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How not to be a newbie forever
This is part of the Metal Gear Online strategy guide. Click here for the introduction
The first thing to learn about playing MGO like a pro is to rely on yourself. The auto-aim feature may seem tempting if you find it hard to track your targets up close, but using it will prevent you from ever improving. What's more, an opponent can take quite a few shots to the body armor before he goes down; learning how to get head shots manually will make it easier in the long run to outgun other players. Avoid being called a "noob" by learning that from the start.
With the right stick, get used to aiming for head height at different distances, and rely on the left stick the move your weapon into place, which has the adding benefit of keeping you a moving target. For farther away targets, standing still will improve you accuracy, so also practice tapping the right stick sideways without changing its height -- that way you can track your target without losing the chance at a head shot.
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Only use third-person view
This isn't a first-person shooter, so don't play like it is, no matter how comfortable you are with it. Expert players use the third-person view to peak around corners and see around them. If you're the only one running around in first-person view you will get ambushed -- a lot. Don't run around corners blindly, always rotate the camera to peek around corners first, and don't forget that the enemy is doing that as well.
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Don't rely on the kill-cam
After most enemies frag you, you'll briefly see a view of who took you down before you respawn, which can be very useful if you didn't see it coming. Don't rely on that though, since it -- like every option -- may be disabled by the match's host, and then knowing where you were attacked from is a matter of deduction. You might see the trajectory of the shot that hits you, or know the probable hiding places an attacker might lurk based on what cover you had; use these clues to find an unknown assailant's position.
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Get used to several weapons
There are many weapon options in MGO, but depending on if the match is using Drebin Points or other host options, some weapons might not be available. Without Drebin Points, the basic weapon is usually a AK102 or M4 assault rifle, pistol, and knife. Most matches have weapons like the Vz. 83, shotguns and rocket launchers deactivated because they're too easy for unskilled players to get kills with.
When Drebin Points are activated, you'll get points for how well you do during the match, which are redeemable at each respawn for more advanced weapons that aren't selectable otherwise. Again, the host has the option of what weapons to include, so don't be reliant on any particular weapon, although the M4 is almost always available with or without Drebin Points. Use the online training ground or MGS4's shooting range to get a feel for each weapon.
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Read game descriptions before you join
Once in the game lobby, don't use auto-matching. Rather, choose free battle and search out a match that will suit you. Hosts can set up a wide variety of rule options -- such as only enabling hand to hand, or non-head shots will penalize you, or even weird player-made rules that are only spelled out in that particular match's notes, which are bypassed when the computer auto-matches you. It's more time consuming to look through all the games manually, but by doing so you'll see how different the rules, weapons, and expectations of each game can be. You'll find one that fits your tastes better; auto-matching can drop you into a match with only knives enabled when you don't even have that skill, or into a room where player just practice leveling their skills on willing opponents. If there's some rule of conduct you miss reading, chances are you'll be kicked from the game without even knowing why.
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Use teamwork in every mode
Whatever the game type, teamwork is a key part of winning, and headsets aren't even needed. Preset codec messages can be used with the select button and the D-pad, and you can choose what messages are set to each direction. Just letting your teammates know where enemies are hiding can help teamwork, regardless or how cohesive your unit is. A press of the triangle button when near a teammate also activates the SOP system, which lets you see your teammates' through walls, where they're shooting, or even an enemy that's been hit.
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Use different play styles
Metal Gear Online lets you play as a standard shooter, or you can be sneaky, using traps and CQC -- close quarters combat techniques -- to take enemies by surprise. Combining play styles during a match can be most effective and allows you to adapt to however the opposing team is playing. Claymore mines, smoke bombs, and a variety of incapacitation weapons -- including Playboy magazines that soldiers can't help but stare at -- can be used to keep unwanted guests from certain routes. Traps can be very useful -- to guard a favorite sniping spot, for instance -- but if you place traps too close to your own team's pathways they might get caught themselves, and that's never good. That's where team communication is also helpful. Traps will never be an attack style in itself, but well-placed traps can pay off big for more tactical-minded players. And those who never think about traps are more likely to be caught by them.
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More MGO and MGS
Want some other great reviews, cheats, and tips to help get you through some of the Metal Gear Solid games that are out for the PS3? Here are some other articles that you cannot miss: