Call of Duty’s battle royale is fast approaching its March release date and even though it’s officially unannounced, we already know plenty about ‘Warzone’.
Earlier this month VGC sources revealed that the free-to-play Modern Warfare mode will release in the next few weeks, most likely on March 10.
As indicated in that exclusive report, content creators have since travelled to Los Angeles to play and capture the battle royale ahead of a future reveal.
So what is Call of Duty’s battle royale and when can you play it? Read on for everything we know about Warzone’s gameplay, release date and more.
In Brief: Call of Duty battle royale
What is Call of Duty Warzone?
While Activision is yet to officially announce Warzone (although it has indirectly confirmed it via copyright strikes), we know plenty about what the mode is set to contain thanks to a mixture of data-mined game files and info provided by our own development sources.
VGC understands that, at launch, Warzone will feature:
- Support for up to 200 players in a single match
- Squad-based teams
- A ping system like that of Apex Legends
- New genre twists such as Plunder, killstreaks and more
Just like other battle royale games, Warzone will have players parachuting onto a large map and looting buildings (and other players) for gear.
As is typical for the genre, it will also feature an ever-decreasing play area – in this case, surrounded by poison gas – forcing players to battle it out until just a single player or team remains. However, it seems Call of Duty will add a few of its own intriguing twists on the genre…
The battle royale map
Warzone’s game map will reportedly be more than twice the size of Black Ops 4’s Blackout environment, which is unsurprising since it will reportedly support up to 200 players, compared to Blackout’s 100.
Many of the locations in Warzone will be familiar to Modern Warfare players, since it’s partially comprised of many existing Ground War maps (large multiplayer arenas built for 100 players) stitched together, including Boneyard, Quarry, Port and more.
Like Blackout, many of Warzone’s locations are also based on classic Call of Duty multiplayer maps, in this case from the Modern Warfare series, including Vacant, Broadcast, Killhouse and Scrapyard, plus newer ones like Atlas Superstore.
Footage of the Warzone map is available online thanks to the ability for spectators to break out of Ground War maps and explore their surrounding areas, however the geometry is extremely low detail.
Plunder: Risk and reward
The feature which differentiates Warzone the most from other battle royale games is Plunder. This in-game currency is earned during matches by defeating enemies or completing missions which have you targeting a specific player or securing capture points.
Plunder can be used to purchase gear at various locations around the map in the middle of a match, so it’s an incredibly valuable resource to have. However, if you’re defeated whilst holding onto Plunder you’ll leave it behind for enemy players to loot.
This risk-reward dynamic is further strengthened by the introduction of ATM machines and banks, which can be used to store collected Plunder for future matches, but also alert nearby players to the fact you’re inside a bank holding onto a sizable pile of loot.
Gulag and Respawns: Life after death
In one of its most interesting genre twists, death isn’t necessarily the end in Warzone. Instead defeated players can be sent to the Gulag, a prison where they’ll compete for a chance of respawning onto the battlefield. Once inside the Gulag, players will wait their turn for a 1v1 battle against another player, with the winner returning to the battle royale.
Datamining suggests Warzone will explicitly indicate your position in the 1v1 queue and that players will be able to place bets on the outcome of other players’ fights using their Plunder.
In order to enter the Gulag, it’s likely downed players will have to be dragged by a teammate to one of many ambulances parked around the battlefield. Datamined files also make reference to Respawn Tokens, which may or may not be required as part of the Gulag process or perhaps offer an immediate respawn instead.
Perks and Killstreaks
In Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode players are able to obtain the series’ traditional perks via pick ups found in the game world. Perks in Blackout are temporary use items in battle royale so players must choose the ideal situation in which to use them.
However, according to data-mined info, Warzone may introduce permanent perks for players to choose from, just like in multiplayer.
Here are the Warzone perks we know of so far:
- Ammo Scavenger: Enemies you kill always drop some ammunition.
- Armor Scavenger: Enemies you kill always drop some armor plates.
- Armorer: You use armor plates 20% faster, and they supply 10% more armor.
- Artisan: Weapons you pick up have a chance to automatically upgrade.
- Bounty Hunter: If you kill someone with more Perks than you, gain enough points to match them, and then you can replace this perk.
- Deep Pockets: Any usable equipment you pick up has an extra use.
- EOD: Explosive Resistance, and you can capture enemy claymores and mines.
- Ghost: You are invisible to drones and sensors.
- Grenadier: Any throwable equipment you pick up has an extra use.
- Healer: Your medic items continue to heal for an additional 25% of their value over the next 20 seconds.
- High Alert: Grants vision when an enemy looks at you from outside of your FoV.
- Health Scavenger: Enemies you kill always drop some medic items.
- Plunder Scavenger: Enemies you kill always drop some Plunder.
- Sleightofhand: Reload your weapons 50% faster than normal.
- Sneaky: Your Footsteps are invisible, and enemies are not warned when you track them.
- Spotter: Enemy equipment within a small radius is visible and highlighted to you, even through walls.
- Stalker: Faster movement while aiming down sight.
- Thief: When you Harvest, generate 20% more plunder.
- Tracker: Enemies leave footprints as they move, and increased crouch movement speed.
- Bullet Damage: Increase bullet damage to the chest and abdomen.
Meanwhile killstreaks include Airstrikes, UAVs, Shield Turrets and more. These are said to feed in to both the Plunder system – with players able to purchase killstreaks from certain locations mid-match – and the new Drop Kits.
Drop Kits are customised pre-match with various weapon and equipment loadouts. They can then be dropped into the match once the player has obtained a Drop Kit Marker, which will presumably be one of the most desired items in Warzone since it will give players access to all of their preferred gear.