The Call of Duty franchise hasn’t changed that much since the original Modern Warfare. Granted, each installment brings with it new weapons, perks and minor tweaks, but the core gameplay has mostly remained the same. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare‘s multiplayer, though, is the biggest departure the series has seen in seven years. If you thought you were an expert before, know that you’re going to sit through a few humbling matches before you find your feet.
Good news, though! We’re here to aid the learning process and get you into the new, futuristic flow as fast as possible. Welcome to your guide to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer.
Moving with the exosuit
The single biggest change to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the addition of the Exosuit. It’s a fancy, mechanical monstrosity that all soldiers in the future have to strap to their backs. And despite its ungainly appearance, it does offer some pretty incredible mobility improvements.
The easiest and most obvious benefit: The double jump. You can now launch yourself onto rooftops in a split second whereas in previous games you had to find the stairs.
Unfortunately for you, everyone else in the game has the same ability, so if you think you’re safe in that tower, think again.
Once you’ve mastered the benefits of the double jump, you can start to mess with some of the harder techniques, like the air-dash. Clicking in the sprint button while in mid-air allows you to do a dash in the direction you’re pressing. It takes some getting used to, but it’s remarkably useful when it comes to closing distance on an enemy or avoiding gunfire.
You can also dash left, right, and backward in the same way when on the ground. This can be a great way to get clear of enemy fire and dip behind cover before you’re cut down.
The big thing to remember about all of this, though, is that whenever you perform a fancy double jump or air dash, you appear on enemy radar. If you’d rather not worry about this, select the Blast Suppressor perk, which keeps you stealthy.
Equipment has always been a big part of Call of Duty, but for Advanced Warfare, the equipment slot has been replaced by something called Exo Abilities. Basically, these are time-based, short-term benefits you can activate to give your soldier an edge.
Each of the abilities has different utilities that suit different playstyles. Exo Overclock, for example, speeds up all of your character’s movements, including their reload speed. This is a good option if you’re looking to counteract a slower weapon like a heavy machine gun. It’s also a handy “Oh s—t” button to use if you suddenly start taking fire on your flanks.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to remain unseen, slap a suppressor on your gun and equip Exo Cloak, which makes you feel a bit like the Predator, just without the awesome hair. Just note that the battery drains more quickly as you move.
Related: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – PS3 vs Xbox 360 Comparison
Lastly, if you’re the sort of player that prefers to jump square into the middle of a Domination capture point, might I suggest Exo Trophy System, which destroys up to two nearby explosives while it’s active. Toss down some smoke and you’re good to camp there for a while.
Oh right, there are actually guns in this game! Once you’re able to master the Exo shenanigans, you should know that the rest of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare‘s multiplayer feels pretty familiar. Most of the weapons, for example, are similar to guns that were in previous games (albeit with cooler, more futuristic-sounding names). There are a few outliers, like laser guns, but even those feel like takes on traditional heavy machine guns.
If you’re getting the sense that there are fewer weapon options, that’s because there are unlockable variants for most of the guns, with slightly modified stats (not to mention a boatload of unlockable attachments). Many of these come from new Supply Drops, basically loot crates that are gifted to you as you complete challenges (discussed below).
If you’re finding yourself getting creamed, though, try and stick with a good all-around weapon as you get more comfortable with the game. The BAL-27 is a lovely assault rifle that’ll work rather well in just about any scenario, and it’s unlocked from moment one. If you’re looking for a bit more range, though, take a look at the ARX-160.
And remember, new to this installment, you can actually try out any weapon as you wait for a new match to begin. Just select the Firing Range option to drop into a simple map to test out your selected loadout. Nifty!
Pick 13 system
Call of Duty: Black Ops II introduced the Pick 10 system, letting players select any 10 customizations for their create-a-class, mixing and matching to get the perfect fit. Advanced Warfare works exactly the same way, but the number has been increased to 13 customizations (and create-a-class is unlocked from the outset).
If you’re just starting out, try focusing on equipping a single gun with three attachments – all of which are unlocked by completing gun-specific challenges – while unequipping your grenades and secondary weapon. You won’t be as versatile, but it should keep you alive a bit longer, at least in Deathmatch or Kill Confirmed.
For more objective-based modes, try focusing more on perks and upgrades that’ll help you capture points or move faster. Don’t be afraid to mix and match and try new things. The system allows for incredibly versatile classes and originality is generally rewarded.
The three extra points in Pick 13 account for the addition of Scorestreak rewards to individual class loadouts. By default, each reward unlocks in a match after a certain number of points are earned in a single spawn. It’s score-based rather than kill-based, so assists and objective completions also go toward these unlocks.
If you don’t usually survive long enough to unlock any Scorestreaks, then you might want to consider customizing them. You can apply various modifiers to each reward that, in exchange for some benefit, raise the in-match “cost” of the unlock. Many of the modifiers are reward-specific, but a lot of them share one that unlocks the Scorestreak based on your total score rather than limiting it to a single spawn.
Loot (Wait, there’s Loot?)
Supply Drops are new to Call of Duty, unlocking customization options for your character. You’ll earn them for doing all sorts of random things in campaign, multiplayer, and co-op. But what’s in them? Good question! I have no idea!
Supply Drop contents are randomized and can contain one of three types of loot. Weapons found in Supply Drops are the variants discussed above. These weapons come pre-loaded with an unremovable attachment (like a scope or a suppressor) that doesn’t count against your Pick 13 total. They usually have unique camos adorning them, as well. Don’t worry, you can still use the vanilla version of the gun if you prefer, but if you do find a Supply Drop weapon that better fits your play style, live it up!
The second piece of loot is gear. These are simply visual customizations for your character. They won’t have any impact on your gameplay, but they make you look slightly more like a futuristic badass, so at least there’s that.
Lastly there are Reinforcements. These let you call in a perk or a low-level killstreak to help turn the tide of battle. They’re one-time use, though, so you’ll need to keep finding them to keep using them. Thankfully, they’re also the most common form of loot.
Once you hit the max level in Advanced Warfare (level 50) you can choose to activate Prestige Mode. Your reward for doing this? You lose almost everything!
So why would you? Well, there are some benefits, most of them cosmetic. You get a new icon to indicate what level Prestige you’re at. You also unlock a new calling card and some gear.
But the biggest benefit is that you can carry over a single piece of gear to your next level of Prestige, so you won’t need to level up to get it again. You can do this with any weapon, perk, scorestreak, Exo Ability or grenade. It’s strongly recommended that you select an item that you’d generally unlock at a very high level, as permanently unlocking something that requires level 12 is a pretty serious waste.
Of course, you could always just skip Prestige and be happy at level 50 with all of your goodies unlocked. Totally up to you.
That should get you started in the world of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer. And remember: When in doubt, try punching something in the face.
(Media © 2014 Activision Publishing, Inc.)