Call of Duty: Warzone’s Vondel is the best battle royale map ever

Since Call of Duty: Warzone’s release in 2020, Activision has released a number of battle royale maps — some of which have captivated a large audience. Think Verdansk, Rebirth Island, and Fortune’s Keep. Though, with the new version of Warzone (formerly referred to as Warzone 2.0), the maps haven’t garnered the same positive buzz … until now.

Alongside the release of Season 4, Activision released the new Vondel map, which takes place in an urban Netherlands city, full of various buildings, a canal, and even a public transit system (via ground or water). Vondel isn’t just great, it’s the best Warzone map ever made.

What is Vondel?

Landing on the Vondel map in Warzone.

Vondel is a colorful Resurgence map that supports up to 72 players. With Resurgence enabled, players can continuously respawn as long as at least one teammate remains alive. It’s considerably larger than Ashika Island or Rebirth Island, but around half the size of Al Mazrah, Caldera, or Verdansk. This means matches still last around 15 minutes, which for many players, is the sweet spot. Oftentimes, the longer standard battle royale maps can last far too long and can feel frustrating, especially if you get taken out early on, meaning you’re stuck spectating until a teammate buys you back.

There are several things Vondel does better than the other maps that have come before it. The most important factor is that it rewards a wider variety of playstyles than any map before. Much of the map is densely packed, with plenty of different routes to take, from the busy streets, to rooftops, underground, and even underwater.

On previous maps like Verdansk and Caldera, you pretty much had to use a long-range weapon alongside an SMG if you wanted to come out on top. This was due to distinct points of interest (POIs) that were designed with one playstyle in mind. For instance, the wide open areas were obviously geared toward long-range battles, while the tighter-knit Downtown area was more focused on the mid- to close-range. But Vondel is impressive in that nearly every POI can be played differently depending on your strengths.

Landing on the Vondel map in Warzone.

For instance, the Zoo POI, which is comprised of multiple buildings and outside structures, offers plenty of ways to navigate it. If you’re better with a sniper or long-range assault rifle, it’s recommended to take one of the rooftops to pick players off as they land or maneuver outside. But if you’re more of a mid-range player, it’s best to stick to the inside areas, which offer multiple entrances so you don’t get stuck. Even close-range players can excel here if they take the right route, using cover to their advantage to close the gap. And that’s just one POI. The rest are designed similarly in that you can take whichever path adheres to your particular play style.

Much of the map is covered in buildings, meaning there will probably be a lot of rooftop gunfights in any given match. Of course, you don’t have to participate, but if you learn to master the art of long-range precision engagements, you’ll likely perform well. I’m someone who still needs to practice my ranged skills, so instead, I like to rush other teams that have taken over a rooftop, which often leads to success, as long as my teammates work with me.

Plan B

A canal on the Vondel map in Warzone.

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. On other maps, a misstep often leads to a squad wipe. But Vondel, on the other hand, is designed in such a way that you’re often able to adjust your plan on the fly to get out of harm’s way. For example, I recall rushing a team stationed on a rooftop, but in the process, a totally separate team had just called in an airstrike at my exact location. As I exited onto the rooftop, the airstrike downed me (and many of the opponents in front of me), which I hadn’t accounted for. I could hear enemies climbing the steps I just used, meaning I was sandwiched.

But then, I used my Self-Revive Kit, got up, and quickly dove from the rooftop into the canal below, using the water as cover as I made my escape. On previous maps, I likely would have gotten taken out while parachuting from the rooftop, but because Vondel features an interconnected canal all the way through, and since buildings are mostly shorter, I was able to get to safety — no parachute required.

Another major benefit of Vondel is that there are no obvious power positions. Sure, there are some POIs that are stronger than others depending on the position of the gas, but this changes each match. On previous maps, like Rebirth Island, which gave a clear advantage to players who held down the Prison area each match, certain POIs were straight-up overpowered if you learned to capture them. This meant that other POIs were often far less contested, pushing most players toward one specific area in a lopsided way. But on Vondel, nearly all the POIs feel equal thanks to the multiple routes and smart design.

Vondel is refreshing, balanced, dynamic, and incredibly fun. When the map first launched, I was concerned that it had temporarily replaced Ashika Island, but given how much fun Vondel is, I never want to play another map again.

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