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Call of Duty 4 Guide - Tactics

David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce) David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce): (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-03-27 02:30:32


Table of Contents

You need actionable intel to make the right decisions, and there's a constant stream of information flowing to you. Obviously, there's what you can see directly in your field of vision: enemies and friendlies shooting and running in and out of view. However, there's much more to absorb and process. I'm now a 55 Gold Cross with a 2.1+ kill/death ratio not because I have terrific "twitch" skills, but because I take advantage of the game's tactical potential. I'm pretty terrible in Hardcore modes, when these advantages are stripped from me.

Find the Enemy
Many players don't even realize that there is a compass. It's right above your map/radar display, and is an important tool for communicating with your teammates. If there's an enemy sniper firing from a second story position in Bloc, it's pretty handy to be able to specify exactly which building, east or west, he's taken up shop in.

The map itself is a wealth of information. You can clearly see where your teammates are, which tells you where enemies aren't. Opponents that are currently firing their weapons (without silencers) appear as red dots.

When you or a teammate activates a UAV, all enemy (without the UAV Jammer) positions will update as red dots with each sweep of the radar. Use this opportunity to not only note where they are, but where they are going. Sometimes the enemies are too far away from you to see their precise location on the mini-map, but if you press START during an active UAV, you'll see their whereabouts on the overhead map. Just be sure that you're in a safe location when you do this, as you are completely vulnerable while in the menu screen.

A skull icon appears every time one of your teammates is slain. More likely than not, the perpetrator of this violence will be near that marker.

If you are killed, and don't know the position of your attacker, watch the kill cam, and communicate the enemy location to your teammates. You may have to weigh the value of this information against the pressing need to respawn immediately when an objective is in peril, but it's typically worth the few seconds.

In Domination, the flags themselves are a source of information. Flags blink when they're being captured. Even the obvious knowledge of which team controls which flags can help you surmise the enemy location, by informing you where they aren't.

Next is the audio. Play with surround sound or headphones. Crank it up to the point where you can hear footsteps even on grassy surfaces. Keep track of your teammates' positions; if you hear activity (movement or weapons discharge) from a direction where they aren't at, you'll know an enemy is thereabouts.

Lastly, communication is vital. Share your observations immediately and succinctly with your teammates, and listen for theirs. Have agreed upon names for structures and locations (construction yard, deli, barn, Grandma's house, flower shop, etc.) to quickly identify them. It doesn't matter what things are called, as long as your clan agrees upon the terms.

All of these instructions may seem like common sense, but as I watch people play, it becomes abundantly clear that they're not taking full advantage of these resources. Absorb all of this information and integrate it together. As they reveal themselves, try to keep track of each enemy in your head - at the very least, track the ones near you or on your side of the field. If a teammate enters the last known vicinity of an opponent, ask him if they killed that enemy. In this manner, maintain a rough image of enemy locations, by constantly updating them in your head like a mental UAV. If you kill one, scratch him off. Push aggressively if you have a clear buffer. Play cautiously if you lose track of an enemy near you. Understand where newly spawned enemies would be. (Unless you completely overrun the enemy, they will spawn near a living teammate. It'll take some time, but you can eventually learn all of the spawn points.) Remember, negative intel is also valuable. I touched on it above, but you can make dependable educated guesses about enemy movements, simply by observing where they're not. Once you're able to do this, your survivability will skyrocket, and you'll no longer need to ask for a UAV every time you earn an air strike.

Fix the Enemy
Once you find the enemy, you want to hamper their movements, or more ideally, dictate them. Identify hard points and choke points where you can dig in and lay accurate suppressive fire on the enemy, while minimizing your exposure to enemy return fire. Most players instinctively understand the use of cover (although it's necessary to "Find the Enemy" to know what direction to take cover from), but many don't know how to effectively hold a corner.

You don't want to take up position right on the corner itself. In that picture, the gunner is trying to hold that choke point, but he has absolutely no visibility down the corridor. The best he can do is camp it and hope for the best. As enemies advance on this position, they suddenly pop out, and a point blank firefight with an uncertain outcome is the result. If there are several attackers, he's likely to get overrun. Or if he decides to take a peek down the lane, he goes from zero to maximum exposure to enemy fire in a heartbeat.

What you want to do is set up at a distance from the corner you're using as cover. This allows you to have a straight shot all the way down the corridor, or slide back into cover by sidestepping just a few minimal degrees. This way, you're able to pour fire down the distance of the lane, turning it into a map controlling kill zone. You can eliminate approaching enemies far before they can reach your position.

Think of your line of fire as a lever, and that corner as a fulcrum. The farther you are from the pivot point, the more leverage (power) you have.

Flank the Enemy
Let's say your teammates are currently "Fixing the Enemy", and you are not engaged, giving you freedom of movement. This is a prime opportunity to move quickly and stealthily to their exposed flank, or preferably their rear if reasonably possible. Be aware that assaulting in this fashion is always a gamble, because moving aggressively will inevitably expose you to enemy lines of sight. This is where all the info in "Find the Enemy" is invaluable. This is entirely a risk/reward decision, and you need all the intel you can muster to quickly determine whether the potential reward justifies the risk.

Don't be afraid to gamble. Initiative and smart aggression are the cornerstones of military success. The USMC motto, "Fortune Favors the Bold" and the SAS motto, "Who Dares Wins" (a derivation of an older phrase, "He who dares, conquers") are tested truisms. As applied to a trivial matter like a videogame, you'll respawn if you fail, and if you succeed...

Finish the Enemy'll be able to freely tear up the unguarded flanks of potentially several enemies with complete impunity. This...feels...good.

Air Power If you string together a three kill streak, you gain access to a UAV. Avoid wasting it if your team already has one up; wait until the current UAV expires. The radar will update enemy positions with each sweep, so you'll have to wait a moment to determine the direction of their movements.

Be aware when the enemy activates a UAV. You'll have to adjust your own tactics for the next 30 seconds to compensate for your visibility to the enemy, unless you have a UAV Jammer. In this case, you can actually behave more aggressively to take advantage of their blind spot.

A five kill streak earns you an air strike. Use this as a tool to facilitate the completion of an objective - to clear out flag defenders to seize it in Domination, for example. You're extremely vulnerable while calling it in, so do it from a safe place. Also, keep in mind that you can kill yourself with your own air strike, so be sure you're in secure cover or call it away from yourself. If you die with an available air strike, don't use it as soon as you spawn. Wait until you've strung together three or four kills and find a safe position; this way, you can earn another air strike off that air strike, and position yourself for an easy helicopter.

If you want to go for style, you can coordinate a dual air strike with a teammate, by calling them in at exactly the same time. There isn't any tactical value in this, but it's pretty fucking cool to see six fighter-bombers crisscrossing the sky. It does have a certain "shock and awe" strategic value - the other team will be put in a "shit-this-clan-is-good-we're-screwed" mentality.

As soon as the enemy calls in an air strike (you'll see red jets on your mini-map), let your teammates know right away so they too can scramble for cover. If no shelter is nearby, run away from the primary conflict where your opponent is likely to drop the air strike.

Once you reach a certain skill level, you may want to deliberately seek death - after I get a helicopter, I play super-aggressively until I die, so I can quickly get to work on earning my next chopper. There's also a methodology to taking advantage of helicopters, which I'll decline to share here for now. Maybe if you make a PayPal donation to the site and ask nicely.

If the enemy brings in a helicopter, everyone should open up on it whenever possible. It'll go down in a couple seconds of concerted fire. Don't let it linger around to steadily pick your team off. Alternatively, if there are any mounted machineguns on the map, a steady burst from that will also down the chopper in short order.

Domination Specific Tactics
The following pages will be devoted to map specific strategies, but tactics specific to Domination need to be covered.

In many maps, Bravo is central and absolutely critical to hold for the majority of the round. Make a "flag rushing" class to seize it as soon as the game starts, to avoid having to engage in costly counterattacks to take it back. Choose your favorite SMG for mobility, and tack on the 3x Frag perk. If your team throws over a dozen fragmentation grenades as you're charging in, it's essentially like an artillery bombardment that softens up the enemy before an infantry charge. If you don't have that perk, go with 3x Special Grenades, and at least one person should throw a smoke grenade to screen your flag capture. Run with Juggernaut to help you survive long enough to take the flag, or Sonic Boom to increase the effectiveness of your grenade spam. In fact, toss in Martyrdom to take out anyone with you at the point of conflict. Lastly, the other team may have the same idea (frag artillery), so pause and give them a changeup before charging in.

The following is an obvious statement, but many players behave as if they don't understand it: you want to capture two flags and then defend them until you win. Remember, there are only six of you, so anyone off screwing around is reducing your fighting force by a significant 17 percent. Domination is not Team Deathmatch. I know you want kills, but if you hold two flags, they will come to you. Once your team has two flags, everybody should be defending them. Balance yourselves out. If you see that one of your flags is lightly defended, run immediately over there. Your spawning teammates will defend the one you're at. If it's clear that the enemy is mounting a massive offensive directed at one point, move an extra defender or two over there.

Also, you must give the enemy somewhere to be. If you have teammates running amok and killing the enemy in the wrong place, he or she will cause enemies to spawn in disadvantageous places. Let's say your team has Alpha, and you need to capture Bravo. If a rogue teammate is killing enemies at their controlled zone (Charlie), this may cause them to spawn near Bravo, thus reinforcing them. Control the map as a team, and funnel the enemy where you want them to be - to the point of determining where they spawn. They've got to be somewhere; you might as well decide where that is.

If your team only has one flag, there's no point defending it. It doesn't matter if you lose it, all six of you should go on the assault. For example, let's say you hold Alpha and the enemy has Bravo and Charlie. All six should assault and overrun Bravo (choose the target with the lightest defense by using the methods in "Find the Enemy") to ensure a successful offensive. You may lose Alpha in the process, but you'll now be in position to keep pressing onto Charlie, and hold two flags. Or if the enemy was slow to respond, you simply swing some members back to defend Alpha. If done in an aggressive and timely fashion, your team should have the initiative and be able to seize the advantage.

(This applies to maps that are fluid. In maps where you can establish a Main Line of Resistance, you want to hold specific flags. But even then, a strategic retreat from your ultimate goals might be necessary in order to not fall too far behind.)

This really is the key to victory in Domination. You want at least one person on your team with a firm grasp of the tactical tempo and flow of combat. If you have such a clanmate, allow this person to be your field commander, and follow his or her instructions without delay. Windows of opportunity open and close rapidly, and any hesitation can result in poor outcomes. It's also entirely possible to be leading score-wise, but losing the round. If you're out of position and the other team has taken the initiative and control of the tempo, you can lose all three flags in the blink of an eye. Remember, the winner is the first to 200, not 120 or whatever. Temporary advantages should be relinquished in exchange for long term point yields.

In general, just apply basic Sun Tzu-style principles. Focus on teamwork; once you have unit cohesion and quick response times, your clan will appear to the other team to function like the invincible hive-minded Borg from Star Trek. I'll be sharing specific strategies, but be flexible about implementing them. Just as Call of Duty 4 quotes Colin Powell, "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy." Don't force strategies; be perceptive and recognize opportunities, as opposed to trying to manufacture them. Once identified, take what the enemy gives you: attack swiftly in strength at their weak points.

Lastly, you want someone on your team who can add. It takes discipline to lock down the necessary positions, and you should reward yourselves by cutting loose once the game's outcome is a foregone conclusion. Let's say your team has a lead of 150 to 110. If you only have one flag and allow that to continue, you'll lose the round at 195 to 200. However, let's say your team has a lead of 150 to 90. You could win simply by holding one position (200 to 190). We refer to the point where it ticks over into a mathematically inevitable victory as "trash time". Just let everyone loose to kill whatever enemies they like.

I find it amusing when we decide to call it "trash time" at a +1 margin. We win the game at 200-199, and the other team groans, thinking it was a close round, when in actuality, we controlled it the entire way, allowing it to continue only to harvest more kills. Only do this if your team is clearly superior; you don't want to lose the game because you accidentally gave up the third flag for a couple of ticks. Also, your "math guy" should inform your team if you're so far behind that you must attempt to capture all three points in order to win.

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