News - The New Warzone Needs Fixing
I've been covering the new version of War Zone in a lot of depth recently, and I've been impressed with a lot of the changes and quality of life focus that have come in with the integration of Modern Warfare 3 and War Zone. While I was in LA for Call of Duty next, there was actually a really brilliant segment by the guys over at Raven Software, where the head of the studio effectively walked in and said.
Here's all the things you don't like, and here's how we're going to fix them, and that was a really promising part of the presentation. I wanted to talk to you guys today about a few of the concerns I have. These are a few issues that I've had a bit of a think about and things that I feel really need solving before December and season 1.
Some of them are fairly small and unsubstantial issues but are things that are worth fixing, and others are sort of major overarching concerns. With only a limited amount of gameplay, it's difficult to be 100% accurate about these concerns, and some of them. I'm certain, are being tracked or are already in tracking with the guys at Raven Software.
Some of them that I'm going to be speaking about are ones they themselves even addressed at the event, as you've seen in my other content on the whole. I'm pretty happy with the War Zone experience I played, and I think it's pushing the game in a really positive direction, but I think all of these things can be undermined by very minimal frustrations.
If there are too many of them, and there are very major frustrations if certain systems don't work well, the first big concern is the play count and map density. Now, this is something that they did say that they're keeping an eye on in terms of circle timing. Circle collapsed, and the game actually fit the expectation of the amount of action that you get in the game, but we played with 100 players at this event, and I felt like it was already too low.
Now I don't know if that was just a limitation of the event, as there were 200 of us there and it made sense to have two games of 100 players running simultaneously, but it already didn't feel like enough. Now, naturally, some of that will be down to people changing settings and trying to fix their loadouts and guns and fix the systems that they were on at the event, but even in a game that was kind of full-flowing and felt like a natural game.
I really felt as though there was a player count concern. The map is somewhere around the size of a map that's in between Caldera and Al Maaza, so it's a fairly decently large map, but the thing about this map is the density. There is a high number of buildings and a huge amount of detail, and every single point of interest has crazy things going on, like cave systems, underground waterways, flanking routes, and things that are additive layers to an already fairly dense map.
When you combine a fairly decent-sized map with a high density of buildings, the concern is how often you'll actually run into players. This is an early concern, and I'll be more interested to see how it plays out when the game actually releases. But I feel a player count closer to 120 would be a safe bet on launch, and then sort of scale it up or down from there.
At the end of the day, the player count doesn't really matter so long as server stability is good and the intensity of gameplay is preserved. Speaking of server performance and serviceability, that leads me on to point number two. This has to be a focus going into the new Call of Duty. In the hit regge that we've played in multiplayer, the general feeling of the gun play has felt so much better, and that would be completely demolished and completely ruined if we found ourselves in yet another war zone game where the refresh rate of the server is low, ping spikes are frequent, packet bursts and packet overwhelming scenarios are common, and this has to be a priority.
For the new war zone, the service stability and performance that we had at the beginning of war zone 2 during the peak of artificial intelligence strongholds and black sites were the worst. I think I've ever seen in a battle royale It's definitely better now, but there are still instances where server performance is a huge concern, especially considering how much the play count has also dropped since the release of the game.
Concern number three is the manual gas mask. There is the ability to put the gas mask on manually by equipping it in your inventory, but I feel as though the system that they have right now isn't super intuitive. You can unequip and equip the gas mask whenever you please; however, the problem that I'm noticing with this system fairly early on is that it's a lot of fumbling around your inventory to get the gas mask on, which I think is going to get a lot of people killed.
I would really like it if the gas mask had its own dedicated backpack slot and it was the first slot that your interface automatically selected whenever you were in your inventory. This would mean that you would effectively be able to press two buttons and instantly have your gas mask equipped rather than fumbling around the various inventory slots and allow for really fluid use of the gas mask without having to add a bunch of extra keybinds and a bunch of random interface protocols, just a single gas mask button and a single gas mask switch inside your inventory, and that would be the perfect fix.
I really like the manual gas mask, but there really needs to be a dedicated slot for it. The fourth concern of mine is the general fluidity of the game. A lot of people noticed there was a small delay when coming out of the slide mechanism, and that's something that I feel needs to be completely deleted.
It is something you can address in Modern Warfare 3 with certain amounts of equipment, but the equipment system is not carrying over, so ultimately. I feel as though that mechanic needs to operate differently in the war zone; there doesn't need to be a delay; likewise, there were still a couple of scenarios, whether it was coming off of zip lines horizontal or vertical, or mantling over certain objects where I still felt it was a little bit too slow.
The horizontal zipline in particular had a really prolonged animation, and whilst it did feel as though that animation was still fairly early. I think most people are just looking for general speed and fluidity. So I really feel as though they should just give all of these animations one more passover and make sure they feel tight and compact in a way that they would expect the new war zone movement.