Describe the start of a typical match.
The match starts right in the center of Stalingrad. There is a small starting area where you can fight zombies, access several upgrade machines, view the initial three objective portals, and a few other surprises. The player’s first big decision is on which objective portal to interact with.
On day one, there will be three objectives available to the player: Blitz, Transmit, and Harvest. For shorter matches, players will want to pick and choose the objectives and locations they feel they will have the best chance of succeeding in, or focus on opening up the portion of the map that contains the Perks they prefer. For longer play sessions, players will need to plan more thoughtfully to open up even more of the map and aim for personal records.
What kinds of enemies will players encounter?
The first enemies that players will encounter are the basic zombies, reanimated by Kortifex and Von List. While these zombies start off very manageable, their health, speed, and attack power will increase as the match goes on.
After a few objectives, the explosive Boom Schreiers begin to show up, a kind of sprinting proximity mine that can be very deadly. Then you’ll start to face the Sturmkreiger — an 8-foot-tall monstrosity armed with a machine gun. You’d better find cover fast when engaging with them… they won’t hesitate to mow down the horde to get at their target.
What happens when players complete an objective?
Completing objectives is core to the gameplay loop, awarding Essence and Salvage, which return as two crucial in-game currencies. Additionally, and more importantly, the player is rewarded with a Sacrificial Heart, used to gain buffs at the new Altar of Covenants.
The Mystery Box will also increase in power over time, giving players a random chance of really boosting their power. New Perk Fountains will become available as the map opens up. After the fourth objective has been completed, players will gain the ability to start the optional Exfil event, allowing them to end the match successfully at their own pace.
How does the Altar of Covenants work?
The Altar of Covenants is the main method for a player to truly define their gameplay build for that round. After every objective, players are rewarded with a Sacrificial Heart to spend at the Altar of Covenants, offering a wide variety of randomized upgrades to choose from, such as Ammo Gremlin, Brain Rot, or Unholy Ground. The Altar of Covenants also provides Covenants of increasing rarity and power as the match goes on, so keep an eye out for those Legendary Covenants as you survive further into the game.
How does that change up the core gameplay?
The Covenant system allows players to lean into a specific playstyle. As an example, there are viable player builds that lean into melee and Equipment use over guns. This would be a build utilizing Bloodlust (melee attacks do more damage and heal), Mother Lode (a chance to keep Equipment after use), and Splatterfest (enemies killed by explosions have a chance to explode). Also, since the player only has access to a few Covenants at a time, they may choose to alter playstyles mid-game because of a Legendary Covenant that becomes available later on!
What kinds of weapons will players use in Vanguard Zombies?
Players will have access to just about all of their World War II favorites for both weapons and Equipment. Players load in with their Primary Weapon and Artifact of choice. This time around, however, players will need to earn backup weapons by looting chests, killing zombies, and gambling on the Mystery Box in place of traditional Wall Buys. You’ll also see the return of the fan-favorite Monkey Bomb!
How long does each match last?
Most matches can end with a successful Exfil in about 20 minutes. This means completing four objectives and then surviving the Exfil event. However, only a portion of the full Stalingrad hub will be open at this point. For the players who want to push on to deeper runs, we’ll see how long those matches last…
How is each experience different overall?
Every time players enter a new match, the objectives, their locations, and the Covenants provided will all be different compared to the match before. This is where players will need to adapt their playstyle to the tools at hand, which varies up the gameplay in new ways.
Playing with other players cooperatively also mixes this up. Do you define roles so that only one player is using a Covenant slot on Resurrectionist? Or does each player try to maximize their offense and hope for the best?
What can casual/first-time Zombies fans look forward to in “Der Anfang”?
“Der Anfang” combines elements of classic round-based Zombies maps with the objective-based gameplay mechanics introduced in Black Ops Cold War, along with fresh innovations we’ve never seen before in Zombies. The result is a fast-paced experience that plunges players right into the action.
First-time players can start shooting zombies just moments after the match starts. Everything is right there for players to complete objectives, earn rewards, and upgrade weapons and abilities against ever-strengthening foes. And if you’re a casual player wanting to keep your match brief, or just looking to end a match with a win, you’re given the option to Exfil, safely leaving combat with bonus XP and a feeling of accomplishment.
What can hardcore Zombies fans look forward to in “Der Anfang”?
There’s a lot in “Der Anfang” that will feel familiar to veteran Zombies players… and there’s also plenty that’s brand-new. The more objectives that players complete, the further they can upgrade weapons, armor, abilities, and so on. As they go on deep runs into varied and challenging play spaces, it really takes on the relentless excitement of higher rounds in classic Zombies maps.
Stalingrad, Paris, Merville, and Shi No Numa also feature a lot of interactable radios and Dark Aether runestones that contain Intel recordings, further fleshing out the characters, locations, and backstory of this chapter of the Dark Aether saga. That story will continue to evolve after Vanguard launches, taking players to new locations with new objectives and new characters. Veteran players have a lot to look forward to in this brand-new Zombies experience.
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