For a battle royale concept that was as ambitious as it was addictive upon its initial release, it would be difficult for Activision to deem their project anything other than a resounding success through six complete “seasons” of additional content release.
For a concept that combines the timeless gameplay of the Call of Duty franchise with the “vogue” free-to-play gaming model of Battle Royale that encourages unique strategy from game to game and makes every kill significant in the pursuit of victory, gamers have responded with overwhelming praise.
However, even in its increasingly legitimate and sustainable mainstream popularity, there may be no more critical juncture for Activision to truly cement Warzone’s place than whatever they release on December 10th, as that would consummate only release the first iteration of Warzone on the next generation of consoles in the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, but the first edition of the game that will span across Call of Duty title releases itself, as content from both Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will find common ground within the next iteration of Warzone.
Needless to say, with so many different platforms and outlets to satisfy, there are certainly some potential obstacles in the way of creating a unique and unified Warzone experience. However, in their pre-release notes and paraphernalia, Activision seems to be willing to not only embrace these challenges, but leverage them in a way that makes in-game progression more meaningful and attractive to casual and hardcore players alike.
Starting December 10th, Activision plans to activate a universal rank reset that will put every player back on Enlisted level 1, but allows them to keep the weapons, perks, and killstreaks that they have acquired prior to the new season.
However, this fresh start may prove to be a blessing in disguise for those who could not get a head start on previous seasons, as Activision plans to implement a synchronized leveling system that implies that when a player earns XP in one of the three present titles, that level increase will be reflected across all three titles.
If anything, this solution is one that perhaps should have been active since the release of Black Ops Cold War, as it rewards those with franchise loyalty to a greater degree in addition to making sure that those who perhaps did not buy Modern Warfare but did buy the newest Call of Duty title, or were planning on waiting to buy Black Ops Cold War for when they buy a new console, are not excluded from being able to level up in the new season in some facet.
Furthermore, in order to resolve the issue of the sheer number and diversity of weapons between the two preeminent titles, Activision has decided to employ an “anything goes” approach in regards to Warzone.
Every available weapon from Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War will be available within Warzone, but there will be no weapon overlap between the two titles themselves. To be fair, this is probably the solution that would create the least possible friction for the player base at large.
This way, those that are comfortable with the loadout drops they made while Modern Warfare was the current title will not be forced to adapt by finding weapons, attachments, tacticals, and lethals that simply come close to what they are used to.
Loadout familiarity can be crucial, especially in late game setups where a player needs to be able to act essentially on first instinct. Through recognizing that, Activision gives their player base a great degree of freedom in the choice to embrace the change that comes with a new title or to stick with what works for them on an individual basis. Of course, as the theme of unity tends to pervade the upcoming update, weapon XP and prestiges will transfer between titles.
Another opportunity created by the presence of multiple largely functional titles is that of “cross title” play, a feature that will allow fluid title play between friends.
An example of this would be one friend inviting another friend to play Black Ops Cold War even if that other friend only has Modern Warfare and Warzone. The party leader has the power to navigate between these titles.
As a whole, Activision seems to be intent on creating a sense of unity within Warzone as so much within the video game industry itself changes. Although they incentivize customers to buy the newest title, Black Ops Cold War, through game-specific objectives that amount to a significant XP boost, they are still more than willing to cater to those who choose to either play Warzone exclusively or stick with Modern Warfare for the time being.
Such an approach may seem a bit unorthodox from a corporate perspective, but, as we know, unprecedented seems to be the new norm. Maybe, this level of devotion from Activision should establish new optimism in the old notion that video games are meant to bring us together rather than set us apart.