What Battle Royale Games Can Learn From Warzone
Activision released the newest addition to the Call of Duty franchise recently in a surprising announcement and subsequent release. Though we knew about it for a while through leaks and teases, it was shocking to have the game announced and then released the next day, much like what happened with Apex Legends.
Call of Duty Warzone Is Here and Pretty Good
Call of Duty Warzone is here and it is quite good. We’ve played a bunch of it over the last couple of weeks (COVID-19 and all that). There is a lot to love about Activision’s latest attempt at the battle royale experience.
For those counting, this is the third one thus far, following up on the first one that was Blackout for 2018’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and then Call of Duty Mobile that officially launched only a few weeks before the release of Modern Warfare in October 2019.
Call of Duty Warzone is, technically, part of the Modern Warfare experience. However, it is also its own standalone thing, a fix of the whole Blackout situation. As such, it is something that we expect will reiterate and expand long after Modern Warfare is mostly done and over with.
Warzone Unique Features That Other Games Could Take From It
Given the fact that Call of Duty Warzone is so good, there is a lot that the other battle royale games in its genre could learn from it. Warzone releases years after other games like Fortnite, PUBG, and even a year after the release of Apex Legends, a game it takes some cues from.
In the battle royale genre, it is quite common for these games to look at each other and iterate some similar ideas. We’ve seen this many times in the past when it comes to things like respawns, entirely new maps, the ping system, and so on.
The category of games is continuously growing and each game within it mostly grows when the others come up with something fresh and new. Even Warzone itself takes some cues from other games. But that said, it also released as a unique experience unlike previous Call of Duty battle royale games.
Some truly amazing gameplay features are unique to Warzone that we love and would like to see other games in the genre emulate. These Call of Duty Warzone best features include the way it handles respawns, the contracts system, and everything Plunder.
As such, we are going to go over the Call of Duty Warzone best features in the game currently and what we think Fortnite, PUBG, Apex Legends, and the rest of the battle royale games could learn from them.
Bigger Map and Player Count
First and foremost, the most obvious change that Warzone has over the other games in its genre (including its Call of Duty predecessors) is the map size and player count. The Verdansk map is massive and varied. It covers everything from detailed cities to snowy fields, farm land, and more.
There is a lot to see and explore around the map with a ton of named locations to visit. It could take weeks or a month to get around and get a good feel for everything offered.
But then there is the player count, too. Warzone matches offer up to 150 players per match of battle royale. It is a lot more than the usual 100 players for most games or 60, in the case of Apex Legends. This changes up how maps feel and work with almost no quiet or safe area at the start of a match.
While that might not be the most welcoming feel for someone like me, I still appreciate this and feel like at least PUBG should give a similar feel at some point. I don’t think it would work for Fortnite or Apex at this time for larger maps and a number of players, but this is welcome nonetheless.
Gulag Respawn System
With the most obvious portion of the Call of Duty Warzone best features out of the way, we can get to the more nitty and gritty things that make this game stand out. The first is the way the game handles respawns in the form of the Gulag system.
No matter what (except for time and circles), you are guaranteed to at least have a chance to come back in Warzone. That is just going to be there with the Gulag system. When you die the first time, you are taken prisoner and sent to Gulag where you wait until it is your turn.
Then you are sent into the ring as all of the other prisoners watch. You duel it out against another dead player until one of you wins or it is a stalemate. If someone wins, they are immediately sent back into the match of Warzone and can rejoin their teammates.
However, if you lose the duel or it is a stalemate, you are still dead. There are ways to respawn after this fact but we will save this for the next topic. The Gulag system is an interesting solution for the problem many battle royale games have of players leaving early.
Even if you can respawn in a battle royale game, most players are going to just leave anyway, at least in my experience. But so far, I have had far more players stay in the game because of how this system works.
Expanded Buy Stations
In fact, the respawn system doesn’t end there. It can also include the buy stations, places you can visit to purchase items in a match using the cash you receive. Players can get cash from various tasks like opening crates, completing missions, and so on.
Though other games have buy locations like the vending machines in Fortnite, it works wonders and is useful in Warzone. The buy stations offer equipment in the form of loadout drops, self-revive kits to keep yourself alive, and even the option to buy your teammate a respawn.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve seen players more willing to stay in the match even if they lose in the Gulag because I have almost enough money to bring them back. The buy station is a valuable place to get immediate rewards for the cash you get from things like contracts.
Contracts: Optional Objectives to Complete
Contracts is another one of the Call of Duty Warzone best features that other games should implement. They are essentially optional missions you can do while in the match. They typically consist of things like capturing a specific point or eliminating a particular player.
They are usually short and brief missions near your immediate location. You won’t have to go far at all to accomplish them. These change up the pace of the match and give you something extra to do while trying to generally survive in the match.
This leads to engaging gameplay moments that you simply won’t find in other battle royale titles. For instance, if you get a bounty hunt mission, you will see the general area of the particular player you are hunting down for that contract.
The player will know you are coming for them but not know where you are at and be at a slight disadvantage. It leads to some crazy moments with potential cat-and-mouse chases as you go after them and they run away from you.
Some teams will bunker down in a location and take advantage of you not knowing where they are to get the drop on you as you look for them by hiding on rooftops and the like. It creates some interesting scenarios that always give you more to do.
This is a solution for the problem that some players have with battle royale games. They will have quiet moments with nothing to do. Some players have issues with that. Other games like Apex could implement this to help fix the problem.
Vehicle and Perk Options
Warzone has an extensive list of vehicle and perk options, which is not necessarily new for the Call of Duty battle royale games. You can use five different types of vehicles and they are all different in utility.
There are land vehicles plus aerial ones that you can use. While PUBG does allow for more vehicles than most, this is certainly something that Fortnite and Apex Legends could learn more from. It launched with these vehicles available and plenty of options are there.
Also, there are the signature perks that you can get to allow to do things like deploy cover. They shake up the gameplay and make it more than just running and gunning. These aren’t the most exciting features in Warzone but they are worth implementing in other games.
Quick Addition of Permanent Modes
We’re looking at you, Apex Legends, on this one, specifically. Call of Duty Warzone came out and there were immediate similarities between it and Apex Legends. For starters, there was the fact that the two games both were announced and then released for free soon after.
These surprising launches did well for both of them. They each had only trios available at launch. It was strange to see Warzone only have three-player teams available and nothing else. Apex Legends has done this for a year now with only limited-time modes breaking up the monotony.
However, Warzone quickly broke off these similarities. In a bizarre and shocking move, it released the solos mode a week after launch. Why it wasn’t just there at launch is a good question, but the addition is welcome nonetheless.
The quick permanent addition should make Apex Legends do more to better itself. By far, the biggest issue that the community has is the lack of other game modes besides normal and ranked.
Solos, duos, and four-player squads are all desired by the community but they have only ever shown up in limited quantities. With a year under its belt, the changes by Warzone should spur it to finally make a move.
All of Plunder
Last but not least, we have all of the Plunder game mode. Warzone launched not just with battle royale but with Plunder, too. It is not battle royale at all. There are constant respawns available and the game mode isn’t about being the last team standing.
Instead, you gather up cash by stealing from other teams, looting, and completing contracts until the team with the most money at the end wins. The number of players does not dwindle, so there is almost constant action.
The feeling of Plunder is totally unlike battle royale. It lets the player truly experience the entire map and the Call of Duty Warzone best features that the game offers. Other games like Fortnite and Apex Legends could learn from this.
Sure, Fortnite has plenty of modes added over the years but rarely does it make them permanent. Even the Team Rumble mode is just all about eliminating other players. It would be nice to see something with another objective like gathering cash or materials or even similar to the Avengers crossover mode be a permanent addition.