Improve your COD skills: AW Edition

For those of you who are familiar with my work, you should already have a basic understanding of the foundations needed to improve yourself as a Call of Duty player. In my previous ‘Improve Your CoD Skills’ article, I highlighted the importance of one’s attitude, class and weapon loadouts, map awareness and game mode knowledge as the fundamental principles in gaining a significant advantage over your opponents.

With the release of Advanced Warfare, the basis of my previous article still stands, however, as expected, a new title presents new challenges. Although this article will be primarily focused towards the competitive side of CoD, fear not public players, there is also relevant information that will benefit you.

Essentially, my first piece of advice to everyone is to ensure you increase your tolerance level to the max because despite how good Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is, it has equally frustrating moments. 

Class Set Up

To get started, what weapons are you using? Well, unless it the ASM1 or the BAL-27 you are insane.

Originally, AW was an Assault Rifle dominant game, with the vast majority of competitive players opting to run 4 BAL’s on each team. Although many fans argued the lack of gun versatility ruined the game, in my opinion it was a thing of beauty. The BAL-27 was the most versatile weapon, whether you engaged in a gunfight at short, medium or long range, the fully automatic AR would always come out on top.


Yes, the BAL was overpowered, however, as everyone opted to use the weapon the playing field was seemingly equal. Nevertheless, in an attempt to address the issue of the predominant BAL-27, Sledgehammer Games released a patch, increasing its recoil, while reducing its damage and max damage range.

As a result, the BAL was no longer the most effective weapon for every in-game scenario, and thus we began to see a shift in Assault Rifle preferences to Submachine Guns, as the ASM1 took the front seat, almost replicating the functionality of the previous year’s Vector.


As far as sniping goes the MORS is arguably the most popular and all rounded sniper rifle, yet it has the annoying tendency to produce hitmarkers. Therefore, some players opt to use the Atlas 20mm, although slightly trickier to use, it is just absolutely brutal and never fails to obliterate your target. 


Now that’s cleared up, it is time we address the standard essential perks used in Advanced Warfare.

- For public players, Low Profile is an extremely useful perk that is used to avoid enemy UAV’s and remain undetected. I believe it is essential requirement in your loadout, especially if you are aiming to build your kill streaks.

- Light Weight is a great little perk that helps you move and mantle quicker. Players who enjoy rushing their opponent or getting to power points should almost always run this perk.  

- Blast Suppressor is vital in my opinion, especially in SnD. With the new movement mechanics of AW, hammering your ‘A’ button to manoeuvre around the map has almost become an addiction to most players. The use of Blast Suppressor will enable you to do so without giving away a brief indication of your location on the in-game mini-map

- Toughness is essential and can aid you in countless gunfights. Ultimately, the perk helps keep your gun steady while being shot, increasing your accuracy during those game changing moments.  

- Peripherals is another perk specifically aimed towards public players. The tier 2 perk allows users to observe a larger radius of the mini-map, while also preventing death icons appearing when an enemy is killed.  


With the latest and most innovative edition of the Call of Duty franchise upon us, most users will be unfamiliar with the inclusion of the controversial exoskeleton and the abilities it holds. Initially, many loyal fans of the series were sceptical around the possibilities of futuristic warfare, stating that the industry was attempting the replicate Titanlfall.

However, modern perceptions seem to have welcomed the inclusion of the new movement mechanics /abilities and the additional skill gap they incorporate into the franchise. Where Titanfall failed, Call of Duty succeeded.  

Within Advanced Warfare, there are currently 8 unique exo-abilities available for selection; Exo Shield (a quick-deploy shield attached to your Exo's arm), Exo Overclock (increased footspeed), Exo Mute Device (silence your footsteps), Exo Stim (temporary generate health beyond normal levels), Exo Cloak (visually conceal yourself for a short duration), Exo Hover (hover in place for a short duration), Exo Ping (show enemy exo movement and weapons fire in your HUD) and Exo Trophy System (destroys up to two incoming enemy projectiles). 

Each exo-ability has their own individual benefits and when tailored to the right situations, they can give you a significant advantage over your opponents. Although the current rulings for the use of exo-abilities in eSports are unclear, within multiplayer one is able to use them at their own desire.   

One ability that I find often gets overlooked is Cloak. Although several players have already acknowledged the advantages of Cloak in Search and Destroy, surprisingly, very few people recognise its potential benefits within respawn. For example, in Hardpoint, one may simply jump in the hill and use Cloak to avoid detection from opposing players. If you’re lucky, the enemy may even jump in the hill unsuspectingly, allowing you to secure an easy three piece, while also buying your team those valuable extra points.

Arguably, the most used exo-ability is Overclock, which is hardly a surprise considering it turns you into Sonic! Just kidding, however, like Sonic you gain a massive speed boost, allowing you to boost and shoot around the map like a kid on pop rocks. The main reasoning behind its popularity is due to the fact that it is great within literally every game type. Want to get to the hill first? Overclock. Want to get to a choke point in SnD? Overclock. Need to run a flag faster? Overclock. You get the idea.

Several loyal fans to the Call of Duty franchise may have already realised that, rather controversially, this year Dead Silence no longer features itself as a perk in the series. This is where Exo-Mute comes into play. However, although exo-mute acts like Dead Silence, supressing the noise of your footsteps, as it is an exo-ability, there is a universal time limit. Therefore players are opted to use it sparingly, making it extremely popular within SnD.

Finally, the last recommended exo-ability on my list is Exo-Trophy System, a must have for objective minded players. Much like the previous versions of this device, the ability destroys up to two enemy projectiles during its duration and is great for Hardpoint within those hectic hills!

Well, I’m sure that’s enough advice from me for the time being, so why don’t we now direct your attention to some exclusive tips from professional players who have been kind enough to take some time out of their busy schedules and co-operate with this article.   

Nick 'XLNC' Ward, Professional Call of Duty Player for BasiCeSports

"Apart from the obvious 'changing your sensitivity' route, there are other options you can explore while attempting to better your aim.

For example, altering the height of your analog stick may also interest you; with companies such as SCUF Gaming offering controllers with the option of either a regular, medium or long length anaolg sticks."

"Scuf also provide you with the option between convex or concave sticks, which for players like myself - who originated from Playstation 3 – is a great feature, as you may feel more comfortable using the convex anaolg sticks."

"For a more inexpensive alternative, I would definitely recommend Kontrol Freek’s. They're essentially an analog stick that you place on top of your existing thumbstick, issuing greater height, grip and precision." 

Dylan "MadCat" Daly, Professional Call of Duty Player for Epsilon eSports:

"If you’re an amateur player, it is important that you play the game as much as you can in your spare time. Whether it is public matches, ranked play or 8’s with friends, the more you play, the more you learn."

"Your shot will improve with the more game time you put in, but make sure you already play on a sensitivity you can handle in order to achieve the best reaction time and aim available to you."

"Don’t expect success to instantly appear. Once you begin to compete, attend events and prove yourself worthy, better teams and opportunities will present themselves." 

Michael 'SwizzButterworth, Professional Call of Duty Coach for TCM-Gaming:

"To improve as a player, it helps if you surround yourself with teammates who are willing to play and learn the game. You must also feel comfortable competing alongside these players, a good environment is essential to increase your desire and understanding of the game."

"When you enjoy the game, you seem to play a lot more and take in a greater amount of relevant information."

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