Call of Duty: Warzone is a title that defies all expectations. Indeed, it feels that Activision themselves had no idea how profitable their first non-annualized Call of Duty would end up. Rather than dying along with its direct inspiration, PUBG, the game managed to evolve and remain relevant across 2020.
Unlike the other Battle Royale shooters it competes with, the game embraces a simplistic, refined, and routinely expanding experience. Tell that to PUBG, a game that hasn’t fundamentally done anything different in years. The concurrent player counts speak for themselves.
With Warzone, you know exactly what you’re getting. The franchise’s signature speedy, diverse gameplay returns, so seasoned Call of Duty wouldn’t face a learning curve. In addition, the usual respawn mechanic is done away with, and your only chance of coming back is a clever Gulag system.
Basically, two players fight to the death to decide who gets to respawn in the battleground, a uniquely exciting feature. In fact, we feel that even Apex Legends, with its existing resurrection system, could use something like this. Ditto for Fortnite and Hyperscape.
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Not just the same old Call of Duty gameplay is here as well. You typically see a large map, complete with dozens of players. The competition to become the last person standing is familiar. However, the lack of major sci-fi tropes and advanced mechanics means that as long as you’re smart and have good aim, you have a chance. And, best of all, Activision has committed itself to regular updates, not just to eliminate bugs, but free additional content.
The new update adds direct support and integration for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
The best part of coming from a well-established, long-lived franchise like Call of Duty is the crossover potential. Just ask the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At any rate, Warzone has an oft-underestimated boon in the shape of crossover appeal thanks to other franchise titles. In the months since its launch, the game has benefited from tie-ins with the popular Modern Warfare title.
This culminated in the mainline title’s characters and weapon unlocks, along with iconic skins and maps, coming to Warzone. The upcoming Season 1 update will release across all platforms on December 16, 2020.
This new update adds full integration with the newly-released Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. This means that, like Modern Warfare, players can expect seamless transitions between games from the same UI menu. Furthermore, it guarantees that iconic, fan-favorite characters like Mason and Woods will make appearances in Warzone. That reflects Soap from Modern Warfare appearing in Warzone in early 2020.
The update also brings a host of new content, especially a brand-new map called Rebirth Island
The trouble with having over 100 players drop into the same area and wrestle for domination is the sheer map scale needed. That’s why most Battle Royale games, Warzone included, feature unlimited sprinting and vehicles to travel in. However, sometimes the map is just too big (remember Caspian Border on Battlefield 3?).
In the case of Warzone, the previous default map, Verdansk, bore the same issue. Featuring a dedicated city area, sprawling hills, and undulating plains, the map was vast. So much so, that players began complaining about how empty it all was.
The biggest complaint, once the novelty of Warzone wore off, was how long it could take to encounter other players. This was especially true if the player had dropped in far from the objective, and needed to sprint for long periods just to stay in the game.
Now, the developers have answered this common dilemma with a new map offering. Rebirth Island is coming, and will further change the way Warzone is traditionally played. It features several new points of interest, new vehicle spawns, and ammo caches along with new locations!
Call of Duty Warzone Rebirth Island Recap 🗺️
• New Gulag
• Trios & Quads
• Lower Player Count Than Verdansk
• 32 Unique Points of Interest
• 5 Ammo Caches
• 18 Vehicle Spawns
• 11 Buy Stations
• 11 Named Locations pic.twitter.com/0Rt5hTA4bC
— Warzone News (@Warzone2News) December 15, 2020
The main selling point for Rebirth Island isn’t that its different from Verdansk. No, the primary appeal behind it is that it offers a completely new way to experience Call of Duty: Warzone. This map is deliberately smaller in size than Verdansk, and the developers intentionally reduced the total player count. This means that in one fell swoop, Warzone’s biggest issue is now removed.
Having a more compact map, with fewer players spread out means that matches will feature much more skirmishes. This guarantees that opponent player encounters are sped up and more frequent, saving you the hassle of constantly running. Furthermore, you can now play in trios or quads in this close-quarters map.
The Gulag system gets a new “map” as well, in the form of a fan-favorite backdrop
The aforementioned Gulag system needs some explanation for those thinking about getting into the game for the first time. The Gulag, named after Soviet prisons, essentially makes recently-killed players spawn in individual cells.
While waiting for their own bouts, players can observe other duels from the sidelines. You can even cheer on or boo as you like, and even interfere a little by throwing objects. Once you turn is up, you and another player vie for the final chance to return to the battleground.
The Gulag’s floor is cramped and offers lots of cover, but players spawn directly across from each other. Then, without any markers or minimap indicators, they hunt the other down. It’s quick, nerve-wracking, and supremely satisfying when you pounce on your foe and win the lifeline. Once a player loses the Gulag round, all they can do is spectate the rest of the match or leave.
The fact that the primary battleground gets a new setting isn’t all that’s coming with the Warzone Season 1 update. The Gulag also receives a new backdrop, in the form of Nuketown! This map, originally featuring a nuclear testing zone in Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010), quickly became a fan-favorite.
Now, every major Black Ops game features some new iteration of the same map template. In Warzone, the Gulag’s usual dreary prison aesthetic becomes Nuketown’s streets. The houses may not allow entrance, but the familiar visual reskin will certainly excite seasoned Call of Duty veterans.
For more on Call of Duty, the Warzone Season 1 update, and Black Ops Cold War, stay tuned! And, be sure to download Activision’s newest Warzone update as soon as possible. We know it’ll be a blast!