Though it "pains" them to do it, Call of Duty: Warzone caretakers Raven Software sometimes have to shed a single tear and make a gun a little worse. Today's patch (opens in new tab) takes the popular CR-56 AMAX assault rifle down a notch. And it's literally one notch: The assault rifle's minimum damage has been decreased from 32 to 31 in Warzone (but not Cold War).
It's a conservative change, but not totally insignificant. At range, doing the minimum damage, players will need to get one extra shot in with the AMAX for a kill. The fastest time-to-kill the gun is capable of at max damage hasn't changed, though, which Raven feels keeps the AMAX's risk-reward proposition balanced "considering how unforgiving its rate of fire is and how many other weapons it has to contest with in the mid-range engagement space."
Also nerfed in this patch are the FARA 83 and the Streetsweeper shotgun. Aside from increased recoil and hip spread, the Streetsweeper has been swept off the ground: the common and uncommon variants have been removed from the ground loot pool, and the rare and epic variants removed from supply boxes. Raven feels the gun's early availability was encouraging "passive play."
The Bullfrog SMG has also gotten some offsetting adjustments which Raven doesn't think count as a "nerf." Its max damage has been reduced from 34 to 32, but its max damage range has been increased by 11%, and movement speed with it also got a slight nudge upward.
"This change reduces the Bullfrog's ability to consistently achieve extreme TTKs, while not removing it entirely," writes the developer. Rather, it says the new stats ask for "a bit more accuracy in exchange for the Bullfrog's attractive stat line."
The only weapon to get an outright buff is the PPSh-41 submachine. The patch's other big buff goes to an attachment, the Combat Recon barrel, which has been improved as part of an effort to "assess the place of Cold War snipers within Warzone."
The extra movement speed provided by stocks, on the other hand, has been significantly nerfed, which Raven says is to keep assault rifles from behaving like submachine guns. "These stocks are still a solid choice, even with such a substantial reduction," writes the studio, "which we believe speaks to just how strong they were."
The reaction among Warzone players appears to be mostly positive. Some are specifically excited by a comment at the end of the patch notes, in which Raven says it'll be "taking a closer look at some of the Modern Warfare weapons that have been struggling." In general, though, players have expressed appreciation for the developer's explanation and defense of today's changes.
In a pleading preface to the gun rebalancing notes, Raven says that it recognizes how disappointing it can be when a favorite gun gets demoted, but that it's only trying to make it harder to score extremely fast kills. "We ask that you consider these changes not as targeted attacks, but rather as part of a larger initiative to raise the skill ceiling," wrote the developer.
"These are excellent and refreshingly honest patch notes." said one commenter on Reddit. "Raven has really been impressing me lately."
There are bug fixes, too, including more map caulk for spots where players were getting out of bounds, a recurring problem in Warzone. You can read the full patch notes here.