Call of Duty’s new free-to-play battle royale has already enticed 30 million players to drop into the Warzone. So if you want to survive against ever-increasing competition, you’re going to want a little intel before putting boots on the ground.

Here are some easy-to-follow tips that can help keep you out of the Gulag and chasing the win.

When landing cut your parachute (a lot)

For a game grounded in reality (for the most part) the biggest oddity is a parachute that you can redeploy an endless number of times as you descend to the ground. You can use this to your advantage to both reach points farther away from the drop path of the plane, and also to reach the ground faster.

If you’re dropping straight down, just let yourself fall until the last instant. But if you’re trying to go somewhere in the distance, the best move seems to be pointing yourself directly toward your landing zone. When you no longer appear to be moving forward, pull your chute and push forward with your controls. After you start to move forward again, cut your 'chute while holding the controls to move forward. You should notice a little bit of a slingshot action and see your hands out in front of you; when they move back to your sides, redeploy the chute. Repeat until you land, but remember to keep an eye on the altimeter so you don’t fall short of your desired landing zone.

Find, add and share armor plates

Armor is a critical component to surviving a fire fight. You drop in with two plates. Find and add a third as soon as you can. It could prove pivotal in an early fight, especially if it’s just a pistol duel.

Call of Duty re-enters the battle royale scene with Warzone, and it seems to have learned a few lessons from Blackout and Fortnite. (The Washington Post)

Once you’re confidently safe from other teams, snatch up as many plates as you can find (you can carry five in addition to the three you can wear) and if your teammates are lacking, be sure to share. You’re far more likely to survive a fight if everyone has maximum armor than if you’re hoarding it all and your teammates are bare.

Vary your gun types

Players have the ability to carry two weapons. Don’t be redundant by carrying two of the same weapon class. This helps in two ways:

  1. It gives you the ability to fight in more ways if you can pair a long-range weapon (like a sniper or marksman rifle) with a close-range weapon (think submachine gun or midrange AR).
  2. It allows you to use two different types of ammo, instead of draining all from the same pool.

This can extend to your squad as well. You don’t all need sniper rifles. If one player is better with one, let them put down shots from a distance will others push with ARs/SMGs. Again, this will let you all make the most of your collective ammo pool.

Drop the common LMG

It’s not that the MG34 is bad. It’s that it’s terrible.

The gun is clunky, inaccurate (with awful iron sights), has a limited magazine (by LMG standards), it takes forever to reload and equally long to switch to or away from it. Use it only if you drop immediately into a firefight and need something with range.

Ideally, you’ll find a blue (Rare) or better gun with some attachments in your initial looting. But if not, I think the ranking of common weapons off the initial drop goes something like SCAR, MP7, M13, pistol, shotgun, launcher, a ham sandwich, the MG34.

Spend (and save) cash wisely

Money can seem like an afterthought when you’re looting, but it is vital for several reasons. Equipment and killstreaks snagged at buy stations can swing the tide of a fight, particularly as the map shrinks in the final circle. Second, you can use money to bring back teammates if they lose their match in the Gulag, or if it’s late in the round and the Gulag is closed. A teammate is (usually) the best asset you can acquire, even if they’re just dropping in late with a pistol and a prayer.

But not every potential purchase has the same level of utility, so make the most of your purchases. A gas mask is a luxury, and really only grants you a few extra seconds in the storm. I’d much rather have the cluster strike for that same $3,000. Armor is usually easily acquired early in the game — don’t waste $1,500 on a bundle. Likewise, don’t bank on the self-revive as the key to eternal life. If you get knocked in the open, odds are some thirsty foe is going to finish you off, making that $4,500 you spent a total waste. In terms of utility, I’d prioritize purchases in this order:

  • 1. Squad Buyback – $4,500 per teammate
  • 2. Loadout Drop Marker – $6,000 (unless you’re near the time loadout drops are falling)
  • 3. UAV – $4,000
  • 4. Precision Airstrike – $3,500
  • 5. Cluster Strike – $3,000
  • 6. Munitions Box – $5,000
  • 7. Self-Revive Kit – $4,500
  • 8. Armor Plate Bundle – $1500
  • 9. Gas Mask – $3,000
  • 10. Shield Turret – $2,000 (Does anyone actually buy this?)

Don’t feel compelled to immediately spend all your money. Early on, pool your cash and try to save enough to bring back a teammate if someone goes down. It will save you tons of time scraping up cash later in the game when there’s less to find.

Set your loadouts and get them however you can

One of the single biggest differentiators between newcomers and Warzone vets will be the quality of loadouts.

Loadout drops tend to fall around the map after each round of the circle closing, but you can also purchase one for $6,000 at a buy station. If your kit is well-stocked — you can upgrade weapons in the Gunsmith menu or unlock weapon blueprints via the battlepass or by completing missions — this tends to be a worthwhile spend. Once you have your loadout, you don’t need to spend time trying to find a better gun than what you’re carrying, and can focus more on positioning. It’s also possible that the gun you bring in via loadout is better than anything you’ll find anywhere on the map.

The two exceptions to buying a loadout drop:

  1. If your loadouts stink, save your money (also, rank up your guns).
  2. If the ring is about to close, there’s likely a loadout drop falling near you somewhere soon on the map. Wait and see where it falls, then assess the risk/reward value.

Put out munitions boxes ASAP

The munitions box is easily one of the best pieces of equipment in the game. Deploy one and you and your team can get max ammo and equipment, and you can free up for field upgrade slot for something more situational, like the recon drone or trophy system. Waiting around to use an ammo box doesn’t really have much use. The only time you’re likely to realize you’re low on ammo is either in a firefight (when it’s risky to take the time to deploy it and reload) or after one. If you win the fight, you can grab ammo from your fallen foes. If you lose … your ammo isn’t really a concern, is it? The same holds for stopping power rounds; if you’ve got the gun you want, throw 'em in your weapon right away.

Find police departments (and their ammo pallets)

It won’t give you as much ammo as a munitions box, but if you go into a police station you’ll see a pallet of canvas-covered crates located in the front left corner (if you go in the front door). Press the interact button to snag a few extra magazines.

Stick together, but not too close

There’s a fine line in just how tightly your squad should roll together. Simply stated, you never want to get so separated from your team that your comrades can’t return fire if someone starts shooting at you. But you don’t want to be right on top of each other. Not only could one well-placed explosive device or killstreak (precision airstrike, cluster strike) wipe you all out, but it’s easier for opponents to bounce from one target to another. You don’t want to see yourself roasted on Reddit under a post titled, “Check out this Warzone collateral.” Social distancing saves lives in Warzone too!

Be a sniper, not a target

If you’re using a sniper scope, you’ll be able to get a closer view of the target, but if they’re looking in your direction, they’ll also get a glimpse of you as the light reflects off your scope, betraying your position. If you’re a crack shot, it may not matter, since you may be able to pop your foe before they can react. But if you’re lying prone on a hillside, hard-scoping a group of enemies, you risk going from predator to prey rather quickly. If you can use a scope with less magnification you won’t have this issue, but if you do want to run the sniper scope you’d do well not to linger looking down its sights. (Also, a quick note for snipers: Bullet drop is real. If you’re aiming well into the distance, compensate by aiming a little higher.)

Tall buildings = sniper fests. Plan accordingly.

If you’re moving in or near the Downtown or Hospital areas of the map, there’s almost certainly at least one sniper on a rooftop looking for a kill. Depending on where the circle goes, you may not have a choice but to head into these areas, so don’t be the sucker who runs in the open. Stay close to the sides of the streets, up tight against the buildings. It’ll be much harder to see (and hit) you there. And if the gas is closing through the downtown area, be mindful that there may be a sniper or team parachuting off the building just ahead of it. In that scenario, they can make for easy targets.

Pounce on the kill when you can

Once you knock a player they’ll be able to crawl around while their teammates try to either revive them or win the fight first. They can also self-revive if they found or purchased such a kit. The lesson there? Don’t assume they’re down for the count until you see their gear on the ground. Don’t go bounding out into the open to finish them off, but try to eliminate them if you can get shots on them. Otherwise you may just think you’ve won a fight only to learn a hard lesson when a self-reviving foe ruins your day.

Occasionally, downed foes may try to crawl back to their teammates and/or cover. In that case, it might be worth trying to lob a grenade in there (or use an airstrike or cluster strike) in the hope of dropping two players. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Pick your contracts wisely

Players should absolutely take advantage of the three types of contracts marked by gold indicators around the map, which offer loot and money as a reward for their completion. The magnifying glass is a scavenger hunt where you’ll open three different crates (usually containing very good loot), culminating with one that provides your team with gas masks. There’s also a recon contract where you’ll need to occupy a marked position for a certain amount of time (in exchange for loot and information about where the next circle will be). Finally, there’s a bounty contract, where you’ll need to hunt down an opposing player.

If you’re new to the game and want to focus more on surviving than chasing down kills, stick to the scavenger hunts. They’re usually pretty easy to complete, give you good rewards and don’t have a huge downside. Bounty contracts are fun, and will reveal the general area of the target, but if you don’t track them down in time the opposing team gets extra money, so if you don’t intend to chase them down, you’re really only helping the other team. And the recon missions have a drawback of their own …

Watch for flares in the sky

There are two circumstances when you’ll see flares soaring skyward. The first is when a team starts locking down the assigned area for a recon contract. That means, everyone in the area will know exactly where your team is for a little while. If you’re just trying to get your legs under you, you probably don’t want that attention.

The second instance is when a team buys back one of its players. The buy station will send up a flare, and the teammate will fall down on that location. This can be both a warning (in that you know there’s a team there) and an opportunity (in that the incoming player will temporarily only have a pistol). You can decide whether to fight or flee, but it’s useful information regardless.

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