Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War’s Season One update and its combining with Warzone was advertised as an “unprecedented free content drop.” In terms of the number of actual changes, I guess that’s correct, but the battle royale’s current state suggests that those changes have only seen it take a step backwards.
The combining of progression systems is a great idea, allowing anyone who plays both Cold War and Warzone to work towards unlock goals, no matter what they’re playing. It’s a streamlining of the system that’s very welcome.
That’s pretty much where the positives end and bring me on to the big controversy in Warzone right now: the Cold War weapons’ affect on the battle royale’s meta.
Warzone’s not a stranger to balance issues. The Bruen, Grau, and Fire Shotguns have all been horribly overpowered since the game’s launch, but the balance has never been worse than it is now.
Between the rapid fire MAC-10, almost insta-kill dual Diamatti pistols, and two hit kill DMR, you’re pigeon-holed into a select few weapons if you want to have any chance of winning.
There’s no point using any of the other assault rifles or SMGs because you’ll lose if you come up against someone with the DMR. Just take a quick look at the video below to see how devastating it is.
A big part of Warzone’s enjoyment comes from how the gun fights differ to those in core multiplayer modes. The increased time-to-kill allows for back and forth fights that last longer, require tactical plays, and promote quick thinking.
When one gun can kill from pretty much any range in just a couple of rounds, it completely removes that aspect of the game, and the essence of battle royale.
It also doesn’t help that the balance changes take so long to arrive. It’s been a couple of weeks of the same issue, with little news on any upcoming weapons changes. The DMR and MAC-10 will be nerfed, there’s no question of that, but it shouldn’t take this long when the issue is so prevalent.
While fixing the balance issue would bring back a semblance of fun to Warzone, the game is still in dire need of new features after the Season One additions fell flat.
The new Gulag setting is horribly unbalanced. It’s a test version of the central part of Nuketown (Activision just can’t get enough of that map) and that’s fine, but spawning on one side over the other grants a huge advantage.
If you spawn on the side with the car, you can simply slide behind it after the round starts and shoot through the back window, keeping 80% of your body covered while giving you a good view of the rest of the Gulag.
Your opponent has nowhere similar to hide, so they have to be really lucky or patient to win. If you spawn on that side of the Gulag, you’re 50% of the way to respawning, which simply isn’t fair. A new Gulag setting is great in principle, but it needs to have the balance that the original one did.
The other big addition for Season One was the “new map” if you can call it that. Rebirth Island is a re-release of the small Alcatraz map from Blackout (Black Ops 4’s battle royale mode) and it’s relegated to a separate mode that has already changed rules a couple of times.
Rebirth Island itself is tiny, so it’s little more than an extra mode like Plunder or Zombie Royale have been over the last year. It’s so far from the full new map that Warzone really needs and it’s frustrating.
Players who are invested in grinding Warzone wins won’t really care about modes on small maps that don’t count to your leaderboard stats.
Barely touching the main Warzone mode beyond adding an underground section on the airport runway, which isn’t somewhere you’ll go to for any reason other than to loot since it’s not a place you’ll have to go through to reach zones, is awful for what is essentially the biggest update yet.
Considering the frequent and significant map changes that came to Fortnite throughout its first chapter and the various additional maps that have come to PUBG, Warzone is really lagging behind.
We’ve said that Warzone needs a new map for months now, or at least significant changes to the existing one, and that’s the case now more so than ever.
There are also loads of bugs that remain unfixed. The scoreboard can only be seen after matches occasionally, contracts won’t show on the map sometimes, random red dots appear across the map where there isn’t anyone, gas masks can get stuck on even when not in the gas, and there are many more issues, each of which have been in the game for months at this point.
The Season One changes were supposed to be the start of a new era for Warzone but the game’s in a worse shape than ever, as fun as it can still be.
The weapon balance issues will be fixed eventually, but it’s frustrating to have to wait so long and they only serve to exacerbate the feeling that the battle royale is in dire need of some significant changes to its core features.
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