Call of Duty

Why Warzone desperately needs a ranked playlist now more than ever

Published: 14/Jan/2021 7:00 Updated: 14/Jan/2021 10:48

by Brad Norton

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Warzone is winding down on its first full year on the market but the idea of a ranked playlist still seems like a distant dream. Here’s why the community needs to push for a proper competitive pathway sooner rather than later.

There’s no denying the enormity of Warzone. It arrived at the perfect time and quickly amassed millions of players on its ascension to the top of the battle royale genre. Though while the title makes billions in profit every few months, it often feels like key components are still missing.

Namely, any form of support for competitive play.

Battle royale titles at their very core are some of the most competitive games out there. Each and every player is vying to outlast their opposition through wit or aggression. Call of Duty’s frenetic gameplay only ratchets things up to a new level of intensity in the genre, yet Warzone seems years behind its counterparts in this area.

Beyond leaderboards that are often riddled with hackers, there’s really no way of distinguishing skill in-game. No Arena mode similar to Fortnite, no Ranked Leagues comparable to Apex Legends, and the list goes on. This has led to the community using third-party tools to gauge their opponents more often than not.

It’s somewhat of a call for help as players implore Activision to offer up any kind of in-game guidance.

We’ve reached a breaking point where some of the world’s best players are even stepping away from the title. A ranked playlist could alleviate many of Warzone’s critical issues and help the game thrive like never before. Here’s how.

Warzone SBMM
sbmmwarzone
A look at Symfuhny’s latest games as an example of how SBMM can vary from Bronze to Diamond-tier lobbies.

First up is the controversial yet unavoidable talking point of Skill-Based-Matchmaking (SBMM). This has once again been at the forefront of the competitive scene lately, as new tricks have emerged and some wild accusations have been thrown around.

As much as the community might complain, SBMM isn’t going anywhere. It’s all too embedded in the Call of Duty franchise at this point. But when players are reverse boosting to get easier lobbies, it throws competitive integrity out the window. 

How can a $300,000 online tournament truly know that its winners didn’t reverse boost prior to their official games? Or that an elite Duo didn’t sneakily alter their IP address to negate the impact of SBMM and find easier lobbies from other regions?

Even without intentionally trying to manipulate the systems in place, players can sometimes still be thrown into baffling lobbies without reason. This alone creates a sense of imbalance with too many variables up for exploitation. Implementing a proper ranked playlist would be a start in trying to mitigate these issues.

Talk of ‘bot lobbies’ and ‘Bronze-tier’ games could be done away with if authentic ranks were introduced in Warzone. We could have clear-cut indicators of just how challenging a lobby really is.

Have a top 100 player in your game? Warzone should be able to feed us that information through a simple icon next to the player’s name. Trying to rank up from Bronze? You should expect to see more Silver-ranked players than usual in your next match.

Warzone gameplay
Activision
Everyone Warzone victory would be all the more sweet in a ranked playlist.

From Bronze through to Diamond, having an official rank would help distinguish the caliber of any given lobby. Players can hop over into unranked games when they need a warmup or a breather. Though for the elite competitions, top tier lobbies could be the norm with a ranked system in place.

Utilizing the full potential of SBMM to force the best players together would only help Warzone flourish in a ranked setting.

Huskerrs howl warzone logo
Huskerrs / Activision
Millions in prizing has already been on offer in Warzone’s first year alone yet competitive integrity is more questionable than ever before.

Not only would it help improve the day to day Warzone grind, but it would be a major boost to the integrity of large-scale events. Rather than inviting players based on their standing in the community, tournament organizers could instead check the rankings and actually see the best players in the world. 

There would be no more guesswork as to whether a player rose to fame by stomping ‘bots’ or if they’re genuinely one of the better players in the world. It would also pave the way for new talent to rise to the top.

Say the 30 highest-ranked players automatically earn a spot in the next Activision-backed event, for instance. It would give everyone a reason to play from the biggest streamers, to hungry up-and-comers.

Moreover, tournaments would feel more legitimate than ever before thanks to how effective a competitive ladder would be in Warzone. Winners would never have their efforts questioned again if they had proven track records among the top of the global standings in-game.

Warzone gameplay
Activision
Ranked could provide an even playing field for players of all skill-levels while public games can be there for a more casual experience.

It goes without saying that a lot more still needs to be done to get Warzone into a fair and balanced state. Without any form of anti-cheat, the idea of a ranked playlist is still just a pipe dream. 

With new game-breaking glitches popping up every day, and hackers trying to ruin things, the devs always have their plate full. The onus is on Activision to get a ranked experience off the ground and remind everyone why Warzone was one of the fastest-growing battle royales of all time.

Call of Duty

3 tips to help you survive Black Ops Cold War’s new Zombies Cranked mode

Published: 15/Jan/2021 23:40

by Tanner Pierce

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With the release of Black Ops Cold War’s mid-season update, Treyarch has added Cranked into the game’s Zombies mode – and it’s pretty different from the standard version, requiring some completely separate strategies. 

While Cranked in Call of Duty games is nothing new, having debuted all the way back in 2013’s Ghosts, what is different is a Zombies version of the mode, which was just added to Black Ops Cold War during the game’s midseason update.

The concept is simple: You’re given a timer, and when that timer reaches 0, you explode and die. With each kill, however, your timer resets, giving you more time to keep on grinding. It’s an incredibly fast-paced mode in normal multiplayer, and the Zombies version is even more hectic – but there are some tips you can utilize to help you survive longer.

Pace out your kills

Activision
Pacing out your kills in Cranked is important due to the fact that you only need one kill to reset your timer.

In standard Cranked, players are usually scrambling to get kills. In a 5v5 or 6v6, it makes sense, considering there’s only a limited amount of potential targets, and if you can’t find anyone, you’ll die easily due to the timer running out.

With BOCW Zombies Cranked, the opposite is true. There’s always an abundance of enemies and, while it’s not impossible to run out of targets, generally speaking, they’ll keep on spawning (there’s not even a break in-between rounds).

Because of this, there’s no need to be mowing down Zombies as one does in the normal mode. Instead, if you’re feeling overwhelmed (or if you want to get something done like Pack-A-Punching your weapon), try running away from the enemies for a while to get your bearings.

Remember, all it takes is one kill to reset your timer. If you find it running out, just look behind you at the horde you’ve surely amounted, kill one Zombie, and then move along with your business. Wasting your time mowing down each and every zombie can cost you your game.

With all that being said, don’t think you can run away from the Zombies with no problem; if you get too far away, you’ll find yourself struggling for kills, so it’s best if you stay nearby.

Use fast-reloading weapons and attachments

Activision
You’ll want to use weapons that can be reloaded quickly in Cranked.

In normal Zombies, using a LMG is sort of required during late-game conflicts, as it allows you to mow down Zombies with greater power. In Cranked, speed is king, so it might be better to use something smaller like an SMG.

Reloading fast is essential in Cranked, as you can easily become overrun. Even though it does have a lot of power, you don’t want to waste your time on the horrendously slow reload time found on LMGs. If you want an even faster reload time, you could even throw a fast-mag onto your SMG, and get it done even quicker.

In addition, SMGs have the added benefit of allowing you to run faster, meaning you’ll be able to evade Zombies even better than you would before.

Always go for the Timer Freeze power up

Activision
Remembering these tips can be the difference between surviving or dying early on.

Treyarch has implemented a brand new power-up that’s exclusive to the Cranked game mode: Timer Freeze. With this, players will be able to stop their countdown timer for around 15 seconds or so, giving them a breather.

While this might seem obvious to point out, you’ll want to go for those as much as possible. Getting one at the start of your game is not too important, but it’s especially critical when you get into the late game.

As the mode goes on, your timer will get shorter and shorter, meaning every break you get becomes more and more important. Having that 15 second breather seems like an eternity once you get it, so missing out on one can hurt you a lot – sometimes costing you your life.

While Cranked is incredibly fast-paced, it’s really not that bad if you know what you’re doing. If you remember these tips, you shouldn’t have as much of a problem.