I’ve seen a lot of first time gamers struggle getting their skills upto speed with shooters. Most of them (around 95 %) of newbies end up switching to Counter Strike Source because, according to them, something like CoD4 is “just too hard”.

Although I can appreciate where they are coming from, it’s hard to be sympathetic when the fact is that it’s not the game, but poor FPS habits that make it “difficult”. The truth of the matter is, although not really “difficult”, new age shooters like CoD4 are VERY unforgiving to players that don’t have the basics right. If you happen to be one the enlightened ones that have realized that newer titles have a lot more to offer than the standard “Ts vs CTs” scenario, this post is for you. The majority of what I’m going to discuss holds true for almost every shooter in the market today although a few will be CoD specific. Master these skills; use these techniques and I guarantee that your game will be taken to a level you did not think was possible.

Be warned however, this is a long post so there will be a lot of reading to do. I will be dividing it into 3 parts (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced) to make it a little more accessible though.

So step up and pay attention soldier!


1)      Learn the map. This one is obvious but, it boggles my mind to see how newbies rush headlong into an area they do not know and then complain about how they got shot. Of course you got shot moron! You don’t know where you are going, you have no idea of where your opponents are going to be, where the most popular camp spots are, where the spawns are or where the most crucial choke points exist. Basically it’s like driving around full speed in a city you don’t know only to complain that you got lost. So yeah, learn the map. The best way to do this is to start you own server and just run around for about 5-10 mins depending on how big the map is. Don’t let anyone else join you, this is not you looking for a match, this is just you trying to figure out the routes. Also, even while playing; try sticking to just one map. Once you have a good idea about that one, move over to the next.

2)      Follow, do not lead. Watch what others are doing. Chances are that you will be in a team with at least one experienced player. This is the guy who basically knows the map well and is well alert to danger. Follow him; don’t stick to him like glue (that’s just annoying), but stay within visual distance. Notice where he runs, where he slows down, where he throws his grenades, the routes he takes etc. another bonus is this: if he gets killed, chances are his opponents are injured and low on health, you can go in and finish the job.

3)      Did you just get fragged? Great! That means you made a mistake and now you can learn from it. In CoD4 you should take a good look at the “killcam”. See who shot you and how. What did you do wrong? Was the opponent camping somewhere you did not know existed? Did you get sniped? What happened? Even in CS you can use the few minutes you have till the end of the round to cycle through different player perspectives. Use that time to see what the high scorers are doing.

4)      Forget about the scoreboard. Seriously, stop looking at your score; in the beginning this is only going to depress you. Do not worry about how many you killed or what your death count is. There is only one person you are competing against. You. Your primary goal at this stage is to SURVIVE. Survive and learn, nothing more.

5)      SLOW DOWN. Remind yourself that you are new to this. Resist the urge to run around like Rambo on speed. You may as well hold up a sign saying “Shoot me please”.  Not only will you learn nothing, you would have given the enemy team a huge advantage as they now have one less opponent to worry about.

6)      Choose a weapon and stick to it. When you are just starting out, by all means, try every weapon out. Get a feel of their weight, accuracy, recoil etc. But, you will soon have to pick a favorite and master it. Now, this does not mean you head into every match with the same weapon of course; there will be weapons that work great in some situations but will fail in others. Use commonsense.

Stay tuned for INTERMEDIATE tactics next.