Joined: 10 Oct 2002
Posted: 06 Jun 2005 23:00
It's been a while since my last update. I wrote the original tips before AA 2.4. Now it's 2.6 and there has been several updates. It's different enough that I have changed my style a bit.
My game has somewhat improved. Mind you that I simply don't cheat, but now I'm good enough to get kicked from several servers, and even get banned from a server (some people who claim they want NO BS on their servers). They think to be as good as I am, I must have cheated. If you follow my advice, you'll get banned from servers too someday.
Oh, another reminder: This is strictly for CQB. I've seen people commenting this and that; it's not that they're wrong, it's just that their suggestions work better on long range engagements, and as such don't work as good on CQB (which stands for Close Quarters Battle). I have honed my long-range fighting skills, so I'm actually thinking of writing a guide for mid-range and long-range engagements when I have the time. Maybe summer.
I've been guilty of being lazy. Previously I would mark new edits with a different color, but didn't do it the last time. Today I'm going to start doing it again. Look for this color for new edits.
- Playing CQB requires better hardware, definitely above the minimum requirement for AA. CQB is hardware-intensive because your movements are faster, therefore requiring faster rendering. There are tons of hardware combinations out there, so I can't really delve into it without writing an entire book. However, there are common signs of inadequate hardware resource:
- Stuttering. Stuttering happens when your display suddenly freezes for several seconds. It can happen when you are trying to sprint, but mostly it happens after you shot an enemy. Stutter is often confused with lag, which is not a hardware problem but a network problem. Stuttering happens when your computer has to pull the map/animation from the hard drive, which is rather slow. The best way to handle stuttering is by increasing your RAM. The rule of thumb is, you have enough RAM for CQB if your hard drive LED indicator does not blink at all during game. In my experience, you will need MORE than 512 MB of RAM to play CQB smoothly.
- Frame Per Second (FPS). FPS is the number of frames sent to your display per second. To play good CQB, your FPS should not ever drop below 20. I believe the human eye begins to see the individual frame below 20 fps. If your system routinely drops below 20 fps, you are at a disadvantage because you don't catch as many movement details as your opponent. Attaining good FPS is mostly a matter of getting adequately powered CPU and graphics card. To find out about your fps in game, type "stat fps" in the console (the ~ key by default).
- Playing CQB requires better internet connection. I am not sure about the minimum internet connection speed, but the rule of thumb is if you have dialup, you are definitely not fast enough. The reason is because you are suffering greater lag or delay from the moment your computer sends the signal until it receives the response. If your lag/ping number is high, your enemy is quite literally seeing you before you seeing him. Because every fraction of a second is a matter of life and death in CQB maps, having this lag can utterly destroy your capability to compete. The sign of a lag is when you are "taken back". For example, you saw that you have reached the door, but suddenly it shows that you are still outside the door.
- In order of difficulty, there are 3 levels of performance in this game. First is basic skills, second is tactics, and third is judgment. Basic skills are stuff like shooting straight, aiming nade, etc. Tactics are things like circle strafe, flanking, etc. Judgment is about knowing when and where to use which tactic at what moment and what place. These tips will cover the first two, with the emphasis on tactics. The third one (judgment), I'm afraid, can only be learned through experience, but I'll try to point you to the right direction.
- You can only perform well on a level if you are fully proficient in the preceding level. For example, all the tactics won't mean much if you can't even shoot straight. Likewise, if you don't understand common tactics, there is little meaningful judgment to make.
- Despite all the effort to make this game "realistic", it is still a computer game, meaning real-life rules don't necessarily apply. Just because the M16A2 shoots a particular way in real life, it doesn't mean it will shoot the same way in game. Skills, tactics, and judgment calls are entirely different from real life. If you want to be good in this game, you have to be ready to drop all the things you learned in the real Army and pick up online gaming principles.
The new MOUT Shoothouse is an excellent training ground for CQB engagements. Practice here with your M4 single-shot until the trainer calls you "an elite". If you can't reach that level, you'll have little fighting chance against those people with medium to high honors out there.
However, once you're in an actual match shooting real people you need to remember 2 things: (a)Do NOT use single shot. (b) At distances similar to MOUT Shoothouse's, do NOT use your sights. The reason to this is enemy movement and internet lag. When you're shooting at a moving enemy at spitting distance, you want to do full auto to bring him down as soon as possible, before he brings you down. If you bring your sights up at that distance, you'll only narrow your field of vision and slow your aim.
Standard CQB Tactics
- Remember SSFF, which stands for Spot, Shoot, Frag, Flank. Any experienced player almost always engage in this fashion. Once you spot the enemy, shoot as fast as you can, and if you miss or need to reload, frag him (or 203 him or rocket him), and if he's still alive, it's time to flank him (if possible). The tactic is so standard that if you know you're facing an experienced player and you somehow survived the first exchange of fire, you should fully expect a nade or rocket coming your way. And if you are smart enough to survive the nade, you should expect that he's no longer in that original spot, unless he can't go anywhere else.
- Bouncing Betty. A Bouncing Betty is a nickname for a type of Vietnam-era land mine which jumps waist-high before it explodes. You're doing a Bouncing Betty when you stay real quiet at a spot, wait for enemy footsteps, then run up and shoot him when he's really close. Please note that what makes Bouncing Betty so dangerous is because you're running up to him instead of just waiting until he appears. In spitting-distance encounters, your chance of shooting the enemy while you're moving is far greater than your chance of shooting him while you're standing still.
- Remember, "speed is life". This is especially true in the beginning of the game. You need to get somewhere fast (get some cover), especially in maps notorious for spam nading. Spam nading is a practice where enemies lobs grenades or put any explosive round in the vicinity of your spawn point, especially in maps like urban assault.
- If you know the map fairly well, try sprinting to where you're going. When you got to a place frequented by opfor before they do, it's gonna be a nasty surprise for them.
- If 2 guys are facing each other in close range, one standing and one crouching (or worse, prone), guess who's gonna come ahead. The standing guy has faster maneuver speed and can evade the crouching/proning guy better. More on this later.
- The person with the greater speed almost always wins. I've had many instances where a guy behind a corner or door knew I was coming (from the footsteps) and fired first, yet since I was moving fast while firing, few of his shots (if any) landed on me, and I ended up killing him. I would sometimes find a leaning enemy, and a lot of times my fast movement was the only thing that saves me from this kind of ambush. Once in a while I would even shot from behind and survives, because he missed and I had a chance to turn around and kill him instead. Now how can this happen? the likeliest explanations are (a)Lag inherent to an online game (b)The stationary person has to FOLLOW the target's unpredictable movement (which means he's almost always late to adjust his aim), while the moving person adjusts his aim naturally because he knows the exact direction of his own movement.
- Bottom line is, the faster you move, the harder you are to hit. If you don't believe me, take sniper and try to shoot an enemy while he's sprinting.
- There is a constant tradeoff between speed and accuracy. When you fire without sight/scope you can squeze the shot faster than when you do it with sight/scope. However, bringing sight/scope up increases your accuracy considerably.
- Learn how far you can shoot accurately without bringing your scope up. It is always faster to shoot without bringing up sight/scope, but there is a limit in its accuracy. Find that limit, and from then on, only use sight/scope when your enemy is beyond that limit. This is important because by the time you brought your sight/scope up, the enemy could have squezed at least a couple of rounds toward you. In version 2.6 I need to bring my sights up to shoot a guy approximately 10 yards away and beyond.
- At very close distances, do not "lead" your bullets. Leading is a practice of shooting ahead of your enemy's path of movement, and a valid practice in real life. Forget about all that in AA, just keep the bead right on the enemy. I learned this from a guy who are uncannily good at very close distance, so good that you could almost swear he's cheating
- Even though you are so close to the enemy you could smell his deodorant, DON'T ever think of just spraying the bullet in his general direction. Always keep your bead exactly on him and make that first shot count.
- Keep your weapon at full auto (or the highest rate of fire available). If you need better accuracy, squeze fewer rounds at a time. You never know when you need to unload the whole clip.
- Learn to control your fire at full automatic rate. Learn to compensate the recoil by moving your aim to the opposite direction. This is instinctive, but I still see people who obviously never learn it, or never bother to master it. This skill is particularly important at extreme short distance (under 10 yards), because you don't have time to bring your sights up, and as such the game physics throws your aim everywhere at full auto.
- Learn to "circle strafe". Circle strafing is the practice of moving side-to-side while shooting at the enemy. It's called circle because if you keep going to one direction while keeping your aim to him, you will eventually make a circle around him. This is an invaluable technique that most people new to pc games never know. By circle strafing you are making yourself a harder target, and is especially useful at nose-to-nose encounters.
- In nose-to-nose encounters, I have seen people alternating quickly between standing and crouching while circle strafing; I call this "jack in the boxing" (or "boxing" for short) for obvious reasons. I don't do this because (a)It's hard to do (b)It slows me down (c)It only made you very slightly harder to hit. You'll come out ahead if you concentrate on correcting your aim instead. I believe jack in the boxing was devised specifically to defeat some high-honor players who like to aim for the head, because when you aim for the head you'll miss when the enemy suddenly crouch. However, I aim center-mass, so it doesn't take me much effort or time to adjust the aim (and get a headshot when they crouch!).
- Aim for center mass. When you aim for center mass (the center of the target), you stand a better chance of hitting him. Even if the first hit is not fatal, it will throw his aim and give you ample time to kill him with subsequent shots. Some people recommend aiming for the head/neck; I don't do that (unless it's the only body part visible) because it's easier to miss. When you shoot somebody and miss you're giving him a chance to shoot back, and that could be your last mistake for the match.
Gun Selection and Handling
- Don't automatically reload after you killed the enemy. This is also counter-intuitive, but you don't want to be caught reloading while his mate barges in. In most cqb engagements you'll spend less than half the magazine to kill people, so if you start with a full clip there's no point in reloading just to get yourself shot by the next wave. Reload only when you're sure its save.
- Always try to get the weapon with automatic fire capability. Ranked from the best to the worst, the guns for CQB are: 1)M4 Sopmod 2)M249 SAW 3)RPK 4)M4A1 5)AKS-74U-UBN 6)AK74 with Grenade Launcher 7)AK-47 8)AKS-74U 9)M16A2 with M203 10)M16A2 11)VSS Vintorez 12)SPR 13)M82 14)SVD 15)M24 16)Mossin-Nagant
- When you pick up a weapon, always switch to it at an opportune time. Any new weapon that you pick up must be loaded for the first time. If you pick a weapon straight to your shoulder, and switch to it expecting to immediately fire it, you'll get an unpleasant surprise because you'll have to wait for the bullet loading animation.
- When you're out of nades, it's not a bad idea to pick up a spare rifle. The reason being it's faster to switch weapon than to reload an empty mag. When both you and your enemy have emptied the whole mag and the two of you are still standing, you'll outpace his reload by switching to your shouldered weapon.
- Keep moving! Staying in one place for too long will either (a)get you killed (b)made you lose the game (c)get you kicked.
- Flank the enemy. When you encounter a gomer at medium distance, shoot it out and both of you are still standing, don't stay in that spot and slug it out with him. Move out immediately and try to pop up behind him. In most cases it will take you only seconds to sneak up to him, short enough that he won't expect you there (unless he knows how to flank too).
- Advanced topic: counter-flank the enemy. After several encounters, you'll notice the common path people take when they're trying to flank you. Anticipate his movement, move, and shoot him from a place he least expect. If there is only one thing that you remember from this manual, remember flanking/counter-flanking.
- When you hear somebody behind the door pulled a nade pin, what do you do? Run to him! Open the door and you basically catch him with his pants down, because he can't possibly get to his gun faster than you do, and his nade will not kill you instantly. Just remember to clear the vicinity after you nab him so you won't eat his nade.
- Learn when stealth movement is appropriate. In CQB, the pace is so fast you rarely have a use for stealth. However, there are times when stealth is necessary (like when you are the sole survivor of your team). Press SHIFT key, and you will walk. While walking, the sound of your footsteps will be considerably quieter.
- Bunny hop. On version 2.6 they have dumbed bunny hopping down so much that most of the time it's not worth doing, especially since they now make you lose speed when you hop. The only time it's worth doing is when you're cornering and want to throw off the waiting enemy's aim
- Listen for your enemy. Get a good headphone and listen to gunshots, footsteps, medic and frag-out shouts, door opening, etc. Those sounds will help you find (or avoid) the enemy. A good headphone can at least tell you which direction the sound is coming from.
- Different surface create different footsteps sound. If you are aware of your surrounding and know all the different footsteps sound, you can tell where the enemy is. For example, say the only patch of grass close to your spot is about 20 feet northwest, if you hear the footsteps-on-grass sound, you just learned where he is.
- Watch for shadows. Sometimes the shadow will precede the person.
- When you are shot at and can't see the enemy, look at the bullet marks on the wall/floor next to you. Compute the bullet marks and your location, and you'll have a rough idea of where the shots are coming from.
- Learn the farthest distance you can throw your nade, then work from there. To achieve maximum distance, throw at 45-degree angle. Anything but 45-degree will give you shorter distance. To reach through openings (like windows and doors), use shallow angle throws. To reach enemies beyond walls, use steep angle throws. I hate spam nading, but if the other side if doing it to you, then it's only fair to dish it out to them as well.
- Learn how long you can cook your frag nade before it blows your hand (and your backside) off. Once you're comfortable with it, try to air-burst your frag nade, meaning timing it in such a pace that it explodes mid-air. You will find situations where air bursting a nade is the only way you can reach the enemy. The advantages of air-bursting are: (a) Very short warning to opfor (b)Wider reach (c)No chance of nade rolling off to an unintended place.
- Learn to roll your nade. Rolling a nade will not give the enemy the tell tale "Brosite Granata" (or whatever that is) yell. The ideal use for rolling is when you are separated from E only by a roofless wall; you roll your frag over the wall so you wont overshoot the spot completely.
- Learn to bounce your nade. This is especially important for flashbangs, because it has such a short effective radius that you want it to go off as close as possible to the enemy. If you can't have a straight line-of-sight to the E from where you are without getting shot, bounce it.
- Flashbangs' effectiveness have increased considerably in 2.6. Now you'll be blinded (and deafened) even when you're turning away from it. The effective radius has also been increased. Flashbangs are now a tool worthy of consideration.
- Some people run around clutching a flashbang with the hope of flashing the opfor at sight. While I still don't recommend this move, the flashbang's increased effectiveness has made this move more effective. It works best when youre moving around a corner; you toss the flasbang and move back behind the corner to shield yourself.
- Somebody called smoke nades the "thinking man's grenade", and I couldn't agree more. The only time a smoke nade is useful is when there is a strategy to go along with it. Smoke limits visibility, so use it in a situation where limited visibility is more advantageous to you than to the enemy. There are two aspects of limited visibility: (a) You dont' know if the enemy is there (b) You don't know if the enemy is NOT there. You might not see the difference between the two concepts, but there is a real difference: the first implies cover for your movement, the second implies diversion.
- Thermite grenade is usually objective-related. If you have a spare one, you can use it as a door-stopper. Use it to deny passage to a particular spot.
- The ideal configuration is M4 with nade launcher, scope, and silencer. Nade launcher gives you an extra nade, scope gives you reach, and silencer protects you from the flash and masks your shots somewhat.
- While my personal preference is still the ACOG 4X, the new CEM profile in 2.6 has made the red dot sight worth using. It's accurate enough to hit some long distance or partially covered enemies, while not reducing your field of vision by much.
- Some people say that the silencer reduces damage, but I just can't tell the difference, so I'm not gonna think there is a difference. I don't think we suddenly change clips and switch to subsonic bullets when we put on silencers. If subsonic bullets are used, we shouldn't even hear the "zap-zap" sound.
- In most cases, I like to use the silencer because it protects my sights, and easier on my ears (so i can hear footsteps better). I don't put my silencer on only when I haven't had the chance to, or when I have a particular strategy in mind.
- The AKSU74 (the short opfor weapon) is a piece of junk and I try to avoid it whenever possible, but once in a while I would pick the silenced version as a secondary because it looks and sounds as an M4 to the enemy. Since recoil is much more violent than the M4, I would use it only when I'm surprising a bunch of goons up close and from behind, so they won't counter-attack by reflex.
- Learn which objects you can shoot through. You can shoot through just about every door in AA, so if you see an enemy peeking from behind a door thinking that he's safe, hose him down. But, know that shooting through objects greatly affects your accuracy. The bullets don't seem to travel in an exact straight line after they went through stuff, and the fact that you don't actually see the enemy doesn't help either. Shoot plenty of bullets if you want to hit anyone behind a door.
- Learn to "half open" a door. The idea is to open a door, but stopping it before it's fully open. The way to do it is to press the "use" key (by default it's E) and press it again quickly. A half-open door will close first before it opens. The advantages of a half-open door are: (a)Even though it looks almost fully open, it won't let anyone through before a close-reopen sequence (b)Forcing people to close and reopen a door will alert you of his presence, twice (because of the door sound) (c)A slightly open door can be used as a semi-concealed, semi-protected firing position (d)An enemy who is not aware of a half-open door might cook a nade just long enough to explode once the door is open, and when the door closes first before it opens, the delay can be enough to have the nade blow himself away
- A half-open door can work wonders if you are "camping" an area. The delay will prevent the enemy from rushing in too fast, and you might even see him through the opening and shoot him then and there. If you happen to have a machine gun (RPK or SAW), you can just spray the door the moment somebody touches it. As a matter of fact, having a machine gunner behind a door is hard enough, having the door half-open makes it almost suicidal to walk right in.
- Unless you are reasonably sure that there is no enemy on the other side, never stand squarely in front of a door when you open it. If it happens to be a half-open door with a machine gunner behind it, you can kiss your backside goodbye. In case you don't know, you can open a door from an angle.
- Watch out for objects on the floor, they can impede your movement enough to ruin your day. It won't be fun when you're trying to back up or move sideways to get out of enemy's line of fire, only to be blocked by a stupid box or chair.
- You can't fire while you jump. Unfortunately (with the exception of stairs and slopes) the game treats any vertical movement as a "jump", even just between the floor and a ledge an inch high. This is particularly annoying when you are in the middle of spraying an E, only to have the fire stopped (making you re-press the fire button) while you fall or climb an inch.
- Make use of climbable objects when appropriate. Most people keep their crosshairs at eye-level and focus downward in anticipation of crouching or prone enemy. Therefore, most people's reflexes are less tuned to shoot enemies at higher positions. Standing on a tall crate can sometimes make you invisible for a fraction of a second to an enemy with tunnel vision.
- Know that in most maps the enemy can be above as well as below you. This sounds like a no-brainer, but I've seen too many opfors went by practically next to me just because I was standing on a wall above them, needless to say they didn't live long.
- As a general rule, you don't sprint past corners unless you absolutely know what you're doing. Do a "peel" whenever possible, which is a practice of moving sideways facing the corner until you can fully see around it.
- When you have a camper on the other side of an open door or window, do a combination of circle-strafe and peel on him from your side of the opening. You'll have the advantage of knowing exactly when to fire (which means you'll have the first shot), while he doesn't know exactly when you're gonna pop out beyond that door.
- When you want to shoot through breakable glass, it behoves you to fire a shot and break the glass first before the Enemy actually shows up. The reason being the first bullet will be "eaten" by the glass and not fly all the way to the target. This is not a big deal, but in my experience the first shot is often the most accurate one, and you don't wan't to squander it on a piece of glass if you have a choice.
- In defensive situations, use objects to cover you by using the "lean" feature. By default, the lean keys are comma(,) and period(.). Leaning allows you to see and shoot around a corner without exposing your entire body to the enemy's fire. This tactic can be very effective in defending an objective from enemies coming from a specific direction, but it usually means certain death when you are flanked (shot from behind).
- The two extreme ends of your fighting spirit is boldness and cautiousness. Ideally you must swing from one end to the other as situation dictates. However, in CQB it pays to be bold. If boldness is 10 and cautiousness is 0, you should (on average) be at 7. At the beginning of the round you should be real bold, and be more cautious toward the end. By bold I mean move fast with no hesitation. Sure you'll get killed more, but if you know what you're doing you're gonna kill even more.
- Be unpredictable. If your movements are unpredictable, you have a better chance of surprising the enemy. I can't stress enough the importance of unpredictability, because when the difference between life and death is only 5 miliseconds, having the element of surprise on your side goes a long way. One time I was alone at Objective B in Urban Assault, with about 3 opfors outside. They knew I was inside, so you'd think I'm a goner right? Wrong. I heard them prepping a nade for their entry, and as they open the door I did the most unimaginable thing: run out the (already opened) door and blast all three of them away, because I was right in the middle of the pack and they hesitated to shoot for fear of ROE.
- Adapt. The nature and strategy of the opposing team always change, and in newer SF maps, your spawn points too. You need to think on your feet and adjust your strategy accordingly, all the time. For example, if opfor is a bunch of rushers, depending on your objective, you need to set an ambush or rush faster. If they constantly kill you in one alley, try the other. If they are a bunch of campers, move fast and snatch the objective before they realize it. I know I said you need to be bold, but when situation demands it, you MUST not hesitate to be cautious and stealthy. You get the idea.
- Anticipate. The hardest thing to master is the ability to predict enemy's movement, but it also has the biggest payoff. truth to the matter is nobody can accurately predict what an enemy will do, but if you can just be 25% right, your success rate will increase dramatically. How to learn to anticipate? observe. Whenever you are playing a map, observe how people behave, observe how most people react to a situation, observe how most people move through a particular map, observe what positions in a map that are occupied by enemies at a particular time, that kind of thing. You will be surprised at how common people's behaviors are. This is also why being unpredictable is important, so you won't get killed by an enemy anticipating a common movement.
- Snap judgments.The game is only 10 minutes long folks, whatever decision you make must be instant. One of my pet peeves is people who can't make their minds and just stop. If you feel you need to hide, then go find some cover and duck. If you feel you need to rush, then sprint away. If you feel you need to be stealthy, then hug the wall and move slowly. But, in no circumstances should you just stop and stand there in the middle of nowhere thinking what to do.
- Experiment. This is only a game, don't be afraid to try new, crazy things. You become successful in this game by finding out which crazy thing works and which one doesn't. Don't sweat it if you got killed experimenting. At the end of the day when you turn your computer off, you'd still be safe and comfy in your Mom's basement
Last edited by daggertiger on 23 Mar 2006 15:25; edited 22 times in total