Call of Duty: WWII may return to the “boots on the ground” origin of Activision’s military shooter franchise, but the latest entry in the series has also borrowed a handful of elements from the publisher’s other major shooters: Destiny and Overwatch.
I finished the WWII single-player campaign over the weekend, and it was nothing special. It featured lots of eye-rolling dialogue from gruff men between turret sequences where you destroy the entire Nazi aerial fleet. It didn’t win me over, unlike the multiplayer. I’m really enjoying my time with team deathmatch and the other modes in WWII. In my first handful of hours online, I’ve noticed that it features ranked play similar to Overwatch and a social space similar to Destiny.
Ranked play is a small thing, and it has shown up in a lot of games. But it’s not something Activision’s developers have put into a lot of Call of Duty games. Last year’s Infinite Warfare, for example, didn’t have this alternative to public matches.
The first season of Ranked Matches begins December 1 for Call of Duty: WWII, and here’s how Sledgehammer describes it:
“Ranked play is a multiplayer game type where you compete in seasons and rank up through seven tiers to prove you are the best in the world. Battle in our competitive rule set and move through the ranks to earn exclusive Ranked Play seasonal rewards. Become one of the top 100 players at the end of the season to earn your Pro status.”
That sounds a lot like Overwatch’s competitive matches except with fewer people screaming at you for choosing Hanzo.
As for the social space, Call of Duty: WWII has something called the multiplayer HQ. This is a shared staging area where multiple people can run around at the same time as their custom fighter. In this space, you play a 1-on-1 mode, change your look, or open loot crates. Other players can even watch you open loot crates.
A lot of these features are like the social space in Destiny 2 where players hang out between missions.
All of these features are here to serve one goal, though. And that’s to keep players engaged for as long as possible. Call of Duty: WWII will have lots of downloadable content and microtransactions through loot boxes. The more players are engaged with playing in ranked matches or showing their soldier off in the HQ, the more likely they are to care about loot boxes and spending that real money.
And the deeper point here is that while Blizzard, Bungie, and the Call of Duty teams all appear to exist separate from one another, a lot of the knowledge from one studio is filtering over to the others.