Warzone Season 6 is the last time we’ll see Verdansk – and I won’t miss it. The Warzone map will be replaced by a Call of Duty Vanguard-themed map on November 5, and many will agree that the change is long overdue.
While Warzone Season 6 manages to shake up Verdansk more than the last few seasons have, there’s a staleness that set in a long time ago, one that can’t be fixed just by knocking down a few buildings and adding a few more red doors. Think of Verdansk as a baguette you got from the pricey French bakery down the block – you can only reheat that thing in the oven so many times before it’s past the point of being edible.
For a long time, Resurgence on Rebirth Island kept me entertained when Verdansk could not – but with the game currently plagued by cheaters who seem to prefer Rebirth Island, I can no longer rely on it to keep me invested. Luckily, the newly announced anti-cheat software promises Warzone and Call of Duty Vanguard will be a much kinder experience for those of us who don’t cheat – and that can only mean good things for the battle royale’s future. However, until then, we’re stuck in a strange kind of limbo.
Verdansk was the pinnacle of battle royale maps back when Warzone debuted in March 2020, but the lack of frequent and dynamic map changes à la Fortnite or Apex Legends has been to Warzone’s detriment. Warzone Season 6 makes some necessary changes and adjustments, but it’s simply not enough. In August, I wrote that Warzone Season 5 felt like it was in a holding pattern until Vanguard – and that feeling is even more prominent in October. We need a fresh new Warzone map with some stringent anti-cheat systems in place, and Season 6 is just a reminder of how dire that need is.
Cheaters will no longer prosper
Whenever Verdansk felt too stale or Warzone’s traditional battle royale matches felt too difficult, Rebirth Island and the Resurgence game mode was my safety net. With no Gulag, fast respawns that happen as long as a teammate is alive, and great ground loot, Rebirth Island consistently offered fun, frenetic gameplay in the face of Verdansk’s increasingly more common stagnancy. And like the more fun, fast cousin to the big bad battle royale, it was often a safe haven from cheaters looking to get an illusive dub. Unfortunately, players have noticed a severe uptick in the number of cheaters present in Rebirth Island games as of late.
On the first day of Warzone Season 6, I dropped into a Resurgence game with a few random players. My team landed and immediately got into a firefight typical of these kinds of matches: teams of four take turns killing each other until, finally, a team wipe happens. But something was different about this match – the team we were battling kept killing us in bizarre ways, whether it was hitting every shot while falling out of the sky or miraculously knowing exactly where we were hiding in the Chemical Engineering building. “They’re cheating,” my teammate bemoaned. “This has been happening all day.” As they said that, I was killed yet again by the suspiciously good enemy squad, and noticed that my executor was wearing the as-yet-unreleased Scream-themed skin. The skin isn’t set to come out until The Haunting of Verdansk drops on October 18, so its appearance was further proof that the enemy team was a nefarious bunch.
The rest of the games that day weren’t much better, and although new Warzone seasons almost always begin with an influx of cheaters, it’s high time they were taken out of the game. Luckily, the Pacific-themed Verdansk update to Warzone will bring with it a new anti-cheat software that’s sure to deter the dastardly dudes. Ricochet Anti-Cheat is a kernel-level anti-cheat system that can access a broad range of software and applications on PCs to help find and stop cheaters. Popular games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, and Valorant use this type of anti-cheat software, so you can expect to see a drastic drop in cheaters on the new Warzone map.
While it makes sense that Warzone will implement new anti-cheat software at the same time as its biggest update to date, players have been asking for a crackdown on cheaters for quite some time. Warzone Season 6 will be the last Season without the Ricochet Anti-Cheat – but it’s still another season without it.
Warzone Season 6 does shake up Verdansk, but it’s only a gentle shake – as if Raven Software is afraid it’ll shatter. The new season brings more Warzone Red Doors that lead to high-level loot rooms across the map, a revamped Downtown area, and adjusted ground loot. The original Gulag returns, as well, and it’s perhaps the best thing Season 6 can offer. It’s great to return to a no-frills Gulag that doesn’t have two levels and camping spots galore – it’s just you and another player, facing off to the death in a grody, dimly lit shower. Those were the days.
Warzone Season 6 also adds a new shotgun (the first since Season 1), a new Grav AR, and a Battle Axe melee weapon, along with some new Operators. The weapon changes feel pretty minimal and not nearly as drastic as other updates have been, so it’s hard to notice a discernible difference in anything other than the ground loot. Funnily enough, the EM2 AR was apparently nerfed, but seems to have become the central meta weapon for Season 6 – lucky for you there’s a ton of those guys on the ground, so snatch ’em up while you can.
Ultimately some weapon balance updates, a few new Operators, a return to the OG Gulag, and Verdansk getting torn up by seismic activity isn’t enough to make Warzone Season 6 stand out in any way. At this point in the game, demolishing Downtown and giving Stadium another makeover just isn’t enough newness across a map that’s so big and has remained largely unchanged for much of its tenure. Sure, there are far fewer buildings to camp in at Downtown, but both Promenades areas remain untouched, the Superstore is the same, and Boneyard is still Boneyard. Verdansk is huge, and there are so many spots to tuck away in that adjusting one area makes relatively no difference – it’s a drop in the ocean, and we need a tidal wave.
The upcoming Call of Duty Vanguard-themed map looks like a breath of fresh (albeit humid) air that is absolutely crucial at this time in Warzone’s history. Whereas Verdansk is all brutalist buildings and apartment blocks, the Pacific map plunges players into nature. We don’t have many details on the Pacific map, but it’s clear that it’s a more vibrant world with a diverse range of biomes that include rivers, waterfalls, and dense forests.
Don’t get me wrong, Verdansk is a great map that’s responsible for all of us getting into Warzone in the first place. To return to an earlier analogy, it’s a well-made baguette that tastes so good you don’t even need butter – but bread doesn’t last forever. When Black Ops Cold War and Warzone integrated, Verdansk frustratingly remained, and the ’80s makeover did little more than apply a filter to a picture we’d all memorized by heart. Some areas changed, but in the grand scheme of things, we were all playing on the same map – ’80s Verdansk just wasn’t enough of a difference for a game that’s billed as the sieve through which all-new Call of Duty content will be filtered. The end of the Black Ops Cold War era and the ushering in of Vanguard content can and should breathe new life in Warzone – and it can’t happen soon enough.
Call of Duty: Warzone gets its Vanguard-themed map on November 5. Until then, enjoy Warzone Season 6, which will get an extra injection of interesting content when the Warzone Haunting event drops on October 19.