I’ve been playing Call of Duty online since there was a multiplayer for the game. I’ve seen day one launch failures of epic proportions–with players in queues that are incredibly long–as it seems that the servers are never prepared. I’ve witnessed the downfall of what I call the “jetpack era” (which I hope the game never returns to). I’ve also seen an entire community turn on a developer for, basically, reinventing the game halfway through its lifecycle.
It just so happens that Sledgehammer Games was the developer who made this drastic decision, simply because players weren’t happy with how the perks (or Divisions) were set up. So they overhauled the entire system, causing a majority of the community to go up in arms. Some players were unhappy with the how Sledgehammer had catered to those complaining about the one perk system. Others were irritated it wasn’t exactly the changes they expected. Call of Duty: WWII lost a large portion of players after this adjustment, which led Activision to pull Sledgehammer Games off of the three-developer rotation.
The shift in their previous title left me with the same mixed feeling the alpha did. That sense of dread that the game is going to suffer, thus the player count will as well. It’s not one element in particular, it’s just the overall game. Hopefully, when the first beta period arrives, the dev team will have made some significant changes, along with the addition of other game modes. That being said here are my pros and cons on the Champion Hill alpha:
Lets just get these out of the way.
1. The Spawns Are Atrocious
A few of the maps–for both duos and trios, since they shared maps–have terrible spawns. You could literally spawn in front of another players, right in that sweet spot where you’re not quite able to move your character. And because some of these maps are so small, it can be extremely easy to run up on a spawn point and mow down a spawning enemy. One map was so tiny, enemies could be seen across it upon entry.
2. The Weapons…
The Call of Duty: Vanguard Champion Hill alpha and Call of Duty: WWII game share weapons. This is unsurprising when you consider the time period Vanguard and WWII come from. Still, I was hoping to see more of these weapons in the alpha, but the way Champion Hill is designed kind of pigeonholes you into what is usable by how much cash you can pick up. Testing the various weapons wasn’t an option (at least playing solo). I was able to fully upgraded a few weapons throughout my time in the alpha, and the guns felt extremely bouncy even with all the attachments. Not uncontrollable at short distances, but bouncy at medium to long range–and that’s for assault rifles. They added the ability to mount weapons into the game, so it’s obvious they intend players to use it to steady their shots at a distance–but it doesn’t work in such a small setting like Champion Hill.
3. Clunky Movements
Now, the movements for the last two Call of Duty cycles have been on the faster side. Tactical sprint was available in Modern Warfare and slide was the main focus in Black Ops Cold War. The alpha featured a slide ability, but trying to use it for avoiding damage was difficult, since it doesn’t propel you forward fast enough. This can be applied to every other movement. Sprinting away from taking damage or an unwanted gunfight is definitely a struggle, and I found myself dying when trying to take cover after being taking down an enemy.
Also, I always adjust my sensitivity settings to 12 or 13, just to be able to spin and look around faster. Even on 13, it didn’t seem fast enough. I had to readjust it to the highest setting because I felt I just couldn’t maneuver as quick as I wanted too.
4. The Disconnects And Absent Players
Several times while I was playing in duos I would end up with a disconnected player, and just never get another teammate . On other occasions I would have a teammate, but they would never spawn in or disconnect. Again, this would leave me alone to fend off two players rushing to my location. It’s extremely difficult winning duos by yourself.
On the other hand, trios was a bit better for this scenario. Several randoms and I were able to place third and second with just the two of us, despite the third disconnected or AFK player.
I’m really hoping that this isn’t an issue when the beta comes out, because a bunch of permanent missing or AFK players is going to be a real annoyance.
While this particular element wasn’t particularly useful in the alpha, it’s still exciting to know it will be in Vanguard when it launches. Mounting in WWII was one of my favorite elements of that title, especially when playing War (which I’m hoping they bring back). It does help the previous mentioned bounce of your weapon, but in the extremely small setting that is Champion Hill..it’s kind of pointless.
I’m always one that loves to have options for characters. I understand the time period for the this game should not have women as combat soldiers. However, I’m female and I’ve been playing for 15 years, so I don’t think it’s ridiculous to represent an entire sex in a video game. It took close to ten years for women and other races to represented in the game to begin with, so I’m always excited to see options for all players to choose from, be it race or sex.
As much as I enjoyed the aspect of Divisions in Call of Duty: WWII, the implementation wasn’t the best. Thankfully, the Champion Hill alpha clearly had perks. This will likely translate to regular multiplayer, meaning the return of a normal perk system. Ghost, High Alert, Demolition, and others can be seen in the buy stations. You can check a list of these perks, as well as the rest of what was seen in the buy stations:
Obviously, since this is the alpha, everything is subject to change. I’m also pretty sure I’m missing a few things, and will update this post if I remember any further details. Also, I’m not basing Champion Hill on it’s specific gameplay, just the what I presume the overall feel of what Call of Duty: Vanguard will be like based on the alpha.