Annihilation — the third pack of DLC maps for Call of Duty: Black Ops – comes to the PlayStation 3 late tonight after 2am Pacific Time. The DLC offers four new multiplayer arenas and a new jungle-based Zombies survival experience in Shangri-Li. In celebration of the big release, developer Treyarch has deemed that the double XP will flow all weekend long. I’ll be hosting a gameplay session this Friday night to soak some of that up myself, and my favorite game type is Domination. Truth be told, I’m not that good a shot, so objective-based modes like this one let me help the team and keep leveing up even if I’m nowhere near the top of the K/D ratios.
In that spirit, I wanted to offer some tips for the four new maps. I don’t know if we’ll meet up on the same team or on opposite sides of a red dot sight, but I’m willing to take that risk in the name of having fun…
I like this map a lot. Snipers perched in the projection room and in the screen will no doubt trade fire over the B flag in the middle of the map, but that also makes them susceptible to backstabs and grenades while they’re preoccupied. If you sneak up behind them, beware their defensive claymores. If you prefer to play defensively yourself, the box office near A is often underutilized as a hiding spot; you’ve got a good view of the flag and the most popular paths for advancing troops, so don’t be afraid to crouch in the ticket booth and guard your flag. Since all three flags fall in a line (more or less), consider Napalm Strike as a killstreak reward; if you drop a bit of linear fire, you can often shut down A & B or B & C and force the opponents to the edges of the map. Oh, and while you’re off to the left side, stop in the arcade and check out the pinball machines for a nice in-joke.
This golf course is a sniper’s dream – the gazebo over A and the bridge near C give you clear lines of sight all the way down the fairway. As a result, expect B to be a nightmare to capture, especially since it’s easily attacked from the left or the right side as well. Gas grenades are great defensively at B, so consider a loadout with Tactical Mask to counteract that if you’re trying to capture. Personally, I prefer to try to control A and C and wait it out; sneak a claymore in near the chess table at C to help conceal it, and use the shadows at A to your advantage on defense.
This level’s flags are spread out in a wide triangle pattern, with the B flag directly under the nose of the SR-71 Blackbird. B is particularly hard to capture because it’s so exposed and can be protected by long-range fire – there’s a building directly above on the A side that’s perfect for someone with a sniper or assault rifle, not to mention the tarped shipping crates that provide both height and cover for guards. But while everybody’s paying attention to the nose of the plane, don’t neglect its engines – flanking from the hangar itself (especially if you lead with a flashbang or concussion) is usually quite effective.
Silo can be overwhelming, as there are many blind corners and unusual pieces of cover – those cement cylinders, for instance. There’s a fair amount of verticality to the map; it doesn’t immediately look like Kowloon, but with several ladders, staircases, and scaffoldings to climb, it kind of plays like its Russian cousin. Plus, its highs are very high, giving snipers excellent views of B. However, A and C are less open from the most popular sniper perches – each has a tall wall between it and the middle of the map – so load up with shotguns and SMGs and storm them. The best team balance I’ve seen for Domination is two dedicated snipers and four roamers/cappers, working together. You really need teamwork on this one to be effective.
Above all, regardless of what map you play, use your voice! Most Domination games can be aided by simple status reports – every player can act as a scout. If three people took you out at A, say “Three at A” to prepare anybody else on your team. Simple, direct intel like that is always appreciated by teammates who want to work together.
Enjoy the new maps, enjoy this weekend’s double XP, and jump in for my Friday night session if you can; my PSN ID is OneOfSwords.