‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’ is actually all about ‘Warzone 2.0’

Let’s get this out of the way: No Russian will not be included in the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. In fact, the game will penalize friendly fire and fail players who shoot civilians while in combat.

This is in stark contrast to the No Russian mission from the original Modern Warfare II, which came out in 2009 – in this level, players were instructed to shoot their way through a busy airport, killing civilians en masse alongside a Russian terrorist organization. The protagonist was undercover, trying to infiltrate the cell for the CIA, and even though it was possible to skip this section or play it without firing a single shot, the fictional peer pressure to kill as many people as possible was strong.

No Russian sparked heavy controversy with the release of Modern Warfare II. Though Call of Duty has made billions gamifying the horrors of war, many players balked at the idea of role-playing as a mass shooter targeting unarmed civilians. The mission came with a content warning in the US and it was censored internationally. Infinity Ward and Activision were forced to publicly justify its inclusion, arguing against the idea that it was tone-deaf, ham-fisted and needlessly disturbing.

With the 2022 version of Modern Warfare II, Infinity Ward is avoiding the conversation altogether. In response to the question, “Can you confirm whether the No Russian mission will be included in the new game, in any form?” an Activision spokesperson responded as follows:

“No. There are NPC civilians in the game, but you will be penalized for friendly fires. If civilians are caught in the crossfire, players will automatically get a mission fail.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II


This fits with the overall vibe of the new Modern Warfare II. At a media briefing ahead of its reveal, Infinity Ward developers emphasized the game’s entertainment value over serious wartime themes, at one point using the phrase, “fun for everyone.” They said they wanted this Modern Warfare II to be realistic, but still “cool.” Without mentioning No Russian specifically, developers said the goal of the original game was to be provocative, while this year’s version was aiming to be heroic.

With Modern Warfare II, Infinity Ward is sticking to the fun bits of war. The game still deals in real-world themes of organized violence, large-scale military action and shadowy terrorist groups – but no joke, I’ve never heard Call of Duty developers use the word “fun” so freely in a pre-release briefing.

This may be because Modern Warfare II marks the beginning of a fresh approach to Call of Duty for Activision, with pivotal implications for the future of Warzone specifically. When the next version of Warzone comes out after October of this year, it will include the AI improvements, new vehicle behaviors and upgraded physics of Modern Warfare II, and both games will run on the same engine.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II


“A wholly new Warzone will launch as an extension of the Modern Warfare II universe,” an Activision spokesperson said. “With it comes new technology, new features, and new gameplay that work seamlessly together…. In order to fully deliver this state-of-the-art experience, Warzone 2.0 will feature new Modern Warfare II content and systems with brand new progression and inventories. Today’s Warzone will continue on as a separate experience that will include a continuation of player progression and inventories within that Warzone experience.”

Modern Warfare II is scheduled to come out on October 28th. Warzone 2.0 should land soon after, according to Activision.

Modern Warfare II is a sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare, which rebooted the series but kept familiar themes and characters like Captain John Price. The new game follows Price’s Task Force 141 and Mexican Special Forces as they attempt to thwart terrorist plans across the globe.

“We love telling stories,” Infinity Ward head writer Brian Bloom said. “Story is character and character is story, and that’s writery stuff that writers sometimes say internally, but it boils down to a simple thing. If you have a plot, who’s in it, what’s happening?”

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‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ Pacific update delayed to December 8th

Activision has delayed the release of Call of Duty Vanguard’s season one update and Warzone Pacific by about a week. The publisher now plans to make both available on December 8th, instead of December 2nd and December 3rd as previously planned. Activision did not provide a reason for the delay. However, it has been mired in controversy this week following an from The Wall Street Journal on and the role he may have played in creating the toxic “frat boy” culture that has seen the company in the news frequently in recent months.

According to a from the official Call of Duty Twitter account, Vanguard’s first seasonal update includes new maps and modes, an update to the game’s and the addition of new gear and weapons for players to earn. Warzone Pacific, meanwhile, adds a map called Caldera to Activision’s popular battle royale. If you own a copy of Vanguard, you’ll get the chance to play the new battleground 24 hours before everyone else.

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The Best Call of Duty: Warzone LAPA Loadouts

The latest weapon added to Call of Duty: Warzone is the LAPA, an SMG that was initially included as part of the game’s Halloween 2021 event. It’s a decent enough weapon that deals high amounts of critical damage and even works well at mid-range. However, as with most of the game’s weapons, there are several different ways to build the LAPA, so you’ll need to be aware of its strengths and weaknesses when trying it out.

Here, we’ll dive into the three best LAPA loadouts for various playstyles, from close range to all-around. These are the best LAPA builds in Warzone.

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LAPA overview

The LAPA SMG is the latest weapon added to Black Ops Cold War and Warzone. During The Haunting event, players needed to have completed all the limited-time challenges in Cold War or Warzone to unlock the weapon, but now that the event is over, all you need to do is earn three SMG kills while aiming down sights in 15 different matches. As for the weapon itself, it’s not terrible, and depending on your skill level, it actually can be quite competitive.

You’ll find this weapon difficult to use if you’re a newcomer, as it requires head (and neck) shots to achieve a practical time to kill (TTK). In fact, if you aren’t landing critical shots, the TTK is noticeably slow, making it difficult to recommend over some of the other meta SMGs. This is a weapon that won’t light the meta on fire but is fun to use, especially if you’re experienced.


Muzzle Sound Suppressor
Barrel 7.9-inch Rifled
Laser Tiger Team Spotlight
Stock Raider Stock
Magazine STANAG 50 Rnd

Let’s start off with a build that works well up close. The LAPA is an SMG after all, so this is a loadout that prioritizes movement, aim down sights (ADS) speeds, and sprint-to-fire times. With that in mind, it’s recommended to start with the Sound Suppressor rather than the Agency Suppressor since you won’t need the extra range with this loadout. The Sound Suppressor gives you better ADS speeds, sprint-to-fire times, and still keeps you from showing up on the minimap when firing.

Then, go with the 7.9-inch Rifled Barrel for an increased fire rate. Normally, we’d advise skipping a Barrel for the close-quarters build, but since this one increases your rate of fire, it’s a good idea to use it since it’ll give you an advantage up close. Speaking of which, it’s smart to come equipped with the Tiger Team Spotlight Laser, which boosts your movement speed and aim walking movement speed. This is ideal for close-range builds as well.

After that, go with the Raider Stock for increased ADS firing move speed, aim walking movement speed, and sprint-to-fire times — all of which will allow you to win your gunfights easier. Finally, we always advise using the largest magazine — in this case, the STANAG 50 Rnd — so you have plenty of bullets to secure eliminations. This attachment will slightly slow down your ADS times when compared to smaller magazines, but the extra ammo is worth it.

As for the rest of the loadout, it’s a good idea to bring an additional weapon along to compliment the LAPA. Something like the EM2, AK-47 (CW), or even a sniper are all recommended. Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the Overkill perk to bring an additional primary weapon along, RPGs and the AMP63 are solid choices.

When it comes to perks, there are truly only a few viable options. We almost always advise using Quick Fix for perk slot 1, Ghost/Overkill for perk slot 2, and Amped for perk slot 3. If you’re super aggressive, you can swap over to Tempered or High Alert for slot 2, but aside from that, stick to the standard perks. The same goes for equipment. Bring Throwing Knives with you so you can quickly finish downed players and the Heartbeat Sensor so you can tell where non-ghosted opponents are.


LAPA from Call of Duty: Warzone.
Muzzle Agency Suppressor
Barrel 10.2-inch Ranger
Optic Microflex LED
Underbarrel Field Agent Grip
Magazine STANAG 50 Rnd

The mid-range build is practically the opposite of the previous, as it’s much slower but better from afar. Swap over to the Agency Suppressor Muzzle for this build, which does penalize your ADS speed but boosts your vertical recoil control, bullet velocity, and damage range while keeping you suppressed. It’s ideal for tackling those mid-range firefights. Then, to further improve the weapon’s performance at range, we recommend using the 10.2-inch Ranger Barrel, which increases the bullet velocity.

Next up, you should come equipped with an Optic of some kind. It comes down to personal preference, but something that doesn’t penalize your ADS speeds too much is recommended, like the Microflex LED. To improve your recoil control, you should use the Field Agent Grip. This is practically essential since the LAPA is a little hard to control, especially at range. As always, the STANAG 50 Rnd Magazine is the top choice here.

For the rest of the build, you should either bring a weapon with you that works well up close or from afar, such as a shotgun or sniper rifle. Since this version of the LAPA is best used at mid-range, you’ll need something to cover your bases for close-quarters and long-range engagements. After that, stick with the standard perks and equipment. Though, if you plan on hanging back more, claymores might be a good option. Otherwise, Throwing Knives are your best bet.

Best all-around

LAPA from Call of Duty: Warzone.
Muzzle Agency Suppressor
Barrel 7.9-inch Rifled
Laser Tiger Team Spotlight
Optic Microflex LED
Magazine STANAG 50 Rnd

The last recommended build will work well in many situations and is considered a practical loadout for the LAPA. Keep the Agency Suppressor Muzzle for the boost to bullet velocity and range so you can secure mid-range eliminations easier. Then, swap back over to the 7.9-inch Rifled Barrel for the boost to fire rate, which will help up close. The Tiger Team Spotlight Laser is also ideal in this case, as it improves your movement speed, just as we covered in the close-quarters build.

After that, we highly advise coming equipped with the Microflex LED since the iron sights aren’t great. If you like them, you can save this attachment slot for something else. And finish off the build with the STANAG 50 Rnd Magazine for the reasons mentioned above. This build will work decently up close and at mid-range thanks to its mobility properties, as well as its improvements to recoil control.

Much like the mid-range build, you can definitely get away with bringing a sniper along with this version of the LAPA. Likewise, RPGs work great. Your perks will stay the same as normal, though it is worth mentioning that this build could benefit from the Tempered perk since you’ll likely be taking on multiple enemies at once. This is more of an aggressive loadout, so having Semtex Grenades or Throwing Knives is ideal, along with a Heartbeat Sensor or stuns.

Editors’ Choice

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‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ and ‘Vanguard’ anti-cheat updates include a kernel-level driver

Activision has unveiled its big, new approach to squashing hackers in Call of Duty: Warzone and Vanguard, and it’s a two-pronged system called RICOCHET Anti-Cheat. The first stage is a series of server-side enhancements that will better identify and remove cheaters from games, and this is scheduled to hit Warzone with the Pacific update later this year. These new server tools will be live in Vanguard when it comes out on November 5th.

The second prong is a PC kernel-level driver designed to monitor the deepest level of every player’s rig while they’re in-game, in an effort to stop outside software from sneaking in through this back door. The kernel, or ring 0, is the most privileged level of any PC, granting access to every layer of hardware, and generally reserved for things like graphics card drivers and trusted bits of the operating system. The RICOCHET Anti-Cheat kernel-level driver will only turn on when Warzone or Vanguard is active; it’s not an always-on situation.

While operating in the kernel isn’t uncommon for anti-cheat software, this is likely the most concerning part of Activision’s new plans for many players. Riot Games faced scrutiny in 2020 for implementing a similar kernel-level driver in Valorant, though the main issue was that it was always on, operating even when the game wasn’t active. (Confusingly, the Valorant anti-cheat system is called Vanguard).

This isn’t a new worry, either — in 2013, the always-on ring 0 anti-cheat system employed by ESEA was commandeered to turn unsuspecting players’ PCs into a secret bitcoin mining farm.

With these lessons in mind, Activision has stressed that RICOCHET will only be active when the associated game is live, saying specifically, “the driver shuts down when you exit the game and turns on when you start a new game.”

The kernel-level driver will hit Warzone alongside the Pacific update this year, and it’ll come to Vanguard at a later date.

Cheating has been a significant problem in Call of Duty: Warzone for a long while now. Activision has banned more than 500,000 accounts since the game’s launch, though it’s not uncommon for matches to be riddled with aimbots and cheap hacks to this day. Players have been screaming for a robust anti-cheat system in Warzone and other Call of Duty titles, and RICOCHET is Activision’s kernel-level, not-always-on answer.

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Activision takes on Call of Duty: Vanguard, Warzone cheaters with Ricochet

There’s no question that cheaters ruin free-to-play and paid games alike, and they seem to congregate in competitive shooter games. Developers and publishers often employ some kind of anti-cheat to keep the cheaters at bay, but today, Activision is taking things one step further by announcing its own anti-cheat called Ricochet. The new anti-cheat software will be going live in both Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone later this year.

Ricochet Anti-Cheat will comprise server-side tools and enhancements along with a kernel-level driver that players will have to install. In today’s announcement on the Call of Duty blog, Activision was pretty straightforward in describing the driver, saying that it will be given “a high level of access to monitor and manage software and applications on a PC.”

Activision says that the driver “will check the software and applications that attempt to interact and manipulate Call of Duty: Warzone,” though the company also promises that Ricochet Anti-Cheat will respect players’ privacy as well. For instance, Activision claims that the driver will only operate when Warzone is running and is not always-on, meaning it will shut down when Warzone is closed. At some point after launch, the driver will go live in Call of Duty: Vanguard, but it will make its debut in Warzone first.

A big question will also be whether or not this anti-cheat will impact performance, but Activision says that it’s testing the driver to “ensure system stability across a large range of PCs.” Activision also promises to iterate on Ricochet after launch to keep up with cheaters who find and sell workarounds to the anti-cheat.

So, if you’ve come face-to-face with cheaters in Warzone, the hope is that Ricochet will help with that problem. We’ll find out soon enough, as Activision says that Ricochet is going live with the Pacific update for Warzone later this year.

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How to Unlock the CX-9 in Call of Duty: Warzone

Live-service games often evolve, delivering new features, mechanics, or items that can change the way you play. A great example of this is Call of Duty: Warzone, a game that has received its fair share of additional content post-launch — particularly in the weapons you have at your disposal. Toward the end of season 4, the game introduced the CX-9 SMG, which has an interesting history in the world of Warzone.

This SMG was actually implemented into the game in December, was usable in Survival mode, and appeared as ground loot for a limited time before being inexplicably pulled. Since then, the community has been waiting for the weapon to finally make its debut. It’s unclear why it took so long for it to be officially added, but the good news is that it’s here now, and it isn’t too difficult to unlock.

Oddly enough, the CX-9 is a Modern Warfare weapon, which means you can unlock it in that game, as well as in Warzone. This is unusual because the most recent Call of Duty game is Black Ops Cold War, and all the new Warzone content is derived from that game. The inclusion of the CX-9 seems like an anomaly, so don’t get used to seeing a similar Warzone rollout with content from an older game like this.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the easiest ways to unlock the CX-9 in Warzone and Modern Warfare.

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How to unlock the CX-9 in Warzone

The most affordable way to unlock the CX-9 is by playing Warzone. Since Warzone is a free-to-play game, you can jump in and complete the challenge without purchasing anything else, which is great for your wallet. Though, matches in Warzone tend to last a while, so using this method isn’t the fastest. To unlock the CX-9, you must earn two longshot kills with an SMG in five matches. This isn’t too terribly difficult, but by the very nature of the challenge, it goes against how an SMG should be used.

For this reason, we advise using something like the Milano 821, MAC-10, LC10, or the AUG (MW). All of these weapons are decent at range and can be used to secure eliminations past 50 meters, which is the distance required to earn a longshot medal. When building your SMG, we advise using all of the attachments that improve stability and recoil control, along with an Optic and the largest magazine size.

You can complete this challenge in standard battle royale mode on Verdansk, Rebirth Island, or in a Plunder match. We actually found it easiest to earn longshots on Rebirth Island since players tend to run around recklessly, thanks to being able to respawn. Plunder is a solid option as well, but it’s common to spawn far away from all the action, so we recommend playing on Rebirth instead.

If you can overtake the tower in the middle of the Rebirth map, it’s easy to take out enemies on top of Prison or Control. You can even use an assault rifle or sniper to down players and then finish them off with an SMG to still earn credit for the longshot. There are plenty of options and strategies, making it much easier to unlock the CX-9 than other weapons that have been added to Warzone before.

How to unlock the CX-9 in Modern Warfare

The CX-9 in Call of Duty: Warzone.

By far, the easiest way to unlock this weapon is by playing Modern Warfare, but that means you must have a copy of the game. Since Warzone and Modern Warfare share progression systems, you can unlock the weapon in one game and use it in the other. The challenge is actually the same as the one in Warzone: Earn two longshot medals with an SMG in five different matches.

We recommend building your SMG the same way mentioned above — with an Optic and all the best attachments for recoil control. Then, boot up a match on Shoothouse 24/7, and as soon as it begins, run up to the wall ahead (either side), jump up on the platform, and mount your SMG. There will almost always be someone on the opposite side doing the same, and if you’re lucky (and more skilled), you can take them down. Then, just repeat this process, and once you’ve gotten two longshot kills (make sure the longshot medal comes up), you can quit the match. Just check your loadout to make sure you received credit. Rinse and repeat four more times to earn the CX-9 in Modern Warfare/Warzone.

How to purchase the CX-9

The CX-9 in Call of Duty: Warzone.

The final way to unlock the weapon is by purchasing it from the item shop. The Soap Operator Bundle is the one you want, and it costs 2,400 COD points. This is equivalent to $20 and comes with the Soap Operator skin, various weapon blueprints, a charm, finishing move, calling card, emblem, spray, and, of course, the CX-9 SMG. The main thing to know about this is that, while you can purchase the bundle to add the SMG to your custom loadouts, you won’t be able to change its attachments unless you unlock the weapon using the previous two methods.

For that reason, we don’t recommend buying the bundle unless you’re a huge fan of the blueprint that comes with it (which, admittedly, is really cool). The one strategy some players use is to buy the bundle and then use that weapon — in this case, the CX-9 — to make progress toward unlocking it. That way, when it’s unlocked, you’ll have a litany of attachments and camos to use with it. This is a viable option but not totally necessary.

Editors’ Choice

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How to Unlock the OTs 9 in Call of Duty: Warzone

The latest Call of Duty: Warzone update has added the new OTs 9 SMG as part of Season 4 Reloaded. This weapon is absolutely worth trying out, thanks to its high rate of fire, ease of use, and competitive time to kill (TTK). According to TrueGameData, the OTs 9 has one of the fastest TTKs in the SMG category, outmatching the likes of the MP5 (MW) and the PPSh-41 by a noticeable amount. After 10 meters or so, the weapon is far less effective, so you’ll want to limit its use to up-close scenarios only.

With this in mind, it’s a weapon you’ll definitely want to try. Unfortunately, the OTs 9 is a pain to unlock, though you do have several options for doing so. In this guide, we’ll show you all the ways to unlock the weapon, along with the easiest methods of getting your hands on it. Here’s how to unlock the OTs 9 SMG in Call of Duty: Warzone.

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How to unlock the OTs 9 in Warzone

The least expensive and most straightforward method of unlocking the OTs 9 is by completing the in-game Warzone challenge. To do so, you need to get a double kill with an SMG in 15 different matches. From our testing, you can do this in Plunder, regular Verdansk, and even Rebirth Island. Your best bet is to utilize an SMG with a high ammo count like the PPSh-41 or Bullfrog and then use your stuns on enemies to ensure they’re easier to take down. In Plunder, you’ll have more success if you go to the Storage Town area on the west side of Verdansk.

Alternatively, you can simply play on Rebirth Island. Here, you’ll have ample opportunities to get double kills since players tend to act more recklessly in the faster-paced mode. The tents by Living Quarters or Control Center are great spots to farm kills. You are able to quit out of the match as soon as you get your double kill, so keep that in mind.

How to unlock the OTs 9 in Black Ops Cold War multiplayer

The other method of getting this weapon unlocked is by playing Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer. Remember, your progress carries over from Cold War to Warzone, so you can unlock the OTs 9 in one game and have it in the other. To unlock it in Cold War, you need to get three kills on enemies impacted by your tactical equipment in 15 games.

For example, stuns, smokes, or flashes. The easiest way to get it done is to throw decoy grenades into high-traffic areas. We like to play on Nuketown ’84. While there, throw your decoy into a busy area of the map and follow it up with a quick kill. Do this two more times for the match and then perform that entire process a total of 15 times to unlock the weapon. The Danger Close Wildcard is great since it allows you to spawn with two pieces of tactical equipment. This method is a bit more reliable, but it’ll still take a while if you aren’t lucky.

How to unlock the OTs 9 in Black Ops Cold War Zombies

The OTs 9 in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

We highly suggest avoiding the method for unlocking the OTs 9 in Cold War Zombies simply because it’s too reliant on luck and still takes forever. With this method, you need to kill 50 Tempests within two seconds of them reappearing after teleporting. If you’ve spent any time with Zombies, you know the Tempests don’t spawn terribly often and aren’t easy to take out. So, even if you get three or four in any given match, you still have to put upwards of 30 minutes per run, which will just take too long.

How to unlock the OTs 9 by purchasing it

The easiest way to unlock the OTs 9 is to buy it with COD Points. The Inside Job bundle comes with the weapon, a charm, a finisher, an emblem, and a sticker. It’ll cost you 1,200 COD Points but is a sure-fire way to get your hands on the new SMG. This is equivalent to around $10, but you might have enough points by earning them through the battle pass.

The issue is that even if you purchase the bundle, you still have to use one of the aforementioned methods to actually unlock the weapon and use attachments. Otherwise, all you’ll have is the build that comes with the bundle, which isn’t perfect (though it’s definitely usable). Keep in mind, you do earn weapon XP for the OTs 9 as you use it, even if you don’t have it officially unlocked, which is nice.

Editors’ Choice

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Is Call of Duty: Warzone Still Worth Playing in 2021?

Call of Duty: Warzone was destined for success. After all, Call of Duty is arguably the most popular first-person shooter series of all time, so a free-to-play battle royale mashup only made sense. It takes the familiar gameplay we all know and love and ups the ante in almost every way — sending players into a complex, yet satisfying battle of survival.

Since its launch in March 2020, Warzone has evolved and gone through a hefty number of changes — most of which are for the better. But over a year later, how does Warzone stack up? Is it worth playing in 2021? Here’s what it’s like to hop into the shooter today.

A major barrier to entry

On the surface, Warzone seems like a run-of-the-mill shooter. You run around, shoot some bad buys, and pick up loot along the way. Sounds simple, right?

Not quite. If you want to pull off a victory and be the last person (or squad) standing, you have to know the ins and outs of the game. And even still, the odds aren’t in your favor. As someone who has been playing Call of Duty for nearly 15 years, even I struggle competing against other players. So, it’s tough to imagine a new player jumping in for the first time. Sure, the skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) should work to pair newcomers against other players of a similar skill bracket, but that isn’t always the case.

In Warzone, players have to pay attention to several things. For instance, weapons are a major factor that determine performance throughout any given match. Currently, there are over 80 primary weapons with dozens of attachments for each — it’s overwhelming to know which to pick. To make matters more complicated, the weapons and attachments are updated frequently, adding another wrinkle into the mix.

Aside from that, players have to manage perks, equipment, and in-game settings — and these are all things that happen before jumping into a match. You can spend hours tinkering away in the menus to make sure everything is perfect, only to die a few minutes into a match. All of these nuances become second nature with time, but it’s easy to see why Warzone would feel daunting for newcomers to get into without someone showing them the ropes.

The complexities don’t let up once a match starts. You have to know the map layout (including the best routes to get in and out of buildings), how to manage money in-game, smart rotation tactics, and little strategies that veterans have picked up over time. For example, did you know you can plop a trophy system onto the hood of a vehicle to negate explosive damage?

But once it clicks …

Operator using the OTs SMG in Warzone.

Despite the complexity, it hasn’t stopped so many people from getting invested in Warzone — and there’s a good reason for that. Once everything clicks and you know how to play, Warzone becomes one of the most satisfying experiences out there. The rush of making an effective callout, outplaying another team, and escaping from the deadly gas is unrivaled, and it’s those little moments that make it worth playing.

Although Warzone only has two maps, it rarely ever gets old. Chasing the win, experimenting with new class setups, and striving to improve are all driving forces that keep players coming back. Since the weapons have so many nuances and feel different from one another, there’s a variety of ways to play a round. In one match, you could aim to be more aggressive with a more run and gun approach, while in the next game you could sit back and snipe enemies from afar. There’s so much versatility in the way you can play and approach situations. Even when things don’t work out the way you had hoped, the experience is often satisfying.

How's this for an entrance? #Warzone

— Joseph Yaden (@JosephYaden) May 3, 2021

The feeling of executing a well-planned strategy is enough to stomp out most of the game’s flaws — which is saying something, considering just how flawed Warzone is. The tight controls, fluid movement, and everything about the way it feels are unlike anything else. Even the weapons all have their own weights, sounds, and little quirks that make them feel distinct.

For instance, try using the Milano 821 SMG and you might notice its “open-bolt delay,” which basically means there’s around a 40ms delay from when you pull the trigger and when the bullet actually comes out. Or if you use the Royal & Kross 4x optic on the FARA 83, it greatly improves the weapon’s recoil. These quirks might not always be beneficial, but it helps distinguish the weapons from one another.

Above all else, Warzone is simply a blast to play — even when things aren’t going as planned.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the recent improvements to the game. Toward the beginning of 2021, Warzone was in rough shape. On top of a rampant cheating problem (I’ll get to that in a moment), the meta was awful. Only five or so weapons were even worth using and one in particular — the DMR 14 — plagued the entire game for months due to how overpowered it was.

Since March 2021, developer Raven and company have stepped up their game. The studios successfully rebalanced many of the weapons, including detailed patch notes alongside each update. The amount of progress the game has made in the last few months is promising, but there’s a lot more to do for Warzone to reach its full potential.

Cheaters everywhere

Operator holding handgun from Warzone season 2.

It’s hard to believe so many players are able to cheat one of the most successful battle royale games of all time. But it’s true — Warzone is notorious for its cheating problem. Players will use third-party software to see enemies through walls or “aimbots” to instantly lock onto their opponents’ heads. Oftentimes, it’s fairly obvious when this happens, as you can watch your untimely death back on the killcam. Other times, it’s not so apparent.

It’s not uncommon to run into several cheaters each game session, making it hard to justify playing Warzone again. The problem is so bad that players question every single death that happens — asking if the person who killed them is, in fact, using external software to gain an unfair advantage. It can take the fun out of the experience.

Twitter user Adis Bak shared a clip showing how egregious the problem can be. You can see Bak get shot from across the map through a building, resulting in one of the most extreme examples of cheating. Granted, it’s not always this obvious, but it’s a real example of what could happen.

GG´s @RavenSoftware yesterday 4 cheaters and today 8 ???? I stream Warzone for year and half and I never seen anything like this. Warzone is in bad state for now so do something because Czech community is losing patience ????

— Adis Bak (@adisbakofficial) July 8, 2021

And what has Raven Software done to mitigate this? Well, it has banned over half a million accounts to date.

Banned over 30,000 malicious accounts across Call of Duty yesterday… bringing us to over half a million accounts banned in #Warzone. ????

— Raven Software (@RavenSoftware) May 14, 2021

On the surface, that might seem like the best course of action, but it hasn’t made much of a dent in the overall problem. Since Warzone is a free-to-play game, players simply make new accounts. Cheaters have means of unlocking all the weapons and their attachments right away, so the cheating persists. That’s why the actual problem needs to be addressed; simply banning accounts does nothing long-term.

It has gotten to the point where some players cheat just to combat the other cheaters. Whether or not that is morally correct, the fact that players feel the need to cheat just to keep up shows how out of hand the overall situation is. Other battle royale games are much better about implementing strong anti-cheat software, so it’s confusing that Raven and Activision can’t do the same with Warzone. As of April 2021, the game reached over 100 million players. Surely the game has generated enough revenue to invest in keeping the game cheat-free, right?

After all that, you’d still recommend Warzone?

Well, sort of. The issues certainly need to be addressed, but it says a lot about the game that even with its cheaters, overall difficulty, and lack of accessibility to newcomers, it’s still hard to put down. Those little moments almost make up for all of the terrible things that come with the game — not to mention the toxic community members that’ll call you every name under the sun when you eliminate them from the match.

So, is Call of Duty: Warzone worth playing in 2021? If you’re a newcomer jumping into it for the first time, it’s tough to recommend unless you have a semi-experienced person to play with. Raven needs to implement a more beginner-friendly tutorial or rundown of all the intricacies to keep from scaring potential players away. Once you know how everything works, it’s easy to get sucked in, but I worry that it’s overcomplicated for new players.

If you want to give it a try, I highly recommend starting on Rebirth Island instead of Verdansk. Rebirth Resurgence has far fewer cheaters and lasts only 15 minutes compared to the nearly half-hour matches on Verdansk. Rebirth gets to the action quicker and still gives you those memorable, share-worthy moments. Until the cheating problem gets addressed, we can’t recommend playing on Verdansk.

Having to put so many caveats around the recommendation is rough, but if Warzone’s biggest problems are addressed, it could end up being one of the best first-person shooters of all time.

Editors’ Choice

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How to Unlock the Nail Gun in Call of Duty: Warzone

Each season, Call of Duty: Warzone gets a set of new weapons, most of which are typically worth using. One weapon that was added as part of the Season 4 update was the Nail Gun, an SMG/Special Weapon hybrid that deals tremendous damage. It’s definitely suited for players who like to run and gun while getting up close and personal. The only problem is that its unlock requirements are tough and arguably not very descriptive.

Of course, you can always shell out your hard-earned COD Points to just buy it from the in-game store, but if you’re short on funds, you’ll want to take a different approach. In this guide, we’ll show you how to unlock the Nail Gun in Call of Duty: Warzone.

Recommended reading:

Nail Gun overview

The reason so many players have gravitated toward the Nail Gun is due to its high-damage profile up close. This weapon won’t get you far at range, but when used at up to 10 meters, it deals devastating damage. According to TrueGameData, the Nail Gun does 64 damage to the chest, 50 to the stomach and extremities, and 81 to the head. This means you can get a four- to five-shot kill on a fully plated enemy at up to 10 meters. With stats like that, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular choice.

For comparison’s sake, the MP5 (CW) can eliminate a fully plated enemy in six to nine shots up close. Now, it’s worth noting that the Nail Gun has a slower fire rate of 515 rpm (rate per minute) compared to the MP5 (CW), which fires at 854 rpm. But even still, the Nail Gun has the potential to eliminate a player much faster than the MP5 (CW), even with a slower rate of fire. The other unique thing about the Nail Gun is that it doesn’t allow for any attachments. But that’s okay since it’s excellent as-is. Just make sure you get used to its small magazine size of 20.

Methods of unlocking the Nail Gun in Warzone

Challenge for unlocking Nail Gun in Warzone.

The biggest issue with the Nail Gun is actually unlocking it. There are four methods to getting your hands on it, which we’ll go over in detail below:

Unlocking the Nail Gun through Warzone

The least expensive but most time-consuming method of unlocking the Nail Gun is to earn it through Warzone itself. In order to do so, you need to get five kills with Special Weapons in 15 different matches. The Special Weapons are:

  • M79 Grenade Launcher
  • Ballistic Knife
  • R1 Shadowhunter

Warzone doesn’t actually have a Special Weapons section, but rest assured, those are the weapons that fall into that category.

If you’ll be using this method, we advise jumping into a Plunder match, heading over to Storage Town on the west side of the map, and using whichever Special Weapon you feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, all of them are pretty terrible, but we had the most luck with the M79 Grenade Launcher. The strategy is to float above Storage Town and then drop down right above an enemy before shooting them with the grenade. Then pull your chute just before you hit the ground.

If you get close enough before hitting the ground, you’ll have a higher chance of eliminating them in one shot. Keep repeating this process until you’ve got five kills, then finish the match like normal. Repeat this 14 more times to complete the challenge and unlock the Nail Gun.

Based on our testing, it doesn’t seem like you’re able to quit the match before it’s over to still gain credit toward the challenge. Some players reported challenge tracking even after quitting early, but it seems like this has been patched. Also note that if you want to use the Ballistic Knife to complete the challenge, you must use the projectile as opposed to melee.

Plunder matches can take upwards of 20 minutes to complete, so it’ll take you several hours to unlock the weapon using this method. But it’s a free option!

Unlocking the Nail Gun through Black Ops Cold War multiplayer

Next up, you can unlock the Nail Gun in Cold War multiplayer. Since Warzone shares progression with Cold War, you can unlock the weapon in one game and use it in the other. For this one, the requirements are actually the same as in Warzone: Get five kills with Special Weapons in 15 different matches. The thing is, Cold War matches are a lot faster than Plunder matches in Warzone, so this method is actually the quickest, provided you have a copy of the game. For the quickest results, we advise playing on Nuketown ’84, as those matches only take around 10-ish minutes — sometimes less.

Unlocking the Nail Gun through Black Ops Cold War Zombies

The other way to unlock the Nail Gun through Cold War is by playing Zombies. To do so, you need to get 25 eliminations with Special Weapons in 12 completed regions in Outbreak. Let’s explain what that means because it’s confusing. Again, the Special Weapons are listed above, so use one of those in your loadout and boot up a match of Outbreak. A completed region is one that you’ve finished the main objective for.

The game will give you an objective at each of the regions, and once you’ve finished it and moved on to the next region via a teleportation device, this will count as a completed region. So, in essence, get your 25 kills, complete the region, and then check the in-game counter to make sure it’s giving you credit. Keep in mind that you don’t need to complete all 12 regions in a single match to unlock the weapon. Your progress carries over from match to match.

Unlocking the Nail Gun by purchasing it

The final and easiest way to get the Nail Gun is to buy it. The Puncture Wound blueprint gives you immediate access to the Nail Gun for 1,000 COD Points, which can be earned by leveling up the battle pass or purchased with real money. It will cost you around $10 to buy this blueprint with real cash.

Editors’ Choice

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‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ is getting its first objective-based mode

For battle royales, it’s a case of innovate or die. With several big-name competitors in the free-to-play genre, studios have to keep updating their games or risk losing players. Activision’s latest offering for the Call of Duty: Warzone crowd is an objective-based mode called Payload. In a first for the game, the mission will be added to the rotating playlists as part of Season Four Reloaded.

Here’s what you can expect from the new mode when it goes live with the update at 12AM ET on Thursday, July 15th. Payload splits players in two teams of 20 that are tasked with either escorting or attacking vehicles transporting satellite parts. Each team must complete their objective within the designated time limit. As usual, you can use custom loadouts or killstreaks (including a new sentry gun from Black Ops Cold War) to help your side clinch victory. You’ll also be able to buy and build obstacles to stall the vehicles on the tracks.

The setup doesn’t seem all that different from the types of protect or destroy missions available in Rockstar’s GTA Online and Read Dead Online. Though, fighting off parachuting assailants or bombarding heavily armed trucks through multiple checkpoints does sound more frenzied. For its part, Activision is pitching Payload as a crucial battle that “can shift the balance of the war between Perseus and NATO.” 

As for file sizes, the Warzone update will range from 8.9GB to 9.2GB on PlayStation and Xbox and PC, respectively.

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