Multiplayer is the beating heart of the Call of Duty series, and while all the games maintain similarities in how they look, feel, and play, there are also a lot of small nuances, too. With Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, developer Treyarch makes some changes to the formula, like allowing for more weapon attachments or altering Scorestreaks. There are a lot of little things to learn along the way, as well as tried-and-true strategies that you’ll want to know if you’re new to the battlefield.
We’ve compiled 10 quick tips that can help you get into fighting shape if you’re new to Black Ops Cold War. CoD veterans probably won’t need a lot of these, but there are some new wrinkles to the series formula that are worth knowing about–such as an increased emphasis on sound and tweaks to how you can earn those powerful Scorestreaks. And if you’re new to CoD altogether, these are essential things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Check out the rest of our Black Ops Cold War coveratge: Catch up on the Black Ops story so far, see how the game links to Modern Warfare, find out how to open the locked door in the campaign’s safe house, learn how to solve the puzzles for the side mission Operation Chaos and Red Circus, and read our Black Ops Cold War review in progress.
Train With Bots
One of the easiest ways to up your game and get the hang of how things feel in Black Ops Cold War is to go through a few practice matches without any stakes. On the multiplayer Lobby screen, you’ll find an option toward the bottom that says “Vs. Bots.” That’s a match in which you’ll fight only computer-controlled enemies, with no records saved and no challenges unlocked.
Use the Bot mode to try out new weapons, mess with new loadouts, and get a feel for different maps. The more knowledge you have in a Call of Duty game, the more formidable you’ll be, so spending a little time in practice sessions can give you an edge when you go into unfamiliar locations or want to see about changing up your gear.
Stick With Your Teammates
This is an evergreen multiplayer tip, but worth reiterating nonetheless. It’s tempting to run off on your own, especially in a game as fast and furious as Call of Duty, but resist the urge. You’re much more deadly when you have a teammate or two backing you up. You can combine fire against enemies to drop them even more quickly than if you’re firing on your own, and they’ll often save your life in a fight you’d otherwise lose if you get caught by surprise. More sets of eyes and more guns are always better in any Call of Duty situation, so stay with your squad and back each other up and you’ll see results in the W column.
Don’t Worry (Too Much) About Dying
Black Ops Cold War brings back Scorestreaks (rather than Killstreaks), which means you don’t just have to drop a lot of other players or notch a lot of headshots to be useful to your team. Securing objectives can also help you unlock Scorestreak rewards to give you an edge in combat, allowing you to do things like call in spy planes or summon attack helicopters to aid your team.
And while you want to avoid getting killed as much as possible in a Cold War match, don’t worry about it too much if you have to die in support of your team. Scorestreaks don’t reset when you die–instead, they operate on cooldown timers so you can’t spam them too much. That means you can still be an effective addition to your squad even if your K/D ratio isn’t anything to brag about. Play carefully and play smart, and look for ways to contribute to your team that fit with your skills.
Listen For Footsteps
Sound design has leaped forward pretty significantly in the last few iterations of Call of Duty, and in Black Ops Cold War, you’ll want to listen closely while you’re on the battlefield. Sprinting makes a lot of noise in multiplayer matches, likely taking a page from Warzone, where using all your senses to identify enemies is essential. That means you can often hear a player long before you see them. If you can use them, headphones can seriously help you pinpoint an enemy’s location, but in general, try to use all your senses to anticipate attacks, not just your minimap.
Running Gives You Away
Along the same lines as the last tip, you’re going to want to work hard to control how much sound you make and whether it’s worth making it. If you go sprinting toward a spot you think is an enemy position, know that they’re going to hear you coming. Crouching, on the other hand, slows you down a lot but also lessens how much noise you make. Try to keep in mind how much information you’re giving to an enemy as you approach–if you think you’ve got a chance to get the drop on someone, don’t blow it by bounding up like a rhino to let them know they should expect you.
Shoot Down Spy Planes And Other Vehicles
Default Scorestreaks include spy planes and attack helicopters, both of which can seriously cramp a match if the enemy team starts firing them off all at the same time. As in most Call of Duty games, spy planes provide the enemy with your team’s location on their minimaps, while attack helicopters just fly down and shoot you. However, you can (and should) destroy these vehicles whenever possible.
This is the usual approach in Call of Duty, so you probably know this lesson, but small arms can damage flying vehicles, and launchers are even better. It’s worth having at least one loadout with a launcher in the secondary weapon position so you can knock down a pesky Scorestreak at a key moment. Destroying Scorestreak vehicles also scores points for you, helping you get to your Scorestreaks more quickly, so it’s worth taking a second to blind the enemy by knocking out their planes. If nobody else is handling the launcher duty, consider picking it up yourself.
Stick To Cover
Time-to-kill, the amount of time from when someone starts firing until the enemy they’re shooting goes down, is pretty low in Cold War, as in most Call of Duty games. You’ll also likely find that Cold War’s maps tend to have lots of lanes and avenues that allow you to catch sight of other players, or they of you. That means that Cold War’s maps have a lot of opportunities for ambushes, flanking maneuvers, and combat in general–and plenty of places from which you can get shot in the back.
It’s generally a good rule to limit your movements in the open on any given map. Stay low, stay behind cover, stick to the edges of areas, and try to put objects and walls between you and open ground. You want to cut down on the number of directions from which you’re easily spotted and shot, so that you at least have a chance to fight back before you’re picked off. Don’t give enemy players easy kills by walking through a big open room or across an open street unless you absolutely have to do so.
You Don’t Always Need To Aim Down Sights
Another evergreen Call of Duty tip, but a good one to remember, is that aiming down sights is slow. It’s good for fighting players at various ranges, but not good in a close-range panic situation. Taking the time to aim at close enemies is very likely to get you killed. A lot of guns are effective firing from the hip–especially fast-firing weapons and shotguns–but it’s really better to fire anything without using ADS if your opponent is within 10 feet or so. Try not to panic or to spray bullets wildly, but better to hit someone with quick-and-dirty fire than waste time trying to land headshots in an emergency.
Spend Time Figuring Out Your Loadouts
Call of Duty games have provided custom loadouts for a while now, but Black Ops Cold War changes up the formula slightly yet again. You can now equip more weapon attachments than ever before, to say nothing of the fact that weapons, perks, and equipment are all a little different from the last few iterations of the franchise. You’ll unlock the ability to create custom loadouts relatively quickly, and you should absolutely start messing around with them as early as you can to start finding equipment you’re comfortable with.
More than that, even Cold War’s smaller maps have little nuances that mean you’re not going to want to use the same dusty loadout every time you jump into a match. You’ll quickly find yourself in situations where a gun with more range will serve you better, or that you’re facing a team that struggles with speedy, close-range engagements. Have several loadouts that you’re comfortable with so that you can adapt to a situation, rather than repeating the same mistakes or getting beat in the same way. As mentioned, you can test out loadouts in the Vs. Bots mode, and you’ll be happy you did when you’re able to switch to a new equipment set on the fly and exploit your opponents’ weaknesses.
Health Stimshots Will Save You
The default Point Man loadout comes with a secondary piece of equipment you’ll want to get familiar with: the Stimshot. If you’re not the kind of fighter that relies on stun or smoke grenades in the heat of battle, consider switching out for the stimshot instead. You can use it in the middle of a fight after taking damage to instantly heal yourself, which can completely change the tenor of a battle. It’s great for trading fire with an enemy so you’re both hurt, ducking behind cover, and then healing up, allowing you to come out swinging at full strength while the other guy is expecting you to be a much softer target. Stimshots can save you in a lot of fights, especially if you’re a close-range run-and-gun fighter.
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