Play an Online First Person Shooter

Looking to dominate in some of today's popular first person shooters, such as Battlefield 2, Play Halo Well or Play Quake 3 Well? It can help to take a step back and assess your playing style. This guide will check to see if you have the basics down to succeeding in a multiplayer game, as well as some advanced tactics to consider.


  1. Use the best control setup. Use the keyboard to move forward, move backward, and to move side to side (strafe). Use the mouse to turn—never the keyboard. You can determine the best mouse sensitivity to use by considering these two options:
    • Higher mouse sensitivity will allow you to turn much faster and react more quickly, but requires a bit more effort to make precise shots.
    • Lower mouse sensitivity allows you to make precise shots much more easily, but will leave your reactions vulnerable to players that might attack you from behind.
  2. Practice. If the game has a single player mode, try playing it on 'hard' setting until you are confident with the controls and your abilities.
    • Don't worry too much if you occasionally struggle with computer AI—real players are much different from regular bots, which may or may not benefit your gameplay.
  3. Get a broadband connection. You want to have the best connection that you can get, so that you have a minimal latency. You should consider a minimum DSL connection to ensure a stable latency.
  4. Play on servers with low latency. By doing this you will have less lag and be able to move through maps more easily, as well as be able to react to your opponents' attacks more quickly. Sadly, they can do the same.
  5. Use headphones. A player should never disregard sound in a first-person shooter. It can help you not only to distract other players, but also to determine whether other players are nearby. Headphones provide a closed in area, as opposed to speakers, giving you a "heads up" on an opponent's location. Headphones are also good for snipers in that way they can quickly learn if someone is sneaking up behind them. The better headphones are more expensive, so you may want to either save up or get cheaper headphones.
  6. Find a game
  7. Learn to use the most effective weapons at the most effective times. While many first-person shooters give you a multitude of weapons to choose from, this does not mean that all of them are best to use at any given scenario. For example, if your opponent is up next to your face, you may want to reconsider shooting a rocket at him/her, lest you kill yourself.
  8. Learn from your mistakes. Disregarding "spawn kills" and other random errors, ask yourself what went wrong. Were you moving too slowly, or possibly not moving at all? Were your movements predictable? Just because there is a good player out there that might be giving you a difficult time, doesn't mean that you can't improve your gameplay by learning his or her style.
  9. Learn the maps. The only way to achieve this is over time. However, once you are familiar with them, it will be easy to find enemy spawns, checkpoints, etc.
  10. Don't stand still. A moving target is obviously much more difficult to hit than a stationary one. If someone is shooting at you, there is absolutely no reason why you should try to make yourself easier to hit.
  11. Learn the evasion tactics specific to the game. Know what to do if you get caught off guard or get in a gunfight with multiple foes. In games where players have lots of health, running away into cover is often the best option. In games with low health, it is usually better to attempt to shoot the enemy because you will probably die before getting to cover.
    • Many games have specific "moves" you can do to help dodge enemy fire. These include wall-bouncing in Gears of War, Drop-shooting and head-glitching in Call of Duty, and strafing randomly in Halo. Talk to other players or watch online videos to learn these tactics.
  12. Avoid falling into predictable patterns. Avoid strafing to the left and right repeatedly, or running in one direction for too long while a player is attacking you. Any player can give "lead" his or her attacks to quickly defeat you.
  13. Move with a purpose. This holds more true for objective games such as Capture the Flag and King of the Hill. Never stand out in the open, and always have some form of cover.
  14. Know how to camp appropriately. Many players despise campers, or players who stay in one undisclosed spot and attack passersby, but you should recognize that it is nothing more than another style of play. Thus, you should keep the following tips in mind:

    1. Don't camp in the obvious camping locations. Camping spots that are created specifically for the purpose of camping are the worst. These would include sniper balconies, the top of huge towers, other "secluded" locations that stand out in the open. Every experienced player knows where these locations are, and you're essentially a sitting duck by standing there.
      • As a rough standard, any camping spot that has a weapon spawn [e.g. a sniper rifle] is probably a well-known camping spot.
    2. Don't stay in one spot for too long. Even beginners will pick up on your game after two or three kills, and will develop a strategy to sneak up and take you out. Find a spot, make two or three kills, and escape to another spot.
    3. Don't camp too often. You might incorporate camping into your gameplay from time to time, but you shouldn't base your entire style on it. You will become too predictable of a player, and your opponents will quickly learn how to defeat you.
  15. Shoot as much as possible When playing with a team try to shoot the enemy whenever possible, since if you don't kill the opposing player at least his life/shield is lower. Which can help your teammates if they encounter the enemy player or at least the keep him out of action to recover his life/shield.
  16. Don't neglect your health and armor. Health, armor and the right weapon are a winning combo. Don't face an enemy until you have the right weapons. You won't do your team any favors by dying over and over because you face your opponents under-equipped.
  17. Eat a balanced lunch/snack! It gives your body energy and helps keep you feeling alert. 3 apples can give you as much energy as half a can of Red Bull without the crash!
    • Eating 3 apples gives you as much energy has half a can of Red Bull!
  18. Be a team player in team games. This means finding teammates to follow and support. Pay attention to what's happening (has your flag been captured?).
  19. If the game is ranked, following a teammate who has earned his/her stripes is smart, as they usually know what they are doing, and you can learn from their 'moves'.
  20. Know what each weapon is meant to do. For example, don't try to use a pistol to snipe someone from across the map.
  21. Practice your forward-thinking. For example, if you are walking through a corridor and you see a door, don't use your mouse to turn, but the strafe keys. While strafing towards the door, aim at every place where an enemy could hide. That way, it's harder for an enemy to attack you by surprise.
  22. Use cover wisely when under fire. In some games, some objects are destructible and can lead you to a situation worse than before. However, if it is provided to you, shields that are launched by the user (holo shield in Ratchet & Clank, shield gun in Unreal Tournament 2003/2004 or bubble shield in Halo 3) can be much more effective.
  23. Develop your reflexes. On any shooter, you need fast reflexes to adapt to a rapid and fast-paced environment. Reaction time decides who wins and who loses. To build your reaction time, practice the more complex moves with a friend.
  24. Upgrade your computer. Get a better graphics card, CPU, RAM upgrade etc. if your frame rate is unacceptable to you. Better frame rate means that you'll see enemies with more fluent movement and be able to react faster.


  • If you are just starting off, you might try practicing in single-player mode if you can. However, you should do most of your training in multiplayer. It's more humiliating for a newbie, but at least you have real opponents, not just AI creatures. It's like practicing how to dismantle a motor on computer; it's better to do it for real.
  • Know how to use your video card. Do not put unnecessary stress upon it it by enabling high visual settings. Having lower graphics settings will benefit you by eliminating the concern of video lag or frame skipping.
  • Have fun. Remember, it's just a game. If you begin to get frustrated, your score typically worsens.
  • Find a good server with a game type that you like and low ping.
  • For the best ping, host your own game. Be wary, though, that many players frown upon "listen" servers where you have zero ping.
  • Know your weapons. It is very important that you know what each weapon can do and what it can not do otherwise you will get killed and look like a moron before you do spend at least 20 minutes on a private server or with some friends just firing each weapon to see what it will do. Here is a list of what common weapons do in most games this is not a guide for all games but at least some of what is here will apply to you.

    • Assault Rifle: good for medium to long range engagements. Not good for extreme long range or close range engagements. Used when the enemy is aware of your presence and is shooting back or for when shooting them will alert them of your presence.
    • Sub machine gun: Good for close range combat when automatic fire is needed. Not good for medium or long range combat. Used when the enemy is too close for an assault rifle to be effective but too far for a shotgun. Sub machine guns share so many traits with assault rifles that in some games submachine guns act as assault rifles or the two are confused. If this is the case pick which ever one you prefer.
    • Shotgun: Good for extreme close range combat where the enemy is close enough to be hit with multiple bullets (if you hit). Not good for medium to long range combat and not very effective unless you can see the whites of your enemies' eyes. Used when you need to deliver a devastating amount of firepower and the enemy is very close.
    • Sniper Rifle: Good for long range to extreme long range combat. Not good when your enemy is returning fire. Used for stealth missions to take out the enemy from a very long distance. There are people that can and will use sniper rifles as close range weapons very effectively. In other words, they can run past you and make a head shot with a sniper rifle. These people spend a lot of time learning how to do that and are very good at it. Before you attempt to do this, master the game.
    • Pistol: By far the most diverse weapon, so the effectiveness really depends on the game. Not good for medium or long range combat or dealing large amounts of damage. Used as a close range defensive weapon only. Pistols are by far the most varied weapon of all in games with games using anything from .22 pistols all the way up to the .500 Magnum (the most powerful handgun in the world). Thus, depending on what game you are playing they can be weak or very powerful weapons. If your pistol is fully automatic or has a fully automatic setting you will almost always want it turned on, at which point the weapon will be classified as a sub machine gun.
    • Rocket Launcher: Good for attacking vehicles and slow flying aircraft, and almost always very effective against infantry. Not good for close range combat as the explosion will likely kill you as well. If your rocket launcher has a homing setting it will also be effective at shooting down fast flying aircraft.
    • Grenades: Good for medium range and indirect combat. Not good for close range combat as the explosion will likely kill you also. Used for attacking enemies you can't see and creating a smokescreen when you enter a building. Grenade launchers fall more in to the category of rocket launchers.
  • Use a diverse strategy based on weapons available. For example, if you use the same weapon against all the enemies, you will either run out of ammo or waste time and become more vulnerable to counterattack. This point is best illustrated in the Ratchet & Clank series. A large variety of weapons are available, and very few enemies all have the same weakness.
  • When facing off against multiple enemies, and you have no explosives at your disposal, sometimes the best option is to pick off the enemies one at a time, rather than try to take out multiple with a weapon that has a high rate of fire.


  • Be careful of 'friendly fire' or same team killing. Even if friendly fire is off and teammates can't be harmed, it's very annoying to be shot at or attacked by a teammate. Some servers will punish you for team kills, or have you kicked/banned for frequent friendly fire/team killing.
  • And most importantly, don't take the game too seriously. It's just a game you obtained to have fun.
  • In some games, people believe that heavy weapons are the staple of the "noob" and will sometimes kick you out for using certain weapons. Know how this applies to you before you go and blow someone up with a rocket launcher.

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