Top 10 Ways Not to Suck at First Person Shooters

Posted By | On 20th, Sep. 2009 Under Editorials | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet


Let’s face it – this generation of gaming is oozing with first person shooters, and a huge percentage of the blockbuster titles today are of that genre.  Whether you’re a savvy veteran or just someone who likes to play Halo at his friend’s house from time to time, chances are you’ll be playing a fair amount of FPS’s.  If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to suck at anything.  Whether it’s playing H-O-R-S-E against my girlfriend or tic-tac-toe with my 4-year old nephew, I don’t want to lose.  There’s nothing worse than finishing a team deathmatch with the worst kill to death ratio and having people call you out as being a “n00b”.  The goal of this Top 10 is to keep that from happening to you.  By following these 10 strategies, you should be well on your way to FPS superiority….. or at least mediocrity.

10 – Move, move, move!!!!! – – – This is simple.  As long as you’re moving, you’ll be harder to hit.  When getting started it may seem like the only way you can get a bead on someone is if you stop moving in order to aim.  Bad idea.  NEVER STOP MOVING.  The purpose of this is two-fold – 1. A moving target is harder to hit, and 2. learning to aim WHILE moving makes you much deadlier.  If there is the ability to sprint in the FPS you are playing, make sure to use it copiously as well.

9 – Take cover!!! – – – Okay, so I lied.  You don’t want to move ALL the time.  Occasionally, there will be locations on the map that are ideal for hiding, but here’s the catch – hiding and taking cover are only worthwhile if they are in areas of high traffic.  You make yourself completely useless if you hide in an area where you will never fight an opponent.  Hiding and taking cover are most effective when done in a place where you can see your enemies before they see you.  If your hiding place gives you no tactical advantage, then stop hiding and go fight.

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8 – Live to fight another day – If at all possible, never begin a firefight without full health.  If you’ve been hit and don’t have full health, find a safe place to quickly recover before heading back into action.  The same strategy applies for when you’ve been surprise attacked or attacked from behind.  The chances of you turning 180 degrees, finding your target, and finishing him before he finishes you are slim.  Instead, run into a building, around a corner, or into a trench – anything you can do to buy time and recover your health before facing off with your enemy.

7 – Use your radar – Nearly all FPS’s have some sort of radar.  Use this to your advantage.  The goal of nearly every FPS multiplayer game is to get the most kills as quickly as possible.  The best way to do this is to find the action and run to it.  Use your radar to do this.  When you see someone show up on your radar, pursue them.  Get in as many encounters as you possibly can.  You may die a lot at first, but over time your skills will be honed and your kill counts will steadily increase.  At the same time, the radar can be used in conjunction with “Live to fight another day”.  If you’re injured and need to recover, use the radar to see where you can safely run and hide.

6 – Clean up kills – Clean up kills are my personal favorite.  It’s like being a vulture.  When you pursue the action as I recommended in the previous tip, many times you will stumble upon two players fighting each other.  Chances are that they have drained each other’s health, and one or both of them is close to dying.  Do them a favor and finish them both off.  Nothing is more frustrating to other players than having their kills “stolen” in such a manner.  It just so happens it’s also the fastest way to rack up kill streaks.  Just one more reason to pursue action as opposed to avoiding it.

5 – Clean up after yourself – This tip is a continuation of the previous one.  After you’ve killed someone, there is little doubt that your location has been given away to everyone else.  This means that the vultures will now be after you.  Use this to your advantage.  Take a few steps back and find cover in an area overlooking where you just killed your enemy.  Chances are that someone will soon be showing up looking to rack up a few clean up kills.  Little do they know that they just fell straight into your trap.  Catch them off guard and take them out, or as I like to say – clean up after yourself.

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4 – Frags are your best friend – Grenades are a beautiful thing.  They make it so even people who can’t aim worth a flip can still get kills.  Just throw them in the general direction of an enemy, and BOOM – you get a kill.  There are several situations, however, when grenades can be used more strategically than just the old fashioned hail mary.  I’ll outline a few.  First, take the clean up kill scenario.  You stumble upon two enemies duking it out.  The fastest and best way to take them both out is by throwing a grenade at their feet.  Two birds with one stone?  Bingo.  Here’s the trick though, don’t stand there and wait for the grenade to go off.  Open fire on them.  Many times they will be too distracted by the incoming fire that they don’t react to the grenade and die soon thereafter.  Another time when frags come in handy is in the “Live to fight another day” scenario.  You’re injured and being chased down by your enemy.  Now is a great time to drop a grenade and keep moving.  In their attempts at chasing you down, your enemy will many times run right into your grenade, turning the predator into the prey.

3 – Be a team player – Almost all FPS multiplayer modes are in some sort of team format.  As such, you should use your teammates to your advantage.  Stick together.  Going at it alone is never a good idea in team matches.  If you try being a lone ranger, nearly every enemy you’ll face will be accomanied by several of his teammates resulting in you getting whooped.  A FPS multiplayer team should be coherent and cooperative.  One of my favorite strategies in team games is to fight at the front of the group until I get hit.  Once I’m injured, I fall back and provide cover fire while regenerating my health.  After recovering, I jump back to the frontlines and begin the cycle again.  This strategy works best in FPS’s the allow you to be shot several times before dying (e.g. Resistance, Halo).

2 – Know what you’re good at – When you start playing a new FPS, make sure to try everything.  Sniper rifles, shotguns, pistols, and sub-maching guns – try it all.  Find which weapon or group of weapons you are most effective with.  You may think you’re the greatest sniper the world’s ever seen, but if you end a match with 3 kills and 0 deaths, then you really didn’t help your team out at all.  Using a less glamorous machine gun and finishing a match with 12 kills and 11 deaths is much more useful and will result in a higher ranking every time.  In a standard team deathmatch, having at least 10 kills and a kill to death ratio above 1 is typically considered good.  Make that your goal, and if you continually exceed that then make a higher standard for yourself.  Find the weapons that result in the highest kill count and kill to death ratio and stick to those.


1 – Practice makes perfect – I wish there was a tip I could give you that would make 100:1 kill to death ratios a reality, but there isn’t.  In the end, FPS’s are like anything else that you want to be good at – they take practice.  Lots and lots of practice.  Try anything and everything and find what works best for you.  Then perfect it.  The strategies I’ve outline here are proven and seem to work well for just about anybody, but don’t let these be the only techniques you try.  Be creative and find the most effective style for you to rack up kills.  Above all, remember to have fun!

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