Bursts, the Burst Meter, Adrenaline, and Shootdodge
Let’s get one thing out of the way to avoid any potential confusion: the Burst Meter is filled by adrenaline, and serves as not only a means of activating your equipped Burst ability, but also a Shootdodge meter (just like in single player mode). Everyone can use their meter for Shootdodging, but only those who have the specific Bullet Time Burst can use standard Bullet Time.
Adrenaline is obtained several different ways, but you earn the most by outright killing, looting corpses, denying streaks, and winning vendettas. Getting shot at won’t fill the meter like it would in single player mode, so at the very least you will have to hit an enemy with at least one bullet to earn adrenaline. Now, how you end up using your hard-earned adrenaline is dependent on the circumstances you find yourself in, and can be the key to surviving longer than the average n00b.
Shootdodging in multiplayer mode only affects those who are within the line of sight of the user. This does not mean, however, that everyone within that line of sight reaps the benefits of Bullet Time. Everyone except the user will move slower, aim slower, and shoot slower bullets. Shootdodge costs half of one segment of Burst Meter (or one-sixth of the total meter).
Once you activate Shootdodge, you take slightly less damage and players are not able to use Soft Lock on you.
Bursts are special abilities that are unlocked and equipped from the Loadout menu and sap your Burst Meter just like Shootdodging. Bursts offer serious tactical advantages, and should be equipped to fit specific builds. Just like weapons, items, and accessories, Bursts (and their levels) are unlocked as you rank up.
But that’s not all! Your Burst Meter has three levels to it, so it only makes sense that Burst abilities have the same number of strength levels. For instance, the level 1 Paranoia Burst only makes enemies see their teammates as hostiles, but at level 3, it also enables friendly-fire and bounties for the opposing team. Some Burst may become unlocked at certain ranks, but their tiers are further rank-locked (see screen above).
Loadouts, Weight, and Builds
Starting at rank 4, you’ll be able to customize your own Loadouts. This is great, until you realize how difficult it can be to balance your gun-lust with your ability to move and regenerate health quickly. Everything you equip has a weight to it (except burst abilities), so it’s important to experiment with different weapons, equipment, and abilities to find what works best for you.
As you carry more weight, your health will regenerate slower and you won’t recover stamina as quickly. Crossing the third weight threshold completely removes regenerative health and stamina does not recover at all (see the above screen). Because of this, it’s important to create multiple builds for various situations instead of having one build that carries three weapons and full armor. You’ll only be able to customize three loadouts until you reach level 16, and four until 34. That should be more than enough considering there are only five multiplayer maps at this point.
Weapons, Projectiles, and Items
Using weapons and completing their specific grinds levels them up. As your weapon rank increases, you gain access to accessories such as suppressors and scopes. Leveling up one-handed weapons to rank 6 allows you to dual-wield that particular weapon.
For starting rifles, we definitely favor the Mini-30 over the AK-47, at least on soft lock mode. Although the Mini is semi-automatic as opposed to the AK being full auto, the Mini is more powerful, more accurate, and better at long range. In fact, the Mini-30 remains a damn fine weapon long after you’ve unlocked others.
Tip: Try leveling up a fully automatic one-handed weapon to rank 6 so you can dual-wield that weapon. For example, two M10s can prove an extremely deadly configuration for close-quarters maps such as the Branco Offices. While you’re leveling your M10, why not throw a PT92 pistol in your other hand? The combo isn’t quite as deadly as dual M10s, but it’s far better than only using one handgun at a time.
Additional weapons are unlocked as you increase your rank. At rank 40, all weapons become unlocked.
There are six projectiles: grenades, flash grenades, smoke grenades, tear gas, molotovs, and tin cans. In most cases, grenades will serve you well. It’s in the objective-based rounds of Gang Wars where projectiles such as smoke or flash grenades come in handy. For instance, you can use them to conceal checkpoints or disorient bag carriers.
Important tip: tap LB/L2 to throw a projectile without switching weapons.
Items provide another way to bolster your Loadout, and grant serious advantages at the cost of increased weight. Along with the head and chest ‘slots’ for various helmets and body armor, you have an additional three gear slots (the second unlocking at rank 16 and the third at rank 25).
Like everything else, additional items are unlocked as you increase your rank. At rank 40, all items become unlocked.