Call of Duty: Warzone Season 3 review – a huge step in the right direction
Significant changes to Verdansk and weapon balance have put Warzone back on track, but there are still some kinks Raven Software needs to iron out to make Warzone Season 3 the best yet.
After months of leaks and theories surrounding the nuking of Verdansk, it was an exciting week when that prospect finally became reality.
Fortnite and Apex Legends have done an amazing job in creating live events and shaking up the map between each season but Warzone’s season updates have felt severely lacking, with Cold War x Warzone Season 2 being a particularly low point.
The community’s frustration with the game appeared to come to a head in Season 2, with broken weapons completely changing the game, and lackluster map changes causing burnout.
However, almost all of these concerns have been addressed for Season 3, and the game is in the best place it’s been in for months. Here’s our full review of Warzone Season 3.
Warzone Season 3’s launch was a mixed bag. While the End of Verdansk Part 1 and Part 2 game modes were fine, server queues and crashes ruined the excitement of the event for many. Even when these events had concluded, many players still couldn’t queue into matches of Verdansk ’84.
Players were equally excited to see the back of the original Verdansk and disappointed that there was no ‘new’ map, and the leaked Ural Mountains certainly did nothing to help this.
While everyone could agree that a brand new map would have been nice, it didn’t take long to realize that Verdansk ’84 is a breath of fresh air.
It really feels like Raven took a step back and worked on everything frustrating about the original Verdansk. Buy Stations that were out in the open have been tucked into new spots, ‘dead space’ has been filled with interesting POIs, and the muted color palette has been given some much-needed color.
Farm and Dam were never fantastic landing spots, but Summit and Standoff have made these areas more interesting and well-worth landing in. Rotating from location to location is more engaging, and the new color palette and changes have made many of the campier buildings more difficult to defend.
And we can’t begin to describe how much better the new Gulag is. No 50/50 gunfights at the start, hardly any head-glitches to abuse, and (so far) no fists has infinitely improved the game and made being eliminated less of a discouraging experience.
While these changes are great and just what Warzone needed, Raven needs to keep an eye on the map and not let it go stale again. Significant updates to locations and new POIs each season would be a massive help in keeping the map fresh and players interested. We’re excited by the idea of the weather in-game changing with the real-life seasons, which Raven have confirmed.
And if they could fix those pesky rocks that are impossible to climb, that’d be fantastic.
While Warzone has had overpowered metas in the past, such as the R-90 fire Shotgun and the Grau 5.56, they were never the be-all and end-all. When Black Ops Cold War’s weapons arrived, that all changed. First, the DMR 14 came and obliterated every other weapon, then once that beast was finally tamed, the AUG, M16, and FFAR 1 came in and created a meta even more imbalanced and frustrating.
After weeks of community backlash, Raven Software gave a massive tuning pass to Cold War’s weapons in Warzone. The biggest offenders were adequately nerfed, and some underpowered weapons such as Cold War’s AK-47 and the Krig 6 received welcome buffs. You’ll no longer get obliterated before having time to react, which does a great job in separating battle royale from the chaotic feel of multiplayer.
While some weapons clearly shine above the rest, there is so much more variety in gunfights. You’re likely to come up against almost every SMG, a variety of Assault Rifles, and almost any other gun in between.
The ground loot could use a little work, though. Streetsweepers on the ground and almost nothing viable for medium-range combat makes early-game fights feel a little weird.
Room for improvement
While weapon balance changes and Verdansk ’84 have been extremely welcome additions to the game, there’s still room for improvement in Warzone Season 3.
The perk meta hasn’t shifted since day one, so some of the lesser-used perks could do with a major buff to provide more variety in loadouts.
Almost every player on the map has Self-Revive, prolonging gunfights and making team fights a frustrating experience. If this was rarer, or more expensive, gunfights would be in a better place.
Also, Dead Silence and Stopping Power are further sources of imbalance. RNG is a staple of battle royale games, but these power-ups give a more-than-significant advantage to those lucky enough to pick them up.
And vehicles are still a severe problem in Warzone solos, where almost every endgame is filled with several Berthas and other vehicles. If Berthas were removed from the solos mode, it would be a much more balanced and competitive experience.
These are by no means game-breaking, but little niggles that a significant portion of the community would welcome changes to.
While Warzone Season 3 has been a huge step in the right direction, there is still more that Raven Software could do to make Verdansk ’84 a more balanced experience. Shaking up the perk meta, limiting Self-Revive, Stopping Power, and Self-Revive would be a welcome change.
However, almost all weapons feel viable and Verdansk ’84 is exactly what Warzone needed to keep players engaged.
Image Credit: Activision