Call of Duty: Vanguard is just days from launch, and the November 1 Treyarch blog details the Zombies mode, which includes major changes to the iconic perk system. Additionally, the developers report that Vanguard’s Der Anfang map does not launch with the Easter Egg main story quest.
More Dark Aether Abilities
In the recent worldwide announcement of Zombies, the four entities of the Dark Aether were revealed for the launch of Vanguard. These entities share their unique abilities with game operators through the use of ancient artifacts. A new blog post confirms that additional features will come post-launch, but there were no further details.
At launch, players can expect four artifact options:
Dragon of Saraxis: Spawns Ethereal Explosives that inflict massive damage to enemies.
Mask of Bellekar: Hides the player in the Dark Aether, masking his presence from enemies for 5 seconds.
Sword of Inviktor: Ignites a ring of aetheric flame to increase damage to everyone in range for 15 seconds.
Horn of Norticus: Summons a cold vortex that hits enemies with its first explosion and slows down enemies entering it.
New narrative voices
In addition to the in-game benefits of using Dark Ether artifacts, these Dark Ether essences will complement the dialogue that takes place in Der Anfang. While the narrative will largely depend on the voice of the demonologist Gabriel Krafft guiding players through the objectives of the map, Oberführer Von List, Kortifex the Deathless, and other entities of the Dark Aether will provide their own unique commentary throughout the game. Players will likely want to try out all of the different artifacts, as the dialogues will be unique to each companion of the dark ether.
Altar of Covenants Details Revealed
Treyarch Zombies’ newest feature, Altar of Covenants, provides players with many randomized enhancements to choose from. These upgrades are purchased for the Heart of Sacrifice item, which is given to players each time they complete one of the card’s objectives. Players can have up to three covenants at the same time, and the selection of available covenants occurs randomly after each objective completed.
Examples of the covenant
Players will have access to 11 unique Covenant upgrades at launch, each with multiple levels of rarity, for a total of 32 upgrades to explore. The initial set of updates includes:
- Bloodlust: Melee attacks deal more damage and heal the player.
- Resurrectionist: Revive allies faster
- Brain Rot: a chance to turn enemies into allies
- Cryofreeze: a chance to slow down enemies
- Death Blow: critical kills return bullets to the clip
- Ammo Gremlin: Folded weapons automatically replenish ammo from the warehouse.
- Dead Accurate: Consecutive hits against the same enemy deal more damage.
- Splatterfest: Enemies killed by explosions can explode
- Unholy Ground: Deal more damage while standing
- Cull the Weak: Deal more damage to slowed or stunned enemies
- Mother Lode: Chance to save gear after using it
Major perk changes
Treyarch introduced major changes to the Zombie perk system for the Vanguard. Players will gain access to new areas of the map as they complete tasks, including access to perk fountains on the map. For the first time in zombie history, a basic perk is available for free. However, there are upgradeable levels in the game to make the perks more powerful. This is similar to what players saw in Black Ops Cold War, but the levels would improve in game, buying with Essence points in each match, whereas the Cold War perks only needed to be improved once using the currency of the Aetherium crystals earned in the reward match …
Once a player activates the free version of the 1st level perk, they will need to pay 2500 essences for level 2, then 5000 for level 3 and 7500 for level 4. Each upgrade will increase a specific base stat, and higher levels provide greater buffs.
These are the five fountains of perks confirmed for Der Anfang:
- Fiendish Fortitude: Increases Health
- Diabolical Damage: Increases Critical Damage
- Venomous Vigor: Increases health regeneration rate
- Demonic Frenzy: Increases reload speed
- Aethereal Haste: Increases Movement Speed
In another first for zombie perks, players will keep the base-level perks they acquired if they are knocked down. Usually knocking down in zombie mode means losing all perks, but since the first level is free, players will be able to keep them after respawning. However, additionally purchased perk upgrade tiers will be removed and will need to be redeemed.
Players can still upgrade weapons with the Pack-a-Punch vehicle, however the initial upgrade cost will increase with the launch of Der Anfang. Instead of the previous 5,000 points for the first Pack-a-Punch tier, costs now start at 7,500 points for the first update, then 15,000 for the second and 30,000 for the last update.
Weapon tiers are now determined by their Pack-a-Punch tier, which is marked with four colors:
- White: unpacked
- Blue: Pack-a-Punch Level 1
- Purple: Pack-a-Punch Level 2
- Orange: Pack-a-Punch Level 3
Also new to Vanguard Zombies, Pack-a-Punch weapons can now drop as loot from Vanguard Sturmkrieger special enemy types or as a reward from the Mystery Box.
The first season of Vanguard’s post-release content kicks off on December 2, bringing new content and new features to Zombies. The Seasonal Update will include a new objective for Der Anfang, additional covenants, new weapons, seasonal challenges, holiday updates, and more.
Unfortunately, this year the Zombie Mode won’t be launching with the main story mission. Treyarch says players will encounter some unexpected elements later in Season 1 that will set the stage for the upcoming main quest.
Call of Duty: Vanguard Coming November 5th for Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5 and PC.