13 Survival Rules for FPS Beginners

FPS Tips and Tricks

I’ve been playing first person shooter games for a long time, most people don’t realize it’s probably my favorite type of game to play. Mostly because it’s fallen by the wayside and I’m most often interacting with people in RPG style multiplayer games. Now with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 topping my current play list I’ve decided to share some wisdom I’ve picked up from over ten years experience playing first person shooters. Rules that seem to transcend most games. Survival rules for beginners that will keep you topping the charts in battle.

Gahh! Run away!

Rule #1: Run the Hell Away

Not exactly the most glamorous of activities and it’s certainly not going to impress anyone but every time you evade you’re stealing a kill, most notably one you have some vested interest in. Tank rolls up? Run away. Three enemies with heavy machine guns? Run away. Walk into an ambush? Run away. Think of it as maneuvering to higher ground if it makes you feel better, you should be choosing your fights and not letting them choose you. Pull the pin on something, drop it at your feet, and make haste the way you came in.

Wrong end.

Rule #2: Always Reload

Every second you’re not sending rounds out the front of the weapon you should be putting rounds in the bottom of it. Hit the floor, duck for cover, hide behind something, and take the quick second to reload your weapon. You don’t have to be some round counting ninja to figure out the gun won’t do you any good without bullets and nothing says amateur FPS gamer like a guy who sends off two rounds and starts reloading at the start of a fray. Every bullet counts so even if you’re only missing a few in your magazine, reload just in case.

Rule #3: Aim for Center Mass

We’ve all been tempered in action movies and love the idea of going around popping people indiscriminately in the head with Special Forces precision but curb that ego and aim for what you can hit. Getting shot is pretty discombobulating in most games so it may take a few additional rounds but you’re going to score the kill. Plus practically every game has recoil on the weapons and recoil goes up. This normally results in the last few round going right into someone’s face through no talent of your own.

Army of None Call of Duty

Rule #4: Don’t be the Point Man

There’s some big epic firefight going on and I know you absolutely want to be the hero and dive into the middle and pop off baddies like Rambo but you’re just going to get yourself killed. If you’re on a team, they will be yelling to push forward. Encouraging you to do this heroic behavior but don’t fall into this trap. Sit in the back with the smart ones and shoot the guys who shoot your point men and encourage others to run out there. It’s pretty much implied that your teammates are going to be a bunch of window licking idiots anyways so you might as well treat them like mobile sandbags that drop ammo and score yourself some kills.

I wonder if that's a Toyota

Rule #5: Get Behind Something

Anything. I don’t care if it’s a Styrofoam beer cooler, something’s better than nothing. It never ceases to amaze me how many new players will stand right out in the open and pop off shots at someone then panic when they start getting shot at themselves. Shoot from cover and if you start getting hit, get behind cover. This isn’t quantum physics, its basic self preservation. You need a quick and easy safe place to go should someone start shooting at you. The split second before you pull your trigger and give away your position ask yourself, "Where am I going to go when I miss?" Murphy’s Law dictates you missing.

Rule #6: Sometimes/Never Pray and Spray

Tap the fire button. Give it a tiny little tap. Whatever you’re shooting is meant to kill someone. Big nasty things are coming out the business end and for the most part 3-10 of them will do the job in comparison to the 200 that are going to fly out should you hold down the trigger. Rounds will go everywhere, lots of people will get really scared, some feelings may get hurt, but no ones going to get all that dead except for you when someone shoots you in the face while you’re reloading. Only time you should ever really unload like that is if you’re sharing a space the size of a refrigerator box with an enemy.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare

Rule #7: Skirt the Edges

Nothing is worse then the guy you’re trying to kill trying to kill you back. It’s best to avoid these awkward scenarios. Avoid big conflict zones but stick your head in there every once in a while and see if anything’s going on. Shoot a couple enemies that are squaring off against someone else and not paying attention to you then leave the moment someone notices your killing everyone. Remember rule #1? Yeah, do that.

Multiplayer sniping

Rule #8: No Sniping

Most games revolve around inflicting mass casualties. Whoever has the most kills or something to that regard typically wins the match. New players love to tuck away and snipe and I love it when they do it too. You can either just avoid the area or flatten their nest with something less discriminate then a rifle with knowledge that they’re camping. Sniping for short periods of time is acceptable but if you try to do it the whole match you better be playing a bunch of half wit lemmings. If you absolutely insist on sniping remember rule #3 and keep firing until their dead. Don’t get fancy. Just keep putting rounds in them.

Rule #9: Keep Moving

Don’t stay anywhere for more then a few seconds. If you feel the overwhelming urge to stop or stay in an area then move slow, move in circles, swivel, dart around, or do something that makes it harder to hit. You’re really looking at two options: you either look like a dancing idiot or a dead idiot. I’m not going to insult you by telling you which idiot typically wins. Plus if you stay in some hiding spot the whole time and no one meanders by your going to lose the match by attrition from simply never scoring.

Shooting tips

Rule #10: Go For the Easy Kills

It happens in nature all the time. Predators go for the weakest of the herd. You should be doing the same thing. Typically when people are faced with a stronger enemy they have some sort of implied companionship to overcome the odds. This isn’t a Disney movie, monopolize on this silly implication and shoot the easiest target. For example, you come upon some guy battling some other guy that’s in a tank. He seems to be holding his own, looks like he can use a hand. Go stab him and Rule #1 it before tank guy figures out he just lost his kill.

Rule #11: Get off the Mounted Guns

This is in clear violation of Rule #9 and #6. Yes, they’re fun. No, you’re not hitting anything. Not to mention these are always loud, obvious, and always in the same place. Go outside and stomp on a hornets nest for a few minutes and you’ll get a good idea what’s going to happen to you in game.

Rule #12: Adjust Your Controls

If you find yourself sometimes panicking and pumping rounds indiscriminately into the dirt in front of you, firing into the sky like you’re trying to take down some fictitious space station, or bouncing a grenade off your teammates skull at the spawn point its time to adjust your controls. You’re probably used to certain buttons doing certain things. Aiming. Firing. Tossing something. Inverted vertical look. Take the thirty seconds to pop into the options menu and right yourself. No one will blame you, especially not your teammates at the spawn.

Last Stand Modern Warfare 2

Rule #13: Never Give Up

A lot of new players never get off the ground because they simply roll over and die. This level sucks. I didn’t have a good gun. Boo-hoo Princess. Fight tooth and nail until the bitter end. Giving up makes you into a poor sport. Learn to have fun playing whether you win or lose.

Bonus Tip: If your ever lucky enough to see me in game before I kill you, give Rule #1 your best shot and run. You'll only die tired, but I will admire you for at least listening to me.

Reader submitted tips:


Trex says: High Points = Death points, you think you've gone and got yourself a great high up spot thinking your being all sneaky and deceiving, you've convinced yourself this spot is perfect because you can see everything and everyone, your all set to rage some rounds down on your enemies thinking they will never spot you, think again. If anything they can see you better than you can see them because your 9 times out of 10 actually in one of the most obvious places on the map.

TNT says: Keep your cool! The biggest downfall of newb kind is their tendency to panic. This draws near the line of rule #6 (Don't Pray 'n Spray!). If you keep your composure, things tend to fall into place. Either the other guy dies, or he's at least mortally wounded. Once this zen like state is grasped, you're half way to being a winner.

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