Sledgehammer just described Call of Duty: Vanguard as the "most tactical Call of Duty experience" to date. But what does that mean? And why is it so controversial? Here's an overview of the 'tactical' changes to movement and stealth coming in Vanguard, including updates to Ghost and the Minimap.
To those who weren't following Call of Duty during Modern Warfare's release in 2019, 'tactical' won't mean much. But it's an incredibly sensitive topic in the Call of Duty fanbase.
When MW 2019 launched it described itself as 'tactical' and pushed Call of Duty in a new direction. The new design philosophy encouraged slower movement and penalized players for adopting the traditional run-and-gun playstyle of CoD. Mechanics like mounting coupled with loud footsteps and no on-demand Dead Silence made it better to just camp it was claimed.
Sales figures for MW 2019 clearly reflect how popular the changes were, but a lot of die-hard fans claimed that it made the game too soft for casuals and was a stab in the back to 'classic CoD'. BOCW moved slightly away from that controversial direction last year, but it seems Vanguard is taking us right back to the 'tactical' in November.
Shooting & Movement Mechanics
Besides mounting, which is making a return, we're also getting a new mechanic called blind fire which allows you to shoot over or around cover without exposing yourself. Obviously, this will be strong but luckily there's a huge accuracy penalty, so it should see more use as suppressing fire.
Mounting and blind fire will definitely slow the game down, but what's more - there are now movement penalties to slow down weapon switching, slide-canceling, and drop-shotting. If tactical is the right word then this will definitely achieve it. Moreso than blind fire which might be a gimmick, these speed penalties will noticeably slow the pace of play and will dampen the advantage quick players have.
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Minimap & Ghost
The Minimap in CoD: Vanguard was looking identical to Modern Warfare 2019's, that is to say, unsuppressed fire does not produce red dots on the map. But a new Perk 2 has been leaked called Radar, and with Radar, unsuppressed fire will show up as a red dot on your minimap. So we're basically getting the classic minimap, that encourages more aggressive play, but we'll need a perk to access it.
But how does Ghost interact with stealth and the minimap you might be thinking? Well, they've actually gone back to the older and more aggressive Call of Duty style here. Because they've nerfed Ghost to only work while you're moving, which makes camping far less attractive. And Ghost isn't in the Perk 2 slot anymore it's Perk 1, so you can enjoy Radar and Ghost together.
They've introduced a new system to Call of Duty called Combat Pacing, and the idea is that with Combat Pacing you can choose how Tactical or Run-and-Gun the games you're matchmaking for will be. When choosing game modes, the pace can be set at Tactical, Assault, or Blitz. But all we know that's different between each category is the following:
- Tactical: Standard Call of Duty 6v6 lobby.
- Assault: Balanced combat, with "enough room to breath", and player counts between 20 and 28.
- Blitz: High action and high-intensity lobbies with 28-48 players.
This is perfect in theory but in practice, they haven't described actual gameplay changes that would make Blitz or Assault more chaotic than Tactical. Because the player count isn't enough. So don't hold your breath that Blitz will have no SBMM or something.
Calling it 'the most tactical' Call of Duty experience was needlessly controversial. There are lots of people who love the new direction but to those who don't, it's an open declaration that they aren't getting 'their game' this year. And honestly, with Radar and the changes to Ghost, this probably won't feel as campy to those who disliked Modern Warfare 2019. Who knows maybe Blitz will be their savior, but on this point, we'll have to wait to hear more.