Warzone
Photo Credit-Raven Software

Raven has been doing a great job since Activision gave them the nod to be in charge of Warzone. In Season 3, we saw an unprecedented amount of freedom in terms of the guns that one could use when building their Warzone loadout. Despite my apprehension at the start of Season 3, it was the first time in Warzone history where we did not have a real ‘meta.’ Personally, I thought this was awesome. One of the things that I like the most about Call of Duty is the ability to try out all of the different types of weapons, so naturally, it didn’t sit right with me every time there was such a tight meta that you’d be at a disadvantage if you didn’t use whatever gun was the flavour of the month.

I’m not going to go over every single little change made with this update. The reality is that a 20% neck damage multiplier buff to the Scar, for example, doesn’t need to be highlighted in an in-depth way. If you do want to go deeper, you can see Raven’s official patch notes here. That being said, I will go over the most important changes and highlight what some of these changes may mean for the meta and for the state of the game in general.

Assault Rifles

The most important changes to the assault rifle class come in the form of another CR-56 Amax nerf and a relatively big XM4 buff. As far as the Amax, Raven is decreasing the damage multiplier for the upper chest in an attempt to reduce its viability at long range. This strikes me as a little bit unnecessary. They’ve already nerfed the Amax twice, and I don’t get the vibe that anybody really thinks that it was game-breakingly overpowered even before the first two nerfs. I think that the real reason is that Raven wants to encourage people to use more of the Cold War assault rifles in Warzone (More on that later), and the reality is that Modern Warfare assault rifles have, generally speaking, dominated in comparison to the Cold War ones. Really, the only Cold War assault rifles that have been widely used in Warzone are the Krigg 6 and the XM4. Other than that, it’s been tough for Cold War assault rifles. This idea is supported by the XM4 buff, which makes headshot-type damage much easier to come by. This buff increases the neck damage multiplier by 50%. The XM4 has been a middle-of-the-pack type gun for a long time and has found its niche as a sniper support weapon in Season 3, but I don’t think that this multiplier increase will be game-breaking by any means.

Submachine Guns

As far as SMGs, I think that the biggest changes are to the Milano and the KSP 45. There have also been slight changes (And I mean slight) on the Bison and the Modern Warfare Aug as well. Both the KSP and the Milano got massive damage range increases (16.6% and 23%, respectively) that may bring them into the mix as far as close-range weapons. They also both got multiplier increases, and the Milano had its minimum and maximum damage thresholds increased as well. The Milano, while it did get a massive buff on paper, will almost certainly remain on the margins. Its slow fire rate will limit it to players of higher skill, and even then, it will be hard-pressed to compete with the Mac-10, Fennec, or MP5 (From both MW and Cold War). The KSP, on the other hand, might become much more widely used. Even Raven acknowledges that they didn’t want to over-buff it in fear that they would make it dominant. In any case, burst weapons have the potential to be great in Warzone, as we saw in the era of the M16 and the CW Aug just a few months ago.

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Sniper Rifles/Tactical Rifles

Time to address the elephant in the room. Remember how broken the DMR was for a while? Well, they just buffed it after the massive nerf that seemed to knock it out of the meta as fast as it got there. A “Recoil Magnitude Decrease” means that the DMR might become more viable at range than it was in Season 3. That being said, there’s absolutely no way that they increased it enough that it’ll return to its pre-nerf form. We might see more of it, but I don’t think that there will be any more TikTok sounds of kids freaking out after being killed by it, unfortunately.

As far as snipers, really, the only thing to speak of is Raven’s continued attempt to make the M82 usable. Let’s call it like it is. The M82 is hot garbage. It’s one of those guns that should be good on paper but just… Isn’t. Raven continues their streak of sniper buffs with a bullet velocity increase of 7.7% and a slight torso multiplier increase. Will it change anything? Not a chance. Is it clear that Raven desperately wants the M82 to be good? Absolutely.

Attachments

In my eyes, the attachment changes are probably the most significant out of anything I’ve talked about on here. Essentially, Raven is trying to make Cold War attachments more similar to the Modern Warfare ones. To do this, they’ve buffed the Combat Recon barrel’s bullet velocity increase on the Pelington, the M82 (Shocker), the Swiss K31, the Tundra, and the ZRG. Raven likely hopes that this will allow players to step away from the Kar98k and try out different snipers as their secondary weapon. I suspect that this will be most significant for the ZRG and the Tundra, both of which already have outstanding bullet velocity. Even this slight increase means that both of those snipers may become much more viable despite their mobility limitations.

Raven has also completely changed the nature of certain Cold War assault rifle barrels, again trying to make them more similar to their Modern Warfare counterparts. Much like the barrels in MW, the longest barrels now increase bullet velocity, damage range, and recoil control. This will allow many of the Cold War assault rifles to compete with the Modern Warfare ones in a way that they haven’t done before.

Conclusion

It cannot be overstated how great of a job Raven (Sorry, Infinity Ward, your game kinda sucked) has done since they took over with Warzone. I don’t remember the last time that there wasn’t a clear-cut meta before Season 3. They are doing an awesome job of weapon balancing and ultimately making the game better. I can’t wait to hop in and really get into Season 4. They even changed the Roze skin (Finally) and nerfed the hell out of the Streetsweeper. Those are both huge wins in my book. Sorry little Timmy, no more doing 14 recon contracts and hiding in the corner with your custom Streetsweeper and your Roze skin. If you’re rattled by that, you’re everything that’s wrong with Warzone. I know it’s crazy, but you may actually have to play the game for once.

My only worry is how these new weapons will fit into the game. The C58 and MG82 LMG both look absolutely disgusting, and the Nail Gun has the fastest time to kill in the game within 20 metres. We might see these guns used heavily, especially given the buffs to all of the barrels. The good news is that the Nail Gun is pretty tough to unlock. Having to get 5 kills in a bunch of games with special weapons might be a little more challenging, especially for people who don’t own Cold War. Imagine having to get 5 kills with a grenade launcher in Warzone? Sounds like a nightmare to me.

In any case, I’m sure that Raven’s hot streak will continue and that Warzone will remain relatively balanced. More to come.

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