Thursday, November 25, 2010

Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Black Ops is just a couple days old, but that doesn’t mean you need to head into virtual battle unprepared. You need tips for gathering XP and CoD Points, both essential for beefing up your arsenal with new weapons, killstreaks and attachments. Don’t think less of yourself for seeking out strategies for a military shooter — the U.S. armed forces impart the nugget of wisdom “Aim Towards Enemy” in rocket launcher instruction manuals — so think of this how-to guide for leveling up quickly and raking in CoD points as the gaming equivalent of friendly advice on how not to blow yourself up.

Hint #1: Remember the Basics

Though Black Ops features a new currency system for buying anything your heart desires, you still need to level up to unlock weapons and new features as per the last few Call of Duty titles. Thankfully, the road to level 50 (that’s right – the maximum rank has shrunk, but there are more Prestige levels now) can still be traversed with tried-and-true methods. No, seriously – click that link. Our guide to leveling up fast in Modern Warfare 2 is (mostly) applicable to Black Ops. Now most of those tips will help you earn CoD points, too.

Hint #2: Take Out a Contract

There are three different types of Contracts: Mercenary, Operations and Specialist. Mercenary Contracts are generally based around weapons and personal performance. Operations Contracts center around game modes. Specialist Contracts ask you to perform impressive feats, often in a single life. Focus more on Mercenary and Operations contracts as they are simpler to complete, but don’t be afraid to take out Specialist contracts if they fall in line with your play style and other goals. Three contracts (one in each group) can be active simultaneously, which sounds great but may lead to you splitting your efforts and getting the big red “Expired!” stamp on your screen when time runs out.
Pick your Contracts accordingly, and never buy them if you aren’t going to actively chase them; that’s just a waste of CoD points that could instead be used to purchase new gear. If you’re playing Domination with a group of friends,. don’t purchase one requiring five Search and Destroy victories. The bigger/tougher contracts are especially worth it since they can be bought for a modest amount and pay out a chuck of points (and XP). And most importantly, use the time between matches to check if you’ve completed any contracts and then purchase new ones. It’s easy to miss the in-game announcement that you’ve completed one or forget about them altogether as you engage in some post-match trash talk. Once a match begins you cannot take out a contract, so act quickly.

Hint #3: Bet Wisely on Wager Matches

A Wager Match is like Texas Hold ‘Em with guns. You ante up some CoD points (the amount varies), face off against up to five opponents in four unique free-for-all modes, and then earn points for finishing in the top three.
The buy-in amount (and subsequent reward) depends on how much you’re willing to risk. “Ante Up” is low stakes (10 point buy-in), “Weekend Gambler” is medium stakes (1,000 point buy-in), and “High Roller” requires a minimum 10,000 points to play and removes the ability of players to pick the game type they’ll be competing in. It’s assumed you’re skilled all around if you bet here. And if you’re feeling particularly good (or lucky), you can even double down – which increases both the buy-in and the pot.
The payouts in “Ante Up” don’t make it worth your time for anything but getting familiar with how the mode works. Unless you don’t have the funds to support it (and if that’s the case, go do some contracts!), “Weekend Gambler” is the way to go early on. Take first place and you earn 3,000 CoD points. Second place pays 1,800 points, and if you come in third you’ll win your money back at least. Vote for the “Nuketown” map when it’s available for quick and frantic matches that last around five minutes and watch the points add up. After one top showing here you can purchase a single new perk; two first place wins and you can buy the Gunship. Good luck getting to 11 kills in a row!

Hint #4: Challenges Don’t Pay

Unless you’re playing strictly to enter Prestige Mode, don’t worry too much about standard challenges. They don’t reward you with CoD points (just boring old XP) and you’ll likely complete them naturally over time anyway. But if you enjoy tough goals, contracts offer similar challenges and, as previously mentioned, sometimes pay out in both CoD points and XP. Go after them with the same fervor you would normal challenges in previous Call of Duty games.

Hint #5: Headquarters for the Noob and Beyond, Part II

It may not be the most ethical way to play, but if your team is solid and communicates, turning the objective-based Headquarters game type into a 20-minute killing session is a great way to rack up XP, CoD points, and finish Contracts that require many kills. Your opponents won’t like it, and you’ll likely go through dozens of players who will BUpA (that’s “quit” in Call of Duty parlance), but like Axl Rose opined “What’s so civil about war anyway?”
The best way to turn Headquarters into this new game type (my friends call it “20 Minutes of Pain”) is to lock down the initial HQ and hold it for the maximum amount of points. Failing that, grab the first two. Once your team is up 100 (or so) to zero, lock down the next HQ. Don’t enter it; just kill your opponents as they try to. It’s tricky and communication is vital, but imagine the CoD points and XP after 20 minutes of pure slaughter.

Hint #6: Balance Wager Matches and Player Matches

Wager Matches may be great for earning quick cash, but you don’t rank up playing them. And if you don’t rank up, all those CoD points are just going to sit there unspent. Divide your online time between the new Wager Matches and the old Player matches for the best results. For example, play Gun Game until you win a few times and have over 10,000 CoD points, then head into Create-a-Class to buy some new weapons or outfit your old ones with camouflage and a clan tag engraving. By constantly buying new weapons and trying them out you may find that one gun that just clicks.

Hint #7: Consider Your Spending Habits

When you’re just starting out, CoD points are relatively scarce. During the first dozen or so ranks, resist the urge to buy random attachments you’ll only use once or high level killstreaks you may have trouble attaining. Cater your custom classes to your play style  or you might end up crawling to higher levels, not sprinting. If you rush enemies, perks like Marathon and Steady Aim are extremely useful – buy them up as soon as you can. If sniping is more your thing, purchase the Scout and Ghost perks. Playing the way you’re good at playing helps win matches, earning extra XP and CoD points.
For more Call of Duty: Black Ops hints and tips, check out our walkthrough index.
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