The Call of Duty: Vanguard beta weekend began on Friday, September 10, and lasted for 48 hours. We were providing full coverage over the weekend, breaking down all the weapons, perks, and equipment, and addressing the biggest concerns of playtesters. Here's our complete review of the CoD: Vanguard beta weekend.
The Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha weekend was fairly successful, but there were serious issues that needed addressing, and the choice of game mode was poor. Namely, playtesters wanted the pace of play sped up, they wanted the classic minimap back, and they wanted the visibility issues resolved. Let's see how Sledgehammer has done.
September 11, 03:12 CEST - Update: The player level is capped at 20 in the beta.
September 11, 09:52 CEST - Update: The weapons are level capped at 30.
September 12, 13:06 CEST - Update: Day 2 and the player level cap has risen to 30. Weapons remain capped at level 30.
The Call of Duty: Vanguard Beta - First Impressions
The following comments are provided by a playtester who has had extensive time playing the alpha build before this beta weekend:
My first match was on Hotel Royal - the roof of a central Parisian building at dusk. The visibility seems miles better than Champion Hill.
The sprint out time and ADS is obnoxiously slow on a lot of the weapons. These problems were indicated in the alpha, so this should have been fixed.
After my first game with an absolute demon, I can confirm that killstreaks are relatively weak for a Call of Duty game. This player was getting lots of killstreaks but they weren't shutting down the other team completely as certain previous CoDs have allowed.
I've just had my first match in a tropical environment and I've got to say the map looks phenomenal. The weather effects lend the map real dynamism. But one thing people will certainly dislike on this map is the ability for certain operators to hide in the greenery.
The optics are a delight - a real highlight for Vanguard.
Without a proper third-party stats site to use, I cannot tell for certain whether SBMM is being used. It's an easy thing to tell yourself if you have a bad game, but the truth is a lot of people play like 'sweats' - so I'll be cautious about saying anything on this point.
I thought they had solved all the spawn issues the alpha had but then I played Patrol on Hotel Royal. In this one game it was just a joke, spawn camping was laughable easy to set up. But as I say, outside of that game it seems like they have largely fixed the spawn issues.
I don't like that the Operators are no longer sorted into two groups. It used to be obvious fighting Coalition as the Alliance but now both teams are comprised of the same Operator models. It's not that they're hard to see - you can still make out whose on whose teams easily enough, but it just feels silly to fight yourself. You can see why they've done this though; if they had to make Operators from Axis countries they would eventually run into politically sensitive territory. Easier avoided, but it's not as good for the game.
The Loadout menu is wild. 10 attachments on every weapon. 10. That's really not good - 10 attachments is too many, it wont force the player into making meaningful tradeoffs. Let's hope it doesn't come to Warzone.
I've found the item that requires the highest level to unlock now - the Throwing Knife - at level 41.
After some time to properly digest the game pacing system, I can say that it really it does seem to have a strong effect - and it's doing more than increasing the player count. 'Blitz' and 'Tactical' feel like two very distinct experiences.
Five hours into the beta and I'm level 15. My weapon (I'm exclusively using the STG 44) is still level 0 because the weapon levelling is bugged. The more I play the more I'm convinced that Game Pacing, or something like it, is exactly what Call of Duty needs to satisfy both playerbases (those either for or against MW 2019).
The STG 44 and the MP40 will likely be meta, along with the perks Fortified, Radar, and Demolition, the field upgrade Dead Silence, and Stuns, but the lethal equipment of choice is still less certain.
We will continue to update this article as we playtest throughout the weekend.
Like keeping up to speed with all things Call of Duty? Then you've come to the right place, here are some of our recent articles:
- CoD: Vanguard Is "One Of The Best-Looking Games On Current-Gen Consoles"
- What's In & How To Get the Warzone Soap Bundle
- CoD: Vanguard's First Patch Notes
The Call of Duty: Vanguard Beta - Our Verdict
We will play more throughout the weekend and update this article with our complete verdict later, for now, we can say we're generally happy with the gameplay but this is clearly designed to appeal to fans of Modern Warfare 2019. It's that simple. The tac-sprint, doors, mounting - it's all here to stay.
But the Game Pacing system is a great way to choose between more aggressive or tactical games. It's not like 'Blitz' - the aggressive pace setting - is going to feel like the fastest CoD with the lowest TTK or anything, and we're not sure exactly what it's changing each game besides player count, but it's definitely making those games feel faster. This will be some comfort to those who criticize CoD's recent direction as campy.
The game is visually stunning and the environments feel alive, lighting, in particular, is to be praised since they've corrected for the visibility issues in Vanguard's alpha. Sound engineering needs some more work though; shots that connect sound almost muffled and gunfire generally should be louder. The footsteps sound about on point.
We still don't have the classic minimap by default - you won't get red dots on your map when someone fires an unsuppressed weapon nearby. This should have been changed already, the community clearly wants this feature. But they will meet us halfway - there's a perk called Radar that gives you the classic minimap. We shouldn't need to sacrifice a perk slot for this though.
SBMM is another hot-button issue we know our readers are interested in. But without a way to check people's stats in the beta, we just can't tell you with any accuracy how strong the SBMM is.
The maps and weapons will require a little more time for us to digest but it feels like the TTK is a little faster than BOCW but slower than MW 2019, but the ADS and sprint-out times are atrocious without at least 5 attachments on the ARs. The map design is likely to be quite popular. They've played it safe with classic three-laners, but why fix what isn't broken?