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10 essential tips for Call of Duty: Vanguard

Call of Duty Vanguard screenshot of players shooting
(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty: Vanguard is finally here, and it brings with it an action-packed campaign, a variety of different multiplayer modes and a grotesquely fun Zombies experience. With so much new content, you might find yourself wondering how best to approach certain elements of the game. Let’s take a look at 10 Call of Duty: Vanguard tips that can help you make the most of your time with the game.

Play the campaign first

Whether you’re a veteran with thousands of hours under your belt, or a new player diving into your first Call of Duty game, you can never go wrong by playing the campaign first. Not only is Vanguard’s campaign a heart-pounding adventure, but it’s also a fantastic way to acquaint yourself with the general feel of the game. You'll also learn about many of the guns you’ll eventually use in multiplayer. Once your fingers are warmed up and your muscle memory is firing on all cylinders, you’ll be ready to jump online.

Call of Duty Vanguard screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

Combat Pacing can greatly improve your multiplayer experience

A first for the franchise, Vanguard’s brand new “Combat Pacing” feature allows you to decide how many players you’d like to fight against in a match. Choosing Tactical mode allows for traditional 6v6 showdowns, like those you’re likely used to from previous games. Assault mode increases the player count up to 28. Lastly, you can opt for true chaos by selecting Blitz mode, which litters the map with up to 48 people. If that’s your thing, make it happen, you animal.

Turn off world motion blur and weapon motion blur 

Depending on your preferences, you may find that motion blur provides a more cinematic experience for the campaign — or you may find it jarring and unsightly. Either way, once you’ve made your way into multiplayer, motion blur in the world and on your weapon can actually make it considerably more difficult to see targets when you’re moving about the map. If you want a competitive edge, head into your settings menu and turn off both World Motion Blur and Weapon Motion Blur.

Call of Duty Vanguard screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

Cheap killstreaks are often a better choice

Look, we all wish we were master Call of Duty players, racking up high kills every match and calling in the best killstreaks. For the average player, however, it’s usually more efficient to aim for cheaper killstreaks, which ensure that you almost always get a chance to use them. Three very cost-effective options in Vanguard are Intel (three kills), which pings enemies on your minimap for a short while, Care Package (four kills), which gives you a chance to score another random (and potentially higher-end) killstreak, and Spy Plane (four kills), which reveals enemy positions on the minimap for all your allies.

Use different loadouts for different map sizes

Many of Vanguard’s maps are small or medium-sized, but there are a few larger maps thrown in for long-range firefights among players. If you want to play as efficiently as possible, make sure you create a wide selection of loadouts for different ranges. SMGs, shotguns and some faster assault rifles work best for short- to medium-range encounters, but long-range showdowns can provide great incentives for using snipers and LMGs. 

Call of Duty Vanguard screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

Play to your strengths

Whether you’re a Call of Duty veteran or a newcomer, you’re going to have strengths and weaknesses to consider in online multiplayer. Playing to your strengths, especially while learning new maps and weapons, will bring much better chances of success. If you’re twitchy and accurate, maybe you’ll be fine venturing off alone on a dangerous side of the map. If you’re a slower and more tactical player, perhaps you should stick with your team and work together, or find a comfortable spot on the map to patrol. Everyone’s good at something, so figure out what your something is and do it.

Study every map

During the first few weeks after a new Call of Duty launch, one of the best things you can do to improve your long-term stats is to diligently study the layout of the maps. Even if you’re just a casual player, it’s useful to understand the structure of each map, including where its choke points are located, and how to counter power positions like sniper nests. Once again, playing to your strengths is vital to overcoming the opposition, so figure out which side of the map is best suited to your playstyle, and stick to it when possible.

Call of Duty Vanguard screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

The ninja perk is a must-have

Sound plays an important role in any competitive shooter, and Vanguard is no different. Someone using a good audio setup or headset can have a substantial leg up on the competition by being able to hear enemy footsteps. If you’d like to reduce how often you die after someone hears you coming, your best bet is the Ninja perk. Unlocked at level 15, this perk makes your footsteps silent, reduces your fall damage and even dampens the effectiveness of your enemy’s Tracker perk. 

Save up for extra lives in Champion Hill

Money management is a major component of Vanguard’s battle royale-inspired Champion Hill mode. You’ll need to make thoughtful decisions about whether to purchase perks, one-time use killstreaks or lasting gun upgrades. If you’re late in the game and falling behind on lives, though, don’t forget that you can spend a big chunk of cash on an extra life, which could come in handy during the final fight or two. This is especially beneficial when you’re going up against a team that's already ahead, giving you a fighting chance at coming out on top.

Call of Duty Vanguard screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

Covenants are vital to success in Zombies

When you dive into Vanguard’s Zombie mode, you’ll notice the Altar of the Covenants in the hub. Completing objectives throughout the match earns you Sacrificial Hearts, which you can trade at this altar, granting you a choice of three randomized covenants. Each Covenant brings with it a unique bonus, such as higher melee damage or a chance to keep equipment even after using it. Buying these upgrades is essential to improving your build on each run, so make sure to pick the Covenants that synergize with your other perks, so you can become the ultimate zombie slayer.

Billy Givens

Billy Givens is a journalist with nearly two decades of experience in editing and writing across a wide variety of topics. He focuses particularly on games coverage for Tom's Guide and other sites including From Gamers Magazine, Retroware, Game Rant and TechRaptor. He's also written for self-improvement sites such as Lifehack and produced in-depth analyses on subjects such as health, psychology and entertainment.