In Modern Warfare 2, playing stealthy is one of the major multiplayer strategies. The basic principle is not being seen or heard. Just as the principle of bluffing during a game of party poker is relatively simple, it can be much trickier to put it into practice. But, like bluffing, stealth play can be the key to overcoming your opponent. It’s not very hard to get started, but to excel in stealth play is pretty difficult. I’ll give you some tips to help you become the player that will surprise the enemy: “Where the @*$# did that guy come from?!”
Update: video added, see bottom of post
You all know how a stealth bomber looks right? I won’t go into the mechanics of the stealth technique behind that, but the principle is that they can’t be seen (by radar and other means). That same principle applies in MW2. We don’t want to be seen (or heard). Let’s start with the most essential part of not being seen: your custom class.
The following elements are pretty much mandatory to being stealthy:
- Equip your weapon with a silencer
- Use Cold-Blooded as 2nd perk
- Use Ninja as 3rd perk
Let me explain that briefly: the silencer is pretty obvious. It reduces muzzle flash making you less visible whilst shooting, it reduces sound so it’s harder to hear you and to hear where you are and you won’t show up on the radar. It also has some disadvantages: it takes up an attachment slot and it reduces short-range damage. How that works? Every weapon has a certain range of damage it can do. For example, on long range it might do 30 damage per bullet (out of 100 health), on short range it might do 40. Using a silencer makes your gun do 30 damage at much closer range than without silencer. On really short range, there’s no difference, and on long range it doesn’t matter as well. One exception is the sniper-rifle, which just gets a damage reduction on every range using a silencer (not recommended). Your secondary can be silenced, but you can choose for an unsilenced weapon to lure enemies to you.
Then we have Cold-Blooded. You won’t show up on enemy radar if they have UAV and you won’t be seen by enemy air support (so your less likely to get a nice little Predator Missile on you). The Pro version has a nice bonus: when an enemy is aiming at you, your name won’t show up (normally he’d see your name in red). Especially when wearing a sniper ghillie this can make a huge difference. In the map Rundown there’s lots of high grass, it will be a lot harder to spot you there with Cold-Blooded Pro.
Lastly we have Ninja. This perk hides you from Heartbeat Sensors (HBS), which is a good thing since you don’t want to be seen. The Pro version has an extremely useful bonus: silent footsteps. This works on two sides: 1. The enemy will have a hard time hearing you coming (footsteps are 1/4th of the original volume) and 2. you won’t be distracted by the sound of your own footsteps, enabling you to focus better on enemy sound. Note that when you walk through some bushes, it will still make sound. It’s just your footsteps that are quieter.
As for choosing a weapon, it greatly depends on the map and your playing style. Having said that, most of the times you’ll see stealth players using assault rifles or smg’s. The secondary depends on certain things as well. Do you want to be silent with your secondary too? In that case, don’t go with the shotgun! Shotgun + silencer = bad! It affects the (already low) range and spread. A good choice would be a silenced machine pistol or handgun (M9). Special grenade is up to you. Smoke is good for distraction and cover, stuns and flashes are nice to clear out buildings. As for equipment, I’d say there’s plenty of choice. Tactical insertion can be nice to avoid having to travel long distances after being killed, claymores are good to cover your back when needed and a semtex or frag is always nice to have.
Well, let’s get into some tactics to play stealthy!
You don’t want to be seen, so you’ve got to be very careful when moving around. Naturally, don’t go through the center unless you’re absolutely sure there’s nobody there. Instead, it’s a better idea to move around the edges of the map. That way, you’re travelling in the least busy areas and always have one side covered. Be very careful when going round corners or moving forward. Move from cover to cover and strafe (move sidewards) around corners, ready to face the enemy. Check all spots where enemies might hide and clear them out.
It’s also a good idea to move on your own instead of with your team. Look where you team is, predict where the enemies are and where they will be going and flank them! Just be patient; you’ll be running around a lot and it might take some time to get behind the enemies. Try to predict the enemies, think like them! If someone’s running away from you, where would he be going? Is there a way to cut him off?
Well I mentioned it already, use all possible cover! Watch closely where you take cover since some materials are better at stopping bullets than others. Concrete wall: good idea! Wooden house: bad idea! Also note the visibility behind cover. If they don’t see you, you don’t have to worry about bullets penetrating! So in you’re in the grass on Rundown and you’re prone, there’s no way that they’ll see you unless they walk over you. There’s also some places where it’s easier for you to see the enemies than for them to see you. These places require some experience and watching killcams to discover, but they are there.
Try to isolate single enemies. Line up your sights and shoot! But be careful, only shoot when you know you can kill him. Shooting enemies does alert them. It doesn’t matter how invisible or quiet you are, once you start shooting they will see they get shot and they will know the direction. So if you shoot someone who’s just going round a corner, chances are you won’t kill him and you’ve given away your position. In the event that you encounter a group of enemies, facing their back, try to shoot the one most behind the first, so that the others won’t notice.
When an enemy has spotted you, it’s important to deal with it. Try to shoot him, use cover, move! He might give up on you and move along. If he doesn’t and it’s a direct confrontation, use everything needed to give yourself the advantage. For instance you could try dropshotting. This means going prone whilst shooting. You make yourself a smaller target that way. On Xbox and PS3 the only way to do this is to use the tactical button layout. You then use your knife-button. Another way to create an advantage for yourself is to throw a flash or stun, or distract him with a smoke grenade. You might even travel in an unlogical pattern to turn up on some place unexpected.
Like I briefly mentioned, knowing team and enemy positions is very important. Therefore, it’s a good idea to use UAV. If you play with people you know, let a few of them use UAV as a killstreak. It definitely helps. Also press START or ESC once in a while to see the full map. Even without UAV, you’ll probably see some sort of area where people are shooting. If you see green arrows disappear, you know that there’s an enemy close to that position. Use that knowledge.
What helps a lot too is using your ears. Turn up that volume, use a headset. If you hear something, just sit and listen, try to determine direction. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to avoid the team (apart from turning yourself into a big target), cause you don’t need the distraction of friendly footsteps.
It’s also a good idea to look around carefully. Stop moving once in a while and look around for enemy movement. Get up nice and close to your screen to see in the distance. Doing this is very important and will most likely give you the advantage of knowing when and where enemies are coming.
So in the end, playing stealthy is moving around, not being seen or heard, picking off enemies one at a time, being away from the team and paying attention to all clues about enemy positions. Otherwise, it’s pretty straightforward. The hardest part is the part I can’t explain to you: trying to think like the enemy and predict them! But this might just be enough to get you started. Have fun!
I’m sure I missed some very important stealth things and I will update this when I find out. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions.
And a short demonstration!
By popular demand, I shot a short video of some stealthy gameplay. Again, I don’t have a capture card so the best I can do at the moment is just point my old camera to my screen, I hope you’ll understand. So here it goes:
Let’s go over it briefly: the class I used is an ACR with silencer. Perks are Scavenger, Cold-Blooded Pro and Ninja Pro. At the start I get lucky since these guys jump right in front of me and I was expecting them (sound is very important to stealth), giving me two easy kills. You see I play very careful, taking lots of cover, especially when reloading. I try to stay away from the team as much as possible, trying to flank to opponents. So you see me moving by the edges of the map to the Domination flags that the enemy captured. Using a silencer and especially with the ACR (which does little damage per bullet) it’s important to see the enemy first and to aim dead on.
In the end, I think I did a pretty good job being stealthy. We didn’t win, perhaps partly because I did not focus to much on defending or taking over flags. So that’s one of the downsides; you can’t be full stealth all the time unless you’re playing with an organized team. And when the enemy sees you first or has a FAMAS, you’re screwed! Next time I would definitely capture the A flag, but it would mean giving up my position (they hear the guy saying someone’s taking over A) and thus not be full stealth. So for the purposes of this post I tried to be as stealthy as possible. Try it too!
It’s also nice to use a higher damage weapon with silencer, especially if you don’t shoot long distance (I could have easily used the SCAR effectively). Or you could use a submachine gun and Marathon as blue perk. That’s more of a rushing set up, but you could be pretty stealthy.