Call of Duty: Warzone has been out for close to two years, and many can agree that the hugely popular battle royale has felt increasingly stagnant the last few months. That's why there's so much riding on the COD Warzone Pacific map, which will finally introduce a brand-new, large-scale replacement of Verdansk.
For nearly two years players have toiled across Verdansk, a map based on 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. When Black Ops Cold War debuted, the integration resulted in mainly cosmetic changes to the urban space, which caused players to begin asking loudly for an entirely new map. While Rebirth Island worked to keep Warzone fresh long after Verdansk went stale, it could only shoulder the burden for so long. Retention has not been great the last few months, and Raven Software is likely keen to change that.
Warzone is long overdue for a major refresh, and the integration with Call of Duty: Vanguard will usher in a new map, new weapons, and new modes. But will it be enough? Here are the five changes Warzone Pacific needs to bring in order to reinvigorate the battle royale.
1. Lean into the environment
Call of Duty: Warzone's Verdansk may have been a giant, sprawling map with rocky outcroppings, farmland, airfields, and a densely packed city, but it never truly felt like the different environments made a tangible difference to the way we played. With Caldera, however, it seems like developers are making the environment more of a factor in every match. While players won't be able to swim through the water dotted across Caldera, they will be able to wade through shallow lakes and streams. There will also be new features that could make Caldera's water a part of the meta: players can erase their footprints that appear to those using a Tracker perk by wading through water, and kneeling in it will camouflage you from thermal scopes.
Caldera's water is just one example of how Raven Software can use the map's environment to inject even more variety into gameplay. Will the giant volcano erupt? Will they eventually let you fell trees? All of this would help keep Warzone fresher than a breeze off the Pacific.
2. Offer better quality floor loot
The move to Caldera will bring with it a major change when it comes to Warzone loadouts: players will not be able to buy them until after the first circle, which is around five minutes into the game. That means the tried-and-true strategy of lightning-fast looting to allow for quick access to loadouts will vanish with Verdansk. The change will be somewhat like the limited-time event Operation Flashback, which made loadouts available for purchase after the third ring – thankfully, Caldera won't drag out the wait for that long.
Delaying the purchase of loadouts is a great thing when it comes to evening out the playing field, but it also means that Raven Software will have to ensure the floor loot is solid. If all of the guns on the ground are like the last season of Warzone and just iron sight snipers and shotguns, Caldera could be a very unfun experience. Floor loot in the upcoming Call of Duty: Warzone season should be diverse and balanced to keep the variety in the early game high.
3. Nerf melee weapons forever
We know that the Warzone Pacific update will nerf Kali sticks and gun melees, thanks to an official update from Raven Software, which will be a welcome change for players tired of getting killed by an enemy that's playing 'In The Air Tonight' on their skull. Meleeing has become a cornerstone of the frustrating gun meta, and Raven is clearly focused on adjusting that.
But another potential melee problem lingers on the horizon: Call of Duty: Vanguard's bayonet. The bayonet combined with the Reach perk can make for some seriously OP melee abilities, which could prove especially annoying when Vanguard integrates with Warzone. The only solution is to seriously nerf melee weapons and gun melee damage across the board so that they are no longer a viable option.
4. Stay on the cheaters
We know that Warzone Pacific will launch with a Ricochet anti-cheat system, which is a kernel-level anti-cheat system that can access a wider range of software and applications on PC. This aims to detect various cheating approaches and hopefully eradicate cheaters from Warzone after nearly two years of the battle royale absolutely crawling with them. Cheaters have consistently used aim-assist programs which keep their reticles perfectly locked on players' bodies and wallhacks which lets them see through walls, effectively ruining your chances of taking them down.
Ricochet anti-cheat should hopefully drastically decrease the amount of cheaters in Warzone, but Raven Software will have to continuously monitor the game to make sure cheaters haven't found a magical back door. Warzone is no fun with cheaters – even a new map can't save it from their greedy grasp.
5. Don't be afraid of change
Verdansk hung around for way too long, and the changes made to the map always felt inconsequential. Caldera is a far cry from the wintry plains of Verdansk, but that doesn't mean that it can and should hang around virtually untouched for another two years. Caldera will need to shift and adjust with more regularity, and considering it's an island that likely rests on the Pacific's Ring of Fire (a horseshoe-shaped belt where many earthquakes and volcano eruptions take place), change is built into its environment. Caldera will be new and fun and interesting for a while, but its novelty will wear off, and Warzone will have to keep updating it to keep it fresh. Other battle royales like Fortnite and Apex Legends update their maps with more regularity, so here's hoping Caldera will take a page out of their books.
The Call of Duty: Warzone Pacific update will launch on December 8 for Call of Duty: Vanguard owners and December 9 for all other players.
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