Call of Duty: Warzone

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Call of Duty: Warzone
COD Warzone cover art.jpg
SeriesCall of Duty
Engine IW 8.0
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5
Xbox One
Xbox Series X/S
ReleaseMarch 10, 2020
Genre(s)Battle royale, first-person shooter

Call of Duty: Warzone is a free-to-play battle royale video game released on March 10, 2020, for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Microsoft Windows. The game is a part of 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and is connected to 2020's Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War (but does not require purchase of either titles) and was introduced during Season 2 of Modern Warfare content. Warzone is developed by Infinity Ward and Raven Software (the latter later credited as the sole developer following the integration of Cold War's content) and published by Activision.[1] Warzone allows online multiplayer combat among 150 players, although some limited-time game modes support 200 players. The game features both cross-platform play and cross-platform progression between three games.

The game features three main modes: Plunder, Resurgence, and Battle Royale. Warzone introduces a new in-game currency system which can be used at "Buy Stations" in and around the map. "Loadout" drops are an example of where Cash can be traded for limited access to players' custom classes (which were shared with Modern Warfare's standard modes prior to Season 6, v1.29, but now are unique to Warzone). Players may also use Cash to purchase items such as "killstreaks" and gas masks. Cash can be found by looting buildings and killing players that have cash on them. At launch, Warzone only offered Trios, a squad capacity of three players. However, in free post launch content updates, Solos, Duos and Quads have all been added to the game.[2][3]

The game received generally positive reviews from critics, with the maps receiving specific praise. In May 2020, Activision announced that Warzone had surpassed over 60 million downloads in the first two months. In April 2021, Activision announced that Warzone had surpassed 100 million active players.[4]


Game modes[edit]

Warzone features two primary game modes: Battle Royale and Plunder.[5] It is the second main battle royale installment in the Call of Duty franchise, following the "Blackout" mode of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (2018). Warzone differs from Black Ops 4 by reducing reliance on equipable gadgets and instead encouraging the accumulation of a new in-game currency called Cash.[5] Warzone supports up to 150 players in a single match, which exceeds the typical size of 100 players seen in other battle royale titles.[6] Some limited-time modes support 200 players.

The Battle Royale mode is similar to other titles in the genre where players compete in a continuously shrinking map to be the last player remaining. Players parachute onto a large game map, where they encounter other players. As the game progresses and players are eliminated, the playable area shrinks forcing the remaining players into tighter spaces. In Warzone, the non-playable areas become contaminated with a green gas that depletes health and eventually kills the player if they do not return to the safe playable area.[5] Unlike other titles, Warzone introduces a greater emphasis on vehicles, and a new in-game currency mechanic. Parachuting is unrestricted, with the player being allowed to open and cut their parachute an unlimited number of times while in air. At launch, the game supported trios (squads of up to three players) with an option to disable squad filling. Four-player squads and Solo BR modes were added in following updates, while Duos was added near the end of Modern Warfare Season 3.

Character death in Battle Royale does not necessarily translate to player defeat like in other titles. Instead, the mode offers a respawn mechanic which players can take advantage of in various ways. Players who are killed are transported to the "Gulag", where they engage in one-on-one combat with another defeated player, with both players being given the same weaponry. The guns that the players receive have few or no attachments. Players may only enter the gulag after their first death in a match. The winner of this combat is respawned into the game. Other methods of respawn are available using the in-game currency system. Players may use the in-game currency to purchase respawn tokens for other players should they not be revived by the Gulag mechanic.[7]

In the Plunder mode,[8] teams have to search for stacks of Cash scattered around the map to accumulate $1 million. Once found, the game goes into overtime, multiplying all Cash sums by 1.5. The team who has gathered the most money when the clock runs out is declared the winner. Players respawn automatically in this gamemode.

In addition to Battle Royale and Plunder, several limited-time modes have been introduced throughout the course of the game's life cycle:

  • BR Buy Backs (originally called BR Stimulus) is a variation of Battle Royale in which players automatically respawn upon death if they have sufficient money, and the Gulag is disabled.
  • Blood Money is a variation of Plunder in which players gain more cash rewards from completing contracts and performing "finishing moves" (execution kills) on other players.
  • Warzone Rumble is a 50v50 team deathmatch mode taking place in cut-off sections of the main Verdansk map, which contributes to multiplayer stats.
  • Mini Royale is a 50-player mode in which players drop within a smaller circle than normal Battle Royale modes, for more squad engagements.
  • Kingslayer is a multi-team deathmatch mode in which squads engage against each other in a constantly moving circle until one squad reaches the score limit and wins.
  • Juggernaut Royale features the Juggernaut killstreak dropping in random places throughout the map. Up to three Juggernauts can be active at once in the map. Once a Juggernaut is killed, another Juggernaut care package will spawn in.
  • Armored Royale features squads spawning in with armored trucks, which players can upgrade to be more powerful over time. Unlike normal modes, players can continue to respawn as long as their squad's truck is intact.

Following the introduction of Rebirth Island as part of Black Ops Cold War's integration, several new modes were introduced exclusive to the new map:

  • Rebirth Mini Royale plays similarly to the main Battle Royale mode, with 40 players maximum allowed in a match.
  • Rebirth Resurgence, similar to the BR Buy Backs mode, disables the Gulag, but players can only respawn if there is at least one living squad member. If the entire squad is wiped, they are eliminated from the rest of the match.

As part of the Destruction of Verdansk event,[9] two new limited-time modes were introduced in two parts:

  • Destruction of Verdansk, Part 1 was a solo or 50v50 mode that turned players into Zombies after death, leaving the remaining human players to fend off the horde until they too are infected.
  • Destruction of Verdansk, Part 2 was a multi-team mode in which players were dropped into a night-time version of Rebirth Island tasked to retrieve a nuclear device, and respawned upon death.



Verdansk is the original Battle Royale map featured in the game, themed after the fictional city featured in the Modern Warfare campaign and multiplayer modes. The map is based on the real-life Donetsk city. Verdansk serves as the primary map for most of the game modes featured in Warzone. A night-time variation of the map was introduced in Modern Warfare Season 6, as part of a limited-time Halloween event.

Verdansk '84[edit]

After the original Verdansk map was nuked in the Destruction of Verdansk event, players were presented with a complete reimagining of the city taking place in the spring of 1984. A large majority of structures and locations were retouched and revisited, with refined details and touch-ups to better fit the time it is set in. The map features seven new locations, five revamped locations,[10] the removal of several structures and obstacles, and the addition of a new centerpiece, the Grid Radar Array.[11] A large mushroom cloud in the northern outskirts of the map was visible for a short time. As a part of the new map's launch, a limited-time event titled "Hunt for Adler" was featured, in which players were tasked with locating Russell Adler's belongings throughout the map. Also featured are new global loadout changes from Modern Warfare to Black Ops: Cold War to fit the new timeline.[12][13]

Rebirth Island[edit]

Rebirth Island is the second map introduced in the game with the integration of Black Ops Cold War's contents. The map is based on the real-life Vozrozhdeniya Island, which was also featured in the Call of Duty: Black Ops campaign mode. Design-wise, the map is a re-imagination of "Alcatraz Island", previously featured in Black Ops 4's Blackout mode. Unlike Verdansk, Rebirth Island is smaller in scale, only allowing 40 players maximum per match.

Rebirth Island also has a special Rebirth system: while at least one teammate of a player is alive, said player can respawn after a short amount of time. This time is increased as the game progresses, and respawns are ultimately turned off after 10 minutes.


Every player starts off with the X16, M19, 1911 (Modern Warfare version), and the Renetti pistols on Rebirth Island gamemodes, or the 1911 (Cold War version) for Verdansk gamemodes with no attachments. But sometimes on Rebirth Island gamemodes, In a middle to late game, Players can sometimes get a upgraded X16, M19, or Renetti. Players can pick up every component found in a standard loadout (primary and secondary weapons, lethal and tactical equipment, field upgrades, and kill streaks) as they search the map for items scattered across the ground and from supply boxes found in designated locations. Additional equipment unique to Warzone are armor plates. Three of these armor plates can be equipped to a player at a given time with the ability to carry up to five plates in the players' inventory or up to eight if the player has found an armor satchel. Players can also pick up cash that can be used at buy stations to purchase various killstreaks or support items. Custom weapon loadouts can be acquired from loadout crates. These loadout crates appear periodically throughout a match and can also be purchased from buy stations. In Plunder, players spawn with custom loadouts, similar to regular Multiplayer modes.

Black Ops Cold War integration[edit]

For the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Activision and Treyarch announced that the game would feature a unified progression system with Warzone, allowing items from Cold War multiplayer modes to be usable within Warzone, alongside Modern Warfare items players have earned or purchased. Season 1 of Cold War content was released on December 16, 2020, which integrated Cold War's weapons and their associated cosmetic items into Warzone.[14][15]


Warzone's story is intertwined with the seasonal narratives of Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War. Verdansk is used as a common setting across various multiplayer maps in Modern Warfare, while Rebirth Island is inspired by locations and stories in previous Black Ops games.

Modern Warfare[edit]

In 2020, following an attack orchestrated by Khaled Al-Asad and Victor Zakhaev, the city of Verdansk is engulfed in a cloud of toxic gas. The Armistice, a joint faction consisting of Russian (Allegiance) and NATO (Coalition) operators, quickly disbands amidst the chaos of the attack, while the operators form smaller sub-factions as they fight one another for survival. Following months of searching, Task Force 141, led by Captain John Price, eventually tracks down Zakhaev and stops him from launching a nuclear missile.

Black Ops Cold War[edit]

In 1984, Perseus operative Vikhor "Stitch" Kuzmin rebuilds and recommissions Rebirth Island's facilities for production of the lethal Nova-6 gas. At some point, a cargo ship named Vodianoy departed from the island, only to mysteriously disappear in the middle of the sea. 37 years later, in 2021, the ship reappears and crashes on the shores of Verdansk, unleashing zombies into the wild. Over the weeks, the zombies tread throughout the city, leaving behind radiated contamination traces. Eventually, all Armistice operators are forced to evacuate Verdansk, while nuclear missiles are ordered to strike and wipe out the undead threat, annihilating the city in the process.

Back in 1984, following Russell Adler's capture at the hands of Stitch, the CIA conduct a search and rescue operation, and eventually track him from Laos to Verdansk, where Stitch held him captive. On June 2, 1984, two Perseus operatives Freya "Wraith" Helvig and Roman "Knight" Gray infiltrate a secret military base on Mount Yamantau to retrieve data related to Nikita Dragovich's Project Nova, which Stitch hopes to use in order to activate sleeper agents in Verdansk. Ten days later, a CIA squad lead by Frank Woods rescues Adler in Verdansk, while Stitch orders Wraith and Knight to reach out to their contact in South Africa to handle the CIA's satellites currently interfering with the numbers broadcast.

Announcement and release[edit]

Warzone was released on March 10, 2020, following a series of glitches and leaks in the preceding month. The existence of the game had been leaked a month prior by a post on Reddit, and a software glitch that same month briefly allowed players to view an early version of the battle map. On March 8, 2020, two days before release, YouTube streamer Chaos published an 11-minute video claiming to feature gameplay from the unreleased Warzone title. The video was removed, and on March 9, Warzone's publisher, Activision, officially announced that the game would be released on March 10.[6][7] On March 11, 2020, Activision announced that Warzone had been downloaded by six million people in the first 24 hours.[16] After four days, it was revealed that Warzone had been downloaded by over 15 million people.[17]

On May 5, 2020, Activision announced that Warzone had surpassed over 60 million downloads in the first two months.[18]


Call of Duty: Warzone received "generally favorable reviews" from critics across all platforms, according to review aggregator Metacritic.

In its 7/10 review, GameSpot praised the variety and size of the maps, and wrote: "Warzone is a great sophomore attempt at a battle royale from Call of Duty, which finally manages to carve out its own identity with interesting spins on the existing formula. Its subversion of death and the nail-biting Gulag duels give you more ways to stay in a match, while also forcing you to be aware of your surroundings even after wiping a rival squad."[22] IGN also gave the game 7/10, summarizing with: "Call of Duty: Warzone's beta remains thoroughly enjoyable even in spite of the serious concessions to depth made in the name of instant gratification."[23]

As of April 2021, the game has more than 100 million players worldwide.[24]

It was nominated for Best Multiplayer and Best Ongoing at The Game Awards 2020.[25]


  1. ^ Additional work by Beenox, High Moon Studios, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, and Activision Shanghai


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  2. ^ West, Josh (March 10, 2020). "42 Call of Duty: Warzone gameplay features and details that you need to know before jumping into Verdansk". GamesRadar. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  3. ^ "Call of Duty®: Warzone Mode Recon: Battle Royale Quads".
  5. ^ a b c Gonzalez, Oscar (March 9, 2020). "Call of Duty Warzone: Everything you need to know about the new battle royale mode". CNET. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Machkovich, Sam (March 9, 2020). "Call of Duty's free-to-play, cross-platform battle royale launches March 10". ArsTechnica. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Favis, Elise (March 9, 2020). "Activision confirms Call of Duty: Warzone, a new free-to-play battle royale game". Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  8. ^ "Call of Duty: Warzone - Release date, modes, and everything we know". March 9, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  9. ^ "Call of Duty: Warzone's Verdansk map was destroyed in a nuclear blast, at least when it wasn't crashing". Polygon. April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  10. ^ April 2021, Ben Tyrer 22. "Verdansk 84 is the new map for Call of Duty: Warzone". gamesradar. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  11. ^ "Call of Duty: Warzone's Verdansk 84 map features plenty of changes". VG247. April 22, 2021. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  12. ^ "Call of Duty: Warzone's new map is a 1984 version of Verdansk| PC Gamer". April 22, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  13. ^ "Verdansk '84 is now live in Warzone Season 3: Three big map changes". Playstation.Blog. April 22, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  14. ^ "Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer Reveal". Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  15. ^ "Season One for Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War and Warzone™ Release Date Moved to December 16". Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  16. ^ "Call of Duty Warzone has over six million players 24 hours after launch". March 12, 2020.
  17. ^ "'Call of Duty: Warzone' Has Already Passed 15 Million Players".
  18. ^ McWhertor, Michael (April 10, 2020). "Call of Duty: Warzone hits 50M players in first month". Polygon. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
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  20. ^ "Call of Duty: Warzone for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  21. ^ "Call of Duty: Warzone for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Barbosa, Allesandro (March 27, 2020). "Call of Duty: Warzone Review". GameSpot. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  23. ^ a b Duggan, James (March 20, 2020). "Call of Duty: Warzone Review". IGN. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  24. ^ Mattone, James (April 21, 2021). "Two incredible milestones: Call of Duty®: Warzone™ Reaches 100 Million Players, Premium Call of Duty® Game Sales Eclipses 400 Million". Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  25. ^ Tassi, Paul (December 11, 2020). "Here's The Game Awards 2020 Winners List With A Near-Total 'Last Of Us' Sweep". Forbes.

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