Warzone 2.0 proximity chat is unbalanced

If you hear a heavy Long Island accent mocking you in Warzone 2.0, it's me.

If you hear a loud Long Island accent mocking you in Warzone 2.0it’s me.
Image: Activision / Kotaku

We only had Warzone 2.0 for a few hours, and it’s already clear that proximity chat is an absolutely crazy new feature. Today the brand new battle royale from Call of Duty launched about an hour earlier than scheduledand there’s a ton of new features to parse: a completely revamped inventory system, a team-based gulag, and a proximity aka toxicity chat in your neighborhood.

Read more: Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0: Everything you need to know about the Gulag, proximity chat, and more.

A video from FaZe Clan member ZooMaa shows how powerful Proximity Chat can be at taking out enemy squad members and talking so much bullshit that they get nervous and choke. “Come here mate, I hear you man,” an enemy says during ZooMaa’s stream. ZooMaa then responds to her by repeatedly asking her “where are you?” before the two engage in a hilarious shouting/shooting match.

Of course famous Call of Duty Streamer TimTheTatman has also previously weighed in on proximity chat speech, sharing a video of himself telling an enemy to “watch his head” before he shoots him and calling the new feature “content.”

It’s unclear how close you have to be for proximity chat to kick in, and if you have your in-game chat off or your mic muted, it won’t really matter. But when it does start working, it’s obvious that it’s the kind of feature that will only spawn more chaos, more yelling, and in a lot of cases, more toxicity. Will this game make playing against dudes more insufferable? Maybe. Will I double down on being equally annoying? You bet.

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During my first Warzone 2.0 quads match, my teammates and I landed a bounty contract and received the location of an enemy player to eliminate, which would net us a big stack of cash. As we got closer to the location on our tac map, it became clear that the enemy, aware of the bounty on their head, went to the top of the tallest building in the area. As we climbed up in search of him, his voice suddenly rang through my headphones, his name in the lower left corner of my shout.

“Get away from me, damn it! he shouted, panic rising in his voice. “I’m coming for you, baby,” I sang back. My whole team began to sing “we’re coming for you” like the ghosts of 19th century schoolchildren until they flushed him out. His last words were “damn.”

It is abundantly clear in the first hours of launch that Warzone 2.0Proximity chat is going to be a polarizing feature. For marginalized people playing Call of Duty, this could be yet another way for them to be harassed. Luckily, you can turn off Nearby Chat, Voice Chat, and Last Words Chat in the Warzone 2.0 settings menu. If you’re like me, though, and have been hardened by 20 years of abuse from straight men in FPS titles, you can join me in keeping the chat close.

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