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Call of Duty: Vanguard

Sledgehammer Games expands studio to new location in Toronto

Sledgehammer Games has opened a new studio location.

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Sledgehammer Games is continuing its massive expansion of studios with a new location opening.

The new studio location will be in Toronto, Canada per Activision President Rob Kostich.

Kostich confirmed during Activision’s Q1 investor call on May 4 that the Sledgehammer Games team continues to expand its team and reach.

The team is “stronger than ever”, says Kostich, and continues to expand “its talented team” substantially since 2017.

During the call, Kostich confirmed for the first time the studio is expanding to a new location of Toronto. This marks the first official mention of the Toronto studio for the company.

Sledgehammer Games now has studios in Foster City, California (their HQ), Melbourne, Australia, and now Toronto, CA.

SHG confirmed the news in a tweet:

Activision confirmed during the conference call that Sledgehammer Games is leading development of the 2021 Call of Duty title. The game is being “built” as a next-generation experience across all of its modes.

The studio recently confirmed they added over 150 new developers to their team across 2020, with over 50 more job listings still open on their website. No job listings currently posted are listed for Toronto.

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Vanguard players demand major changes to “unplayable” spawn system

Vanguard players are frustrated with the game’s spawn system and are urging the devs to make some major changes.

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Vanguard Operators battling

Call of Duty: Vanguard fans are claiming that the squad spawn system makes the game “unplayable” and they want Sledgehammer Games to get rid of it altogether.

Vanguard players have their fair share of complaints with the game’s spawn system. The unpredictable nature of this mechanic has led to it being labeled as the “worst” in Call of Duty history.

Squad spawns are a major target of criticism. They cause players to respawn close to a teammate even if there are enemies nearby. Now, Vanguard fans are asking the devs to make some major changes.

CoD: Vanguard operator firing an SMG

Reddit user ‘Qwayze_’ expressed their frustration with squad spawns in the CoD: Vanguard subreddit. They claimed that this system has made game modes such as Domination “unplayable.”

The Redditor explained that they respawned by a doorway that was being blocked by a teammate, preventing them from being able to move. This made them an easy target for nearby enemies.

So, respawning near an ally during combat isn’t always ideal as it can leave you at a serious disadvantage. The player then argued that other CoD titles like Black Ops Cold War have better spawning.

“Yeah it wasn’t perfect and sometimes you got spawn killed, but it is better than me spawning on someone who is getting shot, dying, and then still spawning in that location due to people dying and spawning at different times,” wrote the Redditor.

Many of the commenters shared the Redditor’s sentiment regarding Vanguard’s squad spawns. One of them brought up how prominent the problem was during the CDL Kickoff Classic:

“Yeah, I was watching the CDL event, and the amount of teams that got 4 pieces only to spawn right near the point was crazy. So many community members were talking about how unacceptable it is. The teams weren’t punished at all.”

It’s understandable why players are frustrated with this issue as spawns can determine the outcome of a Vanguard match. The unpredictable respawning makes most game modes more difficult.

Vanguard gunfight

Players have asked for spawn improvements before and the devs noticed. The Vanguard Trello board shows that Sledgehammer are refining the spawn system in matches with higher player counts.


For more Vanguard, check out 5 things that Vanguard’s Ranked Play should steal from Halo Infinite as well as the recent news that Activision executives are reportedly discussing ending annual CoD releases.

Image credits: Sledgehammer Games

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Call of Duty: Vanguard

5 things Vanguard’s Ranked Play should steal from Halo Infinite

Here are five things Call of Duty: Vanguard’s upcoming Ranked Play should steal from Halo Infinite’s Ranked Arena.

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Vanguard ranked play compared to halo

Vanguard’s highly-anticipated Ranked Play arrives in February, allowing players to climb the competitive ranks. Halo Infinite launched with a fantastic Ranked mode, so we’re counting down five things Vanguard’s Ranked Play should steal from Halo Infinite.

The Call of Duty League 2022 season has officially kicked off, and Vanguard players are desperate for a place to test their skill in a competitive environment and earn cosmetic bragging rights while doing so.

Ranked Play is confirmed to finally arrive alongside Season 2 in February, with Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games working together on the system. We were impressed by Halo Infinite’s Ranked Arena and its simple ELO system, so we’re counting down five lessons that Vanguard should learn from Halo.

Visible ELO system

Halo Infinite ranked arena menu

Almost every game’s Ranked mode comes with a visible ELO system where players can see exactly how many points they have accrued, and where that puts them in the ranked ladder – but not Black Ops Cold War.

League Play in Black Ops 4 and Cold War included a confusing ‘Skill Divisions’ system where you’d be placed in Competitor, Advanced, Expert, Elite, and Master. But, it was almost impossible to tell where you were in that ranking or how close you were to moving up. Instead, Cold War’s League Play rewarded the time you put in, rather than performance.

Halo Infinite opted for the classic ELO system, where you’d earn points for wins and lose them for losses. It’s easy to see how close you are to the next rank, so there’s clear and rewarding progression there, and it would be a tragic mistake if Vanguard doesn’t include it.

Treyarch confirmed that Ranked Play would include “visible Skill Ratings,” and there would be no better way to please fans than to copy Halo Infinite’s.

Option to Solo/Duo queue

Vanguard player on Radar map

Ranked Play is tough, especially when you’re going against a sweaty four-stack who are strategizing and giving callouts.

Halo Infinite gives the option to queue in a Solos/Duos playlist, where you’re only playing against solos and duos such as yourself. This is something Vanguard should steal from Halo, allowing Ranked play to be as fair and equal as possible.

And of course, the teams of four would get their Open playlist too, where they could come across teams of any size.

Input-based matchmaking

CoD Vanguard with Xbox Series and PS5 controllers

Crossplay has become the norm for multiplayer games, where PC and console can battle against each other on the input of their choice. However, many controller players don’t want to play against mouse and keyboard players, and vice versa.

Halo Infinite solved this matter once and for all by allowing for input-based matchmaking. Here, players can decide whether they want to play against only controller players, only mouse and keyboard, or a mix of both in the Open Queue.

A controller’s thumbstick simply can’t replicate the accuracy of a mouse, but MKB players often claim aim assist is like an aimbot. Vanguard stealing this feature would appease both sides of the argument and give players the choice of who they match against.

Stick to the basics

Vanguard players running in-game

There’s a lot going on in Vanguard’s multiplayer. Each weapon has around 70 attachments to choose from, as well as there being a ton of Scorestreaks, Perks, and Field Upgrades.

Halo Infinite’s Ranked Play is a streamlined version of the multiplayer, stripping the game to its basics where skill and teamwork become the most important aspects.

Vanguard’s Ranked Play should do something similar, only offering a handful of the weapons, attachments, and Equipment. Not only should Vanguard’s Ranked Play follow the CDL’s restrictions, but Treyarch and Sledgehammer should also take into account some of the CDL’s GAs (Gentleman’s Agreements) to make the mode as simple and skill-based as possible.

Worthwhile cosmetic rewards

Black Ops Cold War League Play rewards

Rather than being something Vanguard should steal from Halo Infinite, this is something that Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games could best them at.

A major part of a Ranked mode’s appeal is the unique cosmetics you can earn to show off your gaming prowess. Cold War’s League Play got there eventually, but Vanguard should come right out the gate with unique Operator skins, flashy weapon Blueprints, and Calling Cards that prove you’re one of the best there is.

Halo Infinite is sorely lacking in this department, and Treyarch and Sledgehammer could show 343 Industries how it’s done with some great cosmetic rewards.


And those are the five things we believe Vanguard’s Ranked Play should steal from Halo Infinite’s Ranked Arena.

You can also check out the recent news that Activision executives are reportedly discussing ending annual CoD releases.

Image Credit: Activision / 343 Industries

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Call of Duty: Vanguard

When is Ranked Play coming to Vanguard? Release date, Skill Divisions & Ratings, rewards, more

Vanguard’s Ranked Play mode is just weeks from launch, and we’ve got all news, including possible release date, ranks, and rewards.

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Players running in Vanguard

Ranked Play is officially back in Vanguard, with Sledgehammer Games confirming that the competitive playlist is on its way. Here’s everything we know about the mode, including the likely release date, Skill Divisions, and more.

Call of Duty has always had a large competitive community, with fans jumping into League Play to test their skills, and compete in matches just like those seen in the Call of Duty League.

While frustration has been rampant surrounding the esports side of the game, including the decision not to include a ranked playlist in Vanguard at launch, excitement for League Play is at an all-time high following January’s CDL Kickoff Classic tournament.

Thankfully, we already know for sure that League Play is on the way, and we’ve got all the details.

cod vanguard ranked play

CoD: Vanguard Ranked Play release date

While we don’t have a definite release date for Vanguard’s ranked playlist, we do know League Play is definitely releasing in February 2022.

In a post on the official Call of Duty League website, General Manager Daniel Tsay confirmed that it would “roll out alongside new Call of Duty: Vanguard,” and said the team were “excited about the future of Ranked Play.”

In terms of exact dates, there’s a good chance that February 14th is a date to look out for, as that’s when Vanguard Season 2 begins.

Ranked Play statement from the CDL website

CoD: Vanguard Ranked Play Skill Divisions and Ratings

In a tweet in October 2021, Treyarch confirmed that they had been working in partnership with the Call of Duty League to bring a “new level of Ranked Play” to the franchise, starting in 2022 with Vanguard.

Vanguard’s Ranked Play will include “competitive modes, Ranked Skill Divisions, and visible Skill Ratings,” which will allow players to see how they stack up against their friends and other players.

How this mode will be implemented is still yet to be confirmed, but we’ll be sure to update this post with any new information.

Vanguard Ranked Play Rewards

Players will also be able to earn various kinds of rewards for their efforts in Vanguard’s Ranked game mode. In Black Ops Cold War, players were able to earn special weapon charms based on their ladder placements and Skill Divisions.

How these will look in Vanguard remains unclear, but it’s likely that we will see a similar system implemented in the Sledgehammer title.

Black Ops Cold War League Play rewards

With Ranked Play just around the corner, make sure you’ve got the right settings with our best PC and audio settings guide.

Image Credits: Activision

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