With Call of Duty: Ghosts on the shelves, millions of people across the world are going to be putting a lot of time into the competitive multiplayer. But the longer the series continues and the more fans that stick with the series, the steeper the learning curve gets for people that aren’t prepared to dedicate serious time to practicing their gaming.
There is no substitute for practice, but there are a few simple things you can do to improve your game. That’s where this guide comes in. We will be adding to this list regularly, and if you have any tips you’d like to share, post it in the comments below!
And while you’re at it, check out our review of Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Practice, practice, practice
Practice is the key to excelling in any field, but in Ghosts there are other benefits to practicing beyond improving your hand-eye skills. The newly introduced Squads mode takes the combat training – where you play multiplayer maps and modes against AI opponents – in a new direction. You still play against the AI, but you can set it up to help you earn additional experience.
In Squad Assault, you play against an AI set up by a real player. That player chooses the game mode and map, and uses the characters they have unlocked and equiped. Win or lose, that AI team then earns their creator bonus time, which gives you an experience boost when you are playing traditional multiplayer. The more your team is challenged and the better it does, the more time you receive.
Instead of offering the ability to Prestige as you could in the previous Call of Duty games, you now can unlock up to 10 characters. You can do this at any time – as long as you have the points. Each unlock costs 3 squad points. Those 10 characters then make up the pool of the soldiers you can assign to your squad, and as with a real game, finding a balance is good. Setting your team up to have a mix of snipers, LMGs, SMGs, assault rifles – really, whatever mix you personally prefer – can make for a powerful squad. You share the Squad points needed to unlock weapons, perks, and equipment, so if you have some extra points sitting around, it’s worth it to equip your squad when possible.
Before you start a match in Squads, head to the Squad HQ. Choose a Squad name if you like, then select the game mode and map you want your AI team to play. It doesn’t necessarily matter which mode or map you choose, but it will use your unlocked characters; it’s best to select a map that complements your purchased weapons, perks, and equipment. Of course, this won’t really make a difference until after you have unlocked the characters to begin with, which should be a low priority as you experiment with new weapons and get a feel for them.
You can also earn experience just by playing against AI teammates – but it maxes out at 1500 points per match.
When you create a new character in Ghosts, the game asks you what type of player you want to be: Assault, CQB, Covert Ops, Heavy Gunner, or Marksman. This only matters at the start. Soon enough you’ll earn the points to unlock whatever you want, but the class you choose also comes with perks that you may not be able to afford until several hours in.
One addition to the familiar weapon classes is the Marksman class, which falls between the Sniper and Assault. There are four weapons in the Marksman class, all semi-automatic. If this group had existed in previous Call of Duty games, weapons like the FAL and M1 would have fallen in it. If that is your preferred type of weapon, choose this class.
Balance your perks
The number of perks you can take with you depends on how much gear you are carrying. Each perk carries a value, which is something like a weight. Specifically, it signifies how many perk slots it will occupy. The number of perk slots you have at your disposal depends on what you are already carrying. It is similar to the perks system in Black Ops 2, which allowed you to take 10 items regardless of what they were, but it requires a bit more planning to balance the perks you want with what you are carrying.
For a little extra space, consider removing your secondary weapon, and possibly even one or both pieces of equipment. You can always pick up another weapon off a fallen friend or foe; equipment may be a sacrifice, but there are some perks that make it worthwhile. You can also swap them around between matches whenever you like, once they’re unlocked.
Although clans may not be for everyone, especially the lone wolf types, there is a very good reason to join one: because there is no reason not to. Once you join a clan, your group is automatically assigned a standing in a bi-monthly Clan War. Clan Wars are split up in groups of eight and populated with clans of roughly the same size and level. Each new Clan War introduced every two weeks, offers several game modes on a full assortment of maps. If you are in a clan, and you are playing one of the game modes on the selected map in a normal play list – even if you don’t know it – you are helping earn points for your clan. If your clan then earns the most points on that map and game mode out of the eight competing clans, you will earn an experience bonus of up to 25-percent for as long as you lead. Your team may even go on to win the entire Clan War with minimal effort, earning you unique tags patches and cosmetic additions.
This is where the Call of Duty second screen app comes in. Download it to see the Clan War and coordinate which game modes to focus on. But even if you don’t, there is no reason not to join a clan because you may accidentally fall backwards into bonus experience just for doing what you are doing anyway. If you can’t find a clan to join, you can opt to be placed into a random clan.
Don’t overlook Infected and Hunted
The new modes Infected and Hunted are both atypical games, since they do not use the loadouts that you will be working hard to customize. That can be a good thing though. When you first log on you will be at a disadvantage against those who have had the chance to experiment with weapons and unlock perks.
You can always just wade in and keep fighting, or you can jump into Squads until you get a loadout you like. Alternatively, you can jump right in and play both Infected and Hunted where every player is equal. Neither mode will earn you a ton of experience, but it will be a level playing field. It’s a good way to experience the maps without worrying about players out classing you.
Learn the maps
This is an obvious hint for any multiplayer game, but it’s especially true in Ghosts. In previous COD games, you could orient yourself easily enough, since most maps followed the same philosophy: You typically have a rectangular arena and three main pathways from one side to the other. Not so in Ghosts.
The maps in Ghosts are varied and sprawling, and there are often more than three routes from one side to the other. Some areas have gates you can shoot open, leading to an underground passage, while others have elevators you can call. Others still feature elevated platforms that can be destroyed, leaving you opportunities to set traps. There are also incidents that alter the face of the map – but not the layout. You may find yourself in the ruins of a baseball stadium when a strike from an orbital satellite turns it into the smoldering ruins of a baseball stadium. The changes are aesthetic though.
There is another benefit to learning not just the maps, including the areas within the maps. Squad mates will automatically call out where they see an enemy, and they will use specific locations in the map as reference. You may hear things like “tango spotted at the gas station,” which only makes sense if you actually know where the gas station is. It’s an automated feature, and one that can help find opponents.
Learning these paths in the early days will give you a huge advantage. Soon enough everyone will have learned the ins and outs, so taking your time in a squad mode will pay off later.
Located in the the multiplayer menus you’ll see a tab marked “Operations.” Longtime fans of the series will recognize these as challenges that you complete as you play, and can be anything from sprinting 5 miles while using the Marathon perk, to winning 5 rounds of Free-For-All. These challenges also tend to have tiers. Run 5 miles for the tier 1 reward, and the next tier may be 10 miles or 20. completing one of these challenges earns you experience and squad points.
In Ghosts, you now have just five challenges active at a time, but you can spend a point to swap one out if you don’t like it. One challenge may reward you for winning Search and Rescue, but if you never play the mode, consider spending the point to switch it for another, randomly assigned challenge. It might be something you do anyway, so you might as well earn a bonus for it.
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