From humble beginnings to triple-A competitive shooter, the Call of Duty franchise has become, perhaps, the most famous video game of all time. If you are a fan of Call of Duty then chances are that you like the slight tweaks brought to the table with each sequel. However, there are those who feel that sometimes small adjustments are just not enough to pay for year after year. Wherever you stand on that argument, one thing is for sure, CoD is not going anywhere in the foreseeable future. What is it that makes the series so popular? Perhaps it is the idea of a deeper class customization than most other first-person shooters. Maybe it's just the zombie modes, who knows.
On the competitive end, having so many options as far as what gear you can take with you makes it very attractive. Not only can you choose what you want, but it is also easy to restrict things that are undesirable. The mix of run and gun elements, great objective modes, and even the variety of streak rewards give the game more variety than most. So have you been thinking of taking the leap into professional gaming? Well to be competitive, there are some things you need to keep in mind as you prepare.
Here's 25 Things Casual Call Of Duty Players Don't Know They're Doing Wrong.
25 Knowledge Is Power
One of the first things you will think of to prepare for competitive play is to learn the maps. When we say you have to learn the maps, we mean you need to know every nook and cranny that the map has and every hiding spot. Knowing defensive angles to the objectives, knowing where the enemy can attack from, and the likely places your enemy will be defending from as you attack. Of course, for non-objective modes, you will need to almost be able to run around the map backward without getting caught on anything. You'll need to know when to listen and pre-fire.
Getting caught on some cover you forgot about is almost certain doom.
For example, if you like to play domination, you will be able to easily take the closest point that each map offers you. Defending that point at the same time as attacking the middle point is key. Always think to yourself, where will the enemy be coming from? Are you watching more than one area at a time? Should you defend or attack? How many of your teammates are currently alive? As you can see, in casual games, most people are just running around like madmen relying on their quickdraw. If you are to do well in competitive, every move on the map you make needs to have a plan behind it, even if that plan fails.
24 Be Prepared
You might think this is a given, but having a class set up for every scenario is a huge key to success. If you look at your classes, how many of them are basically the same? Having a class for different engagement ranges, for attack and defense, for support, and other scenarios is deal. Not only this, but think about the attachments on your weapons, your grenades, perks, and streak rewards. If you are going to be an attacker, consider perks that will help you rush in and combine that with a fast firing submachine gun. When defending, maybe think of a midrange weapon with heavy stopping power and perks that help your health or add stopping power.
Be aware that sometimes when building your classes, certain combinations of perks and guns sometimes just do not work that well. Everyone plays differently and we have seen some strange combinations work way better then they should, so it is good to experiment. Also, keep in mind what map you may be playing on, so that you can adjust your strategy on the fly. There are so many people that prestige a few times then only use a portion of their custom class slots, so you should have all of them full of different strategies for all situations.
23 Aiming, Not Spraying
We know, many will read this and roll their eyes, as of course you should aim down your sights to fire accurately at range. However, how many times have you run around a corner to find yourself face to face with an enemy player? You both panic and fire from the hip, doing some damage. Then, you both slide back around your corners alive. There are perks to help with this, but you would not need them if you would take a moment to aim and fire. Leave the panicking to the enemy. We know what some of you may be thinking, why not attack in close quarters? We hear some of you say, but if you missed or had to close some distance, it's all over.
Headshots are worth so much more than weapon skins.
Another thing to consider with careful aiming is trying to aim for the head. Sure with fully automatic weapons, you might get an accidental headshot from time to time. However, training yourself to hit the head can rebalance the scales in your favor against all opponents. It is not easy, but once you get into the rhythm of aiming a little higher you will notice that precious K/D ratio climb.
22 Know When You Are Beaten
Especially in objective modes, there is nothing easier for the defense team then to have single combatants file in after staggering their spawns. When the attacking team rushes in without their allies to back them up, you can pick them off more or less one at a time as they come to attack. The team that stays together wins, as there is no way to Rambo every situation. The same goes for the defensive team. If you can not hold a point, it may be better to regroup then hold your ground and perish in vain.
In most objective games, there's no reason to not practice this. The score counter gives you some wiggle-room to counter-attack in most situations. Good coordination with your team is key to this strategy and it can be the difference between victory and failure. This makes it difficult to practice strategy in casual games. There is always some guy camping spawn with a sniper rifle and another who runs to their doom over and over, ending the game with a 1/10. So consider bringing some friends along to lessen this chance.
21 It Is There For A Reason
In every Call of Duty that I have ever played, you are allowed to take a sidearm, so when do you use it? Most people will wait until they are completely out of ammo then use it as a last-ditch effort. This is not only certain doom, but also a missed opportunity to get the most out of your sidearm. If you ever get to the end of your magazine on the fly, that is the prime time to switch to your sidearm. Switching in this situation will often be much faster than reloading your primary weapon and can catch the enemy off guard. We have all had that happen to use at some point, normally to devastating effect, so practice doing it to your opponents.
Never underestimate the usefulness of your pistol.
Now, which sidearm should you use as your finisher? There are those that prefer the heaviest sidearm possible to get in that one last shot in these situations. However, we suggest considering the one with mid-damage and a higher bullet capacity. If you get into a rush, the heavier pistols can be inaccurate and have heavy recoil. The smaller pistols can fire rapidly and more accurate when the pressure is on. So the choice is yours.
20 When Things Get Tough
So when you get the drop on someone, it can be advantageous to just use your knife. If you have ever watched someone who streams any Call of Duty or a YouTuber that has posted a video of him playing, you have seen a knife-only run. It is possible to get good K/D ratios with only a knife, but, in the competitive scene, people are normally a touch smarter. In our experience, if you knife someone in a tournament then you become a target due to the frustration you caused. This can be good and bad, but being a ninja can make you into Swiss cheese later on.
For competitive play, consider using the knife only when you know that it is not going to catch you out without a weapon. In some of the game of the series, the knife lunge can be pretty overpowered. This has mostly been changed in the newer games, so that the lunge is not as ridiculous, but there is still a time and a place for a backstab or a last-ditch swipe.
19 Flashy Versus Skill
Of course just as popular as the knife-only runs you will find all over the internet, are the throwing knife-only runs. Sometimes combined with a knife run, these little things are only as useful as you are good with them. They are very powerful, but can leave you open if you miss. We often wonder, why not just shoot the enemy if you had time to line up the knife throw? Of course, we have all seen those "across the map throwing knife" compilations. So if they can do it, so can you, right? Well maybe. Once you get into the skill brackets of those that take the game more seriously, they do not fall for these tricks.
Throwing knives can be fun, until you miss.
The throwing knife is not the only mostly useless item in CoD, Molotovs, gas grenades, and (depending on the game) even smoke grenades can be more or less useless. But, none can make you feel as silly as the throwing knife if you miss and get taken out. These compilations often leave out the times where they miss, but for those that do really well, more power to them. Just do not expect to get the same results in competitive play, where the enemy is wise to the uses of almost any weapon you don't use.
In almost any shooter game there is the concept of "pre-firing" that can be pretty useful or make you feel like a total dolt. The idea behind the strategy is when you turn a corner that you are pretty sure there is an enemy waiting, you fire as you turn the corner. This only really works if you know where the enemy might be, otherwise, you whip around firing at nothing and announcing your presence to the world. This can be used if you are watching a doorway and hear the enemy approaching, but if timed poorly, you will just tell him you are there.
For this to be truly effective, you must know where the cover is in the area that you wish to pre-fire into. This is most likely where the enemy will be and if not there, then in a corner of a room. Sometimes it would be better to toss in a flash grenade first, then catch them disorientated, instead of lighting up an area with no enemy, just to get shot in the side. We have seen it work and seen it fail horribly, so to each their own.
17 The A-Team
When getting a group together to practice or get into the maelstrom that is competitive play, just remember to keep a balanced team. Have someone willing to attack, defend, support, and if that one guy insists, maybe have a sniper. The last thing you want is for your friends to have no idea what their role is on the team. If you are expecting someone to rush, they need to know how they are going to do it. Not only does everyone need to know their role, but everyone else's as well, if needed. A disorganized team is one that will not win very often.
There needs to be a sense of pride in the role you play, as everyone needs to have the equipment required as well. As we mentioned, if your attackers decide to go knife only for objective alpha, then you can expect failure. If they insist on using odd tactics, then they better be fantastic at it. We have all seen that player who is godly with a tactical knife, but he can not pull it off when it matters then he needs to adapt. Adapting to the enemy in a timely fashion is another key to victory.
16 The Art Of Defence
We have discussed attack quite a bit, but what about defense? For some, the idea of staying in an area with your objective is "camping", but when your goal is to keep an area safe you need to make sure you can at least see the area. Sure, there is normally room for someone to roam the map to meet the enemy head-on. If we had a dollar for every Ninja Defuse we got in some of the older CoDs, we would be rich. Some people just refuse to do their job in objective modes because it can be seen as boring or camping.
Defending your points is crucial and it takes discipline to do correctly. If you want to defend outside of the room or area that is fine. However, team rushing on the defensive team is a good way to allow enemies to slip past and take your points. On the defensive team, there is virtually no such thing as camping, let's be honest, as anything that keeps the enemy away from your objective is fair game. If that bothers you, stick to Team Deathmatch. On the attacking team, you should expect a soldier in any hiding place available, so return the favor and keep them guessing.
15 Smoke'em If You Got'em
Ignoring the few games in the series that have done their smoke grenades poorly, they can be extremely useful. Smoke grenades can cause doubt for an enemy advancement and cause them to second guess their entry. The can also cover an advancement or even cause misdirection of where an advance is coming from. Combined with other tactical grenades and good timing, you can turn a bad situation into a good one. Or simply buy time as the enemy decides if it is safe to rush in or not.
Smoke grenades have their advantages, at least when you're the one using it.
For example, if you are guarding a room or building and you know the enemy will be attacking, try to fill the area just outside the doorway with smoke. This will buy you time as long as you do not fire through the smoke and give your position away. On the attacking team, you would want to throw the smoke grenade just past the inside the door so you can slip inside and find cover, not to mention its ability to give you general cover as you move around the map in general. The smoke grenade can be one of your most versatile tools, so do not waste their potential.
14 Don't Underestimate
True fans of Call of Duty have a love-hate relationship with the light machine guns within the games. From game to game, there always seems to be one that really stands out and some that are downright useless. For the better ones, a lot of people pass them up because they are a tad slower to aim and can be a little finicky. Some almost fire too fast for their own good, while others seem like they fire too slow to be effective. However, for defense or support, they can be a great tool based on their ability to sustain fire for much longer than any other gun.
For example, the Bren gun, pictured above, is a very powerful rifle-like light machine gun. It is very accurate and can take down enemies with only a few shots at nearly any range. It does not have the best rate of fire on its own, but it can be very useful in many different situations. The only real way they have seemed to nerf this weapon is giving it a longer than normal reload time, but beyond that it is a beast. But, if you prefer the faster firing German LMGs, no one can blame you for wanting the incredible suppressing power.
13 Good In Theory...
There are weapons that are impractical in certain situations, such as a sniper rifle at close range or a shotgun from afar. However, sometimes in Call of Duty, there are weapons and gadgets that are next to useless. One of the biggest examples that had many of us scratching our heads is the Blunderbuss from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. With a game featuring fast-paced gameplay, there is really no place even in casual play for this one. CoD is notorious for their poor depictions of shotguns, but to have one that takes that long to reload? Its funny, but useless.
What a blundering mess of a weapon.
As far as gadgets go, there are many to pass up in the series as well. To name a few, any gas grenade, signal flares, Molotov cocktails, and, for the most part, sticky grenades. Sticky grenades normally have a smaller blast radius and, unless you hit your target, do not normally finish enemies. There have even been a few times where the smoke grenades have been a little less than useful due to poor implementation. It is better to stick to what works the best and leave the gimmicks for casual play.
12 Silent And Deadly?
A fan favorite weapon attachment is the suppressor. The suppressor, sometimes mistakenly called a silencer, reduces the sound of a weapon and prevents your gunfire from revealing you on the map. From the sounds of that, who wouldn't want that benefit? Well, there are drawbacks to using a suppressor, as, depending on the game, it does reduce range and/or damage. For weapons that do above average damage this is less of a concern, but sometimes it can be the difference between a good or poor exchange.
This also takes an attachment slot away that help with recoil or your accuracy. We all know that the iron sights of some weapons are awful and could use a scope or red dot sight. You can use a perk that increases how many attachments you can have and you will see it used often with a suppressor. So, in the end, is it worth it? Well depending on your loadout, yes it very well can be. Especially while attacking, when avoiding attention can be a lifesaver.
11 Important Intel
Assuming the competitive level you are playing on allows for streak rewards to be used, then you have to think hard about where they are going. You have to be prepared that a lot of your opponents are going to be very good at Call of Duty, so just how high of a streak can you get? Keep this in mind, since some of the high-level rewards can be very powerful, but they are only useful if you can get them. On top of that, remember that the game will announce what you are using and they will most likely not stand in the open to let you use them.
It may be the strongest streak, but sometimes it's not as useful.
A lot of people forget that the easiest streak can be one of the most useful, the UAV or Recon Plane. This may not always be as useful either, due to a lot of teams doing all they can to hide their positions. But, if they are using perks for this, then they are not using other useful perks. This can also give valuable information to your whole team and help others use their streak rewards. Having low-level streaks will help keep the flow of pressure on when you need it. Consider how high you can score and maybe have one higher level just in case.
10 If You Know They Are There...
If you were to look at people's opinions of perks such as FMJ that allow you to do more damage through cover, many people find it to be next to useless. In a way, it really is. Most of the time, you will be able to put a shot onto an opponent themselves. Though it's a way to upset campers, by putting some rounds through a wall near their common spot. Perks like FMJ can help with this, but this takes up a slot that could be used better for the majority of the time. Often bullets do enough damage on their own to get the job done through cover.
As we mentioned, knowing the maps and every area that someone can use against you can give you a huge leg up. Knowing the areas that you can put rounds through cover or walls is part of this. When the game begins and the pressure mounts, it is hard to say which areas the enemy will use to their advantage. This is why strategies like this or pre-firing come in handy to catch them off guard. So if you think someone is behind light cover, put a shot through it and see if you get a hit marker.
9 The Golden Rule
If you are a fan of watching competitive play, then take note of how they communicate. They are not telling stories about their day, they are relaying important information. They will often know all the of areas on the map with colorful but short nicknames. This is seen to extremes in other games such as Counter-Strike, where nearly every inch of the map has its own nickname. You might also note that for the majority of the time they are dead silent, to allow for slight audio clues made by the enemy.
When they do speak it is often as short and accurate as possible.
Of course, it is easy to tell someone there is someone in the area that you perished, instead the pros will describe where the enemy is, not where they were themselves. Saying things like "at 'A' behind the boxes" is much more effective than just saying at Alpha. Sometimes, if there is something out of the ordinary about the equipment used, they will mention that as well. As important as clearly communicating is interpreting the information, so the street goes both ways. Frustration or anger is often kept to one's self as much as possible to allow for others to hear. As we said, it takes a lot of patience to play with the pros.
8 Keeping Your Ears On
Going along with the theme of communication is the importance of having a good headset. The cheap headsets might have a strange, distracting effect of some people's voices that can make them hard to understand. However, the mic is only one part of the reason to have a nice headset. Having clear stereo audio can enhance your ability to hear the movements of the enemy or track their fire more accurately. If you have ever tried to track someone through just the TV audio, you might have found this more difficult. You do not have to even spend a fortune on these high-quality sets anymore.
A $40 or $60 headset is as good as the ones we used to spend $100 on a few years ago, just know what you are getting. Some big brand names can be really expensive, but depending on how serious you are, they're totally worth it. Having the added benefits of hearing the enemy more precisely can make a huge difference in the match. It takes you from thinking that they are somewhere to the right, changing to they are on the second floor of the building to the right.
7 Avoid Clustering
If you have ever been rushing along with the team just to be taken out by a grenade, you will know where we are coming from here. It is important to be near your team, but not so close that something like this could happen. Besides, if you are all in one place, who is watching the flank, or the building next to yours and so on. Even losing more than one person to a mine of some kind is easily avoidable. This is not an easy thing to grasp when you are used to the fast-paced gameplay of CoD, but can be an invaluable skill.
Try to stay close to your team, but not too close.
Depending on the league, sometimes this is less about the grenade and more about that guy flanking. Maybe even blocking movement for a retreat. Making a conscious effort to try and keep space between you and the guy next to you can help protect him and yourself from a skilled player. Not to mention if a recon type reward shows you all together, you are more likely to find yourself under an artillery barrage or other streak rewards. Every elimination counts and having a few that could have been easy to avoid is a few too many.
6 Birds Of A Feather
It has never been easier to find and interact with others than with the social concept of the newest Call of Duty, when the social hub works that is. Many times you can find others that are on a similar skill level to you and simply reach out to them with a message and see if they are down to play. Sadly the gaming community has become less and less social as party chats have taken over. Many are comfortable to ignore anything that is said in game to instead focus on their teammates. This is good for the team, terrible for the social element.
From time to time ,you might come across a group in a clan, who may or may not wish to have you join their ranks. Alternatively, finding local events can get you to meet people in your area that you can team up with for tournaments. Regardless of how you find your team, having a team all on the same page is one of the most crucial ingredients for success. Reaching to someone who destroyed you will often lead to you being ignored. So instead try and find someone that caught your eye in the match and did similar to yourself.
So you have become a marksman, now what? Well, you could always do it faster. This is part muscle memory and part practice, but there is something that can help. In your settings, you can adjust your looking sensitivity to your liking. Having this as high as you can handle will allow you to have the edge on your opponent. Try to turn it up slowly and practice until you can get the feel for the speed. This can take awhile but trust us, this the secret of that beast on the other team.
Practice makes perfect, even if it takes years.
We all know where some people's minds are heading, those times where you crank the sensitivity as high as it can go and spin in circles. Or trying to play a game like that when you are used to less than half the speed. Be gradual with your increases and play for the rest of the day like that, then increase it the next day. We have all seen that monster player turn and defeat us when we had the drop on him. This is because of dedication, not because he was born with some special gift. Of course if you play on PC, this is needed to a lesser amount but still, give it a try and see how much you improve.
4 Pro Strats
You have the team together and you play together enough to dominate nearly any enemy in casual, so now what? Well, it's time to take that step, get the crew together and practice. No, not in casual, as you are only as good as your competition. Go into a private match and discuss the area that works and ones that do not, the places that each person will go. Get a feel for maps when there is no chaos to distract you. Build your strategy and then give it a test in the competitive modes within the game.
If you are already set up for a match through a website or have a tournament lined up, play through the maps, learn where you can rush before the enemy does and vice versa. Keep as much of the map covered as possible and the only way to know its effectiveness is a trial by fire. Who knows, maybe a career in eSports is in your future. But, more than likely you will have to go back to the drawing board a few times and readjust your strategies.
3 MLG Rules
So you have the team, you have the hours of practice, you have created a clan name and everything. You pick a competitive website to help you find groups to fight, but there is one huge thing to keep in mind. This level of competitive play has additional rules that you have to follow. Anything from equipment restrictions to restricted areas of the map reachable by minor exploits can be in the list of rules. Read all of these carefully if you wish to play or else the other team may use the excuse to disqualify you from the match.
Rule number one is to follow the rules.
Some teams out there can be very petty and any little thing they can argue will come up in order to dispute your victory. This is less likely to happen when everyone can travel to an event, but sadly finding a local group can be difficult. Even at these events, there is going to be a set of rules that will result in strict and swift punishment. In live gameplay, it can be even easier to spot you doing something shady. So just do not do it. Practice how you will play, with or without certain gear.
2 Play To Win
We touched on this a little bit before but to be clear, the thing that wins objective games, is in fact, the objective. Whether you are playing Domination, Search and Destroy, War, or Capture the Flag, the only way to win is to be proactive with the objective points. You have to use a lot of strategies. Get in, get out, defend, attack, many times all in the one game! There is never one perfect way to do anything for any one game mode. This is where everything else comes together and determines if you win or lose. You can be the best sniper in the game, but if your team needs another attacker, you need to be prepared to do whats needed.
This advice goes for both the attacking and defending teams, or for certain games, you will need to do both at the same time. So do you need an extra defender? Someone to stay right on the point? Someone to cover the flag carrier? These are all things to think about in the heat of the moment, but without a plan, everything falls apart. So focus on what gets you the victory making every push count without losing everyone and being left wide open.
1 Keep Your Cool
When things are not going well it is easy to lose your temper, as you feel like nothing you do seems to stop the enemy. Their strategy just seems to counter everything you are trying to do, as they defend from unorthodox places. We all know how this ends sometimes. People quit, people blame others, someone starts to hurl expletives and morale hits rock bottom. Sometimes it doesn't even take a game that is this bad to set someone off. When someone loses their cool, no one can hear, it is hard to keep focus and when someone blames you for their problems, you are tempted to fire back. Not to mention if a teammate quits in a preplanned game, they can cause you to lose if there are no backups.
Keep calm and carry on.
So each member needs to remember that no matter how much pride is on the line, it is just game. Keep your cool and be a good sportsman. Even little comments can rub someone the wrong way and set them off their game. You have to trust that everyone is doing all they can to win. If things are still not going your way, then at least learn something from the match. If you lose and don't learn from it, the whole experience is wasted.
Image by James Rolfe.