You Don’t Need To Purchase Modern Warfare II To Play Warzone 2


Dollar signs cover Ghost's eyes.

Contrary to what the game’s menus seem to tell you, Warzone 2.0 is free and you don’t need to buy Modern Warfare II.
Screenshot: Activision / Kotaku

Warzone 2.0 has been out for a few days and it’s a damn good time once you get past the most challenging part of the game: Navigating a UI that seems like it was coded in the fires of digital hell. Aside from being clunky, obtuse, glitchy, and not even remotely helpful for finding what you’re looking for, Warzone 2 does a fantastic job of making you think you need to buy Modern Warfare II to play the battle royale, especially when you’re looking to party up with friends. While MWII is a good time (moreso for the multiplayer than the campaign), I am here to inform you that, no, you do not need to purchase Modern Warfare II in order to play Warzone 2.0.

Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2.0 (and the DMZ mode) are all accessed from the same launcher. While not an inherently bad thing, it does lead to some remarkably exhausting confusion. It gets even more confusing if you haven’t paid for MWII and you’re partying up with folks who have, and somehow even more confusing if you’re doing it on PC and are trying to play cross platform. Rest assured, you don’t have to part with 70 bucks to play the battle royale mode with friends. Here’s how to fully connect with friends for free in Warzone 2.0.

How to join friends in Warzone 2.0 without buying Modern Warfare II

If you’re playing with friends on the same console (Xbox and Xbox, PlayStation and PlayStation), you should just be able to squad up the way you do in any other game–that said, no matter what platform you’re on, if you haven’t paid for MWII, you need to navigate to the Battle Royale menu to avoid getting the prompt that says “Purchase Modern Warfare II to have access to everything.” To reiterate, you do not need to purchase MWII to play the battle royale. Don’t freak out (or buy the game) if you see this error:

Don’t freak out if you see this. You just need to navigate to the Battle Royale sub menu before accepting an invite.
Gif: Activision / Kotaku

If you try to accept a squad invite while staying in the menu that the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II launcher dumps you in, you’ll likely see two warnings: one telling you the game might not be fully installed, followed by a prompt to buy Modern Warfare II. Ignore all that bullshit. Before you accept an invite, scroll down to the bottom of the main menu and navigate to the battle royale card (or DMZ if you want to play that, which is also free). Accept an invite from a friend within the battle royale menu. If you don’t, the game will badger you to buy Modern Warfare II.

If you don’t own Modern Warfare II, you must navigate to the Battle Royale submenu to join up with friends.
Gif: Activision / Kotaku

How to join friends via crossplay and on PC

Take a nice, deep breath. It’s going to be okay. Warzone 2.0 doesn’t make it easy to figure out how to join a friend who’s on a different platform—especially if you haven’t purchased Modern Warfare II.

First, you’ll need to find your Activision ID. If you’re in the menus for either Modern Warfare II or Warzone 2.0, then you have one. Head to the social tab in the game’s main menu, found in the upper rightmost corner.

Here you’ll see the people currently in your party, as well as your selected operator. Select “View My Profile” from this menu and you’ll see your Activision ID on the right hand side of the screen. It’s a similar format to something like Discord, if you’re familiar with that: A username, # sign, and a set of numbers.

A screenshot of Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0's menu shows player information.

Your Activision ID is needed for crossplay (and be sure to accept invites from the Battle Royale menu!)
Screenshot: Activision / Kotaku

This is the name you’ll use to friend people. Once you know the Activision ID of the person you want to befriend and team up with, return to the initial social menu and click on the Friends tab. Click “Add Friends” and enter the Activision ID there. If all is correct, your friend will get a friend invitation (check the bell icon on the top right for the notification if you miss it.)

With adding a friend out of the way, it’s time to squad up. As mentioned above, if you have not purchased Modern Warfare II, you need to enter the battle royale menu to accept a party invite from someone. Scroll down to the bottom and select either DMZ or Battle Royale (whichever mode you want to play) and load into that specific menu instance. You’ll know you’re in the right place if you see “Battle Royale” in the top left corner of the main menu. Send and accept friend invites with players who don’t own Modern Warfare II from here and only ever here.

If you previously sent an invite and a player was unable to join due to not being in the right menu, there are a few other options in the menu to send a new invite, but oftentimes this is locked (it seems you sometimes can’t send more than one invite to the same person). If you have this problem, simply quit out of Call of Duty, restart the game, navigate to the battle royale menu, and send or ask for an invite then.

Feeling tired? Yeah, me too. It’s 2022 and menus are officially harder than the games they launch. But don’t let Warzone 2.0 fool you into buying Modern Warfare II if you don’t want to. Now squad up and go cause problems on purpose.


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