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From being a golden apple to becoming a cheater's haven, how Warzone has deteriorated over the last two years

Call of Duty Warzone was labeled the "Pandemic Game" (Image by Activision)
Call of Duty Warzone was labeled the "Pandemic Game" (Image by Activision)
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Debabrata Naiya

Call of Duty Warzone is in a weird place right now. With the community getting tired of all the glitches, bugs, and everything going wrong with it, this free-to-play multiplayer battle royale game has never seen a state this bad.

The title, labeled the "Pandemic Game," initially took the FPS community by storm but is now receiving backlash from gamers, day in and day out.

With some of the big names leaving the game and jumping ships, the question that arises is: What happened to Warzone?

Two years after its release, what is its state right now, and is Activision making any changes to this franchise?


What happened to Call of Duty Warzone?

Every year, Call of Duty releases a title. Warzone was the first free-to-play standalone battle royale game released by Activision. The game engine was based on the hit Call of Duty title, Modern Warfare, from 2019.

Within 24 hours of its release, this game accrued six million active players worldwide. The number grew to a hundred million in almost a year, becoming Activision's most significant business maneuver.

Despite its massive success, users faced numerous problems from the start. The game was full of bugs, glitches, and server issues, and from the beginning, there was no dedicated anti-cheat system.

In a YouTube video, the popular content creator Expel explained that the title was not supposed to stay as a whole for more than a year. The current Warzone is built with Modern Warfare as the base. It was an experimental game mode and a replacement for 'Black Out' in Black Ops 4.

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As long as MW (Modern Warfare) stayed as the main COD title, Infinity Ward was the lead developer. However, the main problems began when Activision released Black Ops: Cold War as its next installment.

In November 2020, Raven Software took over as the leading game developer. The community was not pleased with the way they handled the game.

The game's enormous popularity was somewhat unexpected for the publisher and the developers. They planned one year as its lifespan. It was not designed to be integrated with other COD titles, but they did so anyway, merging Warzone into Black Ops: Cold War Season 1.

The problems within the game grew exponentially. The weapon balancing started to seem more off. With constant server issues, loads of glitches, broken metas, and thousands of cheaters, it became unplayable at one point.

For console users, these problems were amplified. A year after its release, there was no FOV (Field of View) slider in the game. This issue puts them at a considerable disadvantage against PC players. It hasn't been fixed yet.

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Raven Software revamped Verdansk and introduced a small map called Rebirth Island, which had a similar look and playstyle to the Blackout map, Alcatraz, in Black Ops 4. It was a breath of fresh air for gamers.

Still, the primary battle royale map, Verdansk, had been there for ages, so the community wanted something new.


Vanguard integration, Caldera, and state of Call of Duty Warzone now

The latest installment, Call of Duty: Vanguard, was a disaster from the start. Sales were down forty percent compared to last year.

Players have hated the game since the release of the open beta. It was another World War 2 title not needed at this particular point.

Warzone's integration with Vanguard also did not go well. They removed Verdansk and introduced a completely new map called Caldera. A huge pacific island set in the timeframe of World War 2 was not something fans were craving.

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The map was poorly designed. The highest ground on the map, named Peak, did not make sense to many dedicated players. Huge open grounds and constant greenery were some things that made the game less tactical.

The map was also full of bugs and glitches. There were indeed lots of problems with Verdansk, but it was a fan favorite. The entire community of Warzone has repeatedly asked to bring back Verdansk.

In an interview with the ex-pro player and content creator Tyler TeeP, a developer said, "we all want that" (in regards to map rotations between Caldera and Verdansk), but "it's a technical problem" because of the "install size."

In a interview with @TylerTeeP, Warzone dev says "we all want that" in regards to map rotations in Warzone (between Caldera or Verdansk), but "it's a technical problem" to make it happen because of "install size." At the 0:45 mark in the video: https://t.co/b5hRbXmrpK

The constant integration with other COD titles has made this game a lot buggier and unstable.

After tremendous turmoil and lots of backlash, Activision finally released an anti-cheat system named Ricochet Anti-Cheat. The system has worked decently so far, and while players encounter cheaters occasionally, the situation isn't as bad as before.

The recent April Fool event and Rebirth Reinforced (some map changes on the Rebirth Island map) helped users experience something new and different.

After several updates and patches, the title is in a comparatively stable condition, but the state of Warzone is way too bloated, and fans need a fresh start.


What's the next step for Warzone?

Activision has announced that they are launching Warzone 2.0 as a completely new game with a new ranking system and new weapons. This new title will be based on the new MW title coming later this year.

The company has enough time to use the game's current state as a test run for the next installment. They can learn from their mistakes and make changes accordingly.

With the new integration and a completely new engine, fans hope to get a more polished and better version of Warzone in the near future.

Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the writer's opinions.


Edited by Ravi Iyer
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