Since Call of Duty’s hit battle royale title Warzone launched in March 2020, it’s become one of the biggest games on the planet. With that, a huge number of streamers and competitors have seen their careers skyrocket through Warzone, and that includes Liam ‘Jukeyz’ James.
Just a few short years ago, Jukeyz was a young lad out of Liverpool, England, who would play Call of Duty Search & Destroy tournaments in the evening after working his day job, with little expectation of where he could go from there.
Since then, he’s become one of the most renowned Warzone players in the world, dominating opponents on a global scale across Vedansk, Caldera, and Rebirth Island. He’s earned thousands and even represents Call of Duty League franchise London Royal Ravens.
Shortly after the launch of Season 3, in May 2022, Dexerto caught up with Jukeyz to discuss everything Warzone, including the shift from Verdansk to Caldera, competing across different continents, and what he wants from Warzone 2.
As a player based in Europe, Jukeyz has spent much of his career up to this point having to deal with high-ping lobbies so he can prove himself against the very best over in North America.
While players like Aydan, Tommey, and HusKerrs lead the way in America, Jukeyz has had to adapt to be able to compete against them — and that made it even sweeter when he was able to cross the pond and play wagers and tournaments on a level playing field as part of his “See me in NA” tour with Red Bull.
“Everything was just so easy,” he said of his games in the States. “You can tell over here, on the European servers, it’s just so hard to create content and actually have fun with the game, because you’ve always got these people in the lobby that are trying to kill you, stream snipe you, or just trying their hardest.
“Even getting into games with people who are playing wagers, European servers are just so full of everything I’ve just said. It’s just hard to create content, and that’s the main problem for me now.”
Aside from the issues Jukeyz has creating content, there has been a noticeable downturn in the perception of Warzone in recent months. Activision reported a 50m drop in active players between March 2021 and March 2022, and the community had a very lukewarm response to the introduction of Caldera into the map pool.
“You actually notice that the casuals who used to play, they just don’t exist, really,” Jukeyz explained. “In America you can find the lobbies that are full of casual players, but being over here, it’s hard work. It’s not just me, it’s affected a lot of people’s numbers.”
Jukeyz hasn’t let that affect his love for competing, though. He told us: “I still love competing. I look forward to tournaments coming up, but it’s very rare that major tournaments are coming up. We’re lucky to get one a month at the moment.”
Competing struggles don’t end at the lack of tournaments, though. Jukeyz thinks Caldera may play a part in diminishing the popularity of Warzone as an esport. “In this competitive scene, there isn’t anyone who is just the best. Especially with Caldera right now. No one can fathom this map. There are always different players winning, and different players popping off. This map is just based on hoping that you don’t get caught in the open … Is that skill, or is it just unlucky?”
Looking ahead to Warzone 2 — and perhaps as a critique of Caldera, too — Jukeyz spoke about what he wanted to see in the upcoming title, and it all boiled down to one key thing: buildings.
“I just need to see more buildings,” he said. “The number of times I die in the open space and get shot in the back, it’s unmerciful. It’s crazy. It’s to the point where I’m like, ‘Am I even good at CoD anymore?’ That’s how much I get shot in the open and in the back.”
When asked for the main things he wants to see in Warzone 2, and how to bring the game back to its former glory, Jukeyz couldn’t stress enough how important implementing buildings are to his enjoyment of the game. “I just feel like that’s what Call of Duty is about. I feel like I’m playing PUBG on Caldera. I don’t think there are any standout players because of a lack of competitiveness on this map. To get the game back to where it was, you just have to give the map a little change.”
There’s no telling what’s to come in Warzone 2. While the map has already started to leak, and Modern Warfare 2 news has started to be drip-fed to the CoD community, there’s only one thing that’s certain for the upcoming battle royale sequel: Jukeyz has every intention of staying at the top.