Plunder is the Future of COD

Warzone’s unique take on the battle royale genre is a huge improvement, but it’s their new Plunder mode that not only offers a glimpse into the future direction of the Call of Duty franchise, but demonstrates the potential evolution of the FPS genre.

Warzone is not the Call of Duty franchise’s only entry into the battle royale genre; first made famous by Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode was COD’s first battle royale entry, and it was a powerful contender to be sure, however it was mostly like all the other battle royale games.

For anyone unfamiliar with the battle royale genre, the games all generally go something like:

  • 100 or so players parachute into a large open world map.
  • You start with no weapons, and have to scavenge weapons and supplies that are strewn all around the map.
  • Health is limited and players are generally easy to kill.
  • Once you die you are out, and you can either watch the rest of the match or quit and start a new match.

While battle royale games like Fortnite are incredibly popular they can also be incredibly frustrating to play. The “one death and you’re out” mechanic makes dying early in a match even more frustrating than most other FPS genres, and a bad initial drop can practically ensure you get sniped before you can even grab a weapon. Add to that the time it takes to join a new match and drop into a new battlefield and it often becomes an exercise in frustration. This is probably why battle royale games have never held my interest for long, but Warzone is different.

Dropping into the map

Warzone Battle Royale

Warzone shares many of the core attributes of the battle royale genre, but it makes a few key changes that make a huge improvement to playability.

  1. Your player drops with a pistol (this ensures you can minimally defend yourself the moment you hit the ground)
  2. Your health regenerates and you have armor plates that can help protect you. You find more armor as you explore the map and they provide a bit of protection. if you get shot you can find more and replenish yourself.
  3. Even if you die you have two chances to get back in the fight:
    1. You are first sent to The Gulag, which is a prison where are are put in a 1v1 match against another player who had died. The winner gets revived and dropped back into the map.
    2. If you don’t win in The Gulag, and your squad is still alive, your squad mates can use in game currency to buy you back.

While these may not sound like major improvements, for anyone who generally likes the battle royale concept but finds it generally frustrating, these changes make a world of difference.

The Gulag is a 1v1 chance at redemption

These improvements were more than enough to get me to start playing again, and generally make Warzone much more enjoyable, but it’s still annoying when you permanently die, and constantly outrunning the cloud of death gets a bit old.


Even though Warzone’s battle royale mode is good enough on its own, the COD gods went one stop further and granted us a game mode variant that fixes the common issues of battle royale games and makes Warzone even better: Plunder.

Plunder is all about the Benjamin’s

Plunder makes several major changes to the battle royale formula that make a world of difference:

  1. No cloud of death: While it may seem like a small change, this enables players to go anywhere on the map, anytime they choose, and there is no shortage of action.
  2. Loadouts: Your player drops with a full preset weapons loadout like you would have in traditional COD matches (this ensures you can defend yourself the moment you hit the ground).
  3. No perma-death: During a Plunder match you constantly redeploy each time you die until the end of the match.
  4. Cash is King: The primary objective in Plunder is for your squad to earn the most cash. First squad to $1 million wins.

While having a full weapons loadout, no cloud of death and no perma-death would be awesome enough in their own right, Plunder goes one giant step forward by allowing cash to be earned by either opening crates strewn all over the map, picking up piles of cash laying around, or killing players who have cash and looting their stash.

Dropping back into the fight

This enables you to either go head first into battle or avoid the direct fight and scavenge for crates instead. However, once you earn enough cash you are marked as a top earner on the map, and people come after you. While Plunder offers an immense amount of freedom, the top earners-marking mechanic keeps the action intense, as does a few other mechanics I won’t go into here.

So first off, if you haven’t played Warzone you have to give it a shot. It’s free. It’s different. And it might just change your mind on battle royale games. But once you’ve played the regular battle royale mode you have to try Plunder. It’s been a game changer for me, and it’s the only mode I play.

So how does Plunder foretell the future of Call of Duty?

Plundering the Future

While Warzone’s Plunder mode is heaps of fun, what it could mean for the future of the franchise is even more exciting.

Forgetting for a second that it’s free to play (which is pretty damn awesome in its own right), Plunder allows players to wage an epic battle across an open map, it keeps the action intense enough to always be exciting, and gives players enough freedom to be able to approach the gameplay from multiple angles.

Want to charge head first into battle? No problem.

Want to avoid conflict and sneak around the map completing contracts and looting crates? No problem.

Want to stick close to your squad for backup? Go for it!

Want to go it alone and head off on your own? Go for it!

Want to do a mixture of all of the above in a single match? No problem.

You see, Plunder’s greatest asset is the freedom it grants players to approach each match in a multitude of different ways, and even switch up their approach mid-match, and I can see the next Call of Duty taking this freedom to even greater heights.

Imagine traditional Team Deathmatch, Battle Royale, Capture the Flag, Seek and Destroy, King of the Hill, and other game modes simultaneously existing in one large open world map that players could seamlessly transition between. Perhaps different areas of the map could start different game modes. Perhaps the active game mode could change in real time and the game would simply continue indefinitely with players entering and exiting at will. Perhaps Zombie mode could pop up at any time during a match, or the entire map could be invaded by an enemy force that the players would need to work together to repel. The possibilities seem endless.

For now I’ll just stick with the current greatness that Plunder has to offer, but I can’t help wondering what future awesomeness is just around the corner.

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