Call of Duty Blackout Guide – Strategy, Tips, Tactics

“Blackout” is the world’s very first blend of Call of Duty and battle royale. Fans of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Fortnite will recognize one helluva lot of similarities. But the open-ended deathmatch does have its quirks–quite a few of them, in fact. So we’ve compiled this guide to improve your odds of survival. Let’s take a look!

The Basics

This will be old hat to existing battle royale fans, but here’s the very basic premise of Blackout. Eighty-eight to 100 players begin in helicopters that fly across a large map. You can exit the choppers at any time with the reload button. That will send you careening to the surface, with a bit of air control provided by a wingsuit, before you eventually automatically pop a parachute.

The idea is to be the last player (or team) standing. Progress resets every match and, if you die, you can quit the game and still get whatever experience points you earned. Unlike most battle royale games, however, you don’t earn any experience (which unlocks cosmetic skins) just for playing. You need to score kills, place in the top 15, or win to get anything.

Oh, and there’s a giant blue circle of death slowly closing in on the map. Avoid that.

It’s simple! It’s also very, very difficult to win. Hence the guide.

black ops barricade

Use Your Surroundings

Blackout is played entirely in first-person. That’s somewhat unique for the genre. Third-person games (like Fortnite) give you a bit more situational awareness. It’s harder for people to sneak up behind you when you can literally see behind yourself. That’s not possible in Blackout.

The narrow perspective can work to your benefit. You just need to know how to use it. Specifically, steer clear of wide-open spaces. Hills, roads, bridges, and the like will get you killed. Staying near corners allows you to duck out of sight when fired upon. That will give you time to heal, find your bearings, or just escape.

If there is no obvious cover, tall grass helps. You can hold the crouch button to go prone when there’s enough space. That’ll hide you from some prying eyes. Although it’s not foolproof. Moving through the grass, even slowly, can give away your position. Not to mention laying in grass blocks most of your own vision.

So it’s often better to climb up than lie down. Blackout has quite a lot of high ground. Use it to your advantage by finding defensible areas near the center of the deadly circle. It’ll force enemies to come to you through open land. Not to mention most buildings have limited, defensible entrances.

Just make sure someone else doesn’t beat you to it. Dying in Blackout leaves a corpse with a backpack full of gear behind. Multiple corpses in a small area usually means there’s a sniper nearby. In that case, it’s safer to leave the loot packs alone and keep moving.

black ops chest

Know Your Inventory

Blackout generously spreads weapons, armor, ammo, and gear across its map. Odds are you’ll find something to arm yourself with. But it’s not much good if you don’t know what does what. Here are the basics.

Armor comes in three levels. Level 1 armor reduces incoming bullet damage by 30 percent, while level 2 reduces it by 40 percent. Level 3 armor reduces damage by a whopping 50 percent and protects against headshots.

No armor is invincible, however. Each vest comes with its own health bar that permanently drains as you take damage. There’s also the matter of rarity. Level 1 armor is incredibly common. Level 2 is much rarer, but still shows up in buildings and on rooftops from time-to-time. Level 3 armor is almost exclusively found in aerial supply drops, loot crates, and inside zombie zones.

Healing items also come in three flavors. First aid (bandages) gives a quick boost of 25 health. Med kits give 50. Trauma kits are special. They take a lot longer to consume, but restore you to full health, no matter how low you go. More than that, trauma kits raise your maximum health to 200. It’s not a permanent boost, however. You’ll need to use another trauma kit if your health dips below the new threshold.

Backpacks also provide a passive upgrade; equipping one doubles your inventory space. There’s only one level of backpack, too. So don’t worry about swapping them out once you have one.

Various attachments can also improve your weapons. Scopes, stocks, laser sights, and more automatically attach to your equipped gun when you pick them up—assuming they’re compatible. If you drop that weapon, however, the mods go with it. So make sure to remove them (either manually or by choosing to drop the weapon without its attachments from the inventory menu) before swapping guns.

Some guns even come with a full suite of attachments. You mostly find these in loot crates. If you do find one on the ground, however, you can identify special variants by their golden glow.

Consumables are temporary boosts. They can let you see loot through walls, warn you if you’re being targeted, or just make you move quieter. They’re nice, but a big strain on inventory space. Consumables take up slots even after you use them. They don’t disappear until after their temporary boost runs out.

But because consumables last so long, and are so common, it’s usually best to pop them immediately. You never know when someone is lining up to snipe you, or might hear you sneaking up behind them. Why not give yourself the edge immediately and save the inventory space?

Finally, we have equipment. This is a catch-all term for things like grenades, mines, razor wire, and other items that are typically special abilities in normal multiplayer. They’re on the rare side compared to consumables and healing items. So consider when and where you want to use them.

And remember you can always check an item’s description by hovering over it in your inventory menu.

blackout wing suit

Getting Around the Battlefield

Moving through Blackout is tricky. Move too quickly and you’ll give away your position. Move too slowly and the big circle of death catches you. There are even things like footstep sounds to consider. So here’s a brief breakdown of the best ways to get around.

Get ahead of the circle. This is a simple but vital tip. Once the circle starts closing you have just two minutes to reach its new location (which you can check on the map). That’s actually a lot of time in the grand scheme of things. Not to mention you can “outrun” the circle for a considerable distance.

The problem is that hurrying to a safe location reduces your options. You basically have to sprint or drive nonstop if caught outside the safe zone. That means louder footsteps, no cover, and lots of motion to draw attention. So plan ahead and watch the circle timer.

But don’t just watch for trouble. Sound is extremely important in Blackout. Vehicle engines, footsteps, and even looting all produce very loud audio cues. And listening only becomes more important later in the game, when there are fewer players hunting each other in a smaller area.

If you do get detected without nearby cover, and don’t know your attacker’s location, hold the crouch button while sprinting to slide. Most players aim for the head and center mass while shooting. Sliding rapidly lowers those vital areas while maintaining your momentum.

Zombie Zones

Other players aren’t the only threat on the map. Specially marked areas house hordes of zombies. You can tell a zombie zone by its shining, white beacon of light on the horizon. And it might be worth paying one a visit.

Zombies are surprisingly tough, but do very little damage. The attention you draw while fighting them is much more dangerous. Gunfire and capping zombies in the open is a surefire way to give up your location. Which is doubly risky in a zombie zone.

That’s because the infested areas are also stuffed with rare loot. They’re a hotbed for skilled players looking for a leg up. You’ll find armor, consumables, and unique weapons that don’t drop anywhere else. There are numerous downsides—like the fact that zombie guns can’t equip attachments—but a chance at finding level 3 armor might make it worthwhile.

And that’s it for our guide! We’ll try to update it with more Blackout tips and strategies as the game is updated. Fornow we wish you the best of luck.