Sledgehammer Games has officially unveiled Call of Duty: Vanguard's multiplayer mode, discussing and showing off new features like tactical destruction and how the game will have more maps at launch (20) than ever before in franchise history. Here's everything we know so far about Vanguard's multiplayer mode. This post will be updated as we learn more.
There will be 20 multiplayer maps for Vanguard at launch, which is the most ever for a Call of Duty game at launch. Presumably, more maps will come to Vanguard after launch as DLC.
16 of the maps are for Vanguard's standard multiplayer, while 4 are for the Champion Hill mode. The maps are set across the various WWII fronts, including the Eastern Front, North Africa, and the Pacific.
The Hotel Royal, Red Star, and Gavutu maps will be playable in the upcoming beta at the start, with a fourth--Eagle's Nest--coming in the second test. Additionally, new versions of the World at War maps Castle and Dome will be playable when the game launches. The remakes support Vanguard's new destructible environments, while they have new visual flairs to update them for 2021.
A new multiplayer mode for Vanguard is Patrol, which is a spin on Hardpoint, except the Hardpoint moves across the map. You can get a glimpse at the Patrol mode in the deep dive trailer below. Classic Call of Duty modes like Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Domination, and Search & Destroy will also be in the game, along with the new Champion Hill mode.
Borrowing a system from Rainbow Six and other popular games, Vanguard will usher in destructible environments in select scenarios. As revealed in the announcement trailer, players will be able to destroy certain elements of the environment to help flush out enemies hiding behind cover. Destructible environments apply to every map, and the caliber of your weapon will affect how quickly and effectively environments can be destroyed.
New Art Style
Sledgehammer Games is going for a "neo epic" art style, which is a marked change from what you might be used to. "Its tone is also a departure from the traditional WWII fare: while remaining reverent to the background and time period, Sledgehammer Games is treating multiplayer as an expression of celebration toward heroism--even through antiheroes, but not villains--on a truly global scale," the publisher said.
New for Call of Duty is the ability to blindfire, meaning they can shoot over a piece of cover. This will be a less precise way to aim and fire a weapon, but it can be useful in some situations. Mounting is back as well.
"When you find cover behind sturdy objects, you now have two options for firing back aside from normal hip or aim-down-sights fire: the first is mounting, which returns from previous games, though Operators can additionally 'slide' their mounted weapon along the vertical or horizontal surface to move around," Activision said. "The other is blindfire--at the sacrifice of some accuracy, this maneuver allows for better cover in situations where you're about to experience suppressing fire."
In a big shift for Call of Duty, Vanguard will not have Factions in multiplayer. Instead, team-based modes will be made up of teams of fictional characters that you can create and customize to your liking. Sledgehammer's previous game, Call of Duty: WWII, featured two Factions always going head-to-head--Axis and Allies.
The cast of Operators in Vanguard have been designed to "represent a global cast of countries, cultures, ethnicities, and walks of life," Activision said.
"Through Sledgehammer's diverse writing team and an expert World War II historian, these fictional characters are inspired by real people who fought in WWII, and they all have a story to tell," the publisher explained.
Each Operator will have "extended background" details available, like information on their upbringing and why they joined the war. The "quip" system from previous games is updated to help further accentuate a particular character's individuality.
Additionally, there is a new leveling system for Operators called Operator XP.
"Separate from regular, weapon, battle pass, and Clan XP, players can unlock new cosmetics, Skins, Calling Cards, Finishing Moves, and more just by playing matches with a specific Operator," Activision said. "Outside of their biography (which includes their nickname, citizenship, and ethnicity) and challenges, each Operator also has a Favorite Weapon."
As an example, Polina's favorite weapon is the 3-Line Rifle to suit her affinity for sniper rifles. Polina gets additional XP when she uses the rifle.
There will be six Operators in the Vanguard multiplayer beta, and they also include Daniel Take Yatsu, Roland Zelmet, Lucas Riggs, Wade Jackson, and Arthur Kingsley. However, Operator leveling is not available until Vanguard releases in November.
There is also a new "combat pacing" system in Vanguard that will allow players to choose the "intensity" level they want. This includes:
- Tactical: These are the lobbies that franchise veterans know well. This is the experience that you’re used to with classic Call of Duty combat timing. Tactical Comat Pacing is always 6v6.
- Assault: This option provides balanced Combat Pacing that gives you enough room to breathe and a lot of targets to kill. Assault is a middle ground between Tactical and Blitz. In Beta Weekend 1, player counts will vary between 20 and 28 players.
- Blitz: High-action lobbies see the intensity cranked up to frenetic levels. Prepare for plenty of combat when choosing to join a Blitz. In Beta Weekend 1, player counts will vary between 28 and 48 players.
Gunsmith Updates And Gun Balance
Call of Duty's gun customization mode, Gunsmith, will now allow players "unrestricted" access to attachments, so you can select up to 10 on any individual weapon. This allows for "thousands" of possibilities beyond what was possible before, Activision said. Players are also able to adjust the damage and rate of fire with these attachments, and they can also alter the caliber of weapons. In the announcement video, Sledgehammer said it's committed to ensuring the game is balanced, so you can expect tuning updates over time.
"When choosing a loadout for Multiplayer, players will be gearing up at the Gunsmith within Create-a-Class. An evolution of a system first introduced in Modern Warfare (2019), the Gunsmith will now feature up to 10 attachment slots on certain weapons, allowing for thousands of additional possibilities to help with nearly every combat scenario and playstyle," Activision said.
"For example, Shotguns can now be outfitted with a 'Buck Slug,' which is a shell filled with short-range buckshot and a slug round for longer range," the publisher added. "This combination is just one way that ammo can change for weaponry--expect other attachments that adjust a weapon’s caliber up or down to affect bullet penetration, fire rate, and more."
A new Clan system in Vanguard has its own dedicated progression, tailored to a particular clan, or group of players. Clans work across platforms and console generations. Progression, emblems, and battle pass items that are unlocked are given to each player in the Clan.
"The Clan system will feature elements from the Modern Warfare(2019) Regiments system, which will be carried forward and renamed 'Groups,'" Activision said. "Clans will feature bespoke progression, emblems, and even Battle Pass–related rewards unlocked for your entire group, giving you and your squadmates something to aim for outside of victories during play sessions."
Perks Are Now Proficiencies
Perks are still in Vanguard, but they are called Proficiencies in the new game.
"For example, the Lightweight Perk allows for increased speed, including with Tactical Sprinting, while the Weapon Perk Gung-Ho, which is active when using a weapon with it 'attached,' allows for an Operator to fire this weapon while sprinting," Activision said.
For PC players, they can look forward to an uncapped frame rate and customization options like keybinds, the ability to reduce motion sickness, and text readility. The game also supports ultrawide and multimonitor setups. Additionally, Sledgehammer said it has done work to improve input latency, so players can now expect this to be in the mere milliseconds.