I thought I would share some of the tips that I have picked up over a long time playing this game with regards to gaining xp. I have one profile that is 100% legit 56, and am working on an alt that is currently level 23, and will also be legit. I encourage any players with significant experience to add to this thread to help benefit some of the newer players in hopes that by raising their skills, we can better promote competition and discourage xp hacking. I know this will be a long post, but please be tolerant. I am just trying to help the newer players get better. Below are some things that I have learned / mistakes I have made or witnessed that less-experienced players could benefit from:
1) Run N' Gunning: There is something to be said for becoming proficient with both sniping and close quarters combat. Being good at both will allow you to max weapon proficiencies faster and be able to be effective with whatever you pick up in the field. However, this game is predicated on the notion of high-powered assault style weapons in mostly smaller levels (or sections of larger ones). Sure, there are places to hide with a silenced sniper rifle - bushes, in towers, behind buildings, etc. However, these are also well-known places for any good player to pick up an easy kill. Finish the weapon proficiencies with the sniper rifles for the xp and then bag them for the most part. Focus on becoming a good "run n' gunner" and you will see your kill counts and xp rise significantly. The only exception to this is in the later levels with the multi-task gadget; you can combine a sniper rifle with a close quarters weapon. Then you can reap the benefits of both - this can be very effective if used correctly. But again, if you aren't there yet, don't worry about it. Develop your hip fire and "dancing" skills. They will make you better faster.
2) Become aggressive early on: This is a big one that most newer players don't figure out until later - no fear. Realize that you are not going to win very many <conflict> matches in the beginning, particularly if there are more than 2 level 35+ in it. You are usually just going to get out-mined, out-maneuvered, and out-gunned. Focus instead on placing (finishing in the top 3) with at least a 1:1 kill to death ratio. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying don't play to win. I am just saying play smart, but aggressive. Always get value for your life. Work hard to kill as much as possible right from the very beginning of each match, regardless of deaths. Do NOT be afraid to die. In conflict (which you should play a lot for the xp), you get points based on eliminations - deaths don't count against you unless you do it to yourself, or as a tie-breaker on the scoreboard. Kill streaks are the best ways to earn xp, and don't happen if you aren't aggressive. However, don't be "that idiot" and run straight out across wide open areas with unsilenced guns blazing. Be smart-aggressive. Make sure that when you die, you take someone with you. The game gives you grenades for a reason. To die without using them is a waste. You would be surprised how many "bonus" kills you can get just by lobbing randomly into corners or just having one cooking and ready to go when entering a tunnel. Same thing with timed mines. You get these relatively early. I've heard some players say these are useless. I disagree. Use them. Come to life, put them out, and run away. You still get 2 grenades as well. You never know. Many times, a higher level will leave a proxy mine behind, but not necessarily have a particular target in mind - it is just a "random bonus kill." You can do the same. Make the most of what you have - nothing wrong with completing your "mine" combat ability early.
3) Be Scoreboard Smart: Another one newer players trying to level up don't realize. Do the math - very key. Look at the scoreboard toward the end of the match. Know where you stand with 1 minute to go. Those last 60 seconds have a HUGE influence over what you get out of a match xp-wise. Are you within a kill or two of placing or winning? Choose to go for the win, or protect that 3rd place bonus from getting stolen from you by an enemy's last minute kill streak if you can't reasonably finish 2nd. More importantly, do you have a 2:1 k/d ratio going? If you are 12-6 with 30 seconds left, and you don't have a chance to win the match, the smart thing may NOT be to engage in a firefight. Sure, you may kill another competitor for another 5-15xp, but if you die you are now 13-7. When the clock runs out, you will lose the +50xp you would've gained otherwise for your ratio. Over time, this adds up a lot. Finishing second with a 2:1 is really not that bad at this early stage of the game - the bonus 100 xp (50 for second place and 50 for 2:1) can sometimes almost double your takeaway. This is especially true if you are in a match that is like "the noob squad vs. the unstoppable 56." Being "captain of the noob squad" is not bad when you are facing that level of enemy force.
4) Play against similar or lower levels as much as possible. This kinda goes without saying, but you stand a better chance of gaining xp when the match lasts longer than 5 minutes and you can get more than 20 kills. Sure, playing against better players will make you better - no question. But, getting less than 150 xp in a match because a "50+" quickly wiped out the noob squad is going to put you on the LONG road to getting promoted. Again, the goal here is to be the predator, not the prey. If a match you are in is getting top-heavy with heavy-hitters, finish the match and try to find a new one. Nothing wrong with that. Just don't quit mid-match. Any xp is better than zero, and if you are the host, it is just plain rude. Side note: Unless you can win a golden gun match, don't waste your time trying. Play that one only for fun - not the xp. Too many times do I see one player that is particularly adept with the golden gun (yes, I've been one of them) get the gg early, go hide somewhere, and run off 6-8 kills in a row - and end the match in 4 minutes or less. 450+ xp for the winner and less than 100 for everyone else. Boo. 2nd place in golden gun is usually just first loser xp-wise. Also, know that most better players tend to play in the evenings. Not to say that there aren't good players during the day, but I have played at all different hours for a while now, and it seems like the weaker fields are in the mornings, especially Sat. and Sun. mornings. After 7pm is predator-time. Come hungry if you play during those hours. LOL
5) Don't be afraid of proxy mines. Deal with it - they are a part of the game. As a lower level, you are going to get blown away by these A LOT. This is even more true nowadays with the amount of people that hacked their way to getting them. Again, look at the scoreboard. You get them at level 53. If you have at least one person with that level in the game, don't be afraid to use your grenades to de-mine the road ahead of you before running rough-shot around a corner or up a set of stairs. Keep in mind that most sane people will not want to waste their mines - they will usually put them in the high-traffic areas of a level - doorways, stairs, around corners. Use this to YOUR advantage. I can tell you from my own experience - few things will annoy a "56" more than the "little low-level pain in the azz" that keeps going around destroying my mines, preventing me from getting kills. Blowing up a proxy and then waiting for the higher-level to come punish you is actually a good way to take their gun. This gives you the advantage of having the meeting between you two occur on your terms (you get first shots in via ambush) rather than him coming up behind you with a big gun. Being only level 23 at the moment on my alt, I've been able to get a huge leg up in a LOT of games this way. It is no secret that the big guns (anova, strata, ivana, masty) are beasts and kill MUCH easier than an ak47 or other pea shooter. Also, getting these earlier will give you more weapon proficiency xp points to get you closer to level 25 and the terralite - your first actual gun with range and stopping power.
6) Weapon management. When you are a lower level, your weapon options are very limited. You have to "make do" with what you got unless you can pick up something better off a fallen higher-level. There are some things you can do to limit your liability in this regard, however.
- First, don't use the worst ones. Complete your proficiency with the regular sigmus, P99, and AK if you have to, and then bag them. Never use them again. They are useless noisemakers. The reg. sigmus and P99 have no stopping power at all, and the AK is only slightly effective with hip fire, and is terrible down the sights, even with reflex sight.
- Second, realize that none of your non-sniper options really have effective range. Sure, the default SMG loadout has the ACOG, but even then you aren't silenced, and you will most likely complete the Sig9 weapon proficiency early anyway. Keep your engagements to medium range at best. Develop your skills with straffe'ing and hip firing, as the sig9 and stauger are best with this. Also don't forget to melee. Run diagonally at your opponent, changing directions while firing, and then hit em with a melee as you get close.
- Third - the best time to pick up a new weapon is not necessarally right after you kill someone. If you are less than level 20 and didn't win by melee, anyone near you heard you kill the other guy. They are coming. By the time you pick up the new weapon, switch it to full auto, reload, and then point it, you will be dead. The best way to pick up guns is while running on the fly. Don't stop to get it - practice holding the "run" button mid-sprint as you go over a gun. Your character will automatically slow down and pick up the weapon while maintaining forward progress. Sitting still in this game makes you a sitting duck.
- Fourth, complete your handgun proficiencies. Guns like the Torka are really not all that bad, and don't require the 40+ kills to progress like the other full-auto guns do. Be sneaky and aim for the head. Don't forget your melee. Easy early-xp.
- Fifth - shotguns and reloading. This applies to any gun, but particularly with shotguns. The shotguns may be your most effective weapons early on. With heavy hitter, your first 3 shotguns can all be one-hit kills if aimed correctly. Also, shotguns are some of the easiest weapons to hip fire. If practiced correctly, you really can use a shotgun on any level, and they can be a great equalizer. Obviously stopping power is a plus, and range is the minus. Be smart about it. In big levels, stick to tunnels and inside areas. Always aim center-mass. Sure you can go for the head shot, but it is tougher if you aren't aiming down the sights, and you usually don't need it anyway. Also don't forget to follow up a shotty blast with a melee - this is faster than re-cocking or reloading. Also, realize that with shotguns, you don't need to fully reload every time. Loading 2-3 shells can be just as effective in the short term and leaves you defenseless for less time. Also - and this is a good tip - Sometimes, I will enter a competitive match in a larger-level with a shotgun on purpose. For me, it is the easiest way to take down a higher-level and get their gun. Then I use their big gun until I am killed or run out of ammo. Think of it as a means to an end. Another good thing about shotguns is they tend to give you more "last minute comeback" kills, helping promote your 1:1 k/d ratio.
Thanks for reading, and I hope other experienced players support this.