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Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer strategy guide

From maps to movement to rigs, here’s how to win

Call of Duty has been sticking to the jetpack style of motion for the past several years. Advanced Warfare kicked it off, Black Ops 3 followed suit, and now Infinite Warfare has a hybrid system in place with plenty of air dashing and wall running.

Here’s how the game has changed in some subtle and some not so subtle ways.

Locomotion and map strategies

It's important to stay moving at all times. As the Call of Duty games have evolved, so have the game types and the players that play them, and the environment is not conducive to staying in one spot. Instead, game types typically funnel players to various parts of the map to facilitate combat, and you'll be much harder to hit if you're already dodging fire when it's coming out at you.

Load up a private match with no bots and just practice running about on each map unfettered by danger. Learn the hot spots, which are generally referred to as "chokepoints." These are areas where multiple paths funnel into one another, and where a lot of the action will be. Make a mental note of every chokepoint and you’ll know when to be on your toes. Additionally, scouting out locations that you can retreat to will cut down on your death count. If you see an enemy ahead, odds are their team is over there too, so retreating back where you came is the best option if you’re getting some heat.

With that said, sprinting around corners is almost always a bad idea. You’ll make a lot more noise doing so, and audio cues are a really big deal in this series, and will clue in enemy forces to the point where they’ll already be shooting before you even turn a corner.

Try to throttle your jetpack often so you don’t have to expend all of your jump gauge, ensuring that you have some meter to use in a jam. Jump up, then take your finger off the button until you start falling briefly, then press it again. Holding down your jets will drain your meter quickly and might even be overkill for some jumps. When you need that extra bit of boost to fly into a window to avoid enemy fire, you’ll be grateful that it’s an option.

Several maps, like Frontier, are now completely enclosed indoors and limit your movement, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly for them and bring in multiple loadouts. For example, if you just have one sniper loadout on your character because you love to snipe, it’s not going to work out so well if Frontier is queued up for the next match. Try to create one loadout for every single weapon type in the game and swap between them to account for map layout changes.

While outdoor maps such as Throwback and Breakout support sniper play with long hallways and outdoor engagements, others, like Precinct, have more twists and turns that are better off bringing rifles and SMGs to. Create one class for each gun until you get a feel for all 12 launch arenas.

An altered challenge system

Challenges are now stratified among "Mission Teams," which are essentially extra options in which to earn additional XP, and based around certain specializations. As always, completing these challenges is the key to leveling up, and thus, earning more loadout choices and coveted XP for your eventual Prestige.

Players will start with the JTF Wolverines at level 1, before moving onto the Orion Initiative at level 15, Sabre Team Seven at 30 and Wraith at 45. It’s important to always "check in" on challenge requirements in the main menu (under "Barracks") between matches, since you can’t always see them in-game. Knowing what to go for (headshots, sidearm kills) can help you complete them faster, which in turn will unlock more challenges at later levels on the same tier.

Some challenges are a little more specific, like killing enemies with the last clip of your magazine, so you can employ a new tactic like firing off all your ammo in the safety of the spawn zone then reloading the last portion to complete the challenge.

Combat Rigs

Rigs are essentially Infinite Warfare’s take on classes. Some of them focus on speed, and others, firepower. They will color the way you approach each game, so choosing one that compliments both the way you play and your gear is important.

Unlike perks, min-maxing (going all-in on one aspect) isn't necessarily the best way to go for Combat Rigs, and you can use a number of different loadouts to your advantage. For instance, Mercs Rigs are typically slow, but can be buffed in the speed department with the Momentum Perk. Perk choices are such drastic alterations that piling on one ability will meaningfully impact your effectiveness in combat. Here’s a basic rundown of each Rig so that you can pick one that suits your particular style of play.

Warfighter

First-time players should immediately go for the Warfighter, as it provides a balanced style of play that doesn’t gravitate towards any offensive or defensive focus.

Its big upgrades are The Claw (a weapon that shoots around corners), Overdrive (a speed boost), and combat focus (double killstreak points for a limited time). It also sports the killstreak retention trait that’s a perfect choice for players who die before they can earn their streaks, and passive team-centric abilities like pinging corpses and the automatic dropping of grenade resupply bags.

Most of what makes the Warfighter tick is automatic, so you won’t even have to think about half of it while you’re playing. It’s important to try other Rigs (one might click with you that you otherwise would have never experimented with), but the Warfighter is a perfect go-to starter kit.

FTL

Going in the exact opposite direction of the Warfighter, the FTL Rig is — even by in-game lore standards — experimental and weird.

It's all about extra mobility, using an FTL jump to traverse terrain quicker and a phase shift ability that avoids damage with the right timing. Yet, it also has options to increase the speed and distance of your slide, buff your radar to indicate very close targets and drop cooldown lowering super packs for your team.

If you find yourself being the last one to get to an objective constantly, give the FTL a shot. It’s a little more vulnerable than a few of the other choices, but it’ll get you get used to the idea of staying out of the line of fire — a skill that will come in handy as you move over to other Combat Rigs.

Phantom

As the sniper and stealth specialist, the Phantom Rig is going to be alienating for a lot of new players. If you typically use a sniper rifle — a weapon with a high skill ceiling — pick the Phantom immediately to take advantage of all of its skills.

Ultimately, the Phantom's strength lies within its Heightened Senses trait, which ups your audio cues while you’re aiming down the sight of a sniper rifle. If you can, combine this with a nice pair of directional headphones (though that's a style of play that won’t resonate with everyone).

Active Camo is a great option to have, especially when you’re sneaking around to take an objective. The Rearguard trait is helpful for snipers because it automatically guards the back of your character when it’s up. But if you’re not scoring takedowns, it’s not going to do you much good, and you may as well give the Merc or Stryker (the tank and support classes respectively) a try, both of which have more defensive options.

Merc

Mercs are, quite simply, the tanks of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. With their bulk comes a slower pace of play, but they provide a level of firepower and defense that can help out an individual player and their team.

Bull Charge equips players with a riot shield and charges into enemies. This makes it a great option for starting engagements so that your team can pile in after you with some cover. Reactive Armor also instantly guards you against weaker weapons, and the Infusion trait will help you recover your health quicker.

Note that you will need to adapt and get into firefights often with the Merc, making it a tougher option to acclimate to than some other Rigs. It has very little in the way of escapes once you’ve used its abilities, so make them count.

Stryker

The Stryker Rig is really meant for objective games as it focuses on zoning — the concept of keeping your enemies out of certain areas and backing up your team. It's a perfect choice for players who prefer to stay out the action on occasion and support their squad.

Deployable turrets, an area-of-effect gravity gun and an electromagnetic field tool are all great options for denying entry for an enemy team, but they aren’t necessarily a great way to take your enemies out.

When it comes to dealing straight damage to the opposing team, the Stryker needs a little help from other Rigs. Even skills like the Trophy Drone, which blocks one grenade for you whenever it’s active, are focused on self-preservation. If you die often and don’t play straight kill-based matches, the Stryker might be what you’re looking for.

Synaptic

While the Stryker is mobile, the Synaptic is the fastest Combat Rig in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. It's custom built for aggressive players.

It not only has the option to recharge its jetpack faster, but it can also dash at will or gain movement speed bonuses after kills. Its main strength is its ability to move quickly up to enemies and melee them with increased damage, so if you constantly find yourself in close-quarters combat, the Synaptic Rig might suit your needs more than anything else.

If you're playing the Synaptic, be aggressive. Push enemies constantly into making mistakes (by forcing their hand by harassing players and then using the Rewind ability to escape, or by using your swift speed to your advantage by employing hit and run tactics) or laying down covering fire for your team. It’s the perfect Rig for people who want more responsibility, and want to make plays that ultimately win games.

Crafting and salvage

Crafting is now a thing in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and it crosses into microtransaction territory. If you're not down on spending extra money on this premium game though, there are options.

Like any freemium currency, you'll earn the crafting system's currency, keys, through normal play. To get salvage, complete challenges (again, paying attention to these is very important in the long run), earn supply drops (crates opened by keys, which will break down duplicate equipment into salvage) and log in for daily bonuses. Its accessible under the "Quartermaster" tab in the multiplayer menu.

Once you've acquired a hefty portion of salvage, you'll be able to craft a prototype weapon of your choosing, which will be rated on multiple tiers (common, rare, legendary, and epic).

A word of warning: Always save your keys to purchase a rare supply drop box for a cost of 30. It’s tempting to spend 10 on commons, and they’ll provide you with great weaponry options in the short term. Instead, try for rare, legendary or epic variants, locating weapon parts that transcend the choices already available to you by simply ranking up.

Perks

It wouldn’t be a Call of Duty game without perks, so here are a few of combinations from Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare to help offensive and defensive players alike.

If you find yourself not noticing a particular perk after several matches, try to alter your choices so that they complement one another. Yplaceholder for response.

For offensive players

If you’re the offensive type, picking Dexterity (reload and switch weapons faster), Momentum (sprint faster over time), and Gung-Ho (shoot/use equipment/scorestreaks while sprinting) is the perfect combination for locking down more kills.

All of these perks funnel into one another and tie back to movement, and unlike Rigs, min-maxing them can help you unlock their full potential. Having just one or two perks might not make a big impact on the way you play, but using them all at once in tandem can drastically alter your success rate.

For defensive players

Another great combo for defensive players is Ghost (invisible to UAV), Cold Blooded (invisible to thermal systems) and Dead SIlence (quiet footsteps and jump packs). Use those, and you’re pretty much never going to be on anyone’s radar. Unless you make yourself known, you’ll have the element of surprise on your side.

How to Prestige quickly

It's important to understand how levels work in a Call of Duty game before you try to rush your way to max level and Prestige (start over at level 1, unlocking various cosmetic bonuses in the process).

You year XP when you play. It happens naturally through each match, when you perform specific actions like kills and when you use challenge system, which doles out bonuses in bulk after completing various tasks.

Mix up your loadouts as often as possible after capping out a certain number of challenges for each piece of equipment. For example, getting 100 kills with a gun might trigger multiple challenge tiers and reward a ton of XP. After a period of time, it'll provide diminishing returns with larger requirements until the next challenge reward. That's your cue to switch to another weapon, or another weapon type entirely.

How to earn XP, fast

If you’re not particularly adept at shooters or Infinite Warfare just yet, the Kill Confirmed mode is one of the easiest ways to rack up a ton of XP. In this mode, you’ll need to not only kill opponents but pick up their dog tags as well after their death, so you don’t necessarily need to have spot-on sharpshooter skills to actually score points.

Hardpoint, a shifting King of the Hill-style mode, is another great option. If the point happens to shift into your zone, you can earn a lot of objective points. Either way, objective-based modes will garner more XP as those types of matches do not solely require kills.

Finally, keep an eye on the aforementioned challenges and swap them as often as you can. Go with what you know you can complete with ease before moving on to tougher choices. You can follow the same philosophy with killstreaks, too. Instead of trying to go for some of the later, more appealing ones, frontload some of the low hanging fruit so you can pop your killstreaks more often.