Get ready for rifles, sleeve tattoos and camo gear, because it's that time of year again: the time to do your duty. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has arrived, and it's packing more of the kill-trading, twitch-reflex-based shooting the franchise has become famous for over its many iterations. This year's installment brings new maps to the mix, but beyond that, the fundamentals are the same, meaning the classic CoD tricks will serve you well. Here are 10 essential multiplayer tips to help you survive and thrive out on the battlefield.
Tune your default settings
If your movements feel sluggish and leave you unable to address incoming enemies in a timely fashion, the fix might be deceptively simple: check your settings. On PC, for example, the default aim sensitivity is ridiculously low, so if you want a fighting chance in the online multiplayer arena you'll need to amp that setting up to the highest degree of sensitivity you can handle. You'll move faster and be exponentially more lethal once you're off the game's default presets, so be sure to tweak these early on in your multiplayer experience. Adjusting visual settings like field of view (a PC-exclusive setting) and brightness can help give you an edge as well.
Play the objective (seriously, do it)
No one likes a teammate who doesn't help win the round — that's why no one likes each other on Call of Duty multiplayer. Playing the objective might seem like common sense, but at least half the players in any given match won't do it. So do the Modern Warfare community and your team a favor and always play the objective. Kill-death ratio means nothing if you're constantly losing matches, so don't fret over K/D. Capture the control point, defend your team's headquarters, etc. Unless you're playing Team Deathmatch, focus on completing the objective before you get your jollies gunning down the opposition.
Ease off the reloads
Statistics show that globally, at least two hundred CoD players die every five seconds due to a poorly timed reload. It's understandable that you want to be as prepared as possible before going into your next firefight; the issue is, you'll never know when that next firefight might be. Odds are, it's going to start when you're in the middle of an unskippable reload animation.
A good way to avoid getting merc'd is to resist the urge to reload right up until you're down to your last bullet or two. Then, find a safe, enemy-free zone surrounded by allies. Reload there, and you're sure to stay alive a lot longer than if you reload right after killing a guy in the heart of disputed territory.
Use it or lose it
Call of Duty is a franchise predicated on kill trading. Modern Warfare is no different. Maps are designed in such a way that for every foe you take down, someone else will down you. So don't die with grenades and equipment intact. Use them to stay alive for an extra few seconds!
Since the odds of dying within a minute of spawning in a standard round of Team Deathmatch are astronomically high, throw every grenade, molotov, and gadget at your disposal without hesitation. Lob a frag into a room before you enter, toss a C4 in the air and pop it just for fun; the point is, these tools will ensure a miniscule portion of the map is temporarily free from enemy danger, so use them before you lose them. Modern Warfare does not reward preparing for the future, only for the now.
Modern Warfare's default loadouts are fine and definitely give players a fighting chance, but as you move up the ranks and start unlocking more guns, attachments, gadgets and kill streaks, it's definitely a good idea to start tinkering with your own custom loadout so you have a unique kit specifically tailored to your needs. You can pick your guns, add attachments like scopes and muzzles, choose between a wide variety of secondary tools and perks and do even more with Modern Warfare's in-depth loadout customization system, so make sure you explore your options.
Be a snake in the grass
Modern Warfare's tall grass is designed for one thing: sneaky, cheap kill farming. So crouch, go prone, or shimmy around, but whatever you do, keep your head low and let the grass do the work for you. Just like in real life, tall grass serves as excellent camouflage and all but ensures most players will run past you without a second glance. This means you, the prospective foliage camper, can net a ton of kills just by shooting people in the back as they run past you. Or shoot them in the face as they run toward you! Either way, they'll never see you coming.
Stay on your feet
It's no secret that camping, a phenomenon wherein a player hides in a spot and refuses to move for most of the match, has plagued the Call of Duty franchise's multiplayer practically since its inception. And while instances of camping-friendly turf still exist in Modern Warfare, such as with the tall grass we've referenced, the game's developers have gone to great lengths to ensure most maps discourage camping.
Maps are set up in such a way that most rooms are exposed from multiple angles and almost every hallway has a surprising amount of windows, doorways and other entrances with which to eliminate camping chokepoints. So if you want to stay alive for more than a hot second, keep those boots shuffling. Kill, relocate, and live to kill again.
Get a head start in Headquarters mode
In MW's Headquarters multiplayer mode, you and your team will need to race to a control point and then babysit it until it disappears and a new one forms somewhere else on the map. Since the new one usually spawns far from the current objective, it's typically a good idea to start relocating before the first one has finished its cycle. This'll give your team the competitive edge throughout the entire match.
When picking a spot to hide out in anticipation of the next point spawning, station yourself somewhere across the map that allows you easy access to all corners of the side you're on. If you can convince one of your squadmates to join you, you'll be even better off, since the entire enemy team will be gunning for the new control point once it shows up and initially you'll be outnumbered as you hold the line and wait for your team to catch up.
Flank or die in Gunfight mode
Modern Warfare's 2v2, no-respawns Gunfight mode is a test of reflexes and strategy. If your team is missing either, you're screwed, so be sure to have a quick trigger finger and playbook ready. One simple strategy that throws off most casual opponents is a well-timed, textbook flanking maneuver.
If someone on your team can pop one of the opponents early and make it a 2v1, all you two have to do is stay far — but not too far — apart and cover each other's blind spots from across the small Gunfight maps. This way, even though one of you will likely end up being bait, the remaining person will still be able to take the enemy by surprise and save the round. This works a lot better than bunching up with your teammate, wherein you needlessly run the risk of losing to an unlucky double kill from the enemy.
Mix it up
While all the above tips can help you in specific areas of your Modern Warfare multiplayer experience, there's no general tip that'll help you improve your overall game more than this one: mix up the modes when you're playing and practicing.
Every mode in Modern Warfare's multiplayer is built to test your skills in a certain arena. Gunfight tests how well you operate in close quarters combat. Domination forces you to work on your team-based coordination skills. Headquarters lets you practice your ability to hold a room. There are many other modes in MW, and each demands a certain skill set, with some testing all these skills in concert. Once you get a handle on all modes' intricacies, you'll be a more well-rounded player, and by extension, a better teammate and combatant in general. Then, and only then, can you confidently accept your friend's challenge to a 1v1 on MW's equivalent of Rust.