The Call of Duty open beta was available on all platforms from September 18th to the 22nd. With the full game set to release on November 5th, excitement has been building in the Call of Duty community. After playing the Vanguard beta for over six hours here are my initial thoughts regarding Call of Duty’s up-and-coming installment.
Impressive map pool
The four maps available to players in the Vanguard beta are; Eagle’s Nest, Red Star, Gavutu, and Hotel Royal. The early outlook concerning map quality is quite positive. The Call of Duty team has already confirmed that gamers will have the luxury of visiting 16 core maps come Vanguard’s launch.
If these four are anything to go by, the map pool has the potential to be the best in years. Both Eagle’s Nest and Hotel Royal are traditional three-lane maps. The aforementioned map structure is ideal for both competitive and casual play. Gavutu isn’t far behind and has the potential to be a great Search & Destroy map with many different high ground interactions across the map.
Unfortunately, Red Star prevents a perfect score and is easily the most tilting of the four maps. The map promotes a slow play style and is a death sentence for anyone who wanders outside of a building. There’s no doubt the developers will attempt to fix strange lighting issues that occur on sunny maps Gavutu and Eagle’s Nest. Interesting maps contribute to making the game feel fun and fresh every time you log on. Hopefully, this is one area Vanguard can deliver.
Multiple modes & pacing variety
Although we still do not know all of the details in terms of the competitive ruleset, Vanguard is set to deliver an incredible experience for casual players. The main reason the beta feels so exciting is thanks to the game modes on display. Call of Duty has offered players a wide variety of modes this year. Most of the traditional game modes have returned.
The one concern is the lack of Hardpoint. This mode is a mainstay in the competitive scene, thus its inclusion come launch is imperative. Instead, Call of Duty has given us a new mode named Patrol. This game mode is Hardpoint with a constantly moving hill. Champion Hill is another new mode that is sure to entice newcomers. This mode is comparable to Modern Warfare’s Gunfight modes.
The feature that takes the spotlight in terms of enhancing this year’s multiplayer experience is without a doubt the option to choose your preferred combat pacing. The first pacing is dubbed Tactical. This is the classic 6v6 format that is centered around objective gameplay. Next comes Assault gameplay. This is great for players who want to see more action across the map. Player counts will vary from 20-28 in this mode.
Finally, Blitz cranks up the pace with the most chaotic mode Vanguard has to offer. These are high-action matches with up to 48 players in which you’ll run into opponents seconds after spawning. Blitz will be great for ranking up weapons quickly when the full game releases.
Let this be the year of viability
It is going to be interesting to track how the competitive meta develops. Ideally, this would be the year in which multiple guns are viable. Straight away the Bar Assault Rifle looks like a turret-style weapon. This will likely be the weapon of choice for mainstay Assault Rifle players. Then we have the STG44 which is looking like an elite flex weapon. It is a balanced weapon that operates well at long, medium, and short ranges.
The optimal submachine gun is still up for debate. At the moment the MP-40 and the M1928 are the clear-cut favorites. The MP-40 will likely be the weapon of choice for professional submachine gun players. Finally, snipers seem as viable as ever if not a touch overpowered. Here’s to hoping they make their long-awaited return to the Call of Duty League.
Mechanics need fixing
It’s no surprise that the mechanics’ category is going to be the most negative one yet. The whole idea of releasing a beta is to test the issues that need fixing. First and foremost, spawning seems to be disastrous at times. On just about every map and every mode, you’ll experience the joy of spawning into enemy bullets. Here’s a video of just how exploitable the spawn issue is.
The next issue that we could see tweaked before launch pertains to visibility. There are several occasions in which firing your gun greatly limits your field of view. When playing Call of Duty, your surroundings are incredibly important. If firing your gun is going to blind you then it seems rather counterintuitive.
Certain gameplay issues will not be resolved as Activision has chosen to implement these specific mechanics. Mounting is particularly annoying this year. Players can now strafe back and forth while mounted. It is inclusions such as these that will likely plague casual play. Fortunately, it has already been revealed that custom lobbies can be drastically tweaked to preserve the competitive state of the game. If we’re lucky we’ll get a ranked mode that also has several “broken” mechanics turned off.
The Call of Duty team has been very vocal about the inclusion of an anti-cheat in this year’s game. This problem has been running rampant as of late. In a turn of events that has shocked very few people, there have been numerous reports of players cheating during the beta. It remains to be seen whether the developers purposely excluded this feature for the beta and plan to have it arrive for the launch of Vanguard.
Played on the PlayStation 5 version of Call of Duty: Vanguard.
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