Working from home has never been better thanks to Call of Duty: Warzone. Activision has announced that the battle royale version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has now hit 50 million downloads in the month since its debut on March 10.
That’s an astonishing achievement for a free-to-play game, which is about the same as what Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment hit with the debut of Apex Legends earlier last year.
Over 50 million players.
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) April 10, 2020
Activision Blizzard and developer Infinity Ward announced the milestone in a tweet. The battle royale mode came out just as the coronavirus was forcing people to stay inside, and it seems that social distancing has contributed to its success. I’ve been playing it a lot, and the game is already on Season 3 of its Battle Pass, with a story unfolding that extends the narrative from the single-player game.
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. In four days, the total was 15 million.
The game mode was really well done as far as battle royale games go. I’ve been playing it just about every evening as a way to unwind. Sometimes I have trouble getting into a match, but if I’m persistent, it works.
As far as clever design goes, I can see why it has turned out to be popular. One of the things I like about it is that you can use your loadout from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. I’m level 108 in overall career ranking, and I have fully leveled-up loadouts from my time spent in multiplayer. (My video above shows how you can chop other players up with your helicopter blades, even if you’re not a great pilot, like me).
When you parachute into Warzone’s Verdansk map, you only have a pistol. You have to scavenge for better weapons, and it isn’t that hard to find something like a light machine gun. But during the match, you can either use your money to purchase a loadout drop or otherwise get a random loadout drop. That means that when a box parachutes into the match, you can run to it and choose one of your own loadouts.
The game is also good about keeping you occupied, even if you get taken out early. If you are killed, you go to a Gulag. Then you fight a 1-on-1 match with another player. If you win, you can parachute back into the game with your existing three-person squad. Your squad mates can also purchase your return at a “buy station.” That makes it worth sticking around, even if you are taken out early during a match.
I’ve found that it pays to be stealthy and camp out in the center of the map, or where you think the circle will be at the end. I made it into second place once, and into the top 10 about eight times now. So it feels a lot more accessible as a battle royale game. (I’ll have more coming up soon from an interview with Taylor Kurosaki, narrative director for Modern Warfare and the Warzone mode.
I’ve also been watching a lot of YouTube Jack Frags’ posts on wild things that have happened in Warzone. You can check that out too. Kurosaki told me that such things are how players are creating their own narratives within the Warzone matches. With the new season, the game has just shifted from three-player teams to four-player teams.
Teaming up with a friend who will stick with you through thick or thin is important. Too often, strangers will abandon you and try to succeed on their own. But as I discovered when I got second place, it’s a lot harder to survive at the end if you don’t have your friends around you.