If it hadn’t been free, Call of Duty’s choice to join on the battle royale bandwagon would not have been as successful. Or if it wasn’t so dang eye-catching to begin with. Those hyper-realistic visuals, on the other hand, come at a cost, and you’ll need to fiddle with some of the settings to get silky smooth framerates. There are a lot of them.
This is where our performance guide comes in, to help you strike the proper balance between a great-looking game and one that performs very well.
Call of Duty: Because Warzone is a multiplayer game, framerates might fluctuate significantly across runs. You may get sniped at times and never see anybody up close. Other times, it’s a slaughter from the start—particularly if you leap at the first chance. This might make it difficult to accurately assess some parameters on live servers.
Because there is no built-in benchmark, I utilized the game’s practice mode to test all of the settings, which places you in the Quarry with 23 opponent bots to defeat. It’s usually more intense than a standard game. That’s not a terrible thing, but the framerates here seem to portray a worst-case situation. You should be OK while playing against actual gamers if you can get your framerates right here.
Many of the settings will have to be set to low for those with older GPUs, especially those with little onboard VRAM. The VRAM Usage meter in Call of Duty: Warzone is worth keeping an eye on—if it goes red, you’ll need to dial down your settings if you don’t want to crash.
The meat of the testing is below, but if you’re looking for a fast sale, these are our top picks.
1.Enable Reflex if you can
2.Enable DLSS if you can
3.Drop Texture Filter Anisotropic settings to boost minimum frame rates
4.Select Normal Shadow Map resolution
5.Disable DirectX Raytracing
6.Tweak Ambient Occlusion
7.Disable Screen Space Reflections
In terms of standard graphics settings, Nvidia Reflex has no effect on your performance, at least not in any meaningful way. It’s worth mentioning since if you have an Nvidia graphics card, it can make Warzone feel more responsive. Apart from Disabled, there are two levels here.
When the game is CPU constrained, Enabled decreases latency, whereas Enabled + Boost increases GPU clock rates. We had a look at Nvidia Reflex a while back, and it’s definitely worth a look if you have an Nvidia GPU.
It’s worth noting that you don’t need the latest and best 30-series cards to benefit from this functionality, and in fact, the GTX 1650 Super and 1660 Ti cards frequently show a greater reduction in latency. Basically, if you can, switch on Reflex.
There are no graphics presets in Call of Duty: Warzone. When you initially launch the game, it will try to guess appropriate settings for you, but you’re better off taking charge and making sure you’re getting the most out of it. This is especially true if you’re looking for competitive frame rates and don’t mind sacrificing some graphical fidelity to gain a competitive advantage in response times.
To see what kind of performance you’re looking at, I tested Warzone on high settings on our three MSI-powered gaming rigs as well as our two MSI gaming laptops.
The good news is that Warzone is at least well-optimized at 1080p. Across all platforms, you’re looking at a decent beginning point. Even the cheap system, which is powered by an MSI GeForce GTX 1650 Super, scored a decent 69 frames per second with everything maxed out—raytracing isn’t supported by this card, so it’s disabled on this computer, but otherwise they’re comparable. It’s a similar scenario with the cheap gaming laptop, which achieved 80 frames per second at its native resolution of 1080p.
This begs the question: isn’t 60 frames per second sufficient? While this is acceptable for many games, it is not suitable for competitive shooters. The more frames you have, the greater your chances of reacting to an opponent appearing in front of you.
And, yeah, if it means sacrificing some visual fidelity in order to achieve gaming nirvana, so be it. This tutorial will help you choose the correct settings to sacrifice, because you shouldn’t have to make the game look like a potato to enjoy some high-frame rate, low-lag action.
This section contains seven options that alter the appearance of the base game. However, many of these options have a minor influence on your performance, so it’s better to spend your effort where it counts. The key parameters are Texture Resolution and Texture Filter Anisotropic, as seen in the graph.
There are four distinct texture settings to select from, with High creating the most beautiful images while also having the most performance impact. However, lowering this level has an immediate influence on the game’s visual integrity, and may turn it from a realistic shooter into a cartoon nightmare. This is why, despite the fact that it has an influence on performance, we recommend setting it as high as possible because the lesser settings result in an unattractive game.
Because texture quality has a big impact on how much VRAM you require, older GPUs will have to keep to low or extremely low resolution simply to get it to work.
Textures at a distance don’t require the same amount of detail as those up close. This is especially true if the textures are at an angle to the player, such as on floors and walls. This option allows you to sacrifice some visual fidelity in exchange for improved performance.
Turning this to Low improves minimum frame rates significantly; in fact, it’s one of the most substantial adjustments you can make, but you’ll have to see for yourself whether it makes the game too undetailed. Given that it isn’t as drastic as lowering texture quality.
The world’s lighting is covered in this area of the settings screen. Unlike the previous part, the choices in this area have a significant influence on performance, therefore it’s important to get them correctly. The settings for Shadow Map Resolution, Ambient Occlusion, and Screen Space Reflections are all worth tweaking.
Reducing the shadow map resolution is the way to go if you want a quick speed gain without hurting the game’s appearance too much. Dropping from the ‘Extra’ setting resulted in a 10% improvement in average frame rates and a nearly 15% improvement in minimum frame rates, which is much more crucial.
In testing, there wasn’t much of a difference between High, Normal, and Low, so as long as you’re not on the highest level, you’ll be OK. If you’re still unsure, choose ‘Normal.’ You won’t notice much of a difference in-game from changing this, with somewhat cruder shadow maps at the lower levels resulting in less crisp shadows, but that’s not something you’ll notice while attempting to detect opposing players anyhow.
Ray tracing may generate some astonishingly realistic graphics, but there isn’t much of a demand for it in professional shooters because it generally comes at a significant performance cost. However, because we’re simply talking about ray traced shadows here, the impact isn’t as strong—these ray traced shadows can be difficult to notice, to be honest—and the performance cost isn’t as severe.
Still, turning this off will restore some frames, with the minimums getting a substantial increase of 10% or so. Only use this if you’ve just upgraded to a GeForce RTX graphics card and want to show off the interesting shadows it can create.
Ambient Occlusion serves to tie things to their surroundings by illuminating them in a more realistic way—for example, items in corners of rooms are in natural shade, windowsills throw shadows under them, and so on. Still, that realism comes at a price, and using this rather than totally disabling it would result in a 12 percent performance impact.
Call of Duty: There are four degrees of ambient occlusion in Warzone, with the ability to turn it on for Static Objects and Dynamic Objects separately—each one accounts for a 7-8 percent performance cost, or a cumulative 12 percent performance hit. It certainly make the world appear less genuine, but it’s a minor impact in a competitive shooter, and you’d be hard-pressed to notice if it wasn’t there. Personally, I enjoy the slightly higher frame rate.
For its reflections, Warzone avoids the computationally costly ray tracing and instead uses a method called screen space reflections (SSR) to produce an acceptable appearance.
It isn’t flawless, and there are methods to demonstrate how flawed it is, but that isn’t the point of this guide. If you want to investigate further, go to a puddle or a lake and look for something that seems like a reflection in the water.
While SSR has issues in some games, it is more than enough for the task at hand. It’s probably all that’s required to see a railway wagon reflected in a puddle as you run past it, and it does it admirably. Turning this off turns the puddle into an uninspiring grey pool, but it boosts your minimums by 10-15%, which is certainly reason enough.
The majority of the post-processing options are personal taste, as they have minimal effect on performance. Nonetheless, you should spend a few seconds to disable the two motion blur settings, as motion blur is an atrocity that has no place in a professional shooter.
Although you’re at it, turn off Depth of Field, since while it’s a cool effect in movies for concentrating the eye, it has no place in this game.
Enable Dynamic Resolution is an option at the bottom of the page that changes the resolution the game renders at in order to try to reach a specific framerate. I tried it at 160 frames per second, and the game does a decent job of trying to achieve that objective, however it falls short at 150 frames per second with 99 percent minimums of 108 frames per second.
Nvidia’s DLSS is the one option that will almost always offer you a significant performance gain. With the Ultra Performance setting, you can get a whopping 60 percent jump in framerates, while the balanced level, which delivers nearly-identical graphics to running the game at its original resolution, still gets you a 43 percent boost in framerates.
Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling effectively produces the game at a lower resolution and then uses machine learning wizardry to upscale the result to any resolution you choose. It’s faster since it’s rendering at a lesser resolution. Much, much faster. And the effects are so impressive that it’s difficult to detect the difference when the game is really running.
DLSS is most beneficial when running at higher resolutions, such as 4K, because it may transform a sluggish experience into a smooth, good-looking one.
The Ultra Performance level is suggested for 8K games only, while Performance is recommended for 4K screens, according to the in-game tooltip, but it’s worth giving it a shot to see if you notice a difference.
Anti-aliasing is a technique for smoothing jagged edges in video games. It’s a method that’s been around for a long and does generate a smoother-looking image, while also having a low performance cost. In fact, as compared to the top setting of Filmic SMAA T2X, turning it off results in a near 16 percent performance boost—not that’s something you can pass up.
On bigger displays with lower native resolutions, aliasing is more noticeable. Basically, there aren’t many pixels per inch. The notorious jaggies will show out badly on a 27-inch 1080p monitor, but they will be difficult to notice on a 4K screen of the same size. As a result, the amount of anti-aliasing you require is primarily determined on the screen you have.
For just one parameter, Warzone provides four alternatives, with the performance improving as you progress down the list. If you can’t alter this setting, make sure that DirectX Raytracing is disabled and that you’re not using DLSS, since both of these things will lock you out of this option.
Warzone works smoothly on a wide range of hardware, and you should be able to get reasonable frame rates even with a lot of extras enabled. And it’s a nice-looking game, with some lovely moments when the light dims and enemy gunfire splatters over your field of vision. It’s just a shame you don’t get to appreciate it as much as you should.
Regardless, if you’re serious about competitive shooters, you’re probably not going to settle with merely ‘playable,’ and with a high-refresh monitor, you’ll want to milk every last frame out of this game. You’ll need every advantage you can get to shoot first or at the very least observe where your opponents are hiding.
The good news is that there are a plethora of options just ready to be changed to offer you gaming paradise, and you don’t have to lower everything to potato levels to do it. Many of the options have no influence on frame rates but do contribute to the overall appearance of the game, so leave what you can on and enjoy Verdansk in between firefights.
Whether you have a GeForce RTX 3080 in 4K or a GTX 1650 Super in 1080p, the settings breakdown on this page should tell you all you need to know to achieve the ideal mix of graphics and performance. Remember to keep it cold out there!