We know it’s nigh-on impossible to meet everyone’s expectations all of the time, especially when it comes to the community of players built around the Call of Duty franchise, but the new Building 21 feature for Warzone 2 DMZ is easily the most underwhelming gaming experience the franchise has put out – and we’re worried that this is a sign of what’s to come following the equally underwhelming Atomgrad raid.
If you want to know why we think this experience is underwhelming, you’re in the right place; we have a couple of reasons why we think Call of Duty needs to step things up if it’s going to retain its’ player base throughout this particular title’s lifetime. We know this has the potential to be one of the best battle royale games out there – DMZ included – but it’s not going to be easy against titans like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
Firstly, we need to talk about the fact that the Warzone 2 DMZ Building 21 location was presented to us – the players – as something of a secret. Throughout the build up to this feature’s release, the term “redacted” was used in abundance and players were led to believe that this mysterious new location was hiding exclusively in DMZ’s Al Mazrah.
For example, in this Call of Duty Blog post, Building 21 was teased with the following text:
“New keys have appeared in Al Mazrah… but where do they lead? … Only the strongest Operators may survive, let alone access one of the deadliest areas of DMZ.”
While Call of Duty never explicitly said that Building 21 was in Al Mazrah, it was certainly something that was implied given the nature of DMZ’s keys and their relation to locked locations around Al Mazrah.
So, imagine our disappointment to find out that Building 21 isn’t actually a secret location inside DMZ that you have to discover and explore, but rather a seperate playlist in the DMZ menu? Well, if you check out this footage from Call of Duty content creator ‘GeekyPastimes‘, you’ll be able to see exactly what we mean around the 00:46 mark. Sure, finding a Building 21 Access Card is going to take a moment or two, but that’s really the only challenge facing players. And, you can find out where to get a Warzone 2 DMZ Building 21 access card right here. Once you find one, Building 21 is presented to you on a platter – which isn’t very mysterious, if you ask us.
Then, we come to the rewards on offer for those of you who decide to venture into Building 21. There are six rewards for you to get your hands on – at the moment – through the Warzone 2 DMZ Building 21 weapon case locations. These are…
- Weapon Charm – “Going Bark”
- Calling Card – “Weapon Rover”
- Weapon Sticker – “Roar”
- Emblem – “Company Sniper”
- Vehicle Skin – “Camo Cloud”
- Chimera Weapon Blueprint – “Silver Tox”
Outside of the Silver Tox Chimera weapon blueprint, which could be useful if you haven’t unlocked the new weapon yet, the rewards are largely uninspiring. Not only this, but the Camo Cloud Vehicle Skin is for a helicopter that you can’t even use in DMZ.
For what it’s worth, these rewards hardly seem worthwhile. If there’s one thing Call of Duty does right with the Atomgrad raid, it’s the fact that you can earn an operator skin for Gaz as a reward – a character previously unavailable outside of the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 2.
However, Building 21 just amounts to something of a smaller scale DMZ experience – with a handful of objectives. It’s fun, sure, but not an experience deserving of the mystery and intrigue Call of Duty built up around it. When you drop into Building 21, you’re guaranteed to be roaming around the hallways with other players – the surprise that you’d face if this was a location in Al Mazrah is completely removed. Not only this, but the pressure of DMZ’s time limit is somewhat removed when Building 21 is the only thing you have to do in said time limit. If this was located in Al Mazrah, the risk-reward of exploring a secret location like Building 21 would be tenfold.
As thankful as I am that Call of Duty is trying to introduce some lore and mystery to DMZ, the Building 21 experience has me worried for the future. I am worried that Call of Duty is going to hand-hold the players too much – they’re not going to really introduce a mystery. We have already seen this in Treyarch’s Call of Duty Zombies mode, where the narrative is laid out as objectives, rather than a hidden narrative players have to discover themselves.
But, this additional story content is really what makes Building 21 exciting – and the recently released Atomgrad raid for Modern Warfare 2.
However, the Atomgrad raid is much more restricted than Building 21, which is also a concern. Locking this mode exclusively to three-player parties does have it’s benefits, and the challenges you’re faced with in Atomgrad show that. However, it also excludes a lot of people – and, it means that any time you want to replay the exprience, you need to make sure you have two other people who want to do the same.
We don’t think this is something that’s going to change going forwards, but we would like to see – at the very least – some sort of matchmaking feature introduced. We know it would be hard to protect against people quitting mid-raid, but there has to be a middle ground to facilitate people without pre-organised parties of three. Whatever you think about the content of the Atomgrad raid, it’s a shame to see this feature restricted in such a way.
Still, if you’re planning on exploring Building 21 or the Atomgrad raid, you can find out more about the best Warzone 2 loadouts and the best Warzone 2 guns right here. You can also find a full Modern Warfare 2 Atomgrad raid walkthrough here, if you’re going to tackle that. It’s worth being prepared, whether you’re excited about the rewards or not.