Call of Duty: Warzone got a surprise launch a year ago today, after some rumors, leaks and finally a mysterious countdown timer in Modern Warfare’s main menu. The massive free to play massively multiplayer shooter ran both Duty and the battle royale genre upside down. It featured the largest pool of players (150 standard per match and up to 200 in select modes), a huge map, and new twists on massive multiplayer shooter ideas. It also covenant with others Duty games in unprecedented ways.
Activision celebrated its one year anniversary War zone with a look back at some of the greatest moments of the year. At launch, it featured both the last player-standing battle royale and a new experience called Plunder, where players had to collect the most money before time ran out. Plunder was a particular favorite of ours when we first reviewed War zone as an addictive respawn game mode within the idea of Battle Royale. War zone would elaborate these ideas much further.
It also connected Modern warfare, somewhere between an extra game mode and its own separate game. Players did not have to buy Modern warfare play War zone, but operators, weapons, cosmetics, and progression went seamlessly between the two. The gulag was also a new concept: a 1 to 1 second chance; a kind of “loser’s bracket” that gave you the chance to fall back into Verdansk if you came out victorious.
War zone also continued to expand the story of Modern warfare, which spanned from campaign to multiplayer and finally to the events of War zone in Verdansk. Each new season pushed that story forward, making minor changes to the map to account for the story’s progression. Price joined as a playable operator. Shadow Company blew open the stadium. And most recently, a crashed ship caused a zombie outbreak on the Verdansk coast.
At the end of August 2020, after much teasing, War zone played host to the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War to reveal. An in-game playlist changed what players had to do. Players met the Black Ops series infamous Frank Woods, got his unique sniper rifle blueprint, and had to take a crazy flight to the stadium when air raid sirens signaled something was coming. At the end of the event a trailer for Treyarch’s Duty game was shown.
For Halloween, War zone was haunted by the Haunting of Verdansk event. This changed the time of day into night, bringing some haunting elements to the different corners of the map and introducing a mode where players could become zombies themselves. Our review of the event was very positive and praised what these kinds of big changes and events meant for the future of War zoneOh, and the jump spooks in caches? Yeah, gosh, that was one thing.
Shortly after the launch of Black Ops Cold War War zone was also integrated with that game, linking three of them Duty games together in a way that the franchise had never done before. It also brought Rebirth Island and the Resurgence game mode, which is the best version of the Battle Royale formula to date in my opinion.
Finally season two brought zombies. Long haunted, a ship carrying a mysterious cargo off Rebirth Island has crashed near Verdansk. Zombies start pouring out of the destroyed hull. While the map hasn’t been crossed yet, it seems it’s only a matter of time before the hordes of the undead are all over the place. And the rumored way to contain that outbreak is to completely bomb the map. According to some rumors, the outbreak will result in Verdansk being destroyed and giving way to a new Battle Royale map.
Right now, season two continues at the start of the end and big changes are expected as season three rolls around. In fact, Activision said in its party post, “Again, thanks to you, the community, for being with us over the past year of Warzone. As the season two story continues to its year-long milestone, we can’t wait to share with you what’s in store for the next year … but it will be better for you to experience it for yourself. “
As past live events such as the Black Ops Cold War reveal whether Haunting or Verdansk are something to be ignored, the upcoming plans are expected to be great. In addition, we look at how other multiplayer battle royale games deal with player engagement with major map changes (Fortnite, for example), expect an event much larger than a simple movie to highlight what comes next.
Our biggest wishes for the second year of Warzone are a good next-gen version (currently PS5 players are only running the PS4 version via backwards compatibility) and a shift so that the game falls within the same install as Black Ops Cold War (instead separated from part of you Modern warfareTreyarch also seems to be excited about what’s to come:
– Treyarch Studios (@Treyarch) March 10, 2021
Activision is committed to support War zone for the long term, by connecting it with other premiums Duty experiences in the future. After a record year for the Duty franchise, and the growth only seems to continue, expected War zone year two to be even greater than the first.
Do you want to celebrate your own first year of Warzone? Drop your tag to get your stats:
One year of Warzone. Countless matches.
– Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) March 10, 2021
What would you like to see in War zone Two years? Stop by the comments below and let us know.