Before March 2020, the idea of the Call of Duty franchise containing a battle royale title packed with innovation and familiar features from multiplayer was purely speculation. On March 10, 2020, Warzone entered the game and arguably revived the franchise over the next two years. Prior to its launch, the only form of competition within Call of Duty was the Call of Duty League (CDL), a league containing the very best players on the planet showcasing their skills on the annual release.
The launch of Blackout laid the foundations for the immense success of Warzone. When comparing the two, Treyarch’s battle royale captured the Call of Duty magic and squeezed it into the battle royale mould but a lack of competition prevented any kind of competitive scene from flourishing. With Warzone, Activision often organises high-stakes tournaments with thousands on the line allowing a new crop of players to step into the limelight.
One of those players is Liam ‘Jukeyz’ James, one of the very best Warzone players in the world. The 25-year-old has skyrocketed into the limelight, often taking victories against top North American talent and securing thousands in prize money. With his eyes set on North America, Gfinity spoke to the Red Bull player to chat all things Warzone.
With no official competitive circuit for Warzone, many often wonder how players earn the opportunity to compete for huge cash prizes. “I started playing Blackout and competing in wager matches,” says Jukeyz. “There weren’t many tournaments but once Warzone dropped it all changed.”
After showcasing his skills by posting scoreboards on Twitter and through gameplay montages on YouTube, the player soon found himself competing alongside notable names within the UK Call of Duty scene and it wasn’t long before Jukeyz became a staple of competitive Warzone tournaments. “The MP5 and M4A1 meta was so good,” he reminisces.”I could drop into Verdansk and play for hours on end, finessing, and dropping high-kill games.”
The European Poster Boy
Nowadays, Jukeyz is always facing off against the best opposition on the planet. Most recently, the player achieved victory in a 2v2 kill race hosted by content creator TimTheTatman taking home a share of $66K in prize money. Despite earning plenty, there are difficulties when it comes to playing against North Americans from Europe. “Playing on 120 ping isn’t fun” and with such a disparity in connection, frustrations often creep in.
More recently, the kill race format rarely features in competitive Warzone as tournament organisers move towards utilising private lobbies and score multipliers to determine an eventual winner.
Tournaments will award one point for scoring a kill while the final placement decides the multiplier for the score. Finishing first often doubles the initial score thanks to a multiplier of two with lower placements offering smaller multipliers. “Customs is so different in terms of playstyle compared to kill races,” says Jukeyz. “You never know when another team is going to third-party you with a sniper or from behind. The pace is much slower and more tactical.”
As Europe’s poster boy, Jukeyz is heading to North America for his See Me in NA content series where he will take on a number of North American players on a level playing field for the first time. In addition, fellow Warzone content creator Ben “BennyCentral” Perkin will join Jukeyz on his tour across the States.
Regaining The Passion
The arrival of Caldera in place of Verdansk continues to be a hot topic of conversation within the community. Many believe the old map was far superior to the Pacific island for a number of reasons with the main factors involving optimisation and game performance. “Verdansk was so much smoother than Caldera,” explains Jukeyz. “If Verdansk came back it would be the best thing for competitive and casual players and would lead to Warzone viewership skyrocketing again.”
“The devs [Raven Software] do a great job fixing glitches that pop up but if they bring back Verdansk that would be great!” Playing a game for hours on end when new issues arrive on a regular basis takes its toll. “Heading to North America will regain my passion for Warzone,” states Jukeyz. “Playing in NA will cement my position as one of the best Warzone players in the world.”
- Read More: Warzone Pacific Season 3: Everything We Know
What Would Jukeyz Change?
With numerous members of the community sharing their thoughts on how to make Warzone a better battle royale, a number of professional players, including Jukeyz, have their own opinions.
One of the main talking points on the current state of the game involves the design of Caldera and Jukeyz agrees. “I would move Capital inland and probably blow up Peak,” despite the latter being one of his favourite landing spots. “I’d add more buildings in the open spaces too,” reveals Jukeyz. “They don’t have to be skyscrapers but houses and huts to match other areas of the map.”
Speaking of switches, we asked if the Warzone wizard has ever contemplated switching from Warzone to another game. “I’d probably switch to no-build Fortnite if anything,” he reveals. “I love Warzone and Call of Duty so I can’t see it happening.” As a member of the London Royal Ravens, there’s always the potential for Jukeyz to face off against the likes of Ian “Crimsix” Porter and Chris “Simp Lehr. “I’m 25!” laughs Jukeyz. “I know Scump is playing brilliantly but I couldn’t see myself competing in the CDL.”
Despite another two or three full seasons of post-launch content, attention is already turning towards the next era of Warzone. Rumoured to be Warzone 2, Infinity Ward is back leading the development of a new experience armed with a brand-new map and properly optimised for consoles. “I’m hoping Warzone 2 brings back players that left when Caldera dropped,” adds Jukeyz. It’s evident the switch to the Pacific alongside Vanguard integration hasn’t paid off while the community continues to demand Verdansk’s return to the fold.
As Jukeyz jets off to New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles, the chance to consolidate his position as one of Warzone’s very best players is at his fingertips. While plenty of chances to earn even more will come, it’s clear to see that almost everyone, whether it’s a casual player such as myself or the likes of Jukeyz, wants Verdansk to make a return to Call of Duty’s battle royale.