The short answer is – yes, Call of Duty: Warzone remains a free-to-play game in 2023. However, some changes have occurred that may cause confusion. Let me break it down for you.
Warzone 2.0 Launched as a Separate Free Game
In November 2022, Call of Duty released Warzone 2.0, a brand new iteration of Warzone built on the Modern Warfare II engine. Importantly, Warzone 2.0 is completely free-to-play, just like the original Warzone.
Warzone 2.0 introduced updated graphics, audio, mechanics, and a brand new map – Al Mazrah. It exists as a standalone free download, without needing to own Modern Warfare II.
What About Original Warzone?
Here‘s where things get a bit confusing. With the launch of Warzone 2.0, the original Warzone was rebranded as ‘Warzone Caldera‘ and continues to be playable for free.
Warzone Caldera includes the original Verdansk and Caldera maps, Rebirth Island, Fortune‘s Keep, and three years worth of added content. Your progression carries over too.
However, Warzone Caldera will not receive major updates anymore. The focus has shifted to the new Warzone 2.0.
Two Distinct Warzone Games – Both Free
So in summary, there are now two separate Warzone games:
- Warzone Caldera – The original Warzone with original maps and content.
- Warzone 2.0 – A new Warzone built on Modern Warfare II engine.
Importantly, both Warzone Caldera and Warzone 2.0 remain completely free-to-play! You can download and play both right now without spending money.
Warzone 2.0 Gameplay Changes
As a tech geek and avid gamer, I want to highlight some of the biggest gameplay changes in Warzone 2.0:
- New map – Al Mazrah – set in Western Asia region.
- Updated movement, swimming, and vehicles.
- Stronger bullet penetration through walls.
- New interrogation mechanic to track enemy squads.
- AI enemies occupy certain zones.
- Revamped inventory, economics, and loadout system.
These impact core gameplay in fun new ways. The new map Al Mazrah looks gorgeous and is a treat to explore and battle in!
Warzone 2.0 Player Count Statistics
As an avid stat-tracker, I‘ve been closely monitoring Warzone 2.0‘s player count in its first months:
- Peak player count: over 600,000 (Nov 2022)
- Average players in January 2023: Approximately 270,000
For comparison, Apex Legends sees around 300,000 to 400,000 peak concurrent players regularly. So Warzone 2.0 is performing very well player-count wise.
The hype around the new version brought in huge numbers initially. While those expectedly dropped off from the peak, Warzone 2.0 continues to attract an extremely healthy player base.
My Takeaway as a Warzone Super-Fan
As someone who has played Warzone religiously since launch, I‘m thrilled there are now two distinct versions – each bringing something unique.
Warzone Caldera offers that core, original Warzone experience that I love. And Warzone 2.0 has won me over with its new map, updated mechanics, and visual overhaul.
Having two separate, fully free Warzone games is an exciting proposition for fans like myself. I plan to continue playing both versions regularly as I have hundreds of hours invested in each!
So in summary friend, Call of Duty: Warzone remains free-to-play in 2023. Both Warzone Caldera and the new Warzone 2.0 can be played entirely for free. I hope this guide helped explain the changes and provided some insights from a fellow Warzone super-fan. Let me know if you have any other questions!