Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Exo Survival Tips

Advanced Warfare CoverOne of the pillars of each Call of Duty game, at least over the last couple entries in the franchise, has been a strong co-op mode. The Treyarch games have had the Zombies mode, Call of Duty: Ghosts had Extinction, and Advanced Warfare has added the Exo-Survival mode. While Advanced Warfare seems to draw a lot from the Treyarch games, this co-op mode is much more reminiscent of the Survival mode from Modern Warfare 3. There are a few differences, not just the obvious ones that stem from the upgrades that are the draw of Advanced Warfare. Notably, you select an Exo Class – Light, Heavy or Specialist – which dictates what weapons and scorestreaks you can use.

The Exo-Survival mode, as I mentioned, is pretty similar to the Survival mode in Modern Warfare – mainly due to the fact that each game is played on the multiplayer maps. You play on the same maps, and deal with ever increasing in difficulty waves of enemies. At certain points, the waves content might switch up; you could be tasked with holding down a Hardpoint, or with picking up intel off of dead enemies. That is a different format than how it went in Modern Warfare 3, which was much more of a standard hoard mode. It also feels similar to the second co-op mode in Ghosts, Safeguard, which was also a round based hoard mode. Instead of having a set end point like Safeguard though, Exo-Survival doesn’t have a set end point, instead asking players to survive as long as possible.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Exo Survival

While it is possible to load up Exo-Survival to play it solo – that what I did to get a bit of a feel for it – it’s really a little too much to expect to play it to the highest levels solo. Part of that comes from the fact that it’s built as a co-op experience; it’s intended to be played with friends, so of course it’s difficult for a solo player. The other part comes from the way that classes are set up. You select an Exo-Class, which dictates which weapons you can use. There’s no crossover, so if you like playing the Heavy Exo for the added armor, but want to use an SMG, you’re out of luck. You can switch classes at any point – finding the Exo-Suit spot where you can also put in upgrades. That Exo-Suit you pick also dictates which scorestreaks you can call in, as well as which movement abilities you have access to. That’s why I think it’s really important to bring in a group of players, to mix up not only the scorestreaks but also the weapons you have available.

As for how I would approach it – I think you really don’t need to have a Specialist class out there. They have access to the Remote Turret initially – which takes them out of the action while they’re using the turret. And their primary is a shotgun – the Tac 19 for the first few waves until the next ones unlock. As a huge fan of shotguns in video games, I have to say that the Tac 19, which I was excited to try since it’s a directed energy shotgun, just doesn’t quite measure up. The rate of fire is slow and the range is real short, with a long reload time as well. With a full four man party, you might be able to cover those shortcomings, but I think in general you’re better off with mixing together Exo Light and Exo Heavy. You’ll have just about every range covered, good scorestreaks to help, and a good mix of mobility. You need to work together to get through the higher levels, calling out the movement of the more dangerous enemies, and make sure to use your upgrade points in between rounds to bulk up, and you’ll have a good time with Exo-Survival. It’s a nice little diversion from Campaign and Multiplayer, but I will say that I don’t know how much longevity is there. It’s not as deep as Zombies or Extinction; but with the Zombies teased last weekend, we might have something more in the future coming to help that out.

Advertisements

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Nisha Co-op Play Tips and Guides

Borderlands PreSequelFinishing up our coverage of the four playable characters in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, today we’ll look at some tactics to use if you’re playing as Nisha in a co-op party. Depending on how 2K decides to go with DLC, we could see multiple new characters coming – there were two extras in Borderlands 2 – so we could end up with more this time around. There’s already been some clues as to the Baroness being the first upcoming character, so I expect we’ll see a couple for sure.

As for Nisha though, she’s an interesting piece of a co-op party. She’s the only character that doesn’t really have much in the way of co-op focused skills. Instead, two of her skill trees increase her effectiveness with weapons, and the third uses a stacking mechanic to keep her healthy. With that in mind, she’s more suited to playing a purely offense role. Depending on how comfortable you are with stacking mechanics, the Law and Order tree is a good balanced option to go with. Otherwise, either Fan the Hammer or Riflewoman offer solid offense based skills that will help increase your damage output, without complicating the game too much.

Nisha really stands out against multiple enemies, over the boss enemies, thanks to her Action Skill Showdown. Since the aim snaps between targets, using Showdown efficiently, especially with some of the upgrades along the way to make it more effective, can really shut down the group and clear them out. The boosts to damage mean that it’s useful against pretty much any combination, including Badass enemies in the mix. Add in the co-op factor, especially with Wilhelm’s Wolf and Saint or Claptrap’s VaultHunter.exe potentially adding in lots of extra damage, and you can see that damage is not really an issue. The concern will be with her health and shields, since she’s a little more fragile than others. This is where class mods, along with the sheer volume of shield options, can really help. Nisha is a bit more dependent on her items across the board – her skill trees are designed to boost a lot of those items, not her stats directly. Thanks to her Riflewoman skill tree, using assault rifles or SMGs is a great option, with increased magazine size upgrades, along with boosts to hip fire accuracy. But with Fan the Hammer’s capstone skill, pistols are also a really strong build option, since you will spawn a clone when you pull a pistol out.

Nisha the Lawbringer Splash

Nisha shouldn’t be the core of your co-op team, mainly because her skills are more focused for building up her stats rather than the party’s. But she does fulfill an important role, dealing out lots of pure gun damage. In a four player party, you really should have a mix of each character of course; in smaller party sizes, she’s actually a character I think you can skip over. Claptrap and Athena are both more important in a co-op sense, and Wilhelm works better than Nisha, doing both damage and healing. I wouldn’t say that she’s the worst, but she’s definitely built for a specific playstyle, one that is more “lone wolf” than team builder.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Wilhelm Co-op Build Tips

Borderlands PreSequelYesterday I went over the skill trees for Wilhelm, the Enforcer, and put down some thoughts on how to play Wilhelm by yourself. Today, I want to go over his role in a party, when you’re playing with your friends. He’s a little different than Athena and way different from Claptrap, so depending on the role you like to play, he may or may not be your man.

Looking at Wilhelm from his Action Skill perspective, he’s your best bet to dish out damage to multiple targets. Wolf will go out and attack multiple enemies, while Athena’s Apsis only can hit one target, until you reach a capstone skill at a high level. With Saint added in, his action skill really makes Wilhelm the closest thing to a Tank that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has. Even compared to Athena’s Apsis, which absorbs damage from the front, Saint keeps your health up by regenerating it for the duration, and depending on upgrades can overload your shields as well. Add in his Termination Protocols skill and I think it really cements his role as Tank.

Borderlands Wilhelm Splash

As for your skill points, I would recommend going down both the Hunter-Killer and Dreadnought skill trees. Whether you go down one tree then the other, or both simultaneously is up to you. With the level cap at 50 still, you won’t quite be able to max both out right now, but as the DLC comes out, and that cap comes up, you will eventually be able to. I think those particular trees are better from a co-op perspective since they get Wolf and Saint both built up pretty well, dealing more damage, while also increasing Saint’s health regen ability. Since Saint also keeps your teammates healthy, it’s pretty important to keep Dreadnought built up, but don’t neglect Wolf. Depending on your party’s makeup, you might be not only healing with Saint, but also dealing out the damage with Wolf. A balanced party shouldn’t necessarily have to worry about this, since Athena and Nisha can both dish out damage, while Claptrap and Wilhelm can focus on health and shields.

I think in general Wilhelm is actually the one piece you can leave out of a co-op party. Sure he does good damage with Wolf, and the health regen from Saint is nice, but Claptrap has an entire skill tree that’s based around buffing and healing your teammates. Athena can do a good enough job tanking with the Apsis that you can switch them out, and with multiple guns, a party really doesn’t need to worry about damage output, other than hardcore bosses. That said, it is fun to see how Wilhelm becomes the boss in Borderlands 2.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Athena Co-op Build Tips and Tricks

Borderlands PreSequelYesterday, in addition to going over my thoughts on the Vault of Glass raid in Destiny, I also ran through the skill trees for Athena, the Gladiator in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I gave my thoughts on how you should probably go about playing her from a solo perspective. Today I’ll point out a few of those skills that really benefit co-op play, as well as some tips how to go about playing with a party.

First, playing co-op you’ll probably want to focus on the Phalanx skill tree. In the second tier of skills, you can grab Vanguard, which will grant health regen based on rank, and you gain more regen while using the Apsis. Next up, you should grab United Front, to build up shields for you and your teammates using the Apsis; and in that same tier, grab Clear!, that way you can play medic for teammates that are in Fight For Your Life. Also important to grab would be Stalwart, letting your teammates build up the Apsis; and Prepare for Glory, letting you draw aggro away from your teammates. In general, using the Phalanx tree will also just get your defense buffed up a bit, while also building up your Apsis’ damage output.

Borderlands Athena Splash

Beyond Phalanx, you should probably also work your way through the Ceraunic Storm tree. Elemental damage over time is really great to have, both solo and co-op, letting you deal damage while pulling back to heal up. With multiple people pouring on the elemental damage, it helps clear out bigger fights quickly, and bosses fall really quick as well. To that effect, you’ll want to take the skills that build up Maelstrom stacks quickly, while at the same time grabbing the skills that increase the damage of those elemental damage effects.

Depending on your party make-up, Athena should generally be your medic and healer. Those Phalanx skills help make this role a lot easier to play. Having a Claptrap in the lobby also really helps, since the I Love You Guys skill tree helps tremendously. Beyond that, using the Apsis helps defend the party, soaking up incoming damage to turn right back around to dish back out; and with the boosts from Phalanx it becomes even more effective. Play a little conservative, especially for the mid-game levels, since by then you probably will have Clear! in your skills. With that skill, it’s important that you stay alive to use the Apsis to grant Second Winds to your party.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Claptrap Co-Op Build Tips and Tricks

Borderlands PreSequelYesterday I ran through two of the three skill trees for Claptrap in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I purposely left out that third skill tree for today because it’s primarily a co-op focused tree. So today let’s go through that final skill tree, and look at some tips for playing co-op as Claptrap. On Monday we’ll move on to Athena, Wednesday will be Wilhelm, then the next Monday we’ll finish the characters with Nisha.

I LOVE YOU GUYS
The main focus of the I Love You Guys skill tree is providing buffs for Claptrap and all your allies. These buffs can come from performing different actions, like reviving teammates, being in Fight For Your Life, having no shields, or they can just be straight buffs.

Best Buds 4 Life: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) When you revive someone, or are revived yourself, both players gain +7% damage resistance and regen .5% max health, per second, per rank, for a few seconds. While you’re downed in Fight For Your Life, you gain +5%, per rank, to gun damage and Fight For Your Life duration.
Maniacal Laughter: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases the status effect chance by 4% per rank. When you deal status effect damage, you gain stacks of Maniacal Laughter (up to 200) – you and your allies regen up to .03% max health, per second, per rank for each stack of Maniacal Laughter you have. The lower your health, the more you regen.
Through Thick and Thin: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Increases the cooldown rate on VaultHunter.exe by 4% per rank. While you have VaultHunter.exe active, that cooldown rate buff is transferred to your allies.
Kick Him While He’s Down: (Tier 2, 1 rank) While you’re in Fight For Your Life, you draw aggro from nearby enemies, keeping them off your allies. This also unlocks the Action Package Clap-in-the-Box.
All The Things Are Awesome: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Increases your firerate by 3%, weapon swap speed by 3% and max health by 5% per rank. For every teammate in the game, you gain an additional +1% firerate, +1% weapon swap speed and +2% max health per rank.
You’re…GOING TO LOVE ME: (Tier 3, 1 rank) When you kill an enemy, you generate a Friendship Nova, centered on that enemy. The nova heals you and your allies by up 15% max health, and players with lower health are healed more. Also unlocks the Action Package Gun Wizard.
Wax Off, Wax On: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) This is a straight buff – shield capacity and recharge rate are boosted +3% per rank, and recharge delay is reduced by -3% per rank.
It’s a Trap…Card: (Tier 4, 1 rank) When your shield is broken, you release a Mega-Nova, which heals you and your allies, up to 15% max health; and at the same time, the Nova damages enemies. Players with low health are healed more, and your shield has to fully recharge between Novas.
Pain Simulator is Painful: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Increases your max health by 6%, per rank; and also grants a damage reduction of [4.8%, 9.1%, 13.0%, 16.7%, 20.0%] depending on rank.
Kick Him While He’s Up: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) When you gain a Second WInd, your gun damage, melee damage and crit damage all get increased by 5% per rank for a few seconds.
Organized Guns are Happy Guns: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Increases your magazine size for all weapons by 5% per rank, and also increases teammates magazines by 2% per rank.
HIGH FIVES GUYS: (Tier 6, 1 rank) Hold the melee button to request a high five from your teammates. If you get the High Five, you and your teammate get +15% gun damage, +50% firerate and regen 3% max health per second. If you DON’T get a High Five, or you’re playing solo, you get the gun damage and health regen bonuses. There’s a 30 second cooldown between High Fives.

Borderlands PreSequel Character Splash

Looking through the list, there are a few skills that would have value for a solo player, but in practice, pretty much the whole skill tree is built around buffing up your teammates. There are a few different skills that are set up to heal you and your teammates, which is important with stronger co-op enemies. Another big skill that’s value might be underrated is Kick Him While He’s Down – drawing the aggro of enemies while your down takes the pressure of your allies, and might even make it easier for you to get a Second Wind. Which would then tie into Kick Him While He’s Up (It’s like they named them that way for a reason) – getting that Second Wind gets you a few important buffs. Having looked quickly at all the different skill trees, across the four characters, Claptrap’s I Love You Guys skill tree is really the most co-op focused. There are plenty of buffs in there, healing skills, and enemy management skills too. Any damage buff would also tie in well with the Fragmented Fragtrap’s subroutines, giving you a second skill tree to put points in early for co-op builds.