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Call Of Duty: Warzone's new Pacific map adds dogfighting and anti-cheat improvements today

Not to mention loads of gameplay tweaks

It's a big day for Call Of Duty: Warzone, as Verdansk jets off into the sunset and Pacific-themed map Caldera takes its place. Alongside it, all of Call Of Duty: Vanguard's weapons, some dogfighting, and loads of gameplay tweaks including adjustments to loadout drops. Ricochet Anti-Cheat's kernel-level driver also arrives to further combat those pesky cheats.

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So before we get into the nitty gritty, let's clear up the launch times. If you've bought Call Of Duty: Vanguard and played one multiplayer match, you'll be able to drop into Caldera a day early, so that's today at 5pm GMT/9am PST/2pm EST. The new map unlocks for everyone else tomorrow December 9th at 5pm GMT.

COD's anti-cheat software Ricochet also gets its promised kernel-level driver with Caldera's launch tomorrow night. According to their anti-cheat blog post, the new driver will automatically install when you boot up Warzone Pacific. It's rolling out in the Asia-Pacific region first and will expand globally over time. They don't specify timings, but hopefully it spreads across servers without a hitch.

As for what you can expect, well, it's a lot. Caldera's sunny shores are home to 15 areas, named things like Lagoon and Resort and Docks. A quick scan of the intro blog makes Verdansk seem extremely glum in comparison. Oh! There are fighter planes now, which means dogfights over blue seas and trenches. If you can't get enough of these dogfights, there's a Vanguard Royale playlist which has tweaked circle-collapses to make more time for them. It also keeps Killstreaks, Weapons, Operators, and the like all Vanguard-restricted if you'd rather keep things WW2.

A chunk of the Caldera coastline in Warzone

Not to worry if you'd rather not, though. Like Call Of Duty Black Ops: Cold War before it, Vanguard's weapons are being integrated into Warzone's classic Battle Royale mode. Basically, if you're after a great mash of past and present, then this is the mode for you.

Of course, a new map means a new Gulag. This one's set in the mines of Caldera and looks simple and cozy. Glad to see it's not a sprawling metropolis like previous iterations as those one-on-one duels became a bit too complex for my liking. I'm also into the new Big Game Bounty, which marks a player with a high kill-count on your map and tasks you with taking them out.

The “Gameplay Adjustments” bit of the patch notes is home to the real hidden gems, though. Namely, that Loadout Drop Markers can only be bought after the first free public Loadout Drop Public Event has taken place. It should mean that everyone's on a level playing field for longer, so teams can't steamroll others too early on. Elsewhere, UAVs now cost $6000, up from $4000, which seems more in line with how powerful they can be. And the gas mask animation will now wait for reload, armour plate, and grenade throw animations to complete. I'm so glad to see one of my all-time pet hates evaporate into dust.

The Pacific Update is a relatively chunky 37.8GB, so best set that downloading as soon as you can. It's been a long while since I ventured into the Warzone, so I'm looking forward to dropping in again and catching up with friends in a new setting for shootybang. This all feels like a long time coming, so I'm really hoping it doesn't disappoint.

What's impossible to ignore, though, are the layoffs of some QA testers at Raven Software, who make Warzone. After around 60 Raven members staged a walkout in protest on Monday, people from other Activision Blizzard companies joined them on Tuesday.

Activision Blizzard are currently being sued by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing for an alleged culture of discrimination and harrassment. Employees have since called for CEO Bobby Kotick's removal after a new report came to light alleging several new abuse allegations. Currently, Activision Blizzard QA staff are staging walkouts in protest of redundancies at Raven Software.

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