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February 8, 2011

Top Ten Irritating Habits Of Multiplayer Twits

Okay, the heading could be a little less harsh, but if it were, the casual reader wouldn't understand the depth to which my hatred extends.  In order to be fair and not make this a post full of anger and negativity, I'll present my points in the form of helpful advice.  Oh, and this post is going to be a bit long-winded, I'm sure, but there is good reason for it, so to begin let me set the scene.

I am a lover of FPS gaming (First Person Shooter), with one specific franchise that I doggedly pursue the titles of.  That franchise, it should be no surprise, is "Call Of Duty."  Now, I have been playing the multiplayer games of these titles since the first "Modern Warfare" came out, and I have had complaints about the gameplay, glitches, fairness and matchmaking/connectivity of each and every title.  Some I've had more to bitch about than others, it is true, but the one thing that has remained consistent is the idiocy I have witnessed during the matches.  I have finally decided to address these complaints, and explain my deep irritation and frustration when these problems cost me a challenge, a level up, or a match win.  Some are game-type specific, and I will point that out as I go.  For the most part, however, I am referring solely to team-based gameplay, not one on one.

10.  Don't play Deathmatch games while in an objective-based lobby.  This sounds obvious, but might need a little more flesh to explain.  Deathmatch games are all about killing the enemy team and racking up the score before the other team does.  It is all about the kills.  Objective-based games, to put it mildly, aren't.  Whether it is a game of Domination (own the three capture points in order to gain score every five seconds), Capture The Flag (get the enemy team's flag to your base while your flag is still there), or Demolition (plant a bomb on the enemy team's two target crates while they attempt to stop you in a timed game), the objective remains to complete a winning match you must achieve your goal.  This does NOT mean find a place to kill anyone who comes near while not actually attempting to assist your team reach that goal.  I've been in games of Domination where the only person on my team even attempting to gain flag points in order to move toward a win has been me...on a team of six players!  Which leads me to my next item on the list...

9.  If in an objective-based game, try to achieve the objective yourself.  Again, this should be a damn no-brainer!  The game is Capture The Flag...how about doing something freaking crazy, like attempting to CAPTURE THE FLAG!!!  You know, it's only the reason you're in this game, it's only the title of the match, some people may consider it to be important enough to try and do it.  Oh, and keeping an eye on our team's flag is a great idea too, admittedly, but when camping on an objective it might help if you...

8.  Stay close to the objective you are defending.  What?  You mean that defending the objective a good sniper-distance away when armed with an SMG isn't a good idea?  Really?  Yes, you waste of a slot on our team roster, if you are so far away from the flag that when someone tries to grab it they get off-screen before you can get a shot off, you just might be too stupid to live.  This happens most frequently during CTF games, and the fact is it burns me up to see that the entire team is depending on the guy who chose to hang back to defend the flag, and the guy is so well-concealed in his little hidey spot that he can't actually do any defending.  This is also caused by the simplicity of the following rule:

7.  Know your gun's capabilities and use one that suits your strengths.  If you've never used a sniper rifle before, don't be in a CTF game volunteering to hang back and hold the flag with one.  Conversely to the prior point, I have seen sniper rifle equipped players covering the flag who, when the enemy comes in to grab it, fire a shot that goes so wildly off the mark that all they do is alert the entire enemy team that our side has a really crappy sniper.  The word 'crappy' is not the word I wanted to use there, I mean it REALLY isn't the word I want to use there, but since this is not marked as an adult-only blog, I'm trying to keep it clean.  We'll see how I do as we continue.

6.  Know the map.  Again, this one should be a no-brainer.  This affects ALL objective-based games, and even Team Deathmatch as well.  If you are unaware of a path that can lead the enemy directly to the centre of your defences, you are handing them a win over your team with your lack of knowledge.  Every CoD title has had the ability to start an offline game on each and every map, in order to allow full exploration and discovery of quick/hidden routes to and fro, and players who have trouble with retaining map imagery in their minds when playing should be using this feature to ensure they know where they are going and how best to get there.  Epic fail for those who don't, especially with the latest title in the franchise, "Black Ops," because they actually included a 'Combat Training' mode expressly for the purposes of fending off player complaints about my points 6 and 7.  My personal offline player is levelled up to max, with every weapon unlocked, enough CoD points to open each and every attachment for any gun I choose to practice with, every perk unlocked, every item of equipment at my disposal.  I did not do this to say "Hey, look at my offline guy, he can use anything."  No, I did it so that I can compare weapons, test the strengths of suggestions from other gamers regarding loadout usefulness, and ensure that I equip myself against other players with the best weapons for my personal gameplay style.  Oh, and that gameplay style?  It's called WANTING TO WIN.

5.  Aid your team in obtaining your objective.  Now, it would seem I already covered this in point 9 above and only worded it a bit differently, but I want to really make sure you understand the importance of this specific point.  I have sat on a flag in Domination, in the midst of the most open area of the map (usually, the flag in this location would be the 'B' flag), tethered due to my intent to capture said flag to a tiny area about 3 paces large.  Around me are the enemy, who may or may not have noticed me physically, but who could, if paying attention, see that their icon for their precious capture-point was flashing slowly to indicate that someone is indeed taking the point away from them.  Knowing me, I generally try to get on points of this nature during a game announcement (a voice in-game tells all players when something of some moment is in the offing, such as an enemy care package, a napalm strike, or an enemy taking a capture point), since at the very least the voice notifying our teams that a capture point is being taken will be delayed if not totally ignored by the game itself.  In fact, the best time to grab a seat at a capture point is when another member of your team is just starting to grab another capture point - oftentimes, the enemy team will hear that announcement and go after the one announced, not even noticing the other icon slowly flashing the warning that a cap is about to go off.  The thing I need to stress here is that the more people on a capture point, the faster it caps.  So, back to my scenario:  I'm on 'B', in the middle of nowhere, no cover, surrounded by enemy gunfire, and hoping desperately that I can get the cap done before anyone pays attention - and here comes some goofball idiot into the area, running and gunning, not even attempting to be quiet and certainly not attempting to help me cap the flag.  Result?  They kill him, spot me, and shoot me too, just as the cap is about to go off.  Aftermath?  No cap, no extra points for me, no gain for the team, hatred of useless loser costing our team a possible victory.  DON'T BE THAT GUY.

Another part of this comes from playing Demolition games.  When a guy is planting the bomb, COVER HIM!!!  Don't go running off to another part of the map to see if you can spot a good angle to shoot some random guy giving you grief, your bomb-planter is right where the enemy knows he is, especially if one of the targets has already been destroyed, so watch his back!  This goes double for the other team if they are trying to defuse the already planted bomb.  You know where your guy has to be to defuse it, you know that the entire enemy team is going to be trying to stop him (usually with grenades and grenade-like equipment), so get these enemies out of the way before they ruin your chances to save the level.  This advice shouldn't need to be typed out, but apparently it does.

4.  Don't draw attention to players in concealment.  Again, this should be a no-brainer.  I'm hiding.  I have camouflage to make it less apparent that I am where I am.  I am in bushes, overlooking the enemy objective.  Our team has the enemy flag, and once they get it to our base and capture it, it will respawn right where I am hidden.  I have placed a tactical insertion in this bush.  It will allow me to respawn right at their flag if I am killed in my attempt to run their flag to my base.  It gives off a bit of light that flashes to show the enemy that it exists, therefore I have hidden it away in this bush with me so that it is harder to see.  I am stealthy, I am like the wind.  So, do me a favour:  DON'T WALK UP TO ME IN PLAIN SIGHT OF ANYONE IN THE AREA TO INSPECT WHAT I'M DOING HIDING IN A BUSH!  I swear to God, this happened to me on a level named Array during a CTF game.  Anyone who is familiar with the game and this map in particular will understand when I state that one of the flags is in a little depression covered on one side by some rocks and the other side by the aforementioned tree overlooking the flag spot.  The one area that offers any concealment whatsoever, in the middle of the one area that the enemy will be watching with their snipers, who hopefully suck (see point 7 above), but I can't assume that piece of information...and the guy waltzes up to me, directly to me, and kind of just stands there inspecting my person.  Needless to say, we both got sniped immediately after that useless waste of space announced my presence to the enemy team covering the spot.  My tactical insertion was destroyed in the process, meaning my stealthy approach was totally and utterly wasted by this nimrod.  If you have no idea what you are doing, go practice, but don't ruin my game with your ineptitude.

3.  Help your teammates.  This doesn't necessarily follow the 'you are in an objective match - aim for the objective' idea.  This is more a 'you just watched your teammate throw down smoke for a care package, how about making sure he survives long enough to claim it' type of note.  Obviously, there are times when you can aim for getting a package drop in a remote corner of the map, so far away from the action that the odds that someone is in the vicinity are quite low...but there are times when someone is being sneaky, and there are times when you don't have the luxury of suddenly running off to a corner of the map to drop the smoke.  In these instances, it would be nice if someone who is helping hold an area, or someone who just happened to spawn near you, could pay attention to what someone other than themselves is doing and actually try to back you up in obtaining what could turn out to be a major game-changer in a box.  Chopper Gunners come in those boxes sometimes people, as do Napalm Strikes, Sentry Guns and other non-killstreak perks like the Death Machine and the Grim Reaper.  A game can swing wildly in the other direction with a good player controlling a Chopper Gunner, keeping the other team indoors while your mates grab all the flag points or run a flag to your base for a capture.  These players have earned the ability to possibly aid your team to win the game from a losing tide, and you just run off and hope he survives?  Is one 50 point kill that necessary?  Do you have such a strong grudge against the guy who killed you a second ago that you have to abandon your objective just to kill him, leaving your team effectively one useful player down?  Think before you act, you aren't playing Free For All.

2.  Don't hold grudges.  I just mentioned this above, but it requires it's own point of validation.  Yes, a guy just killed you, and yes, he did it from a spot that you might not have known about, and you were about to capture a point, and you were so close to getting where you wanted to go, and you almost stopped them from taking that location, and you were so close to that killstreak reward...etc., etc., etc...but here's the thing about multiplayer games:  If you are hell-bent on killing one particular dude who ruined your momentum, you are going to lower your team's effectiveness by one player if you go on a vendetta to get the guy back.  You are not playing alone, you are playing on a team.  Aid your team.  Yes, you want to climb the leaderboards, I get that, and there are game modes specifically to allow you to do just that.  This isn't that mode, this is for being a team, and going off half-cocked because someone stole your care package just isn't helpful to achieve a win.  You are in a team-based game, play with the team.

1.  Most importantly, use your brain.  There are three paths in Havana.  One goes through the buildings on the left.  One goes through the buildings on the right.  One goes straight down the centre of the street.  The enemy, perched on the second stories of the buildings at either end of the street as well as on the buildings on each side, are shooting everything that moves the entire length of the street.  You are at capture point 'C' at one end of the street and around a corner, and want to get to capture point 'A' which is at the other end of the street around a corner.  Do you A) Go through the buildings on the left, B) Go through the buildings on the right, or C) Go up the middle of the street where only tumbleweeds have a chance of surviving.  I am not joking when I say a vast majority of people, and I mean about 4 out of 6 on teams I have played on, will choose option C and get themselves killed.  Now, here is the part that gets my goat, here is the sticking point that makes me throw the controller, stomp around the house, and make me wish I hated playing multiplayer so I could avoid this idiocy:  After dying following option C, most players will attempt it again.  And again.  And again.  I kid you not.  I didn't want to use 'kid' there, I wanted to use a much stronger word, but this isn't an adult blog, as I mentioned before.  I am keeping it together pretty well so far, I must say.

When playing the CoD titles, I have repeatedly come across scenarios like the one I've just mentioned.  Regardless of how many alternate routes there are, people will still follow one in particular, even if it means handing someone multiple killstreaks for no good reason.  It is simply ludicrous.  When simply going to the left or right can provide cover enough to allow you to ambush the enemy or achieve the goal they are trying so hard to keep you away from, more often than not the brain-dead lemmings will continue to run to their slaughter.  It takes two to three times for me to attempt to dislodge someone from a spot before I choose an alternate route, and while that may still be excessive to some (and I might even concur that anything more than 2 is too many), I will then attempt to find another route while my teammates mindlessly follow their same death walk and rack up the enemy score.  I wish I was kidding, but I'm so very much am not.

It gets worse.  Another well-known aspect of multiplayer games of this type is the simple need for someone who gets killed to return to the scene of the crime to, at least once, attempt to get the guy back.  Hardly from being the vendetta-type activity I mentioned in point 2 above, this hearkens back to how people are hardwired to exhibit certain types of behaviour in certain situations if not consciously given thought.  Being killed a second time from the same person in the same area and then continuing to pursue it is the problem in point 2, but here I am speaking of the person doing the killing.  You kill someone, you know the likelihood of them attempting to get you back, especially in a Deathmatch game, is going to be pretty high...so do your team a favour:  Move.  Simple.  Not out of the area, not at all, just move to a different vantage point from which they won't spot you when they are looking at where you were.  I can't count how many times I have gotten the drop on someone by simply moving to the left or right of where I was so that they come charging in guns blazing, only to fall at my feet because I'm no longer behind that pipe, I'm over behind that box instead.  And now I'm not behind that box anymore, I'm up on the top of this crate.  Whoops!  Now I'm back behind the pipe, you've died three times in a row, and now you've left the game in frustration and sent me an angry letter about how I'm not playing fairly.  Yes, this actually happened.

It's not as good as another letter I got as a result of a kill achieved in the previous title in the series, "Modern Warfare 2."  Someone complained to me about not playing fairly because he killed me while lying on the floor in a wooden shack, and I figured that I'd come up to a side wall and shoot him through it relying on my target indicator to tell me if I was hitting him.  He whined about how I couldn't beat him fairly by using the doorway he was covering, and how that wasn't right.  All I know is that our team won, he stayed still and was killed by his own stupidity, and whining about it later made him look like a fool.  I killed you through the wall because I used my brain and as a result I am a better player than you are.  Deal with it.  I told him that he was killed by my being aware that he didn't move, and that to blame me for not considering the possibility that he could be shot through a wall by anyone he had killed in that position was ridiculous.  He never wrote back.  I wonder if he ever got a brain.  Loser.

Sorry, but I happen to be a good player of these titles.  Not spectacular, not the top of the heap, and I know when I'm up against better.  I am, however, good enough to get to the top of the prestige heap (currently approaching Prestige 5, 1/3 of the way to 15), and my gamertag, Timbuctu, is in the top 200000 on the Prestige Leaderboards for the current title in Domination, top 120000 for CTF.  Those are all-time stats, not weekly or monthly, and on the 360 as of last night.  I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I am trying to say that I play a LOT of CoD (going on 125 hours for this title alone) and know enough to give this advice.

So there you have it, 10 helpful tips for multiplayer twits, so that they don't get in the way of my levelling up and winning my matches.  If you find yourself doing ANY of the above to people in your games, you are the problem and you need to smarten up.  Whether you are 9 or 90, and the age ranges of people in the multiplayer lobbies does indeed encompass those ages, you shouldn't be playing objective-based games without these simple truths.  There are other modes for you if you want to be the lone hero, the person with the highest kills, or the person looking out for themselves only.  Domination, CTF and Demolition are not for you.  They require team support, even if you are not using a headset (I don't).  Knowing the objective and how to accomplish it is the only thing a team needs in order to work together.  Well, that, and the desire to do so.  That might be point 11, but I only planned for 10, so tough luck.  I'm going to go slaughter some more twits who don't know the first thing about objective-based multiplayer gameplay, and enjoy watching my kills shoot higher and higher at their expense.  Oh, and bear in mind that CoD games are the only titles I play so constantly without any hope of getting any achievement score out of them.

After all, I'm a Gamerscore Ho!

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