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‘Warzone’ Caldera Season 2 tips: How to find research labs, best uses for the PDS and Nebula V

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 2/15/2022 Hawken Miller
launcher-warzone © The Washington Post illustration; Activision launcher-warzone

On Valentine’s Day, Raven Software rolled out a refresh to “Call of Duty: Warzone” that included new equipment, vehicles and points of interest that offer players a chance to try out new strategies.

At the forefront of the changes are Nebula V ammo and Portable Decontamination Stations (PDS), which revolve around playing the gas. The former creates a cloud of noxious fumes around a downed enemy, which makes it difficult for their teammates to revive them, and the latter provides a brief respite from the closing zone or Nebula V gas effects.

Later this season, developers will add Nebula V bombs. The rare explosive can be detonated after a countdown, afterward a blast will release gas to cover a large area. The gas dispersal from the bomb lasts for two minutes or until the “Circle Collapse,” a deadly gas that gradually shrinks the playable area over the course of a match, envelopes it.

The update also includes “armored transport vehicles” — beefed-up versions of utility trucks equipped with machine gun turrets and mines that drop highly valuable loot, including the Nebula V bombs — and balloons that let players redeploy to other parts of the map via parachute.

‘Warzone Pacific’ loadout guide for Caldera: The best guns, attachments and perks

After a handful of games, here are a few tips that can help you make best use of the new gas mechanics, along with other novel items from the Season 2 update.

How to find the new research labs … and survive them

Nebula V can be found by chance in supply crates around Caldera or in the research labs spread across the island, indicated by a yellow circle on your tactical map. Manholes with ladders lead down to underground research facilities, reminiscent of a simpler time in Verdansk. Three AI Axis enemies spawn in these bunkers and can be easily dispatched as they have less health than players.

They will drop loot like durable gas masks, Nebula V ammo and Trophy Systems, which are important since there’s only one way in and out of the labs. Those venturing inside should remember they’ll become an inviting target for any enemies on the outside. Squads may want to leave a lookout. Otherwise you’d be wise to get in and get out quickly.

While the research lab does grant valuable loot, you can’t find much cash in the underground areas. I wouldn’t recommend landing there off the initial drop or coming back from the Gulag. Especially considering the Axis guards inside.

Be smart with Nebula V ammo

This ammo type functions like the old Stopping Power field upgrade but is not nearly as powerful, meaning you’ll need to be discerning about how you utilize it. As opposed to the 40 rounds Stopping Power gave you, Nebula V only gives you 30 bullets, and those rounds do not deal extra damage. They do, however, make it difficult to revive a downed player, and that’s how you can best use it to your advantage.

If you are an accurate sniper, load these into your Kar98k or another preferred rifle and aim for a headshot. The extra down time will give you an opportunity to push up while making it difficult for the opposing team to get their teammate up. Likewise, it will weaken the teammate doing the reviving, making them prime targets for a well-thrown grenade or Semtex.

Also, because you have so few rounds to work with, you may want to consider keeping your Nebula V-loaded weapon in reserve and using your other gun to first break plates. Soften up your foes, then push up and finish them with Nebula V.

Get creative with your PDS placement

The PDS functions similarly to the heat shield found in “Apex Legends,” which provides a brief respite from the oncoming gas circle. Drop a PDS, and your team will gain a 13-second respite from the gas, but be sure to place it only when you need it — unlike a Trophy System, once you open it, the 13-second countdown begins. It is a short period of time, but if used in conjunction with cover, it will give you a chance to self-revive and plate up.

While the PDS does reveal your location to enemy operators, you can use that fact to your advantage. Combine it with a gas mask and use it as a kind of decoy, dropping the PDS in one place and emerging from the gas in a surprising, advantageous positions while enemies hard-scope the PDS.

You can also place a PDS on a vehicle like a Trophy System. This mechanic will allow you to cover a lot of ground if you get caught in a late rotation or allow for some high-IQ flanks in the end game. If you can, hang onto it as long as possible.

How 'Call of Duty: Warzone' was made

And speaking of the gas …

Learn to control the gas mask animation

The gas mask animation will now not engage while you are aiming down sights (ADS). The mask itself will, however, still tick down normally while you’re in the gas, and once you lower your weapon to hip fire, the animation will resume.

You’ll need to keep this minor change in mind when engaging enemies around the edge of the zone. Time your ADS to when the gas hits you so that you can catch other players running for their lives off guard. This puts you in control of when you’d like the animation to occur, rather than losing a game by being forced into firing your gun from your hip.

Balloons can help you escape … and attack

Also ripped straight out of “Apex Legends” are Redeploy Balloons. Zip line up these balloons, and you are flung hundreds of feet into the air as you parachute back to the ground. If you are in a difficult gunfight and need to quickly retreat, these balloons provide a rapid exit strategy. Or if the fast moving zone is on your back, the balloon can put some distance between you and certain death. Finally, if you spot a team on an unmanned aerial vehicle and want to rotate ahead and hold them out of the zone, the Redeploy Balloon is made just for you.

Speaking of parachuting, developers have patched out the ability to glide sideways and cover more distance. And there’s a lower likelihood of breaking your legs. You can now open and cut your parachute a little farther from the ground.

It’s also worth noting that balloons can be destroyed for cash (or repaired once they’re down).

Trap people in the Chemical Factory

On the top floor of the southwest side of the Chemical Factory, you will find a console that releases large vats of Nebula V gas to the two lower levels. This is the first trap that has been added to any “Warzone” map. The gas lasts for about 40 seconds before dissipating and letting players again activate it, but you can reuse the trap as many times as you want.

This is highly circumstantial, but if you happen to be looting the Chemical Factory and are pushed by another team, this trap will be a good way to limit their movement and force them into choke points.

‘Call of Duty: Warzone Pacific’ feels like a whole new game. That’s both good and bad.

Bombers are overpowered

Bombers, only found in Vanguard Royale, are the newest aircraft to hit Caldera. They are the cargo trucks of the air, allowing four players to squeeze into one vehicle. It sports front, middle and rear machine guns seats and a cockpit, where the pilot controls both the behemoth and its bombs.

The bomber is outfitted with four bombs that are on an approximately 20-second cool-down each. You can opt to drop them all at once or one at a time. If placed correctly, these bombs can do unbelievable damage. I was able to get a team wipe and two downs in just one of my bombing runs. These bombs can also destroy loadout drops, frustrating enemy teams.

There’s a catch, of course. You can jump into a fighter and easily take one down. Or use an antiaircraft gun from below. Bombers don’t have nearly as much health as you might expect, so get your parachutes ready.

Using these gunships is unlikely to give you a huge upper hand in Vanguard Royale as a solo player, but they could easily turn the tide in a team fight. A single pilot could call out enemy positions and destroy loadouts when they first drop en masse or when individual teams call them in. If you like to be a menace from the sky, then put on your captain’s hat.

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