A Newbie's Review of Warzone
Battle Royals have a negative connotation attached to them for someone like me. Cash grabs and lowest common denominator-ing, they seem to appeal to the most general of audiences due to their by-design straightforwardness. It’s something that always made me steer clear of any new games to come out within the genre, if at most playing a couple games on the free-to-plays just to satisfy some primitive curiosity. Combine that with the fact that this is COD, and you put me off in a great way. So you can imagine my pleasant surprise to find that Warzone had actually introduced some interesting objectives and mechanics around the stale-since-before-I-was-born genre. Side missions, respawn mechanics that reward skilled players, and a class creation system that punishes newcomers (That part isn’t so great, but I mean, whatever) really makes the game one of a kind, for better or for worse. And its something I’m going to have to give a generic thumbs up to as a start to this article. It’s Warzone, and I don’t play Battle Royals. Let’s review
My Experience ~~~~~~~~~~~ I actually used to be a pretty decent COD player back in the days of MW2 and 3. Having reached rank 13 on the global leaderboards for the CTF gamemode, you could say that I have a hefty chunk of experience in the base game this Warzone is built in (even if the COD games themselves have changed quite a bit). My point? I may not know much about weapon spawns and drop efficiency, but if you give me a weapon and a 1v1, my chances aren’t bad. The only aspects of Warzone I have trouble with is basically EVERYTHING ELSE. Early Game ~~~~~~~~~ Chaos. Absolute Chaos. I felt that this was the second most fun part of the match and also the least skill-based. As a solo queuer, it was extremely satisfying to mow-down 2-3 enemies simply because I have the high-ground and a rifle at the start of the match, you’d think that feeling would come back to bite you when on the receiving end of things, but not at all. Due to Warzones respawn mechanic, The Gulag, where 2 players face off with the same equipment in a 1v1 to fight for a spot back in the match, it didn’t feel like I was being punished for being run down by multiple enemies in the beginning stages, rather, it felt like a chance to get a safer spawn for my second time around, assuming I was the victor in the 1v1.
Assuming I didn’t die, though. The early game is spent gunning a couple foes down while hunting for loot, as you might expect. This stage of the game is developed in an intelligent way and has kept me coming back for more matches the past week. It’s not the only strong suite of the game, though. Mid Game ~~~~~~~ Hands down the best part of the game. Some people opt for an aggressive playstyle, charging from building to building with the aim of looting up powerful weapons and killstreaks, while others, like me, opt to find a nice little camping spot and hunt down individuals over a long-term plan of 2-3 minutes that consists of either sniping distant foes or waiting around a corner with a shotgun and claymore. Planes create havoc from the skies and they airstrike targets nearby while player-manned helicopters busy everything above you with noise and distractions. It's a lot of fun just to sit in that environment, even if you aren’t doing much. It's also at this point in the game that you can spend your hard (or easily) earned cash on self-revive kits, killstreaks, a personal loadout you made pre-match, or just some simple armor. By taking a risk and making your way to a buy station, you can purchase these incredibly powerful tools which makes those who practice the aggressive playstyle feel rewarded for their efforts. And that’s a common theme in this game I’d like to talk about real quick: Rewarded efforts. In most Battle Royals, you play aggressively just for some action, but it's not actually a smart move if your sole goal is to reach number 1. In Warzone, though, it's entirely the case that succeeding in even a single risky action for the sake of some loot of a buy station purchase absolutely does increase your chances of winning. The killstreaks are no joke, and the weapons you can loot offer such a powerful increase in damage and range that it's actually worthwhile to stick your neck out once in a while. Not to mention the fact that the gulag offers a safety net for anyone killed before the late game, even furthering the incentive to make a move and cause some trouble. It's great that the developers had this in mind when developing the game, and makes me wish they had used some of this ingenuity when think-tanking the final circle. The Late Game ~~~~~~~~~~~ If you’ve seen any footage of any Battle Royal, you’ve seen the late game in Warzone. Gas encircles the final area and slowly pushes players towards each other. Everyone stays on the edges, doing their best not to be seen and take the first shot, if need be. The gulag has since been disabled, and there isn’t a sprinter in sight. Crouch, heartbeat sense out, move and repeat. It's honestly a game of hide-n’-seek that I wish the developers developed a way around. The last person seen often just wins outright and it feels very cheesy, indeed. In fact, it reminds me of Oldschool Runescape’s first Deadman Mode. For those who don’t know, Deadman Mode was OSRS’s version of a long-term Battle Royal. An MMO with PVP enabled everywhere for one month. In the final hour, gas seeped into the map, forcing all 1000+ players closer to each other. Clans barraged each other non-stop while solo players desperately tried to stay hidden in the fray and heal themselves without pause. Towards the end of the tournament, the gas had seeped into all tiles of the map, and was killing everyone in the center.
The victor finally won simply due to his opponents being killed in the gas, and everyone was a little underwhelmed. Now, the gas rarely kills anyone in Warzone, but that same feeling of “well, okay...” is largely present due to the fact that your number one tool in the Warzone endgame is praying you don’t get spotted too early. It's just cheesy and quite frankly the lamest part of the game mode, and I wish there was a system to create a series of 1v1’s among the final 10 contenders or so just to make the finale of each match more enthralling and skill based. But that’s pretty much my only gripe with the game right now. To be fair, I AM a newbie, so I don’t know much about the high-tier balancing or the more advanced parts of the game yet. But hey, this is a review through my eyes, not yours. GLHF -E