The more Call of Duty changes, the more it stays the same. There are a few truisms that will always apply when heading online to conquer the scoreboard, and every annual edition adds a few things to be wary of.
In terms of intentional changes, Cold War continues the franchise’s path towards adopting features of the most “serious” FPS esports games. But there are also a few unintended quirks that are having a large effect on gameplay. Make sure you’re in the know with our tips below.
Knowing When & Where to Move
A Call of Duty tip as old as the first Modern Warfare, and more useful every year. Sprinting in Call of Duty feels good. But if you’re rounding a corner, it’s worth slowing down and bringing up your weapon to be ready for whatever is on the other side. Peek at your minimap — are you not surrounded by teammates? If so, it’s likely there are enemies around, in which case you shouldn’t sprint at all.
Being aware of these shifting spawns can help you win the wider positioning battle, especially if you’re up against players who are all aim and no brain. Plug the holes you see on the minimap. If your allies are facing forward and left, face right so no one gets flanked. It sucks that you basically can’t rely on them to do the same (unless you’re in an organised team), but this kind of positional awareness often wins games.
Enemies will spawn in the space that’s left open by your team. If your team covers all objective points or is spread out, the spawns will become random. If your team is working together, it can actually manipulate enemy spawns by leaving an open space — making sure you’re all facing the right direction. It can even be worth leaving a flag open in Domination to maintain this control.
If a few allies have died and respawn far away, you’re probably surrounded by enemies — in which case it’s time to take evasive maneuvres…
The Jump Meta
Despite Call of Duty’s attempts to become a more serious, esports-ready FPS by adding features like static recoil patterns, the current movement mechanics allow for a decidedly more Quake-esque gameplay. If you’re not jumping around, you should be.
Going prone is out. Jumping and sliding is in. You can actually queue up a slide command while in the air, ensuring you’re harder to hit when you land, and similarly you can jump out of a slide. Try double-tapping the slide button for a quicker move that can even change direction.
This is Call of Duty’s version of bunny hopping, and several top players have even described it as “mandatory.” Fire from the hip, jump around corners, and watch all that effort the enemy spent on dragging down their bullet spray go to waste as you fly past.
Just be sure to head into the settings and change auto-mantling to “on second press” to make sure you don’t accidentally parkour on nearby environmental elements when you’d rather be shooting.
Perks and Gear
Speaking of recoil patterns, it’s important to know which gun mods add horizontal recoil. Vertical recoil is more manageable – you just drag it down – but horizontal bullet spray is a hell of a drug.
There are a few perks and items that fall into the “must-have” category. Combining Ninja (make less noise) with Ghost (can’t be spotted by spy planes while moving) and Paranoia (get alerted when someone aims at you) is a great formula for going on killstreaks when surrounded by overconfident enemies.
Stimshot is an obvious plus to help with healing, and you’ll want to carry around a Field Mic to get notified whenever someone else makes noise (unless they’re using the sneaky perks above).
As for real-life perks and gear, you’ll want to play around with your Field of View (FOV), and if you’re playing on console, there are some great settings for joystick sensitivity as well. Play around with how sensitive you want the stick to be for small movements and full-on flicks. The rest of the Cold War scene swears by increasing your FOV as much as possible, but this won’t magically make you a better player — just go with what feels good.
Jumping around corners and firing from the hip with a full stack of ninja perks is a highly specific type of gameplay, but it does seem to be the most powerful at the moment. The jumping mechanics may be patched at some point, but until then, players will take the path of least resistance to victory. Love it or hate it, that’s how to win at Cold War. Good luck, soldier.
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