Veterans and New Recruits
For many players, the multiplayer mode of the yearly edition of Call of Duty is a major event. But fans of the series are facing down a lot of changes with the latest entry into the franchise, Call of Duty: WWII, which switches out the science fiction-inspired, near-future warfare of more recent Call of Duty games for a return to the series' roots in World War II.
Key multiplayer elements, like how to develop your weapon and ability loadouts, are different in Call of Duty: WWII, and the game also offers some unique challenges with its new "War" game mode. Here's everything you need to know as a new Call of Duty: WWII player to get your boots on the ground and help you win your war.
Call of Duty: WWII is out now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. For our thoughts about the game, check out our Call of Dutty: WWII review. You can also see what other critics are saying about the WWII shooter in our review roundup. And For more on Sledgehammer's huge title, check out our guide on how to get the Tesla Gun in Zombies Mode or take a look at the quest that rewards you for watching other players open loot boxes.
The Key To Your Loadout: Divisions
Past Call of Duty games allowed players to build their own multiplayer "loadouts" of weapons, scorestreaks and perks to customize how their characters played. There's a system like that in Call of Duty: WWII as well, but it's a bit confusing even for veteran players. Instead of classes to choose from that define your character's capabilities and focus, you build your loadout starting with one of five "Divisions." Each one has bonuses that enhance a certain play style and weapon choice, like providing faster sprint speeds or more ammo.
Divisions provide you with bonuses that can match your play style, and you can switch between them in-match like previous Call of Duty loadouts. You can also level them up to access even better bonuses over time. Unlock all the Divisions as early as you can so you can get a sense of all of them and start leveling the ones that match your play style.
Basic Training Is Your Perk
The other new element of your loadout is "Basic Training." These are basically the "Perks" of old Call of Duty games, usually conveying you with a slight tactical advantage, like being able to see enemies your teammates have damaged or keeping you hidden on other players' minimaps.
You'll unlock additional Basic Trainings as you level up, and the early ones are kind of useless, so keep an eye on them for new ones. A few are pretty useful--Rifleman, for instance, lets you carry two primary weapons into battle, while Instinct can let you know when an enemy you can't see is targeting you. Finding the right Basic Training for your play style can give you a serious advantage, so try as many as you can.
Don't Sleep On Attachments
Call of Duty: WWII has a handy system that makes it really easy to judge how a weapon will work. Each gun has a number of different ratings, like damage dealt and effective range, with a number between 1 and 10 to tell you how strong each of those stats are. That feeds into an overall number to tell you how good the gun is in battle. But you can increase those stats significantly with attachments.
Once you've found a gun you like, using it in fights unlocks attachments you can add to increase and decrease its stats. They unlock pretty fast and are very effective in making a so-so gun into your favorite weapon. Like other Call of Duty games, you'll unlock new sights and grips that can increase range and reduce recoil. In the aftermath of battle, make sure you take time to check out any new ones you unlock and add the ones you like to your weapons. They can make you much more effective.
Drop By The Headquarters
Like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, WWII adds a new space you can hang around in when you're not in a multiplayer battle, called the Headquarters. It's a "social space" where you'll see other players, but mostly it's just a more interesting menu for accessing some of the less-used features of Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer.
But you do want to stop by the Headquarters at least once every time you fire up the game. For one, you'll get your "Payroll" every few hours, which gives you in-game currency to purchase cosmetic stuff for your guns. You can also pick up "Orders," which are daily and weekly challenges that can earn you loot boxes. You'll want a fresh crop of orders every day so you can make sure you're earning everything you can as you play.
Practice Scorestreaks (And Learn To Avoid Them)
One handy spot in the Headquarters that's not immediately obvious is the Scorestreak Training tower. You'll find it close to the beachhead. Head there and you can trigger a gameplay scenario in which you stand above the battlefield, watching computer-controlled troops battle each other while you call down any of the game's scorestreaks on top of them.
Scorestreaks, Call of Duty players will remember, are bonus abilities unlocked when you earn enough points in a given life. They include calling in a recon plane to reveal enemy positions or dropping bombs on certain parts of the map. You can try all of them in the training tower, which will help you be prepared to use them in the field. But more importantly when you're first starting out, you can use the training tower to see what high-level scorestreaks can do, even if they've never been used on you before. You can bet that when you get onto the battlefield, there will be people facing off with you who play a lot. Avoid getting blindsided with scorestreaks you haven't unlocked or used by testing them out, so you can learn exactly how to avoid letting them kill you.
Take A Team To War
The big new multiplayer mode in Call of Duty: WWII is "War," a multi-stage objective based battle in which one team attacks, trying to complete objectives, and the other team defends those objectives. The mode is the most interesting addition to the game, and requires a lot of coordination between players and, often, some strategic thinking as well as shooter skills.
War is less about killing and more about working together to accomplish goals, though. You can play it in quick match like any other game mode, but it's best enjoyed with a team. War is the game mode in which you want to grab a gaming headset and some friends so you can coordinate your efforts, and if you play alone, you won't be enjoying the mode to its full potential. If you find the other players insufferable, you can pull up the roster and quickly silence everybody with a handy "Mute All" button.
Learn Multiple Roles
This is just good advice for shooters like Call of Duty, where different weapons and classes are useful in specific situations, but you'll especially need to do it if you mean to play a lot of War. As you work through the mode, you'll find yourself going from fights in tight trenches and bunkers to long-range battles defending positions or escorting tanks. The different Divisions, Basic Trainings and guns available in WWII make it possible to create loadouts that are great for some of those situations and terrible for others, so you'll need to be flexible.
In War, it's not enough to just be good with a M1 Garand or a submachine gun--you'll want to be good with both. On the Normandy map, for instance, getting off the beach can be made easier if you're a solid sniper, but as soon as you're out of the water, you need to climb into a pair of narrow bunkers and other players up close. If you can't handle both parts of the battle, you'll have a tough time. Spend some time with every Division and different types of guns, and pay attention to where on each War map you'll want to switch your role to be most lethal, and most helpful to your teammates.
Take Multiplayer Slower
Call of Duty fans coming off Infinite Warfare are going to find an adjustment period in switching to WWII. It's not just losing the movement-enhancing jetpack from the last few games--movement has been tweaked a bit in WWII and it's going to take a little while to get used to the new reality.
For one thing, the time between the end of a sprint and being able to use your gun is probably a touch longer than players remember. You can also get perks to increase your sprint speed and duration, but right out of the gate it's pretty short. In general, it's a better idea to avoid sprinting in multiplayer. It leaves you extremely vulnerable, and on Call of Duty: WWII's fairly tight, twisty maps, you're going to want your gun out for those moments when you round a corner and find an enemy you didn't expect. Slow down and take your time and you're likely to suffer fewer deaths.
Listen To Your Teammates
You'll notice in multiplayer matches that, even with other players muted, there's still a ton of talking going on in matches. That's because all the player characters in every multiplayer match are still very vocal, calling out their situations. Some of their barks are just to create that WWII atmosphere, but others are really useful if you're paying attention.
Listen for your teammates' characters to call out what they see, specifically enemy positions. They're usually pretty descriptive, telling you players are coming out of tunnels or hiding behind trucks and ammo boxes. Use that information to your advantage whenever you can.
Loot Boxes Drop Special "Epic" Weapons
You can mostly ignore most of Call of Duty: WWII's loot box system if you want to, as the boxes you'll earn mostly dish out cosmetic rewards like Calling Cards and emotes. But every once in awhile, you'll receive a special weapon of the "Epic" or "Legendary" variety, and to those you'll want to pay attention.
Epic and Legendary weapon are mostly just different takes on your regular weapons, but with some nice bonuses. They'll let you earn experience points faster for your character or Division, which means you can more quickly unlock new perks and guns. You don't need to pay attention to loot boxes or find Epic and Legendary weapons to be good at multiplayer, but they can give you a leg up in advancing through your character progression.