MW3 Free-for-all: How to win
Call Of Duty multiplayer has always been more about Free-for-all than anything else for me. Not sure why, I just seem to have skills and temperament better suited to it and, while I’m not incapable of earning an MvP award now and again in team games, I’m much more comfortable in Free-for-all.
Modern Warfare 3 is a very different game in Free-for-all, and I’ve had a bit of difficulty adjusting to playing team modes when my friends drop me an invite, so I figure there must be some MW3 players out there who’re having similar difficulties making the transition from team to Free-for-all. That’s why I’ve assembled this quick and easy guide to MW3 Free-for-all. With these tips you’ll advance from prey to predator in no time.
How to customise your class for Free-for-all
While you don’t need to completely change your set-up for Free-for-all, there are many Perks and items popular in team games that aren’t very useful in Free-for-all and vice versa. The Assassin perk in slot 2 is very useful in Free-for-all because stealth is such an effective tactic, and in Slot 3 you’re spoiled for choice, with Marksman, Sitrep and Dead Silence all helping you to either detect enemies or else remain undetected by them.
There’s no particular reason your choice of primary weapon should differ in Free-for-all, but you might want to consider a silencer to make yourself more stealthy. Encounters with more than one enemy at once are less frequent in Free-for-all, so area-of-effect weapons – i.e. explosives and automatics that are good for spraying groups – are a little less useful. Personally I use a Type 95 assault rifle with Kick and an ACOG scope because it’s good for taking down a single enemy in one efficient burst at any range.
Equipment is generally less useful in Free-for-all because it’s mostly designed to affect groups of enemies or to help control territory, neither of which is much of a priority in Free-for-all. However, the Throwing Knife is well-suited if you’re skilled with it, and the other Lethal options all come in handy from time to time. I hardly ever use Non-Lethal equipment though; an occasional Flash Grenade to flush out a camper if I’ve already used my Semtex, and that’s it. If you want to camp then other Non-Lethals can be handy but camping tends not to be that effective in Free-for-all.
I don’t recommend any Strike that requires a dropped package as, without the protection of team-mates, it’s very difficult to collect your own package safely. Of course, it’s very difficult for anyone else to collect it too, which does mean that a package can be used as bait, but unless you’re using an Airdrop Trap, you’re running the risk of gifting a powerful strike to an opponent. I love using the Air Drop Trap as a lure, but I eventually abandoned Support Strikes in favour of Assault Strikes. The streak resets in Assault allow me to get UAVs more frequently and UAVs are very useful in Free-for-all because it’s important to know where your enemies are and you have no team mates launching UAVs for you. Other than that I recommend Attack Helicopter and Strafe Run because they’re activated quickly and cover the whole map.
I’d recommend either Revenge or Hollow Points in Free-for-all because you either want to be able to track an enemy down or kill him more efficiently when you do.
How to play in Free-for-all
Where team games are more about reaction, Free-for-all is a game of anticipation. Reactions certainly still play a part, but ideally you should be ready to kill your enemy before you even see him. There are two main ways in which you can learn to do this well…
Shut up and listen
Being quiet in Free-for-all isn’t just about stealth, it’ll help you detect your enemies too. Free-for-alls are generally much quieter than team games, and you always know that any soldier you hear is a soldier you can kill, so take advantage of the quiet and listen. A set of headphones or surround sound system will help you so much in Free-for-all that some players consider it cheating, which it obviously isn’t. To listen as clearly and accurately as possible, move while crouched most of the time and stop frequently, just to listen for a few seconds. I’d even suggest keeping your distance from noisy scenery (burning cars, flapping tarpaulins etc.) and staying away from multi-level areas because sounds above or below you will sound like they’re on the same level. Also, be extra cautious when airborne strikes are around, even your own, as they’ll make it harder to hear enemies. Use your ears to determine where your enemies are, where they’re going and what they’re doing and you will be a better Free-for-all player. But you can’t take full advantage unless you…
Learn the maps
This is important in any mode, but especially in Free-for-all where it will help you to determine where enemies are as well as where and when they are likely to come into view. In particular you should learn what footstep sounds correspond to which floor surfaces and where exactly those surfaces are, and learn the popularly used routes through the level so that you know where an opponent you’re stalking is likely to go next. You also need to learn positions from which you get good visibility but are not, yourself, very visible so that you can…
This is the other reason to be quiet, of course. Most good Free-for-all players will be using the techniques I’ve outlined so far, so it’s worth doing what you can to make those techniques as ineffective as possible. In addition to choosing stealthy Perks and being as quiet as possible, there are other ways to be stealthy. The way you move about is key. Stay crouched whenever possible, running only if you’re pursuing an enemy or dashing between cover. Always be aware of where you can be seen from and stick close to shadows and cover at all times. Also be aware that every sound you make has a very high chance of drawing enemies to your position, so try not to make more noise than you have to. Kill enemies using short, precise bursts and after each kill take up a cover position nearby and look out for enemies that have heard gunfire and are now heading your way.
Kill-to-death ratio isn’t everything
Kill-to-death ratio is a better reflection of your skill in Free-for-all than it is in most other modes, but it’s still not everything because the best kill-to-death ratio often doesn’t win the match. This is why camping isn’t that effective in Free-for-alls. If you stay in one spot you just won’t see other players that often and opponents who take more risks and get themselves into the thick of the action will get more kills than you. The trick is to quickly figure out where the action is concentrated – this can vary a lot from match to match – and find a position where you can get a good view of it without being drawn into it yourself. And remember it’s always better to get 5 kills within a minute then die than to get 10 kills without dying in 5 minutes.
Think like a predator
There’s a reason that the Callsign titles associated with Free-for-all in Modern Warfare 2 and 3 are illustrated by a shark and a wolf, two of nature’s greatest predators. That’s the way you have to play Free-for-all. Don’t think of your enemies as opposition, think of them as prey. Stalk them patiently, choose the perfect time to strike and make a neat, tidy kill wherever possible. Ambush tactics can be effective, but with a maximum of only eight players you will need to seek out your victims too. It’s all about being the hunter while not allowing yourself to be the hunted.