I don’t know about you, but I play enough first-person shooters to qualify it as a part time job. Primarily I play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I wouldn’t dare call it the greatest game of all time, as I’ve certainly played other games more frequently and with more fervor. I do however love winning, and one thing I’ve noticed helps me do that is recognizing the different types of players I’ve got on my team. Usually I’ve got some mix of guys from one big group of friends, because I think the randomly assigned teammates I get from the game’s matchmaking system are a form of divine persecution.
Either way, I’ve noticed several different play styles that surface in my teammates, and what I need to do to react to each one. I’ve started comparing them to different characters in movies and TV, as that helps me remember how I react to what they’re doing. This is by no means a comprehensive list, just the ones I feel best able to describe. Here we go:
The Aggressor is that guy who is racking up a huge kill count, but dying nearly as often. When he’s completely on top of his game he reminds me of Brock Samson from The Venture Brothers. The guy has perfected the art of killing and has an insatiable blood lust. When someone is being an Aggressor, but isn’t so good at it he starts to remind me more of Walter from The Big Lebowski. He thinks he’s ready to put everyone into a world of hurt, and will probably let you know how out of your element you are.
This is a pretty easy person to react to, because whether they’re on top of things or not you can do the same thing: Stay out of their way. I like to throw stuns/flash grenades right ahead of them before they round a corner, or maybe I’ll turn and look at the area they just came from. Making sure they don’t get shot in the back can help prevent them from getting too frustrated, which is good for anyone. The way they move invites spawn points to get crazy, so watching the opposite end of the map from where they are helps too.
This person is a really big help, or else entirely dangerous. They have spent time planning while outside the game. They like the weapons with the best stats, and they generally have one area of the map they know how to control. At their best, they make me think of Batman. They use different toys and the enemy seems to happily walk into their trap. At their worst they’re more like Chevy Chase’s character Clark Griswold. They’ll spend too much time trying to get everything to go just right that things start to pass them by.
When you’ve got Batman on your side, just ask what they’d like you to do to help. They may or may not have something for you, so if not, just look for the area that the enemy seems most likely to jump up and bite them in the ass from. I also like planting some of my own equipment by this person if I’m running a portable radar or a trophy. When Batman becomes Mr. Griswold your best bet is to ignore them entirely. Heck, sit back a ways behind them with an extra piece of cover and shoot down the people who are walking around them, or more likely right through them.
This segment may surprise you. It is not about the randomly assigned teammates. No, they belong to a different section called “Gross Ineptitude.” The Wildcard on the other hand is related to the aggressor, but is probably less likely to push you aside on his way to noob meat. The wildcard is the one using Javelin, throwing C4 like a grenade, and flanking like a madman. Ever had a teammate burst through the enemy from behind just as they started to overwhelm you? Thats the Wildcard. At his best he’ll seem like Murdock of The A-Team, pulling a helicopter up from a nosedive right before it hits the ground, or casually walking away from a smoldering building while laughing and smoking a cigar. My best example of an unhelpful wildcard is Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia. Specifically, the episode in which he is trying to be a wildcard. He thinks he’s being creative, but really he’s just cut the brakes in the van you’re riding in and bailed out, leaving you to your horrible fate.
The Wildcard is best left alone. If you recognize one, try to use their movement as a flanking maneuver. Draw attention to yourself so that their crazy shit has a chance to work. If you’re feeling adventurous follow them around to watch their back.
This guy is so good it either amazes you or he pisses you off. He’s a master of stick control and can make any weapon seem like its broken. This guy doesn’t usually have bad days, but rather the person themselves is one of two types. The kind you like, which I refer to as the Grammaton Cleric from Equilibrium and the kind you hate, who is more like Sterling Archer of Archer. The Cleric kind of guy doesn’t get too emotional, and is generally playing in a way that is helpful to the teammates around him. Archer, on the other hand, has no consideration for those around him. His allies are more like human shields or simply distractions for his opponents. Don’t forget though that he is insanely skilled and will be the first to tell you so by reminding you how bad you are.
If you have a Cleric in your midst, sit back and watch. It’s awesome. I haven’t had an Archer in my group for some time, because they’re not worth playing with. If you find yourself playing with one, you should hope they get pissed off and leave and if they don’t then try to use them as a human shield. It’s the least they deserve.
The Mastermind is like a Thinker on steroids. While the thinker is primarily focused on what they are doing, the Mastermind sees the whole map at once and knows what he should be doing, as well as what everyone else needs to be doing. He’s likely to tell you what needs to be done, which can seem abrasive at times. A good Mastermind reminds me of the Phantom of the Opera. He’s handing out instructions for everyone, seems to see everything that’s happening, and people on both teams just seem to be serving his purpose. It’s actually quite frightening. On the other hand, when the Mastermind isn’t performing he reminds me of Vizzini of The Princess Bride. It is utterly inconceivable that things didn’t happen the way he expected. His instruction has become bossiness and you laugh a little bit when he bites the dust.
If the Phantom is playing with you, just fall in. It’s going to be the best case scenario for you. You really don’t know that you can trust him, but you’re more likely to live if you do. If you’re starting to suspect your Mastermind is an inept little Sicilian dude you need to start doing the opposite of everything he says.