone supports:
Call of Duty: Warzone offers the following matchmaking options:
The Call of Duty: Warzone in-game store sells:
The following peripherals are officially supported:
Call of Duty: Warzone is rated PEGI 18+ and contains the following:
Call of Duty: Warzone is an excellent game made by a massive team of industry veterans with a near millennium of FPS experience between them, and because of this (and the fact it is free-2-play), I fully recommend Call of Duty: Warzone to anyone who is looking for a new casual-competitive shooter, or who has not played mainline Call of Duty games in a while, and would like to dip their feet back in the pool before fully committing to a mainline title.