Multiplayer shooters are inherently hostile environments, and battle royales, even more so. But with Warzone 2.0’s new proximity chat feature, and its ability to squad up with enemy teams in select battle royale game modes, the latest Call of Duty BR is shaking up the flow of the game, allowing for unlikely alliances, tense moments when you’ll have to trust someone won’t stab you in the back, and ample room for shenanigans. And until the social UI elements of the game are fixed, this might be one of the most direct ways to squad up with someone.
Warzone 2.0 deployed yesterday on PC and consoles, and one of the most interesting features to catch the attention of CoD fans has been the ability to join up with an enemy squad in any BR mode that features “assimilation.” There are two kinds of squad assimilation. Assimilation: Refill, in which you can recruit up to your squad number (“refilling” to a max of four in BR quads, a max of three in 3rd person trios, and a max of two in duos); and Assimilation: Expanded, in which you can exceed your initial squad count. Here you can deploy with a squad of three and recruit up to three others on the field for a team of six allied players. (Right now, only the Unhinged BR Trios game mode uses the Assimilation: Expanded rules.) This all results in some strange twists and turns in a game where the objective is traditionally to annihilate the opposition, not make deals with them.
Warzone’s new ping system gives you the option to either invite enemies into your squad, or join opposing squads. You can only do this in team-based BR modes; in solo BR you are obviously on your own. Holding down the ping button (Alt on keyboard, up on the d-pad) will reveal a number of familiar ping options, but on the right side you’ll see “Invite Nearby Players to Join Your Squad” and just below that, “Request To Join Nearby Enemy Squad.” The ping command will also let you accept invites from other players.
But just sending out an invite isn’t always enough. That’s where proximity chat comes in. While I’m the kind of person who usually mutes all voice chat in games, this Warzone 2.0 feature has had me change course. In Warzone BR modes with assimilation, shootouts now start with a “hey, want to join up? Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” kind of dynamic that injects a whole new level of communication, socialization, and even a dash of theater into the game.
This unexpected twist to the BR formula means that your opposing forces might be assets just like any Buy Station, loot cache, loadout, or contract.
Though I’ve sent out a number of requests to join up with foes or have someone join me, I’ve yet to team up with anyone. I must have unpopular opinions or something. Either way, the dynamic of holding your fire and trying to work out a deal with your enemies adds a whole new level of unpredictability and excitement that I am completely here for. I need this feature in every battle royale game moving forward.