Ten multiplayer tips to help improve your game online...and keep you alive longer.
1. Combat Training
This is the most valuable way, barring the next point, to improve your game. Combat Training has most of the benefits of online multiplayer -- leveling, unlocks, money, etc. -- without one pesky element: other players screaming at you. Select a map, tweak some variables (skill level of A.I. bots, match length, etc.), and go play. The A.I. actually uses some decent tactics on its own and there's really no better way to learn map layouts, feel of the guns, and your favorite Perks before playing against real people. You can also invite friends into your session to practice some team coordination. Just keep in mind that the stuff you unlock and purchase in this mode is separate from actual multiplayer.
2. Instant Replay, aka Theater Mode
Here is another way for you to refine your game: Use the Theater mode to watch and analyze your performance. Theater mode stores full videos of every match you've played for the past seven days, allowing you full control of the camera to examine what actually happened when you turned the corner and got shot in the face. You can even view the playback from any player's perspective, including those of the best player on the map, so you can pick up a few pointers.
3. Don't Get Killed
It may sound obvious, but this is the best advice someone can give you. In a majority of cases, you don't want to run right into a room, hallway, or around corners. Instead of rushing into battle look down your sights when you come across any of these sorts of areas and tread carefully. Sometimes being hesitant is the best way to stop your death streak. A lot of people tend to camp in certain places waiting for you and your teammates to run senselessly around the map. Unless you're to the point where you have equipped Lightweight and Marathon Perks, only run when you're in the open.
4. Plan Ahead
Think about what sort of situation or multiplayer modes you'll get yourself in and plan accordingly when creating your class. If you know you'll play tons of regular deathmatch, make a class that you love. Then create an additional class that nearly mimics it except for a few minor tweaks in the Perks area. So if you find that your enemies continually plant claymores around the map or love lobbing grenades a lot, you will want to have an additional class to combat this situation. The Flak Jacket and Hacker Perks help alleviate some of these problems.
5. Identify Your Style
Ask yourself what types of guns you prefer and if your Perks and gameplay style reflect that. If you like rocket launchers don't go nuts with an SMG. Do you prefer to camp but enjoying knifing people instead? You might want to consider ditching the camping aspects of your game. Every one of us has a comfort zone. It's up to you to find yours and stick with your strengths. Only later when you become more advanced in the game could you learn to adopt various playstyles.
6. Don't Waste Your Death
If your multiplayer mode provides a kill cam, try to get a sense of where your enemy was when you were killed. Scroll through your teammates viewpoints and see if you can spot any enemies to give you an idea where they are when you respawn. The more intel you can get on your foes, the better. And don't be afraid to ask any teammates where they died to get a sense of where the opponents are moving on the map. Above all else, don't run to the spot where you previously died -- chances are your foes are still in the same location, waiting to kill anyone (like you) who returns. It's better to maneuver around the general vicinity to see if you can find them.
7. Loadouts: When and Where
For a Flagrunner
Lightweight/Steady Aim/Marathon, along with an SMG with Lightweight to make your general movement speed faster. Marathon allows you to sprint for a longer time and will let you hustle around the map, which is helpful for grabbing or intercepting flags. Since you'll be focused on moving around, Steady Aim will complement your speed by allowing you to be a decent shot even when you're not aiming down the scope.
For a Gunner
A light machinegun (LMG) is nice but it chews up ammunition and takes a long time to reload, so combine that with Scavenger/Sleight of Hand. Scavenger helps keep up your bullet supply while Sleight of Hand will help counteract the time needed to load an entire ammunition belt when reloading. Throw in the Ninja Perk as well, because it's awesome to become a mobile self-sufficient machinegun that can sneak up behind people.
For Bomb Techs
Flak Jacket/Warlord/Tactical Mask with a shotgun or an assault rifle with Sabotage/Domination/Headquarters to have fixed locations for objectives. Objectives tend to get bombarded with grenades or napalm fire for area denial, and Flak Jacket will basically let you shrug off most any grenade explosion that's not a direct hit. If someone tries to toss in Nova Gas grenades, Tactical Mask will help you breathe while arming/defusing/capturing. We just put in Warlord as the Tier 2 perk to give your weapon-of-choice additional attachment options to make up for how defensive and placement-centered your other Perks are.
For the Happy Camper
When you find a nice spot to stay at during your gaming session, don't budge. In order to minimize the amount of people that actually discover your camping strategy, use the Ghost Perk so you're invisible to aircraft, turrets, red crosshairs, and your name. Since you're camping you'll most likely prefer to snipe. Because there's no quick-scoping in the game, we suggest you make use of the Scout Perk -- you'll have a longer duration to steady your aim. And finally, depending on what you prefer, we suggest Ninja for undetected audible movement or Tactical Mask to protect you from those that want to use their special grenades against you.
For the Warmonger
Want to encourage your team to do their best? Equip the Hardline Perk to earn those Killstreaks much faster -- trust us, the more havoc you create on the battlefield, the better. Also, make sure to use the Spy Plane Killstreak. The more intel your team has on the enemy, the more likely your team gets those kills. We also like the Warlord Perk, so use a M16 Flamethrower and Grenade Launcher for short and long distance executions. Because you'll be on the front lines, equip Second Chance for that last kill before you die.
8. Have Some Grenade Tact
Most beginning players only think to throw frag grenades and maybe buy semtex grenades. But when it comes to team-based games, the tactical grenades supply a lot of helpful options as well; Nova Gas, Flash, and Concussion Grenades all help with crowd control in different ways. By default, you don't even have any equipment and could easily forget to buy some -- but something as innocuous as a well-placed claymore/jammer/motion sensor/tactical insertion could easily help out you and your team.
9. Don't Be Antisocial
If it's not free-for-all, then remember to be a team player. It bears repeating: a team that actually coordinates its actions and has players complementing each other will usually win. This means stuff like not having everyone pick the RC-XD killstreak; someone should still use the default Spy Plane to reveal targets on the map, which another player can then use for designating Mortars or Napalm Strikes. Black Ops is even more generous in doling out experience points for team-based actions, such as capturing points, placing or defusing bomb charges, or simply killing an opponent right after he takes out a fellow teammate (for some Avenger XP). Don't be the antisocial fool who just tries to get kills and points for himself. Besides, being part of a winning team that goes on a victory streak will probably level you up faster than being an armed misanthrope.
10. Stats Are Your Friend
Once you reach level 10 and unlock your Combat Record, a slew of information will be at your fingertips, such as heat maps that show where most people die on a map, where you tend to shoot people, and also how people tend to kill you. You can then in turn use this information to better yourself as a player. For example, if you find that you are being knifed in the back a lot, you may want to get better at watching your back by using the Spike Cam to cover your flank, or even some Claymores. Or if you find that you are shooting people more often in the arms, equip a red dot sight to hone your aim and turn on auto-aim. This will help you refine your shots to hit enemies in the chest and head -- key areas to quickly take down your opponents -- allowing you to move up the ranks even faster.