Back in the early days of online FPS titles, leveling up wasn’t even a concept. Eventually, numbers, or some other ranking system, were adopted as a way to make online matchmaking fairer when pitting teams against one another. As with RPGs, though, players see a number and inherently want to make it go up, leading to an ever-evolving system of levels being introduced. The Call of Duty games were perhaps the first to really nail the formula in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Since that game, earning XP, leveling up, unlocking things, and getting to prestige have been tweaked and modified from game to game.
Call of Duty: Vanguard is hot on the scene and tucks plenty of goodies behind its XP and leveling systems. That’s right, there are multiple paths you need to level up in order to unlock different things. Being at low levels is a huge handicap for any player. You’re limited to basic classes with boring guns and little you can even customize. The real fun hits when you start breaking into the high ranks. To get to the good stuff the game has to offer as fast as possible, here’s how to level up fast in Call of Duty: Vanguard.
As mentioned, there are three different aspects you can level up in Call of Duty: Vanguard independent of one another. Granted, many of them you’ll earn XP for at the same time, but each has its own levels and XP. These types are Operator XP, Weapon XP, and Player XP.
Operator XP relates to the 12 unique Operators in Call of Duty: Vanguard. Leveling up your Operator level will unlock mostly cosmetic options for that Operator, such as skins, voice lines, finishing moves, and highlights.
Weapon XP is individualized to each weapon in the game. You will only earn Weapon XP for the weapon you’re actually using and that’s how you can get access to attachments, proficiency, kits, and cosmetics for that specific weapon. Unlocking an attachment for one gun, for example, won’t unlock it for any other gun.
Finally, you have your overall Player XP. Reaching higher levels here will unlock new weapons, killstreaks, perks, field upgrades, and new tacticals.
Operators are strange since, in a change from past games, you don’t actually start the game with any. Instead, before you can even start earning XP for an Operator, you have to unlock them by doing special challenges in multiplayer. These aren’t too hard, but you will need to check out what they are to make sure you unlock the Operator you want to start playing as. Once you unlocked them, then you can start earning XP.
Once you’ve unlocked your first Operator, you can start leveling them up. The fastest way to earn Operator XP is to first read that Operator’s bio and check out what their preferred weapon is, then use it as much as possible. When you use their favorite gun, you will earn twice as much Operator XP as normal, plus a higher amount of Weapon XP for good measure. Once you have that set, tab over to their Challenges. Here, you can see a list of specific tasks you can complete for huge amounts of XP that are broken down into tiers. The tier 1 challenges are very simple, like just winning games with that Operator, and will reward you with 1,000 Operator XP. Tier 2 challenges bump the XP up to 1,500, and the final tier challenges are worth 2,500.
Finally, you also will get a bonus influx of Operator XP when you reach certain levels with your Operator. At level 3, you get a bonus 1,500 XP; 2,000 for level 8; 2,500 for level 13; and 3,000 for hitting level 18. Just keep their favorite gun equipped, and you can easily boost up your Operator levels in no time.
Speaking of weapons, these are the levels you will care about most. Once you get the gun you feel the most comfortable with and find the most fun, you will want to level it up so you can make it as deadly as possible. If you get lucky and one of the 12 Operators happen to also prefer the same gun as you, then you will benefit from that extra Weapon XP for using it. It’s worth taking the time to go through all the Operators bios and check their favorite guns to see if you can capitalize on that synergy.
One new setting to be on the lookout for in Call of Duty: Vanguard is the Combat Pacing filter you can choose when doing matchmaking. You can choose to include them all, or select which of the three you want your matches to include. There’s Tactical, which caps the player count at 12; Assault, which ranges from 14 to 36 players; and Blitz, which cranks the chaos up to 16 to 46 players. While we probably wouldn’t recommend Blitz for a tactical or even thoughtful multiplayer experience, the sheer amount of other players to shoot does make it perfect for racking up tons of Weapon XP. You will need to be decent enough that you’re not just getting picked off without getting any kills, of course.
Blitz or not, Weapon XP only counts for getting kills with your weapon. You can still go into objective game types, but if you’re looking to maximize how much Weapon XP you’re earning in a match, focus on getting kills above anything else. Depending on what modes you do best in, playing in modes that only give you one life per round, like Search and Destroy, could be your best bet for grinding Weapon XP. While Blitz mode can feed you XP through sheer numbers, these more tactical modes give higher amounts of Weapon XP per kill. Again, the risk here is that if you get taken out, you will have to wait for the next round to get any kills.
Finally, weapons also have their own challenges that you should strive for to get extra XP bonuses. Most will probably come naturally, like reaching a certain number of kills, but others that deal with specific goals like getting headshots and multi-kills are good to keep in mind while grinding out Weapon XP in multiplayer.
Finally, we come to your overall Player level. Getting higher levels here is how you unlock new weapons, perks, killstreaks, and things of that nature. You’ll be earning Player XP doing just about everything in multiplayer, but there are some ways to maximize your XP gain to reach that favorite gun unlock faster.
First, check out the Challenges section of the menu, and aim to complete as many of them as possible. Not only does each one end with a sizable XP reward, but you can also get a bonus batch of 10,000 XP if you complete all the challenges in the same category, so try and focus your efforts on a set within one category. The categories are ranked by difficulty, but the bonus 10,000 XP is the same no matter what, so it’s best to start with the easiest and work your way up from there. If you haven’t looked, you’ve probably finished some or at least made progress on many Boot Camp challenges, like winning 25 matches.
Call of Duty: Vanguard obviously comes with a battle pass system, and even if you don’t buy into it, you still get the free “pre-season battle pass.” Just hitting tier 1 on this free pass will get you a Double Weapon XP token, and at tier 11, you get a Double Player XP token, so pay attention to when you unlock them, and pop them when you’re setting in for some XP grinding.
In terms of game type, objective modes do have a high potential for dishing out tons of XP per match. Champion Hill is a favorite. Not only can you get some good objective XP, but these games tend to last a bit longer than most, allowing you to get more XP from regular kills and opportunities to complete challenges.
If you’re desperate or were going to do it anyway, you can also get more double XP tokens in the form of “Dual 2XP” offers from various sponsored drinks and snacks. We don’t need to mention them by name since you can already guess what they are. Still, these Dual 2XP tokens give you double XP for set periods of time, between 15 minutes and 120 minutes, for Weapon and Player XP. These kinds of things have been around for a while now, so you can decide if these drinks and snacks are worth the cost of a shorter grind.
In a similar vein, although on a much bigger scale, all you PlayStation players out there automatically have a shorter grind. Call of Duty: Vanguard has a deal with the PlayStation consoles, PS4 and PS5, where every month there will be 24-hour double XP events, plus 25% more Weapon XP just for playing in a party with other PlayStation players. This isn’t a method you should buy a new console for, obviously, but if you’re already on PS4 or PS5, keep an eye out for those monthly events to take advantage of them.
Also, if you’re playing with friends, you can get a free 10% boost to every type of XP (Operator, Weapon, and Player) just by creating and playing with people in your clan.