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A Guide to Not Totally Sucking at Competitive First Person Shooters

Updated on September 8, 2014

Buzzkill Games: FPS Advice

The reality is that everybody wants to be good at the things that they like, and for a lot of people what they like is playing their favorite FPS game. But most players score below a 1.0 kill to death ratio, which means that they are a detriment to their teammates and that in order to win a match the work is being done by a more skilled player on their team. The purpose of this article is to give some basic advice to players who are looking to elevate themselves up beyond being just an average player.

From Noob To Novice

First off, let me make it clear that I'm in no way guaranteeing that following any of this advice will automatically turn you into a pro player. Few people have the dedication and time available to them to reach those goals. It takes practice to get good at any thing.

With that said, if you aren't willing to put some time aside to do away with your current strategy (which I assume if you are reading this is just spray-and-pray), and work on developing some new habits and tactics, then there's little that you can do to see noticeable increases in your KDR in a short period of time.

But if you want to slay bodies like a soldier worth his salt, following my advice can help get you to finishing games at least above a 1.0 KDR, which is a good start if you are shooting to make pro someday.


Stay Frosty

Frustration is your number one enemy, not other players. If you are working hard to improve your skills, it can be very frustrating to have an enemy player snipe you across the map or sneak up behind you and stab you in the back right when you get in position to make a solid kill. But this will happen, and part of being a good player is remembering to stay covered and concealed the best you can, for as long as you can, and to keep your cool when shit hits the fan. Once panic hits, your opponent will take advantage of the situation and end you.

Know your Surroundings

It's important to be familiar with any map you are playing in because for one you need to know all the good vantage points to take advantage of to get good kills, where to hide when you draw too much attention to yourself and which pathways or area's are on normally the most populated or fought over.

It's also helpful to know which corridors or entry ways have a lot of traffic so you can take advantage of your mines when passing through these areas. Eventually you will start to develop an eye for spotting ambush points and learn the best ways of negotiating through these areas as to not get caught in another players trap.

Annoying Camper to Tactical Mastermind

A favored tactic of a lot of novice players is to find a good location to hide in while firing off cheap shots on unsuspecting enemies, until some one eventually finds your location and puts and end to your streak. This is called camping, and it will invoke cussing, whining and adolescent rage fits.

I'm not suggesting that you should become a nature enthusiast and spend all of your time camping, but you should learn how to camp, when to camp and where to camp on any given map.

After you learn how to make stealthy take downs from a nice secluded position, you'll soon learn that if you stay in that same location for very long, you will have to deal with enemies swarming you with explosives, bullets and fiery death.

While the novice will try to hold their location with claymore mines or C4 traps, the more advanced player will abandon the location after drawing unwanted attention, while leaving some traps behind in an attempt to get some extra kills from frustrated enemy players trying to get some revenge.

Black Ops - Nuke Town

Unseen and Unheard

It's important for any player that wants to get good to understand how to efficiently play stealthily. Even if you still prefer to run and gun, you need to know how the stealthy player thinks and behaves so you don't fall victim to their back attacks and traps.

Remember to take your time and make sure you have a good shot when you are being stealthy. It's a shame to lose a good kill because you miss on your first shot and alert your enemy to your location. Silencers normally decrease either range or damage in most multiplayer FPS games, so make sure you don't pull the trigger until you know your shots will count.

The Berserker

The Run-and-Gun tactic is found across the spectrum of FPS players, from the Noob to the Pro. The only difference between the two is that the pro has a much larger pool of information to draw from and has developed much better reflexes and response time.The pro players mix tactics mid game like it's second nature, there is a time to be on the run and a time to stay hidden.

Remember to keep your cool and to not bite off more than you can chew. Another thing to keep in mind when you are on the run is to finish your kills. Once the heat is on it's a common problem to shift fire to a secondary target before the first target is eliminated, which usually ends in your death while both of your visible opponents make it out of the altercation alive.

Gather Intel

Above all else, the most important advice I can give to another player who desires to get better at playing any first person shooter is to constantly take time to learn new things about the game you are playing and to always gather fresh intelligence about winning strategies and successful load outs.

FPS games are fast paced and highly competitive, you aren't going to be in the top 3 players of every match you play unless you get good at what you are doing, and that means you have to be able to out smart a living, breathing person who is trying to destroy you. A highly competitive attitude is obviously beneficial, but you also need to know what options that you have available to you at any given situation.

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare


Nobody gets good at anything worthwhile with out a lot of practice and training. It's important to take some time to really learn the controls of the game you are playing, and to be able to switch weapons, throw explosives or do melee attacks with out needing to search for the right button. You need to take the time to develop proficiency with the controls of the game you are playing so you don't accidentally reload when you are trying to melee kill an enemy that is right in front of you while the stress is on.

It's common for inexperienced players to freak out and hold down the fire button on their automatic weapons when an enemy appears right in front of them all of a sudden, and extremely frustrating when that enemy player gets a precise shot off and gets the kill on you even though you feel like you fired off a thousand bullets at them first. Training will help you react more efficiently in these situations and help you survive close combat shoot outs more often.

Outside of the Game

Yes, regular exercise and involvement in sports and athletic activities will help with your reaction time in game. Not only will this help you respond to threats, it will also teach you how to work with in a team (if you play team sports) and help you to develop the skills you need to be able to out smart competition in a variety of other settings.

As a prior service Marine, and practitioner of Martial Arts for half of my life, I can say for sure that training from both of those avenues have helped me in game in a lot of occasions. Knowing when and how to fake an enemy in real life has taught me how to enrage enemy players in game and has helped me pull off successful ambushes regularly. Also once you've learned to successfully block a punch to the face in real life, it creates less panic in game when an enemy player jumps in your face out of nowhere, guns blazing. The same is true for any competitive sport, there is a lot to be learned and growth to be made by fostering a healthy competitive drive.

Battlefield 3

Mission Success

But remember, try not to take failure too harshly. You will always be your own worst enemy, and self doubt may be your hardest obstacle to overcome. Progress may come slower than you want, but if you keep learning and trying to improve, you will get better.

Lastly, keep a good attitude and have fun. Nobody likes or respects a player who whines and complains about everything. There is a huge skill gap between the average player and the pro, and it takes a lot work to be 1337. So stick with it and try to learn from those that are better than you instead of complaining about them pwning you for the 20th time.

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