Activision finally confirmed the existence of Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0, and as part of the recent Next event, we finally got to see the game in action. Based on what was shown, Warzone 2.0 seems like a huge change from the original version, with a slew of altered — or outright different — mechanics that aim to shake things up.
While there is some precedent to successful live-service games getting sequels, it’s not a usual occurrence. Think of titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Rocket League. Warzone is one of the most lucrative and popular free-to-play games of all time, bringing in over 100 million players since its launch. So, given its success, it might seem odd for Warzone to receive a follow-up, but if you’ve played the game recently, you’ll know the current iteration still has plenty of room for improvement, making a fresh take much more necessary.
With that in mind, here’s what we know about Warzone 2.0, including its release date, features, and changes from the original game.
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Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 will launch on November 16, 2022, as a free-to-play title. At this point, it’s unclear if there will be an early access version, but it doesn’t appear that there will be. Since Modern Warfare II will launch on October 28, this gives players around two weeks to level up their weapons ahead of Warzone 2.0‘s launch. Remember, both games will share a progression system.
In terms of marketing — including trailers — Activision usually holds details close to the chest until just before the product is set to launch. It wasn’t always this way, but given the development hurdles introduced with COVID-19, along with specific issues at Activision studios, the company has opted to give itself more time before showing off its games. Activision has yet to publish a new trailer for the game, but a number of streamers who attended the Call of Duty: Next event showed an early version of the game in action.
You shouldn’t expect a trailer for Warzone 2.0 until it’s closer to launch, possibly a couple of months out. For now, we recommend watching the Next event, which includes more info about Warzone 2.0, Modern Warfare II, and even Warzone Mobile.
When it comes to Warzone 2.0‘s platforms, Activision has confirmed it will launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. This is due to the massive install base for previous-generation hardware, especially considering new-gen systems are still so hard to come by.
One of Warzone‘s biggest issues in its current state has to do with performance and fidelity, especially on consoles. As we’ve covered before, Warzone has suffered from visual bugs that vary from inconvenient to game-breaking, making it hard to play. Console players are also unable to utilize a field-of-view slider, a feature that has been on PC since day one. So, it’s still unclear just how much of this will be alleviated in Warzone 2.0, but the fact that it’s coming to previous-gen is disappointing, albeit understandable.
Based on what was shown during Call of Duty: Next, Warzone 2.0 isn’t exactly what players expected. Sure, it features the same fundamental gameplay mechanics as the original game, with looting, first-person shooting, and survival at the forefront — but it also comes with a slew of changes, not all of which are good.
The biggest change is the new map, which is called Al Mazrah. This map is massive and has a slew of POIs, some of which are returning from the original Modern Warfare II game, such as the Airport (which features Terminal) and Quarry. Al Mazrah will have fewer wide-open areas with little to no cover in favor of densely populated areas across the board. Expect a wide variety of battles on this new map and even engagements that take place in the water. That’s right, Warzone 2.0 will feature swimming, and it’ll be a major new feature in the upcoming installment.
Warzone 2.0 won’t feature Loadout drops, which was one of the staples of the previous installment. Instead, players will be able to purchase custom weapons from The Shop (replacing Buy Stations). The thing is, weapons will cost a pretty penny, so don’t expect to jump in and immediately grab your custom guns right away. Though, if you complete Strongholds, which requires you to defeat AI enemies at bases around the map, you’ll gain access to a free weapon at The Shop. The early build did not include Perks, though it’s possible they will be added for the launch version.
The Gulag is also different now. Before, players would compete in 1v1 battles to earn the ability to redeploy. Now, Gulag matches are 2v2, pairing you up with a random player with the goal of surviving to earn a spot back in the match. The new Gulag will also incorporate AI bots that roam the maps, which are slightly bigger than the stages you might be used to.
Looting has also undergone a significant change. When interacting with a chest, you now have to select from a group of items from a menu rather than simply picking up the items you want from the ground. This mechanic was heavily criticized during early play sessions, but hopefully, this gets changed for the full release.
Warzone 2.0 will incorporate proximity chat, which will allow players to hear nearby enemies if they’re close enough. This could be interesting, allowing you to hear your foes talking with one another, telegraphing an attack.
Activision has altered the way the final circle unfolds. Now, matches can have several different circles that split off on their own, offering separate individual battles at the end of a match. Then, the circles will all come together for a big blowout at the end.
Warzone is a multiplayer-only game, and we don’t expect that to change with the sequel. However, there are many things Warzone 2.0 could introduce to make the overall experience more approachable. These are things like a practice mode that features bots with adjustable difficulties and even a faster-paced deathmatch-style mode to help players learn the ropes. In fact, Activision has confirmed that bots will be implemented sort of in the same way as Fortnite.
So, yes, Warzone 2.0 will almost certainly be multiplayer-only, but that doesn’t mean it has to stick to the layout from the first installment. Even though Warzone is free, it has always felt light in terms of the modes it has available and could benefit from more content overall — possibly even an offline component. Activision hasn’t outlined the details of Warzone 2.0’s content plan, but we do know it will evolve, just as the first installment did.
One of the key aspects of a live-service game is the promise of consistent content, which was clearly the focus in Warzone. We expect Warzone 2.0 to utilize a similar formula, with constant updates that feature new in-game events, weapons, cosmetics, playlists, modes, and map alterations that will keep players coming back. Typically, any additional content tied to gameplay is free, such as new guns or limited-time modes, while cosmetics — such as weapon skins and Operators — cost money.
Warzone 2.0 will implement the seasonal model, wherein each season will likely include a battle pass with 100 tiers of content to unlock, motivating players to keep checking back in. We hope many of the gameplay-related issues are ironed out with this game so the development team can focus on the seasonal content rather than squashing bugs. Nonetheless, there will likely be a healthy mix of paid and free content to enjoy in Warzone 2.0.
Since Warzone 2.0 will likely be a free-to-play game, you won’t be able to pre-order it — at least not in the traditional sense. The first game was a digital-only, standalone release, and its sequel will likely be the same. However, it’s possible you’ll be able to pre-load it onto your system, just as you’ve been able to do with past updates.
It’s also within the realm of possibility that Warzone 2.0 could get a physical release that contains a download code and extra cosmetics, sort of like the Fortnite Deep Freeze bundle, though we wouldn’t count on this being the case. We’ll find out more about the game’s rollout as we get closer to launch.
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