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Season 3 Reloaded introduces major changes: Stim nerf, reduced lobby size, squad HUD overhaul, and more


Season 3 Reloaded brought in some really game-changing updates that are sure to stir things up a bit. Season 3 Reloaded has introduced a new and improved squad HUD, health changes, reduced lobby size, Stim nerf, and more. We will go through everything one by one, covering all the significant details.

Note that there are way too many changes to be listed here. However, we've done our best to highlight all the important and game-changing changes here.

Reduced Lobby Size

Since the beginning of time, we've known Battle Royale (BR) games to have 100 players in a match. This has become a traditional lobby count across the majority of the BR games. Warzone was the first to introduce a lobby size of 150 when it was first introduced. This change really set Warzone apart from its BR competitors.

TOP GAMEPLAY HIGHLIGHTS

Throughout the life cycle of Modern Warfare (2019) and Black Ops Cold War, the number has stayed at 150. In fact, we've seen the player count go as high up as 200 during some limited-time modes.

However, Raven Software has decided to cut back on the number of active players in a lobby by 20%. This means the number of players will reduce from 150 to 120. This is intended for all the core game modes in Warzone, including solo, duos, trios, and quads.

Aggressive players looking for a high-kill count are disappointed, but with the recent additions allowing players multiple chances to drop back into the game after dying, the lobby is expected to stay alive for longer. Besides, having a lower player count is expected to make lobbies much more stable and fix connection issues.

Stim Nerf

Stims have been an absolute meta tactical equipment in Caldera. Before the Heartbeat Sensor nerfs, it was always the top pick for everyone. Despite the heavy nerfs, it is still being used by many players. However, since Vanguard dropped, Stims had become the new favorite for the tactical slot.

Stims are mostly used by aggressive players who like to push and engage in more gunfights. Stims were always used to escape the gas since they healed you pretty quickly when inside or outside the gas.

However, as we ventured into Caldera, Stims became overpowered as using them gave players a speed boost and allowed them to do a 'super slide.' This made it easier for players to maneuver around their opponents and break their line of sight. Additionally, players also kept getting healed despite them receiving damage. This was the main issue, and according to the devs, the Stim healing will be interrupted upon taking damage. This means that players can only heal using Stims if they are in cover.

Health Changes

The developers of Warzone first introduced increased base health for Battle Royale mode bumping it from 100 HP to 150 HP in the limited-time mode Iron Trials. This increased the time-to-kill (TTK) and allowed players to have an equal footing in a gunfight. With the 100 HP, it was quite difficult to respond back to your shooter before they take you out. With an increase in HP, you get a chance to get in cover and plan your next move accordingly.

Players appreciated the health buff and the TTK that came with it. Seeing this, the health buff of 150 was introduced to stay in Vanguard Royale. Recently, Raven Software created a poll on Twitter asking what health cap should be used in the regular BR.

Based on the poll results, Raven Software decided to add 150 health to the regular battle royale mode, and now it is on Rebirth Island as well. The 150 health won't just be in the BR modes, but across all modes, including Plunder.

Squad HUD Overhaul

A much-needed squad HUD restructure is now in place. A new and improved squad HUD allows players to see each other's items, killstreaks, gas masks, and other items. Each squad member can see how many Armor Plates everyone has. Now, you can confidently ask for an Armor Plate without a potential. "I've only got one plate, bro."

The new HUD also displays the combined cash of the team. If the combined cash meets the cash requirement for a loadout, it will display a small loadout marker in the HUD. This is highly convenient and makes communication without a mic much easier.

This was a highly requested feature, and one fan even went as far as creating a concept image that is very similar to what we're seeing in the game now. A Reddit user, u/BurterSpeed, uploaded a concept image back in October 2021, showcasing his concept image of an improved squad HUD.

A small quality of life improvement from CODWarzone

New Game Design

The new game design overhaul is intended to make the game more engaging and less idle. There are three key areas to achieve the new game design as stated by Raven Software: More Counter, More Movement, and Move Playtime.

More Counter

More Counter is all about giving players a chance to protect themselves or counter the incoming threat. There are new field equipment and perks added to facilitate that.

New Perk

A new perk called Serpentine is added into Warzone now. This was originally found in Multiplayer of Vanguard. This is an essential perk for situations where you don't have any cover in open spaces. It reduces incoming damage when you're sprinting. This is like a temporary damage negation mechanic that aids in escaping enemy players at a distance. The attacking players are also notified when the defending players counter their shots using the new Serpentine perk.

Lootable Perks

The lootable perks were first seen in Operation Monarch and are now available in all maps and gamemodes, including Rebirt Island. There is an addition of new lootable perks as well. The lootable perks include:

  • Serpentine
  • Tune Up
  • Hardline
  • Tracker
  • Kill Chain
  • E.O.D.

Radar Jammer Field Upgrade

A new field upgrade called Radar Jammer is now introduced in Warzone. This Radar Jammer is deployed similar to the Trophy System. The field upgrade, when deployed, disrupts enemy Tac Map and doesn't allow them to use airborne killstreaks in the area affected by the Radar Jammer.

The effective radius of the Radar Jammer is 125 meters. The killstreaks won't work within 125 meters of the jammer. It lasts for 45 seconds and can be hacked by players if they are using the Engineer perk. You can also attach it to vehicles to move the Radar localization area.

This is a very useful field upgrade, especially in the late game when you have very limited space and suspect an enemy might use their airborne killstreak on you. Since the area in the late game is very small, you are at a higher risk of getting killed by those deployed killstreaks.

Lootable Loadout Markers

This is an interesting one, as now players can find Loadout Drop Markers as ground loot. The chances of it spawning are extremely rare. But it does give players coming back from the Gulag a fair chance of getting their loadout right off the bat.

Movement

The following changes have been introduced in order to promote movement across the map.

High Value Loot Zones

The High-Value Loot Zones were introduced in Operation Monarch. These loot zones are represented by a dollar sign on the map and contain high-tier loot and plenty of cash. This was introduced to force players to drop in locations they had never dropped to previously.

Raven Software took note of the change and got the desired result - the movement of players into different POIs of the map. As a result, they've decided to introduce it in all the Battle Royale modes.

Underground Transit System

Similar to the Subway Station Fast Travel system in Verdansk, Caldera now has an Underground "minecart" fast traveling system. There are 14 access points across Caldera and can be identified by a silver vault door icon on the mini-map or the Tac Map.

The lighting system on the hatches will provide information about the area you're traveling to. The green light indicates that the minecart is available and you can use it to fast travel.

If it is red, it means there is danger. If it is turned off, it means you cannot travel to that location. If it is yellow, it indicates that the location is engulfed in the gas.

Lootable Speed Boost Power-Up

Ths Speed Boost power-up was originally introduced in Clash mode. It is now available in all the core Battle Royale modes. It grants the player increased movement speed immediately upon pick up.

Increased Downed Movement Speed

Players can now move at a faster pace when downed. Initially, when a payer got down, they couldn't even move to a safer place to have a chance of revival. Thankfully Raven Software has taken note of this and increased the downed movement speed.

Other movement mechanics include the Stim nerf, which is already discussed above.

Playtime

We mentioned the recent additions that allow players to get a second chance after going to the Gulag. This is added to not only give more playtime to the players but also to balance the reduced lobby size. The following are some of the new "second-chance" mechanics added to Warzone.

Lootable Gulag Entry Token

Normally, you would enter the Gulag once, and upon death the second time, you are out of the game. However, if you collect the Gular Entry token, you will be able to re-enter Gulag. You can only carry one token at a time. Players will always start the game with one Gular Entry Token.

Lootable Redeploy Extraction Token

Redeploy extraction token is another rare lootable token that allows players to skip Gulag and directly spawn back into the game upon death. This will not coincide with the Gulag Entry Token. So, if the player gas the Gulag Entry Token and goes through the Redeploy Extraction Token benefit, they will retain the Gulag Entry Token. Players can only carry one redeploy token at a time.

Decreased Buyback Cost & Death Tax Adjustment

The buyback cost of players has been reduced from $4,000 down to $3,000. This should give players more chances to get back into the action.

Another essential change to the game's economy is the death tax adjustment. Before Season 3 reloaded, when a player died, the tax ratio was 80:20. This meant that players lost 80% of the total cash they had upon death. This has been adjusted to 50:50 to make it 50% loss and less punishing.

Quality of Life Improvements (QOL)

In addition to the squad HUD QOL improvement, there are plenty more such as:

  • Improved Footstep audio relative to other gameplay sounds. Other audio sources will have lowered volume when you hear enemy footsteps.
  • Melee now requires 4 hits to down instead of 3.
  • Incoming killstreak warning banner has been moved to appear below the reticle to prevent visual disruption during gunfights.
  • You can now navigate the loadout menu or any other menu and won't be kicked back to the lobby screen when the host queues for a game.
  • Dead squad members will be shown at the top of the buy station interface. They will be prioritized.
  • Ghost perk is adjusted to reduce player movement speed threshold to trigger the Ghost perk.
  • Players with spawn protection will take 25% less damage when shot at.

Roze Operator Skin

Despite all the previous nerfs and skin brightness, the Operator's skin was still almost invisible in dark shadows. Raven Software has gone out of its way to further increase the brightness to 70% to ensure players can find the Roze skin in the dark pits and trenches of Caldera.

You can see clearly why it was a problem in the video shared by a Reddit user u/TastyWhaleMeat

Raven: "We know the Roze skin is annoying, we are fixing it" / Also Raven: "Introducing Roze 2.0!" from CODWarzone

New Weapon

Finally, we have a brand new SMG added to the game called H4 Blixen: Submachine Gun (VG).

You can unlock the weapon by getting 3 Slide Kills in a single match 15 times. It's quite tedious to complete this mission. You can either do this or get a bundle for this weapon to get it unlocked.

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Hassan Sajid

Hassan has always loved Battle Royale games, right from the start of his gaming career. Aside from utilizing his engineering background in several areas of his life (with a degree from the National University Science & Technology), he loves to use his technical knowledge and skills to contribute towards the gaming community. He has played PUBG and Fortnite extensively and as a fan of the Call of Duty series, Warzone is a no brainer for him. His favourite Call of Duty title is Modern Warfare 2. Hassan uses his in-game experience to create guides and videos that are aimed at helping other Warzone players become better. Hassan is also on LinkedIn.