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Dominate this! how to pwn in videogames, airsoft, paintball and more!

Updated on May 17, 2010


The tactics described in this article apply only to competitive first person videogames, airsoft, paintball, outdoor laser tag and other games which are "played" with respawn rules and keep score. Real military tactics are dramatically different and using these tactics will get you killed. There's no respawn in real life.

I hope many new players find this information useful and it will help them develop winning tactocs of their own!

What makes these games different from the real life

Videogames have advanced a long way since pacman! Current first person shooters feature extremely large maps, detailed environments and modern computers can support rendering shadows and advanced geometries.

The introduction of internet commerce pushed airsoft, paintball and outdoor laser tag into the mainstream, so now you have an option of playing out fun "war" games outside with your friends on top of playing videogames at home.

All of these games have similarities that produce a need for special tactics:

  • Lack of material penetration - even wood and cardboard count as hard cover for airsoft and paintball. Many videogames still don't have decent material penetration physics.
  • The respawn rules make it look good to have a high kill-to-death (KD) ratio. Being hit and dying is accepted as a part of the game
  • All of these games are time limited and are reset after a game is over. There's no element of continuity involved
  • These games are mostly played by untrained civilians
  • There's no logistics or supplies involved - you jump straight into action.

In this article I'm talking about airsoft, paintball, outdoor laser tag and large map videogames, like Battlefield series, Call of Duty, Crysis, project IGI, Farcry series, Unreal series, and most other games involving maps large enough for vehicle warfare. etc.

Cover vs Concealment

A flimsy shack like this one will still be providing hard cover in a lot of videogames. Crysis was one of the first games to feature material penetration (DX 10 multiplayer version)
A flimsy shack like this one will still be providing hard cover in a lot of videogames. Crysis was one of the first games to feature material penetration (DX 10 multiplayer version)

How first person shooter games are played

In short, there are 3 ways to play first person shooter games: 

  1. Using speed and eye-hand coordination
  2. Using tactics and psychology
  3. Using a combination of both.

Obvious positions get checked first

Hiding behind barrels provides good cover, but it is very easy to spot you and keep track of your position!
Hiding behind barrels provides good cover, but it is very easy to spot you and keep track of your position!

Position - your most valuable asset

Since all of these games take place on a pretty well known maps, your position becomes your most valuable asset. You must be looking for a good combination of visibility, concealment and cover. This is easier said than done.

Because most maps are well known, most advantageous positions get looked at first when searching for targets. This makes it possible to hide in plain sight. Instead of taking a position in a sandbag bunker with your team, lay around a wooden log 50 feet out. This way you provide a security element for your team and when opponents try to flank you, you can get a few really good shots :) A good defensive position would have 3-4 security elements like this.

Returning fire from a postion. When you dive into cover and know where your opponent is, avoid popping up in the very same spot where you first took cover. In real military terms this is called duck and roll, if I'm not mistaken. The logic of this move is simple - the opponent would have his sights lined up exactly where you went to cover. The extra couple seconds would help him line up his sights for a perfect headshot, and in most games this would reduce the deviation for each shot. The tip is simple - when taking cover, shift to a new position before returning fire.

Movement is key

Even in speedball it is possible to move without being hit! If you know how to move and when!
Even in speedball it is possible to move without being hit! If you know how to move and when!

Movement - know when and how

There are 2 ways to advance in either paintball, airsoft, laser tag or videogames. They are - direct assault and indirect assault.

Direct assault involves overwhelming strength to advance. In most cases this results in a 1:1 kill to death ratio, 2:1 on a good day. It takes at least 3 attackers for 1 defender to perform a frontal assault. A common direct assault tactic is strafing - moving in zigzag patterns and running from cover to cover. 

Indirect assault involves flanking your opponents. All of the games above features fixed size maps, so the best way to advance is along the edge of the map. People look for fun and stuff to shoot at, so watching the corner of the map is not the most fun thing to do. This rule has been around for 10 years and it is still true. Flanking along the edge of the map is fun, watching the edge of the map is not.

The invisibility mind trick. This trick is old, yet it works in all military games with respawn. When an opponent has you pinned down or spotted, remain in a stationary position until you want to peek and check the situation. Add 15-20 seconds to that time. By now your opponent is questioning where you went, if you have shifted the position or have been killed by someone else. The opponent would look around, losing the precise aim at your position that he might've maintaned for the previous 30 seconds or so. This trick workls only in games with no material penetration and no area attack weapons like grenades. After executing this trick, you can resume your stealth mission.

Movement and dominant hand. With most 2 handed rifles, the right handed person would have easier time returning fire to his left, and will have easier time returning fire that way. It does not matter if you have an airsoft gun, a paintball marker, or a mouse in your hand. It is a simple question of convenience. For the left handed people the right side is more accessible. This puts them at a disadvantage in videogames, which mostly use right handed models.

Right handed weapons

Most weapons in videogames use right handed model, which favors right strafing motion for engagement
Most weapons in videogames use right handed model, which favors right strafing motion for engagement

Communications and intelligence

In all the videogames that I've been playing over the past 12 years, the team that has better communications wins. Knowing what your opponents are doing will help you a lot. Being in constant communication with your team/squad will lead to victory.

As a rule, I always join Voip squads and often lead them in all games. Talking over the internet may feel awkward at first, and I still cant believe some things that come out of my mouth in the heat of the action, but it gets better with time :)

Teamwork may move mountains

In airsoft, as in paintball, laser tag and videogames, attacking as a unit may really make a difference. Accept the fact that someone will get hit, but keep pushing. This makes taking fortified positions, bunkers, most houses possible.

Recognize that even the best marksman in such games cannot engage more than one target at a time.

Please note that attacking together is dramatically different than bunching together to talk or defend a position, especially when automatic weapons are present. 

Squads tend to bunch together

In games with no radio communications, people stick within earshot of each other
In games with no radio communications, people stick within earshot of each other

Stealth and ambush

Generally speaking, people and videogame players with no exception feel safer and more relaxed in groups. They believe that someone else is watching, so they let their guard down. Therefore, ambushing a squad of airsoft/paintball players is easier than ambushing a single individual.

In terms of stealth, most players look for movement about 100 feet away from them, believing that they are good enough to spot opponents within 50 feet. This is not so.You can use this to your advantage - avoid fidgeting and changing positions frequently to look for more targets. Stay in the shadows and let enemy scounts pass by you. This will make ground seem secure, and when the enemy squad follows, you can wipe them out. You are looking at a 5:1 KD ratio if you master this tactic :)

When first taking a position, start to scan the ground in front of you from left to right, starting with 10 feet out and all the way to the edge of your vision

It is important to remain silent during movement. Avoid stepping on twigs, step on the balls of your feet first and make sure that your airsoft vest or a paintball hopper do not have rattling magazines or loose paintballs that will give away your position!


On a final note, remain aware of your surroundings. Realize that the most likely lines of drift, such as roads, open spaces, etc, are the most likely areas to be "camped". Camping is a term used for sitting in one spot and picking off people as they pass by. Camping is different from ambush, because it relies on the fact that people respawn and pass by you over and over again, where the ambush is more of a one time deal.

Look at your surroundings, your map, if present and identify the potential enemy avenues of approach for both direct assault and flanking. Try to find a good "security" position for your team.

A great awareness tool is a scope. It will help you distinguish between a dark tree stump and a black form of a woodland camouflaged opponent.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      This inomioatrfn is off the hizool!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Your raws are not quite comprehensive. One of the N-Gang cmoics was misdated I think, and you're missing some other N-Gang stories: Kino & Ketchup (iss 2, 1999), Die Ostereier-Situation (iss 2, 2000), Die Gf6tter des Olymp (iss 4, 2000), and Die Hexe lacht um Mitternacht (iss 6, 2000). Also, what about the Special Editions? There are 9 for game releases (known) and 3 for hardware, as well as Pokemon ones apparently (unknown). Do you have these scans? If so, how about updating your package (pretty please)?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      That's a genuinely imsvispere answer.


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