Masakari has been successfully playing FPS Games at the highest level for over 20 years and is an experienced coach. So I asked him about the mechanics of shooters like Valorant, Call of Duty or PUBG.
In this post, we’ll show you the five mechanics you need to master to become really good in the world of first-person shooters.
How vital are mechanics for your performance in first-person shooters?
Mechanics are the cornerstones of a first-person shooter. They define what a game is by setting its boundaries and ruleset. Anyone who has played a competitive match of Counter-Strike, Valorant, Rainbow Six, CoD, or PUBG can attest to the importance that mechanics have on gameplay. The speed and accuracy with which you can land headshots, the quickness you can see enemies, and your ability to use cover all come down to mechanics.
I’ll be discussing some of the fundamental mechanics that come into play when playing competitive first-person shooters: aiming, movement, map knowledge, gamesense, utilities, and abilities. First, let’s briefly list the five mechanics again as an overview, and then we’ll go into each point in more depth.
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Top 5 FPS Mechanics
Most FPS games are all about the guns and being able to aim them. Aiming is where it all starts. Most seasoned FPS players will agree that the most challenging thing for new players is finding a target and holding it in their crosshairs long enough to line up a shot with consecutive hits.
As you might expect, moving around in an FPS game is essential. It can be the difference between life and death to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible.
- Utilities and Abilities
Utilities and abilities are things like flashbangs, smoke grenades, frag grenade combos, spells, power-ups, etc. – all of which can give you an advantage on the battlefield when used correctly.
- Map Knowledge
Knowing the maps in your FPS game can be the edge you need to win a match, especially if you know where to set up ambushes, hold angles and catch other players off guard.
- Experience and Gamesense
Being experienced in FPS games will give you a clear advantage over noobs, as most of your opponents will likely not have had as much practice using those mechanics as you have. Gamesense is your natural ability to read the game.
Let’s dive deeper into the Aiming realm. Why is it so important to train good aiming?
Being able to aim in FPS games properly is a trait that experienced players have over new players – but it’s not necessarily the most challenging mechanic to learn.
Developing good aiming skills comes with time, and the more you put into it, the better you’ll get at it. The first thing new players are likely going to struggle with is finding a target and holding it in their crosshairs long enough for them to line up consecutive hits on target. But, as necessary as this seems, this is usually what separates good shooters from bad ones – and developing this skill will come as you play more FPS games online.
Aim trainers can help you develop this skill relatively quickly. The hardware, i.e., your mouse and your hand posture and sitting position, also plays a minor role.
Aiming comes in three different flavors, aka combat ranges:
- ultra-short distance combat without the use of a scope. Because you don’t aim along with the gun here, you speak of hipfire.
- short distance combat with the use of an Aim Down Sight (ADS) scope or without a scope
- long-distance combat with the use of sniper sights
A player should use different mechanics depending on the combat range. Let’s get a little bit into detail:
If you have to fight in ultra-short distance combat, you won’t have time to aim your weapon at the enemy. In this case, if you want to hit your target, you’ll have to use another mechanic that doesn’t require aiming along with the gun. Hip firing is when you shoot without using a scope or similar scope for aiming, and it is the most commonly used mechanic when it comes to short-distance combat.
Because of its ultra-short range, hipfire doesn’t require precise aiming as long as you don’t miss your target by much. However, it only works in ultra-short distance combat where enemies are close to each other, so if you’re not careful, you can miss your target completely.
There are multiple variants of hipfire that depend on the game you’re playing. For example, in some games, all weapons can be fired without scopes (for example, CS:GO), while in others (for example, BF3), there are weapons that cannot be fired without scopes because they require precise aiming along with the gun.
Here we speak of a mechanic whereby you aim along with your weapon without a scope or using a scope for short distances. That’s why it’s crucial to use weapons with reasonable accuracy, as you’ll have a better chance of hitting targets with them. There are various variants of ADS in different games.
3. Sniper sight
Sniper sights are scopes with high magnification that are used for more far-away range combat. They allow you to see enemies from long distances, and they can also be used for relatively precise aiming at close range because you don’t have to aim along with the gun. You will likely need a sniper rifle to use this scope and other various equipment (for example, suppressors) that will help you hide your position.
However, to use a sniper sight properly, you must have excellent aiming skills and find a safe place to aim from that will allow you to kill your target quickly.
You’ve probably heard quite a lot about the importance of recoil handling in games.
Let’s take a look at what good recoil handling is all about:
The recoil is when the gun pushes back when fired. The only way to control this push-back effect and get maximum power from it is by mastering your shooting grip. The proper grip not only allows you to control your weapon better (lessened recoil) but also improves accuracy. Accuracy is a measure of how precise your gun is. Similar to recoil, there are various variants of accuracy in specific games.
The grip depends on the type of gun you are using and will vary depending on the weapon in question. Therefore, whenever you pick up a new weapon, try to find out if any special rules come with it or if you can adjust your grip in a specific way.
It is important to note that the less you control your recoil, the more inaccurate your shooting will be. That’s why, even if you have a gun with high recoil, if you manage to control it well, it won’t matter. However, if not controlled well (as well as possible), high recoil will make it harder for you to hit targets and kill them quickly.
All players know that strafing and moving, in general, are crucial for staying alive in competitive shooters. If you don’t move, you’ll be an easy target for the enemy, and even if they miss, other enemies will most likely shoot you from behind or flank you.
So why is movement so important?
First and foremost, movement helps you position yourself better for the next fight. It also allows you to fire at enemies while moving in some games. For instance, if you run towards an enemy while shooting at them, you can kill them faster than if you standstill.
Moving also allows you to get behind cover faster if you need it or simply avoid being shot from an angle that might be dangerous to you.
Movement in FPS is something you cannot ignore. It would be best to have it for good positioning and firing at enemies while not having them fire at you.
The best FPS players can move and fire at the same time without missing their shots very often.
Movement isn’t a skill that can be mastered overnight. You have to learn its mechanisms and practice often to improve your movement speed and precision of actions (for instance, aim while moving)
Did you know that in some games, movement is more critical than your aiming skills are? This is because after you’ve been shot from far away, your character will be weakened and move slower. But if you’re continually moving while fighting enemies, you’ll be harder to hit.
As it is with any skill, moving well isn’t an easy thing to do. It takes time and practice until you improve it significantly.
What movement-related rules should you learn?
A lot of games have rules that allow players to move faster or slower than others. Some games even have different movement speeds in different directions.
Surprisingly, this can be used to your advantage. For instance, some games allow you to move fast when you’re reversing and slower movement in other directions. So, if you know these tricks for your game, and if you’re able to use them wisely, you can outmaneuver enemies or avoid getting hit too much. But, of course, this is a skill that needs to be learned from the very beginning.
Utilities and Abilities
Utilities can completely turn the tide of the game. So it’s good to know when you can get these utilities, how long they last, and how much damage they take.
Utilities like, e.g., a grenade is especially useful when attacked from close range in cover because it gives you more firepower.
One of the main reasons is that grenades are so destructible. In CS:GO, these can be used as a powerful weapon to dictate how a round plays out. As a result, it is not uncommon to see matches swinging in the balance based on either somebody being caught in the blast radius or putting themselves at unnecessary risk by going for an aggressive grenade kill.
With grenades, you can essentially make a given area on the map un-passable for your opponents. Additionally, you can use these to flush out an area, turning it into a killing field for your team.
Choosing grenades as your utility can be risky. For example, if an enemy player can kill you before deploying the grenade, they get it for free!
Utilities like an invisibility shield or armor will help you win in close-quarter combat because it protects you from enemy fire.
Other utilities are health stuff, medkits, bandages, etc. It is crucial to managing your health properly. If you have a lot of health, you can take more damage and stay in the fight longer. However, if you have low health, you’ll die faster, and it’ll be harder to defend yourself.
In some games, health stuff respawns quickly. It is crucial to know when and how often it does so because it affects the game’s meta. Learning how your FPS game handles stuff like health regeneration or armor power-ups will play a significant role in how well you play online.
Why is Health so Important in FPS?
Health is critical to winning or losing most of the time. If you’re missing health, you’ll die faster and won’t be able to shoot your enemies as hard as possible. That’s why it’s essential to know how much damage you can take, how quickly your health regenerates, and how many hits it takes for you to die.
Health is a vital resource that needs to be appropriately managed. It can easily make the difference between winning and losing in some matches.
Some games have armor that will protect you from bullets until a certain amount of damage has been taken (for a short time). Therefore, it is crucial to learn how armor works in your game and how to use it properly.
It is important to note that health and armor are two different things. While health regenerates with health stuff, armor will not. That’s why you need to manage these resources differently. You may find yourself in a situation where your enemy has much health left, but you have armor and a powerful weapon. In this case, you should conserve your ammo until they run out of health, at which point you can finish them off with a few shots.
In some FPS genres, you have to use your spells or special abilities wisely. You need to be aware of both their pros and cons. You also need to know when and how to use each spell. Your skill in using spells will allow you to win the game and create many opportunities for yourself.
The most popular spells are invisibility, teleportation, piercing shots, and so on.
Map knowledge can allow you to know when and where enemies are likely to encounter each other by looking at the map. As a result, you can predict enemy movement and win fights.
It’s important to note that both teams will be making decisions based on their map knowledge. Therefore, predicting the enemy team or teams will be one of your main goals when it comes to mapping knowledge. Map knowledge isn’t something you can master overnight. It takes time and experience to learn the maps, the various routes to take, and the best places to set up ambushes.
While playing online, it is crucial to look at the map frequently and be aware of what’s happening to you. It would be best if you looked at where enemies are, where your team members are, and so on. It is important to remember that when you’re looking away from a battlefield for too long, you might get shot by an unseen enemy.
Experience and Gamesense
The experience will allow you to predict enemy actions, position yourself better, and use mechanics more efficiently.
Experience can also come from playing a game a lot. However, you don’t necessarily have to play for hundreds of hours to get experience. Sometimes just playing a few matches is enough. The key is being proactive and trying to learn from your experience every time.
You have to keep track of what worked for you in the past and what didn’t work so well. It is essential to keep track of this information to know how your game’s meta works, whether things are changing or not, and how other players react when certain things happen in-game.
Here is a definition of gamesense:
Gamesense is the ability to understand and interpret the game state. It includes knowledge about your own and opposing teams’ abilities and cooldowns, spawn timers, objective status (including capturing progress), power weapon locations, weapon/ability pickups, health and ammo locations, etc.
How do you get this so-called ‘gamesense’? The best way is through experience. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be learned or improved upon if you don’t have experience yet. If you’re willing to learn from your mistakes and watch pros play or read guides to understand how the metagame works in your FPS of choice, that will give you an excellent start on the road towards developing gamesense.
Of course, there are plenty more mechanics to learn depending on which FPS game you choose. In this article, we have presented five mechanics you should master in any FPS game to have any chance of making it to the top. To become a better FPS player, you need to practice. Every action is worth practicing – from movement to using specific utilities.
When it comes to pretty much every skill in life, the more you practice, the better you’ll be at it. So if you’re looking to improve, make sure that you focus on practicing often and know-how all shooting mechanics work specifically for your game/genre.
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GL & HF! Flashback out.