Since its original release in March 2020, Warzone, Call of Duty’s free-to-play battle royale, has taken the gaming world by storm. With millions of players engaging in epic battles across various maps, it’s undeniable that Warzone has been a phenomenal success in the first-person shooter (FPS) genre. However, this success hasn’t come without its share of criticisms, particularly when it comes to the impact on the franchise’s traditional multiplayer mode.
Warzone’s Triumph and Multiplayer’s Decline
The rise of Warzone and the subsequent release of Warzone 2 (WZ2) have sparked a significant debate within the Call of Duty community. Some fans argue that the immense popularity of Warzone has negatively impacted the overall multiplayer experience.
The central argument is that the development team prioritizes Warzone over multiplayer, leading to a perceived decline in the latter. Players assert that over the years, Warzone’s integration with the mainline Call of Duty games has eroded the traditional multiplayer experience. One major grievance is the removal of the classic Prestige system, a staple of Call of Duty multiplayer for years.
“It was very evident in the beginning too with MW19 MP. How the classic prestige system was scrapped… MP felt left in the dust after WZ,” one player lamented. Another pointed out that “They prioritize the FTP [free-to-play] game instead of the paid version (MP) for microtransactions, neglecting Multiplayer in the process.”
The consensus among these players is that Warzone’s prominence in the Call of Duty ecosystem has led to a shift in resources and focus away from traditional multiplayer, leaving it feeling neglected and underdeveloped.
Is Infinity Ward to Blame?
While many players place the blame on Warzone’s integration, others direct their frustration at the development team itself. Some players argue that the multiplayer experiences in recent Infinity Ward titles have been subpar, with issues such as strict skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) and the removal of the Prestige system being cited as key culprits.
“MP from Infinity Ward has just been terrible,” one player bluntly stated, while another added that “strict SBMM, removing prestige, and Infinity Ward’s core design principles have done more harm.”
In this view, it’s not Warzone’s fault but rather the design choices made by Infinity Ward in developing multiplayer modes. The emphasis on SBMM, the removal of beloved progression systems, and a perceived shift in core design principles have, according to some, negatively impacted the quality of multiplayer.
The Community’s Call for Separation
The ongoing debate within the Call of Duty community has led to some players calling for a clear separation between Warzone and traditional multiplayer. They argue that a distinct divide would allow both modes to thrive independently without one overshadowing the other.
However, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) on the horizon, it appears that the integration of Warzone and multiplayer will persist for the foreseeable future. As the community eagerly anticipates MW3’s release in November, the question remains: Can multiplayer deliver an experience that satisfies both longstanding fans and those who have gravitated toward the battle royale phenomenon? Only time will tell.