When Activision launched Call of Duty: Warzone 2 (opens in new tab) a few weeks back, Warzone 1.0 went temporarily offline while developer Raven Software focused on support for the new game. Raven has its hands busy with flying boats, infinite money glitches, and frequent crashes (opens in new tab) plaguing Warzone 2, but it has kept its promise: as of today Warzone 1.0 is back online, but it has a new name.
Warzone 1 is now called Call of Duty: Warzone Caldera (opens in new tab). It's pretty much the same Warzone it was a few weeks ago, but with major features missing. There's only one map now (Caldera) and two playlist options, battle royale Quads and Solos. All of Warzone's existing weapons, custom classes, and unlocks remain intact, but there is no new battle pass or any way to unlock old battle pass content. Warzone Caldera is now essentially a Call of Duty game from before the service game era—an island of content with no roadmap or major updates in the works. A battle royale locked in time.
Notably, today's relaunch has (at least for the time being) killed the small map category for both Warzone 1 and its sequel. Fortune's Keep (opens in new tab), a well-liked small map that replaced Rebirth Island earlier this year, is gone, and Activision isn't planning to add it, Rebirth, or Warzone's first map Verdansk, back anytime soon.
This is sad news for the significant chunk of the Warzone community for whom the smaller, fast-paced format of Fortune's Keep/Rebirth Island had become their preferred way to play. The popularity of small maps and the Resurgence ruleset (a battle royale variant that automatically respawns squadmates if at least one player is alive) has proven popular enough to stay in Warzone's playlist rotation for the last two years, so it's strange to abandon it now. Warzone 2 doesn't have a small map option either, but Activision has teased "exciting developments" for fans of small maps in Warzone 2's future seasons.
The relaunch of Warzone Caldera seems to have come and gone without much fanfare. On PC, there's little evidence that the old game still exists. My Battle.net app has reverted Warzone 1's old library slot to only show Modern Warfare 2019 (a funny reversal of Warzone "eating" MW (opens in new tab) nearly two years ago). Warzone Caldera is now installed as a content pack for Modern Warfare that requires a total of 89GB.
I respect my SSD too much to have two gargantuan versions of Warzone installed on my PC, but the few streamers I've found playing Warzone Caldera have been able to find full lobbies, so there's certainly a community out there that prefers the old ways. It's too bad Warzone 1 loyalists now have to deal with this janky lobby screen that lists two ads for newer Call of Duty games before modes for the game you're currently playing.
Still, this reduced-fat Warzone is a better fate than service games like the original Overwatch got when their sequel launched, so perhaps Activision deserves credit for preserving a portion of the game.