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:

Cons

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.

The Call Of Duty: Vanguard Alpha Gave Me Heavy Mixed Feelings - Opinion

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.

Pros

1. Mount­ing

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.

2. Char­ac­ters

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.

3. Perks

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:

  • The Call Of Duty: Vanguard Alpha Gave Me Heavy Mixed Feelings - Opinion
  • The Call Of Duty: Vanguard Alpha Gave Me Heavy Mixed Feelings - Opinion
  • The Call Of Duty: Vanguard Alpha Gave Me Heavy Mixed Feelings - Opinion

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.