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Opinion: Post-launch DLC weapons should not be exclusively in Supply Drops

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So…we think it’s time we talk about the whole Supply Drop situation and Call of Duty right now. There is a lot of talk about and discussion about the implementation of Supply Drops in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. At launch, it worked perfectly. The items in the Supply Drops were cosmetic only, and it provided a direct in-game currency to get the items.

Then comes December 15th.

That’s the first set of new items in the Black Market and the launch of COD Points. Now still there is no problem here. Cosmetic items do not effect gameplay, and to be honest, do no matter if you don’t want it. Treyarch did so something else right here too: ability to burn duplicates to re-gain Cryptokeys. Something that was not available in Advanced Warfare.

And then, February 9.

Here, Activision announces new weapons are coming to the Black Market. The all new MX Garand Assault Rifle and Marshal 16 Shotgun-Pistol. (Side Note: we do not count the melee weapons as actual game-changing weapons as they do not effect gameplay at all. They are just cosmetic variants of the combat knife). This takes us right back where we were with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. (The difference between Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3 all along was that weapons were part of Supply Drops in Advanced Warfare since Day 1. That was an integral part of the game.) All new weapons coming to Supply Drops and Supply Drops only. While you can get these weapons from the Cryptokeys, the rate at which you earn those keys is greatly reduced compared to what you would think they could be.

Now, it would be more justifiable to have weapons in the Supply Drops if there were some weapons also coming with the DLC packs. But Awakening (DLC1) had none. (We do not know yet if the remaining three DLC packs will have weapons, and if the DLC packs do, then maybe this whole thing can be justified.) For Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, DLC pack 1 and 2 contained new weapons. Season Pass owners got some new weapons because of this. While Activision never advertised new weapons in the Season Pass for Black Ops 3, so there’s no promise that the have to deliver them, Activision is making it harder to justify players buying the Season Pass pre-launch. For Ghosts and Advanced Warfare, Activision advertised new weapons in the Season Pass, and they did deliver upon that promise.

Possible Solution #1: All of the post launch weapons should be available as a separate purchase and in Supply Drops. For those that want the cosmetic items, they can keep getting Supply Drops and still have a chance of getting the weapons, alongside the cosmetic items. For those that do not want the Supply Drops, they can get the weapons directly. This seems like a win-win situation here. There will be a larger player base having new weapons as more people will buy them separately.

Possible Solution #2: Activision can put some weapons in Supply Drops only, but also release other new weapons as a separate purchase. Here, a reason exists to continue to get Supply Drops, but there is also other weapons to get in a different way.

While Call of Duty: Ghosts did not have Supply Drops, Activision/Infinity Ward did sell DLC1 and DLC2 weapons as a separate purchase for those that just wanted the weapon, so this is something Activision has done before. The cost of weapons does not matter at this point. Probably a $3.99 price would work for many, but just the fact that weapons are available as a separate purchase would appease to the fan base.

We want to see Call of Duty succeed. We built this site because of our passion and love for the Call of Duty franchise. The Supply Drop base system is good. It’s a nice way to earn all of the new gear, taunts/gestures, and more. But they need to let the weapons — something all the fans really want (and care about) — be available in the supply drops and available separately.

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Call of Duty Vanguard Beta Review: Big potential but major tweaks needed

The Call of Duty: Vanguard Beta was full of thrills and spills, but how close is it away from being perfection?

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The first full weekend of the Call of Duty: Vanguard Beta has been and gone, and after a few hours with it, we can safely say that fans should be excited.

The Call of Duty: Vanguard Alpha was merely a snippet of what the full game is going to offer, only showing off the new Champion Hill mode. With solid gunplay and a mode with potential, the Vanguard alpha certainly won us over, but the biggest test for the game so far was yet to come.

It’s arrived in the form of the long-awaited Beta testing with PlayStation users getting early access. Early indications are that whilst there is some obvious room for improvement, Call of Duty: Vanguard could be heralded as a classic upon its release.

Maps, modes, and meaty mayhem

gavutu map in cod vanguard

Keen testers are able to sample three of the game’s maps, a selection of guns, and other key elements like killstreaks, loadouts, and Perks.

Each map contains an abundance of personality: Gavutu is a gorgeous tropical island with weather effects playing havoc with your screen, Red Star is a brisk stroll through a snowy, war-torn square, and Hotel Royal could be one of the best Call of Duty maps ever.

To adequately test them out, the Beta removes the ability to custom-select the game modes you want to play, which is understandable given that Sledghemamer wants all the content to be played equally.

Alongside the classic Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed stipulations is the new Patrol game mode. It’s essentially Hardpoint, but the objective area is constantly moving, making for a more dynamic and proactive experience.

cod vanguard operator aiming pistol

For anyone who missed out on the Alpha, Champion Hill returns to challenge eight teams of either 2 or 3 members to go toe-to-toe and whittle down each other’s lives. We covered our full experience with it in our Call of Duty: Vanguard Alpha review, but it’s safe to say that it’s a mode that will keep people coming back for more.

The final major change that tries to set Vanguard apart from previous entries is the new Combat Pacing variants – Tactical, Assault, and Blitz.

Tactical is usual 6v6 fare, Assault ups the player count to around 20, and Blitz is a chaotic duel between two huge teams – roughly 40 players in total. In our experience, we found that this function certainly changes the way matches play out, not always for the better though.

Assault and Blitz on Red Star are immense, Tactical is not – with fewer people, the map inherits the problems that Miami originally had in Cold War by having a huge map with no one around, leading to sluggish, uneventful gameplay. If players are able to filter pacing choices in Vanguard’s full release, then we expect Assault and Blitz to be picked a lot more than Tactical.

Plenty of customization, but glaring issues

call of duty vanguard gunsmith options

Gunsmith returns in Call of Duty: Vanguard with players able to select up to 10 attachments per gun.

Each slot contains a variety of different attachments, each with its own subtle differences, so we expect to see lots of interesting loadouts for the STG44, MP40, MG42, and more.

The Perk meta may not be as interesting though, as unless another one or two are added, then we expect to see almost everyone running Ghost and Radar.

Vanguard also suffers from two problems that we can’t help but comment on – visibility and spawning. We are in love with the PS5’s ability to process breathtaking particle effects and give each map a rich, premium shine, boosted by HDR and exquisite ray tracing.

cod vanguard red star map

But its technical polish is scuppered by constant visibility issues, a common flaw of Black Ops Cold War. We found ourselves on the receiving end of deaths without ever knowing where they came from.

Maps like Hotel Royal have so much going on that it’s easy to become lost in the action, and Gavutu’s extravagant scenery also becomes perfect folly for campers. Maybe the addition of a faint silhouette or outline could help matters, but we feel that it needs to be improved somehow.

The audio seems to be fine, and with a headset, we experienced few problems, but the main issue with Call of Duty: Vanguard at present sticks out like a sore thumb – spawns. CoD games have never been renowned for having the best spawn placement, but Vanguard’s different pacing across each map is clearly affecting the game’s logic and decision-making.

We simply lost count of how many times we were killed from behind from nonsensical spawn placements and how often enemy players just appeared right in front of us, enabling us to score an easy kill.


In Conclusion

lounge area in cod vanguard

On the plus side, the game is a lot of fun to play. Guns feel distinct and tight, the hitmaker sound effect is ridiculously good, and the game modes on offer help to keep the Beta fresh.

But as the Beta progresses and we draw towards Call of Duty: Vanguard’s release, it’s vital that Sledgehammer looks at some of the game’s unwelcome distractions. We understand that visibility and spawns are hard to get perfect, but they definitely need improvement.

Overall, we feel quite optimistic about Call of Duty: Vanguard, and players who are unable to take part in the Beta can remain confident and excited ahead of its November 5, 2021 release date.

Verdict: 8.5 / 10

Image Credit: Activision / Sledgehammer Games

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Call of Duty: Vanguard

Call of Duty: Vanguard Alpha Review – A promising start

The Call of Duty: Vanguard Alpha was open to all PlayStation players and delivered a lot of promise ahead of its November 2021 release.

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call of duty vanguard review champion hill

The public got their first real taste of Call of Duty: Vanguard with Champion Hill in the free Alpha test. It was available to all PlayStation 4 and 5 users, and there was a lot to like about Sledgehammer Games’ newest project.

After months of rumors and leaks, Call of Duty: Vanguard was finally announced on August 19, 2021. It signaled the next chapter in the storied franchise and instead of a foray into more modern-day war or Vietnam, the game is instead going back to its World War II roots.

Sledgehammer continues to polish the next entry into the legendary CoD franchise, and the devs announced an Alpha test phase would take place exclusively for PlayStation gamers.

We were able to get hands-on with this exciting first chunk of playable Vanguard, and we’ll dissect what we loved about the game so far.

The Champion that Vanguard needs

operators in call of duty vanguard

The Vanguard Alpha sadly had no customization options for clan tags, calling cards, etc, and only had one mode, but, thankfully, it was the brand new Champion Hill mode. A combination of Counter-Strike, Apex Legends’ Arenas, and Warzone, Champion Hill is a deep game mode.

Check out our full guide explaining what Champion Hill is, and how it works here.

We played several hours of it, and it was more than able to sustain our interest. Wins are most definitely possible, and dubs give you a great feeling of euphoria.

From the first match to the last, Champion Hill is several small games of Call of Duty with lots of strategy and teamwork required.

Old dog, new tricks

layout of champion hill map in vanguard

Breakable cover is nothing new in first-person shooter games but with competitors such as Battlefield 2042 emphasizing destruction, Call of Duty has decided to step up.

Each of the maps contained a multitude of vulnerable doors, walls, and surfaces. Meaning you can’t always just hide behind something and expect it to protect you now.

Although it wasn’t too thrilling on one map where we spawned and were immediately shot from the other side of the map through a wall. We also had multiple instances of killing a player, and them spawning right near us and killing us very quickly. So spawn points definitely need to be looked at and addressed before the beta phase.

map in vanguard champion hill

Another slight issue with the 2v2 format is that there was quite a lot of camping, even in smaller maps. There were multiple instances of the enemy team lying prone at the back of the map, especially when they had a much inferior life count.

Whilst you are technically penalized for non-aggressive play by not winning matches and obtaining cash as a result, it still feels like there needs to be a way to force players to compete and not hide.

Nevertheless, destructible cover is welcome, wall-mounting adds an extra dimension and can be effective if used right and the jury is still out on the new blind-fire mechanic.

Variety is the spice of life

vanguard operator firing an lmg

Despite some camping and more run-ins with SBMM, there’s so much to consider during the course of a full game of Champion Hill.

Do you focus all your money on upgrading your BAR or STG-44? Do you try to collect Perks? Do you focus on buying extra lives? Or do you try and save up an obscene amount of money to earn a game-ending V2 Rocket?

Even the maps themselves have an extra life in each one, leading to unreal dilemmas of whether you should gamble to get it or not.

players firing guns in cod vanguard

Maps do possess a decent bit of personality, despite being quite similar in some respects. One is Airstrip, a literal giant airstrip with bunkers and watchtowers, and another is Market, and it’s filled with stalls and cover.

Beautiful battles

cinematic skyline in cod vanguard

Our experience was on a 4K HDR TV on a PS5, so we can’t say how the PS4 version fares. However, PlayStation’s newest beast is capable of making Vanguard a dream to look at.

Call of Duty continues to excel in its ability to have hyper-realistic lighting and does so by returning to the Modern Warfare engine once more. The way dust particles fly up and stream across your screen is breathtaking.

Explosions look spectacular and the way in which they affect the environment feels spot-on. The audio feels pretty good, but we have found that footsteps can be inconsistent, with no sound coming through until the last second.


In Conclusion

Polina Petrova in cod vanguard

The Call of Duty: Vanguard Alpha bodes well for the game’s beta testing and eventual release. Champion Hill looks like another winner, and it has more maps to come in the future as well to flesh the experience out.

Given that this is very much an Alpha, there was always going to be an issue or two. Spawn points and audio mix irregularities are two things that can be cleaned up, and Sledgehammer has already confirmed some fixes.

The rest of the Alpha and Champion Hill as a whole is a lot of fun, and we look forward to seeing what Sledgehammer Games has in store for the Vanguard beta!

Verdict: 8 / 10

Image Credit: Activision / Sledgehammer Games

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

6 reasons why Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is much better than people think

Black Ops Cold War has divided players since its release, but here are 6 reasons why Treyarch’s shooter is better than it’s given credit for.

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black ops cold war front cover

A lack of maps and guns are a couple of reasons why Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War hasn’t been seen in a positive light. But we’ve compiled 6 reasons why players should reconsider these sentiments and appreciate what a good game Treyarch has made.

Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops I – these are arguably the best Call of Duty games ever made. Any subsequent CoD title is measured against these games as they are considered standard-bearers in not only the franchise but FPS gaming in general.

Black Ops Cold War was admonished in the first few weeks of its release, but fast-forward to August 2020, and Treyarch’s 80s shooter deserves more praise than it gets.

The way in which video game content is presented has changed in the industry, and Cold War has been a shining example of this change. We’ve highlighted 6 reasons why Treyarch has taken advantage of this with Black Ops Cold War.

6. Black Ops Cold War has an incredible number of maps and counting

cold war alpine moscow miami maps

Heading into Cold War Season 5, the latest Call of Duty game has 20 6v6 maps, 7 Gunfight maps, 5 Fireteam / Outbreak maps, 3 round-based Zombies maps, and a sprawling, varied Dead Ops 3 map.

If you’re not keeping count, that’s an astonishing 37 different maps that Treyarch has created for Black Ops Cold War!

Not only that, but several of the 6v6 maps also have bigger versions of themselves for Combined Arms, and there are plenty more on the way.

cold war yamantau map

Heading into Season 5, it’s reported that at least 12 more maps are still to come in the game, despite the fact we’re coming to the end of its year in the sun – with Call of Duty Vanguard 2021 on the way.

A leak has also suggested that Black Ops Cold War will go on to receive post-launch content, and will become the “most supported CoD title” ever.

Its initial content may have felt paltry to some, but thanks to the ability to add updates, players aren’t having to pay for map packs anymore, and are drip-fed new content to ensure extreme longevity in their purchase.

5. Cold War has a balanced meta with lots of guns to use

cold war operator with krig 6

Unlike the different reigns of terror that Warzone has to contend with the DMR, AUG / M16, and AMAX meta, Cold War has had few complaints in that respect.

Yes, certain weapons have stood out more than others such as the Krig 6 or LC10, but there are more than enough viable options for players to use and experiment with.

From Assault Rifles to SMGs to even Sniper Rifles now, Black Ops Cold War has 50 different weapons to use in the game’s online portion of the game – discounting Zombies Wonder Weapons.

Even weapons that were underused in the earlier stages of the game’s life have become more potent such as the KSP 45, Milano, and Sniper Rifles in general. Whenever a weapon starts to feel too imbalanced like the FFAR or MP5 was, the devs are always quick on the case.

4. So many different ways to play Black Ops Cold War

gunfight on mansion map

Treyarch has tried to be meticulous about its content drops as dropping everything at once would lead to certain modes becoming obsolete rather quickly.

By spacing out the introduction of big game modes such as Gunfight and Gun Game, it has allowed each of them their time to shine in the sun.

New game modes are being added all the time with Capture The Flag being the newest one, and Die Hardpoint being a terrific example of Treyarch keeping up the creativity and chaos of Call of Duty!

Players certainly cannot complain about the wealth of game modes on offer in Cold War, meaning it should be very hard to get bored of the game’s multiplayer.

3. Outbreak & Zombies in General

mauer der toten zombies

As covered previously with the map packs, there was a time when extra Zombies maps were paid content that players would gravitate to in droves.

Now, it’s completely free, and maps like Mauer Der Toten continue to deliver exhilarating Zombies experiences with more Perks, more special weapons, and deep Easter Eggs.

Die Maschine, Firebase Z, Mauer Der Toten, and Dead Ops 3 aside, the real success story of Black Ops Cold War’s Zombies experience has been Outbreak. Whilst the concept of Zombies has remained largely the same for over 10 years and isn’t particularly fading, Outbreak offered a welcome shock to the system.

By making it more open-world and freeing, Outbreak has taken on a completely different structure. Its different objectives, side missions, and areas make it the most diverse Zombies experience in the game’s history – and it’s free.

2. Its campaign has gone unsung

russell adler in cold war campaign cutscene

There was a time when online multiplayer wasn’t really a thing, and the campaign was the predominant way of judging an FPS, console shooter.

Times have most certainly changed, and whilst other games are opting to leave out campaigns altogether, Call of Duty, with the exception of Black Ops IIII, is persistent in its goal to deliver compelling narratives.

Russell Adler is already one of the more interesting and memorable new characters that a Call of Duty campaign has produced in years. Cold War’s story may have retread some familiar ground with the original Black Ops games, but its twisty-turny developments made it engaging enough to be considered a solid campaign.

It had set-pieces, tense missions, cool puzzles, and culminated with a couple of pivotal moments that shaped how your story ended. Not only this, but Treyarch rewarded attentive fans by continuing this story into the game’s multiplayer and expanding upon it further.

1. Black Ops Cold War isn’t perfect, but no game is

operator firing gun in cold war jungle

Since the dawn of video games, they’ve had a bug or a glitch in them that has impacted the gameplay experience for the user.

Modern gaming is the most susceptible the industry has ever been to complacency and rash development. With most gamers having internet connections nowadays, it’s all too easy to release a game, and then add updates to it as the game goes on.

This has been standard practice since the PS3 and Xbox 360 were launched. Even some of the highest-rated games of all time use this method, and they remain successful.

Furthermore, Black Ops Cold War was arguably the most difficult release in the Call of Duty franchise, ever. Its development coincided with a worldwide pandemic that naturally would’ve affected the game’s planning and production.

woods in front of burning car in cold war

Given that Call of Duty is a yearly release, Treyarch was always going to be lagging behind in terms of content, game testing, and overall completeness. In the end, they have been able to catch up and have a game containing an obscene amount of content, whilst still listening to fans to try and fix the game.

Between Cold War’s campaign still being updated, round-based Zombies, Dead Ops, Outbreak, League Play, general online multiplayer, Treyarch has had to juggle a lot on their plate.


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will probably not go down in the annals of the series’ storied history as a top 5 great. But the amount of hate and criticism the game has received hasn’t all been just and warranted.

The game is shaping up to be the most loaded CoD title ever and has to compete with the rip-roaring success of Call of Duty: Warzone. At the end of the day, we think Cold War could’ve been a far worse game given the circumstances, and it’s bounced back to become a solid game.

Do you agree or disagree? Let us know on our Charlie INTEL Facebook Page and Charlie INTEL Twitter Page!

Image Credit: Activison / Treyarch

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