Following on from the incredible success of Warzone was always going to be a tricky task for Activision and the developers behind the battle royale. Launching at a time when the world shut down acted as part of a perfect storm that saw millions of players dropping into Verdansk in a bid to become the last one standing.
With expectations at an all-time high, the potential of Warzone 2 raising an already high bar set by its sequel was always going to prove tricky. Despite various innovations in a bid to spice up the formula, Infinity Ward and Raven Software are already caving into community demand with features from the first game returning before a second season of post-launch content begins.
There are numerous aspects of the battle royale that are in desperate need of a rework and if they’re not done soon, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Warzone 2 continue down its slippery slope into complete obscurity.
Why does Warzone 2 suck?
After playing Warzone 2 regularly since it arrived back in November, I found myself realising that there are numerous problems that don’t capture the same magic as its predecessor. I have plenty of praise for the Al Mazrah map. The desert setting and its variety of unique areas is an excellent battleground for battle royale action but the major issue I have with the game is its ridiculously-fast time to kill (TTK). In a game where players in a gunfight should have a somewhat equal chance of winning, I’ve lost count of the number of times a Fennec 45 has blitzed through my armour and sent me to the gulag.
The TTK feels extremely inconsistent. One minute, I’ll eliminate a player in the blink of an eye but the next fight sees me die in under two-tenths of a second. How is anyone meant to counter that? Even with armour plates, Infinity Ward must address the TTK in order to create some kind of skill gap.
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Speaking of skill gaps, numerous professional players and content creators say that it’s non-existent and I have to agree. In a recent stream, Dr Disrespect claimed the developers designed Warzone 2 for ‘brainless gamers’ and although the wording may be a little harsh, the fast TTK with minimal counters heavily implies the game has no intentions of catering to anyone looking for competitive action.
If it isn't broken, why change it?
Warzone 2 is full of clever tweaks designed to offer a different experience from the newly-named Warzone Caldera. Perhaps the most unnecessary change involves the gulag, a last-chance saloon that gives players a second chance at redeployment. As a regular gulag visitor, I like the idea of defeating another player to earn my chance but the addition of a random teammate and a heavily-armoured AI combatant is completely unnecessary.
What was wrong with the one-versus-one duel? Having to rely on another player to return to action makes very little sense along with the jailer. I’ve never seen anyone join forces to take down the guard, and it shouldn’t feature in the game if nobody's taking advantage of a guaranteed way for every Gulag-goer to return to Al Mazrah.
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In addition to the gulag, there’s the whole loadout drop debacle. At launch, the only ways to obtain my favourite guns involved defeating AI in a Stronghold, forking out for individual weapons at a buy station, or waiting until the free loadout drops fell from the skies. Ultimately, community backlash prevailed and a purchasable loadout drop appeared once more. Another unnecessary chance quickly reverted in order to prevent further criticism.
Facing stiff competition
The battle royale genre has cemented its place within the wider world of gaming. Although the goal of becoming the last player standing is the same, titles offer a vastly different experience. Warzone 2 launched without the ability to create your own custom lobbies, a feature recently added for all Apex Legends players to enjoy. While I haven’t dropped into Olympus in recent months, the temptation to enjoy something different than the same batch of recycled playlists is certainly there.
With other battle royale offerings providing more complete experiences, the competition has never been greater. Whether it’s building structures in Fortnite to a more mil-sim experience in the form of PUBG, there are more polished battle royale titles available thanks to the constant developer support and fine-tuning. But, with Warzone 2 seemingly backtracking on elements that stood out from its rivals, is it worth revisiting Caldera for my Call of Duty battle royale fix?
What Warzone 2 needs to change
I’ve already covered the TTK and the gulag but there are plenty of other key features that need some fine-tuning in order for Warzone 2 to reverse its fortunes. The lack of developer communication leaves players in the dark regarding upcoming changes and the opportunity to gather much-needed feedback. There are glimpses of Raven Software attempting to regain player trust but it’s a far cry from the Verdansk and Pacific eras.
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Sticking with developers, the sheer number of game-breaking bugs, glitches, and dev errors is nothing short of a shambles. Every other day, someone finds a new problem whether it’s an exploit allowing players to drive a truck underwater or a cryptic word pairing that boots you out of the game. Issues of this nature should be addressed as soon as possible instead of waiting for the start of a new season to apply any fixes.
The next batch of changes heading to Warzone 2 is likely arriving with the Season Two update. If the developers address the bugs, raise the health, and let me plate up while moving, there’s a chance the battle royale avoids the slippery slope into its own gulag.