Some of these rules are probably good for all players, but if I had read this sort of thing when I first started playing I might have enjoyed it more and used less lives and saves!
I’ve little doubt you have some of your own, so please add them in the comments.
Just to be clear, I don’t necessarily think these are the ONLY 7 or the BEST 7, just 7 tips I decided to add today. If I had written the article last week, it might have been a different 7.
So, here they are, my 7 tips for new players.
Games and mods are generally designed so that you have whatever weapon you need to pass certain situations. It’s very tempting to select the biggest, baddest and most powerful weapon available at the time. That has drawbacks. The more powerful the weapon, the less ammo there will be.
I suggest you use the least powerful weapon possible. NOT the least powerful weapon! Just the least powerful weapon possible for the situation. If the pistol is enough, don’t waste shotgun ammo, if the crowbar is enough, use that.
Better to have ammo left after a huge firefight than run out. I often finish mods with some great ammo because I am never sure when I will need it, or if there will be more ahead.
Just like any resource, it’s limited, so use it wisely.
One possible solution is to always use a weapon that either doesn’t need ammo, or one that regenerates.
It’s all too easy to enter an area and forget about what is above and behind you. The chances are that most of us have never been in a real battle and our only experience is via computer games. Screens are getting bigger and some players even use their TV to play, but it’s still very limited in its field of view.
Some players specifically change their field of view (FOV) via the console, but that can be a strange effect.
It’s more important to remember that you are viewing the game through a limited area and not to forget that enemies can be all around you.
A few years ago I ran a series of articles on different challenges. One of them was elated to the keys used to play the game. It became clear that many players had the strangest setup and this can have an enormous effect on how well you play.
I highly recommend trying a number of variation before committing yourself to one. In addition, you should consider using one of a number of special input devices to see if they suit your needs.
A good selection of keys will not only enable you to play well, but also reduce finger fatigue.
This is more important than ever. In the past, games and playing characters had very little interaction with the environment but these newer games have a lot.
The environment can be our saviour or our downfall.
First of all, think: Cover. Standing in the open is a sure fire way to die pretty quickly. Use the things around you to protect yourself. Yes, you can survive a bunch of direct hits but why take the chance of dying? Not only should you use the cover around you, but take it with you! Carrying a non-exploding barrel in front of yourself as you approach an enemy can be the perfect way to protect yourself and save ammo.
But it’s not just for protection. The environment might allow you to reach areas that you didn’t think possible. This could mean the difference between surviving and dying.
After cover, you should be thinking more aggressively. Exploding barrels in Half-Life 2 onwards is the obvious example, but there are others. Many times you can take one shot and kill a number of enemies with little effort.
This brings us nicely onto the next tip.
When shooting, accuracy is more important that the number of shots
I have never fired a real gun and hope I never do, at least not in anger, but I am pretty sure that “just firing” really doesn’t do much.
Look at it this way. When you watch those big-budget Hollywood blockbuster, who is the coolest guy? That’s right. The guy who stands his ground when everybody else is firing willy nilly, and then slowly raises his gun and takes one shot. That’s who. (Disclaimer: yes, I know it’s the movies but it’s only a game too!)
A well-aimed single shot can do more damage than a hail of bullets. Keep calm and don’t be scared to take your time. Ideally, if you can keep moving your character around but keep your crosshair aimed int he right place then you have the best of both worlds.
Take 1 shot!
Learn the game, inside and out. Read a wiki, read the manual, read forums or chat rooms. Consider it research. Sure, it’s great to just “play” a game, but you are not smart enough to work everything out, nobody is Think of it as crowd sourcing support.
You would be so surprised at how the little things you learn about a game make you appreciate it more. There’s a fine line though, between learning as you go and having something spoilt.
Perhaps, as this was true in my case, you should only do the research after playing the game. Of course, that means that valuable information can’t be used during the game, but as I said, it’s a fine line.
Play the game, don’t let the game play you!
Good designers know how to manipulate the player, from the crows flying towards where the mappers wants you to look, to the speed of the music making you keep moving. All of these things contribute to you being played.
That’s great and sometimes you gotta go with the flow, but not if it is at the detriment of the overall experience.
What I am talking about is not just gaming but a general feeling within society (Don’t worry, I promise not to go off on some philosophical odyssey). Think about it, everything is about getting stuff done as fast as possible. “Overnight Delivery”, “Open 24/7”, etc. We get annoyed if our email didn’t arrive within moments of pressing SEND.
Now, I am not saying fast is bad, but just that not everything has to be about speed. By rushing through a game you will make silly mistakes, you’ll miss things and perhaps more importantly you’ll shorten your experience.
I am guilty of it here on PP. I often play a mod quickly so that I can get it on the site ASAP, so readers can play it.
Rushing is natural when you are under pressure and that means you make silly mistakes and miss possibly important things. Unless you are a reviewer and need to post a review by a deadline then there is no need to rush.
Too often I see videos or read players talking about stuff and think “How did I miss that?” Sure, I can’t see everything but I bet I miss more than I should.
I rush nearly all my gaming and I wish I didn’t have to. The journey is more important than the destination. Seriously, don’t buy into the bullshit, however subconsciously, that slow players are bad players. Who cares if other players take 8 hours to finish a game and you take 12.