Call of Duty Warzone is a free-to-play battle royale video game released on March 10, 2020, for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The game is a part of the 2019 title Call of Duty: Modern Warfare but does not require purchase of it. Warzone was developed by Infinity Ward and Raven Software and published by Activision. Warzone allows online multiplayer combat among 150 players set in the fictional city of Verdansk, which is loosely based on Donetsk city in Eastern Ukraine, on day 96 of Operation: Rapid Sunder. The game features both cross-platform play and cross-platform progression between both games.

Call of Duty Warzone features two main modes: Plunder and Battle Royale. Warzone introduces a new in-game currency system called “Cash” which is used at “Buy Stations” in and around Verdansk. “Loadout” drops are an example of where Cash can be traded for limited access to players’ custom classes (which are shared with Modern Warfare‘s standard modes). Players may also use Cash to purchase items such as “killstreaks” and gas masks. At launch, Warzone allowed a squad capacity of three. A solo mode was added to Warzone a week later on March 17, 2020. Four player Quads were added to the game on April 8, 2020 as part of the Season 3 update.

The game received generally positive reviews from critics, with the maps receiving specific praise. In May 2020, Activision announced that Warzone had surpassed over 60 million downloads in the first two months.

Call of Duty Warzone Gameplay

Call of Duty Warzone Game modes

Warzone features two primary game modes: Battle Royale and Plunder. It is the second main battle royale installment in the Call of Duty franchise, following the “Blackout” mode of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (2018). Warzone differs from Black Ops 4 by reducing reliance on equipable gadgets and instead encouraging the accumulation of a new in-game currency called Cash. Warzone supports up to 150 players in a single match, which exceeds the typical size of 100 players seen in other battle royale titles.

The Battle Royale mode is similar to other titles in the genre where players compete in a continuously shrinking map to be the last player remaining. Players parachute onto a large game map, where they encounter other players. As the game progresses and players are eliminated, the playable area shrinks forcing the remaining players into tighter spaces. In Warzone, the non-playable areas become contaminated with a green gas that depletes health and eventually kills the player if they do not return to the safe playable area. Unlike other titles, Warzone introduces a new respawn mechanic, a greater emphasis on vehicles, and a new in-game currency mechanic.

Parachuting is unrestricted, with the player being allowed to open and cut their parachute, an unlimited number times, while in air. The game mode at launch supports squads of up to three players (trios) with an option to disable squad filling; Infinity Ward have mentioned testing of various other squad number limits. Quads (four-player squads) and Solo BR modes were added in following updates, while Duos was added eventually near the end of Season 3.

Character death in Battle Royale does not necessarily translate to player defeat like in other titles. Instead, the mode offers a respawn mechanic which players can take advantage of in various ways. Players who are killed are transported to the “Gulag”, where they engage in one-on-one combat with another defeated player, with both players being given same weaponry. The guns that the players receive have no attachments.

Players may only enter the gulag after their first death in a match. The winner of this combat is respawned into the game. Other methods of respawn are available using the in-game currency system. Players may use the in-game currency to purchase respawn tokens for themselves or for other players should they not be revived by the Gulag mechanic.

In the Plunder mode, teams have to search for stacks of Cash scattered around the map to accumulate $1 million. Once found, the game goes into overtime, multiplying all Cash sums by 1.5. The team who has gathered the most money when the clock runs out is declared the winner. Players respawn automatically in this gamemode.

Call of Duty Warzone Equipment

Every player starts off with the X16 pistol with no attachments. Players can pick up every component found in a standard loadout (primary and secondary weapons, lethal and tactical equipment, field upgrades, and kill streaks) as they search the map for items located on the ground as well as in supply boxes found in designated locations. Additional equipment unique to the Call of Duty Warzone game mode is shield plates. Three of these shield plates can be applied to a player at a given time with the ability to carry five shields in the players’ inventory.

Players can also pick up cash that can be used at buy stations for various purposes. Custom loadouts, which are shared with the Multiplayer mode of Modern Warfare, can be acquired using random loadout drops (or bought from buy stations). In Plunder, players spawn with custom loadouts, similar to regular Multiplayer modes.

Announcement and release

Call of Duty Warzone was released on March 10, 2020, following a series of glitches and leaks in the preceding month. The existence of the game had been leaked a month prior by a post on Reddit, and a software glitch that same month briefly allowed players to view an early version of the battle map. On March 8, 2020, two days before release, YouTube streamer Chaos published an 11-minute video claiming to feature gameplay from the unreleased Warzone title.

The video was removed, and on March 9, Warzone‘s publisher, Activision, officially announced that the game would be released on March 10. On March 11, 2020, Activision announced that Call of Duty Warzone had been downloaded by six million people in the first 24 hours. After four days, it was revealed that Call of Duty Warzone had been downloaded by over 15 million people.

On May 5, 2020, Activision announced that Call of Duty Warzone had surpassed over 60 million downloads in the first two months.

Reception

Call of Duty Warzone received “generally favorable reviews” from critics across all platforms, according to review aggregator Metacritic.

In its 7/10 review, GameSpot praised the variety and size of the maps, and wrote: “Call of Duty Warzone is a great sophomore attempt at a battle royale from Call of Duty, which finally manages to carve out its own identity with interesting spins on the existing formula. Its subversion of death and the nail-biting Gulag duels give you more ways to stay in a match, while also forcing you to be aware of your surroundings even after wiping a rival squad.” IGN also gave the game 7/10, summarizing with: “Call of Duty: Warzone‘s beta remains thoroughly enjoyable even in spite of the serious concessions to depth made in the name of instant gratification.”

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic PC: 79/100
PS4: 79/100
XONE: 78/100
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 7/10
IGN 7/10
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