“Come on man, your ADS after sprinting is too slow with that weapon, plus your DPS is low compared with an SMG in a CQB situation.”
This was the exchange I had with a friend playing online the other day. It was then that I had the somewhat obvious realisation that not everybody has played video games online. He hasn’t got a vault of knowledge built up from hours and hours of online experience. He doesn’t know camping, drop-shotting and quick scoping (to name a few of the varieties of online tactics, some of which are dubious).
We then started discussing tips and pointers and opinions on how to improve your skill and your precious kill/death (K/D) ratio. I then thought about how there must be a swathe of new players just joining. Black Friday sales and the upcoming Christmas deals mean there will be plenty of fresh meat out on the digital battlefields. For those of you new to multiplayer gaming, or if you’re trying to get above a 1.00 K/D then here are some pointers to help out.
First up is orientation, knowing and understanding your surroundings.
Learn the maps; the best routes to get around quickly, where the vantage and choke points are and where you most frequently encounter enemy players. As you play more you will see patterns emerging in gameplay. Such as, when a game begins where do players rush to? What are the most popular routes between action points on maps? The snipers’ favourite spots? The in-game spawn points (if they have them) for power ups?
If you can start to predict where players may be you can begin to get the drop on unsuspecting players who fall into habit play. Combining this knowledge with use of your mini map/radar (depending on what game you’re playing) can make you a dangerous player. Constant awareness of your mini map means you’re alerted whenever an enemy presence is shown, if you know your surroundings and have good understanding of how your radar/map works you can have a good idea of where the enemy is even if you can’t see him (or her). Before you know it even Snake won’t see you coming.
Next up is movement, this is key to becoming a better player.
Surprising enemy players by being unpredictable will greatly improve your chances of winning a fire-fight. I see so many players charging around at full pelt, not just rushing (a fast-paced up-close and personal style of play generally associated with shotguns and SMGs) but just blind running. Sprinting round corners desperate to get back into the fray, running into the same camper in the same spot again and again. Why? Most first person shooters have made huge changes to the movement style in recent years and additions of jump packs, wall running, clamber actions mean huge versatility and options when navigating a map and approaching targets. For instance, you pop your head round a corner and an enemy is covering you from a window. You could keep popping in and out of cover exchanging rounds until one or both of you is dead, shouting at the TV when your sub-machine gun hasn’t killed him at 100 feet after two clean hits “THAT’S BULL! Damn lag switcher”. Alternatively if you can run up that wall, go in through the window and come up from behind them, chances are they will still be doggedly staring at that corner waiting for you to pop out again. Pop two in the back and relish the thought of their confusion as they respawn.
Learn to combine the different movement skills you’re provided with – slides, jumps, clambers and anything else available will aid you in both escaping danger and approaching the enemy from unexpected directions. Why run down the middle of the road if you can bounce and hop off rooftops and walls? It’s not just unexpected play, it’s much cooler too.
Weapon choice and play style: basically, what’s your fit?
Do you like to engage at distance? Maybe a sniper or LMG? Want to get up close and in their face? Shotguns and SMG’s are your friend. How about a combination of the two – some decent range but also handy in a tight corner? Assault rifles will do that for you. Each weapon will perform in its own style, so adding customisations will change that. Try out different combinations and set-ups to find some that work for you.
Having the right set-up for your personal play style is key. If you’re cramped up in a close quarters game it’s no good swinging around a slow firing cannon of the sniper rifle now is it? You’re much more likely to rack up some tasty triple kills if you move through the ranks quickly. Now you may be playing a game where the weapons don’t fit into the typical SMG, assault rifle etc. However, they will all fall into a class set, be it long-range, mid-range or short-range.
Make the most of your options and learn to use your support devices as well as your offensive weapons. Most of the time you’ll have the option to suppress your enemy in some way and combining this with an offensive move will give the drop on even multiple enemy players.
On top of these, here are a few basic pointers given out in a recent party chat from the other day in which some new players and some experienced, and grizzled digital veterans, offered up some advice:
- Try not to run round corners, a moment’s pause and a drawn weapon will give the edge on those 1-on-1 encounters.
- Ammo counters are displayed, so don’t go into a fight on empty. Timing that reload well can make the difference between getting a clutch kill or being caught with your pants down.
- Understand a spawn switch. Knowing when the map will flip saves you getting shot in the back. Again.
- Play against the weakness of your enemy. If they are rushing with shotguns, get out a range weapon and take them on at distance. If they are sniping, sneak around with that silenced pistol and bring the hurt to them.
- Work together, as supporting your team can swing the game: think covering fire, a well-timed support action and spotting enemies when they appear. If you’re playing with friends, talk to them! Even the most basic of communication can make the difference.
- Have fun, if the rage has got to you then you’re not thinking straight. You’ll make more mistakes and get even more angry. Take a moment, compose yourself and then exact revenge. It’s much more satisfying than getting killed by the same guy 5 times over.
- Shotguns. You’ll love ‘em or hate ‘em.
Wishing you all luck as you head into your digital playgrounds, be you a fresher in online play or someone just looking to improve, I hope these tips give you some success in improving your game time by aiding in your massacre of the online masses.