Call of Duty: Vanguard beta changes include new Ninja perk, stronger shotguns, and spy plane nerfs

Call of Duty: Vanguard
(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty: Vanguard beta changes promise a wealth of improvements based on player feedback, from the new Ninja perk and killstreak tweaks to a variety of weapon buffs and visibility upgrades. 

Sledgehammer Games outlined the beta changes in a new blog post. Vanguard's seen a whole mess of bug fixes and tiny adjustments since beta, as well as several dozen bespoke updates. To improve visibility, for example, Sledgehammer's removed the distortion effect from muzzle flash and reduced the smoke emitted when firing guns. The water droplets that "get all up in your face" when it rains have been cut too, and lens flare has been reduced overall – "we nerfed the sun," Sledgehammer boasts, in defiance of astronomy.

Audio was a clear pain point for the Vanguard beta, so it's gotten special attention. Footstep sounds have been increased, but can be quieted by crouch walking and aiming down sights, or with some perks like Ninja, which has replaced Low Profile and will totally mask your movements. The operator quips and announcer, er, announcements heard mid-match have also been toned down, so you shouldn't hear them quite as often.

Vanguard will launch with 38 guns, Sledgehammer clarified, and many weapons have been updated for launch. Shotguns, SMGs, and pistols now have less range, but shotguns in particular are more lethal within their effective range. Tradeoffs for barrels, magazines, and stocks have been reduced, while ammo types will demand more tradeoffs. 

Several killstreaks also took a hit from the nerf bat thanks to beta feedback. Spy planes are now easier to hit, for one, and counter spy planes have a shorter duration. Field upgrades in general have less health, and the radar jammer and field mic upgrades now have a set timer on them. 

Sledgehammer says it will continue tuning Vanguard, especially its many weapons, "from the second we go live," so expect additional and follow-up changes in the weeks and months ahead. 

Call of Duty: Vanguard pre-load is now live.

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.