Cheats and Walkthroughs
Heres your Call of Duty XP Survival Guide, because thanks to an invitation courtesy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, answering the “call” this weekend means that 6,000 Call of Duty fans will invade Los Angeles to compete in real-world action experiences at the 12-acre Call of Duty XP compound. On September 2 and 3, they’ll trade their controllers and WASD keys in for Activision-provided paintball gear to use in firefights, juggernaut suits to wear in sumo wrestling and Burger Town rations to purchase at lunch. Just about the only thing that Activision isn’t providing at XP is training for each gamer’s online-to-in-person battle transition. Because there are no Quicktime Events in real life, here’s a quick-and-dirty Call of Duty XP Survival Guide to help you rise through the ranks of this two day event’s real-life and virtual leaderboards.
Getting Your Boots On The Ground
First of all, do you have what it takes to enlist in Call of Duty XP? Jumping jacks and push-ups aren’t part of its requirement test, thankfully. But a $150 ticket and a way to get to LA is. That price and, depending on where you’re coming from, location may seem like a major expense. But put it in this perspective: you’re paying the equivalent of ten map packs for this real-life, CoD-inspired experience. You’re also getting the Hardened Edition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, likely an $80 value. All of a sudden it seems like a bargain for $150 (or 800 Microsoft Points if you’re really tied to thinking in terms of the Xbox Live Marketplace currency).
Located down the street from EA Los Angeles, Call of Duty XP is taking place at 5865 Campus Center Dr., Los Angeles, Calif., 90094. That’s under five miles if you’re coming from LAX. Normally, I’d say that Electronic Arts should be worried that Activision is staging hostile training exercises within walking distance of its studio. But EA LA is responsible for last year’s Medal of Honor doozy, not to mention upcoming rival Battlefield 3. They’re unlikely to be a target of armed CoD fans. Also by coincidence, the location has some historical significance. Known as the Hercules Campus, it was once home to Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose,” the largest airplane ever built and one made entirely of wood because of a WWII restriction on metals. It flew only once. An interesting factoid and conversation starter to bring up to your fellow recruits.
Be Prepared For The Ultimate Paintball Mode
Not since GoldenEye 007 have we been looking forward to a paintball mode so much. That’s because Call of Duty XP recreates the MW2 multiplayer map Scrapyard, complete with plane carcasses and large shipping containers. Pretty much the only thing you won’t find here are Scrapyard’s glitches. But before you fill your paintball gun hopper with pellets and rush the enemy, there are things to remember so that you don’t end up at the bottom of the leaderboard and soaks in paint. Paintball tournament veteran and gamer Eric House helps us with the paintball Do’s and Don’ts we think are essential for Call of Duty XP:
Do: Listen: Your Ears = UAV Radar Perk
Paintball guns are notoriously loud, so as soon as another player bombards your cover with shots, you’ll know where they’re shooting from. When the shooting stops or shifts elsewhere, peek out to see if you have an opening to snap and shoot. If not, move to a different area for a better shot. Your built-in sense of sound is like an always-available UAV radar perk.
Don’t: Remove Your Mask For Any Reason
Call of Duty XP isn’t a first-person shooter, it’s a mask-person shooter - and that’s for safety. This’ll be like any other paintball experience in which the rule to keep your mask on will be repeated so often that game reviewers at the event may criticize CoD XP for repeated dialogue. However, it’s for good reason. You’ll be very tempted to wipe your mask when it becomes fogged up, but there’s appropriate times to do this and it’s not when live paintball rounds are still being fired at a high velocity on the battlefield. Instead, see the camo sandana suggestion below for the best way to avoid game-ruining mask fog.
Do: Wear Your Best Camo Suit For The Occasion
Activision is going to provide you with a mask, paint gun and likely camouflage coveralls. But your military fatigues don’t have to stop there. Black or olive-toned layers below the coveralls are ideal for this map along with dark sneakers or boots. Avoid white - this isn’t Black Ops’ snow-covered Array map. About half of the paintballers we talked to prefer jeans and a long-sleeved shirt because they reduce welts. However, others go with more breathable material when in the quite literal hot zone. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s lose. Your skinny jeans can stay at home.
The unofficial top hat of a paintball suit is the sandana. Available in a variety of camo colors and priced at under $20, this headwrap will protect your head and neck and its soft mesh material is even known to help slow-traveling paintball capsules bounce off without breaking. In a warm climate like LA, the sandana has the added benefit of protecting you from sunburn and stopping sweat from dripping down and steaming up your lens. You don’t want the fog of war to extend to your mask.
Don’t: Double Down: Player, Please. You Better Not Bow Down On Both Knees
Ever notice that in the standing, crouching, prone cycle that FPS games always display a crouching icon with only one knee bent to the ground? That’s because it’s never good to be on both knees. It’s too difficult to move quickly if you’re planted firm on the ground. Likewise, when behind cover, always keep your body tucked in and flush with your gun up. If you’re playing off the right side of some cover, you’ll want your right knee down so your profile remains low and not exposed for an easy shot.
Do: Be Trigger Happy When It Counts
Especially for new players, pulling the trigger of a paint gun can be an intimidating experience. It’s not unlike finding an enemy for the first time as a novice FPS gamer and being only 99% sure that he’s your foe. You were probably reluctant to fire your weapon and frozen in fear. It’s like that, minus awkwardly dancing around the opponent while trying to decide. Being hesitant to fire in paintball isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you want to stay cloaked in the beginning, but pull the trigger back all of the way in shoot or be shot situations.
Don’t: Be Trigger-Happy When Someone Is Down For The Count
Conversely, don’t overshoot. Shooting someone anywhere from four to fifty times on purpose is a dirty tactic and unnecessary. It could even get you thrown out of the paintball game. This is a common mistake of new paintball players who fail to realize the rules of paintball only require a single shot to eliminate your opponent. There’s no handicap or body armor to fight through in this one-shot kill game.
Do: A Group Huddle - It’s The New Headset
In Call of Duty XP, you don’t have an Xbox Live headset, PS3 Bluetooth earpiece or, if you’re really dating yourself, one of those USB SOCOM headsets that came with the PS2 game. Communicating with your teammates before each round will give you a clear advantage. Additionally, covertly strategize with them on the battlefield. If you hit someone, let your comrades know. It’ll give everyone an accurate count as to how many people are left. At the same time, if you see or hear shots coming from somewhere, call it out to your teammates. They may be able to get a better shot.
Don’t: Paintball Yourself Into A Corner By Cheating
Cheating is lame online and the same goes for in-person firefights. Nobody wants to be shot in paintball, but if you’re hit, don’t “wipe.” It’s usually pretty obvious when you hit someone, so you’d be really mad if they wiped it off and kept playing. If you’re unsure, assess the damage or call in a referee to take a look.
Do: Press That Reload “Button” Early And Often
Reload before your hopper is empty, but don’t put your gun sights to the ground when doing so. After all, you don’t do that in the video game - in CoD, you perform a no-look refill like a pro. Copy that move by pouring the re-fill pod into your hopper while still aiming down the sight, just in case an enemy attempts to run up on you.
Don’t: Forget To Revisit The Virtual Scrapyard Again
Activision is recreating Scrapyard down to the littlest scrap. So, unlike other paintball matches, you have the official blueprints in order to learn every nook and cranny of this always-chaotic battleground. Even if you have fond memories of Scrapyard from when MW2 first came out, you’ve probably moved onto Black Ops since then. So get reacquainted with this map and relearn the ins and outs until you’re able to go on a killstreak binge again like its 2009.
Practicing For The Pit
Do you claim to have the world record in MW2’s The Pit? In real life, shooting every pop-up target and jumping over every obstacle in this memorable training ground is probably going to take you considerably longer than 20 seconds. After all, you’re not gliding along the surface like every FPS video game - you have two feet that you can actually see when you look down. But MW2’s version of The Pit can help. Knowing by heart where every cardboard cutout springs to life is the best way to be prepared for its prize-filled, real-life competition counterpart. YouTube is also an ideal source for watching runthroughs of thousands of people who claim to have the new world record. The best we’ve seen so far is under 20 seconds and just shy of the 10 second mark with the accuracy bonus. Just remember that no matter what rehardless of your finish time, there’s no blaming the controller is this real-life version of The Pit. Claiming “Oh, I got messed up, my controls weren’t inverted” is no longer a valid excuse.
Juggernaut Sumo Wrestling
There hasn’t been much declassified about Juggernaut Sumo, but there are a few things that we know for sure. 1) This event involves suiting up in the enemy juggernaut suit, the very same damage resistant armor that you have laid hundreds of RPGs into in the game. 2) Once you’re in this Bomb Squad-style gear, your one and only goal is to wrestle another Juggernaut player. 3) This is a one-on-one event and will most likely be a weaponless endeavor, so using flash grenades to stun your hulking enemy is out. 4) Everyone will try to out-meme each other, saying “I’m the juggernaut...”
Zip-Lining Over The CoD XP Compound
Thanks to a certain Kevin McAllister in Home Alone, a lot of people have grown up thinking that you need to hold on to a modified set of bike handles or else risk falling to your death (or into the clutches of the Wet Bandits). But it turns out zip-lining isn’t strenuous on your muscles - it’s primarily taxing on your mind. A harness will keep you secure the entire way across the compound, so you don’t even need to worry about holding on.
Your main focus should be tucking in your legs so that your body forms a tight ball. This helps you go faster. Although you may be nervous and think “faster is not for me my first time out,” speed can help you avoid embarrassment at the end of the line. In fact, not tucking in can cause you to slow down just before you reach the exit platform, leaving you strung out a couple of feet from where you want to land. An instructor will then have to throw a rope and pull you in manually. This is time-consuming and mortifying. As long as you remember that spreading your arms and legs is only good for slowing down when you know for sure that you’re going to make contact with the exit platform, then this will be the ride of a lifetime.
Binging At Burger Town
In addition to recreating Scrapyard and The Pit, Activision is currently laying the foundation of a Burger Town restaurant at the Call of Duty XP compound. But you don’t have to secure this fast food chain in a real-life paintball version of MW2’s Wolverines! level. No, you can simply eat a sandwich with a side of fries without having to worry about your six. The $150 doesn’t go toward the cost of the food, so bringing money (and having a secure place for it while on the battlefield) is a must. We just hope the Burger Town menu lists everything under $5 like it does in the game.
The First Of Many: MW3 Tournament
Whether you’re dripping in paint as a paintball loser or dripping in sweat as the victor, everyone who attends CoD XP wins at the end of the day thanks to hands-on time with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Activision is providing attendees with a chance to play test the game before its November 8 release date. Best of all, this MW3 demo will be used to launch the game’s first-ever multiplayer competition.
A free copy of MW3 isn’t a cool prize (since you’re already getting the Hardend Edition for free). You know what’s cool? A million dollars. Activision is giving the winning four-member squad $400,000 in the event’s 32-slot, single elimination MW3 tournament. The next seven teams will also be in the money, with cash prizes that add the $1 million mark.
Your best tournament simulator if you get selected is MW2 since Infinity Ward is developing MW3. However, you’ll also want to be ready to go toe-to-toe with anyone in Treyarch’s CoD game, Black Ops’. That’s how Activision is filling all of the tournament’s slots. And because this is a Microsoft sponsored event, Xbox 360 should should be your system of choice for training, even if you usually game on a different platform. There'll be a thousand Xbox 360s on site, which means there'll probably be zero PS3s and PCs.
Four slots will be available on site by tackling the CoD Black Ops gauntlet, while 28 pre-qualifying players are being selected in an ongoing Black Ops tournament. In addition to having a better chance at the 28 pre-qualifying slots than the four on-site slots, gamers selected ahead of time will receive roundtrip airfare and hotel expenses paid by Activision.
Image courtesy of Club Lakers
How CoD XP Helps Real Modern Warfare Vets
Call of Duty XP is a unique gaming convention that gets players out of the sweaty halls of PAX and Comic-Con and pits them against each other in life-sized versions of their favorite FPS environments. You’ll finally be able to shoot at fellow gamers in the flesh to back up your online “In real life I’d totally own” smack talk, live out your fantasy of tackling The Pit in person and suit up in armor to melee everyone that dares to challenge your juggernaut wrestling moves. In addition to walking away from this experience that you can’t get anywhere else, you’ll get MW3 - likely an $80 value. So, technically, the rest of the event is just $70. An even better way to think about it is that the money goes toward a good cause. Activision is donating 100% of the sales to the Call of Duty Endowment, or CODE, which is a charity that helps soldiers return to civilian life, find work and establish careers. That’s the sort of call that a 6,000-strong Call of Duty army can get behind.
So, if you're attending this weekend, good luck! And we hope this guide helps you. Or if you're going to be at home, keep your browser pointed right here at G4, as we'll be bringing you video streams, updates, news, and interviews from the entire event.
Matt Swider has been writing about video games for 12 years and received his degree in journalism from Pennsylvania State University. Now based in Los Angeles, he is actively expanding GamingTarget.com and his freelance opportunities.