CoD: Warzone Vs. Apex Legends: How Both Squad-Based Battle Royales Differ

Call of Duty: Warzone–the new standalone free-to-play battle royale CoD game based on Modern Warfare–shares a few similarities with Apex Legends. Both use three-player squads and emphasize the use of communication, loot management, respawning allies, and teamwork. However, despite these similarities, the two battle royale games are quite different.

If you and your friends love Apex Legends and you’re now eager to jump into Call of Duty: Warzone, you should know you’ll have to account for these differences when you play. Generally, Apex Legends does more to prioritize teamwork within combat, while Warzone’s mechanics and systems prioritize teamwork outside of it. But, of course, it’s a bit more nuanced than that, so let’s break these two games down to showcase what we mean.


The biggest difference in how the two games (aside from the lack of distinct hero characters and abilities) emphasize teamwork is with contracts–a system that doesn’t really exist in Apex Legends. The closest equivalent Apex Legends has to Warzone’s contracts are the loot vaults on the map World’s Edge.

In short, contracts allow you and your squad to earn in-match cash, which can be spent at specific locations to unlock Killstreaks and special legendary items. You can just find cash on the ground or take it from other players you’ve killed as well, but contracts present the fastest way to earn enough in-match money to then quickly outfit your squad (so, again, like finding a key to open a loot vault in Apex Legends).

Contracts provide tasks for your squad to complete that don’t all relate to killing players, providing a way for teammates to contribute to their squad’s success without necessarily having to seek out and destroy. The one exception is bounty contracts, which task you with hunting down and killing a nearby player. The others, however, are much more passive–one tasks you with finding hidden caches that are sometimes in hard-to-reach areas and the other asks you to capture and hold a hardpoint.

Apex Legends’ loot vaults are limited to World’s Edge (they’re not on the original Kings Canyon map) and there are only three on the map, so not every squad is given the opportunity to use them each match. Contracts are basically endless until the final few circles and your squad can take on as many as they want (though you must complete or fail one before moving on to the next). If you’re not your team’s best fighter, but you’re good at completing small tasks in between a bout, Warzone’s contracts are a way to benefit your team and keep them loaded up with cash to spend on shields, Killstreaks, legendary gas masks, and revives.

Ping System

The ping system in Apex Legends is geared towards use in combat while Warzone’s is not. It’s much easier to use the ping system in Apex Legends while moving (as it’s mapped to one of the controller bumpers), allowing you to ping while you’re approaching a fight, firing a gun, throwing a grenade, healing, using an ability, or retreating. The ping system in Warzone, on the other hand, is mapped to the d-pad, forcing you to remove your thumb from the control stick to mark something, limiting its utility to when you’re not moving around a lot. You can certainly use it during a fight, but stopping your movement is a really easy way to die in a Call of Duty game.

There’s nuance to Apex Legends’ ping system too–it allows you to do general commands like pinpointing items and attackers, yes, but you can also use it to request ammo or healing while in combat or let your teammates know whether you’re attacking, defending, or looking at a spot. Warzone’s ping system has none of this. It’s best used as a way of marking enemy locations before the bullets begin to fly, but not much else. Once a firefight begins, Warzone seems to encourage you to rely on your own skills and forge your own tactics to react to what’s going on, not look to your teammates to quickly call out or suggest other strategies. And, admittedly, standing on your own and going on a spree is a very Call of Duty thing to do. You can, of course, alleviate the limited nature of Warzone’s ping system with a full squad on mics.

Inventory Management

Apex Legends and Warzone handle inventory very differently, in terms of picking up loot, equipping attachments, and managing what you’re holding. Whereas the system in Apex Legends is team-oriented and encourages sharing, Warzone’s is more focused on the individual person finding what they need.

Whenever you hover over new loot in Apex Legends, it lets you know whether you can equip it and what benefits you’ll gain when you do–whether that’s body armor, weapons, attachments, or items. Warzone has only one type of armor and CoD’s traditional health regeneration removes the need to look for or share healing items. There are no attachments either; instead, a gun’s attachments are dependent on its level, with grey common weapons having none and each subsequent level adding more. You also have to account for different ammo types in Apex Legends (some SMGs use heavy ammo while others use light, for instance) while Warzone just has catch-all ammo for weapon types (all SMGs use SMG ammo, for example).

This results in very different inventory systems. In Apex Legends, you can easily equip/unequip and move items around because you’re constantly searching for ways to improve your loadout or that of your teammates. You can access your inventory on the move as well, allowing you to both heal and quickly gift items to players in the midst of a fight. In Warzone, not so much. Inventory management is slower and more cumbersome–which is honestly fine because you don’t need to share items as often. You also find what you need relatively quickly and don’t need to worry about weapon attachments or having specific ammo types. Warzone doesn’t need an inventory management system that allows you to quickly adjust your loadout or heal in the midst of a fight because the game doesn’t require you to do either one. You just pick up what you need and automatically drop everything associated with the item you’re not using anymore. The only times that I’ve regularly had to share so far is when it comes to pooling in-match cash to buy expensive Killstreaks–something you’re not typically doing during a fight.

Respawn System

Apex Legends introduced the concept of respawning into a battle royale game, building off of the genre’s traditional revive mechanic to also include ways of self-reviving and teammate respawning. Warzone does both too, but these mechanics are less dependent on doing so during a fight.

In Apex Legends, you self-revive with a legendary gold knockdown shield. The item allows you to defend yourself from incoming fire and continue distracting or pinging enemies until you decide to crawl away to a safe place to slowly revive yourself. Warzone has an item like that too–which you can purchase with in-match cash–but there’s no shield associated to it, seemingly implying you’d use it away from a fight instead of sticking around to continue marking enemies before reviving yourself.

When you die in Apex Legends, your squadmates can secure your banner card and bring you back. This can be dangerous though–there’s a limited time to grab the card and sometimes falling in the middle of a firefight can make it difficult for your squadmates to get to you in time. In Warzone, there’s no timer and your teammates don’t need anything from your body. With enough in-match cash, they can respawn you for a fee away from the bullets. When you return, you drop from the sky via parachute as well, which is significantly less noisy than the respawn dropships in Apex Legends that advertise to every nearby squad where you and your team are.

Additionally, those who die in the early rounds go to the Gulag and fight to the death with another player for a chance at respawning. It’s a really fun respawn system and one that’s completely separate from your teammates needing to succeed at winning at a fight to bring you back. You just need to stand on your own, not rely on teammates.

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