Splatoon: How to successfully work your way up!

New to Splatoon? Everything you need to know about levelling and ranking up can be found in this handy guide.

Splatoon is Nintendo's newest IP for the Wii U, and now that the game has been out for a fair amount of time, I thought it was about time to give everyone some handy tips/tricks on working their way through the leveling and ranking system. This guide is purely for the online aspect of the game.

So here's my personal guide, top tips if you will, on working your way up through the ranking system. I will be including both ranked and standard turf wars.

Turf Wars

This mode is the relaxed version of ranked. You can level up your player level based on the amount of turf you cover. You play in two teams of four, aiming to cover the most amount of land in your team's color. At the end of the match, regardless of whether you win or lose, you will get the points for the amount of land you have covered, and this adds up to your overall player level. Once you hit level 20, the leveling system changes, you get singular points based on if you cover a certain amount of turf and if you win; for example if you cover 200p you receive +1 and if you get 400p you receive +2, on top of that if you win the match you will receive +3.

1. Learn The Maps

Since the launch of Splatoon back in May this year, the game has had various updates which have given players new maps, outfits and weapons. There is a healthy selection of twelve maps which rotate every four hours depending on which mode you play. All the maps are very different from one another, so it's important to learn where to hide out, where you probably shouldn't venture alone, and which parts will plummet you to your death. A lot of players now know where they will head upon their initial spawn into the maps, and you'll probably notice your team splitting off to cover separate parts of the map as well. Some of the newer maps, such as Flounder Heights and Moray Towers, have a lot of elevated platforms. These require a different tactic than maps like Camp Triggerfish or Walleye Warehouse which, are mainly ground based with separate branching paths. There is the option to suss out a map's layout before playing if you press Y on the gamepad. This takes you to 'recon' mode, which gives you five minutes to have a wander around. Take advantage of this. If you don't know the lay of the land, you could end up wandering into enemy territory or turning a corner into a faceful of ink!

                                              Moray Towers

2. Every Splat Helps

This may sound like an obvious tip when the whole point of Turf Wars is to cover as much land as possible in your team's color. There are parts of the map that sometimes get missed, and if you see any colourless areas it is a good idea to cover them, even the small bits! The tops of higher areas, the branching pathways, and your initial re-spawn point are some of the main places that get missed. It all counts towards your end total, and because the score is percentage based, it can make all the difference.

3. Use the Gamepad Screen

The gamepad is one of the most important tools in your arsenal because it gives you a top-down view of the map, including who's splatted where. You can see your team's location and sometimes your opponent's (more on that in a minute), so it's a really good way to plan your next move. You should always keep your eye on it, because you can see which areas still haven't been painted and work out the best route into the other team's base, gaining the upper hand.

                                      A view of the gamepad screen

4. Customize your inkling.

The ability to customize your inkling boy or girl should not be taken lightly. Yes, you may look good in some aviator shades and a leather jacket, but the tiny icons underneath the gear name are the important part. There are a whole host of featured abilities that affect the piece of gear you choose to wear. You have the headgear, body, and feet sections to choose from, and each of them have different groups of clothing based on rarity and brand from one to three stars.

Added abilities from customization enhance your chances of winning with things such as increased defense, not being seen when travelling in squid form, reduced ink consumption for your main weapon, increased ink recovery rate, and so on and so forth.

Another thing to note is the amount of slots the gear has. This can range from one to four, and will determine how many boosts you get with these unique abilities. If you have a rarer piece of gear equipped, the chances are it will have four slots. The first one will always be set, but the other one, two, or three you unlock by leveling up and are randomly determined. If you don't like one of your abilities, you can pay Spyke (he sits down an alleyway in the lobby) to change it, but again there is no telling what you'll get.

It's important to note as well that the first ability will always be your most important. The ones you unlock afterwards do contribute, but they do not give as much of a boost as the main one. There are around twenty-five different abilities, so pick your gear wisely and try not to choose based on what looks good!

If you remember those top tips, you should be a pro in Turf Wars in no time. Now we move onto ranked mode, which is an entirely different kettle of fish.

Ranked Mode

This mode is entirely different from Turf Wars, and a little bit more competitive. The objective of ranked mode will change depending on what time of day you're playing, and you have to reach player level 10 before you can participate. The ranking system is from C- to S+, and if you lose a match you lose points, which can cause you to rank down. Of course you gain points from winning, but it is a good risk/reward system and working your way up can be very time-consuming. You will only be matched with other players in the same rank as you. You still play on two teams of four, but there are three different game types which rotate every four hours:

Splat Zones: There are specific areas called "splat zones". Some maps have one and some have two, but the objective is (as always) to cover those areas in your team's color. These zones have to stay in your color for 100 seconds, so defense is your best offense in this intense mode. If the splat zones are taken over by the opposing team after you have already captured them, then you will incur a slight penalty for when you next recover them.

Tower Control: I find this mode the toughest. The idea here is to gain control of the tower that sits in the centre of the map. Once on the tower, it will start to move towards the opposing team's base - the objective being to reach their goal point without getting splatted along the way. It's a lot easier said than done. If no one is on the tower, or if you get splatted halfway across the map, then it returns back to the center - unless the opposing team manages to hop on along the way, in which case it starts to move towards your base.

Rainmaker: The rainmaker will look familiar to those who have played the single player campaign mode. Essentially it is a gun encased within a bubble, and the aim of the game is retrieve the gun and run along to the opposing team's base, setting it down on a conveniently placed podium. The catch is this: while holding the gun, you only have one type of charged shot, no sub-weapons, and the enemy team can see your every move. That makes you a very easy target! Fortunately, you are still able to transform into squid form, so your teammates can create a nice path for you to swim through. This is another example of something sounding simpler than it is though, so don't expect an easy ride.

Here are some tips to survive all of these modes:

1. Stick to your guns

Learn which weapon types suit your play style. Ranked Mode forces you to learn a different way to battle it out because of the three different modes. It's not solely dependent on how much land you cover like Turf Wars is, so exterminating the other team becomes more of a priority in order for you to win.

With all the different updates since Splatoon released in May, there's a huge range of weapons to choose from now. So what may serve best in Turf Wars may not suit you in ranked play. Each weapon also has a sub-weapon and a super charged special. These include ink mines, splat bombs, burst bombs, seekers, and so on. Once your special gauge is filled by covering the map in color, you can unleash your special attack. There are 7 of these, which are pre-set as well, but can drastically change the outcome of the match.

With 5 different weapon types, 10 different sub-weapons and 7 special attacks there is a great variety. There is also the option to test out a weapon from the shop menu if you're unsure whether to purchase! I would recommend trying each type out to see which you play best with. Once you have found your niche, then stick with it!

2. Be A Hero 

Sometimes in order to win, you can just make a mad dash for the finish. I'm not saying this works in all scenarios, but your squid form is a lot faster than human form. In Rainmaker Mode, it can get pretty crazy when you're the one with the Rainmaker; you become the number one target. If your team can clear the way, it is possible to make a run for the podium for a quick win! Ranked Mode can get extremely competitive, and jumping ahead can give you the upper hand to clear the way for the rest of your team. 

3. Don't Be Afraid To Hide

This ties in with learning each map and the layout. Your squid form is one of your greatest assets and makes you stronger in a lot of aspects. Unless you're seen while swimming. In squid form, you can jump farther and swim faster, which means sneaking around comes in handy. The super jump enables you to jump to a teammate's location, but the other team can see where you'll land. You can even use the squid to escape if you're quick enough, which will be the difference between getting splatted and getting away. Sneaking up behind an unsuspecting enemy can be the best move in ranked play. The more of the enemy team you eliminate, the more chance you have of defending your area, controlling the tower or securing the rainmaker, whichever it may be!

                                 The manic life of an inkling boy/girl

So that about wraps up this guide. I hope it helps you all in some way or another and I love hearing everyone's thoughts and comments so let me know in the box below!

Published Oct. 30th 2015
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