FrostFire626's Guide to Combat Arms: Part 1
Part 1 of this guide will cover the 5 topics listed below. Part 2 will cover the rest of the topics listed in the table of contents, though what I cover in this second part may change.
I've played Counter-Strike for 7 years, though I play it very rarely now. I've never participated heavily in leagues, but I've still learned much from my pub experience. I have never hacked and I have never wanted to hack. My computer was searched for hacks remotely (via TeamView) by the Ultimatum gaming clan as well as by the legit gaming club (who's database was apparently erased) prior to entry into each organization.. I'm as clean as they come.
My Combat Arms Preferences:
I play almost exclusively Elimination mode and I especially enjoy the larger maps of Combat Arms like Snow Valley, Waverider, and Two Towers. These large maps are typically where the highest KDR is achieved. Keep this in mind as this will not be a guide to Junk Flea or similar small maps.
Table of Contents:
1. Equipment Advice
2. Recoil Control
3. Awareness (A.K.A Predicting the Future)
5. Map-Specific Tips (Snow Valley, Two Towers, Waverider)
Part 2: (coming soon)
6. Extreme KDR: The Secret
7. Map Analysis with Screenshots
8. Bunnyhopping and How to Defeat It
9. Smart Reloading
10. Dealing With Enemies that are Better than You
11. Noscoping and Quickscoping
12. False Hackusations and Identifying Real Hackers
13. Collection of Notes and Protips
- I do not buy NX, so all of my equipment advice will be strictly on GP gear. Supply case only weapons are also excluded.
- When I consider what the best gear loadout is, the only thing that matters to me is practical in-game performance. I don't care if my weapon of choice is a "noob gun", and I don't care if another weapon takes more skill to use. What matters in the end is who gets the kill and who doesn't.
- I have also not extensively tested every single piece of equipment, so I don't assume that this advice is absolutely flawless and leaves nothing out.
My ideal loadout is in bold, while good alternative loadouts are left plain.
G36E - S3 Silencer, Extended Magazine I
M416 - S3 Silencer, Extended Magazine I
UMP - S3 Silencer, Extended Magazine I
M67 Frag Pack
M67 Frag (default)
Backpack A Slot:
L96A1 - S2 Silencer
SR25 - S2 Silencer
It is quite clear to me that the best assault rifle, and perhaps the best primary slot weapon in all of combat arms, must be the G36E. The weapon is powerful, accurate, and packs the best assault rifle scope in the game. It is a solid performer at long range, it handles close range combat admirably, and it is absolutely lethal at medium ranges, both scoped and unscoped. Its considerable recoil must be expertly managed, however, as will be explained later on in the guide.
This weapon is basically an upgraded version of the venerable M4. If you dislike high recoil weapons like the G36E, this is the best choice for you. It's high accuracy and low recoil allows you to pour a scary amount of bullets into a target quickly and accurately. Perhaps its biggest disadvantage is it sounds like a cannon when it is fired; do not expect to surprise anyone if you do not mount a silencer to this weapon.
If you want to use a submachine gun, the UMP is an excellent choice. It packs the power of an assault rifle in a nice, portable package. Submachine guns should intuitively excel in close quarters combat (CQC), but I have found that the G36E performs as well or better than submachine guns, oddly enough. I do not have sufficient rank to purchase a PP-19, so feedback on the effectiveness of the PP-19 in comparison to the UMP would be appreciated.
This pistol is quite simply a thing of beauty. In most combat situations where a pistol is drawn, both players have run out of primary weapon ammunition and have considerably less than 50 HP. In this situation, rate of fire, recoil, and accuracy, in that order, will determine which player survives the duel. This pistol excels in all three categories. Damage is the least important characteristic, making weapons like the desert eagle obsolete (though extremely cool).
Though this is the default pistol, it is quite acceptable not to replace it. The reason for this is that pistols are very seldom fired on the battlefield , and not messing with your secondary slot will save you a little GP.
If pistol combat is rare, melee combat is nearly unheard of. Most instances of melee combat will occur when a player wants to embarrass a completely unaware foe. However, if you do find yourself in a situation where your primary weapon, sniper rifle, pistol, and grenades are all expended and cannot be reloaded, melee combat may be an option. However, I have never encountered this situation during my entire time in Combat Arms. Don't spend any GP on melee equipment unless you want to screw around in melee only matches.
NOTE: Though melee weapons are meant for extreme close range combat, they do have a range greater than zero; knife kills from 3 feet away and further are common.
If one explosion is good, two must be twice as good! The frag pack is far more useful than an HE grenade as two well thrown grenades will result in consistently more damage than 1 slightly higher powered one. However, using the default grenade is more than acceptable. Other grenades such as gas and incendiary grenades have their uses, but situations that harness the two grenade's strengths are too rare to make them practical.
This is the Arctic Warfare Police (AWP) of Combat Arms. The ability to leave cover, execute a single kill-shot, and safely withdraw cannot be overstated. The absolute worst thing a sniper can do is stand out in the open to take multiple shots, which is unfortunately what usually happens with the other semi-automatic sniper rifles. However, the weapon has low accuracy for a sniper rifle. You must always aim for the targets center of mass whenever possible to achieve the highest hit rate, and it is often best to switch to your assault rifle to shoot the heads off targets in deep cover.
NOTE: Heavy vest users with full HP can survive an L9 shot to the chest. Finish off these players with a pistol or assault rifle while changing position to save some time.
As I have said before, the huge drawback of semi-automatic sniper rifles is that they force you to take multiple shots and focus on a target for much longer then you would with the L96A1, especially if you miss a shot. However, if you really are uncomfortable with the lack of accuracy of the L96A1, the SR25 is the only other sniper rifle worth considering. It is fast, accurate, quiet, and it's recoil doesn't throw your aim off unlike the horrendously inept Dragunov and PSG-1. It is also more useful than the L96A1 when targeting fast moving/bunnyhopping female characters.
Military Bandanna (+5% movement speed):
SPEED... IS... LIFE. There is nothing quite so true as this in Combat Arms. After reading the rest of this guide, the benefits of a high movement speed should become clear to you if they aren't already. If you do not have sufficient rank for the bandanna, the combat beanie is also acceptable.
There are some specialized face equipment such as fire or gas masks that can be useful in select situations, but these situations are few and far between (you could try not walking into the incendiary/gas grenade, alternatively). As for the faceguards, I have not determined whether or not the +% headshot protection decreases headshot damage or decreases the likelihood of headshots. I would appreciate some feedback on this from those who are reading this guide. All in all, leaving the face slot untouched is acceptable.
Again, SPEED... IS... LIFE. Being able to tank 1 extra bullet with the heavy vest will not help you much, but being able to escape death, dodge sniper fire, and change position 10% faster will. Move fast and move often; the only alternative is certain death.
It is very easy to spot most Combat Arms players in most maps, regardless of what uniform they are wearing. There are some exceptions however, such as default camo in Brushwood. On the whole, however, uniforms do not significantly add to survivability (though having the wrong uniform may get you killed).
Using the other backpacks that have more slots can be fun and allow you to experiment with unique loadouts. For instance, an extra HE grenade to go with your frag pack or a LAW can lead to interesting games. However, the cost of purchasing a new item to go into the slot added to the cost of purchasing that slot in the first place can be significant. The decreased movement speed of the more advanced backpacks can also hurt performance. Sticking with the default backpack is a safe choice.
S1 Silencer: IMPORTANT NOTE: This silencer directs recoil to the to the left and right rather than the vertical as is normal, resulting in a more erratic recoil pattern. Whether or not recoil is actually reduced by 10% is debatable. While this is an unfortunate characteristic of the silencer, keep in mind that I used this silencer for many months without a dramatic decrease in performance. However, switching to another silencer as soon as possible is advisable.
S2 Silencer: This silencer reduces the amount of tracers fired from your weapon. This can be somewhat useful for sniper rifles, as a single tracer is a dead giveaway of your position. However, it is most useful because it silences your shot without causing left-right recoil. Use this silencer on assault rifles and submachine guns until you can purchase an S3 silencer.
S3 Silencer: All the goodness of the S1 Silencer without the odd recoil (and a L337 little red ring for bonus points). This silencer supposedly decreases muzzle flash by 100% instead of the labeled 50%, though I haven't confirmed this. This is the silencer of choice for any weapon besides a sniper rifle.
A Discussion on Silencers in General
As I will mention later on this guide, sound is a critical element of all first person shooters; Combat Arms is no exception. In a game with decent players, an unsilenced gunshot can easily lead to your swift death. However, with a silencer, it is possible remain out of cover for a longer of period of time before being targeted. When I play Combat Arms with an unsilenced weapon, I feel much more vulnerable than I do with a silencer; I sometimes feel a slight hesitation to fire the weapon for fear of revealing my position to all. It is my recommendation that every firearm you use should be silenced, if possible.
Additionally, I have read conflicting information about the damage reduction of silencers, where some have said that it reduces damage by less than 10%, but this is unconfirmed.
Exceptionally Bad Equipment: (avoid these if you want maximum performance)
ALL Shotguns (the M590 used to be incredible)
ALL Machineguns (useful for quarantine only)
M24 (the weapon of an ineffective player, though some prefer its difficulty of use)
Heavy Vest (you aren't in the recruit server anymore)
2. Recoil Control
- The key to killing your target in the smallest amount of time is managing your recoil. This varies heavily based on the weapon, but I will concentrate on the G36E for now (it is my favorite weapon).
- YOU MUST TAP THE TRIGGER. Firing less bullets will result in more hits in less time. Only burst fire or go full auto at point blank range. Every weapon is different, so it is the player's own responsibility to learn what tap speed is best for their gun. Guns such as the M416, which have extremely low recoil, perform somewhat well on burst fire. However, I still recommend tapping the trigger at medium range and beyond very quickly instead.
- The G36E is unique in that it has the best assault rifle scope in the game; this is not debatable. It has much more magnification than the other scopes and doesn't cripple your ability to hit fast moving targets as the iTech does.
- PROTIP: If you find that your G36E recoil is getting out of control after missing many shots, switch to the scope. This will reset your recoil to 0 instantly. Other scopes accomplish something similar, but their reduced magnification cripples them at longer ranges, which is where this technique is most commonly employed.
- SIDE NOTE: Due to the nature of the Combat Arms recoil and accuracy mechanic, aiming for a headshot is not recommended in most situations. Unlike in other games, Combat Arms weapons become inaccurate very quickly if fired at their maximum rate of fire for more than two bullets. This means that you usually cannot aim at chest level and fire a 3 shot burst for a headshot, as the second and third bullets typically won't land anywhere near your intended target. Aim for the body in most cases; aim for head only when you have no choice or the target is standing still with the head in full view.
3. Awareness (A.K.A Predicting the Future)
- This is what separates good players from great players. Once you reach this level of understanding, the world of Combat Arms basically opens up to you. The following items factor into Awareness.
A. Gunfire/muzzle flash:
Identify the source of the gunfire/muzzle flash immediately. You can also hear silenced gunfire if your are close enough.
B. Teammate Deaths:
Watch the top of your screen for kill notifications. When a teammate dies, find his grayed out name on your screen to identify his last position and consider what weapon killed him. This will help you determine the approximate distance between the teammate and his killer. If a teammate is killed close to you by an SMG or a grenade, prepare for a rush. If he is killed by a sniper rifle, be more cautious about exposing your body.
When you hear footsteps that may be suspicious, look in the direction of the footsteps and determine whether it is a teammate who made the noise. If you see no friendly nametags in that direction, the sound was made by an enemy. Remember that different surfaces generate different footsteps.
Watch for small green objects flying around the screen, obviously. Also, the sound of a grenade pin being pulled is very distinct and can give you precious seconds to prepare to avoid the explosion. Also, listen for the grenade bouncing on the ground, but keep in mind that you will have much less time to react.
E. The "Spidey Sense" (ADVANCED):
When you reach a high level of skill, you will begin to develop an almost ESP like ability. For instance, when I move out of cover to snipe an opponent, I can feel the level of danger I am in on a very deep level. It is almost as if alarms are going off in my head, telling me that I am in the crosshairs of a sniper or I am vulnerable on my flanks. I can feel my heart rate increasing, and I react accordingly. Try to encourage this ability; it will increase your survivability immensely.
NOTE: This can often be mistaken for wallhacking or "chams" as it referred to in Combat Arms. Now you know the difference.
Some players tend to go to the same places and do the same thing over and over again. Take note of significant players (good snipers, good rushers), and attempt to counter their tactics. For instance, a player who runs through the underground tunnels in Snow Valley will most likely visit the tunnels repeatedly.
G. Look, Look, then Look Again:
You should physically be turning around constantly, checking to make sure your are secure in all directions: up down left right front back. Evaluate the possible threats in every direction, and let this guide you towards wise tactical decisions. However, just like driving a car, you do not want to focus so much on what's to your sides and what's behind you that you forget what is in front of you.
- Most kills obtained while rushing are from players who are unaware of your presence. Do whatever you need to do to ensure the maximum amount of enemies are facing away from you when you attack them. At the very least, make sure to kill an opponent in face to face combat so quickly that they do not have time to do a single point of damage to you.
- Rushing not only allows you to shoot many inadequate players in the back, it also makes the game very uncomfortable for snipers. After a few successful rushes, enemy snipers will always feel like someone is behind them while they are sniping, dramatically decreasing their effectiveness.
- You will need to be very confident at all distances of combat, as well as be able to jump and move with great agility. Also, consider retreating when you've worn out your welcome; you may even be able to run back to the enemy base and kill more players after they think you have been killed.
- Above all, never stop moving (unless you employ Offensive Camping, as will be explained soon). The last thing you want to see is an entire team of freshly spawned enemies rushing towards your static position. Be in one place, take your kill, then be in another place in the next moment. The more confused the enemy is, the easier it is for you to survive and continue your rampage.
- Though not always the most exciting of strategies, camping is very appropriate and very effective in some situations. For instance, when the enemy team is rushing your base constantly, moving to a very safe position and sniping could do wonders for keeping your base safe and secure. It is critical that you stay AWARE of your surroundings as you will have to defend yourself from multiple rushers.
- PROTIP: There is a glitch in the modeling of Combat Arms players, especially when they are on ladders. You can slowly climb a ladder and peek out over the top of the ledge without being seen. Your view is slightly above the forehead of your in-game character, allowing you kill players while remaining almost invulnerable. Camping in these positions can be highly productive, but be sure to watch for grenades.
- PROTIP: You can shoot with great accuracy on ladders, provided that you do not jump onto them. As long as you walk or run into them before you climb, your accuracy is will not decrease.
- PROTIP: Holding the "walk" button (default 'C') while climbing ladders will result in a completely silent climb. Conveniently enough, walking while climbing does not slow you down at all, so it is advisable to always "walk" up ladders.
- Though somewhat of an oxymoron, "Offensive Camping" can be quite useful. This strategy often involves rushing into an enemy's base and setting up a sniping position in a easily defendable area, typically within view of their spawn points. Snipe players in the back and defend yourself with an assault rifle when they come looking for you. Remember to abandon your position and retreat when things get too hot.
- Examples of good offensive camping positions are: ALL of the ladders in Snow Valley except the tower's, the tall guard post ladders in Two Towers, and the hill next to the snowed-in house on Alpha side of Snow Valley.
Switching Between Rushing and Camping
- Rushing can be useful and camping can be useful. However, it is only when these two strategies are effectively and seamlessly combined that you will find your kill rate rising dramatically. Never go into a game and tell yourself that your are going to camp for the entire game or rush for the entire game. Situations change all the time, so you must be ready to adapt. If the enemy is rushing hard, fall back and camp. If the enemy is leaving a side of the map unguarded, rush behind their front lines and reap the benefits.
- Practice switching to a camping/sniping mode while rushing. I often find myself deep inside an enemy base during a rush with no immediate targets at close range. In this case, I can switch to my sniper rifle, take a long range kill-shot on some distant target, and very quickly switch back to my assault rifle to continue to rush. Employing these two strategies simultaneously can provide bonus kills if properly executed. This is most useful on very large maps such as Snow Valley and Waverider.
5. Map-Specific Tips
- Keep in mind that most of my experience is on the larger maps of Combat Arms as I find them far more interesting than smaller maps. This guide is also becoming more epic than I predicted, so I will have to limit the amount maps reviewed to the three that I am most familiar with.
- A sniper rifle is critical in this map. Without a sniper rifle, you are basically forfeiting 30%-40% of your kills and leaving you helpless if your base is overwhelmed by rushers. Sniping is also one of the easiest ways to kill players who are better than you. Also, an assault rifle is far more useful here than an SMG. Don't leave home without one.
- Although this is known as a sniping map, rushing can be very effective. I would even argue that rushing in this map is easier to do than most of the other maps in Combat Arms. Alpha Base (the lower base) is especially vulnerable to rushers as there are many walls and fences to disappear behind. Bravo Base is less vulnerable due to the reduced cover and longer distances, but it is still possible to employ Offensive Camping strategies here.
- USE THE UNDERGROUND PASSAGE! So many players forget that this passage even exists. It not only deprives players of a very useful method of rushing into an enemy's base, it also leaves them oblivious to the possibility of an enemy rushing through those tunnels. If you are near any one of the 4 exits from the passage, listen for the sounds of doors opening or ladders being climbed. Do not allow an enemy to exit the underground passage alive.
- PROTIP: There is one location with water in the underground passage, DO NOT STEP IN IT. Any good player within hearing range will hear the extremely unique sound and know immediately where you are and where you are going. You will be dead the instant you poke your little head out of the metal door.
- Offensive Camping is extremely useful in this map. In the future, I plan to release a guide with screenshots detailing each offensive camping position as well as more general positions of interest.
- From the experiences of my less skilled Combat Arms friends, it is clear to me that this is a very, very difficult map to play for newer players. The bases are very easily camped and isolated, the roof is intensely contested, and the second floor of the building has a lethal combination of windows and holes to be shot or rushed through. I recommend that this map be played only by those confident in an environment absolutely surrounded by threats.
- The roof is the key. The team that has possession of the roof has possession of the game. If your team has taken and held this key position, take your sniper rifle out and peak your head over the top of the roof. Camping the enemy's spawn will provide you with excessive amount of kills, provided that you do not leave yourself vulnerable to enemy counter-snipers. Also, be absolutely paranoid of enemies rushing up the stairs to the roof. It is extremely important that you check the stairway for enemies every few seconds while sniping.
- I know of two possible ways to reach the roof. One is through the double stairway in the building that is slightly closer to alpha site. The other, more obscure method, is by jumping on the rail at the top of Alpha stairway right outside of spawn, inside the building. I have seen players jump to the roof from this position, though I haven't tried it much myself.
- When in the second floor of the building, beware the windows and holes around you. Players routinely jump on the outside of the building, passing by the windows often. Occasionally, one will open fire on you from the outside of the building or jump through these windows for an easy flank kill. This is especially true at the top of the double stairway that leads to the roof. Watch your back, and try to harness the mobility provided by the windows as best you can.
- There is a somewhat complex method of rushing into Alpha's spawn by jumping outside of the building from Bravo side. How to do this is beyond the scope of this guide, however, but you should be aware that it is possible.
- Many snipers camp at the top of ladders in this map, where they are extremely difficult to see as I had mentioned in the Strategy/Camping section of this guide. Beware death from an almost invisible foe. If you are very good at throwing grenades, a skillful grenade toss can kill these snipers.
- This is another map that newer players have trouble grasping. The roofs require moderate jumping skill to negotiate and they require a careful eye to spot enemies quickly. Walking the roads through the town is also exceedingly dangerous, as threats can appear not only in front or behind, but from above as well.
- I would say the roofs are key again, but considering that this map is basically one multi-part roof, it is fairly obvious. A smart player on a rooftop can snipe exposed players at long range and easily get the drop on players walking below them through the judicious monitoring of footsteps. Also, be sure to very carefully scan the horizons as you move. It can be difficult to spot snipers and other threats, so you must be extra cautious here. This doesn't mean that you should move slowly, however.
- Though the roofs dominate this map, there are many times when walking the roads is a wiser option. There is a somewhat lower exposure to snipers when on the roads, but you must be very careful not to be ambushed from the roofs above you. The Look, Look, and Look Again section in Awareness is very useful here.
- The lighthouse is a powerful tool for smart snipers. Not only can you camp at the top of the lighthouse somewhat safely, you can also partially climb the ladder to snipe through the hole facing Bravo Site. Be very careful to not let rushers get too close to the ladder, and be ready to jump for your life if a rocket streaks towards you.
- Mines are especially useful in this map. Mines, in general, are most effective on stairways, at the top of ladders, just beyond doorways, and at the terminating end of a jump to the roofs. This map contains all of these areas in abundance. You should watch your step here if you discover a mine user on the enemy team.
- It would be beneficial for an analysis of this map to be accompanied by screenshots. I hope to add an in-depth section of Waverider and other maps to this guide in the future.
End of FrostFire626's Guide to Combat Arms: Part 1
If the reception of this portion of the guide is good, then look forward to Part 2 for more useful tips, and possibly a deeper analysis of topics summarized in Part 1.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Excellent guide written by FrostFire626 from the nexon forums.