Warning: There are serious spoilers for the Know Your History mission ahead!
There are 25 seconds left on the clock and I’m racing towards Frank Woods to complete the final objective in Warzone’s Know Your History mission. There’s another player hot on my heels, and just as I turn the corner to reach Woods I take a few body shots. My health plummets and, mashing ‘F’ on the keyboard, I narrowly manage to complete the contract and retrieve the weapon from Frank before I’m downed. Parachuting back into the map I realise that I was exceptionally lucky to have snagged the Bay of Pigs blueprint from Woods mere milliseconds before being forced out of the way. Had I failed, there’s no way I would have made it back in time.
The build up to Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War has been months in the making, and the Know Your History limited-time event is a tense and exciting way to involve players in its reveal. Unlike the live events that we’ve previously seen in games like Fortnite and Destiny 2, Warzone challenges players to complete a timed set of objectives, rather than watch a concert or map update unfold. What makes Know Your History far more interesting is that I felt as though I had something to lose if I were to fail.
The 15-minute timer began ticking down as soon as I landed, and knowing there was an urgency to complete the tasks made every moment in the mission feel precious. The first objective requires players to loot supply boxes and eliminate other opponents to collect map codes. This turns the opening minutes into an even messier scrap than a regular Warzone match, as squads aggressively compete for eliminations.
I found that I was painfully aware of the timer, and any kill that I had stolen by someone else felt especially frustrating. It all made the experience feel more intense. Later on, there’s an objective that requires you to scour buildings for a specific supply box. This ate a significant amount of my time as I had to trek diagonally across Verdansk, from H8 all the way to C2 on the map. The pressure was on, and I felt invested in reaching my next destination as quickly as possible, spurred on by the other bodies around me racing to do the same thing.
Unfortunately, the rush of tearing across the map in this stressful treasure hunt was diluted by the behaviour of some of the other players on the server. The first objective is the only one that requires you to eliminate others, yet throughout the event I saw other squads needlessly continuing to bother each other. This sounds like an odd complaint in a battle royale, but unlike a normal Warzone match, there’s no prize here for being the last player standing.
Multiple squads can claim the weapon blueprint at the end, providing that they make it to Woods in time. Players also instantly respawn when eliminated, so there’s no advantage in taking someone out after you’ve completed the first task. Killing another player simply inconveniences them and wastes their time as they try to complete their remaining objectives. Helicopters and vehicles are understandably in high demand as each objective drags you all over the map, so I expected to see a few scuffles around those. However, even solo players who were minding their own business were being targeted.
Knowing that I could die and waste time respawning at any moment elevated the overall atmosphere at first, but by the end of the mission I was irritated by it. The timings on the mission are quite tight, and dropping in solo is an additional challenge that I wouldn’t recommend others take on, if you can avoid it. To save time, I even started chaining Molotovs on myself to continuously force respawns and parachute across Verdansk. This ended up being much faster for map traversal, while also avoiding grief from other players. Being at the mercy of others towards the end of the mission is particularly problematic as Frank Wood only appears on the map for the final 60 seconds. At this point, tens of other players are zeroing in on his hiding spot to grab the weapon blueprint… and we know how my final moments played out.
Asking Warzone players to form an orderly queue for a task like this is beyond ridiculous, but is it really too much to ask for people to just let others enjoy the event and complete the mission? There are griefers in every game, but it’s a shame that an event intended to get players pumped for an upcoming release can be soured by its own community.