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Is Caldera free yet?

The short answer is yes, Warzone‘s Caldera map is free to play right now. But accessing it requires owning Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) first.

As a long-time Call of Duty fan, I‘ve been eagerly awaiting the chance to drop into Caldera again. While Warzone 2.0 offers a fresh start, Caldera delivers that nostalgic WWII Pacific battlefield vibe.

In this guide, I‘ll walk you through exactly how to get Caldera, what‘s new with it in 2023, and why this map holds a special place in Warzone history. Stick with me, and you‘ll be landing on the beaches of Caldera for free in no time!

Accessing Caldera – What you need to know

Let‘s start with the most important detail – how to actually play Caldera in 2023.

Back when it first launched in December 2021, Caldera was available as a free standalone download just like Warzone. But Activision has changed things up.

Now, the only way to access Caldera is through Modern Warfare (2019). Here‘s a quick look at the requirements:

PlatformHow to Access Caldera
PCOwn Modern Warfare on
PlayStationOwn Modern Warfare on PS Store
XboxOwn Modern Warfare on Microsoft Store

Don‘t already own Modern Warfare? Then first you‘ll need to purchase it in order to download Caldera.

I know, it‘s a bit confusing that you have to buy one game to play the free component of another. But look at the bright side – Modern Warfare is frequently on sale for 50% off or more.

So by picking it up on a discount, you can get access to both Modern Warfare multiplayer AND Warzone Caldera for less than the typical $60 price tag.

Once you own Modern Warfare, here are more detailed steps for accessing Caldera on each platform:


  1. Install if you haven‘t already and log into your Activision account
  2. Search for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and install it
  3. Let the full Modern Warfare game download and install
  4. Launch Modern Warfare from your library
  5. You should see the option to download Warzone Caldera – select it
  6. Let Caldera finish installing then launch the game mode!


  1. On your PS4 or PS5, go to your Game Library
  2. Find Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in your purchased games
  3. Select the option to delete Modern Warfare (this frees up space temporarily)
  4. On the PlayStation Store, go to the Warzone game page
  5. Download Modern Warfare again – this will now include the Warzone Caldera content
  6. Once finished, launch Modern Warfare
  7. Select Warzone Caldera and enjoy!


  1. Press the Xbox button and go to My Games & Apps
  2. Scroll down to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and select Manage Game & Add-ons
  3. Choose to uninstall all of Modern Warfare (don‘t worry, you won‘t lose any progress)
  4. On the Microsoft Store, find the Warzone game page
  5. Redownload Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  6. Let Modern Warfare finish reinstalling
  7. Launch Modern Warfare
  8. You‘ll now have access to the Warzone Caldera mode – select it to start playing

While it takes a few extra steps, the ability to play Caldera again makes it worth it. This guide should give you everything you need to get Caldera back up and running in 2023.

What‘s new with Caldera in 2023?

At its core, Caldera is the same sun-soaked Pacific island battlefield that released back in December 2021.

It still features all the same POIs like the crashed ship Peak, the underground mine system, and the luxury resort at Royal Cabana.

But Raven Software has implemented two key changes to Caldera with the launch of Modern Warfare 2:

1. Maximum lobby size reduced from 150 to 120 players

This shrinks down the lobby count by 20% to reduce strain on the servers. You‘ll have a few less rivals, but still plenty of enemies to battle it out.

2. Integration with Modern Warfare 2 content

New Modern Warfare 2 operators, weapon blueprints, cosmetics, and more are now usable in Caldera. So you can sport your favorite MW2 gear while exploring the tropical map.

Beyond these tweaks, Caldera plays just like Veterans remember it. The weapons, ground loot, contracts, events, and closing circle remain unchanged.

So if you have fond memories dropping into Caldera, it‘s the same nostalgic experience in 2023. Just with some visual upgrades if you play on next-gen consoles or PC.

Now, let‘s explore why Caldera holds such an important place in Warzone history.

Caldera‘s place in Warzone lore

Caldera arrived in December 2021 as the highly anticipated successor to Verdansk. After nearly two years in Verdansk, players were eager for a new battlefield.

But Caldera had some big shoes to fill. Verdansk was far from just a typical battle royale map.

The fictional city pulled directly from classic Modern Warfare 2 locales like the Gulag and Pavilion. Fans spent months uncovering every secret detail hidden across Verdansk.

So could tropical Caldera ever measure up? Initially, reactions were mixed.

Some players loved the lush Guadalcanal-inspired environment and Sunset Mechanics Vibes. The volcanic peak and dense jungles brought intense new gameplay.

But others missed Verdansk‘s familiar urban close-quarters action. And technical issues like glitches and performance dips soured early impressions.

However, opinions on Caldera slowly improved over time. Regular updates resolved most major bugs. New POIs like Redeploy Balloons changed traversal. The meta shifted in favor of long-range engagements.

And dedicated players discovered the same level of care poured into Caldera‘s topography and secrets. Hidden shelters, coding Easter eggs, and other surprises rewarded exploration.

So while the community remains divided on Caldera, many players ultimately came to enjoy the change of scenery. It provided an entirely fresh chapter after years in Verdansk.

Now with Warzone 2.0 capturing the spotlight, Caldera serves as a museum relic. It offers a portal back to the World War 2 roots of the franchise.

Will Caldera ever return as the primary Warzone map? Unlikely. But it remains a defining piece of Call of Duty history no fan should miss.

The future of free-to-play Warzone

While Caldera requires Modern Warfare ownership, Warzone remains a free experience at its core.

Warzone 2.0 continues this approach – all players can download and compete in Al Mazrah for free. The only paid elements are cosmetic.

This model has allowed Warzone to become a true gaming phenomenon. Here are some mind-blowing stats:

  • Over 125 million players have dropped into Warzone
  • Peak daily players exceeded 6 million
  • Average players per month still exceed 100 million

Warzone has become the crown jewel of Activision‘s portfolio. And the publisher plans to support it for the long haul.

Warzone 2.0 is just the beginning. Built on a brand new engine, it paves the way for years of expansions.

Here‘s a small taste of what the future holds:

  • New Resurgence mode map Ashika Island
  • Return of lost modes like Plunder
  • More classic maps remastered
  • Next-gen console support
  • Full integration with annual premium Call of Duty releases
  • Events, limited-time modes, and crossover content

Thanks to its free-to-play model, the Warzone train keeps rolling. While each new iteration launches bugs and growing pains, Activision gets it right in the end.

So rest assured, you‘ll get to skydive into thrilling new Warzone maps and modes for free for the foreseeable future.

Final thoughts

Hopefully this guide gave you all the essential intel on getting back to Caldera in 2023 plus an overview of Warzone past and present.

While Warzone 2.0 steals the spotlight, Caldera is a treat for Veterans. Its lush jungles and WWII aesthetic remain unmatched.

Sure, some bugs still rear their heads. But regular patches continue to smooth out issues.

And remember, by purchasing Modern Warfare on sale, you gain access to its full multiplayer suite also. So see if you can convince a few friends to join you in Caldera – it‘s a total blast with a squad.

Now drop in, reconnect with Caldera‘s sights and sounds, and relive those glory days chasing victory in the Pacific. Just be sure to watch out for snakes!

Let me know if you have any other questions about accessing Caldera or thoughts on its legacy. I‘m always happy to share insights with fellow Call of Duty fans.

Enjoy your return to Caldera!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.