Call of Duty: Warzone's Season One update brings old and new together for a rush of adrenaline and nostalgia

Articles: Gaming
Dec 19, 2020 Written by:ROG Article

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War is invading the battle royale of Warzone in the massive Season One update. Over 20 new weapons, modified vehicles, and a new Warzone map roll out in this newest addition to the game. All of that is thrilling enough on its own, but my favorite change is a bit further off the beaten path. I was ten years old when I won my first match on Nuketown in Call of Duty: Black Ops, and ten years later, that fan-favorite map is integrated into the new season of Warzone as part of its Gulag respawn scenario.

Further feeding my nostalgia, Rebirth Island is the new primary map for Warzone. CoD fans will already know it as the birthplace of the deadly Nova 6 gas, and the finale of the campaign for Black Ops (2010) takes place on this island, concluding the great mystery behind the campaign’s thrilling Cold War-era story. For the Season 1 update, the rubble of this fading Soviet Union chemical gas compound from the ‘60s has been transformed into a teeming battleground of players trying to come out on top.

Character standing between two cars, with a character down on the ground nearby, and explosions in the background.
Image source: Gamesplanet

Rebirth Island is significantly smaller compared to Verdansk, the only Warzone map available to players before now. This map cuts the maximum player count to 40, or less than a third of what Verdansk hosts, for a faster-paced match. It’s not an every-soldier-for-themselves scenario just yet, either. Rebirth Island is initially only accessible through group play, and rather than the traditional visit to the Gulag after your death, the map runs Resurgence rules. Resurgence allows you to respawn at any time if your teammates survive for longer than 30 seconds after your death. When you do respawn, you’re parachuted in after a 30-second countdown and armed with nothing but a pistol. You’ll have to loot your way back into the next gunfight once you land.

This update also integrates every firearm from the newly released Call of Duty: Cold War into Warzone’s preexisting lineup of weapons, which hailed from 2019’s Modern Warfare. This is the first time in 17 years where two existing Call of Duty titles are coming together like this, and in Season One’s first week, there have already been some weapon patches and balancing to keep things competitive. Cold War players do still get a head start, though, as they bring their weapon progression and attachments from that game into Warzone. Weapons such as the Pellington 703 from Cold War now compete with Modern Warfare’s SP-R Rifle, creating some of the most thrilling bolt action sniping duels I’ve ever experienced. New vehicles also encourage players to increase their movement and engage in firefights much more quickly than before.

Three characters in tactical gear, including helmets and night vision goggles, preparing to breach a room.
Image source: Gamesplanet

The new map might be getting all the attention, but my squad has found welcome additions to Verdansk. The Warzone developers are known for hiding easter eggs throughout the map that hint at future content updates and map changes. After the update, we discovered a new portion of the map containing a nuclear missile silo. That might foreshadow the future of Verdansk.

During the same game, my team and I lost a firefight, whereupon we were immediately sent to the Gulag for a chance to redeploy. This time the animation skipped the original Gulag setting and brought us to a secret Soviet compound, where my character awoke strapped to the familiar interrogation chair from 2010’s Black Ops. The one-on-one gunfight that ensued took place in the new-to-the-Gulag but familiar-to-me setting of Nuketown. The nostalgia and familiarity of this map was a rush for me as I fought my way back to life. I've played and loved every reindition of Nuketown, and this one stays true to its iconic format. In my time on this latest take, I thought the one-on-one experience was perfectly balanced, and it’ll require the best from every player if they want to continue their game in Warzone.

A YouTube video I watched recently called “How American Youth Coped During the Great Recession (Modern Warfare 2)” highlights the camaraderie among CoD players that emerged during one of the harder patches of recent American history. During the last year, millions of these CoD veterans have returned to the franchise via Warzone and reunited with friends both old and new. Indeed, the number of new friends I’ve made in Warzone still astounds me, and I’ve spent many hours in it as a respite from COVID-19. From what I’ve seen so far of Warzone’s Season 1 update, I’ll be spending many hours to come with my squad as we push to the top in its new maps and fight for another chance at glory from Nuketown in the updated Gulag. Heck, with how well that map is executed in the Gulag, I won’t even mind a few more deaths bringing down my K/D ratio.

by Brian May