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Call of Duty: Warzone first impressions – fun, but needs solo play ASAP

My team sucks.

call of duty warzone dropping in
Image: Activision

Yesterday, after installing Call of Duty: Warzone on the ‘ol Xbox One, I fired it up and hopped into a match with Josiah. We played Plunder, which is the game mode in Warzone in which the goal is to plunder the most cash from the map, contracts, and other players. That was the last match I played with a friend, which is one of my biggest gripes about Warzone.

Warzone is free-to-play whether you own Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or not. So it invites a ton more randos into the game, then throws them onto your three-person fire squad of idiots. The people winning these matches must be playing with actual friends because unless you jive easily with strangers or can get it done yourself, it’s terribly frustrating.

Maybe that’s just me, but while it’s clear that teams are making an attempt to stick together, there is always someone who wants to move a bit slower, someone who wants to run ahead and engage another three-person team without backup and another who is just out in left-field chasing butterflies. I like to move a bit more tactically, after all, there are 147 other players out there trying to kill us.

For instance, after just a few minutes into a match of battle royale, a contract was put out on me. At first, the threat level was mild, but then a car pulled up full of players looking to send me to the gulag. So I got to the top of a building and crouched in the stairwell with a rocket launcher and waited. My team? Well, they had already fled the scene, off to scavenge another building or play tag. I dunno.

When the hunters rounded the corner of the last level before the one I was aimed at, I fired the rocket launcher and took out two of them, then the third got me and collected the reward. So even a team kinda playing together did something tactically dumb (blindly ran up sets of stairs all in a bunch). My point is, I can’t wait until solo play lands in Warzone. I hate playing with no-name scrubs. I want to do my thing.

In battle royale, I have a few questions for Activision on the way the match is constructed and what happens when you leave “early”

call of duty warzone gameplay

Image: Activision

I get that if you leave before a public match is over, you generally don’t take the XP earned with you. But what happens when I leave a public battle royale match and it’s clear my team isn’t going to purchase my “release” from the gulag (after I’ve lost in the gulag or died a second time). Do I still get any earned XP?

I suppose I could do the math on this using rank progression, but there is no detailed after-action report showing overall match stats to compare yourself to other players when you leave before the match is technically completed. I’ve either sat around and watched the rest of my so-called team get picked off, then force-left the game (you should get bumped back to the lobby here, but instead you are still spectating someone), or left the game after I died, not wanting to continue with this batch of morons.

Also, how come there is no leader-board active in Plunder? It flashes on screen if you are in the top 10 or top 5, and shows this at the bottom left, but if you are outside the top 10 you have no idea how far. Sure, the goal is one million but it’d still be nice to see how close you are to the other teams. I guess that’d be a fairly huge leader-board and hard to scroll/read in-game.

These are minor gripes, but gripes all the same

cod warzone gameplay

Image: Activision

For example, there should be more vehicles on the map. These maps are huge, running takes forever. That said, it’s not boring. Even running through the map, you are going to run into other players. I also never felt a threat from the gas like I do in Fortnite. I knew it was present, but by the time it became a threat I was either naturally where I needed to be, or dead.

Finding weapons and gear is hella easy, as well, which is nice. There are crates all over the map, in almost every structure and building, meaning it’s not hard to gear up and be competitive in firefights.

[Editor’s Note: Hey, it’s me, Josiah – I’d also like to add that having killstreak rewards at the end is bogus and should be removed. Finishing in second place because of a random airstrike in an open final circle is not cool. These killstreak rewards should be disabled in a top 10 or top 5 scenario.]

On that, there are a couple of things I had to get used to quickly

In battle royale (while you can get a loadout drop that allows you to select your own custom loadouts) you are stuck using what you can find. That means weapons with no attachments and their natural firing recoil and so on. Also, players are wearing armor: shoot more.

I play a lot of hardcore, so when I switch from that to a normal game mode or now, battle royale, I have to remember that one shot is not going to generally do it. So automatic weapons are great (as is aiming). And remember, if you shoot one player, chances are there are two more right around the corner. Also something I have to get used to and why I long for solo play.

So far, I’m enjoying Plunder a bit more than battle royale. I feel less confused at the end of the game and actually finish matches (because you can respawn). The team aspect is a bit more casual and you can count on one member of your team collecting a ton of money, then running headfirst into a firefight instead of securing the cash.

The gulag is the single best aspect of battle royale. While the map is great and the number of times I’ve died while trying to flank an enemy team is outstanding, the gulag was smart. Giving players a second chance to get back into the game with 1v1 play is a great addition because you know you your team isn’t going to help. I got killed reviving your dumbass, the least you could do is cough up the cash to revive me.

I think that’s the gist of my initial thoughts about Warzone. I’d like a clearer exit from battle royale matches and duos and solo play to show up like now. Regardless, it’s double XP week right now, so you should probably hop in and rank up because it’s less than a month until season three. Time flies when you are getting merc’d by randos.

What do you think? Enjoying the new battle royale from Activision? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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A tech writer on the internet for over 15 years for outlets such as Forbes, Wired, TNW, and others, Curtis is exhausted, burnt out and happy to just write buying guides and the occasional review for KnowTechie, the best tech blog your mom never told you about. Ephemeral existence for ephemeral times. Please send pitches and grainy pictures of the inside of your elbow to kevin@knowtechie.com

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