Combat Arms is quite a straightforward game. Anyone that you can kill, you should kill! Otherwise they will kill you, because they should too. Whoever doesn't do the better shooting dies. This is the general gist of Combat Arms.
Joining a Game
Combat Arms is played as a series of separate games, or "matches". Before you will get into a match though, there are several things to do. After downloading, installing, starting, and logging into Combat Arms, you will have to create your character for that account.
There are six character skins to choose from - four males and two females. Although this is generally not considered in character selection, females have a slight advantage because they are noticeably smaller (less likely to be hit) and are unaffected by "nutshot"instantaneous kills. There is no difference between them besides the appearance. After that, you will have to choose a name. Press the button next to the name form to check if the name you choose is available, if not, you will have to use another one. Your name can not contain profanity or attempt to impersonate a GM.
After you create your character, you can not delete it. That character will forever be the only one for that account. You can change your gender, character, and name through the Black Market. However, this uses real life money, and is recommended that you be satisfied with your choice before confirming.
After you create your character, you will be taken to the Server Selection. There are many servers to choose from, but some have restrictions. Some servers are reserved for less experienced players, some for more experienced players, and some for clan battles. The servers higher up on the list tend to have more people, and therefore more lag.
The Servers are:
- Jackson - The so-called "boot-camp" of Combat Arms. Only players with the Private First Class rank and below are allowed here.
- Alpha - An 'open' server where all players can join.
- Bravo - Another 'open' server.
- Charlie - The 'Grunt' server. Privates to Sergeants are allowed.
- Echo - The Sergeant Server. Sergeants to Command Sergeant Major 5ths are allowed. Players receieve a 10% exp bonus in this server.
- Delta - The Elite Server. Sergeant First Classes and up are allowed. Players must have a minimum of a 1.50 kill/death ratio to enter. Players in Delta receive a whopping 40% EXP and 20% GP boost.
- Kilo - The Officer Server. Command Sergeant Major 1sts and up are allowed. Players playing in Kilo receive a 20% and 10% boost to EXP and GP earned, respectively.
- Bulldog - The Clan server. Anyone with a clan is allowed here. Clan matches have a minimum of 4 soldiers from each clan to play.
- Black Market - The NX server. Anyone who has spent at least 15000 NX in the Black Market is allowed here.
Once you select a server, you will see the Channel Selection. You can choose any of them, but once again, the channels highest up on the list (Channel 1 especially) will have the most people.
When you select a channel, you are taken to the Lobby. This is where you select a game room. The game rooms are listed with the room number, room name, game mode and map being used, maximum number of players, and any weapon restrictions. This lets you scan all the game rooms listed very quickly to search for one that you like. You can not enter a game room that is full or in the final rounds of the game.
Other than joining a game room, you can also create your own game room for others to join.
When people in the game room are ready to start the game, they should press the orange Ready button. The room master, who is the person that created the game room, should press his orange Start button to begin the game. The game cannot be started if there is nobody Ready. The game master also sets all the rules. The parameters that can be set include
- Players - Maximum number of people that can join the game. It has a maximum of 8 vs. 8 in games with teams and 16 in games without teams.
- Game Mode - There are seven game modes to choose from, which includes Elimination, Elimination Pro (in which you have 1 life per round like Search and Destroy.) Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, One Man Army (non-team), Spy Hunt (non-team), and Fireteam (2 teams: 8 Players vs. A.I.). Game modes that are team-based will split all the players in the room into Alpha and Bravo teams. Anybody can switch freely between these two teams, unless the switch will unbalance the number of players on each side. See Modes for these explained in detail.
- Goal - When the goal is reached, the game ends, with some people winning and some people losing. The goal that can be set depends on the game mode.
- Map - This is the environment setting that the game will take place in. There are currently ten different maps to choose from. Information about the maps and specific tactics that can be used on each of them are explained in their respective articles.
- Arms Settings - This is an optional restriction on the type of weapons that can be used in the game. The room master can choose from
- All Permitted - Any weapon can be used
- No Explosives - Items such as frag grenades, LAWs and mines can not be used (incendiary, gas, flash, and smoke grenades can still be used). This makes the game more controlled and more gun-based.
- No Sniper Rifles - All weapons except sniper rifles can be used. This makes the game full of close quarters combat rather than long distance combat.
- No Backpack - All players are restricted from using a backpacked weapon. This makes it so that people will run out of ammo more often.
- Sniper Rifles Only - No weapons except sniper rifles can be used. This makes interesting games, especially in small maps, because sniper rifles are difficult to aim and shoot with at close range. Melee weapons are also available.
- Pistols Only - All weapons except pistols are restricted from use. Melee weapons are also available in pistol-only games.
- Melee Only - All weapons except melee weapons are restricted. This setting makes interesting games that includes a lot of chasing.
- Shotguns Only - All weapons except shotguns are restricted from use. Melee weapons are also available in shotgun-only games.
- No Shotguns - No shotguns, making the game a little more long-range.
- Join Mid Combat - Disabling this will make it so that nobody can join the game once it has already started. It is very rarely disabled, because if somebody on your team leaves the game, you want another person to be able to fill in.
- Friendly Fire - Enabling this makes you able to kill your teammates. Team killing is highly discouraged, and annoying people can abuse it and keep killing his teammates if Friendly Fire is on. Team killing can also result by accident, as when somebody accidentally gets in a sniper's line of fire, or is blown up by a teammate's grenade. Overall, Friendly Fire makes the game more interesting. Most of the time, it is not turned on.
- Kill Cam - The bane of campers. When Kill Cam is enabled, during the three seconds that you respawn from a death, the camera will show you the position of the person that just killed you, and also if he is going anywhere. This makes it difficult to camp, because people that you kill will always find out where you are. If Kill Cam is disabled, during your respawn you will instead see a random teammate. Kill Cam is more often turned off because people like to camp, but sometimes it is turned on to discourage camping.
- Room Password - If the room master wishes to make the room private, he or she can set a one to four letter password that people must type in to enter the room. The room master tells this password to the people that he wants in the room.
Once the game is started, you will see a loading screen. After the game has loaded, your screen will look somewhat like above.
- A - This shows your Health Points, Armor Points, and Sprint Points. When you are shot, your HP goes down, while your AP attempts to take some of that damage to reduce the amount of HP damage. if your HP reaches 0, you die. The person in this example only has 15 HP left and is very near death. When you drop below 30 hit points you will get an audible hearbeat warning and this display changes to red. While you sprint, your Sprint Points go down. When the bar is empty, you will not be able to sprint, and you must let it recharge.
- B - This shows what gun you are using, how many bullets are in your clip, and how many bullets you have left. When you run out of bullets in your clip, you must reload. However, if you run out of bullets for the gun, you will need to switch to another weapon or pick one off the ground. This player is using an L96A1, has 5 bullets in the clip, and 11 not in the clip, for a total of 16 shots left. All of your ammo is replenished whenever you die.
- C - When you press enter, the chat box will appear here at the bottom. You can choose to chat to everyone, your team, or your clan. Be sure to not talk too much, because you can not shoot while the chat box is out and you will die.
- D - Chat appears here. "All" chat from your team appears white, "All" chat from the other team appears orange, team chat is light blue, and clan chat is dark blue.
- E - In the top-left corner, you will see who killed whom, and which gun was used. A blue name represents someone on your team, while a red name represents an enemy. Here, eagle567 killed RickyNERD with an M4A1.
- F - Special kills and streaks are shown here, right below the kill record. Possible special performances include:
- Headshot - Shoot an enemy in the head.
- Revenge - Kill an enemy who had previously killed you more than four times in a row.
- Nutshot - Shoot a male enemy in the crotch (front side only, "butt-shots" do normal damage).
- First Kill - Make the first kill of the game (teamkills, suicides (weapon suicides, falls), and non-player kills, such as barrels, do not count as First Kills).
- Double Kill - Kill two people in a row (not counted as an Accolade).
- Multi Kill - Kill three people in a row.
- Ultra Kill - Kill four people in a row.
- Fantastic - Kill five people in a row.
- Unbelievable - Kill six people in a row.
- Unbelievable+ - Kill any more than seven people in a row (doesn't count in your Accolades as Unbelivables).
- Ice Crush - Only in the seasonal Snowball Fight game mode, when killing a frozen enemy with a shovel.
- Intel Taken - Not related to kills, this is shown if a player picks up an Intel case in the Spy Hunt mode.
- Infected - Only in Quarantine, when a zombie infects a human player.
- HiSec Obtained - When an HiSec is Obtained by you or another Player. Available in all games except Fireteam.
The multiple kill streaks are based on time. Getting killed will end your streak. Unbelievables and above are ridiculously hard to get and almost always a result of hacking, extreme luck or extreme skill (e.g. one enemy at a time trickling out of a spawn area, throwing a grenade into a large group of players, coming up behind a group of enemies etc.).
- G - The game mode, goal, and current score are shown here. The team with two blue lines on it is your team. Currently, in this game of 100 kill Elimination, Alpha team has the lead.
- H - This is your minimap. The arrow is you, and the blue dots are your teammates. Enemies revealed by a Heartbeat Sensor or possession of the flag will be shown as orange dots. You can also press M in-game to bring up the big map.
- J - This is a person! To tell whether someone is your enemy or not, you will have to look above them. If you see their name in blue, then that person is your teammate. If you see a person without a name above them, then they are your enemy, and you should shoot them before they kill you. Enemy unit's names will appear above them in red only when you aim at them. Here, the player 110011 is a teammate.
At any time during a game, you can press Tab to open up the Scoreboard. It will show everyone's name, rank, kills, deaths, and mission points (if applicable). Be sure to not stare at the scoreboard too long because it blocks your screen, and an enemy could shoot you.
Also, whenever anyone dies, their primary weapon will be dropped on the ground. To take it, aim your crosshair at it and press E. The gun you originally had will be replaced by the dead person's gun. You can not have both. When you die, your original gun will return. If you want to pick up a dead person's weapon, be sure to do it quick, because enemies will shoot you if they see you staring at the ground for too long.
Ending the Game
When the goal for the game is met, everybody is rewarded with GP (Gear Points) with which they can use to rent guns and equipment, and EXP which is accumulated to rank up. The amount of GP and EXP awarded are based on your performance in the game. Having scored many kills will increase you reward, while dying many times will decrease it. Scoring mission points often rewards the most experience. For example, in a game of Capture the Flag (see Game Modes), a person that killed 10, died 12, and scored 3 flags would probably receive more EXP and GP than a person who killed 30, died 12, and scored no flags. There are no "negative rewards" or subtractions of EXP or GP for performing poorly in a game. The only way to lose GP is to spend it, and there is no way to lose EXP apart from getting demoted by GMs.
After concluding a game, the same game room can start another game with or without different rules, or its members can go find another game room.
At any time during any game, a person can press Esc and opt to drop out of the game. They will not be awarded any EXP or GP for that game. People will often forfeit if they have to do something else in real life, if they are doing poorly in that game, or if the game room contains a hacker.
If every single person on a team forfeits, the other side automatically wins the game. Besides missing out on GP and EXP, however, there are absolutely no negative consequences for forfeiting. However, forfeits are recorded on your player stats and any kills and deaths accumulated during a match is still recorded.
On certain conditions, the game ends automatically with the note of "Abnormal Gameplay has been detected". When this happens, nobody is awarded with EXP or GP. Abnormal Gameplay includes situations in which an entire team forfeits very soon after the game starts, or when an entire team forfeits before any game progress has occurred (ie. kills). Abnormal Gameplay can also result from hacking (i.e. reaching the goal in a very short amount of time). A number of other situations like disconnections and glitches can also cause Abnormal Gameplay.
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