Talking Call of Duty; The State of COD: Warzone
Talking Call of Duty; The State of COD: Warzone – As a gamer who has logged about 150+ days of Call of Duty in my “career”, there’s some frustration with the series at this point. When Warzone hit the market, it was such an awesome change of pace for Call of Duty. Sure, they had Blackout (another COD Battle Royale). But Warzone was supposed to be a fine-tuned, enhanced Battle Royale experience, and it delivered.
The old school movement from Modern Warfare coupled with the powerful assault rifle and sub-machine gun gameplay provided a nostalgic feeling that COD players truly missed. And I would be crazy if I didn’t mention the addition of the marksman rifles which gave players the ability to play quickly with a sniper again. All these attributes thrown into a massive map (Verdansk) with 150 other gamers was a breath of fresh air from a series that seemed to be on a downward trend.
Although it is an incredible game to play, there were noticeable flaws right away, but that did not deter the user from playing. Hackers with aimbots and wallhacks were exploiting the experience right away. There’s nothing more frustrating than grinding a series and then dying to someone who is blatantly cheating. But as a new game, you gave the developers the benefit of the doubt and hoped they’d fix the issue.
Another flaw that frustrated users was skill-based match making. SBMM basically means that the competition you play against is in line with your skillset.
Talking Call of Duty; The State of COD: Warzone Now, Why is that Frustrating?
Well, back in the day (I feel old), you would just go up against the next available competitors. Whether they were much better or much worse, that’s who you faced off against. It provided a balance of “sweaty” gameplay (or a very tough challenge) and casual gameplay (pure domination). This was the ideal gaming experience because you didn’t have to be leaning into your monitor sweating your ass off while you’re just trying to enjoy a game with some friends.
With Warzone, and some prior Call of Duty’s, adopting skill-based match making, there’s no time for casual gameplay. Every single lobby you enter has players that are competing to become Major League Gaming (MLG) level players where you subscribe to their Twitch.tv account so they can make a career out of gaming. Talk about an exhausting way to just relax and play a video game. Nonetheless, the game was still very enjoyable from the start and had millions of people playing every second of the day.
So now that brings us to modern day Warzone. With its integration of Black Ops 4, the game has seen a plethora of guns being added to the rotation, but not much else. We’re over 10 months from the release date and we’ve seen minimal-to-no map changes. The only difference we’ve really seen is the integration of a train that moves throughout the map, some underground subway tunnels, and the stadium opening.
Whereas, Battle Royale’s such as Fortnite made substantial changes and events each and every season that kept everyone on their toes. The Call of Duty developers have that type of power; they just don’t use it. So, to me, the game is at a lull.
I’ve went from grinding a couple hours every day I could, to hardly ever playing the game. When you couple the hacking and skill-based match making issues that have YET to be fixed almost a year into the game with the lack of developer involvement to improve the game, you’re not putting your best foot forward. The community deserves 100% effort put into a game by its developers. Especially a game that generates monstrous amounts of revenue like Warzone does. For example, just in quarter three of 2020 alone, Infinity Ward reported $2 billion in revenue (source: Dextero).
The developers must invest back into the game other than just adding guns from the quickly released and super average Black Ops 4 (that’s another story). I know skill-based match making will never leave games but eliminating hacking at all costs would help the state of Warzone and return much of the player-base. Along with that — changing the map, adding in-game events and keeping fresh updates rolling out periodically would do nothing but help.
I personally thought the developers should have stalled the release date of Black Ops 4 and committed 2021 solely to making Warzone dominate the market. But with their resources split across platforms, the game has yet to reach its full potential. And yes, I understand not releasing BO4 would screw up the upcoming CDL (Call of Duty League) season, but I don’t think that’s their main source of income. And if you’re thinking…
“Zac, you just mentioned the revenue it is still garnering, the game is not as dead as you’re making it sound.”
…then that’s fair. But look at content creators. They’re not playing as much Warzone. We’re almost a year into a game that truly took over the planet and it could’ve been sustained just like Epic Games did with Fortnite. But with the lack of attention in-game exploits are receiving and the lack of game development in general, I feel people are going to slowly move on. I’m hoping they finally make a map change that will truly change the game, but we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, keep grinding folks!