Call of Duty: Warzone has landed – meaning it’s about time you and your squad start parachuting into the massive, 150-player battle royale game.
The tagline for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) may have told players to “Go Dark”, but in truth, the Warzone battle royale game – as distinct from the Blackout mode in Modern Warfare – has been leaking all over the place, rather than being particularly stealthy about it.
Either way, it’s here, and Warzone offers plenty of fresh tweaks to the battle royale formula to make it worth a try. In fact, with the game being completely free-to-play – with the exception of a paywall on Xbox One – there’s no reason not to.
Once you’re installed Warzone, you’ll be one of 150 players dropping into the map, and you’ll no doubt be looking for some guidance to help you get started in the new Call of Duty battle royale game. To that end, here are ten tips to help you outlast the rest.
1. Ping, ping, ping
Warzone takes a page out of Apex Legends’ book, by replicating Respawn’s excellent Ping system. This lets you identify loot, locations, and enemy positions with the touch of a button – like on-demand sonar.
It makes it much easier to coordinate strategies within your squad, and you should be pinging often. Don’t forget to double-tap the Ping button to instantly notify your squad of an enemy presence, too – you’d be surprised how handy it can be just to give a rough idea of where another squad is lurking.
2. Split the cash
In the bottom left of your screen in Warzone, your teammates' status is shown, along with how much cash they’re holding.
That’s handy because if you’ve been eliminated you’ll be relying on them to buy you a redeployment from the nearest Buy Station (a spot for buying upgrades or special features with the cash you earn from kills). That’s a lot easier if they have plenty of currency, so be sure to share around the cash with them as you loot.
In fact, you can drop cash directly from your inventory to ensure everyone has enough for emergencies: consider it a rainy day fund.
3. Bargain hunting
Cash is plentiful in Warzone, which is just as well, as there’s plenty you can spend it on.
While you can pick up killstreaks – more on those later – you can also buy items like armor plating and self-revives at Buy Stations. At certain points in the game, these kinds of items are actually discounted, helping your money go further.
Just remember that Buy Stations are hotspots for enemy activity – and are likely to attract camping snipers in the area – so make sure to stay sharp.
4. Killstreaks aren't killstreaks
‘Killstreak’ is a bit of a misnomer in Warzone, since you don’t earn killstreaks by slaying enemies. That said, you can loot unused ones from fallen foes, and nothing says irony like dropping a cluster strike on the team that saved their hard-earned cash for it.
At launch, killstreaks are devastating in late-game scenarios because of their relatively small areas of impact. The UAV is restricted to a 100m radius, while the cluster and precision strikes rely on unsuspecting enemies being in a tight final circle.
Finally, the Shield turret is really only ideal for fortifying an existing area. While it deals plenty of damage, it leaves you as a sitting duck with no protection from flanking enemies.
5. Suit up (protect yourself)
Unlike other battle royale titles, armor isn’t made up of helmets or vests. Instead, players accrue plates which can be inserted manually into the standard vest.
Players can equip three plates, boosting health from 100HP to 250HP, but they can hold five plates in total. This means you can recover from broken armor yourself, or pass it to a friend.
When firing at an enemy’s body, an armor icon will appear when they’re protected, before a ‘cracking sound’ signifies that it has been broken.
The general rule of thumb is to aim for the head, of course, but be sure to keep an eye out for the telltale hit-marker that suggests your opponent could take a clip or two before they go down.
Wondering about health items? Unlike Blackout, there aren’t any. In Warzone, health regenerates when you’re out of combat, just like in campaign or multiplayer modes.
6. Beware of vehicles
Warzone offers plenty of options for getting around, but all come with one sizeable disadvantage – they’re loud. If you’re driving an ATV, a truck, or especially a helicopter, you’ll be a prime target for snipers and rocket launchers.
With that in mind, try to park up at the edge of play zones to avoid barreling straight into the crossfire of multiple squads congregating towards the epicenter.
If you are desperate for a vehicle, they tend to always spawn in the same locations – so after a few matches, you’ll likely know where to find one.
7. Solider of fortune
Contracts are a new addition to the battle royale genre and offer randomized objectives within a match.
They’re shown on your map, and come in three flavors. There’s Bounty, which designates an enemy as a priority target; Scavenger, which denotes specific crates to open for supplies; and Recon, which tasks you with defending a certain area à la Domination.
Rewards include bonus cash, extra experience towards your Battle Pass, and upgraded loot, too.
They also offer a fun new way to play, pushing players out of their comfort zones. Just remember, a squad can only have one active contract at a time, so you’ll all want to work towards the objective.
8. Don't get too attached
Whereas much of the fun of PUBG and Apex Legends is slotting attachments into the guns you have, Warzone surprisingly goes the way of Fortnite. Looted weapons don’t come with any attachments or scopes, which can be jarring at first.
Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll find named weapons. These are taken from the Gunsmith’s options in the main multiplayer mode of Modern Warfare and offer fixed attachment setups for weapons. So, while your base assault rifle may not offer a great deal of utility at range, you’ll be able to swap it out for an all-singing, all-dancing variant – if you find it.
These can be found in supply crates or as rewards for the Contracts we mentioned earlier, but you can also pick attachments for whichever gun is in your Custom Loadout.
These loadouts can be purchased from Buy Stations and will drop onto the map like care packages – so pray no one sees it crash to Earth before you get your hands on your beloved shotgun.
Supply Crates also make a sound when you’re near, a lot like Fortnite’s Treasure Chests but a lot less obvious. Keep your ear to the ground.
9. Death is not defeat
One of the major deviations of Warzone from the battle royale formula is that it offers you a second chance after death – if you can earn it.
Death on the battlefield puts you into the Gulag, a prison where you’ll go one-on-one with another inmate and the winner will earn their freedom (which in this case means redeploying to the main Battle Royale, without loot and armor).
There is more than one Gulag, and while it’s all very macabre, we’ve seen players take to throwing rocks to distract those fighting and swing the result.
Yo, @InfinityWard... 👀 https://t.co/xvFSUU8rcTMarch 11, 2020
Of course, that’s handy if you’re watching your squadmate fight, but calling out the enemy’s position is likely a better use of your time.
10. Greed is good
While Battle Royale is undoubtedly the headline of the Warzone package, there’s another mode called Plunder.
This one is all about cold, hard cash – and you’ll want to loot quickly and take out enemies to steal their money. The team with the most cash at the end is declared the winner, which makes landing in hotspots where you’re likely to find a larger amount of currency a priority.
Contracts also offer a steady cash increase, so it’s worth looking out for those in this mode, too.