A ranked mode was finally introduced into Warzone on May 10, 2023. But has it been it good enough to resuscitate this dying Battle Royale? Here is our review of Warzone Ranked.
In Warzone Season 3: Reloaded, a ranked mode was introduced into CoD's Battle Royale for the first time. On the face of it, this is obviously a good thing. It gives competitively-minded players more of an incentive to keep grinding all season, and it adds more jeopardy to each match.
However, per a recent poll by the Twitter-user ModernWarzone, a majority of players think Warzone Ranked has been an "L" so far. Now, we should point out, ModernWarzone's audience vote negatively in almost every single poll no matter the topic (which is somewhat understandable considering CoD has the second-most negative fanbase in the world), but the result is interesting all the same.
So where do we stand, is Warzone Ranked worth playing? And can it save this dying BR? Here is our review.
- If you're getting into ranked and want to improve, the easiest way to start is by picking up an advanced controller with paddles.
Warzone Ranked: A Great Improvement, But Not Enough To Save The Game
We'll start with our overall opinion and then get into specifics. Having a ranked system adds long-term progression to the game, and it improves individual matches, but the rules aren't competitive enough and it doesn't address fundamental gameplay issues. In other words, this is a step in the right direction, but unless Infinity Ward can swallow their ego and allow Raven and Treyarch to take over development, the game will continue to decline.
The Good: Long-Term Progression, Match Jeopardy & Content Creation
We'll start with the positive, because it would be silly to deny that Warzone Ranked has some huge benefits.
When Warzone launched it was ridiculously popular, and most players at the time were effectively "noobs" who didn't buy/play the mainline CoD games each year. For those players, simply levelling weapons and trying to improve was enough of a long-term goal. But now we're in 2023, and the only people still playing Warzone regularly are the hardcore that have everything unlocked, and have hundreds of wins under their belt.
For the current playerbase of Warzone, it's great to finally have a long-term progression system. Reaching the next rank is a solid motivator to keep playing and trying to improve. And it gives the players who do put in a lot of time something more rewarding than just a mastery camo.
Even if you aren't super competitive, and you aren't aiming for a high rank, it's hard to deny that the individual games in Ranked feel more dramatic and exciting with something on the line. You've risked your SR to enter the game, and now you have to try and stay alive and earn points to come out in the positive.
This is a marked improvement from hot-dropping every game without a care in the world or anything on the line. And before anyone says they miss the more aggressive version of Warzone, there's always Resurgence, which remains a fantastic mode for quick action.
Most players won't care about this point but we think it's worth a mention. Love them or hate them, streamers can be a good thing for the game because they keep the title relevant. But before we had a Ranked mode, there simply wasn't much Warzone 2 content to make outside of going for the Nuke. Now streamers have a new way to engage audiences; Road To Top 250 etc.
The Bad: No Gameplay Changes & A Poor Competitive Ruleset
Right, that was all very nice, but now we have to discuss the more disappointing aspects of Warzone Ranked.
Ranked Doesn't Resolve Fundamental Gameplay Issues: Ridiculous TTK, No Movement & Boring Metas
Warzone 2 simply isn't as popular as Warzone 1, and much of this can be blamed on terrible gameplay decisions made by Infinity Ward. This is CoD's largest and oldest individual studio, and they're the golden child so Activision let them do what they want. But this year they really had a doozy; in an effort to "support all playstyles" they lowered the effective TTK (time-to-kill) of close-range engagements by a stupid amount, they slowed down movement a ton, and they stopped regularly balancing the game.
Nothing in Warzone Ranked addresses these issues, and so the moment to moment gameplay is simply less fun than it was in Warzone 1. We might eventually see these issues resolved when CoD 2023 is released an IW have less power (or maybe not), but until then Ranked cannot reach its full potential.
Where Is The Competitive Ruleset?
You can read the full "competitive ruleset" here. Spoiler alert, there isn't one. The only change is no shields and individual loadouts.
What's especially mind-blowing about this is that Call of Duty have an esports league that they've been organizing for years. And even before the CDL, we had the CWL. In other words, there is a whole pro-scene out there who they could have consulted for help on this, but they just didn't bother.
As we know from the CDL's competitive ruleset for multiplayer, and from unofficial player GA's, Call of Duty becomes a vastly better game for competitive play when you remove all the bullsh*t. And there's a ton of bullsh*t in CoD. But for some reason, Warzone Ranked just keeps all that stuff in the game. One-Shot-Snipers are a great example. Yes, they are satisfying and fun to use, but sniping is far too easy and powerful in CoD to be allowed in a competitive mode. And don't even get us started on the new FTAC Siege (an SMG that can be used underwater)...
Verdict: Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth
If you've come this far, you get the picture: we're glad Ranked is in the game, even if we still want to see huge improvements. We might need to wait for Warzone 2 Year 2, or even Year 3, to get the mode to its full potential, but ultimately, this isn't an "L", this is a rare "W" for Warzone 2.
If you haven't already, check out CoD 2023:
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