“Call outs” : Time to use that Mic for something other than Smack Talking…

If you have ever had the pleasure of watching a competitive event in person the first thing your bound to notice is that everyone is talking to each other. When I say that I dont mean the spectators ; I mean the players on each team.

Now wait! You are probally thinking why are they talking to each other with a headset…they are right beside each other?!

Imagine you are on a battlefield of the future with lasers and state of the art rocket launchers whizzing by your head and you are fighting with your squad who happen to be spread out all over the place fighting for their lives. Do you really think you are going to stand up and start screaming at your buddy to come help you or to tell him he is about to get shot by that guy with the aforementioned Rocket launcher? Nope; your going to tell him via that equally state of the art communication gear that strapped to your helmet and your also going to tell him exactly where that rocket launcher toting enemy is standing… in short; your gonna use a ” Call Out”.

Call Outs are a PRO gamers way of getting that edge over the other team who thinks shouting to a team mate is embarrasing. The act of talking is second nature to us gamers as evidence by the thousands of little boys and girls who feel the need to swear and insult each other everyday on XBOX live. In fact there are so many people talking on XBOX Live that Microsoft has included a MUTE feature to make our lives a lot more peaceful when playing our favourite multi player games.

There is more to Call Outs than simply shouting at your team mate to take cover or that you are reloading your gun….again. Call Outs require that you convey a short burst of tactical information in a concise but effective manner.In the heat of battle and with all the other noise being thrown at you and your team mates it is very important that you dont spam the airwaves with useless chatter and worse yet screaming and in some cases singing ( Dont get me started on how annoying singing team mates are!)

An effective Call Out should contain information that will assist your team in some manner either globally ( ” the other team has snipers) or specific to an individual ( ” Bob your about to get knifed! Turn Around!). In order to convey this information accurately you will need to take the time to learn map locations and identify easy way to commmunicat that information to someone QUICKLY.

Here is an example of a BAD call out.

” Delta I just got shot by a guy with some sort of a long ranged weapon..err maybe it was a rocket launcher but it could have been a sniper rifle not sure…he was hiding up on that tall building thing beside all those rocks but he was not on the building he was sorta in between the rocks and the building im not really sure bu I know he killed me because ..welll… because Im in a screen showing me where he is ..err or was at the moment…got that?”

Here is an example of that same call out by a PRO player

” Delta sniper on Rock Building ground level he’s on the move!”

The same amount of information was conveyed in a MUCH more concise manner. As the game progresses these short sound bites will eventually click and someone on your team will be in a position to take advantage of that Call Out. This information is more about creating an overall tactical awareness of whats happening in the match versus expecting someone to do something about it. All it takes is one good call out to tip off a fellow team mate who happens to be nearby and take action on it.

Take Battlefield 3 for example. When a team mate tells me that the enemy has a tank rolling in and I happen to be in the load out selection screen, do you think Im switching to my recon class? Hellz NO! Im taking a Engineer class and smacking that tank down with some RPG goodness!

Overall the team that talks is the team that is on their way  to win. Here are some key things to include in all your call outs.

  • Location of enemy ie. Color of terrain or terrain features. Some game developers place characteristics in thier game maps to facilitate easy call outs ( HALO is famous for this)
  • Quantity of enemy
  • General state of enemy ie. Camping, mobile, hidden etc.
  • Health of enemy . If you have shot the enemy telling your team mate that he is only ” one shot” away from death will help your partner engage the enemy with more info
  • Alone or with friends. Its always important to tell your team if a particular enemy is travelling solo or as a group. This saves a lone wold player from biting off more than he can chew.
So with that said its time to start using your MIC for more than cursing out your fellow team mates and trying to impress them with your best American Idle audition. Strap on the state of the art communication gear and show the other team that TALKING is winning!
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