To be a successful FPS gamer, one of the most essential skills you need to develop is the ability to learn the maps or levels you’ll be playing on. The benefit of knowing a map/level is much like knowing the layout of your home, you know exactly where the important things are and you know how to reach them quickly. The same is true when playing First Person Shooters online. The easiest way to start learning a map is to start a multiplayer server and password protect it or make it private, then join the game so that only you are in that server. Now you have peace and quiet and lots of time to start learning the map.
The first thing you should look for is any wide open spaces. These are areas where there’s not much cover and places you can be spotted easily. Open areas are parts of the map you’ll mainly want to avoid until you become a competent player. Because there’s barely anywhere to hide, any player moving through an open space will attract a lot of attention… and by attention I mean enemy bullets!!
The second thing you’ll find in most games are buildings which you can enter. Look at these and have a look at how many doors/doorways there are, how many floors there are, how many windows and consider if you can jump in or out of windows. Buildings are fantastic if you know them well because you have many entry and exit options and you’ll find a lot of corners and hidey holes that you can use. If you have an enemy player chasing you, you can run into a building and use the layout to shake them off or put yourself into a corner and ambush them as they come through the door. Alternatively if you’re in a building that starts being overrun by enemy players, you can jump out of a window and live to fight another day.
Discovering choke points is great too. This is where the map gets quite narrow and there’s not much freedom for movement. An example of this might be a tunnel or an alleyway or a hole in a wall. Because the enemy is enclosed in a small area, it’s a small area for you to cover which means easier kills and they have less chance of escaping or moving into a safe position.
Thinking of covering an area, you can also look for long lines of sight. This is where you can see over a long distance and see a larger area of the map. You’ll mainly find snipers in a position where they can cover a large area because not only does it give them time and space to shoot, but they can relay enemy positions to their teammates.
Essentially, knowing a map gives you much more confidence when you play, you don’t end up feeling lost or confused as you move about. This allows you to concentrate on more important things such as enemy positions, score, time left etc. I know running around by yourself might seem pointless and a waste of time but trust me, having a look around, even for just a couple of minutes will help you get up to speed in a live online game much more quickly and it will be less frustrating when you play.
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