Call of Duty Warzone: Goodbye Verdansk, Hello Caldera

Headshot of Ethan Patrick, Head of Amateur Scouting for New Frontier Esports & Entertainment

Call of Duty: Warzone’s Verdansk map will cease to exist this week, making way for the Vanguard-themed Caldera map. The new Caldera map will be released on December 9th on all platforms, although Vanguard players will be able to access it a day early. Before the drop, we’re looking back on the trials and triumphs of Verdansk.

In early 2020, the world came to a standstill when the pandemic officially began. 

We were stuck at home with no work and no school; we were just locked away in our houses trying to figure out what to do. The gaming community was in its element — we didn’t need to leave the house, and playing video games day in and day out was not only deemed socially acceptable, but responsible.

For most of the CoD community, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was the top title keeping us busy. Then, on the glorious morning of March 10th, 2020, Warzone was released and changed the CoD community forever. It was a mix of battle royale (like PUGB, Fortnite, Apex Legends, etc…) and the classic CoD experience all in one. No one knew where it would take us — the fun, heartbreak, just overall excitement the game would bring us was yet to come. We got introduced to Verdansk in all its glory, along with all its flaws. 

Call of Duty: Warzone's Verdansk map
Image via Activision

The early days of the game had us experiencing so many different META changes, game-breaking glitches, and cheating issues (which is still ongoing, but not as bad as it used to be). 

We went from the M4A1, to the Kilo, to the KAR, and MP5. We had some annoying METAs in season one with the rocket launcher second, akimbo magnums with snake shots (which made most of us pull our hair out), and the beloved 725 shotgun. We had some guns that were chill, even though they were overpowered like the Grau, the Bruen, and the R-90 shotgun with dragon’s breath. 

We then moved into the integration with CoD: Cold War and all the weapons that came with it, and it was met with (what I believe to be) the WORST META in Warzone. It was so bad that for a good majority of the player base it was unplayable – DMR Zone (with special guest CW AUG and M16). 

Nothing pissed off a squad more than getting two tapped in the head and being team wiped with one of those three tactical rifles. After a long dreadful month of torture from that gun, we went back to normal with the MAC-10, the FFAR, and CW MP5.

The last few months on Verdansk have been an open META with some guns more favored than others because of their stats, but they weren’t overly broken. 

Call of Duty: Warzone's Verdansk map
Image via Activision

Overall, our time in Verdansk was one to remember.

Between our first kills, our first dub, our first clutch with being the last man alive, and our first clip where the whole squad lost their collective mind, there were many moments to hold dear. We witnessed a lot of world records made and broken by streamers, hilarious gameplay, and a lot of suspect clips.

We saw a lot of money won in private matches and kill races, careers made, and streamers changing the esports industry for the better with the deals, money and influence they had and acquired. 

We will look back at Verdansk and miss it dearly, despite how much it drove us all crazy. We will miss the feeling of first booting into the map and dropping into superstore, downtown, airport, dam, or boneyard for the first time. Getting into the first engagement and coming out on top or being sent to the gulag. Being in our first gulag, trying not to get nervous and win your gunfight to get a second chance. 

We will miss the first time we were in the final circle and could just taste the win, it being so close that you could grasp it. We will miss the first time we saw “Warzone Victory” and immediately wanting to jump back in and get another one. 

We will miss those firsts and will have to do it all over again when we drop into Caldera. We will build new memories and hope that Warzone only gets better and better when the new map drops. 

Image via Activision

All we ask and need is that the game developers listen to the community. Including fixing game-breaking glitches or guns as soon as they can, and we all hope and pray that Ricochet (the anti-cheat) works properly and Caldera isn’t riddled with cheaters. Caldera can make or break Warzone (along with the anti-cheat), and we can only cross our fingers that it goes smoothly. 

As much as the Call of Duty franchise and community gets a bad rap for being a toxic space, (and the community thinking it’s the best thing ever created and no other game matters), there are some truly amazing people within. 

I have made a lot of memories with this game and have met some cool friends, and can’t wait to make new memories while meeting new people. At the end of the day, it’s just a video game. It’s our way to forget our problems and get lost for a few hours, get a dub or two. 

See you in the Pacific.

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