Beginner tips for Gears of War multiplayer

Having a tough-time with Gears of War multiplayer? These are some quick tips that can help you out.

The multiplayer landscape for most competitive games can be incredibly daunting. For anyone entering a social match, it is almost inevitable that the first few games will be filled with constant death and probably more than a little regret. There is often a steep learning curve, especially for games that have had many different iterations through the years.

Gears of War multiplayer is no exception. Luckily, have been playing Gears of War since it released in 2006. I remember the first time I jumped into multiplayer. There were so many people walking around with their chainsaws revved, hoping to run into someone who was as clueless as they were. Sadly, the benefit of having a lot of newbs no longer exists. Times have changed since then, and level of gameplay has increased exponentially.

A lot of people say that you need exceptional reaction time to be good at multiplayer games. That may be true for games like Call of Duty -- but with Gears of War, I've learned that as long as you play smart and have the basics down, there is a high chance of having a positive K/D ratio. 

Some of these tips can be implemented right away. Others come from experiential learning. Be patient and play smart.

1. Find the Proper Sensitivity

This is key. Regardless of what you may find naturally comfortable in terms of sensitivity, most games (including Gears of War) will set you at an "average" level that they have found works for most people. But do you really want to play on a setting that is generalized for all players, or do you want to find something that specifically fits you?

Finding the most comfortable sensitivity will take time and experimentation. You may start at a 15 sensitivity and find it to heavy and sluggish. Change it to 25, and that might be too quick, so then go back down to 20 to see how that feels. I would say as a general rule, don't go below the set "average" level that the game starts you at. If you do, most people that you will be playing against will have a reactionary advantage over you. They will be able to move their camera and turn faster, and that could lead to many deaths on your part.  

From my personal experience playing Gears of War, Halo, and Call of Duty, I've learned that you can get used to any type of sensitivity. I tend to max out all the sensitivities in any game that I play, and with time I become more accustomed to quick-paced camera movement. Sure, I'll die a lot in the first 20 games, but the final outcome is definitely worth it.

2. Learn to Move Properly

There are so many people I've played with in the past who, for some odd reason or another, seem to jump straight into multiplayer -- or at the very least, it seems as if they did.

The campaign should be a prerequisite for beginners who want to play Gears of War at a somewhat reasonable level. Playing it on the regular difficulty is not too daunting. It's a great platform to hone your skills, learn the different mechanics of the game, and get used to all the guns. Learn to use the cover; learn when to run and when to dive. There are so many skills that seem natural to veteran players, but they initially take a bit of time to develop. 

3. Know When to Hard-Aim, Pop-Shot, or Hipfire

The shotgun is by far the most useful weapon in this game, since much of the combat takes place in close quarters. Most people who start off don't realize that the shotgun is a much tougher weapon to use than it would seem. Beginners tend to just hard-aim the shotgun and hope to god that they can hit the enemy, but Gears of War combat has a quicker pace than most people give it credit for, especially up-close.

The only times I ever hard-aim someone is if I am sneaking up behind a stationary target and I want a 100% sure kill. For most other scenarios, the pop-shot is the best way to use a shotgun. The problem with hard-aim is that it greatly limits your movement. By using the pop-shot, you move around more freely and still have the additional damage of the hard-aim. A pop-shot is a quick skill where you orient your body toward the enemy, and just as you are about to shoot them, quickly hard-aim at them, shoot, and release. It should all happen instantaneously and in a smooth motion. It's easier than it sounds.

I actually hip-fire quite a bit, but it really depends on the scenario. If someone is very, very close to me, and I know I will probably have a hard time pop-shotting them, the hip-fire is actually pretty effective.

4. Learn how to Wall Bounce

I put this on the list a bit begrudgingly, since this is definitely not something amateurs should be trying their first couple of times playing the game. But it is something that I see as vital to learn -- if not for actual use, then to anticipate the opponent's movements. 

A wall bounce, for people who may not know, is the ability to stick to the wall for cover and almost instantaneously release yourself. It enables you to take a vital position over the opponent, and also adds an unpredictability factor to your game play.

Almost everyone I see playing online currently uses wall-bouncing, so make sure to understand the path and eventual destination that the person is trying to take by using this skill. I think that this skill is a bit overused, and should be resorted to somewhat sparingly against most people. You only need to have one good bounce to get the perfect shot on someone, if done properly. 

5. Use the Pistol Properly

The pistol is probably the most underrated gun in Gears of War, and is often neglected by newer players. It offers much better precision than the lancer. In fact, if you have a steady hand and quick trigger finger, you can easily down someone quicker than you could using the lancer. 

The other very useful skill to learn when using the pistol is getting head shots. You may be battling someone with a shotgun when they inexplicably start running away. Take your pistol out, and with one or two shots to the head, you can usually take care of them. 

Of course, there is also the pistol-whip -- which I feel guilty to add here since it is a bit cheap, but it can be very effective. Two hits with any weapon will always be an automatic down. But with a pistol, you can shoot someone twice and hit them, and that will down them even more quickly. 

6. Use Your Power Weapons

There are a lot of really great, iconic weapons in the Gears of War games. Of course there's the chainsaw, the shotgun, and the smoke grenade, but the power weapons are really where the fun is at. 

I would say that the Sniper is by far the most satisfying power weapon, but I am going to just tell beginners to skip over that weapon for now, since it's probably the hardest weapon to use in the game. Instead, look for the Torque Bow for long-distance shooting. You don't need to aim for the head to kill someone with it, just aim for their body. Also, if someone is hiding around a corner, shoot the ground near them with the bow to injure them and take out their weapon.

The Hammer of Dawn is deceptively hard to use, and really isn't super useful in many scenarios, so beginners should steer clear.

The Boomshot and the frag grenades are the probably the two easiest weapons for beginners, so they should be the ones you concentrate on. There will always be people going after the Boomshot at the beginning of each round, so bide your time in picking that one up. If you do have the chance to find one, aim near the feet of the person you are trying to kill. It is much easier than shooting their body.

As for frag grenades, a lot of the time they are in locations near your spawn, so it is a bit easier for you to pick one up without a fight.

7. Learn the Maps

For any competitive multiplayer game, it is imperative that you understand the maps. Not only does it let you know where the power weapons are, but it also helps you understand where people are likely to congregate. 

Find potential weaknesses -- areas where your opponent may not be paying complete attention because they are preoccupied in a battle somewhere else. This skill improves with time and spatial awareness in the game. If you notice that a bunch of players are spawning in a certain location, think about which direction they might be heading in. Is it toward the power weapons or where they died previously? Playing multiplayer games is not as mindless as many people would like you to believe. Sure, you can probably get by with good reflexes, but for the rest of us without those innate gifts, using our heads is the next best option.

Gears of War is the only real 3rd person shooter that is viable competitive game. Ever since the first game came out in 2006, everything has just felt so right -- from the controls to how the gameplay is designed. There hasn't been a single game since then that been able mimic the game's precise controls or smooth cover system. Sorry, Mass Effect

Playing this game online can be infuriating at times, regardless of how long you have played. But it is important to realize that nothing is really based off of chance. Sure, you can get lucky with a frag throw every once and awhile, but the vast majority of the time, results can be measured in skills and smarts. Learning the basics is just the beginning.

Published Dec. 2nd 2015
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