Call of Duty Black Ops III: Camo Tips

Black Ops 3I may have been playing a whole bunch of The Division over the last week, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped paying attention to the other games I enjoy. In particular I’ve seen a lot of posts over on the Black Ops III subreddit talking about the Dark Matter camo grind and the struggles people are having. So, while I might not be the most try-hard of Call of Duty players out there, I have found myself burning through the gold camos relatively smoothly. With that in mind, I thought I’d put down some tips that I’ve found useful on my own grind to the Dark Matter camo.

The first thing I do is the same in any CoD game – regardless of hidden camos – I pick one weapon per weapon class to focus on, per prestige. That way I don’t get burned out – I do one assault rifle, an SMG, a shotgun, sniper and LMG per prestige, and limit myself to those weapons. I find that it helps keep me focused and driven on finishing those guns because I don’t prestige until I finish them if they’re close. For example, in Black Ops III, my last prestige was built around finishing the VMP, HVK 30, Man o’ War and Dingo – all got gold before I prestiged to my current one, as well as starting work on my SVG and Argus since they’re late level unlocks. Breaking up the grind as you’re prestiging I find keeps it fresh since every prestige you’re using different weapons and tactics. With Black Ops III, I add in completing one Specialist per prestige too, combining the Hero Armor grind with Dark Matter.

Call of Duty Dark Matter.gif

The second thing is that you have realize it isn’t going to be quick and easy – the weapons all behave differently, and some are just naturally easier than others to complete. I tore through the Kuda but the VMP was a nightmare for me. Same with the shotguns – that first pump action shotgun was a breeze, but I really slogged through the Brecci. If you’re really struggling with a gun, switch it up – the maps are all built well enough where just about any weapon class works, so just try working on a different gun for a couple games. If you’re still on the headshot/one-shot grind I think that’s especially true. It might not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but 100 headshots/one-shots is a lot for one gun. Honestly, I don’t explicitly go for just headshots when I’m doing a gun – I play normally, and let the headshots come naturally. I usually get somewhere between 3-5 a game in a Hardcore TDM game; and it skews higher in objective games, especially on Nuketown. That’s really the most important play tactic I can give you – you have to play naturally. If you focus too much on changing your game around to get headshots or revenge medals/long shots, you’ll drive yourself mad. It’s tempting, especially with guns you don’t like, but you have to remember it’s a long grind – it’ll work out if you just play normally.

In terms of games, when I’m going for headshots/one-shots I do tend to play Hardcore, mainly because I just primarily play it anyway. Since pretty much every gun will kill in one or two hits, it makes getting them a lot easier – you should be aiming at the chest/head anyway if you’re playing an FPS like Call of Duty. Hardcore makes the natural action push your kills more toward headshots, especially with SMGs since you don’t need to worry as much about controlling the recoil. Aim chest high, fire off a few rounds, let the recoil push your gun to the head – rinse, repeat. It does have a little higher learning curve than Core game modes, but once you’ve got the maps down, and understand how TDM flows on each, I think it does help out in the long run. Where I switch out of Hardcore is once I’m on to the final set of challenges. That’s when I pop over to Chaos Moshpit/Nuketown – the games there tend not to be crazy sweaty, and objective games on Nuketown are godsends for those challenges. Playing Nuketown last prestige I finished my 50 Kills with 5 attachments, 5 Bloodthirsties and 5 Double Kills in two games on the Man o’ War. To be perfectly honest, Nuketown is the perfect map for those final challenges – it has everything you need to complete them. One the snipers, assault rifles and LMGs, there are a handful of sightlines that will net you longshots, for the SMGs and shotguns, the action is fast enough where revenge kills are similarly easy to come across. The same rings true for the double kills – the action is frenetic enough where it’s not hard to come across multiple enemies in rapid succession. I’ve gotten my only Core Mega Kill on Nuketown because the action is so crazy around the objectives, especially in Domination and Hardpoint.

Each class of weapons is a little different though, so I thought I’d give a couple top-level tips for each class to help with those tricky parts. First up: assault rifles, the jack-of-all-trades in Call of Duty games. Because they work in any situation, generally there isn’t a whole lot of trouble with them. Of the ones I’ve done so far – all but the Shieva and M8A7 – only the HVK was the one that I didn’t like. I found that its per-shot damage just wasn’t cutting it in Core game modes, even with its pretty high rate of fire. Generally though, you’re best off finding a good spot to control – in Hardcore TDM that can get a little tricky with spawns, but in the objective games just control those objectives. You can play the objective and slay at the same time – they aren’t mutually exclusive options. For headshots, learn the recoil pattern, learn the head-glitch spots, and don’t be afraid to play a little passive if you need to. With the longshots, which have consistently been the one challenge that has given me trouble on the ARs, it’s all about learning the maps and knowing which ones have sightlines that are frequented and also give you the medal. Fringe, Nuketown, Infection, Stronghold all are great for them – there are a couple spots on each map that net you the medal and also see lots of foot traffic to get you the kills. Moving on the the SMGs, this is where I’ve been struggling. The Kuda was butter, the VMP was rough, and so far the Weevil has been in-between. In Hardcore, you really should play a flanking role – try to get around the enemy, and hit them from behind for the headshots. I like to run with Ghost, Fast Hands, Gung-Ho/Dead Silence. If you’re playing Core for the revenge medals or still headshots, play aggressively – you might die a bit more, but you need to get into the guns’ ideal ranges. Take attachments that up your DPS – Extended Mag, Fast Mag, Long Barrel and Stock are all good choices. I get rid of my sidearm generally on this class – I focus more on getting my primary as strong as possible. Again, objective modes help a lot to keep the spawns under control. Learn the flanking routes, sneaky spots and head glitches and you’ll be fine.

Call of Duty KRM.png

While we’re still in close-range mode, the shotguns definitely have the most varied feel of the weapon classes. That’s because two guns have you chasing headshots, the other have you gunning for one-shots. The one-shot guns, the KRM and Argus, are in my opinion two of the easiest guns to use in the game. Once you have their range and rate of fire down, you can dominate games with them, they’re that powerful. Both guns work super well with and without attachments, so those challenges aren’t trouble, bloodthirsties can be if you’re too aggressive and get in over your head, but it’s more about playing smart. Time your run with a teammate or two to split the incoming fire, flank them (again, super important to learn), and pull back if you’re in trouble. It’s the other two – the Brecci and Haymaker – that can be a little tougher. You’re much more likely to just kill the enemy without a headshot in Core game modes. That’s where Hardcore helped me a ton with the Brecci – it’s a one-shot kill, so I knew I just had to aim a little higher than normal, and aerial attacks were good moves too. The same works with the Haymaker – play hardcore, aim high, take Scavenger and play aggressive – you’ve got a full-auto shotgun, use it to your advantage. The shotguns are where I think you can stay right in Hardcore the whole time to Gold Camo if you want – they behave a little more consistently in hardcore.

The last two classes are a little tricky – LMGs can be insanely fun, but also frustrating with the new mobility in Black Ops, while sniping has changed drastically from the old days of Modern Warfare. We’ll go with LMGs first. If there’s one weapon class where I think Hardcore is actually a detriment, it’s this one. You move too slow, even with Quickdraw on the gun you’ll be beat to the punch by just about any other class, and hipfire is too inaccurate. So I stick with Chaos Moshpit, mainly to try and pull Nuketown. Again, it’s perfect for the weapon challenges – headshots come really easily on it, with a number of great spots to look for. In Domination, pick a spot where you can cover B Dom – either window, Blue Car, or the long halls all work well. I said with the other classes to play aggressive, in this case I think you’re much better off hanging back a bit and playing defensive. You lock down your half of the map – don’t push too far and flip spawn, just keep them locked in, and keep getting those headshots. Each gun has a ton of ammo, although the Gorgon doesn’t have a huge magazine thanks to a two-shot kill, so don’t be afraid to go a little hog-wild with them. I like to run with FMJ on to make sure I can pick up the kill through cover too. I also combine my LMG class with my launcher class, so I use counter scorestreak perks, but you can absolutely go with other perks here. As long as you don’t have to deal with an enemy team full of rushers, LMGs should go pretty smoothly for you.

Snipers, on the other hand, are where I’ve been seeing the most frustration. The most important thing to remember is that Black Ops III is fast – it’s built around mobility and speed. It can be really tempting to set up a camp like the old Call of Duty days, but I’ve found that to be a real mixed bag. Combine that with the fact that the four snipers behave really differently, and I can see why people are struggling, in particular with the bloodthirsties. The Drakon really shouldn’t be too bad – use it like a DMR, run Recon ro ELO on it, play support like with an LMG and you should be fine. The Locus can be super frustrating – only netting one-shots chest high and up. This one was definitely a little slower for me – play it more like a traditional sniper, I ran with Variks as my sight and that helped a bit. Again, Nuketown is your friend, same with Fringe and even Stronghold. Play defensive, watch for flanking runs, and absolutely shoot-n-scoot. Grab a kill from one long hall on Nuketown, head up to window for a couple more, then relocate to a long hall again. Keep them guessing, and you should encounter less rushers. The P-06 was far and away my least favorite sniper. That shot delay is brutal to learn. Luckily, it is super powerful, so kills come easily, but you definitely need to know map flow and sightlines with it. I ran with Thermal on it, which I think actually really helped; and got my bloodthirsties done while I did my 5 Attachment kills because Rapid Fire, Fast Mags and Silencer made it much easier. The SVG plays a lot like a strong Locus, so the same things apply here, you just have a little bigger target than with the Locus. Again, Variks or Thermal are nice sights to put on, and Rapid Fire helps out a lot too. This is perhaps the one weapon class where you class setup is the most important. You’ll definitely be using every one of the pick ten. Trip Mines and Shock Charges are lifesavers, a good pistol as a back up helps a ton, and Scavenger helps you keep those traps in place. Perks are less important, aside from Scavenger, while attachments help out a ton I find.

There’s still a bit more to talk about with the Dark Camo grind – I didn’t touch on Secondary weapons at all today. So tomorrow we’ll look at them, and Friday we’ll look at the grind for Hero Armor on the Specialists. Again, I’m definitely not the best Call of Duty player out there – I have a modest 1.5 K/D – but I think that I’ve played enough over the years to learn how to grind out those camo challenges. I have been for years now after all. I’m on the grind as well, so I feel the pain, I know the struggles and I also know that once I have those Diamond camos it feels so damn good. Keep at it, don’t burn yourself out, and they’ll fall one gun at a time.

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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.

Destiny Build Guides – Hunter Gunslinger Tips and Tricks

DestinyThis week I’ve been going through each of the initial subclasses for the three main classes in Destiny, starting with the Striker for the Titan, and yesterday the Voidwalker for the Warlock. Today I want to go through the Hunter’s Gunslinger subclass. Admittedly this was my least favorite class in the Beta, so I really haven’t spent quite as much time with it as the others. That said, it’s a class that really has a very simple identity, so it doesn’t need quite as much toying around as the others.

Let’s start with the grenades for the Gunslinger. The three different types are the Incendiary, Swarm and Tripmine. All three deal Solar damage, which makes them really useful against Wizards and Centurions as they have red shields. As for their actual behaviors, the Incendiary grenade functions basically like a standard grenade. It bounces once, then blows up with a decent blast radius, and sets enemies on fire to deal a bit more damage. The Swarm grenade splits upon impact, spreading out a bunch of smaller explosives that will seek out enemies, really useful for holding down a doorway or point. The Tripmine grenade is pretty self-explanatory in that it’s a mine that is triggered by a laser tripwire. The Gunslinger is probably the most PvP built subclass from the grenade perspective – the Swarm and Tripmine grenades both help control how the enemy moves around chokepoints, and since they deal Solar damage, they deal damage over time. For PvE though, I like either the standard Incendiary grenade or the Swarm grenade for clearing out groups of enemies.

Destiny Hunter

One trait that I think really defines the Gunslinger across most of the abilities is precision. Hunters are already the Destiny equivalent of a ranger/rogue/sniper style character, dealing with stealth and speed more than brute strength. That extends to the melee ability with the Gunslinger – the Throwing Knife. With the Striker and Voidwalker’s melee abilities, if you miss, the cooldown immediately resets, no harm, no foul. That’s not the case with the Throwing Knife. Regardless of whether you hit or not, the cooldown will trigger, so it’s important to make sure that you connect. The nice thing is that the Throwing Knife does some serious damage, and is capable of dealing precision damage on top of that. With the add ons, the Knife can boost its effectiveness in a couple different ways. First with Circle of Life, kills with the Throwing Knife during Golden Gun extends the duration of Golden Gun, keeping your super ability active a bit longer. Using Incendiary Blade, Throwing Knife will also set enemies on fire, dealing damage over time after contact. Finally, Knife Juggler makes it so precision kills with the Throwing Knife immediately reset the cooldown, giving you a second knife right away.

Destiny Golden Gun

Moving on now to the Golden Gun, the Gunslinger’s super ability, we also see a good example of how precision ties into the Hunter’s playstyle. The Golden Gun grants the Hunter a suped up hand cannon with three shots that deal some major damage, imbued with Solar damage. The gun doesn’t last forever, and also disappears after the three shots are fired, which can’t cause critical hits either. Ultimately, the Golden Gun, I think, is best suited for clearing out three enemies in one shot each, or dealing a bunch of damage to a boss without using any ammo. The upgrades for Golden Gun include: Deadeye, Combustion, and Gunfighter. Deadeye increases the accuracy of the Golden Gun, obviously; Combustion makes enemies killed with the Golden Gun explode when killed, giving you a little bit of a chain reaction; and Gunfighter reduces the cooldown on the Golden Gun, letting you use it more often. I like Combustion myself, since it helps Golden Gun deal with larger groups of enemies a bit easier.

Image from Bungie.net

As for the class upgrades, the six available are: Scavenger, Keyhole, Gunslinger’s Trance, Chain of Woe, Over the Horizon, and Gambler’s Dagger. Scavenger makes it so any ammo pickups you grab reduce the cooldown on grenades and the Throwing Knife. Keyhole will let shots from the Golden Gun penetrate targets, again helping you hit more than just three enemies. Gunslinger’s Trance makes precision kills increase weapon stability, which can stack up to three times. Chain of Woe is a very similar skill, where precision kills increase your reload speed, again stacking up to three times. Over the Horizon increases the range on the Golden Gun, playing into the idea that the Hunter is a sniper. Finally, Gambler’s Dagger gives you a second Throwing Knife, which gives you a little bit of leeway with that particular ability. I always like abilities that increase your weapon handling, so I like Gunslinger’s Trance and Chain of Woe together, but Gunslinger’s Trance is a late-game unlock, so I would instead offer up Scavenger from that particular tree.

The Gunslinger is built around long range damage, dishing out critical hits and powerful ranged melee strikes – as such, they’re a little fragile when their shields break. Beyond that, the Hunter already has the lowest recovery stat of the three classes, but a higher agility stat, making it easier to get away and heal. Play the Gunslinger slow, precise and safe and you’ll do fine. In the Crucible though, the Hunter can be really strong, with Golden Gun able to kill three enemies with great precision – always a great thing in PvP.

Destiny Build Guides – Titan Striker Tips and Tricks

DestinyOne of the best parts of playing through Destiny is that freedom to choose different subclasses dependent on your main class. Once you hit level 15 you can select a second subclass, and can actually change subclasses across all your characters, regardless of their levels. With that in mind, I want to go through the subclasses for each of the main classes, starting with the original subclasses. Today we’ll go through the Titan’s Striker subclass.

Destiny Titan

The Striker subclass is based all around arc damage – the grenades, melee and super ability all deal arc damage. The super ability – Fist of Havoc – is essentially a giant ground pound, fantastic for clearing out good size groups of enemies, so far as they aren’t majors or ultras. In general, if the health bar is yellow, definitely weaken them before hitting them with the Fist of Havoc. One area where I would say to change that tactic is fighting the Fallen Captains. One of the things that’s not really spelled out in Destiny is how the elements actually work. Instead of specific enemies being weak against a certain element, it’s the enemies’ shields that dictate that. Enemies with blue shields take extra shield damage from arc damage; red ones solar and purple ones void damage. Fallen Captains have blue shields, so in general Striker abilities are awesome for breaking those shields really quickly. On the other hand though, Hive Wizards, Vex Minotaurs and Cabal Centurions all have shields that resist Striker abilities.

Striker Subclass Icon

In terms of grenade abilities, the Striker has the flashbang, pulse and lightning grenades. The flashbang is great for large groups of enemies that are too strong to just kill in one fell swoop, stunning most enemies for a short time to help with clean up. It’s useful in both PvE and PvP settings, since the stun affects players pretty effectively. The pulse grenade on the other hand is built more to be a straight damage grenade – detonating on contact and producing a pulse of arc damage every couple seconds. It’s great for clearing out a group of enemies in one attack, and in PvP terms, it’s good for holding down a point or doorway. Finally, the lightning grenade is sort of an upgraded version of the pulse grenade. It also produces damaging pulses, this time in the form or lighting bolts. The major selling point with the lightning grenade though is that it can be attached to any surface, which helps set up some attack angles that wouldn’t work otherwise. It’s a good way to help corral enemies.

The melee ability is Storm Fist, which is essentially a super powered punch, that deals arc damage. It can be augmented with Overload, which gives you a small chance to instantly recharge Storm Fist; Discharge, which gives you a small chance for Area of Effect damage, basically blowing up enemies you punch; and Amplify, which grants extra cooldown for the Fist of Havoc when you kill enemies with the Storm Fist. Each is actually pretty useful, but I would say that Discharge is more useful in PvE, and Overload is more useful in PvP for double melees. Amplify can be useful, but really needs to be coupled with gear with high Intellect stats to help with the recharge.

The Striker also has six other abilities/upgrades: Headstrong, Aftershocks, Transfusion, Unstoppable, Shoulder Charge, and Juggernaut. Headstrong lets you leap farther with Fist of Havoc, Aftershocks increases the duration of all the after effects of grenades and Fist of Havoc, Transfusion makes kills with Storm Fist trigger health regen, Unstoppable makes it harder to kill you with Fist of Havoc, Shoulder Charge gives you an extra melee attack after you sprint for a short period, and Juggernaut gives you a shield for a brief period after sprinting for a bit. These can all be chosen based more around personal preference, but I’ve found that Aftershocks or Transfusion is a good choice, and really any of the other three from the final tree work well too.

Fist of Havoc

Lastly, let’s actually look at Fist of Havoc and the upgrades for it. The first upgrade along the skill tree is Aftermath, which leaves a pretty large dome after using the attack that pulses out extra damage. It’s gotten me out of a couple jams when I super bosses towards the end of their health bars, but just a bit too early. The next upgrade is Death from Above, which gives you the ability to hover in mid-air while you aim the actual ground pound attack, if you trigger Fist of Havoc while jumping. It’s really useful with groups of enemies to ensure that you hit in the best spot. The final upgrade is Shockwave, which shoots out a wave of energy along the ground when you use Fist of Havoc. It’s another ability that helps ensure that you deal the most damage as possible. Each upgrade is actually pretty useful, but I like Death from Above the most I think. The nice thing is that there are some Exotic gear that actually grant some of these upgrades with them, so you can set your class abilities based around them.

Ultimately, I really like the Striker subclass – it’s a great tanking class, that’s still able to deal a ton of damage. Taking the codexes that boost armor and recovery help keep you alive longer when your shield breaks (which it will, if you’re using your melee and super a lot) and a lot of the Titan gear has strong defense ratings to help with that. I would recommend building a Striker with Lightning grenades, Discharge for Storm Fist, and Death from Above for Fist of Havoc. Add in Shoulder Charge to give you another melee attack to help deal damage in close range and Aftershock to keep your Lightning grenades zapping longer. I think you’ll find playing a Striker plenty of fun, in both PvP and PvE.