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Warzone Pacific Season 3 first impressions: Caldera in the best state it's ever been

While Warzone Pacific Season 3 helps refine Caldera and sets the stage for an epic crossover, longstanding issues still can’t be overlooked.

  • Posted on 10th May, 2022 07:40 AM
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Warzone Pacific Season 3 first impressions: Caldera in the best state it's ever been Image

With Warzone Pacific Season 3, Caldera is in its most playable state yet thanks to a number of crucial changes to the map’s layout, gameplay systems, and overall balance. Yet while the CoD Battle Royale moves ahead to set the stage for perhaps its biggest crossover thus far, longstanding performance issues are still detracting from what should be a moment of celebration.

Rather than reducing loot in the area, lowering its elevation, or outright deleting it as many have requested, Peak got an upgrade in the latest patch. There are now more Supply Boxes than before and it’s easier to traverse with bonus ascenders dotted around the highest point of the map. Naturally, Peak still dominates the season. So if you were looking for more of a drastic shakeup here, you’ll need to wait and hope Season 4 packs more of a punch in this regard.

Warzone Pacific Season 3 first impressions: Caldera in the best state it's ever beenPeak is now better than ever in Season 3…for some reason.

On a smaller note, Season 3 also brought with it another unique Gulag layout. Having always been in favor of a seasonal rotation for the Gulag, it’s great to see the trend continue here. But this particular layout is arguably the weakest we’ve seen over the past five months.

Small designs for the Gulag have often been fan favorites but even with that in mind, no one has really taken a fond liking to the latest offering. If anything, it’s a little too small for a vast majority of weapons on rotation in the 1v1.

With barely any room to maneuver, fights often boil down to who shot first, rather than who had the better tactic going in.

Warzone Pacific Season 3 first impressions: Caldera in the best state it's ever beenThe new Gulag leaves a lot to be desired and should be replaced sooner than later.

As a positive for the season, Warzone’s latest meta is a welcome change of pace. With snipers taking a backseat after weeks of dominating the conversation, new loadouts have been able to shine.

SMGs in particular have soared to the top though not one specific gun has led the charge. Rather, a diverse mix of fully automatic weapons have become viable as the likes of the Owen Gun, Armaguerra 43, and even a Cold War newcomer in the UGR have all seen success of late.

Similarly, ground loot has also been touched up in Season 3 and is now the most rewarding it’s ever been in Caldera. With the addition of Perks in the loot pool, it’s a genuinely good use of time to go out of your way for almost every supply crate now. Where before it was easy to gloss over once you had a loadout in hand, looting is once again an essential part of Warzone’s rhythm this season.

Warzone Pacific Season 3 first impressions: Caldera in the best state it's ever beenLooting feels essential once again in Caldera.

Despite all the aforementioned changes and fresh content, however, it’s still incredibly difficult to truly enjoy Warzone. At least, as a console player, unattended performance issues restrict just about every aspect of the Battle Royale experience.

Frame rate, FOV, visual bugs, and network latency are just a few of the many factors in play. These are nothing new but have only grown more frustrating in recent weeks with the latter especially, becoming a more pronounced issue in this new season. With the player base split among a wider set of playlists than usual, finding a full lobby on manageable servers is more of a rarity than ever before.

It’s tough to recommend Warzone as a result, and it’s growing more difficult to feel enthusiastic booting up the dated Modern Warfare app on PlayStation all this time later.

So while we’ve taken one step forward with Caldera as a whole this season, a handful of questionable design choices and glaring performance issues continue to hold Warzone back.

Operation Monarch on the horizon

With Season 3 now well underway, we’re drawing ever closer to Operation Monarch. Months after rumors began to surface and initial leaks outlined a crossover unlike anything prior in Warzone, it’s finally coming to fruition in Season 3.

Operation Monarch brings both Godzilla and King Kong to Caldera in a big way. While wacky cosmetics are sure to appease those who still care about their Operator’s looks, it’s the upcoming limited-time mode that should garner the most attention.

Warzone Pacific Season 3 first impressions: Caldera in the best state it's ever beenOperation Monarch takes center stage in Season 3.

While the arrival of these monsters would have triggered much of the community just a few short months ago, it appears devs have quickly learned from their past mistakes. Unlike the infamous Krampus disaster from December, Godzilla and Kong won’t be impacting regular playlists. At least, if initial reports hold true.

Instead, Operation Monarch supposedly brings a separate mode for the giants to battle it out in. Thus, it doesn’t matter how they devastate Caldera nor how new gameplay systems disrupt the flow of the BR. All of these features will be tied exclusively to a standalone experience.

Fortunately, those who just want to continue on with the regular Warzone modes will be able to do so. Pro players and streamers alike won’t have to spend a few weeks ripping their hair out in frustration as Godzilla’s atomic breath instantly wipes their teams in high-stakes events.

Warzone Pacific Season 3 first impressions: Caldera in the best state it's ever beenWarzone players can get their hands on King Kong and Godzilla-themed operator skins during Operation Monarch.

We’ll be sure to loop back here after getting our hands on the unique Operation Monarch content in the near future. Beyond that, there’s still plenty more to discuss as the weeks roll by in Season 3.

Although it’s early days yet, we’ve already heard quite a bit about potential Season 3 Reloaded additions. If reports are accurate, Caldera could be improved further, audio fixes may finally hit the live servers, and even more content might arrive to keep things fresh. 

All in all, as a live service, we’re off to a solid start. But in terms of the raw, moment-to-moment gameplay, while select changes are certainly welcome, there’s still a lot left to be desired in Warzone Season 3.

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