Are you looking to become a legend at COD? How about being like death_from_ab007? Have you wished to join FaZe Clan, but felt you’re not quite there yet? With Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2 (COD MW2 2022) coming out later this year, many are gearing up to improve their skills. Improving your skills is the ability to use your weaponry to stay alive while knocking your opponents out. You use it to increase your KD (Kill to Death Ratio) and WL (Win to Loss Ratio). You also use it to defeat the tactics of your enemies. There is no metric that measures skill, but there are metrics for KD and WL.
General Guidance for How to Improve Your COD Skills
Coach John Wooden famously said “The best competition I have is against myself to become better.” That holds true in all skills. If you want to get better, you need to recognize that you are competing against yourself. One of the best things you can do in COD for yourself is to document your scores. Then, you keep documenting as you get better.
“The best competition I have is against myself to become better.”John Wooden
The two metrics you should score yourself in have already been mentioned: Kill to Death ratio (KD) and Win to Loss ratio (WL). You should be writing down these scores every game, every day. Then you find the average of them. Over a week, you may notice these scores improve. After a month, you should see noticeable improvement. As long as you are consistently working on improvement and keep track, you will notice these scores continue to get better.
You also need to be focused on practicing and determined to get better in specific skills. Yes, you will get better by playing more. You will get better by playing others who are better than you. But how will you improve your weaknesses and maximize your strengths? You do this by practicing at getting better in core areas. And you do it by practicing consistently.
Consistency and Muscle Memory are Key for Skill Improvement
Consistency as with any skill improvement is a key element to getting better. You are better off playing for 15-30 minutes per day than you are if you only binge play on the weekends. This is due to the buildup of muscle memory over time. Learning and improving your COD skills is like learning the piano.
Piano players know that you don’t practice once or twice for an hour on the weekend and then you get better. They realize you have to play every day. Take it from Masterclass.com: playing consistently activates neurons in the brain that create a pathway from the nervous system to the muscles you’re moving. Once you’ve built muscle memory, you can perform a task without thinking about it.
The other thing about playing consistently is that it develops a habit. Not just a habit of playing MW2, but a habit of learning a skill. By dedicating time early in the morning or late at night, you can build a foundation for which you can use to build future skills beyond Call of Duty.
Skill Domains in Call of Duty
The five major domains of skills in Call of Duty are:
- Aiming and gun skills
- Map Awareness and Positioning
- Game Sense
By working on these four skills, you will increase your KD and WL. Aiming, gun skills and strafing are well-rounded skills that will serve you broadly and even outside of COD. Map Awareness and Positioning is an acute skill that will help you master and gain advantages in specific maps. Game sense is having overall knowledge of how people play the game, how to counter, weapons selection and in-game settings. Communication is all about directing, team building, and leadership.
Improve Aiming and Gun Skills
There are several areas you can work on to improve your aiming and gun skills within Call of Duty. Improving your aiming and gun skills will have a direct impact on your KD. In order to get better at aiming and gun skills, you need to find the right sensitivity level for you, get better at twitch reaction time, aiming accuracy, understand your recoil pattern, and keep your gun centered. Your aiming and gun skills will drastically improve if you can practice these areas daily.
Before working on any other exercise, it is important to find a sensitivity level that feels right for you. In general, you should lower your sensitivity to somewhere between 4 and 7. This will allow you to move fast without losing control. Start a private bot match and test different levels to find what works for you. After that, you can start working on exercises.
The first exercise discussed will improve your twitch reaction time. Twitch reaction time is your ability to quickly turn and shoot at a target accurately. To improve this, you need to set up a private match with bots. Find a target on the map, like a decal on a wall. Then find another target that is out of your current field of vision. Now shoot at the one target and quickly turn to the other target and shoot. You can practice this for five minutes and then move on to the next exercise.
Twitch reaction time is your ability to quickly turn and shoot at a target accurately.
The next exercise will help you improve your aiming accuracy. Accuracy can be improved in two exercises. The first exercise is to start a private match against bots and change the settings to headshots only and by removing aim assist. This makes you aim small which is a key element of aiming. Just make sure to remember to put aim assist back on before going into public matches. The other exercise you can do (sorry console gamers) is only for PC gamers. You can use a third party aim trainer. 3D Aim Trainer is one of the best because it has different simulations that can help you with tracking your target, click timing, and fast reading trajectory. 3D Aim Trainer even has a training section specifically for Call of Duty.
Understanding recoil pattern and compensating for it will improve your accuracy. Recoil pattern is what happens when you unload your gun without trying to keep your shots together in a small area. You should notice your bullets trail up or up and to the right. You need to know the recoil patterns of your most often used gun and consciously compensate for it either by pulling down or down and to the left while shooting. Enter a private match with bots and test your guns to see their recoil patterns and work on compensating for them.
The next exercise will work on keeping your gun centered. Whatever the center of the target would be is where your aim should be. This is how you should move around on a map. Keeping the gun centered on targets will allow your gun to recoil up while spraying. It is an effective way to improving your KD. Start a private match and work on this with bots for five to ten minutes.
In order to improve strafing, you first need to know what it is and how it’s done. Strafing is moving from side to side while shooting. You do this in order to make it more difficult for your opponent to hit you. It exposes a weakness in their aiming and ability to track or lead their target. The challenge with this is that it takes effort to aim and shoot while strafing. You need to keep your aim on your target the whole time while strafing back and forth.
Another challenge with strafing is that you should not change direction too fast, or too slow. Moving too fast will make you a bigger target because you will be moving in a smaller space. Moving too slow will allow your enemy to track you easier. Your movement should be like a pendulum going from one side to the next over the course of 1-2 seconds. Count one second each time you change directions, just like a metronome.
The best weapons to use in close range combat when strafing is going to be those that allow you to quickly aim and shoot. SMGs are a perfect example of that. Shotguns and pistols will work but they shoot slower. ARs will work but they have longer reload times and take longer to aim down the site (ADS). Sniper rifles are good for longer range but horrible for close range.
Map Awareness and Positioning
The purpose of map awareness and positioning is that it will help you understand where people are hiding and shooting from. You can use map awareness and positioning to learn where the gun fights usually happen, the locations of spawn points, and the typical movements of enemies. Finding hiding places gives you the ability to sneak up on them unaware.
There are a couple ways you can learn map positioning. The first one of course is just playing the map and noticing traffic patterns, taking note of gun battle locations, spawn points, etc. You can also use UAVs for reconnaissance. The best way to learn is by playing free for all matches. That way you can find spawning points easier, and people tend to hide more.
Game sense is having overall knowledge of how people play the game, how to counter, weapons selection and in-game settings. If your opponent is far away and has a sniper rifle, you need to hide and then get close. Having a higher vantage point is better than a lower vantage point. Be purposeful with your weapons. Don’t use them at ranges they were not intended for. There is no real way to improve game sense outside of playing against others and catching on through experience. The one thing you can change though is your settings and how they fit your style of game play.
In-game settings need to be continuously tuned to fit your style and experience level. For console gamers, this is true with button and stick layout. Sensitivity is a universal setting that needs to be tuned based on your ability. Controller vibration should be turned off for those that use one. Aim assist should be turned on. And Aim response curve type should be set to dynamic.
Improving Communication Skills in COD MW2
Communication can be a strong skill in Call of Duty and it’s a good one to improve as a life skill. Good communication is not chit-chatting, talking, idle banter, or gossip. Good communication is holds value for its audience. It is relevant for its audience. Communication expresses desires, wants and needs. It provides critical information. By improving your communication, you directly impact your WL ratio. Why? Because good communication builds alignment and distributes critical battle information. It can be used to share where help is needed the most, where gun fights are, and where enemies are hiding. And that is just from a tactical perspective. It is even more powerful when used strategically.
A strategic use of communication can be used for team leadership and team building. It’s important for a team leader to set clear goals and expectations for everyone on the team. And its important for team members to express concerns, ask questions, and provide progress updates on skills improvement and other areas being worked on.
Several books have been written about good communication. You can easily find any of them in most bookstores and online retailers. You can nerd out learning all about it in books, but here are some quick tips to improving your communication:
- Practice active listening. When someone is speaking to you, ask them questions to show them you are listening and to get clarity.
- Be specific in your communication. Provide as many details that are relevant as possible. In COD terms, that might be saying “I see 3 guys going into the white brick building on the center of the west side of the map” instead of “I see a group of guys going into a building over by where I am”.
- Don’t mumble. Pronounce your words clearly and speak loudly. Remember that in COD you’re not in person and you are at the mercy of the quality of your headset and the quality of speakers on the other end. If you speak quietly and mumble, no one will understand what you’re saying.
You’re Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link
Have you ever heard the saying, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link”? It first appeared in Thomas Reid’s “Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man,” published in 1786. The saying means that enemies can take advantage of your weaknesses and they will be your downfall. It is a proverb about a chain where every link is strong except one. When that one link breaks, the entire chain fails.
This proverb is true for a lot of things including skill development, team building, and esports gaming success. If your aim sucks, you’re going to have a low KD. If you’re a bad team player, it’s likely that you won’t get on a good team. That being said, you don’t have to be the best in every skill domain.
If you are weak at a certain skill, there are two things you can do. One, you can get coaching and try to improve that skill. It takes a lot of effort to improve your weaknesses and it may not be worth it. In fact, recent research shows you have better chances at success when you focus on improving your strengths rather than your weaknesses.
The other things you can do if you’re weak at a certain skill is to compensate for it. How would you do that? You focus on your strengths and where you make your best contributions. Then, you complement other players’ weaknesses, and they compensate for yours. Are you really good at aiming but suck at strafing? Then maybe you should snipe from afar and let others rush in the heat of battle. Are you really good at communicating and having map awareness, but suck at aiming? Then maybe you should direct the team.
The skills covered in this article apply directly to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. They can also be applied to other first-person shooters (FPS) like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Halo: Infinite. Developing these skills will improve your aiming and gun skills, strafing, map awareness and positioning, game sense, and communication.