2 Year Livestream Challenge, 730 days, 104 weeks, No Excuses.

I’m going to do something crazy, I am going to livestream every day for 2 consecutive years.

Rules:

  • Challenge will begin on Jan 5th 2012 (12:01 am)
  • Streams will start at Midnight (PST)
  • Streams will last at least 2 hours
  • No Excuses

Exceptions:

  • Hospitalization of myself or a immediate family member.
  • Power Outage
  • Hardware Failure

Now to answer the big question, why? 

I have many reasons for doing this, some selfish and others not. It has always been my dream to make gaming my full time living, and I have spent the past year of my life trying to grow on youtube, social media and livestreaming. While this has been successful, it has taken a lot of time away from my family, fiancee, daughter and stepson. I am now a YouTube and Justin.tv partner and would like to make the most of the opportunities that have been put in front of me. Livestreaming every night will take a considerable amount of time, but will allow me to spend the daytime with my family who I love and want to spend more time with. In the end my goal is to work from home and be able to support my family. Regardless of any selfish or monetary goals that would be behind gaming for a living, my family will always come first.

For a little background, I am 26, have a 2 year old daughter and a 11 year old step son and have been working in kitchens for almost 7 years. I love cooking food, and will continue to do so even when gaming is my full time living, but as a hobby not a job. I currently live with my parents due to circumstances that were not under my control, I have significant debt from circumstances again not under my control. My goal after 2 years of consecutive streaming is to have dissolved my debt and be in a financial position to support my family from home.

It’s going to be quite the ride, and I will be posting weekly updates on what is going on with my stream and my life throughout this challenge.

It’s not all about me!

During my 2 year challenge, I will be trying to raise some money for charity as well. I will create a Chipin to the amount of 25,000$ for each year. If that amount is filled by the end of the year I will donate 50% to St Judes Children’s Hospital. Regardless if it is filled, I will donate 25% of the amount raised to charity.

My promise to the viewers:

I will show up every night and give you the best stream that I can, this is a dream of mine and even more than I want this to work, I need it to for my family and my future. Thank you in advance for checking out the livestream, look forward to seeing you there!

Matt a.k.a. LethalFrag 


Diablo III RMAH (Real Money Auction House)

First off, let me say I am a giant nerd for the Diablo series. I think that the random loot system is the greatest system ever invented, infinite possibilities of loot will keep me coming back all day to play.

Blizzard had announced that there will be a real money auction house, in addition to the standard gold auction house to purchase items. In the wake of this there has been a firestorm of people who love it, and people who hate it.

I will start with some of the arguments against the RMAH:

1. Players will be able to gear up without ever working for it.
2. The market will be flooded with overpriced items.
3. Unbalanced PVP Arena, players with cash will do better.
4. Gross undercutting of standard market prices by farmers will lead to a bad economy.

Arguments for the RMAH:

1. User driven economy.
2. Providing Blizzard with a way to make money without charging a monthly subscription to the game.
3. Reduction of spam-bots selling rare items.
4. Ease of gearing up, if you choose to pay.
5. Provides players a chance to earn real money while playing Diablo III.

While I see valid points on both sides, the reality of having a user driven economy is a very exciting prospect to me. While this will create unbalance in the PVP arena if someone has several hundred dollars to throw into their character, this is not different from any other MMO. People can and will spend money on their online games to improve, especially when loot is on the line. If this is by legal means it just makes for a better experience, if you do not give people a way to spend their money legitimately on the game, they will find another way. The gold selling business in WoW has been one of the largest grossing illegal business in history, and the loot is completely set.

Will the RMAH give players a chance to make a actual living playing Diablo?

To be honest I don’t know. For a true grinder like me, I am willing to give it a shot. Someone with patience, who doesn’t spend money on themselves while stockpiling gold and items could very well have a great chance at earning some cold hard cash playing Diablo. How much money over time is still to be seen.

With infinite possibilities of loot, there is no telling how much a item could be worth. Something could drop and sell for 0.50, or you could find a epic hammer with +34 stats and a host of other amazing additions that could sell for 100$. Your kidding yourself if you don’t think someone will pay a large amount for a truly great item. Granted these kind of item drops are very rare, and you may only see a few over the course of a year or more.

The real money to be made will be in the small items, the specifics as I like to call them.

Example: A wizard currently has a fire build and has for the past month, but now wants to switch it over to a frost based spec. All the gear bought for this character to date has been fire related, so in order to make a smooth transition to a frost build they need equipment with + Frost Damage. Set wizard decides to spend 20 dollars revamping his character into a new build to keep the game exciting and buys 10 items between 0.50 and 2.00. A small investment that many Diablo players will be willing to make. These items are not hard to find, but are very specific to that class and what they want to do, now making them slightly valuable instead of vendor scrap.

With the smart use of the gold auction house, you could pick up several of these “specific” items using the in game gold you are not spending and turn them into a profit. This of course will take time and knowledge, but I know there are many veteran gamers out there that are excited by this prospect. I’m going to give it a shot, if it doesn’t work that is just fine!


Tournament Brackets and Final Instructions

Congratulations on being chosen to compete in the 1v1 Sniping Tournament for CoD: Black Ops sponsored by CrossroadGame. Below you will find your final instructions on how the tournament will work, as well as the times you will be playing in the tournament.

You must send @LethalFrag a mention on twitter to confirm your entry within 24 hours or your spot will be replaced.

By entering this contest you agreed that you have read and understood the Rules of the Tournament. To sum these rules up in simple terms, no extreme camping, cheating or unsportsmanlike actions verbal or otherwise. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at @LethalFrag on twitter.

This will be a live event hosted from 12-5 PST on August 27th and can be watched at http://twitch.tv/lethalfrag

Below are the match times for the tournament, each round is single elimination, sudden death. I have listed all of the round times for each set of players – this only applies if you win your round as the loser is immediately disqualified. You will have five (5) minutes from your posted time to arrive in the lobby. Don’t be late!

Tournament Contenders:


DutchyDC’s Entry: @MrHammer24 VS CyaNideEPiC’s Entry: @ZelinkTheOne

Round 1 – 12:00
*Round 2 – 2:40
*Round 3 – 4:00


@IDSHOCK VS @wardnox

Round 1 – 12:20
*Round 2 – 2:40
*Round 3 – 4:00


@Ecuabol VS @SeeGoObsessed

Round 1 – 12:40
*Round 2 – 3:00
*Round 3 – 4:00


@xDeadlyToxinsx VS @NickAbc423

Round 1 – 1:00
*Round 2 – 3:00
*Round 3 – 4:00


@TheFadeShot VS @leapedcrescent

Round 1 – 1:20
*Round 2 – 3:20
*Round 3 – 4:20


@xWheatiez VS @UnFixedTitan

Round 1 – 1:40
*Round 2 – 3:20
*Round 3 – 4:20


@Swo131 VS @iiNYYankii142

Round 1 – 2:00
*Round 2 – 3:40
*Round 3 – 4:20


@KillinTimeToDie VS @MisterMasterDan

Round 1 – 2:20
*Round 2 – 3:40
*Round 3 – 4:20

You have 24 hours to respond to the tweet sent by @LethalFrag stating that you are available to compete. All times are final.

Happy Hunting!

Matt a.k.a. LethalFrag


Sniping Tournament Entry

Hello and welcome, here you will find all the details for the Sniping Tournament being hosted by CrossroadGame/LethalFrag.

The 16 player Sniping Tournament will held on Xbox 360, Saturday, August 27th, 12:00-5:00 pm PST. The tournament will be Single Elimination, Sudden death.

Class Setup:

Weapon – L69A1, Extended mags.

Secondary – Strela-3

Lethal – Frag Grenade

Tactical – Flashbang

Equipment – Tactical Insertion

Perks – Lightweight Pro, Steady Aim Pro, Marathon Pro

-

Prizes:

1. Your game of choice under 59.99$
2. A feature in the montage of the tournament
3. A video of your individual play in the tournament

By entering this contest, you agree that you have read and understand the Rules of the Tournament

-

Entry: Random Draw

To enter for your chance to compete in the Tournament you must do the following.

1. Follow CrossroadGame on Twitter – http://twitter.com/crossroadgame
2. Like CrossroadGame on FaceBook – http://facebook.com/crossroadgame
3. Leave a comment on this blog with your Twitter name and Xbox Live Gamertag

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Secondary Entry:

Two (2) of the Sixteen (16) spots in the tournament will be given away by the LethalFrag Team. In order to receive entry you must still be in compliance with the random draw entry rules and have read and understand the Rules of the Tournament.

Please contact the individual LethalFrag team members for their individual contest entry rules.

-
dutchyDC – http://twitter.com/dutchydc
CyaNideEPiC – http://twitter.com/cyanideepic
-

How you know that you won:

Winners will be randomly drawn on August 24th. In the event of your name being drawn you will receive a twitter mention from @LethalFrag. Once you receive this mention, you have 24 hours from the time of the mention to respond stating that you are available for the tournament. Once you confirm your entry you will be sent the time you are playing in the first round and additional information on the Tournament.

Let the games begin!


HQ Guide Part 5/8 – Learning The Maps

Part 5/8 in @PROTIPZ Great discussion on how to learn the maps while playing HeadQuarters.

LEARN THE MAPS!

If I were to pick three things that have the greatest impact on your Headquarters game I would break it down to communication, effective loadouts, and learning the map. Map knowledge is key to any game in Black Ops, but in headquarters it is particularly significant. Think of it this way, when you play headquarters on a map, you aren’t playing it on one map but on five different maps since the dynamics of the game change significantly with each different location.

If you have a regular team or clan you play with, I suggest scheduling time to play private HQ matches. If not, combat training is an excellent tool to let you explore the maps as you see fit without having to worry about getting stifled by a superior team. I also highly recommend printing out maps, and taking notes. You’ll also want to spend lots of time in the Theater mode. In this installment of our Headquarters for Beginners series, we’ll discuss some of the aspects you should focus your map study on.

HQ Locations: This should go without saying, but we’re going to put this in here anyway. If you want to succeed at Headqarters, you should know the location for every target on every map you play, no questions asked. Further, try to associate each location with landmarks or grid locations if you can—whatever it takes to more effectively communicate HQ location to your team. Also make a note of the characteristics of each HQ. Is it open air, or is there a roof overhead? In a small room, or wide space? The more you know about each location, the more advanced and effective strategies you can build around it.

Traffic Routes: Each map has more than a few traffic lanes players use to get back and forth. The better you know these, the more effectively your team can lock them down and restrict access to the HQ. Learning traffic routes can be done through experience, and by reviewing matches in Theater mode using the overhead option. Pay particular attention to how traffic changes from one HQ to the next.

Alternative Traffic Routes: Just as every map has major paths, there are also a number of short cuts and minor paths that experienced players discover through exploration. If you really want to excel at HQ, you’ll want to know these. Knowing these is especially important if you come across a squad that is particularly good at Traffic Control. If you find yourself getting clipped halfway to the HQ, that means your opponents are probably securing the major traffic lanes, and knowing the secret passages of a map will help you circumvent them.

Spawn Locations: Spawn trapping is an effective if frustrating method of stifling the opposition and giving your cappers and defenders the best space to do their job. Effective spawn trapping requires an intimate knowledge of spawn locations and how they change in relation to each specific HQ location.

PROTIP: The spawns in HQ can “flip” or, in other words, the spawn location of each team can swap if one team’s members penetrates too deeply into the opposing team’s spawning region. If you are attempting to spawn trap, be careful not to flip the spawn and put the enemy behind your defenders and cappers when they aren’t expecting it.

PROTIP (Part 2): Pay attention to who has the “spawn advantage”. The team that spawns closest to the current headquarters (or has a safer and less impeded path) has a spawn advantage. If the other team has a spawn advantage try intentionally flipping the spawn so you can take the spawn advantage from them.

Access Points: The key to effective HQ control is understanding access points. Access points, not to be confused with traffic routes, are those openings that grant players direct access to the effective radius of the Headquarters. Sometimes these are easily defined and assessed such as those target locations inside of small rooms. But you’ll find that not every HQ is the same. Example: The fountain HQ location on Stadium doesn’t really have access points because the area around it is so open, you can access the effective radius from just about anywhere.

Obviously HQ’s that are so wide open they don’t really have access points are trickier to both capture and defend. For these, traffic control is more important than ever. But for a majority of HQ locations there are a number of access points that can be played. As you study access points, identify those that can be covered with a claymore, those that can’t, and which roles are best equipped to cover which access point.
Also, be sure to use this information in conjunction with the data you picked up from studying spawns. Together, you should be able to assess the probability of ingress for each Access Point (how likely an opponent is to enter through that particular Access Point). This is incredibly important data seeing as how there will be plenty of instances where you will be unable to cover all of the access points with available team members. Correctly assessing the probability of ingress gives you the best chance at holding off the enemy long enough to get the cap when you don’t have the resources to shut down access completely.

Sniper Nests/Campgrounds: This has happened to you. You’ve just respawned, you’re running to the HQ, you don’t get fifteen feet and POP! You’re down. Respawn again, start running to the HQ again, and POP! You’re down again. Okay, try another route and halfway to the headquarters POP! You’re down again. What your opponent seems to know that you don’t is where all the effective Sniper Nests and Campgrounds are.

As much as people complain about camping, what you have to understand is that in many ways HQ IS a camping game. And you can either whine about campers, or you can learn how to beat them. When it comes to HQ, there are going to be times when you or your team are going to want to camp, especially when you are defending the HQ.

You’ll want to spend lots of time exploring each map looking for every nook and cranny that can be used for camping. Likewise, you want to familiarize yourself with all of the sniper’s nest on a map; letting an enemy control a sniper’s nest overlooking an open air HQ can really ruin your day.

You’ll also want to thoroughly investigate every camp spot directly adjacent to each HQ. Not only do you want this information for when you are defending, but this is crucial data for when you are attempting to destroy an HQ. If you know all the camp spots around an HQ, you’ll have a much easier time clearing out enemy defenders when you need to.

Become One With The Map: Maybe more important than anything else, you need to feel comfortable with a map. You need to know each map you play as intimately as you know your own home. And the only way to get that is to play the maps over and over. Play them with HQ, play them without HQ, play each map until you run all over it with confidence and awareness. And then play it some more. When you play a map long enough, it’s almost like you develop a sixth sense, you subconsciously begin to anticipate, and that is an AMAZING asset to have in headquarters. That level of awareness can let you pick off coming attackers as you are trying to cap an HQ with a counter spy in the air, or drop the guy camping in a sniper perch that’s been holding your team away from the target. When you are that intimate with a map, you are increasing your probability of winning by an immeasurable amount.


Part 4/8 – PROTIPZ HQ Guide

Part 4/8 written by the information king @PROTIPZ

-KILLSTREAKS-

Killstreaks are almost, and in some cases equally, as personal as one’s loadout, and indeed I almost lumped the Killstreaks in with the loadout discussion in our last segment, opting not to for organizational purposes alone. That and because there are definitely various aspects of Killstreaks that I felt warranted their own discussion.

In general keep in mind that of the three roles that make up a team, Cappers generally have the shortest lifespan and should therefore not expect to get the big killstreaks like dogs or SR71. When it comes to Defenders and Traffic Controllers, it will depend on your style and skill level. Use your best judgment when selecting how big your Killstreaks will be, and remember that the most effective Killstreak you can select is the one that you actually get to use.

Taking that train of thought out further, don’t let your Killstreaks affect your strategy. We’ll discuss this a little more further on down, but if the only way you can get dogs is to camp for ten minutes, you have to ask yourself if you are really being useful to your team playing for dogs. If you ever find yourself altering the way you play specifically because of your Killstreak selection, you perhaps need to pick a different Killstreak.

THE SMALLFRIES: These are the killstreaks that you get the soonest, and the funny thing is that while they are the easiest to get, they can also be among the most useful. I’m speaking specifically about the Spy Plane, Counter Spy Plane, and RCXD.

Spy Plane’s value is obvious, and believe me, I’ve grown to love Counter Spy Plane. Knocking out an enemy’s mini map leaves them off balance and makes the job for defenders and traffic controllers much easier. Meanwhile, the RCXD is great in that it can be used to clear enemies off of an HQ even if you are stuck on the other side of the map. Alternately, you can put an RCXD on the target and let it just sit there, blowing it up at the first sign of trouble. RCXD’s can also be useful in rooting out those camping near the target, thereby allowing the rest of your team safer ingress to secure the area and establish a perimeter.

AERIAL ASSAULTS: There are three different aerial assaults, and you might be surprised at which one is the best for your HQ game. B-17 bombers and Mortar teams can pack a huge punch, and take more kills before you can use them, but the Napalm, at a measly five kills, is your best bet in a game of HQ for a couple of reasons. The first is that, of course, you get it faster and easier, or the bird in the hand vs. the bird in the bush principle. Yeah, the B-17 may lay waste to anything in its path, but in half the kills you get yourself a napalm.
What’s just as important, though, is that unlike the other aerial assault style Killstreaks, Napalm lingers, giving it an added tactical advantage. Instead of dropping a napalm for the kills, wait until your entire team is around the HQ and then drop a Napalm across the map isolating it and your squad from the opposing team. No one is getting across that wall of fire unless they have Flakjacket Pro.

THE CHOPPERS: There are three different levels of choppers with increasingly higher Killstreaks giving you more control and more time in the air for each higher level. Ironically, though, I happen to think the lowest level chopper, (the Cobra, attainable at 7 kills) is the best fit for HQ play for one major reason; it leaves your entire team on the board. Of course there’s also the advantage of requiring fewer kills to put in the air.

But as I pointed out at the beginning of this section, your killstreaks shouldn’t alter your strategy, and both Chopper Gunner and Gunship do this. For one, they will alter most people’s gameplay as they attempt to go for more kills without dying, but they also remove one of your team mates from play once they actually use the killstreak. And, of course, all of your effort is wasted if the HQ is indoors, all of your opponents take refuge inside, or the opposing team takes it down right away.

Meanwhile the Cobra acts effectively as a seventh player without having an impact upon your on the ground strategy, and if you know where and when to deploy this killstreak, you will greatly increase your probability of capturing a headquarters as well as perhaps picking up a few defends with it after.

PROTIP: A lot of people misuse the Cobra, putting it up in the air early in the neutral phase of the HQ cycle, or shortly after the HQ is captured, in each case you are missing out on the maximum strategic potential while at the same time likely falling short of their kill potential as well. Here are a few quick tips on using your Cobra to its maximum potential.

  1. Don’t use Cobras on indoor HQ locations. Yes, a cobra can help control traffic to indoor locations, but once opponents get inside under protection, the cobra is no longer effective.
  2. Place the Cobra over the HQ approximately 10-15 seconds prior to the HQ going live.  Timing is important, and putting the chopper up 10-15 seconds before it goes live give the Cobra time to get in place without giving a lot of extra time for your opponents to shoot it down. As a result, this timing and placement gives you the maximum cover fire while you attempt to capture the headquarters and if you get it capped fast enough, the Cobra can double up and act as an extra defender.
  3. While step 2 is my favorite deployment of the Cobra, there are times and placements for the Cobra that can be effective. For HQ locations that are on the edge of the map, you can place the Cobra somewhere in the center over a major thoroughfare to help control traffic. But one of the worst timings for a cobra placement I’ve ever seen is deploying the chopper after the enemy captures the HQ. For one, the enemy no longer respawns meaning your kill potential is at its lowest. For another, the defense phase of the game is when the controlling team really starts camping, making them particularly hard for the chopper to reach.

DROP CRATE GOODIES: This covers all the killstreaks that come in drop crates; care packages, valkyrie rockets, SAM turrets, and sentry guns. Generally speaking, all of these have no particularly specific advantage beyond their standard use in HQ. Valkyries can be useful for clearing out an open air HQ, SAMs can keep your skies clear, and sentries placed in a corner overlooking an HQ location can SERIOUSLY rack up kills and put a nail in your enemies’ coffin.

But the fact of the matter is that I don’t advocate running any of the drop crate killstreaks because they violate that core principle of altering your on the ground strategy. Every time you deploy a drop crate killstreak, you have to effectively remove one of your team mates from the strategy because they now have to go and get their crate. What’s worse is that you also run the risk of the enemy hijacking or hacking the crate. To combat this you may want to have TWO of your team mates protect the crate which FURTHER alters your team strategy.  Ultimately, the math doesn’t add up. You have to sacrifice one maybe two team members for a killstreak that your opponents might sabotage or steal, and all this for only a moderate advantage. Care packages in particular offer a huge risk/reward equation that does not add up positively. I just don’t like the idea of potentially giving your opponent dogs or a Hynd, especially in a tough game. Run these killstreaks if you absolutely insist, but do so at your own risk.

ANIMAL PLANET: Blackbird and Dogs. The only thing I really have to say about these killstreaks is that they are among the most potent in the game, and the hardest to get. These killstreaks are probably best run by your Traffic Controllers, but if you feel like you can confidently get to these killstreaks consistently without altering strategy, by all means please do. As a dedicated capper, I can’t tell you how grateful I am whenever one of my team mates put a black bird in the air.


Part 3/8 by the one and only @PROTIPZ

The Loadouts

For any dedicated Call of Duty gamer, one’s loadout can be a fairly personal topic. As we progress, we grow attached to our choice in grenades and guns. Some of us will create multiple classes, each tailor made for specific situations and game types. Others will create one multi-purpose class; an accumulation of the weapons and perks they’ve grown most comfortable with over time. This segment in our HQ for Beginners series isn’t designed to tell you what your load out should be. Instead it is a discussion of some of the tools that might prove particularly useful in a match of Headquarters, and how. As I’m fond of saying, you need to bring the right tools to the job, and below we’re going to talk about some of the tools you may want to consider.

Primary Weapons: Primary weapons might be the most personal of all the options to consider in one’s loadout, making them, potentially, the most difficult to discuss. In general, though, one should look at the advantages and disadvantages of each weapon type and relate them not only to the general concept of headquarters, but also to the specific roles discussed in the last segment.

Small Machine Guns: To their benefit, SMG’s give you some of the greatest foot speed as well as being among the most agile of the weapons available. These are clearly great assets. For Cappers who rely upon quick action in tight circumstances, the dexterity of the SMG can be awesome.  Further, you’ll find yourself in many situations where you have to traverse the map in a very short period of time, and the added foot speed granted by an SMG can be invaluable. SMG’s come with their own problems; relatively low ammo and clip size can leave you high and dry on the HQ (especially if you have it equipped with Rapid Fire). This problem is exacerbated by the relative lack of power meaning you can’t necessarily depend on dropping your enemies with a quick burst.

Light Machine Guns: Huge clip size and significant stopping power make these weapons formidable, but not without a price. They can be among the least agile in the game and really drag down footspeed. Further, the reload time on LMG’s is often tortuously slow. These problems make LMG’s something I would think twice about if you intend to be a Capper, as you’ll need both footspeed and agility. On the other hand both defenders and Traffic Controllers can probably do well if this is their weapon of choice.

Assault Rifles: The workhorse of the game, the versatility of the assault rifle makes most of selections in this category good in nearly all occasions. Less agile than Small Machine Guns, the assault rifle more than makes up for this deficiency with superior range, power, and in some instances, clip size. The only cautions I have on this is to be wary of the clunkier assault rifles including the short burst style weapons. Guns like the Commando or G11 might not provide the agility you need when playing close on the target.

Sniper Rifles: These much maligned weapons don’t have a large role in HQ mostly thanks to the fact that HQ is not a static enough game for any one sniper location to remain relevant for long. Further, Sniper rifles are among the least agile in the game making them largely useless for cappers, and not the wisest choice for defenders. They can, however, be useful in traffic control, especially on certain maps where key central locations have access to multiple traffic lanes (Example: The center building on Firing Range can effectively cover traffic lanes for four of the five targets).  Seeing as how sniping is a very specific skill in the first place, perhaps learning how to snipe and play HQ at the same time is not the best of ideas.

Shotguns: Short range stopping power and no need to ADS can make these weapons an absolute terror in the right hands, but are they right for HQ? Personally, I think the best deciding factor as to whether to use a shotgun is your own proficiency with these weapons. Beyond that, you have to take into account the map. Is it a wide open map? Then you might want to put the shotgun away. Are we talking about a map with lots of close quarter situations? The shotgun might excel there. Of course I know many run and gunners that terrorize with a shotgun, so I have no desire to get in their way. As for those playing closer on the HQ, my concerns include the low number of rounds between reloads, the low range, low firing rate, and both the stakeout and Olympia have agility issues. Personally, I don’t even consider a shotgun unless it’s the Spas-12 (Black Ops, not MW2) for HQ. The spas can go 12 rounds without loading, can be suppressed which is always a bonus, and my favorite little aspect is you can interrupt a reload sequence which can save your life in a pinch.

Launchers and Everything Else: I don’t have much to say about your secondary weapons as I don’t often use them. I do recommend that at least one or two of your party equip a Strela launcher. Strelas are an absolute must for getting your opponent’s aerial killstreaks out of the sky. Here’s another little tip for those who don’t run a Strela and rarely pull out their pistol: After killing an enemy, switch to your secondary gun and THEN take their gun. Now you have effectively two primary weapons at the same time. Another thing to consider is the crossbow with explosive rounds. As we’ll discuss in greater detail in the section on grenades, and in the equipment section with C4 and Claymores, virtually all explosive devices have their place.

Lethal Grenades: In Headquarters, you will see both teams converge in close quarters early and often. As a result, grenade usage is very important. Both Semtex and Frag grenades have their pros and cons and we will cover those in greater detail in just a second. As both have their advantages I highly recommend that your HQ team have a good mix of both grenade types.

  • Semtex: The defining characteristic of the Semtex is that it sticks which has several obvious advantages. For one, you can stick the Semtex to the HQ, making it a deadly objective for opponents attempting to capture it. While you are playing Headquarters, you’re going to meet a lot of people running Flakjacket and that’s where another major advantage of Semtex comes in; frag grenades aren’t very good at taking out Flakjacket foes, but there’s no escaping getting stuck by a Semtex. Another great advantage of the Semtex is that they don’t roll, meaning you don’t have to worry about your grenade rolling past the HQ target area, nor do you have to “cook” or time the release of the grenade to ensure it explodes near the target. Indeed, you can cook a Semtex indefinitely which can be handy if you are attempting to use a grenade defensively (I’ll discuss this a bit more  further down and also in a later installment of this series).

The strengths from Semtex grenades can also be their weaknesses. Indefinite cooking and stickiness qualities give you a lot of options, but the price you pay for those options is control and distance. Generally speaking, Semtex grenades can be easier to use than frags, and therefore more effective at the onset, however Semtex grenades lack the versatility a practiced veteran can milk from a frag grenade.

  • Frag: Let’s face it, for the longest time I avoided frags because I just didn’t know how to use them. Picking up on the principles I learned from Lethal Frag, these are now my grenade of choice, especially in headquarters. There are two properties of the frag that give it superior control when being used. The first is the fact that you can time a release or cook it. This means that with practice you can manage the amount of delay before detonation before the grenade reaches its target. If you’ll notice, when a grenade is incoming, you usually see the indicator giving you a chance to escape, but when you cook a grenade, you effectively rob your enemies of their chance to get out of the way before detonation. The other great thing about frags is that they bounce meaning you can bank them off of walls and door jambs. Not only does this allow you to deliver an explosive payload at an angle, but it means you can actually attack enemies from a concealed position. Combine both of these properties to achieve a lethal formula that has exhaustive offensive and defensive properties. Frag grenades can be your last hope of clearing out an HQ before the enemy captures it, or you can use it to hold off a cluster of oncoming attackers as you are attempting to cap the HQ yourself.

The downside to frags is that learning to use them to their maximum effectiveness takes a lot of practice. Until then, not only can poorly used frags be horribly inaccurate, but there’s a higher potential for killing yourself. One can easily overcook a grenade, and if you aren’t comfortable with banking a frag, there’s a good chance you’ll bounce it off a wall right back onto yourself.

PROTIP: Depending on the location, try this as a defensive maneuver as you attempt to capture a target. When you’re attempting to capture a target, try to assess which access point is the highest probability entrance for your opponents. You can do this with a good fundamental knowledge of the map, and by looking to see where your team is spawning on the mini-map. Having a spy plane or SR71 in the air at this time is of course a huge help here.  Once you’ve picked out the most likely route, start cooking your frag grenade as you keep your sites locked on that access point. Hold out as long as you can; throw only when you start to see the first evidence of incoming opponents (shadows, gunfire, the actual enemy), or when you’ve reached the longest safe amount of cook time (about to the count of four). Good timing and judgment here might not just net you a multi-kill, but also grant you the few precious seconds you may need to successfully capture the headquarters.

Tactical Grenades:  There’s only one major point I wanted to cover on tacticals, and that is using good judgment when equipping the Wily Pete. Smoke bombs can be a great way to get cover and buy you time as you capture the HQ, but smoke bombs are not always a great idea. While the enemy can’t see you in a smoke bomb, you can’t see them either.

My general rule of thumb is to only use smoke bombs for HQ locations that are in open areas, particularly those areas that are susceptible to sniper fire, or any fire from an elevated position for that matter. The HQ location next to the fountain on the Stadium map is a GREAT example of an HQ location that would benefit from a smoke bomb.

For enclosed HQ locations, though, smoke bombs are a no-no. The problem that arises is that when capping a location in an enclosed area, in order for an enemy to kill you, they often have to be in the effective radius of the HQ with you, thereby stopping the capturing process. Since you can’t resume the capture process until that enemy is dead, you now have to grope around in the smoke and hope you get him before he gets you.

Lastly, don’t just indiscriminately throw a smoke bomb. Try to coordinate with your team and make sure your cappers are ready to get in position before you drop the smoke. The last thing you want to do is pop smoke and then have the other team use it to capture the HQ.

One other point: It doesn’t hurt to have at least one person run Nova grenades. You can render an HQ virtually uncappable by your opponent with a well timed Nova nade unless someone on the other team is running Tactical Mask.

Equipment: There are two pieces of equipment that are of particular usage in headquarters; the claymore, and the tactical insertion. C4 is handy for reasons similar to the claymore, though I personally think the passive quality of the claymore gives it a definite edge. Meanwhile camera spikes, motion detectors, and jammers can be definitely useful for Defenders or Traffic Controllers that are adopting a more static strategy (ie. Camping).

Claymore: Claymore gets a lot of usage in objective based games. Usually you’ll see them crowding around an objective, especially in Domination, but that’s not the best use of your equipment. Here, claymores can do several things depending on the specific set up of each individual headquarters. For Closed Headquarters (those HQ’s that are in enclosed spaces with limited access points), use your claymore to effectively secure an access point, leaving your cappers and defenders free to control other access points. For Open Headquarters (those HQ’s in open areas that have multiple access points and aerial access) you might not be able to use the claymore effectively to control access, but you can use it for other reasons such as booby trapping sniper spots that over look the target.

Just be careful not to be too reliant upon claymores. There are a number of ways they can be bypassed, and not all of them will give you a voice warning. Also, don’t forget that grenades and other explosive devices can also destroy your claymores.

PROTIP: Coordinate with your team on when to place claymores. If your team places all the claymores too early in the cycle you’ll have none left after the capture.  Determine how many team members have claymores equipped, and try to mete them out to ensure you have claymores deployed prior to, during, and after the capture.

Tactical Insertion: The advantages this guy can give you in Headquarters should be obvious. All too often you will find that your entire team gets knocked off the HQ by a grenade or a charging enemy in full on beast mode. The last thing you need is to have to try and race across the map with the enemy already on the target. Indeed, the only reason I don’t recommend everyone in a team run TI’s is because that means no one is left to run claymores. TI’s can be particularly useful for defenders whose job it is to maintain control over the target area in the first place.

Be sure to place your TI wisely. There is such a thing as getting the tactical insert too close to the action, and the entire purpose of the TI is defeated when you put it in a place that is easily discovered by the enemy. The trick to TI placement is to make sure that you place them in a low traffic, low action, low visibility area.  Do not place the TI in the building of the HQ, or in any major thoroughfare adjacent to it. Instead, try to place it in a building or alcove that is about half to two thirds of the way from the spawn point to the HQ. This should give you the lowest probability of having your TI discovered by an opponent, while still having the benefit of a greatly reduced travel time to the target.

PERKS!: This final portion of the Loadout section is also quite personal and can be controversial, so before we begin, a brief explanation of my philosophy might be in order. I believe in bringing the right tools to the job. If a perk is in the game, it is not cheating or cheap to use it; it is a tool to be used. If you don’t like a perk, by all means don’t use it, but you’ll get far more mileage learning how to combat these perks than you will complaining about them.

Since both defending and controlling traffic are both more of a free style sort of game, when we discuss perks we’re really going to focus mostly on those perks I believe will give an advantage to the cappers, though I will point out a perk here or there that could be handy for the other roles in your team.

SLOT ONE PERKS: Perhaps the two most useful perks you can get in HQ are Flakjacket and Ghost. Indeed, I personally think that Flakjacket is an absolute must have if you intend to capture a lot of HQ’s, and I highly recommend going and getting Flakjacket pro as early as you can every prestige. The Pro bonus to Flakjacket makes you virtually immune to fire damage which means Napalms (a highly recommended killstreak in HQ) won’t keep you from capping the target. Given all of the grenades that get dumped on an HQ (and trust me, there will be many), the Flakjacket will keep your cappers alive and capturing long after everyone else gets bumped off.

I don’t recommend Ghost so much for capturing the target, but if you just refuse to run flakjacket, or if you are filling a different role on your team and have to collapse to cap for whatever reason, the ghost is not the worst perk to have on a target. It’s at its most useful in that neutral targets don’t flash when an opponent is capping, so even if the enemy has a spy plane up, ghosts capping the HQ could lull your opponent into a false sense of security. Really, though, ghost is far more useful for defenders, and potentially traffic control.

SLOT TWO PERKS: My personal favorite slot two perk for cappers is Warlord Pro. It’s definitely nice to tweak your gun with two attachments, but just as important to me is the additional tactical and lethal grenades you get with the Pro bonus. Having two grenades means you can use the first to clear an HQ of enemy presence, and still have one left over for defensive uses when you are attempting to capture.
Warlord is also a boon for any of your defenders and traffic controllers running ghost since they can throw a silencer on top of whatever attachment they already have equipped on their weapon.

Also of use for cappers, though, can be both sleight of hand (with the pro bonus naturally), or steady aim. Both perks give you added agility and reaction time which are very welcome since cappers are almost always at the very center of the action.

SLOT THREE PERKS: Second Chance. People hate Second Chance, but let me tell you, if you want to capture a lot of targets, you need to stay alive as long as humanly possible and that’s what Second Chance does for you. While I swear by Second Chance as a tool to stay alive longer and capture more HQ’s I want to make it clear that I’m not equally as fond of the Pro bonus of being able to be revived. By all means, get Second Chance Pro as it lets you stay alive even longer, but I think a lot of people rely far too much on the revive ability. The short story is that you don’t HAVE to wait for someone to come along and revive you, and often times when you insist on being revived you are putting your team mates in danger.

Further, I’ve seen a lot of people wait around to be revived when letting themselves die might have spawned them closer to the target quicker in the first place. There are times when being revived is appropriate. When someone is available, and when you’re far enough from the action that being revived can be done safely, sure, go for it. Further, if you are one away from a big kill streak I can understand the desire to be revived. Finally, reviving after a capture is definitely a positive since there are no respawns and the more people you have up and defending means you are controlling the target for a longer time and getting more points. But more often than not, if you find yourself in second chance and you aren’t actively capping a target, you’re probably doing yourself and your team a favor by just doing yourself in and getting that respawn faster.

Another very handy third slot perk for those that simply refuse to run Second Chance is the Tactical Mask. A fairly common tactic is to put Nova on an HQ either to clear out a group already on it, or to prevent anyone from the opposing team to get within the effective radius in the first place. This perk lets you render this tactic useless, and if you go through the pain of getting the Pro bonus, you will render enemy flashbangs and concussion grenades useless as well.

MY LOADOUT: Before we put this installment to bed, here’s what I run when I’m playing Headquarters. I put my killstreaks down here, but we won’t discuss those until the next segment in the series.

Primary weapon: AUG with Red Dot and Extended Mag equipped—Everyone has their own preferences, but in my opinion the AUG has a beautiful balance between power, accuracy, and agility.

Secondary weapon: Strela

Equipment: Claymore

Lethal Grenade: Frag

Tactical: Wiley Pete

Perk slot 1: Flakjacket Pro

Perk slot 2: Warlord Pro

Perk slot 3: Second Chance Pro

Killstreaks: Spy Plane/ Counter Spy Plane/ Napalm

I capture Headquarters, that’s my job. On a modestly coordinated team, this loadout helps me get at least six captures a game, and even on terrible teams I can still manage to pick up the most caps of either  team. If you want to consistently pick up a high number of captures, you have to start with the right tools and these are the tools I use.

Continue reading

PROTIPZ HQ Guide Part 2/8

Part 2/8 Written by the one and only @PROTIPZ.

 

The Formula

In this installment of our series on Headquarters for Beginners, we’re going to discuss the makeup of an effective team, and the roles people play within that team.

When we stop to think about the entire process of a game of headquarters, several distinctive roles reveal themselves. These roles may not necessarily stay rigid throughout the game, with players shifting from one role to the next. Further, not all these roles will be employed all the time, nor will they necessarily appear in an effective formula. And, of course, you will often time run into those folks who are just so oblivious to the mechanics of the game that they tend to fit outside these defined roles; doing their own thing regardless of the realities of the match at hand.

Whatever the case, successful teams will often have members that fit some if not all of the following job descriptions:

CAPPERS:  These are the people that are primarily concerned with capturing and destroying the headquarters. Capturing a target successfully and with consistency will require good awareness, fast reflexes, and little concern for the current state of one’s K/D ratio. In any game of headquarters, cappers will draw the brunt of enemy fire and grenades. We will discuss potential load out options and specific techniques for these folks later on in the series. While a seasoned capper will often survive capturing a headquarters, winning strategies should account for the very high probability that cappers will be killed off within seconds of capturing a target. Depending on the situations, cappers will on occasion shift over and become defenders.

DEFENDERS:  These guys are a capper’s best friend. They play the objective in the near to medium range. Prior to and during the capture, their job includes securing access points, preventing enemies from attacking and killing the cappers, and eliminating any opponents that might enter the effective radius of the headquarters thereby pausing the capture process. Once the headquarters is captured, the prime goal of the defender is preventing the opponent from destroying the HQ. Further, defenders should be capable of collapsing in and taking the role of a capper, just as they may sometimes find themselves taking on the role of Traffic/Spawn control (which will be discussed next). There are a number of ways to successfully fulfill the defender role, from patrolling a tight perimeter with lots of communication with other defender(s) working the scene, to camping access points with a high probability of enemy ingress. Defenders should be good shots, handy with grenades, and have a better than average understanding of how to read and anticipate the information given from the mini map.

TRAFFIC/SPAWN CONTROL: If you have someone on your team that just constantly runs up the huge kill number in every match, this is the job for them. In many ways, Traffic/Spawn control is TDM Beast Mode with a focus. This portion of the team’s prime directive is to keep the enemy from even getting CLOSE to the headquarters area through traffic control, spawn trapping, or both.

Traffic control involves shutting down the major lanes of travel leading to the headquarters.  For any given headquarters there’s usually only a handful of major paths leading to it from anywhere on the map. A skilled run and gun style player with an intimate knowledge of the map can use this information to ring up a high number of kills while at the same time greatly reducing the volume of enemies reaching the headquarters area.

Spawn Trapping is a particularly frustrating variant on this strategy. Instead of targeting traffic lanes, the Controller goes directly after spawn points so that the enemy doesn’t even have a chance to get their bearings. Again, on top of requiring someone gifted at run and gun style gameplay, this will take an intimate knowledge of the map as well as familiarity with spawn mechanics.

NOTE: The spawn can “flip” in headquarters. This means that most teams spawn with each other in an area of the map opposing the other team. Spawn flipping is when the respawn points for each team swap. This can be a particular danger in HQ as a poorly timed spawn flip can make it more difficult to control traffic and access to the HQ , while also giving the enemy a “Spawn Advantage”. Spawn advantage is simply the advantage a team has by being the team that respawns closer to the HQ. The danger of spawn trapping, of course, is that if you penetrate too deeply into the enemy’s spawn region, you can force a spawn flip and hand your opponent a spawn advantage.

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This effectively covers the major roles of a successful HQ team, but there are situational and minor jobs that pop up as well. Clearing out an enemy infested HQ area, setting up a perimeter, bringing down enemy killstreaks like sentry turrets or Chopper Gunners, and activating specific controls (such as shutting the bay doors in the Radiation map in order to prevent people from jumping in from above) will arise and a good team can communicate amongst themselves and make on the spot decisions of who is the best person to deal with the situation at the time.

Coming across a good formula for these three roles in your team takes trial and error, understanding each member of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and understanding that each map is different and will require a slightly different approach. Indeed each Headquarters location is unique and can require changes to your strategies both subtle and significant.

Generally here’s the formula I prefer. I like 2 dedicated cappers. A lot of teams will have everyone rush the HQ which is okay in a lot of situations, but comes with its risks. If you have two practiced Cappers focusing on capturing the HQ, though, that can let the rest of the team focus on other roles. Meanwhile having 2 cappers does reduce the amount of time capturing the HQ and your team can reap all the benefits from that.

2 to 3 defenders is, I believe, the ideal for this particular HQ job.  Not only do these folks make the Cappers’ jobs much easier, effective defending of the HQ can significantly increase the team score and make it much more difficult for the enemy to get in the game.

Finally, you will want 1, maybe 2 Traffic/Spawn controllers. In truth, you can win consistently without this role, however being able to deploy someone to traffic and spawn control effectively will greatly increase your win probability, plus you will enjoy the benefits from all of the killstreaks that this part of your team will pick up as they are the most likely to ring up the big ones like dogs and SR71.

Remember, this formula should always be flexible and take into account the specifics of each match you take part in. Traffic controllers, for instance may be more effective on some maps compared to others. Likewise, there are some HQ locations where it is beneficial to have Defenders in close quarters capturing the HQ right alongside the Cappers. It is important, though, to assess your team’s abilities, and do your best to assign specific jobs at the onset of gameplay. You can always adapt and adjust mid game if your formula doesn’t work. Worst comes to worst, you take a loss, and revamp your formula for the next time.

So this gives you an idea of how to attack HQ with your friends that you play with on a regular basis. But, the fact of the matter is that a lot of the time you’re not going to have that luxury. Here are some tips and thoughts for when you are flying solo:

  • Use the mercenary playlist when possible. Mercenary prevents any parties from entering the lobby. So while your team may lack coordination and preplanning, at least you can take comfort in knowing that so do your opponents. Most likely.

 

  • Try to communicate with your team members when possible. Communication is a huge part of playing any objective game successfully. Having just two people on a random team with a mic can be a major advantage if they communicate effectively. We will discuss communications in more depth later on in the series.

 

  • Play the objective. If you’re on a terrible team, at least you can say you played the objectives the way they are supposed to be played. If you’re the only one with a headset, attempt to convince (don’t curse or insult, mind you) your team mates to do the same. Even if you don’t, sometimes attacking the HQ will result in your team mates doing the same.

 

  • Pay attention to what everyone else is doing. Those roles I outlined above are not my invention. Whether people know it or not, they tend to fill those roles throughout the natural course of a match. You can do your team a great service by observing how they play and deciding what role you can fill to best help the team out. For example, if you have a bunch of people playing like it’s team death match and racking up a lot of kills, then you clearly need to take on the Capper role. Likewise, if everyone is rushing the HQ to get the cap, perhaps you would best help the team by backing off a little and doing a little defense.

 

  • Don’t torture yourself with a lopsided lobby. Playing people better than you can be a learning experience. Especially if you go and watch the film after to find out what they did right and what you did wrong. Still there are times when a lobby is just so lopsided there’s little to no value in sticking in there and trying to milk some worth out of it. I’m not telling you to rage quit in the middle of a match, or even to run away from scary, high level prestige clans. I am saying that there is a point where the skill discrepancy is so bad no value you can be had, and the only thing that will come from you staying in the lobby will be severe frustration on your part.

Developing the kind of team that succeeds at HQ takes tons of work and experience. But if I were to distill the most important concepts to their most crystallized form, they would be: good communication, team work, map knowledge, and prioritizing the objective. If you can internalize those concepts in both your clan, and random teams  in which you find yourself, you are well on your way to stepping up your game in Headquarters.


PROTIPZ HQ Guide Part 1/8

Hello and thanks for reading. I did not write this article, Full rights go to @PROTIPZ on twitter, one of the most informative and  detailed game researchers I have seen to date.  So detailed that this guide is broken into eight parts. I really enjoyed reading this, and it changed some of my perceptions of the game of HQ.

-Headquarters: A Beginner’s Guide-

Introduction


Headquarters has become one of the most popular games in the Call of Duty multiplayer arsenal, and for good reason. This game type offers a unique and versatile challenge for gamers, providing tactical objective style gameplay as seen in modes such as Demolition or Domination, while also adding chaos through the randomly chosen headquarter locations. This aspect forces players to adapt, adopting a more flexible strategy set while constantly adjusting to changing conditions on the ground.

Of course, it’s also not just possible but probable that Headquarters’ popularity is largely affected by the fact that it is a virtual XP pump; a rich treasure trove for those seeking to climb the prestige ladder as quickly as possible. On top of all of the standard bonuses you might get playing Team Death Match or Free For All, you also pick up bonuses for capturing a headquarters, destroying an opponent controlled headquarters, and earning both defense and offense medals throughout. And, of course, you can’t forget the fact that you pick up an extra fifty XP every five seconds your team controls an HQ location whether you are alive or not. Controlling an HQ location for the maximum time nets you a cool 650 XP even if you died immediately upon capture, and hitting the score limit results in an extra 2,500 XP regardless of your contribution to the team’s success.

Like most games, however; not doing well in a game of Headquarters will result in a low yield of both XP, and in fun. That’s where this series comes in. Hopefully the tips, tricks, and strategies provided here over the coming weeks will help make you a more formidable force in the world of HQ whether you are building a clan with your friends, or just catching a quick pick up game (PROTIP: If you are playing alone I highly recommend playing HQ through the Mercenary Moshpit as opposed to standard headquarters games. Mercenary games prevent established teams meaning you don’t have to worry about getting steam rolled by a clan that specializes in headquarters). We’ll talk about everything from making the right choices in your load out, to actual techniques you can use while capturing the headquarters, to even good formulas to use once you start building your very own clan or team.
My aim in this series is not to give you a step by step recipe for playing better HQ, but instead to give you a tool set to work with. Hopefully the things you read in upcoming installments of this series will give you cause to study your own game, identify your weak points, and take those steps that need to be taken in order to make necessary improvements.
Warning: This series is focused primarily on Black Ops and NOT the Modern Warfare franchise. Some of the more general techniques might prove useful outside of Black Ops, but there are several key differences that make some of this information irrelevant or even counterproductive in Modern Warfare 2. MW2 HQ games tend to be longer, have a different score ceiling, and award points slightly differently. Further, the loadouts and killstreaks in MW2 are entirely different, so, for instance, there’s no true equivalent to having flakjacket pro, warlord pro, frag grenades AND a claymore all on the same class. Some of the more general techniques do carry over, but be mindful when employing many of the strategies in Modern Warfare 2. At the time of this writing, MW3 has yet to be released, and it is unknown how much of this information will be relevant in that game.

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A Brief Overview of the Phases of a Game of Headquarters

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Before we get into specifics, perhaps a brief overview is in order. Headquarters is an objective based game unique from other objective games in that the objective in question is not static, with each game containing upwards of six or more randomly selected locations. And by random I don’t mean that the HQ can show up anywhere, but instead there are about five locations for each map that are selected randomly over the course of a game. Your goal as a team is to spend more time in control of these headquarters locations than your opponents.
The flow of a game of Headquarters isn’t too complex, and can be broken down into a series of distinct phases. Each phase will take on different characteristics and dynamics, and therefore will require different strategies.
Neutral Phase: When you first begin, no objective is in play. A few seconds after the match begins, the headquarters location will reveal itself on the map (as “Target”). When a headquarters location is first revealed it is neutral. Further, it can’t be captured. During this phase of gameplay a timer will start ticking down, informing you how much time is left before the HQ goes “live” or “online”. During the neutral phase, all bonuses are intact and you can earn personal XP by getting kills, assists, etc, however no team points will be awarded in this phase.
Capture Phase: Once the HQ timer has counted down, notification will go out that the headquarters is live, and the icon on the mini map will change from “Target” to “Capture”. During this phase of the game, the HQ location can now be captured by either team. In order to capture the HQ, at least one member of your team must remain alive and within its effective radius until the capture bar completely fills up. The more team members you have within the effective radius of the HQ, the faster the capture bar fills. On the other hand, any time a live opponent (including second chance) is within the radius with your team, the capture bar stops filling until that opponent is killed or leaves the radius. The capture bar will reset if all team members inside the effective radius are killed or step outside of the effective radius. Further, if an enemy is in the effective radius when you enter, your capture bar will not even appear until all enemy presence has been eliminated.

Two more points on capturing the HQ. The effective radius is NOT clearly marked. In general, though, it extends about six to eight feet out from the target. Also, capturing the HQ, like in Domination, is passive. Unlike games like Search and Destroy or Demolition where the person playing the objective is tied up with the actual act of planting or defusing, in HQ, you have total freedom. As long as you are alive (or in second chance) within the effective radius, you are working towards capturing the HQ.
Defend/Destroy Phase: Once one team or another captures the HQ, the game progresses into the Defend/Destroy phase of the game. The icon will change to green if your team captured the HQ, or orange if your opponent captured it.  The controlling team no longer has to remain in the effective radius. Further they will each receive fifty experience points (regardless if they are alive or dead), and five team points for every five seconds until the opposing team destroys the target, or the maximum score has been reached. These team points are incredibly important at they are the ONLY factor that decides the winner or loser of the game: the first team to reach 250 team points, or has the most team points at the end of the standard fifteen minute time limit wins. The maximum amount of team points that will be awarded for each individual HQ location is 65. Also, members of the controlling team will not respawn until either the maximum team point score has been reached and the HQ goes offline, or the opposing team destroys the HQ.
Meanwhile, the opposing team’s goal is to now destroy the HQ as fast as possible in order to limit the number of team points the opposing team accrues. This is done using the same basic rules as capturing a headquarters as outlined above. Also, while the other team does not respawn, the destroying team DOES have unlimited respawns.
Reset: Once the captured HQ is either destroyed or maxes out points, it goes offline, and a new HQ location is placed on the map in a new location, and the entire cycle starts over again from the neutral phase discussed at the beginning of this portion of the guide. As stated before play continues in this fashion until either the fifteen minute time limit is reached, or until one team or another accrues 250 team points.


How to Become Elite

How do we become better gamers?

I have very strong beliefs on this subject, and have gotten into many heated debates about this. I believe to become a “elite” player you have to do it all, including the things that you hate to do.

I will begin by saying that some people are just born with it, they pick up the controller and go – Leaving a pile of dead bodies and ruined enemies behind them. For the other 99% of us we have to work on our skills to develop as a player. If you choose to actually focus on what you want to learn, you will get there much quicker.

Look at your skill set as a giant puzzle, the more pieces you have put together the better player you are. This specific puzzle has 1000 pieces, all of the exact same color. How do you begin to put together any puzzle regardless of size? You find the corners, build the edges and then work your way in.

Here are my 4 corner pieces to the beginning of a elite FPS player.

1. Run and Gunning

2. Camping

3. Mini Map Awareness

4. Equipment (Guns/Grenades/Tactical/Equipment)

When I first started playing FPS I stuck mostly to the same class, doing the same thing (Running and Gunning) over and over. While I gradually improved playing only this way I realized that I had hit a wall and was not improving near as rapidly as I was before. I needed to try something new.

Looking at the puzzle metaphor, I had tried a few things and built the corners and edges. I had a basic understanding of how the game worked, where campers liked to hide, what equipment I liked and how to use a UAV/Spy plane. The problem was I was only filing pieces into one corner! The first few pieces were easy to get in, and a few others got filled in along the way but having most of my pieces on one side left me with a giant pile of pieces with no home.

After I decided to change up my play, I started camping. Camping hard. I really did not enjoy playing like this, I felt like a dirty boy sitting in the corner ADS (Aimed Down Sight) waiting for people to run by. It didn’t feel nearly as skillful as running and gunning, sneaking up on people and ruining killstreaks. And maybe it wasn’t, however it gave me a whole new perspective on the game. Sitting in one place for most of a match gave me more clarity on how the spawns worked, I could see when my teammates ran one way that the other team would spawn on the other side. I had time to sit and study the mini map while also honing my long range abilities.

Now I had added more pieces to the puzzle, a few more in the camping corner. Many more in the Mini Map awareness corner, and even more in the Equipment corner as I now understood how to properly place claymores and my long range shooting ability was top notch.

I grew bored of camping quickly, and went right back to Running and Gunning and the results were amazing. I had a whole new perspective on how to manipulate spawns and was hitting long shots that I never would have been able to before. I had a greater ability to know where claymores and equipment were and found myself slowing down when I needed to.

The next part in my puzzle is where I got lucky, playing with a bunch of green beans one day a level 10 prestige entered the room. He said “hah, funny name ToothlessCarnie good stuff.” We chatted in the lobby and he so happened to end up on my team. The match begins and he says “Hey Toothless, check this out”.

We spawned and I followed him as he threw a grenade that got a quad kill to start the game, luck I figured. But the next game he got a triple with the same grenade, and on the next map he got a double, and the next a triple. I asked him to show me, and he did. This is where my frag skills started, before I would just throw them randomly hoping they would blow someone up. Now my frag grenades had a definite purpose, I knew where they were going to land on several maps and I began to obsess about it.

The basics were set, and I have added many pieces since those starting days. No puzzle is ever complete, each new map makes for a whole new puzzle within the puzzle but the basic frame is always there.

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I often have people ask me, a very simple but loaded question. How can I improve my K/D or overall preformance? There is only one answer I give in this situation. Go try something that you have never tried before, mix it up. The results will not be immediate, but it will help even if you are hating it the whole way.

Cheers,

Matt a.k.a. LethalFrag


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