How CoD Vanguard’s new Combat Pacing feature is actually doing more harm than good - Dexerto
Call of Duty

How CoD Vanguard’s new Combat Pacing feature is actually doing more harm than good

Published: 22/Sep/2021 6:14 Updated: 22/Sep/2021 5:22

by Brad Norton

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While CoD Vanguard’s new Combat Pacing feature intends to provide a better multiplayer experience with more options available than ever before, the matchmaking tool is actually doing more harm than good.

When Sledgehammer Games revealed Vanguard’s first multiplayer details earlier in the month, Combat Pacing was highlighted as one of the more significant new features. In short, the addition serves as a more customizable form of matchmaking, letting players pick from three different categories that impact lobby size, and therefore, the pace of any given match.

Although it sounded like a great concept at first, as more options are almost always beneficial, Combat Pacing comes with some major downsides in practice. 

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CoD Vanguard’s Combat Pacing groups everyone together

CoD Vanguard Combat Pacing
Activision
Combat Pacing is supposed to let players search for specific lobby sizes.

In every CoD title up to this point, when searching for a specific playlist you were always fully aware of how many players would be in that mode. Searching for a regular game of Domination would land you in the same sized lobby every match, for instance.

With Combat Pacing now in effect, that’s no longer the case. On paper, the new feature should be extremely beneficial as it allows you to fine-tune the experience and search for a particular game mode with a particular lobby size.

In practice, however, it doesn’t always go according to plan.

Say you’re only interested in playing smaller team-based modes with 6v6 limits applied. In previous years, you simply searched for the mode and in time, you’d find a lobby fitting that size. Now, Combat Pacing can throw you into a completely different environment without warning.

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Vanguard multiplayer
Activision
Even with the Tactical option selected, Vanguard tends to just throw you into anything that’s available.

Even with the desired Combat Pacing setting highlighted, Vanguard can still lump you into various other matches without any heads up. If you’re searching for a 6v6 match, there’s every chance you load into a 20v20 game instead as the new feature fails to do its job.

Rather than exclusively matchmaking for games of your desired size, Combat Pacing bundles every single option into one playlist. If there are no 6v6 lobbies available when you’re searching, instead of waiting for a new game to form, Combat Pacing throws you into whatever else is accessible at that moment.

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Obviously, no one wants longer matchmaking times, but players also shouldn’t be dumped into a random lobby without being consulted. At least provide the option to stay and wait in the menus for a preferred match.

Combat Pacing simply doesn’t work in minor regions

Vanguard map Hotel Royal
Activision
Combat Pacing also creates bigger issues for minor regions.

Outside of the avoidable matchmaking issues, Combat Pacing also creates an even bigger problem for smaller regions. While the new feature may be all fine and dandy for areas with hundreds of thousands online at any given time to fill out the various matchmaking pools, it comes at a cost. 

Minor regions undeniably suffer with Vanguard’s Combat Pacing in effect, to the point it feels as though they were never factored into the equation.

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Grinding through the Beta in Australia was a constant uphill battle. Despite it being one of the most populated times of the yearly CoD cycle, a vast majority of games during the public test forced locals onto foreign servers.

Most of our nights were spent playing on 200+ ping in any given mode. 

This is a direct result of Combat Pacing trying to fill three distinct groups for each and every game type. Once again, Vanguard’s new feature hurts the multiplayer experience rather than improving it.

CoD Vanguard Beta playlist update: Blitz Team Deathmatch, Hotel Royal removed
Activision
Playing a match with decent latency was all too rare during the Vanguard Beta.

You can’t knock Sledgehammer Games for trying to provide more options in this year’s release. In theory, giving more power to the players is a great thing: Customizing the multiplayer experience should work a treat.

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If the Beta taught us anything though, it’s that there’s still work to be done. Come release day, if Combat Pacing isn’t fixed, it’ll be one step forward, two steps backward for the Call of Duty franchise.