Warzone developers explain decision to move from 150 player to 100 player matches for “an optimal and fun experience”

Modern Warfare 3 Season One
(Image credit: Activision)

Today (December 6) marks the long-awaited arrival of Season One of Modern Warfare 3’s live-service content. This massive update includes a range of new weapons, maps, operators, and, of course, a new battle pass to grind through across its multiplayer modes but also brings some meaty mechanical changes to the game’s free-to-play battle royale component, Warzone.

In addition to the arrival of an all-new map, Urzikstan, not to mention the introduction of all of Modern Warfare 3’s movement mechanics and weapons, the mode will see its overall player count decrease from 150 players per match to 100. Although this format is not uncommon in battle royale games (just look at Fortnite's 100-player matches), it left some fans wondering why the decision was taken.

Thankfully, Warzone developer Raven Software has taken to Twitter to explain some of the factors behind the change. “Our top priority is creating an optimal and fun experience for all our players based on critical metrics,” they explain in a recent post.

This means a careful consideration of “time-to-action, the map size of Urzikstan, new circle timings and sizes, total match time (20 minutes), red dots, contracts, and various new & existing second change mechanics.” Reducing the player count to 100, they argue, will be “the right balance to offer multiple phases starting with fair infil & looting, followed by healthy mid-game engagements, and an end-game climax.” You can read the full post below:

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As a frequent player of both Warzone and Modern Warfare 3, I’m fairly certain that this decision was made primarily because of the dramatically increased movement speed found in the Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer, which would make a lot of sense, given the statement. 

Bringing those faster movement mechanics to Warzone without also adjusting the player count could potentially create overly hectic matches where you’re constantly engaging quickly advancing enemy teams from multiple angles - which sounds fun on paper but would disrupt the expected pace of most games.

Whether or not the change will be a positive step has yet to be seen, but the developers will be “making adjustments as needed” to the formula based on community feedback.

For more on Call of Duty, read our Modern Warfare 3 review or see our Modern Warfare 3 Zombies guide for tips.

Dashiell Wood
Hardware Writer

Dash is TechRadar Gaming's Hardware Writer. Before joining TechRadar, he was a print journalist writing articles for some of the UK's biggest gaming magazines including PLAY, Edge, PC Gamer, and SFX. Now, when he's not getting his greasy little mitts on the newest hardware or gaming gadget, he can be found feverishly devouring the latest Nintendo Switch otome.