Call of Duty: Warzone debuted on Tuesday as the latest free-to-play battle royale game in Activision Blizzard’s shooter series. And it hit 15 million players in four days.
The game hit 6 million players in its first 24 hours on the PC and consoles. That’s a pretty good outcome for a battle royale mode that could have been an also-ran in a world full of battle royale games.
But the team at Infinity Ward and Activision’s other studios are getting good at this, as Warzone feels like an improvement upon Call of Duty: Blackout, which debuted in the spring of 2019.
What a day! 24 hours in and over 6 million of you have dropped into #Warzone.
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) March 11, 2020
And then it kept snowballing. I’ve played a few rounds of it, and my performance isn’t anything to brag about yet. Not that it ever is. But if there’s a game I should be competent at, it’s Call of Duty. With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, I’ve hit level 78 in multiplayer. The nice thing about that is that the game gives me credit for that advancement.
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) March 14, 2020
The Warzone map is huge, with as many as 150 players in a single battle, grouped together in teams of threes. The battlefield is in a circle that keeps shrinking over time. The players get squeezed together, and they have to battle it out until the last team is standing. The map is called Operation Verdansk, and you drop onto it with your team of three from a plane. You have parachutes that can deploy and redeploy in a second, so you can speed up your descent if you’re going to slow, and then pull the chute again just before you land.
It’s not new in that way, as far as battle royales go, and it uses the familiar look and feel of Modern Warfare. But in some areas you can find loadout drops. If you reach them, you can immediately ditch the weapons you have and select a familiar loadout from your own multiplayer loadouts. For me, that means getting my hands on a fully upgraded light machine gun or a pretty powerful assault rifle.
And that gives seasoned players a fighting chance to survive in an environment with so much lethality. The map has a lot of tall buildings, but you can jump off the buildings rather than go down the stairs. You can press a button to make your shoot deploy, and then you float down to the ground. But you have to be careful when you are doing that, as someone else can shoot you out of the sky.
When you get shot, your buddies can revive you. But if they don’t or you get shot some more, you die and go to a kind of purgatory, dubbed the Gulag. There, you wait your turn to do a one-on-one Gunfight match, with a single weapon and a single opponent. If you win, you get put back into the game and spawn with your squad mates.
I did that a couple of times, but each time I spawned near some enemies and they took me out fast. I like how you get second chances, because that motivates you to stay in the game after you get shot, and so it means there’s more camaraderie among teammates.
In the video above, I managed to get second place. I got killed once but got released without a fight. Then I headed for the center of the circle and camped. Sadly, the last team I was paired against had three players, and I lost a duel.
The game has voice communication, but I have yet to run into someone who uses the microphone much. If you want to play, ping me at Openingthexbox on PS4 or Deantakgreat on Battle.net.
I think it’s well done, and it doesn’t surprise me there are 16 million players in a week.