Call of Duty Warzone is currently one of the most successful Battle Royale games in the world. Warzone peaked in October 2020 with 80 million downloads worldwide. But anyone who plays Warzone will know that the game itself is not without is problems, and the player base is as toxic as they come.
I’m addicted to Warzone, don’t get me wrong. I’ve played it almost daily since the start of lockdown back in March 2020. It is one of the few things that has kept me sane over the past year. But as someone who also hangs out on the Reddit sub r/CODWarzone, the player base reminds me of the Star Wars fanbase. And as we all know, nobody hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans.
For a game that is literally free to download and play, the player base is rather…. entitled. As I mentioned previously, the game doesn’t come without it’s issues, but for a game that’s free, the abuse the devs get online on a daily basis is pretty bad. So what’s got the players knickers in a twist? Let’s look into it a bit closer.
As I said earlier, I am addicted to Warzone. I don’t even know why as I have a kill/death ratio of 0.7, meaning I get less than one freakin’ kill a game after a full year of playing. I spend most of my time dead and watching other players play the game and hope that they’ll revive me. But the rush of the game is amazing and at now over 60 wins, the sense of achievement never gets old. I only got my first solo win a week ago and almost shed tears of joy.
The game isn’t for everyone as you need patience. It isn’t like other game where you are constantly playing. Sometimes you are just sitting there waiting to be revived and it can get frustrating when you’re having a bad day. Your games are barely lasting 5 minutes and you can’t seem to hit a shot on target. This is how all battle royales work, including Fortnite which took the world by storm a few years ago. But what is important in these types of games is that they run well.
Now for all intents and purposes, Warzone does run well. Think about it, it has numerous game modes, but it’s main one involves 150 players dropping on a map and simultaneously playing the same game, until a last man, or team, is standing. Now, with 80 million players, you have 10’s of 1000’s of these games playing at once. This is a massive undertaking for Activision servers to be able to handle, and it does run pretty well. Unlike it’s main competitors, Fortnite and Apex Predator, the graphics are very life like, where as the aforementioned are animated. As a result, updating the map and it’s features are a lot slower to release than it’s competitors.
So for the amount of work to goes into it, given that the game is FREE, that’s pretty good value. There are battle passes that you can pay 10 euro for with each season release and these last for a couple of months at a time. And you can also make purchases in the store if you are not bothered unlocking them. For example during the halloween event, you could purchase a Leatherface and Jigsaw skin. But these are just cosmetic and won’t give you an advantage over your opponents. This is how all battle Royale games work.
So what’s not to love I hear you ask. Well… where do I begin?
Again as I mentioned, I love Warzone and I don’t give it nearly as much stick as the hardcore player base does. But it does have it’s issues.
For one, gun balancing. There’s almost always a META (most effective tactics available), or in this case the most powerful guns. Ideally you want all the guns to have pro’s and cons, for example high damage but also high recoil. Or a quick time to kill but slow aim down sight speed. But the game balancing in this game is way off.
The current meta is the M16 (burst AR with minimal recoil) and the FFAR (another AR with a stupidly quick TTK). Before that it was the Aug, another burst AR. Before that, the Breun, and LMG, before that, the Grau, an AR. So why is this a big deal? Because everyone is just using the same guns with the same attachments. It really takes the fun out of it as using the same guns over and over again becomes boring, but if you don’t use them you just can’t compete.
But the worst I’ve seen yet is the new “pistol”, the Skyov. A automatic pistol that holds 40 rounds with 0 recoil. And to make it worse, you can use 2 at once (akimbo) which now gives you 80 rounds and it… it’s just stupid. The player base is as hostile as I’ve ever seem it since the addition of these pistols this week and… well, it’s been a s**t show. To the point where I actually question whether the devs actually play their own game.
Another issue with the game is bugs. There are always, always bugs with them game. Some of the worst I’ve seen is players not dying in the gas when they use a health stim. I actually lost a game this way and it was extremely frustrating. Another is players turning invisible when on a Most Wanted contract. And just the simple mechanics of the game. You can’t climb up a rock wall half your size but you can just over a 10 foot fence. Trying to pick up an armour satchel will break your heart and could often result in your death. It seems with every single update, there are always bugs that come with it.
And then worst thing is is that the devs don’t seem to listen to the player base. One of the great things about Fortinte was that the devs are very very active on social media and often respond to players. With Activision, Treyarch and Raven, it’s just radio silence until they release a patch. I know I was defending the devs earlier, but they’re by no means perfect.
I could go on to be honest but I don’t want to turn any potential new players off the game. These bugs do get fixed… it just takes awhile. And doesn’t make the game unplayable, regardless of what the folks over at r/CODWarzone say.
The worst part of Warzone? The God damn cheaters. So many cheaters, 99% of which are on PC as they can easily pay and download software that’ll allow them to cheat. They can make themselves invisible, invincible, make them hit 100% of every shot they hit (I’m talking sniping guys across the map, and it’s a HUGE map). And although Activision do what they can to remove cheaters from the game, it’s a losing battle. The upside is that if you’re on console, you can turn off cross play and this will pin you against only Playstation or Xbox players, depending on your console. But there is nothing more frustrating than dying to blatant cheaters.
Another issue, lack of updates. The game has been out a year now and there has been hardly any updates to the map. Any updates that were made (like opening up the stadium) were just underwhelming. Fortnite for example has regular map updates which keeps the game fresh. It also has featurettes with the likes of Star Wars, Marvel, hell, they even had the DJ Marshmellow literally play a Live concert within the game itself. And they actually integrated the Rise of Skywalker into the game, revealing that the Emperor was alive (which I’m still salty about BTW).
In Apex Predator, the map updates to a brand new map every hour. And there are also regular map updates. But this again comes down to the graphics of both games. It’s a lot more difficult to programme realisitic graphics into a game as complex as a battle Royale that it is to programme animated games.
The biggest issue with Warzone though, was the intergration of Black Ops Cold War. Originally, the guns you used in Warzone came from Modern Warfare 2, developed by Treyarch. When BOCW released they changed developers from Treyarch to Raven and even changed the entire engine the game ran on. You could now use Cold War and MW guns, but this came at the expense of the functionality of the game.
Those who did play Cold War could also see that the game wasn’t even finished. Activision put out an unfinished game due to it’s own annual deadline and the paid for it. There are already reports that COD 2021 is already a disaster, but that has yet to be seen. The integration of Cold War came with more bugs and was crashing Warzone too. Players now want to hand he reigns back to Treyarch as Raven have simply bottled it.
I started off writing this article intending on writing a balanced review, however it seems that I have highlighted a lot more of the native points than the positives. But now might actually be a better time than ever. With Season 3 releasing on 22 April, we are getting a brand new map (allegedly) and lots of gun balancing updates. They game will be fresh and hopefully more balanced and competitive. I would say if you’re into gaming to give it a go.
But give it a couple of weeks. You’re not going to get a win until you’ve a good 10 hours or so under your belt. You need time to learn the mechanics, guns and map, but when you do, it really can be a lot of fun. I have some 12 hour binges that confirms that. As someone who stopped gaming when I was 13, Warzone actually reinvigorated my love of gaming and I now game more than I have in over a decade thanks to it. So give it a shot and see what you think, because hey, it’s free.