Thursday, February 16, 2012

T&T: MW3 Online Play

Tips & Tricks: Call of Duty: MW3 Online Strategy
Taking the Battle Online... to 12 Year-olds 
Written by: Donnie Fewkes

It’s literally bigger than anything you’re likely to have ever participated in. Remember the movie Avatar? Aside from being a rip-off of the Disney movie Pocahontas (and Ferngully, and Dances With Wolves, and Battle for Terra, and Delgo and...), its sales revenues exceeded a billion dollars. Yeah, this is bigger than that. Ever heard of a little series of movies called Star Wars and Lord of the Rings? Its revenues beat out both of those blockbuster’s box office receipts. I’m talking about a game you may have heard of, a game that has broken almost every entertainment record to date, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

The advent of the Call of Duty franchise has changed the multiplayer world forever. Because of the success of its highly addictive online play, it’s rare to see any game released now without some form of online functionality. The vast majority of people who buy Call of Duty play online well after the credits stop rolling. And in a great number of cases, players will skip the single player campaign all-together and go straight for the online action. Call of Duty players have been doing this for over a decade. Knowing that there are people online who literally don’t do anything but play CoD (except for when their call of doody arises) can make the prospect of venturing onto online war zones a little daunting. So, I’ve compiled a list of little tips and tricks to help make the transition from ‘Maggot’ to ‘Major General’ less painful. 
Now drop and give me 20!

Buck up soldier! You can just respawn!


If you’re brand new to Call of Duty or dual stick shooters in general, first of all, may Heaven help you. Your road to an acceptable kill/death ratio will be tough, but not impossible. It may sound weird, but the best way to get used to online play at Modern Warfare 3 is to snag a cheap copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops.  Black Ops provides a chance for beginners to get to know the multiplayer game through playing with bots. Bots are AI controlled players who serve as excellent sparring partners. Whereas online competition borderlines on “friendless” levels, these bots have a difficulty that can be adjusted to fit your current skill level. This provides a smooth transition into shooting constantly/erratically moving targets that you don’t get during the single player campaign. Playing against the computer also gives an opportunity to get in touch with one’s preferred play style. While the guns do change from Black Ops to MW3, the way sub machine guns, light machine guns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles function doesn’t change. Experiment with different guns and try to figure out what works best for you. Do you like to stand 1,000 yards away and pick people off? Map permitting, you should try out some sniper rifles. Do you like to be in the middle of every fire fight moving lightly and shooting quickly? Go for a smaller and less powerful sub machine gun. Every Call of Duty makes it stupidly clear which gun is classified as what so there’s no excuse in not trying out each of the four main gun distinctions. (Editor’s note: practically no one uses light machine guns. They slow you down and are incredibly inaccurate. Just a heads up.)

Like an awesome version of character select. Only for once you can't choose Ken.


Have you ever been to a friend’s house and tried to make a sandwich?  You probably took that 2 minute task and turned it into a 15 minute debacle, looking through every drawer and cupboard fruitlessly for that freaking peanut butter! Everyone has been there. Modern Warfare 3 is no different, except that the peanut butter is out to kill you.  I cannot over-stress the importance of knowing the map you’re playing on. Unfortunately though, the only real way to get to know them intimately is to get out there and play them…a lot. Getting to know the ins and outs of each map will come with time and isn’t really a skill that you need to practice, it just comes to you. There are, however, a few tricks that will work with all maps that can keep you above ground and not 6 feet beneath it:

                 1. Avoid the middle of the map (and any open area in general).
The main difference between any real war zone and those of MW3 lies within its map structure. Generally speaking, the middle of all of the maps in MW3 are fairly wide open. Usually containing the least amount of cover, you can bet that there is ALWAYS at least 1 or 2 enemy soldiers with guns pointed towards the center of the map. Using the center of the map is almost always a death trap and should be avoided at all costs. It may be a longer trek, but walking along the outside edges of a map is infinitely safer.

                                  2. Make each death meaningful.
It sounds cliché, but don’t let a single death go to waste. In the beginning, don’t just skip the kill cam showing you getting blasted. It hurts to watch yourself die, but try and figure out where that person was hiding and, when you can, go to that spot and try it out. Not only does this teach you where you can potentially hide and get other people, it also teaches you where to look for others hiding in that same spot if you’re in that area again.

                 3. Never ever be camped out in the middle of a window.
Avoiding the open areas of the map, you’ll undoubtedly come across a window that seems to call to you. Why wouldn’t it? It offers protection and still lets you see what’s going on outside. I know the lure of that window, but it (and any opening for that matter) can turn into a giant nightmare if you don’t do it right. This is the Siren’s song to everyone that wants more kills. What will happen is people will run up and stand right in the middle of the window so they can see everything from that window. The only problem, though, is that if you can see a wide area from your window, enemies from all around that wide area can see you too.  There is no way that you will ever be able to cover every area that you can see at once. Instead, crouch down in either corner and OWN that little area. Not only will you be much more prepared for anyone coming down that little area, the amount of your body that anyone can see is reduced by 98% (it’s science). If no one is coming down the area you’re currently looking at, switch over to the opposite corner and cover the other side.

You'll get the hang of it.


I don’t understand why someone would want to grow a mullet…or a mustache which, for the record, is just a mullet for your face. It seems like common sense to not want to ruin your social life because you’re sporting either of those. Similar ‘common sense’ faux pas exist in the MW3 online arena that you’re likely guilty of doing at least once a game. Stick to these easy rules and you’ll have an edge that other gamers will be lacking. 

1.       Never expose more than you have to.
This goes hand in hand with that window example. The name of the game is being able to get to people without them being able to get to you. Think of it as that one guy who was playing lazer tag and was covering up his chest piece sensors with his hand so no one could get him.  MW3 maps have similar ‘sensor covering’ spots almost everywhere. So, there is no excuse for being caught in the open. This doesn’t mean though, that you are always camping. Moving from cover to cover is especially important when you’re running and gunning. The trick here is that while you are moving from cover you always have your eyes on the one or two places that people could come out of at anytime. Which leads me to….

2.       If it’s important enough to look at, it’s important enough to aim at.
When you are moving from cover to cover, and while you are looking at the spots that could have an enemy come out of them, at least have your gun in that general direction. Too many times I see new players with their gun slightly down or to the side and when an enemy suddenly pops in view they will have to move their right stick to get in that direction, then aim, then shoot. If you can take step one out of that process you’ll be ahead of the game before it even starts. I will even literally aim through a doorway well passed the time that I’ve entered it.  Players online are too good to beat to the draw if you come up against one mano a mano. It’s much easier to already have your gun aimed in the direction of the only entrance or one of the only entrances to an area while going through it than running through and trying to quickdraw against a guy without a job or a social life (probably because of that mullet).

3.       Turning corners
Some maps in MW3 are incredibly maze like. What does that mean? Corners. Corners can be incredibly painful areas if you don’t know how to properly handle them. This is likely the only time you’ll hear me say that you can learn this skill from the single player campaign. During sneaking missions, you will see someone open a door with their left hand, gun aiming through the slit door to the right, and slowly open the door so that their gun has pointed at every direction in that room by the time the door is fully opened. This is a real life tactic called ‘splitting the pie’. You’ll undoubtedly use this skill at least 10 times every single game and here’s how you do it. 1st, if you’re coming across a corner, you should be as close to the side of the wall that is the direction you will be turning. (Turning left? Stick to the left wall in that hallway) This is so someone who could be on the other side of that corner will have the largest angle possible to turn to get to you, thus giving you the most amount of time to get him first. 2nd, aim at that corner the whole the time you’re moving towards it so you’re ready for anyone stupid enough to just barrel around it. 3rd, when you reach the corner, slowly (at first, until you get good enough to do it fast) turn that corner with an aimed weapon and clear that entire corner. There is a little more advance technique that involves creating a greater viewing area fast by walking away from the wall instead of turning around it that you’ll have to play with when you feel comfortable enough.

4.       Know who you’re following (especially for hardcore mode)
This one is simple, if you’re following like 10 yards behind someone who is about to turn a corner, memorize their name long enough to look at the “who killed who with what weapon” ticker in the bottom left of the screen. If his name shows up as being killed immediately after turning that corner, guess what that means? Either don’t go down that way or be prepared to shoot like crazy. I can’t tell you how many kills I get off this little trick every game.

Check those corners!

Following these tips will help get you on the path to prestige mode and Call of Duty enlightenment. Obviously there are some more tips and tricks that can be covered in greater length (like reloading your gun in open areas. For the love, get some cover before you do that!). But in the end, this is just a game, get out there and have some fun figuring it all out. Oh and one more thing, you’re going to die a lot, get over it.
Semper Fi.

Let me know how the tips worked for you at:

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