Call of Duty: Warzone's Vanguard guns don't shoot straight, but they will eventually

cod vanguard
(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty: Warzone guns usually shoot straight. If a bullet doesn't land where your reticle is aiming, that's usually because it's far enough away to be affected by bullet drop. That principle was casually thrown out the window this week as players discovered that many of the 40 Vanguard guns added in the Warzone Pacific update have a tendency to shoot in random directions thanks to built in aim bloom (aka bullet spread).

Aim bloom adds a random chance for bullets fired from Vanguard guns to land several inches away from where your reticle is pointing. On Thursday players started taking notice of how much this random bullet spread can hinder a fair firefight, and Raven seems to agree it's a bit much. In a new Warzone patch deployed Friday, Raven says it has "drastically reduced the amount of ‘Bloom’ on all base Vanguard weapons."

Bloom isn't gone entirely, but Raven does plan to phase it out altogether in a future update.

this_game_really_is_nerfing_better_players from r/CODWarzone

A pre-patch example of random bullet spread (bloom) causing accurate shots to miss.

"This process will take time, as we will need to determine adequate downsides to counterbalance the removal of Bloom, which will vary based on each individual Weapon and the type of Attachment they are attributed to," the patch notes read. As Raven may be alluding to here, Vanguard guns stand a chance of outshining Warzone's existing arsenal because they allow players to equip 10 attachments at once without the use of a special perk.

Attachment slots are like gold in an FPS whose meta is defined by minimizing recoil and maximizing damage with the best combinations of grips, scopes, stocks, and barrels. Bloom may have been implemented in Vanguard as a way to counteract these optimized builds with a built-in margin for error that can't be upgraded away.

As exhaustively documented by YouTuber TrueGameData, pretty much all full-auto Vanguard guns are affected by bloom to varying degrees. In the pre-patch video embedded below, SMGs and assault rifles feature the worst spread.

I happened to be testing out Vanguard gun bullet spread myself when the Warzone patch went live. After restarting my game, I could instantly see the difference in the spread on my STG rifle. Pretty much every shot is hitting dead-on now, but there was still a pronounced spread as I stood further away from the poor wall I was pelting with bullets.

Interestingly, this patch won't affect how bloom works in the standalone Call of Duty: Vanguard, meaning the same guns will now behave in significantly different ways between the two games.

If you're still catching up on all the new Warzone action this week, check out our tour of the fun stuff to do on the new Caldera map. I wrote about how Caldera looks a bit washed out and we're also still tracking the worst Warzone Pacific bugs players are encountering.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.