I was excited for Warzone Season 2. In fact, I said that all of the changes coming to this second season of Warzone Pacific convinced me to play again after the Call of Duty: Vanguard integration left a sour taste in my mouth. And Warzone Season 2 is a ton of fun, with a great new mode in Caldera Clash that I can't stop playing - when I can actually play it, that is.
From the moment Season 2 dropped on February 14 up until just a few hours ago, I couldn't play most Warzone modes on my Xbox Series S. Any of the playlists centered around Caldera would crash as soon as I found a match, and it took three days of bizarre troubleshooting until I could drop into Caldera Clash or the traditional battle royale. I'm not the only player experiencing the Warzone Season 2 crashes, either. And with some of the changes I had to make affecting the visuals, it's hard to tell if the latest update has made marked improvements for console players.
Despite Warzone's best efforts to keep me from playing, however, I'm having a blast. Caldera Clash is fun and frenetic, giving Warzone players a taste of how traditional Call of Duty multiplayer feels at a large scale. Warzone Season 2 is still a bit of a hot mess, but I've always been attracted to hot messes - especially when they're so much fun.
The kinds of issues persisting in Caldera's second season run the gamut. Players are reportedly still dealing with the buy station glitch that the Warzone patch notes say was fixed with Season 2, others are reporting a 2-5 second freeze happening after landing out of the dropship, while some Xbox Series S (myself included) are experiencing crashes when trying to join any game that's not in the Rebirth Island playlist. There's also yet another invisible skin glitch rearing its ugly head - although as it's a glitch involving a headless Operator, this one technically can't rear its head at all. Most of these issues have been acknowledged on Raven Software's Trello board, but not all.
A response from Activision support regarding my inability to join Caldera matches offered a series of extensive (and quite frankly, bizarre) fixes that included changing my default operator skin and removing customizations like watches, while Twitter users suggested I remove any custom vehicle horn sounds and turn off HDR10 in Xbox Series S settings. It's unclear which one of these myriad adjustments worked, but I was eventually able to drop into Caldera without getting booted back to the Xbox home screen.
Unfortunately, ticking off HDR10 doesn't help with Caldera's visual fidelity, as the entire map appears incredibly bright, making it tough to distinguish between objects. I'm also still experiencing an issue with objects rendering at a distance beyond around 100m - trees and buildings are still looking distinctly Minecrafty, with tons of objects randomly popping into my FOV as I walk through the map. Adjusting my TV settings did help a bit with the brightness issue, but obviously won't fix any rendering problems.
Despite this, as soon as I can get into a Caldera Clash match I have a blast, which speaks wonders to the potential of Warzone's new map and modes.
Caldera Clash makes it easy to forget that I couldn't play Warzone for nearly three days. The new game mode introduced with Season 2 is a riff on Team Deathmatch and the Clash mode players first experience in Warzone's original map, Verdansk. Two teams of 48 players each drop into one of six sections in Caldera, custom loadouts in hand. The first team to reach 450 points or the team with the highest points at the end of the 15-minute match will win, but it's not just about getting kills.
In Caldera Clash, dead enemies can drop one of three powerups that will buff you for a limited time if you manage to pick one up - it's a bit like Call of Duty Zombies in that regard. The powerups include Double Points, Speed Boost, and Hunter, which highlights nearby enemies even through objects like an OP snapshot grenade. I accidentally pick up the Hunter buff without knowing what it was in my first Caldera Clash match and giggled with a sick kind of glee as I went on a 12 kill streak.
There's also a Double Point Zone that appears on the map towards the end of the match, creating a chaotic hot spot littered with dropped loadouts and smoke grenades. And Bonus Point crates in the center of the map encourage players to run into the fray in order to cash in on bonus points and better loot. All of Caldera Clash's extra features make for fast-paced matches that are organically exciting and make you want to jump in for another as soon as a match ends. It doesn't hurt that the mode is a surefire way to level up your weapons at an absolutely astonishing rate, either.
Caldera Clash is so good it almost completely obfuscates any issues I'm having with Warzone Season 2. Sure, I don't have my basketball buzzer horn on my vehicles anymore, and I'm squinting at my television a lot more than I'm used to, but this new mode is so much damn fun I don't really care. Hopefully, Caldera Clash becomes a permanent game mode, because I'll deal with just about any irritating glitch to play it.
Speaking of traditional multiplayer modes, Apex Legends is courting fans of them with its new Control mode.
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