Home Gaming and esports Call of Duty: Warzone has officially landed in the BR arena – so far, it’s looking pretty good…

Call of Duty: Warzone has officially landed in the BR arena – so far, it’s looking pretty good…

Call of Duty: Warzone, Infinity Ward's new Cross-platform, free-to-play Battle Royal, was released just a few days ago, and has turned out to be a solid contender in the BR scene

CoD Warzone

The game boasts several new twists on the popular genre, refreshing the formula and building on Infinity Ward's 'Blackout' mode, as featured in their previous title, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

One of the stand-out features for the title is the unique 'Gulag' respawn system, which sees would-be-losers pit head-to-head in an intense one-on-one fight for freedom, with the winner able to re-deploy into the arena to re-join their team once more. This, coupled with multiple 'buy-back' style options offered at the so-called 'buy-stations,' means players have second chances galore, making the fight for the final circle more intense than ever. What's more, the new title has made efforts to remove some of the other, generally less engaging parts of the BR formula, by using a quick, looter-shooter-esque scavenging system, and removing burdensome inventories - similarly to titles like Apex Legends, players have a primary and secondary, and two pieces of equipment (fatal and tactical), it's as simple as that.

CoD Warzone Gulag

In a certain sense, it seems that Infinity Ward has taken the element that the CoD series has been most renowned for since its conception - that being the fast-paced multiplayer deathmatch - and then married it with the most popular parts of the BR formula, namely, the huge maps and large player pools, a shrinking circle, loot/care-package system, and the ever popular 'Trios' squad format. Add in their finishing salt-bae spices (the Gulag and several second winds) and they've pulled off what could quickly become one of the most enjoyable, and most played battle royale titles of the last 3 years. It wouldn't surprise me if Fortnite's latest victory dance featured some backward glances and shifty looking side-eyes...

Many have taken to Twitter and YouTube to praise this new-take on the BR formula, and most were surprised to find that on release, the game had very few issues, with those that were present being minor annoyances at best - primarily, the difficulty in actually getting into games to begin with. Unlike certain other BR titles which seem to struggle with reliable servers, Warzone was having more issues in the lobbies, which would seemingly peak at around 30 or so below the 150 mark, and then quickly plummet as players became increasingly impatient and left to seek luck elsewhere.

Video Credit: The Friendly Neighborhood Fanboys

But by and large, nigh everyone seems to be loving it - even the likes of Nadeshot and Dr DisRespect offered positive feedback on the fresh and fast-paced action (though whether they and other streamers were paid to play and hype up the game is yet to be confirmed).

But what does the future of Warzone hold?

Despite the great success the title has had so far, there are a few sceptics (myself included), with some concerns for the game's future, namely with how Activision intends to turn a profit on the title. In the gaming industry, as of late (and especially so with many recent AAA titles), it feels like nothing is safe from revenue hungry executives...

Possibly one of the main concerns when it comes to Warzone, at least for myself and others who are familiar with Activision's track-record, is how long this free-to-play title will remain un-intruded by the increasingly inappropriately named 'microtransactions.' After the infamous loot box debacle in games like EA's Battlefront II and of course, Activision's own Black Ops 4, as well as their planned (but later stalled) implementation of the system in their 2019 Modern Warfare title, among the many other 'anti-consumer' decisions (like the Spec Ops Survival mode exclusivity deal), it's becomingly increasingly difficult to trust that publishers won't ruin perfectly good games with excessive means of profiteering.
When you begin to examine the currently fun and well-implemented game mechanics of Warzone, it's quite easy to identify ways that these features could be promptly monetised at the push of a button: Want a killstreak variant to make you stand out on the server? Here's a 'napalm re-skin' for the air strike. It's just cosmetic, doesn't add an advantage at all! Maybe you want to drop-in with some perks off-the-plane? Or perhaps a custom loadout? It's not pay-to-win, just an 'optional time-saver' for those that don't enjoy looting and shooting to get the cash for a loadout drop... Wish that gas mask gave you a few more seconds? Why not add an upgraded variant to your buy-station menu in the next game? Finding rare weapon types difficult to come across? How about a perk to increase their drop-chance from crates you open? Perhaps, in a few months' time, you've played the only available map to death? Don't worry, here's some more 'optional' content to play with, which definitely won't have you struggling to find full servers without it...

Honestly, I really, really hope that I'm wrong on this one, and I would be more than happy to eat my scepticism if it never happens - I can't stress enough how much I'd prefer that over being right. But with all the controversy surrounding Black Ops 4 and Modern Warfare over the last year (just look at any number of results in a quick YouTube search), both in the lead up to, on and post releases, I can't help but feel a little apprehensive for what is currently an awesome looking game...

What are your thoughts on the new Call of Duty: Warzone? Have you played it yet? What did you enjoy? Or not? Have you got any concerns for the future development of the game? Let us know down in the comments.

Posted in Gaming and esports

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Published on 13 Mar 2020

Last updated on 13 Mar 2020

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