Now that Activision lifted the curtain on Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0, we have a much better understanding of what to expect from the sequel. The new game features a number of interesting changes, such as vehicle upgrades, split gas circles, and the Al Mazrah map. But the sequel is also littered with confusing design decisions, the most glaring of which is the inclusion of AI bots. While bots will certainly have their place in the Escape from Tarkov-DMZ style, including them in a battle royale could ruin the experience for most players.
AI bots are integrated into the fundamental game loop of Warzone 2.0, so Activision is unlikely to remove them from the game entirely. Early footage from streamers suggests that these AI bots are littered all over the map. They often spawn inside buildings, ramping up the action – at a cost.
For starters, frequent players won’t get any satisfaction from taking out an enemy bot, especially since they pose no threat. If you encounter one, they’ll hang around and occasionally shoot at you, but even casual players should have no problem taking them down. Part of war zoneThe call goes on a tear, eliminating as many players as possible. Robots add nothing in this regard.
AI robots also drop items when defeated, such as armor plates and ammo. But these items are on the map anyway, so there’s not much point in prioritizing AI enemy kills. Bots also interfere with the UAV killstreak, as they appear on the map as red dots, just like enemy players. For this reason, it is often unclear which red dots represent real players and which are AI-related. This can severely affect how players interact with their opponents, leading to frustrating situations.
The biggest problem with AI bots is that players get shot in the back. An enemy bot can fire a few shots at you, but if you fire back, a real enemy player could easily step in and take you out while your back is turned. This is further amplified if you fire an unsuppressed weapon, which reveals your location on the minimap. So, in a weird way, you better not engage with these AI-controlled enemies at all.
We anticipate a host of issues with third-party engagements. Imagine lasting until the very end of a match after finding lots of powerful gear and weapons, only to get knocked out by a real player as you defend against a weak AI bot.
The Fortress, another novelty for Warzone 2.0, requires you to infiltrate and take out AI-controlled bases to earn a free loadout weapon from the store. Since loadout weapons are so expensive, players are encouraged to complete these Stronghold objectives. However, enemy players will likely come in, take you out from behind, and mop up any remaining AI kills, letting you do all the dirty work for them. It’s an obviously terrible design decision that will force even pundits to play less aggressively, hurting the flow of a match.
These issues carry over to the new Gulag, which also incorporates AI robots. The new Gulag stage is much bigger and more complex than before, but Activision has filled the arena with AI robots that have a huge health pool. They don’t deal much damage, but rather only serve to distract real players. Again, you’ll likely be eliminated by shooting the AI tanks around the stage. This is unnecessary and interrupts the flow of a Gulag match.
Overall, it’s easy to see the value of adding AI bots to Warzone 2.0, enhancing the action while giving casual gamers more to do. The problem is that these bots are implemented in a way that defeats the premise of a battle royale game. It’s hard enough to survive against real players.
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 launch on November 16, 2022.