Season 2 is about to begin in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Warzone. The new content launches on the 25th of February, just a couple of days from now, and will be introducing a broad selection of new operators, weapons and more - most importantly, a huge new Zombies mode called Outbreak.
Outbreak is a brand new mode that continues the soft-reboot of the Zombies series, called the Dark Aether storyline. Leading up to the official reveal of Season 2's content, a number of in-game hints suggested that there will be Zombies content hitting Warzone. This may still be the case, but Outbreak isn't part of the standalone battle royale mode.
Instead, Outbreak is a full fledged mode in Zombies itself. The sinister Omega Group is gaining an advantage over the agents of Requiem, and the undead have started swarming through a remote region in the Ural mountains. This sets the stage for the new open world, open-ended game mode that gets rid of all the restrictions.
Outbreak works a little differently than usual modes - there are all kinds of sub-objectives that need to be completed in the large map, requiring different equipment and skills. Just a few of these include tracking elite Zombies with funky power armor with flamethrowers strapped to them - as if Zombies aren't scary enough on their own - via satellite and hunting them down, escorting a small drone that can detect Dark Aether portals, extracting live specimens which carry key data or surviving in a infestation zone while waves of enemies bear down on you.
Sometimes players will even have the chance to cross through a Dark Aether portal, something that wasn't ever possible before. Treyarch isn't very talkative yet about what we'll find on the other side, but it's safe to bet that it will be equal parts terrifying and exciting.
This new mode will feature new enemy types other than the armored flamethrower zombie, though we do not yet have any details - we're guessing something extra nasty awaits on the other side of the portals. To even the odds a bit, we'll have access to a few new toys as well.
Explosive rounds are cool, but seldom enough to deal with an undead maniac wearing a cold war Iron Man suit. So we're getting something better - rounds that explode twice. Don't ask how it works, it's probably like double jumping in video games; just roll with it. If you load up your gun with the Shatter Blast ammo mod, there is a chance your shots will blow up and blow up again, dealing double the damage while piercing armor too.
If you upgrade your Shatter Blast ammo mod, the explosive damage can affect other nearby enemies aside of the one you actually hit, deal more damage or knock back weaker opponents. If there won't be an upgrade to make your shots explode three times we'll be sorely disappointed.
Another new addition to your arsenal is a Field Upgrade that basically turns you into the tank role of a traditional RPG raid party. Frenzied Guard will pump up your threat generation to the max, meaning that all zombies will be chomping on your ankles exclusively while it lasts. On the upside, you're also invincible while this effect is active, with only armor taking damage.
With a well coordinated team, Frenzied Guard can be an absolute game changer. If you can rely on the aim and damage output of your squad mates, triggering the Field Upgrade while a short distance away from them can establish an effective killzone. Similarly, this can be your out from a hairy situation - whether you're low on health, or a team mate is.
Frenzied Guard comes with its own set of upgrades, like an instant armor refill when triggering the upgrade, increasing the duration while it lasts and slowing down nearby enemies. Speaking of upgrades, we're getting two new tiers for our Skills in Zombies. These "meta-changing upgrades" adapt to the game state and have different effects depending on the circumstances. It seems like a complex system, and Treyarch will share more intel before the season begins.
To unlock Tier IV and V upgrades, players will need to gather new forms of crystals - Refined and Flawless Aetherium Crystals. Since the upgrades you can purchase with these will be so potent, getting them will be made accordingly difficult.
So what about Warzone? Outbreak is a distinct mode in Zombies, but players noticed some strange hints in the battle royale mode recently - there was a Trial Machine from Zombies in a Verdansk hospital, and strange audio transmissions referred to the Vodianoy, a smuggling ship lingering off the shore of Rebirth Island.
Well, worry not - Treyarch all but confirmed that Zombies are about to hit Warzone. The content reveal for Season 2 included some cryptic hints, stating that a "dark wave" approaches Rebirth, as the Vodianoy's crew cannot be reached, and the ship is slowly drifting towards the island with its mysterious cargo. Meanwhile an unknown source is causing rumbling beneath Verdansk, which might unleash something dangerous.
It's Zombies. It's definitely Zombies.