Call of Duty: Warzone's availability has created a new status quo for the Call of Duty franchise. On one hand, there remains annual Call of Duty game releases that each have their own unique multiplayer modes. On the other, Call of Duty: Warzone offers a free-to-play battle royale experience that changes year-to-year but otherwise subsists. To say there's contention between the two games' competitive communities would be an understatement. Case in point, new comments from pro player Scump.
Scump, who is a world champion Call of Duty player currently playing for OpTic Chicago, had some harsh words for Call of Duty: Warzone in a recent OpTic podcast. "As much as I love Warzone and would love for it to be competitive, it's just not," is how Scump characterized his views of the battle royale. While Scump does try to say so in a somewhat respectful manner, acknowledging how much he enjoys Warzone, his criticism is also quite cutting.
The esports professional goes on to explain why they don't view Warzone as properly competitive. Scump says that in Warzone "there's just so much left to chance" and that "it's literally RNG," saying that the random elements of the game give advantages and disadvantages too haphazardly to foster a truly competitive experience. More traditional Call of Duty multiplayer experience don't have these kinds of heavy randomization that can dramatically impact match outcomes.
Scump also describes their problems with the competitive format for Call of Duty: Warzone, which typically sees players join random lobbies and strive to accrue as many wins as possible over a specific period of time. He points out that players can manipulate skill-based matchmaking so they play against worse opponents. He points out that players can be stream-sniped, perhaps even by their opponents' fanbases. "I want to succeed," says Scump, "but those tournaments, man."
This isn't the first time such criticism has been aired regarding a battle royale, of course. Scump is just the latest example. Major battle royale games including PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite both have put significant effort into fostering a competitive scene, though the pandemic has seriously impacted both. Which is to say that despite criticisms, the competitive scene for battle royales remains.
The counter-argument to Scump's criticism is that tournaments like those often hosted on Twitch aren't supposed to be highly competitive. They're more for content and fun. There's still a competitive element, but it's born out of an embrace of the randomized elements of the experience. Still, Scump's job is to take these games seriously, so it's no surprise that he has high expectations.
Call of Duty: Warzone is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.