The latest entry in the Call of Duty franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, will launch on November 13th. But what does that mean for the series’ free-to-play battle royale, Call of Duty: Warzone, which is itself based on 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare? In a lengthy blog post, the games’ developers, Infinity Ward and Raven Software, break down how content will be synchronized across the three titles in the future.
The big takeaway is that weapons, cosmetics, and other unlockables (including attachments, perks, and killstreaks) will be shared across the games. That means weapons from both Cold War and Modern Warfare, including blueprints and camo variants, will be available in Warzone, creating “the largest weapons arsenal ever seen in Call of Duty.”
Sharing content and player progression across games is a huge challenge
Player progression will also be synchronized across the three games’ multiplayer modes, no matter which title you’re playing. What are currently called Enlisted Ranks (levels 1 to 55) will be renamed as Military Ranks, while Seasonal Officer Progression will become Season Levels, which itself will feed into a new Prestige system. All of these changes will kick in with the launch of Black Ops Cold War Season One on December 10th. Ranks will reset with this launch, but not unlockables. The Battle Pass system will also be unified across titles.
In addition to these changes, the launch of Black Ops Cold War will mean new content for Warzone. Specifically, Operators from Cold War will be available in the battle royale from November 12th at 9PM PT, including all skins, quips, and finishing moves. The launch of Black Ops Cold War Season One on December 10th will also come with new standard multiplayer maps and modes, including a new Zombies mode and the return of 2v2 gunfights. Nuketown is also back, with a new remix of the classic map available from November 24th.
There’s a lot of detail to parse here, but be sure to check out the full blog for any unanswered questions. The big tl;dr, though, is that Activision wants players to have their cake and eat it. Warzone will get new content while dedicated players who’ve spent hours unlocking rare items won’t lose their loot. At the same time, the standard multiplayer experience for Black Ops Cold War will sync with the older titles through a unified leveling system. It’s a little confusing to read about, but hopefully the experience for players will be relatively seamless.
The question is, can Activision pull this off smoothly? That remains to be seen. It seems likely they’ll be at least some hiccups, and this week’s blog post includes a caveat stating just that: “There are no current plans to remove content from Warzone but to ensure the best possible player experience, there may be occasions where content is delayed, or becomes temporarily or permanently inaccessible.” We also imagine there will be some inevitable balancing issues given the hugely expanded arsenal available to players.
That aside, though, it’s clear Warzone is only going to get bigger in the future.