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Call of Duty: Warzone — 12 tips to help you survive this battle royale

Call of Duty: Warzone
(Image credit: Activision)

This week saw the release of Call of Duty: Warzone. The free-to-play battle-royale (BR) game is available as an add-on to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or as a stand-alone download. It combines aspects of the BR genre and Call of Duty's tried-and-true mechanics. The result is an enjoyable experience that injects many fresh ideas into the currently popular genre.

Warzone is a relatively straightforward game, especially for BR. However, there are several aspects that could confuse players. So we've compiled a list of tips and strategies that will set you on a path to victory.

1. Stay together

You won't last very long on your own. To survive, you'll have to rely on your allies (and they on you). Not only can they alert you when enemies are nearby, but they can also provide you with covering fire and can revive you if you fall. Teammates can also give you useful items and let you know if there's worthy gear inside of a building. Although you want to remain near allies, you don't want to get too close. An enemy can take your entire group out with a well-thrown grenade, a remote detonator or an airstrike. As long as you can see and hear teammates, you're good to go.

2. Maintain your HP

This will sound obvious, but in order to win, you need to stay alive. Your first line of defense is armor, which you can find scattered all over the map. You can equip up to three pieces of armor at a time to bring your maximum health from 100 to 250. You can also carry up to five armor pieces. It's always good to insert new pieces of armor after you've taken damage. You can do so with a simple button press. Don't forget to give your allies armor if they need it.

If you're wounded, don't worry about medical packs; you don't need them to restore your health. All you have to do is stay still, and your health will automatically regenerate. If things go south and an enemy downs you, an ally can always revive you before you're sent to the gulag.

3. Take advantage of the gulag

Battle royale games are notorious for permadeath. Though this can amp up the challenge, watching your friends and waiting for the match to end isn't fun. Warzone employs a number of mechanics to keep players in the fight.

The game's most distinctive feature is the gulag. After you're downed, you're tossed inside a gulag (jail). You'll start off in a circular hallway lined with jail cells before entering an arena on the lower level. Once there, you'll have to face off against another downed player. Should you manage to take them out with the limited supplies given to you (usually, a simple handgun), you'll get back into the fight.

(Image credit: Activision)

If you and a teammate fall together, you'll both end up in the gulag at the same time. This is good, since a teammate (who is on the upper level) can tell you where your enemy is by throwing rocks down in their direction. You can go to the gulag only once per game, so it's best not to rely on it to bring you back. Still, it's a great addition to the battle royale genre.

4. Make use of Buy Stations

You'll find cash inside of most buildings and structures. What is it for? To use at Buy Stations. There, you can purchase items like armor plating, gas masks and self-revive kits. You can even purchase killstreaks like cluster strikes and UAVs. Buy Stations are also a means of resurrecting fallen allies. Cash is plentiful, so you should always have enough to make use of a Buy Station. You need to remain on alert, however, as other players can easily pick you off when you're making transactions.

(Image credit: Activision)

5. Land away from the action

While it's tempting to jump right into the fight, it is actually smarter to avoid skirmishes — at least initially. Landing just outside of hot zones gives you the chance to search for gear. You do not want to enter a battle with just the handgun you have when you parachute in. The one major drawback of staying away from the fighting is that other players may have accumulated enough kills for killstreaks. Though that's something to keep in mind, it's still best to take a measured approach and avoid combat until you're absolutely ready. As the old saying goes, this is a marathon not a sprint.

6. Use vehicles

Vehicles like motorcycles, trucks and helicopters are a great way to traverse Warzone's enormous map. They also make you an easy target, since vehicles make so much noise. So, you'll want to use them sparingly. While they do make it easy for enemies to find you, the reverse is also true. With that said, you may not want to immediately open fire on a moving truck or helicopter, as doing so will reveal your location. If you hear a vehicle, it's best to lay low and wait for it to move on. Conversely, avoid using vehicles yourself unless it's absolutely necessary.

7. Contracts

Completing contracts is a great way to earn a ton of cash. These in-game quests have you hunt down priority targets, defend specific points on the map or scavenge for specified supply chests. In addition to getting cash, you can also earn upgraded gear and earn experience toward Battle Pass. You must be cautious when participating in contracts. Other players can get the drop on you if you're too focused on a quest. It's also possible to forget about the ever-encroaching toxic gas. Your main goal is to be the last team standing. With that said, you should always complete contracts whenever possible.

(Image credit: Activision)

8. Customized loadouts

As with the standard Modern Warfare multiplayer, you can use a customized loadout in Warzone. The catch is that you have to obtain your loadout from a supply drop. Supply drops happen randomly, but you can always tell where a crate is going to land by looking at the map. Other players can see supply drops, too, meaning these locations are potential hotspots. If you manage to make it to a supply drop unscathed, you can then swap out any currently equipped weapons for custom ones. On top of weapons, you'll also gain access to perks and killstreaks. If you don't want to rely on supply drops, you can always purchase a loadout drop marker from a Buy Station. This way, you can make supply drops land where you want them to.

9. Pinging targets

If you've played Apex Legends, then you'll recognize Warzone's ping system. Pinging is one of the most indispensable tools in your arsenal. Even if you're using voice chat with your team, you should still ping points of interest, useful gear, or hotspots and potential targets. Pinging should be second nature because of its usefulness, so never neglect using it.

10. Share the wealth

You want to keep yourself and your teammates in top fighting form. One of the best ways to ensure you're ready when a fight comes is to share items with one another. This can include armor plates, ammo, weapons and cash. The latter is especially important so that everyone has enough money to buy items at Buy Stations, not to mention the ability to revive fallen friends. You'll accumulate excess items quickly, so don't forget to give some of them to your friends.

11. Use your ears

Sound is a crucial component and can mean the difference between life and death. Sprinting, barging into doors and breaking windows will give away your position. Even opening doors produces sound. While it's OK to sprint in open areas, you'll want to crouch-walk when entering buildings or hot zones. Doing so minimizes the sound you produce, making it easier to get the drop on unsuspecting foes.

Note that supply boxes produce a sound similar to a real-world generator. Even if you don't see a supply box, you can always hear it. This is useful for knowing what rooms to explore inside of a building. The last thing you want to do is leave behind supply boxes for other players to plunder.

12. Move before the gas gets you

Camping isn't necessarily a bad tactic in Warzone. Hunkering down inside of a secure location like a roof can give you a tactical advantage. Unfortunately, you can never stay in one spot for too long, due to the toxic gas encircling the map.

Eventually, you'll have to move to safer ground so the gas doesn't overwhelm you. Doing this poses a risk, since you're exposing yourself by running out in the open. At the same time, knowing when the gas will hit you (as denoted under the minimap in the top left corner of the screen) lets you know when it's time to scram. It's better to make a planned retreat than a mad dash to safety. To sum it all up: Never forget about the gas that's coming to kill you.