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Many modern film enthusiasts will have a very expensive surround sound system as part of their entertainment setup at home. Likewise, many avid music fans will invest in their ideal headset or speaker set in order to enjoy their music to its fullest. More and more gamers are following this search for the most complete experience possible by adding a high-definition gaming headset to their console.
Until recently many gamers would not consider purchasing such an expensive piece of equipment unless they were playing competitively, but with the introduction of intensely competitive online games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield coupled with a generation that is becoming obsessed with gaming as a hobby, more and more players are using headsets. Not only does using a good quality headset enhance your gaming experience by cutting out any potentially interfering background noise, but it can help you play better by picking up on things that you can only hear through a headset.
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Battlefield Bad Company 2 Online Multiplayer
If you play Battlefield Bad Company 2's multiplayer, you will probably be familiar with that nearby whistle of a sniper bullet that has just missed its mark slightly. Most of the time you can tell which general direction it came from but quite often, it is just an indication to get up and go. Playing with a high definition audio headset can put you one step ahead of a sniper. Through a headset you can hear bullets passing by you from a greater distant and get a much more definite indication of where exactly they came from.
Another important feature of Battlefield in terms of indication as to where players are is when characters shout warnings. With a headset, you can clearly tell where a player is when their character calls out a warning.
Most of the time, Battlefield is a loud game with all the vehicles, explosions, etc., so I would not spend a lot of my my time trying to pin point enemies using their footsteps. It is possible to tell where someone is by their footsteps but only if they are very close to you already. The only time this really works is if you are in a building and it is relatively quiet. You may be fortunate enough to hear an enemy shuffling around nearby. In objective game types, this is important if you are trying to keep enemies away from an objective.
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The Call of Duty Series
When I talk about using a gaming headset for Call of Duty, I am not going to limit myself specifically to Black Ops because, fortunately, it works almost exactly the same for all of the Call of Duty games.
In Call of Duty, using a headset while playing will enhance your experience greatly, and can even help you play noticeably better if used properly.
In comparison to Battlefield's online mode where the maps are so large that hearing gunfire in the distance doesn't mean much, it is very important in Call of Duty. Because of CoD's smaller maps, every time you hear gunfire you will almost always be able to tell where it is and use it to your advantage. Even distant gunfire is locatable in Call of Duty, as is sniper fire. Knowing where an enemy is, or recently was, is always important.
Many players who use a gaming headset while playing Call of Duty will learn to listen for enemies footsteps because it is a very effective tactic the majority of the time. Although it is important to remember that players can use perks to make their footsteps quieter so it could be very dangerous to depend solely on this tactic. Listening for enemy footsteps can be especially effective in Search and Destroy games when there are not many players left on the opposing team and you are not listening for multiple footsteps.
Another very useful aspect in terms of footsteps is watching your back while sniping. Listening for an enemy sneaking up on you is much more effective than placing a warning claymore as it gives you more time to defend yourself. It also allows you to easily defend more than one entrance at a time.
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Deciding to Become a Better Player is the First Step
Using a gaming headset while playing Call of Duty or Battlefield will greatly enhance your gaming experience and help you become a better player. Becoming more aware of your surroundings, teammates and enemies is a by-product of this. Many players purchase a gaming headset specifically to help them to play better, and although in theory it will, it may not actually have a huge impact on your playing style unless you are willing to use it properly and become more attentive. Simply putting on a headset and playing as you normally would is not enough.
Information based on author's personal experience; screenshots taken from their respective games.