By Derrick Maechler
So far in the CoD Black Ops Tips series we have covered general tips and classes, and now it’s time to discuss the territory: the maps themselves. It’s time to learn the maps in depth: from places to snipe from, to high-traffic choke points, to spawn points, and more. We’ll be following the game’s standardized grid layout to explain various points of interest on each map, to keep things familiar. Black Ops has far too many maps to cover in one piece, so settle in, as this is only Part 1 of the Guide.
Array is easily one of the largest maps in the game, with plenty of open areas for those who prefer long-range sniping, and also smaller choke points for those run-and-gun enthusiasts; as long as you choose your route well and stick to it you can play your own way here.
Running through D3 and D4 is a treacherous path, with both sides having decent cover points to stop incoming enemy traffic that may happen to move this route. If you’re on the Black Ops team moving this route from the start, you should always expect a sniper to be on the crane found in the D2 block—he’ll have a clean shot on you once you reach the cars. If you’re on the Spetsnaz team, be sure to throw Flashbangs before making the dangerous journey, using possible hit markers as a warning sign of things to come. Both should also always be sure to blow up the cars before you run this path, or a well-placed grenade will maul down anyone unlucky enough to be caught in the vicinity.
One of the more dangerous points to watch out for is the tower on A3, as it’s usually being occupied by snipers. The narrow path running through A2 is generally a way to go in order to neutralize this threat as it has plenty of cover to handle the situation, but you should always keep that tower in the back of your mind. From this tower you can shoot into the windows of the array, or guard points A & B in a game of Domination.
The array tower itself is one of the highest traffic areas of this map; with plenty of close quarters combat to be had. There are two conventional ways into this area: one in the lower right corner of C2, and the other in C3. There’s always the window at C2, and the tunnel from C2 that wraps around to the C3 entrance. Each set of windows gives a nice view of their respective areas, but you should only take a quick peek through and move on, since this area is too high-volume to attempt to snipe from. Combat inside is mainly of a close quarters nature, so if that’s your preference then here’s your area.
The road that runs around the north side of the array is probably the most dangerous path on the map since you can be attacked from just about anywhere. You should try and spend as little time as possible in this area, unless you like looking at killcams.
Of all of the maps in Black Ops, Cracked is likely the most hazardous to traverse. This map has much to offer all play styles; both CQC and long-range areas are found in abundance, so unless you excel at both you’re much better off sticking to certain locations of the map rather than making the journey around it. Not to worry, though, as there are plenty of solid locations throughout the map regardless of what your preferred style of assault may be.
If you’re still new to this map, one of the first things you should do is learn the various routes around it. There are a lot of buildings, which can save you from a needlessly dangerous excursion through some of the more open and dangerous areas. Be extremely careful on the main roads that run horizontally through the C and D blocks of the map, as they can be attacked from just about anywhere. If you find yourself forced to journey down these roads, be sure to blow up the cars and use them for cover if need be, but it’s advisable to try and use the buildings to keep yourself out of the open instead.
There is a building near each team’s spawn point that can cover the C2/C3 middle ground from their respective windows, but be careful when using them as both have windows that can be climbed into. To enter the southern building at D2/D3 simply climb the car, and from the car jump onto the awning. For the northern building at B2, you can climb the boxes in front of it, or climb the truck and jump through the side window. If someone is holed up inside either of these, it’s helpful to know how to take them down without triggering any defenses they may have at the door.
The building at C3 is a commonly used vantage point as well. It has multiple access points which makes it exceedingly difficult to hold down, but it can give clean firing lanes on various high traffic areas at the same time. You should learn your way around this building so that you can flank out enemies who may decide to occupy this area.
One place to keep in mind at all times is the courtyard that crosses between C3/C4 and D3/D4. If you do find yourself having to cross here then you’d be wise to make it a very short visit, as there are just too many vantage points that can fire on it. Be especially wary of the windows of the buildings found at E4 and the rooftop of the building at D4 taking this path.
Firing range is the first map that we’ve covered that caters specifically to the run-and-gun demographic: you either move from position to position or you die. A lot.
There is a sniper tower at C3, but it’s easy to hit with a grenade as it is small and enclosed, so if you’re keen on picking people off from here Flak Jacket Pro is a great idea. Directly in front of it is a small perch located on the opposite side from the ladder. From here, you can run across the wooden beam to access the building found at D3, should someone be holding down that area.
A vast majority of the fighting on this map usually takes place in the C2/3/D2/3 area, so sticking to the high ground in these areas can be beneficial. If you decide upon the plywood building in the C2/C3 area, be sure to keep in mind that it has multiple entrances and the wood is thin so that bullet penetration will become an issue if you begin to take fire.
When passing down the left side of the map, be wary of the building at the back of B2 as well as the trailer at D2—both will have open shots at anyone who may venture down this route. Practically all of the cover in this route is extremely thin, so be cautious of that fact if you end up in a firefight here.
Other points of interest for picking off unsuspecting prey are the tiny hole in the path crossing from E4 to E3, and the building in the northern part of C4 which can make the journey across the north eastern path of the map a dangerous one.
Nuketown is tiny; there are bathrooms that are bigger than this map. Opinion is pretty firmly split when it comes to this map: you either love it or you hate it. Realistically, close-range weapons rule this map with an iron fist, as it’s just too small to even consider sniping. There are fenced areas found near each team’s spawn, which can be nice places to hide and pick off anyone who happens to come around the houses located on their respective sides of the map—just remember that they’re thin and can be shot through with relative ease.
To the untrained eye the two houses are identical; truth be told, that’s not the case at all. In terms of tactical use, the house located at B3 has a preferable layout. In the kitchen is a table that you can hide out on, picking people off as they run through, and there’s a couch in the living room that you can hide behind for the same purpose. Meanwhile, you can also shoot people who would hide behind the desk in the upstairs of the house at D3 through the window from B3, which is something that cannot be done from the other house. If you’re going to hole up one of the houses, definitely try to take the one at B3.
The center of the map is probably the most dangerous area to be caught in, since you can literally be shot from anywhere. Try to use the vehicles for cover if you must cut through the center, or stick to the outskirts and pick people off who would try to travel this path themselves; the C4 area is great for this task as it has enough cover to make things happen.
One final thing to note about this map is that there’s a secret short cut for RC-XD cars in the fence at B2 and D2; it’ll take some practice driving a car through this area, but it can be highly effective in avoiding being blown up as you’re essentially driving the car from spawn point to spawn point.
Join us for the next installment of the Cod Black Ops Map Guide, as we cover Grid, Hanoi, Havana and much more!