Battle Royale has arrived in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, after its development being one of the worst-kept secrets in gaming. Warzone, as it’s collectively known, is actually two different modes: Your standard Battle Royale mode and the more hectic Plunder mode.
Before you can jump into the latest last-man-standing shooter, you’ll have to fight through a hefty update for the game, even if you’re an existing player. It’s comically smaller for current players (obviously) at 15GB to 20GB, depending on whether you’re playing on PC, PS4, or Xbox One, but the download size is no laughing matter for those who haven’t already played Modern Warfare. Prepare yourself for a giant download between 80GB and 100GB. We’ll see you online tomorrow (or next week)!
Once you’re in, there’s quite a bit to learn. Warzone includes the best aspects of other popular battle royale games, but with some unique twists and a Call of Duty spin on the genre. In this guide, we’re going to walk you through some essential tips and tricks to ensure you hit the battlefield running and can keep up with the competition.
What is Call of Duty Warzone?
Warzone is a section of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare that consists of two semi-open-world modes — Battle Royale and Plunder — that are available for free, with or without the main title.
Call of Duty’s new take on the rapidly successful battle royale genre isn’t all that different to something like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It’s a some-verus-many scenario, but it’s ever so slightly less realistic. Players can be brought back from the dead, and you can buy ammo and other perks from buy boxes scattered across the land, taking popular elements from Fortnite and Apex Legends.
Fifty squads of three players drop into a massive map stitched together with some classic Call of Duty locales. Once you and your squad mark a position on the map, it’s time to vault out of the plane and do your best to parachute down and land somewhere safe. You load up on equipment littered on the floor and get to hunting down your fellow man. The aim is simple — be the last squad standing.
Plunder takes place on a smaller section of the same map with a few less players. Less tense and more casual in nature, the race is on to bank the most amount of cash before the lengthy timer runs dry.
Money is earned through missions and drops, and defeated players pony up their hard-earned dough to drop back in after a defeat. Top earners are marked on the map, and the massive bank chopper gives other players the opportunity to intercept and steal cash drops. It’s a riot and a good training ground for the more deadly battle royale chase.
Seven essential tips for Call of Duty: Warzone
Now that the basics are out of the way, it’s time to dive into the less obvious methods of being crowned the victor. Just remember — until Activision decides a solo mode is in order, Battle Royale is a team effort. You won’t have to get on voice comms to do your best, but so long as you’re not straying far from a pack or pinging anything out of the ordinary, these tips should do you good.
1. Familiarize yourself with the weapons
This one might sound glaringly obvious, but it’s something that needs to be said. Familiarizing yourself with the weapons you’ll find in Warzone is one of the most important aspects of the whole damn operation. Not knowing your FN Scar 17 from your FAL can easily cost you a fight — and one fight is all that separates you from getting booted back to the main menu.
There is an insane number of guns in Modern Warfare, and they’re all in Warzone, too. Find which weapon best suits your style and learn how each handles and operates. Getting the drop on another player is no good if you pull the trigger expecting a barrage of bullets only to take one potshot and get blasted down. Don’t go thinking a semi-auto assault rifle is a full-auto, or that a bolt-action sniper is a semi. Trust us, it doesn’t feel good to lose a fight because you didn’t understand your weapon.
You can absolutely pick this all up as you go. After all, it’s a matter of learning from your own mistakes. But those mistakes will cost your whole squad a match, so do them a preemptive favor and spend a bit of time learning how each gun operates in the main menu.
Which are the best Warzone guns, you ask? It’s down to personal preference for the most part, but some do stand out. Hybrid fire-mode assault rifles like the SCAR can adapt to many situations, with the trusty MP5 making close-range encounters trivial. If you’re after sniping, the EBR-14 (with a scope) and AX-50 are great options.
2. Get those loadouts sorted
You might think that by Warzone being new, everyone starts off on the same foot. You’re wrong. Both Warzone modes allow players to bring their typical multiplayer loadouts from the base game into the fray. In Battle Royale, you can pick one of these up by coming across a loadout box, while in Plunder, you start with your preferred loadout each and every time you drop in.
So what’s the big deal? Well, the guns, perks, and attachments you can slot into your loadout are locked behind level gates. You don’t have access to everything right off the bat. But those of us who’ve been grinding away since Modern Warfare launched last year have some very fancy weapons and daunting attachments.
Are newcomers at a disadvantage? Sort of. These weapons are still “Player” ranked as opposed to the rare, epic, or legendary equipment anyone can pull out of a cache in the field, but starting out with a scope or optical sight is a damn sight better than staring down iron. See what I mean?
3. Check your sound settings
Since the days of the original Modern Warfare, the idea of using sounds of player footsteps to our advantage has been a big selling point for companies trying to peddle “gaming” headphones onto people who don’t know any better. Of course, using audial cues to track just about anything is a very real and basic practice that has been a thing in gaming far longer than the previous console generation. Still, it’s a massive part of the game, and one you can tweak in the sound settings.
Sat right at the top of the Modern Warfare sound settings menu is a drop-down box. Here, you can quickly switch between sound mix presets to fine-tune the game’s audio to your own listening preference and equipment. Expand the option and you’ll see a more detailed look at the frequencies you’re working with.
If you’re using something like the Home Theater option on your $20 cans, you’re probably botching your ability to pinpoint precious enemy movements. Listen to the music change as you flick between settings and find the one that has a good mix of highs and lows. You want clear highs to hear bullets fly by your head, and lows to hear footsteps and engine roars.
4. Bring the rocket launchers
There’s a lot to cover when it comes to the weapons you’ll use in Battle Royale. After all, what are you going to do without them? This one can be a bit controversial, but it’s a move I’ve personally had a lot of success with — bring a rocket launcher.
Modern Warfare has a few different launchers to choose from — the PILA, Strala-P, JOKR, and RPG-7. Most of us are familiar with the RPG-7: It’s long and looks funny but packs a serious punch. It’s not the one we’re recommending here, though. The Battle Royale map is huge, and when you’re on the run from the enclosing circle of deadly gas, a vehicle can sometimes be your only option. The thing is, people are either very lazy or incredibly impatient. They want to get out of the field and into combat as quickly as possible.
You’ll see people driving vehicles at all times in a match, so if you’ve foregone a secondary weapon in favor of a launcher like the PILA, you can do the whole “fire and forget” job to almost always wipe out an entire team in a flat second. The payload pays off.
5. Take note of bullet trails
Here’s another that might sound patronizingly obvious, but it’s a minor detail that can sometimes skip the mind when there are a dozen or so other things to focus on in a match. While audio cues can alert us to nearby threats, visual cues can fill in the blanks.
Bullets travel a good distance, and they’re not small enough to be completely invisible to the naked eye. You can use the bullet trails to get a good idea of your enemy’s position. Not only that, but you can also gauge the whereabouts of their target.
Before you go running in, note that if you’re seeing a bullet fly from one side of your vision to the other, running right in will put you between the enemy and their enemy — who is also your enemy. That’s two enemies. Wait for a victor to emerge, and use their greed to knock them down.
6. Learn to drop fast
Things can go wrong in a Battle Royale match almost immediately. Even before you hit the ground, in fact. The announcer apparently scans the skies, warning you of anyone about to parachute into your area. That means anyone who lands fast will absolutely grab a gun and attempt to shoot you out of the sky, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.
For that reason (and a couple of others), you need to learn to land fast. Warzone gives you manual control over your parachute. You can open it as close or far away from the ground as you want, cut it halfway, and redeploy it again as you please. Heck, you can vault off a building whenever you want, too. It makes sense to dive toward the ground and play chicken with the terrain, opening the parachute at the very last second to cushion the blow, right? Wrong.
While the game was probably designed with that idea in mind, savvy players quickly worked out that the quickest way to get onto the ground — and snag first dibs on the best loot and positions — is to continuously deploy and cut your chute. Why? We have no idea. It makes you fast and that’s all that matters.
7. Close the doors!
Another visual cue is an open door. There’s a reason you can tag an open cache to scream “someone’s been through here.” They might still be around, or they may be long gone. And you can use that simple mind game to your advantage.
If you don’t want to alert encroaching enemies of your rough whereabouts, close doors as you walk through them. It’ll give approaching opponents the thought that they’re the first to pass through the area, lowering their guard. Hold still, listen to them charge through the building, and blast them down as they get too close and overconfident.
Be aware that it’s not always a good plan. Open doors can provide cover in a pinch, and a shut door is a closed escape route. If you’re not all too confident yourself, it might be best to leave your doors ajar. If you know you can finish the job, however, set the trap and reel in the serotonin.
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