There are a few maps that Call of Duty fans can remember a little more fondly than others. Terminal is one of the first maps that comes to mind, with Modern Warfare 2 fans likely remembering all of the 1v1s and Search and Destroy matches that occurred on that particular battlefield.
Other maps that have reached this legendary level include Shipment and Rust, as befits their meat-grinder style gameplay. In fact, it’s hard to find larger maps that are as memorable as these, but the release of Warzone did something special: it meant that COD players would remember a large map for once.
For those of you out of the loop, the release of Call of Duty Vanguard Season 1 has resulted in Verdansk being taken offline and replaced with Caldera. Why Activision has opted to do this instead of giving players the choice of the map they prefer as in Apex Legends still remains unclear.
However, while Verdansk is gone and shuttered away in Activision’s digital vault, we’re going to take a look back at the battle royale map that hosted Call of Duty players for a period of two years. While the map saw some changes over those two years, it was always the same base map that we knew and loved.
We’re going to explore some of the things that made us nostalgic about Verdansk, including the role it played in helping gamers make it through a worldwide pandemic. After that, we’re going to explore some of the changes that were made to Verdansk over the course of its life, keeping it fresh in players’ eyes.
One of the best things about Verdansk is that it was designed with different players and play styles in mind. This map featured so many different zones that it sometimes felt like you were in an entirely different world depending on where you dropped in when the match first started off.
For example, if you wanted to get started with some close-quarters fighting, then you could always drop into the airport, one of our personal favorite drop spots. However, if you were more of a long-ranged type of soldier, you could drop in at the quarry, hoping that you’d come across a DMR or a sniper rifle.
Verdansk featured a wide range of environments, and some of these environments were actually ported over from prior Call of Duty games. Much like with the Blackout battle royale before it, Warzone featured areas of the map that Call of Duty veterans would remember fondly, fighting through them on muscle memory alone.
For example, you’ll find evidence of previous maps like Killhouse located around the training sites in Verdansk. Aside from that, you may notice certain areas that look like Vacant and even Broadcast, when you make your way over to the TV broadcast center.
Walking through Verdansk is like walking through Call of Duty history on its own, and many fans (us included) are worried that Caldera will be missing that key piece of the puzzle that made us feel at home in Verdansk. However, we don’t want to speak too soon. It’s just as possible that we’ll make as many if not more memories on Caldera than we ever made in Verdansk.
One of the great things about Verdansk is that it slotted into the gap left by Modern Warfare and the release of Black Ops Cold War perfectly. Considering both games focused on Russia, one before the dissolution of the Soviet Union and one after it, then Verdansk worked in both settings.
This was evidenced in how Activision worked to change around Verdansk so that it fit the Cold War aesthetic of Black Ops Cold War far better. The buildings were changed to look more like a Soviet socialist republic’s in the middle of Communism and a wide range of new points of interest were added.
Unfortunately, Verdansk ‘84 may have dramatically changed the look of the map, but it didn’t change how it flows and plays beyond what little it tried. Verdansk, after two years, is finally starting to show its age, and it may be time to say goodbye to it for the time being.
Due to the heavy-handed way in which Activision pulled the map from the rotation, it’s pretty likely that we’re going to see Verdansk return in some form for the COD’s beloved time-limited events. Beyond that, however, it remains to be seen if we’ll ever be able to play it as freely as we once did.
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