Call of Duty: Warzone was building up to something big - anyone who's logged into the game in the last few weeks will have seen that a lot has changed in Verdansk and, with the mid-season Season 3 Reloaded update also finally here, there's a lot to get your head around.
We've been transported back in time after the nuclear destruction of Verdansk as we knew it, with everything coinciding with the end of the last battle pass. Here's everything you need to know about Season 3 of Call of Duty: Warzone, including what's likely coming in the mid-season update.
What's arrived in the mid-season Season Three Reloaded update?
As usual, Warzone's Season 3 update may have been sizeable, but it still left plenty to be fixed and updated, so Raven Software hasn't waited too long to bring a sizeable mid-season update to bear.
The patch is out now on all platforms, and brings some new content, including unlocking the new AMP63 SMG, which players have been looking forward to equipping and levelling up.
We've also just had some majorr balance tweaks to a number of weapons, according to Raven Software's own patch notes , including balance passes for the popular AMAX assault rifle, the FARA, Sweetsweeper shotgun and the Bullfrog SMG, all of which had felt a little overpowered at times.
More have arrived, in the form of changes to how suppressors work on Cold War weapons, and some tweaks to make Cold War snipers feel more viable compared to their Modern Warfare counterparts. Plus, and this is hugely welcome, there's been a major reduction in the spawn rate of Stopping Power rounds - something that we wouldn't mind if we never saw again.
Most pressingly, though, the Reloaded update has brought a new content drop focussing around a couple of 80s action icons - Rambo and Die Hard's John McClane. The below trailer gives a good sense of the madness that's kicked off.
There's loads to sink into, including the arrival of Die Hard's Nakatomi Plaza in Downtown with a host of new minor objectives to complete in and around it. It's the tallest tower ever in Warzone, so sniping could be a menace from its peak.
There are plenty of other points of interest, including survivor camps in homage to Rambo, where you can collect dog tags as part of another new mission type. On top of that there are new weapons arriving and an in-game event to make everything feel easier to follow.
There's always more to come, though, and another interesting set of changes might come in the form of some lighting tweaks - we're still waiting on hard evidence that the controversial Roze skin has been adjusted, for one thing, and players have also been a little unhappy with some of the glare that the new lighting for Verdansk '84 has brought, which Raven has also acknowledged.
Thank you for calling this out! We want our players to feel comfortable while playing #Warzone.
We've been monitoring this closely and plan on addressing it in an upcoming update.#WZa11y pic.twitter.com/Wmsc2Bs1Sf
— Raven Software (@RavenSoftware) May 5, 2021
What was new in COD Warzone Season 3?
Wraith says she'll see you in Season Three...
Make a name for yourself right from the start in Season Three of #BlackOpsColdWar and #Warzone.
Get all intel on Season Three here: https://t.co/GHu7htmrZP pic.twitter.com/Jogklct3Ge
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) April 19, 2021
Looking back to when Season 3 kicked off, it brought a lot of changes to the formula that has made Warzone so popular, with plenty of different elements to consider.
New Verdansk 1980s map
Warzone players have been waiting for ages to be able to explore a full-sized new map for the game, with the smaller Resurgence Island map not big enough to really count for much. For a long time, the common assumption was that we'd get a map set in the Ural mountains, bringing in a bunch of multiplayer locations that were set in that locale.
However, recent leaks have indicated that this map was shelved a while ago, in favour of the new version of Verdansk that replaced the current map at the start of Season 3. This, as we now know, is set in the 1980s, tying the game into the timeline used by Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War.
The map's layout is largely the same, but key landmarks are noticeably different, with a less built-up Downtown, a stadium's more a building site, and no dam at all - instead, there's a tall bridge to navigate now instead, along with a Summit installation. There's loads more to explore, too, so it'll take a while for everyone to get used to each change.
New operators and weapons
A mainstay of Warzone's battle pass system is the introduction of at least one new operator to act as the front for the season. Past passes have introduced Naga, Captain Price and Ghost, among many others.
We're already seeing a lot of players running around donning the new skins released in the battle pass, in particular Wraith, who has been heavily featured in the promotional material.
Similarly, after the huge drop of new weapons when Cold War integrated with Warzone in late 2020, the trickle of new weaponry is back to a more reasonable and manageable rate (after all, many of the Cold War weapons still don't feel fully balanced even months down the line).
Battle passes and new seasons have typically introduced two new weapons, and they're also generally included as free tiers to ensure that everyone has the same chance to unlock them without having to fork out any COD Points. The new season looks to have even more, though, including the PPSH-41 SMG, Swiss K31 sniper, which are both out already, with the Ballistic Knife melee, CARV.2 rifle, and AMP63 SMG as well - a bumper crop of new hardware to use.