On Thursday, September 16, Warzone launched its new Iron Trials ‘84 mode. Making for a significantly tougher battle in Verdansk, it is made truly for elite players — and could be the blueprint for a truly competitive esport in Warzone.
While many top players are competing for thousands of dollars in Warzone week in and week out, you’d have a hard time convincing esports purists that it’s a real esport.
Much of the game is significantly anti-competitive. With map design that greatly benefits rooftop campers, a lightning-fast Time-to-Kill (TTK), and some serious RNG among other things, you can see why some would be quick to criticize the game as non-competitive.
While Iron Trials might not be the perfect battle royale mode — you’d be hard pushed to find any BR that is — it definitely represents a step in the right direction for the cream of the crop, with a far more pronounced skill gap driving them above and beyond.
What is Iron Trials ’84 in Warzone?
If you haven’t checked out the Iron Trials ‘84 mode in Warzone yet, it offers a very different experience to the core BR. There are a number of major changes including (but not limited to) the following:
- Round Timers and Circle Collapse slowed by 12% — shaves around two minutes off of the game time.
- No free Loadout Drops
- Increased Buy Station prices, including $16k for Loadout Drops
- Base health increased from 100 to 250, with slowed health regeneration too
- Only vehicles are ATV and Dirt Bike
While there are many more changes, these are among the biggest, and the ones that will be most immediately noticeable to players. In a game where the skill gap is rather thin, Iron Trials ’84 exacerbates it greatly.
Why is this a better competitive Warzone mode?
There is a multitude of reasons why Iron Trails offers a more complete competitive experience. The TTK alone is a huge factor. The change is definitely one you’ll feel in gunfights, but this is a stark contrast to the regular Warzone modes, where you’ll often feel like you’ve been instantly melted.
The increased health allows you to better plan your gunfights, as well as find cover when rotating. Not only that, but it also gives the best players more of an opportunity to outplay opponents in scenarios where they find themselves taking on multiple enemies at once.
At its core, though, this also means that the players who shoot straightest are often rewarded in 1-on-1 gunfights, and you can’t ask for much more than that.
On top of that, the lack of free loadouts forces players to pick their classes wisely, as you might only get the chance at picking up one thanks to the increased prices.
This does make it much harder to regain after a trip to the Gulag — too hard, perhaps to the detriment of the mode entirely — but you also do get blessed with your Gulag weapons when flying back in, so it’s not an impossible feat.
Will Iron Trials actually feature in tournaments?
It’s not clear whether Iron Trials is likely to become a mode used by Activision and other tournament organizers going forward. It’s unlikely it fully replaces regular BR, but some pros and streamers have shared their enjoyment when playing it. For example, 100 Thieves’ Tommey said that he finds the game to play “extremely well.”
Iron Trials '84 actually feels and plays extremely well (from my limited time playing it). It's nice having longer gun fights, especially at range and the fact it gives you extra outplay options in 1vX scenarios.
How're you guys finding it?
— 100T Tommey (@Tommey) September 16, 2021
CouRage said that Iron Trials should be “the future of Warzone Ranked modes.”
I’ve been EXTREMELY critical of Warzone lately, but…
Iron Trials ‘84 is AWESOME.
-Way less UAV spam
-Stuns 50% less strong
-Feels much more tactical
-Rewards guns kill and team work
This should be the future of Warzone Ranked modes. SO SO DOPE.
— Jack “CouRage” Dunlop (@CouRageJD) September 16, 2021
Meanwhile, HusKerrs would even like to see some of the changes made permanent in regular BR.
Thanks! Loving the Iron Trials mode, tons of really good changes in there that in my opinion should be permanent in the regular BR modes (increased health, decreased stun time, no deady/stopping, etc)
— NRG HusKerrs (@HusKerrs) September 17, 2021
MuTeX offered a similar sentiment, saying that he would like to see the base health raised to somewhere in between regular BR and Iron Trials. He also adds that the mode “shows the skill gap in players if you have the better shot and movement.”
Iron trials is super fun Shows the skill gap in players if you have the better shot and movement. I also think that they should change the ttk in regular br to something similar. NOT THE SAME but similar. So instead of 250 maybe make it 175 Or 185. The ground loot is also perfect
— MuTeX (@FF_MuTeX) September 17, 2021
Of course, with Warzone esports still in relevant infancy, the pros have a lot of influence over the direction of competition. They boycotted timed kill races and we’ve quickly seen them eradicated from tournaments. What’s to say they couldn’t do similar for Iron Trials?
If Activision are looking at building out the Warzone esports infrastructure and creating the best competitive experience possible, Iron Trials should, at the very least, be looked at for inspiration.