Sledgehammer Games has recently offered Call of Duty fans around the world their first real experience playing Call of Duty Vanguard’s Multiplayer. (We know we said Call of Duty fans around the world, but what we really meant was people who pre-ordered Call of Duty Vanguard on a PlayStation platform.) On the whole, it was a fun experience. However, there’s one thing that – to be honest – sort of ruined it all: Combat Pacing.
Everyone knows it was a gamble by Sledgehammer games and, on paper, it sounded amazing… But, here’s why Combat Pacing should be left in the Vanguard Beta and – maybe – only be brought out on special occasions.
What even is Combat Pacing in Vanguard?
If you didn’t play the Vanguard Beta, you might not actually know what Combat Pacing is.
Conceptually speaking, Combat Pacing does exactly what it says on the tin – It’s a system designed to allow you to dictate the pace of combat in Call of Duty Vanguard. In reality, it is a system that changes the player count of the lobbies you’re in to “make every match feel like Shipment”.
There are three levels of Combat Pacing currently in play – Sledgehammer Games has shared what they are below:
- 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 Combat Pacing is always 6v6.
- Assault: Balanced combat pacing that gives you enough room to breathe and a lot of targets to kill. In Beta Weekend 1, player counts will vary between 20-28 players.
- Blitz: High-action lobbies where the intensity is 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 28-48 players.
To put it more plainly, Tactical is a standard Call of Duty experience. Assault is a bit busier and should result in faster games – especially if they’re a Team Deathmatch. Blitz is the one that makes every match feel like Shipment.
Why doesn’t it really work, then?
One of the main reasons why Vanguard’s Combat Pacing doesn’t work is because of Call of Duty’s respawning systems. Vanguard can’t keep up with the faster map rotation that comes with Assault Combat Pacing and Blitz Combat Pacing is just a mess. You spawn on top of each other, like on Shipment, but it doesn’t quite playoff in the same way.
In theory, it should work, but Shipment was designed as a small map whereas Vanguard’s Hotel Royal – for example – was not. You’re spawning on top of each other, but the verticality in Vanguard’s maps makes it harder for you to squeeze in a kill or two before you’re inevitably shot in the back by someone else who has just spawned. We’re not going to pretend like we know too much about Map Design, but there’s certainly something special about Shipment that isn’t replicated in every Call of Duty map.
In addition to this, Vanguard’s pace of combat just can’t match Vanguard’s faster Combat Pacing options. Call of Duty Vanguard is built on an improved version of Modern Warfare 2019’s IW8 engine. Anyone who’s played a lot of Call of Duty over the last couple of years will know that Modern Warfare 2019 – and Warzone by extension – feels a lot slower to play than Treyarch’s more recent Call of Duty release: Black Ops Cold War.
Vanguard’s movement speeds are slower than Black Ops Cold War’s and the gunplay on a whole feels more weighted. This isn’t a bad thing – if anything, we prefer Vanguard’s gameplay – however, it just does not work when you’re trying to play Blitz Team Deathmatch on a 6v6 map. Assault Combat Pacing should have been the upper limit and we just hope Sledgehammer Games doesn’t force everyone to play Blitz Combat Pacing during the second weekend of the Vanguard Open Beta.
Thankfully, it should be an optional Playlist Filter in the full release… That doesn’t mean it will work then, though.