Call of Duty: Warzone puts a real priority on collecting in-game cash. If you’ve got it, you can buy all sorts of items that will give you a leg up on the competition, and if you don’t, well, good luck. One of the best ways to keep the money flowing is by taking on contracts, which are basically side missions that confer rewards for completing tasks. The Scavenger contract, for instance, can be earned by simply busting open three supply boxes in sequence (easy peasy), while Bounties require you to hunt and kill a randomly targeted player—obviously a high-risk, high-reward job.
The latest Warzone update, released yesterday, added a new type of contract called Most Wanted, which is essentially a reverse Bounty: Instead of being sent off to put a random opponent in the ground, you volunteer yourself as tribute for every other team still in play. And why would you do such a dumb thing? Because if you manage to survive for five minutes, all of your fallen teammates will be redeployed. Revives normally cost $4,500 per teammate (in in-game currency, naturally), so that’s a potentially very big reward, especially if your entire squad has been wiped out.
Players were initially enthusiastic about the new contract type, but that changed when it came to light that Bounty contracts had been removed from the game at the same time. The patch notes make no mention of the change, and while I suppose it could be argued that Bounties are still there—they’re just awarded differently now—the reaction has not been positive.
Nobody:Still Nobody:ABSOLUTELY NOBODY:Infinity Ward – we’re removing bounties in season 3April 29, 2020
There’s even a meme, because of course there is.
One of the main arguments from players is that while conventional Bounties discouraged camping by giving players an incentive to mix it up early, Most Wanted has the opposite effect: Players who take them on have no reason to do anything but run and hide.
“The Most Wanted Contract is super situational and you’ll often find many of them left on the map because they’re not that fun,” redditor Nicky_G8 wrote. “The timer on them is too long too and who wants to spend 5 minutes just running away from the action and hiding places?”
Some players are defending the removal of Bounties: Redditor tdvx pointed out that there was really no risk to picking them up, and that they provided an advantage to teams even if they went uncompleted.
“Knowing the exact location of a player/squad and getting a fat stack of cash for that easy kill, or if you don’t want to take the risk you just know their exact location and can fail the contract at no expense, while surviving the bounty got you a mere $700 was stupid,” they wrote. “It just wasn’t very balanced. I’ve killed more bounties than I’ve been killed but it was never a fair system, even before they reduced the payout for surviving.”
Redditor Holmesy5192 added that the Most Wanted contracts are also more friendly to new players, as it gives them a chance to bring back their squads in the late game simply by surviving—but of course that approach isn’t universally popular with the player base either.
“It’s a change to help the casuals again,” redditor Fortnitexs wrote. “This game is so noob friendly it’s insane. Good players go for bounty contracts to chase kills so the camping noobs are getting killed. With this new change they can stay hidden and camp their way to a win.”
Seems they thought it was a good idea to replace most wanted with regular bounties. Most teams aren’t going to pick up most wanted due to the risk being as high as it is and the time it takes. Bounties sped up the mid game and increased cash flow. https://t.co/bYYROd0NmaApril 29, 2020
Depending on how the player base continues to react, it’s possible that this change could be undone fairly quickly: A few weeks ago, Activision replaced Warzone’s Trios mode with Quads, and then brought back the “winsome threesomes” two days later because players were so unhappy about it. I’ve asked Activision for its take on the situation, and will update if I receive a reply.