Activision is making Warzone 2.0 more like Warzone 1
Activision is making significant changes to Warzone 2.0, and a lot of it sounds like going back to Warzone 1.
While Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.0 enjoyed a massive launch late last year, player dissatisfaction has grown since then. While we don't have concurrent player numbers on console, according to SteamDB, Modern Warfare 2 player numbers have dropped off steadily following a peak in early November.
In a blog post, Activision outlined what changes Warzone 2.0 players can expect when Season 2 launches on 15th February.
Activision had already announced the return of the 1v1 Gulag from Warzone after criticism of Warzone 2.0's 2v2 Gulag. The new Gulag gets the original Warzone overtime mechanic - the Domination-style flag control point - in place of the Jailer. As part of this, Activision has "edited" the existing Gulag for better 1v1 fights, but a dedicated 1v1 map is in the works for future seasons.
If you win the Gulag and return to the fight, you get a larger cash reward than before. This is to help redeploying players get back into the game faster. Meanwhile, the Gulag will now spawn cash as ground loot to encourage exploration.
Speaking of cash, Activision said it's slightly reduced cash rewards for completing contracts, while increasing the lowest value of cash piles from ground loot to $800, and from Cash Registers to $500 (previously $100 minimum). You'll now find cash from ground loot, containers and white stronghold supply boxes, but no longer in basic and legendary supply boxes. The idea is to make for "quicker, more consistent gameplay in the pursuit of resources", Activision explained.
Moving on to loot and inventory, Warzone 2.0 will shift away from loot windows/menus to floating loot that will now drop out of all containers in the world, similar to loot from supply boxes.
The idea here is to improve the pace of gameplay by minimising time spent navigating the user interface and getting players back in the action faster. A welcome change indeed, given the negative feedback to Warzone 2.0's looting system.
Related, medium and large backpacks will no longer be available, and eliminated players will drop loot onto the ground rather than loot-filled backpacks. This means every player will have the same backpack throughout the entire game, which, Activision hopes, will subsequently reduce the impact of stacking medical supplies, equipment and killstreaks.
Here's a key change to Warzone 2.0: customisable perk packages. It's yet another change that U-turns on a significant and controversial decision made for Warzone 2.0, although the revision is not exactly as it worked in Warzone 1.
"This feature will launch with a slightly reduced pool of available perks, which we may slowly reintroduce over time," Activision said. "We want to navigate this particular feature as carefully as possible, ensuring that all available perks provide ample utility and remain viable/balanced options."
As part of the loadout changes coming to Warzone 2.0, primary weapons will be more affordable from buy stations "so that players can pursue victory with their most desired weapons".
The price of loadout drop markers has been slightly reduced so squads can buy their full loadouts at a faster pace. On "extremely rare occasions", players may find one while looting. A second loadout drop public event has been added, which means the drops will now happen on the first and fifth circles each match.
Other changes include all players starting with a three-plate vest, which means various sizes of vests will no longer exist in loot. "This standardisation will bring a more reliable feel to each engagement from the get-go," Activision said. "We'll continue looking at data about optimising downtime and improving the ability to recover from a prior engagement."
On movement, from Season 2 players will be able to bust through doors while plating the way they would if they were sprinting. This change includes a slight increase to movement speed while plating to let players get to cover faster in moments of need.
Buy stations have been made easier to access, with added spawn locations, static spawns across the map, and loadout drop markers have unlimited stock at all stations.
And finally, on strongholds, expect changes to the rewards, as well as additional adjustments to AI damage.
To me, all these changes certainly point in the direction of Warzone 1's faster game feel, and suggest Activision wants Warzone 2.0 to pick up the pace a bit, perhaps in a bid to convince lapsed fans to jump back in. Season 2 also brings a new small map as well as the return of Resurgence.