Two of Warzone’s biggest, ongoing points of contention are Dead Silence and Heartbeat Sensors. Both items have become synonymous with the Call of Duty brand, and are now commonplace in Warzone’s battle royale. So we’re going to take a look at each, their impact, and whether or not they should stay in the game.
Dead Silence first emerged as a top Perk in 2007’s immortal Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, whereas the Heartbeat Sensor arrived a mere two years after it in Modern Warfare 2. CoD fans will be familiar with the items, and they’ve never caused too many issues in the past.
However, the same cannot be said for their presence in Warzone. Activision’s premiere battle royale experience launched in March 2020, and both pieces of equipment have constantly flirted with heated discussion over their admission into the game’s inventory.
But why? Well, they both provide huge advantages that can massively impact a game of battle royale. Not only that, but they are items that can encourage camping, and also hinder players unable to grab their loadout.
Let’s get into it.
Should Dead Silence stay dead in Warzone?
The obvious counterargument to the removal of Dead Silence is that in its Warzone form, it’s only a temporary buff. It adheres to the Warzone ethos of randomized loot as it cannot be directly equipped in a loadout.
But a fascinating point to consider is that Warzone’s Verdansk also had another pickup that was arguably just as deadly — Stopping Power. Harnessing this power, players could effectively supercharge their ammo clip and give the gun a massive DPS boost.
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The thing is, this required a lot more skill in most cases as you still needed to be able to aim and land your shots, but Raven Software felt this was too much and omitted the item from Warzone’s new Caldera map. It begs the question as to why they felt the need to remove Stopping Power but not Dead Silence.
Dead Silence, once activated, provides absolute silence for a short, but long enough, period of time. There’s an element of skill and timing required to truly maximize its effectiveness, but it’s still an overpowered ability that gives you superpowers.
All you need to do is lay eyes on an opponent, trigger Dead Silence, rush at them with carefree abandon and you can kill them with a surprise attack. Because let’s make it very clear, if you’re on the receiving end, and you’re not looking at the fleet-footed ninja making a beeline for you, there’s just nothing you can do.
Scratch that, you can equip High Alert in the Perk 2 slot, but absolutely no one is going to favor that over Ghost and Overkill when Heartbeat Sensors and UAVs are around, and it only truly combats a single piece of field equipment you’re not guaranteed to face.
Even the world’s leading pros can do very little against a completely silent and unprovoked attack. It’s a super OP mechanic that players have wanted to be removed for the longest time. As an audio connoisseur, Dr Disrespect has been extremely vocal about Dead Silence being removed saying: “It’s still something that we, all the players, don’t want in the game anymore. Two years later, how many times do we have to say we don’t want it, for it to still be in the game. It’s still in there!”
According to the game’s launch patch notes, Dead Silence has been nerfed so it will now “refresh on first kills only, with reduced drop rates found in loot”. Yet, there are Dead Silences aplenty in Caldera, and Raven might need to seriously consider how they approach a huge aspect of the game that fans have campaigned to be removed for nearly two years now.
Heartbeat Senses are always tingling in Warzone
Again, like Dead Silence, the launch of Warzone Pacific was supposed to usher in a new era for one of the game’s most popular pieces of equipment. Heartbeat Sensors are handy pieces of tech that you can whip out in the blink of an eye and they reveal the position of un-Ghosted enemies in a 50m radius.
Warzone and Vanguard Season 1 has indeed impacted the sensor and reduced its capabilities, but as with most first-time nerfs, the results are almost negligible.
In the same way that the devs tend to ever-so-slightly increase recoil and reduce a gun’s DPS by 1 point in a couple of hit regions, the Heartbeat Sensor has had its ping time increased by three seconds. In a game of battle royale that can last anywhere up to about 25 minutes, this is a nothing change.
The Ghost Perk is obviously well-suited to deal with Heartbeat Sensors, but that creates more problems in itself. Being forced to pick Ghost negates other Perks in the category, and if you don’t have it, then you’re exposed. Players wanting to snipe need a secondary weapon, so Ghost is out of the question and Overkill is the answer.
There’s also the ‘unfair’ part of the equation that can apply to multiple scenarios. Firstly, Heartbeat Sensors are ground loot. If you’re lucky enough to score a great gun, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll win a firefight. Neither does a Heartbeat Sensor, but the opponent will still likely have a gun, making for somewhat of a fair fight.
If you have a Heartbeat Sensor and they don’t, then they’re basically at your mercy. Once you also factor in that Loadout Drops cannot be obtained until the first Loadout event occurs, then many players have a great advantage for the first few, important minutes of the game. If they have Dead Silence as well, then you may as well start mentally preparing yourself for that impending Gulag scrap.
Here’s another scenario for you to mull over: One player has racked up 5-10 kills, dies, and ends up in a late-game Gulag fight. Another has kept well-hidden for the majority of the game camping in buildings, cradling their trusty Heartbeat Sensor for precious snippets of info. The player wins the Gulag, jumps back into the fight, the circle is closing with less than 30 people left, and unless there’s a free, and probably well-guarded, Loadout Drop waiting, then they don’t have Ghost.
Is it fair to punish the respawning player by having them exposed to the umpteen Heartbeat Sensors all being simultaneously watched?
So what’s Warzone’s solution?
It’s very simple, either the offending items are finally removed from the game once and for all, or sufficient solutions are found.
Do you start bringing in equally broken gameplay features like a limited-use grappling hook to propel yourself out of danger? Can one of the current Perks not be upgraded to enable ‘Supersonic Hearing’ that enables the audio of Dead Silence footsteps? Making it more of a risk-reward item?
Combat Scout shook Warzone’s Perk 3 meta up and also made Cold-Blooded a viable option in one fell swoop. Why can’t the same be done for Dead Silence and Heartbeat Sensors? Could Caldera not suddenly have an island-wide EMP bomb go off once the game reaches a certain circle perhaps? Ending the late-game camping and dominance of technology?
At the moment, most players are currently pigeon-holed into using Ghost and also having a Heartbeat Sensor as their Tactical Equipment. At its core, Warzone, Apex Legends, and other shooter battle royales should always favor gunplay as the primary component of victory. Even positioning and strategy should be a notable factor, but unnecessarily OP items and random drops are not something the CoD community wants.
These cries have fallen on deaf ears since March 2020, and Raven’s first attempts to thwart the power of these items have done nothing. How long will it be until enough becomes enough for loyal Warzone fans?