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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Call of Duty fans share their hopes and fears for the game’s future

Warzone has had its fair share of ups and downs since its launch in March 2020.

The free-to-play battle royale boasts a community of more than 125 million players — but it’s also full of lingering issues that persist to this day. But nevertheless, fans are cautiously optimistic about the next installment, Warzone 2.0. Some view the next game as a means to implement highly requested features.

Others, like tech writer Steve Vegvari, are excited about starting fresh.

“The game desperately needs a reset,” Vegvari tells Inverse. “It’s clear the Activision teams need to work on a unified version of the game, versus the handing of the baton Warzone currently sees.”

Each year, the latest Call of Duty game integrates into Warzone; in 2020, Black Ops Cold War, and in 2021, Vanguard, replacing the setting that came before, while also bloating the weapon count.

An overcomplicated selection of roughly 130 weapons, wild visual bugs, and persistent cheaters are only some of the problems players have dealt with over the years. That’s why players hope Warzone 2.0, an all-new experience built from the ground up, will address the first game’s lingering issues when it launches later this year.

Inverse spoke with 10 Warzone players to learn more about their experiences with the game and their hopes — and concerns — about the future of the series.

The current state of Warzone

Fortune’s Keep is an all-new small-scale map added during Season 4.Activision

Warzone is in a tricky spot as of August 2022. On one hand, it’s arguably better than it’s ever been. But multiple players say being restricted to PS4 and Xbox One comes with limitations. Since launch, Warzone players have experienced crashes, performance problems, frame rate stuttering, and even invisible assets across Caldera, the main battle royale map.

“I’m not very confident in the game as it stands right now,” stage actor Sterling M. Oliver tells Inverse. “The performance issues on older-gen consoles make it really difficult for it to be a social experience, which was the main draw for me.”

A lack of substantial updates is another common complaint among players, though it bothers some more than others.

Twitch streamer Violet Grimm says Warzone’s current state is “one of the most boring periods I’ve ever seen the game in.” She used to play nearly every day, but now, Grimm has gravitated towards other games instead. “There just simply isn’t enough exciting or new fun content to keep players interested in coming back every day.”

Conversely, freelance games writer Ryan Epps feels good about the game in its current form. “Warzone is in a relatively good spot right now. It has three well-received maps (my personal favorite is Fortune’s Keep) and, as far as I have seen, much less cheating going on.”

In 2021, the cheating problem was so bad, it was common to get mowed down instantaneously through multiple walls, and even get run over by flying cars. Thankfully, Warzone’s anti-cheat initiative RICOCHET seems to have deterred the majority of hackers.

Back for more

Warzone has its fair share of issues, but many players continue to return.Activision

Some of the players Inverse spoke with say the addition of Resurgence modes across Rebirth Island and Fortune’s Keep made them return to the game. Unlike the traditional battle royale mode on Caldera that offers few chances to respawn, Resurgence keeps throwing you back into the action — as long as at least one teammate remains alive. It feels more like a traditional, fast-paced multiplayer match, rather than a big battle royale.

“The only thing keeping me coming back to Warzone is Resurgence and sniping,” says Grimm. “It’s one of the only things that keeps classic Call of Duty multiplayer fans interested in Warzone.”

Warzone’s biggest selling point has always been the intense, high-stakes gameplay. Each map presents a rewarding loop that encourages players to hone their tactics and improve.

“What keeps me coming back is the fun of teaming up with friends to strategize movement and map placement, and then having little mini matches across a wider map,” but with “a little extra macro strategy for some added fun,” Oliver explains.

Epps says he’s also stuck around for the tactical challenge. Warzone isn’t an easy game. But that’s why it’s all the more satisfying when you pull off a well-executed strategy, especially with friends.

“The movement, extended arsenal, heavily detailed maps, and the somewhat inherent realism applied to Warzone all keep me consistently invested,” Epps says. He also explains how he loves checking his stats, saying it feels “good” to perform well against expert players.

Raven’s recent updates have made more weapons viable, in an effort to keep matches from growing stale. There was a time when the game’s meta (most effective tactics available) led to everyone using the same one or two guns, but now, the pool of options is plentiful.

Others have appreciated Raven’s thoughtful quality-of-life tweaks to the game’s main map, Caldera.

“Right now, the thing that’s been pulling me back is the core improvement to Caldera,” says Vegvari. “We’re still not on the same level as Verdansk (the game’s previous main map) but the added mobility, decrease in foliage, and current meta have me returning each week.”

Cautious optimism

If Activision plays its cards right, Warzone 2.0 could be exactly what the community is hoping for.Activision

The overall vibe when it comes to Warzone 2.0 is definitely optimistic.

“I’m most certainly optimistic about Warzone 2.0, mainly for the modern setting and weapons that everyone fell in love with,” Grimm says.

Still, there are many things players hope to see addressed by the sequel.

Having fewer options is a common request among the players Inverse spoke with. Many feel the game has too many weapons and attachments, which makes it tough for newcomers to acclimate. You have to keep up with Warzone like a job to stay on top of the meta since it shifts so frequently.

“I would really like to see the scale brought back in terms of all the different weapons and characters – just nail the fundamentals first to give it a good foundation,” Billy, who asked to keep his last name private, says.

In Warzone’s weapon meta, certain firearms tend to dominate every couple of weeks. It’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be, but it’s often all too clear which guns are Raven’s favorite — and which have fallen out of favor — at any given moment. Having a wider list of powerful options would lead to more variety in Warzone 2.0.

“Better optimizations to how guns operate could make [for] a flurry of metas at one particular time, as opposed to something like the Nail Gun being the dominator for a whole month,” Epps says.

Unlike previous integrations, the Vanguard era of Warzone has lacked a central narrative that ties to the gameplay. Vegvari hopes that will change in Warzone 2.0.

“We’re so far away from the days of locating the nuke at Dam on Verdansk, leading into the bunkers and the ultimate destruction of the map,” Vegvari says. “Each season felt more elaborate and exciting with its Easter eggs,” but now, less emphasis is placed on narrative elements.

Players also want Raven to break its unfortunate habit of messing with features players already enjoy, like forcing them to rotate modes each week.

Sniper rifles are another prime example. Previously, even lightweight ones with fast aim down sights times could earn a one-hit elimination to the head at any distance. A 2022 update changed this so only heavy snipers can one-shot, making the lightweights practically useless.

“Please revert the sniper nerf or rethink how snipers will work in Warzone 2.0,” Grimm says. “I’m begging.”

The community wants Activision to continue to crack down on the cheating problem, as well.

“I’d love to see better anti-cheating parameters,” Epps says. “I don’t doubt an influx of cheating will take over upon its release, so Infinity Ward really needs to crack down on that aspect.”

Warzone fans have stuck with the game through some tumultuous times. It’s clear there’s a beloved foundation in place that can reach new heights when Warzone 2.0 launches. It’s an opportunity to start fresh, make changes to address long-held concerns, and hopefully bring back old players.

Warzone 2.0 will come to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC in 2022.



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