Call of Duty: WW2 Headquarters Preview

HQ is a lot more than a living menu.


Recent Call of Duty’s have set a benchmark for the amount of content in a single game purchase. With a full campaign, multiplayer and a Zombies mode, CoD offers three (basically, ok the campaigns are usually 7 hours) full game experiences in one package. With Call of Duty: World War 2 however, a fourth experience may be joining the three Call of Duty pillars.

Headquarters mode appeared to be an interactive menu when it was first revealed, not unlike the Tower from Destiny or any other hub from MMOs. Headquarters looked like a place to start contracts, high five emote your friends and choose your next activity. After experiencing the mode, it is everything you expect from a living menu hub, but it is also so much more.

“1v1 me bro” has come and gone as a meme of sorts in recent years, and is the standard response to Call of Duty trash talking. Headquarters in Call of Duty: World War 2 gives you a chance to act on your talk in the all new 1v1 mode. While in Headquarters, players can walk over to the 1v1 pit and put their name on the waiting list. When it is your turn to play, three loadouts will be presented to you, you and your opponent will be able to ban one loadout, leaving the two of you to spawn into the 1v1 match with the remaining unbanned loadout. The loadouts range from clearly intended to be fun, like the Bazooka or Shovel loadouts, to more standard Assault Rifles and SMGs. Yes, iron sight snipers can also pop up as a loadout. The winner of the 1v1 will stay in the pit for the next challenger, while the loser will have to put their name back on the board to rejoin the line. The board will show stats like the current win streak, so all your friends will know you are the best (or worst).

The 1v1 pit is not a separate instance that is matchmade into, so all 48 people in Headquarters can watch the 1v1 matches going on in the pit in real time, emoting and trash talking to their heart’s content. This is reminiscent of King of the Hill in Mortal Kombat X and a few other fighting games, with the comradery and potential for bragging rights reaching levels previously unseen in FPS games.

Supply Drops have become a controversial part of Call of Duty, but WW2 has changed and expanded the system – possibly for the better. For those wondering, Supply Drops are cosmetic only at this point. Activision noticed how popular Supply Drop openings were on YouTube, so they put a version of it in Headquarters, allowing you to open your Supply Drops in front of everyone. The more people that watch your Supply Drop openings, and the more you watch openings, will contribute to your social score in Headquarters. Your social score will grow based on the activities you participate in in Headquarters, allowing players who might not be the best at CoD to still earn exclusive rewards by simply playing a lot of the game.

Headquarters also features a theater, where you can watch featured videos, content from creators and even Call of Duty esports tournaments. The theater is another social experience, you sit alongside the other players from Headquarters, allowing you to emote and talk about what is projecting on the screen. Black Ops 3 allowed you to watch CWL in game from the menus, but WW2 will allow you to watch it with friends and future friends in an online environment.

There is also an R&R section of Headquarters, and it features classic arcade games from Activision’s past. Playing Boxing or Pitfall can be fun, but unfortunately you will have to screenshot your high scores and post them to reddit or tape them to your friend’s door if you want bragging rights. Unlike the rest of the boards in Headquarters, which offer a mind boggling variety of stats, the R&R area has no way to show off your performance in these arcade games. But gamers who were already getting up there in age when the original Call of Duty came out might be jumping back in with WW2, and they will definitely find some fun playing the classics from their childhood. It is also never a bad idea to introduce a new generation to Pitfall.

Mundane tasks like opening Supply Drops or collecting contracts have been turned into social experiences in Headquarters, the 1v1 pit can become a Twitch and YouTube phenomenon and the R&R area is a great way to kill time while waiting for your friends to sign on. Once the CWL starts, the theater room will be another place for friends to gather and hang out. Headquarters might be a living menu that connects the Campaign, Multiplayer and Zombies, but it also has enough content to enter the conversation as a fun way to spend time outside of those 3 main pillars.

Contributing Editor
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