Over the last few weeks I've noticed a massive change in the way Call of Duty is being played. The lack of attention being paid by some is mind blowing. The number of players who forgo the option to help their team is something I'm seeing is not due to selfishness but rather bad play.
Whether it’s laziness, feeling timid, or lack of understanding, team oriented play is lacking severely. While I understand that there’s a lacking on the developer’s end to make team oriented play easier I feel most of what I’m seeing is player choice, not the game.
Every player is entitled to play how they want and I’m not demanding or requesting that each player plays a specific way. Instead I’m going to try and gear this list to encompass all playstyles. These are simple tips that can be easily rolled into anyone’s style of play. This comprehensive list of ways to better help your team when playing any FPS, not just Call of Duty, will hopefully shed some light on some of your own faults or bad habits.
Chapter One: Situational Awareness
Back in the old days when this forum was primarily ran by the great Foxhound (before he went “Pro”) I talked a lot about how I felt situational awareness was a single most important skill to have. It’s not easily learned nor is it something that all players can ever hope to have. Situational awareness is a mindset. A state of thinking that a strategically adept player possesses in order to gather information that’s not readily available. Think of this as being able to identify an enemy’s position without seeing that enemy on your screen or on your radar. Instead, you quickly process the information you gather from your surroundings.
How to increase your situational awareness is by looking at where your team is on radar or on your screen and triangulating their movements with enemy tendencies or how they’re most likely to move. In past games I often used my team’s spawns locations as an indicator of where the enemy was. If my team was spawning on one side of the map I could deduce two things, 1) the enemy is not on said side of the map, and 2) the enemy was most likely on the other side of the map. However, recent issues with spawn logic make this less reliable but you can use this method if you take it with a grain of salt.
It’s also important to try and pay attention and keep track of player names. It can be difficult to do if the game is moving quickly so I usually key in on weapon used, outfit, and where I killed each player. By doing this I can track enemy players tendencies and this helps keep a mental Satcom so to speak.
It’s also important to follow callouts and friendly deaths. Learning where teammates are being killed and noting callouts will help you generate tendencies. Obviously by learning these tendencies you know where an enemy will be even without seeing them.
These methods might seem incredibly obvious but the trick is be able to think about these things and combine them together on the fly and very quickly. Re-running this information over and over to generate a mental map in your head.
Just because you can’t see an enemy doesn’t mean you can’t try and predict their movements. If you’re on one side of the map that doesn’t mean you aren’t able to combine various factors together to generate an approximate location of enemy locations on opposite side. This is situational awareness and by improving on this skill you can become a far more efficient player which means more kills and less deaths lowering your burden on your team.
Chapter Two: Playing Your Role
I find it hilarious seeing a friendly run around with an LMG and not using the weapon for their style of play. I will first like to point out that I’m not trying to tell someone how to play their game, but I don’t think many players will get enjoyment out of dying from such an obvious mistake. They make it very clear they have no idea what they’re doing and it shows with their .22 K/D.
Some tips that are again very rudimentary but hardly thought about, is how to make your class fit your role. First, you have to make classes that allows you to do your role. It’s fine to build classes based on your favorite components, but I think that it’s best if you sacrifice some elements for the sake of practicality. For instance, it’s okay to really like Stalker, but if your class doesn’t fit the Rushing playstyle then you have to ask yourself, is it worth consuming 3pts for a perk you’re never going to use?
If the answer to that question is “no, it’s not” then think about finding something else.
Even the best players in the world make changes to their classes on a game-to-game basis. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations and don’t be afraid to spend a few games failing miserably to learn what works best for you.
Once you find a class that works well you then need to start using that class for that purpose and just because you pick a class doesn’t mean you have to stick with it all game long. You’re given the option to change you class for a reason. During the game you might find that the enemy isn’t very aggressive and you need to switch to something a bit more assertive. You might find that enemy is very attack oriented and defending the objective is becoming a priority. Make sure your classes are wide ranging in abilities. Building your entire solider around one playstyle will not help the cause.
Again, I’m not telling you how you should play the game, but I think you’ll find it in your best interest if you open yourself up to different roles and play those roles in accordance with your team’s needs. This will not only make your life a lot easier on the battlefield but it will make an immediate impact on your team’s performance.
Sometimes you’ll run into a situation where your team is ignorant to a major weakness. They’re all off doing their own thing and haven’t a clue that the other team is exploiting a vulnerable flank. One of the most often ignored roles is a counter flanking role. One of my most impressive games I have ever played as a solo player was a time when I hit the enemy hard from a flank and the opposing team could not identify what I was doing.
Had they established roles on the team they might have been able to prevent my dominance. There are several roles one can assume. Camper, Rusher, Flank, Support, Midfield, Defender. You can name them whatever you want but they’re all important. Each role has a weakness but each role also has a very distinct advantage to it. One role can counter another and that same role is easily countered by something else.
Each loadout should have one of these roles in mind. Never think that a role isn't important. Even if you’re playing TDM the defender role is still just as viable of a tactic as a Rusher. You can defend a spawn, choke point, or a very useful vantage point.
I’ll end this chapter with a challenge.
Pick a role you know nothing about, a role you feel very strong negative thoughts about and spend an entire gaming session playing that role. Learn the ends and outs and try to come up with ways to improve your game at that role. By the end of the session ask yourself, “is this role important to the success of the team”.
Just because it’s not popular, just because no one on the team feels it’s necessary, each role is vital to a team success and the better you are at filling various roles the greater your chances of success.
Chapter Three: Know Your Weakness and Adapt
To go off of the previous chapter I want to point out that sometimes things can be a bit more difficult than they should be. I've played games where I’m getting completely wrecked by one player in particular. However, when I look at the Scorecard I notice that all their kills are off of me and the rest of my team is making easy work of them. They might be 12-18 but against me they’re 10-2.
There is no perfect style of play. I’ve been on many teams where my playstyle is only one that’s working and while we may be getting beat I’m playing my game, filling my role, and doing well at it. We've all been there. You’re the only person on your team with a positive K/D and you’re the only person on your team contributing objectively.
What all players should know, and this is where I do tell you how to play, is what their weaknesses are and what their strengths are. Furthermore, you should know how to use your strengths to help your weaknesses and how your strengths can become a weakness.
I’ve recently complete the 850 Chrome Barrel kills challenge to get my ghillie suit. During this adventure I primarily used and only used the USR. I could have used the Lynx and its semi-auto capabilities for faster kills or the L116 for superior accuracy but I chose the USR because its weakness was its accuracy and it’s damage. However, I knew the Chrome Barrel increased its damage and Focus increased accuracy. I also knew that my own skills were accuracy and shot placement meaning I was very good at hitting players in damage multiplying areas such as the chest, neck, and head. Every shot I took was calculated, accurate, and deadly.
Now the USRs strengths are its mobility and versatility in tight spaces. I’m not a quickscoper, but I am good at using long range weapons in close proximities. This meant that with a weapon that best complimented this skill of mine I could a sniper on any map and any situation.
I was able to use my strengths to overcome my weaknesses and adapt.
When playing a match it’s important to evaluate not only your weaknesses but the teams. Because of how player’s insistence that any form of camping is bad, a common weakness is spawn protection. Most of us have seen the exploitation of weak spawn protection whether it’s in the form of a spawntrap or spawntrolling.
What few do however is take mitigations to prevent weak spawn exploitation. It’s not necessary to always sit in a spawn and defend. If your team has solid control of the map then chances are you won’t see much action when defending a spawn or an objective. However, if your team is evenly matched and can’t control the map effectively it’s important to adapt to the situation and ensure that your spawn doesn’t become an exploited weakness. Sure it might not be how you want to play the game but I think it’s safe to assume that getting repeatedly spawn killed isn’t a favorite way to spend your afternoon gaming either.
Know your weaknesses, know how to identify them, and know how to prevent them from becoming a problem.
If you need help learning how to identify weaknesses just ask. There are several forum member here who are very good at learning how to adapt and identify faults in playstyles.
Chapter Four: Become an Efficient Killer
Something that has very recently alarmed me is how quickly a player will give up on a kill and how lazy they are when it comes to killing.
First off, enemy players aren’t stupid. If they take damage and are not killed they will hunt you down and find you. If you shoot someone and then give up on them when they turn a corner or escape your sight they will comeback for you.
To be a more efficient killer there are several ways to ensure that you kill your targets. First, pay attention to how they’re running. Player animations are different based on their movement speed. If a guy looks like he’s in a hurry to bathroom chances are he’s using a high mobility weapon and all high mobility weapons have bad range. You can assume that this player will not come back and engage you instead they will take the first cover they can and wait for you. However, CoD players are impatient and will not wait long. Do not pursue this person, instead head them off. They will not back track to find you but rather continue where they were going. Head them off and wait for them.
If someone is running around like they’re carrying a heavy load then that probably means they are. Snipers and LMGs along with some ARs are very encumbering. These weapons are all long range weapons and if a person is wielding them they will try and double back to pick you off. Instead of heading them off hold still and wait for them to poke their heads out.
Also, don’t be afraid to try and get a penetration kill. One major mistake player make is that they don’t try and take out an enemy if they can no longer see them. Even silenced weapons have insanely good penetration abilities so use that to your advantage.
Never leave a teammate out to dry because you don’t want to track down an enemy. I rely on my teammates to do their job or at least attempt to do their job. Most here will say that you can’t trust randoms but if that were the case then I don’t see any point in playing a team oriented gamemode. I want to trust my team because if I don’t I might as well sit in a corner waiting to die.
If you see an enemy running around in an attempt to flank take care of it or at the very least be mindful of their position and call them out for your team. If you shoot an enemy take care of them. Don’t let them live to comeback with a vengeance. If you know of a camper’s location take them out. A camper is a parasite and that’s what they want to be. They will latch onto a spot and turn that location into a tumor and completely disrupt your team’s game. Taking out a camper, a flanker, or someone who’s trying to slip by frees your team to do their thing.
Chapter Five: Understanding Maps
There’s more to map knowledge than knowing how to get from one place to another. I could spend an unlimited amount of time discussing the importance of map knowledge as I think the layout of maps are the single most important factor when it comes to how online multiplayer works and functions.
Instead, I’ll stick to the basics and I fully encourage/hope that all of you post input on this chapter.
Knowing why and how a map is put together is incredibly important. Nothing in a map is put where it is because the developer thought, “fvck it, this map needs more rocks”. If you’ve ever tried to look in on a location and grew annoyed with how something was blocking your view of the ‘C’ flag it’s important to know that that something was put there on purpose. 80% of private BETA testing is figuring out where and how objects should be laid out (that number is completely made up but might very well be true). All it takes is one OP vantage point to break a map and ruin the experience.
If you don’t believe me pay attention to how lines of sight are broken up. Look out windows and see how perfectly placed they are. There’s a ledge on Stonehaven that is climbable. It’s located on the first floor of one of the cottages and it serves no purpose other than to give players a perfect view of the ‘C’ flag.
Despite having what player call, “uselessly large maps” Ghosts caters to every playstyle. Some maps have favorites but no map exclusively favors one over the other. You can use and SMG on Stonehaven and kick ass. You can use an LMG or Sniper on Strikezone and be just as dominant. Every map has routes and tricks that let any type of playstyle flourish.
I find it useful when trying to figure out a map to follow teammates around. I’ll watch their back but spend a great deal of time watching what they do. If you do this enough time you’ll pick up on small things that they do. If you follow enough players you’ll soon start to see how each player’s discoveries and habits can be added to your playstyle.
Learning maps can take a lot of time. Even when you have the layout figured out there are still various things to learn. Each map has numerous “fast lanes” that are designed to allow players quick transit from one end of the map to the other. These are often underground routes or a very linear concealed path. Everyone knows where they are, they’re not exactly secret but few take the time to think about their purpose and because of this they’re often not given much attention.
Every map also has secret vantage points. I like to think that they’re mystery locations on a map that players know about but not how to use. Some maps have several of these that are very specific in what they overlook and are only useful for certain gamemodes. Player often dismiss them because they’re not super useful all the time and are often ignored. However, if used properly they’re incredibly advantageous. One of them I’ve already mentioned when I discussed Stonehaven earlier.
Knowing how maps flow, where high traffic areas are and where to best avoid or where to best go during certain game situations can help you realize futile strategies. Something that players often refer to is “map control”. Some maps in Ghosts cannot be controlled easily. You can manipulate spawns but I don’t promote that sort of play.
Chapter Six: Know When and How to Play the Objective
There’s a lot of talk, even from some of the best players I know, about “playing the objective and don’t be a “killwhore”. While I find that the general concept is true it’s not entirely true. Being a killwhore is completely, 100%, irrefutably necessary…under certain circumstances.
Sometimes playing the objective can be pointless. The enemy could have a death grip on a flag, your team could be broken up and spread out leaving you vulnerable, or the team could be focusing their attention elsewhere because the flags are taken, the spawns are overrun, or you’re taking objectives but can’t keep them. There’s multiple reasons why playing the objective isn’t the best idea. The trick is being a killwhore in an objective manner.
Scenario one suggests that going for the objective is suicide. The enemy has it locked down and running out trying to take it would be pointless. At this point in time it would be wise to focus on securing the area first before going for whatever objective it is you want to take. Flank, push, and hold the enemy in manner that better supports your team’s effort.
Scenario two is very common, especially in Ghosts where the maps are so varying that often times your team is spread thin. If this is the case it’s often a good idea to focus on neutralizing the area until your team can organize itself. Stick close to the objective and as soon as you notice your team closing in take it together. I do this often and while my team will accuse me of avoiding the objective I think they are quickly silenced when the game ends and we win. I will not stick my neck out alone unless the situation calls for it.
The last few things I want to address is how to play the objective when the objective isn’t exactly what’s important at the moment. If you’re stuck in a spawntrap or the enemy is countering everything you throw at them, sometimes you need to step away and try to mix things up. One thing I cannot stand are those who insist that getting spawntrapped is the result of poor objective play. Getting spawntrapped is the result of not defending yourself and using your gun. You can’t be spawntrapped if the enemy is dying a lot and spending more time running out their spawn than they are camping your own.
Also note that you shouldn’t ALWAYS go for caps. Play how you want, but understand this, capping a flag can be dangerous to your team. Capping a flag can make the game harder on you. When you cap a flag you change the paradigm of how the game functions and flows. Capping A and C will often result in a terrible spawn situation for both teams. Capping all three flags means the enemy can spawn wherever the game sees fit. Do what you want, but know that capping all flags isn’t always the best move.
Other objective based games follow the same principles. In DEMO you shouldn’t plant the bomb unless you know you can defend, otherwise what’s the point? In KC going nuts picking up tags will often leave you vulnerable to the enemy. Having tunnel vision when going after a group of 3 tags is perfect bait for the guy who’s watching those 3 tags. There’s a time and place for going after the objective and it’s important to understand the risks involved.
Chapter Seven: Be Aware of Yourself
Sometimes one’s own worst enemy is themselves. Psychologically we can push ourselves so hard or get so worked up and determined that we’re blind to our own mistakes. This isn’t some profound thought. Anyone who’s played a sport has certainly heard a coach tell them to calm down and focus or relax. Trying to force something to happen knowing that the chances of it happening are slim will only leave you getting upset over your own stupid mistake.
I hear a lot talk about TDM and bad talk about campers. Players want to push the tempo of the match and in TDM there’s really no wrong way to play so long as you’re maintaining a high kill over death spread. The ironic thing about Call of Duty is that it can often out pace itself. Players try so hard to be a hero and don’t realize that they’re over exerting themselves and it’s their ultimate downfall. These players sprint out of their spawns and don’t bother concerning themselves with small but very important matters like ammo capacity, spawn rotations, enemy airsupport, and overall enemy position. They go in head first and while they might get lucky every so often the times they do more harm than good far surpass the time they benefit their team.
A smart self-conscious player doesn’t push the tempo for the sake of some unwritten rule. They understand the game has a time limit and that’s really their only constraint. Pushing the bounds of physics to end a match early is a terribly risky behavior. This type of player knows that the kills will come and to just play their game. Speaking from experience, I know that sometimes playing a round of TDM camping will result in more kills than running around looking for trouble. You don’t have to camp, I’m not telling you how to play, just realize that limiting your deaths and concerning yourself with not dying rather than trying to get a ton of kills will almost always place you at the top of the leaderboard.
You can still run around and play aggressive while also limiting deaths. What I find most players doing is running from point A to point B, to point C, D, E, F and so on. They never stop and collect their thoughts or bother looking up at the radar to see where the action is going. It's non-stop running around and when you do this you're constantly exposing yourself and often times this leads to lots of deaths. Something I do to slow myself down is check every window. Simply taking the time to look out a window does a few things. Looking, for one, takes time. Not a lot but enough to allow yourself a moment to survey the area. It's enough time that something might happen that you otherwise would be too busy running off and missing. It's enough time for an enemy player to fire an unsuppressed weapon, to be informed a flag is being taken, or someone to run out in the open.
When I rush, most of my deaths are inconveniences. They're typically me running out three steps infront of an enemy player who bothered to not get themselves in a hurry. I practically fall in the lap of an opponent and it's the most frustrating way to die as I know it's completely my fault for being in a hurry. If I bothered to take my time, look around, and be self-aware of my speed and tempo I could have caught him but instead I got myself killed for being in a rush.
Chapter Eight: Build a Team
Joining a clan is now easier than ever. I encourage everyone to find a group of friends (not random people) who you ENJOY playing with. Playing with a group will exponentially increase your performance and make you play better. Communication is important and you can’t always effectively communicate with random people, especially if they don’t have a mic. Playing with a group or clan is the best way to not only play well but to learn.
The thing about teams that’s so effective is that you can often times play off each other. I find I’m more willing to play unselfishly when I know that doing so will only benefit me. If you’re playing with randoms chances are you don’t know how or why they do what they do. You don’t know what they’re thinking and what their capabilities are and therefore you’re left to assume and most of the time you assume the worst. Because of this your playstyle changes and becomes more concerned with your own wellbeing. If the team doesn’t care about winning then why should I?
If I’m playing with a group or clan and I know how they play I can make more accurate assumptions or I can communicate to find out why something within the match is going the way it is. If we’re losing it might not be a lack of effort but rather lack of organization or fire power in a certain place. I can stop playing how I want to play and change my strategy to something that will help the team. It might not be what I want to do or what I’m comfortable with but I know that it’s what the team needs and if the team is doing well then I’m going to do well.
If you’re having trouble finding a group of players to play with remember that all you have to do is ask. There are places on the forum where you can get in touch with others who are looking for the same thing. You can join a clan or start your own. If you’re looking to start your own there are forum members who have great advice to help you do so
Chapter Nine: Always Be Open to New Ideas and Concepts
After so much success it can be hard to think that there’s other, better ways to play. You get stuck in this thought process that what you’re doing is the best way to do it because it works so well. Your perk loadout is fixed and you run the same routes on every map. If you’re at this point in your game then that’s great, you’ve found something that works but understand it’s not the best. Everything in Call of Duty has a counter. If you think something is perfected it’s not. Someone will find a way to win.
It’s important to always keep your eye out for new tricks and combinations of perks and attachments that work well and make you unpredictable. Many times I’ve felt a perk was useless but later discovered immense value. Also know that the community is always evolving. A tactic that counters a popular playstyle is only effective so long as that playstyle is popular. As the community trends themselves into new things you too must evolve and learn.
To keep up-to-date on the latest trends in Call of Duty watch killcams, talk to teammates, and even explore weapons that are on the ground. You it’s randomized treasures that don’t cost any points. I’ve recently discovered that the Grip works a lot better than I expected it too. I found out the Ping is great for working the middle of the map and trying to clear out tight and complex areas. None of these things I would have considered using early in the game.