First-Person Shooter Game Beginner’s Guide

First-person shooter (FPS) games are a subgenre of an action game focused on weapon-based combat in a first-person perspective. FPS games allow a view of what a person would see and do during the game.

In an FPS game, you will typically only see your characters arms at the bottom of the screen and usually carrying the weapon that you have equipped.

There are primarily two game modes when it comes to first-person shooters: singleplayer and multiplayer. The singleplayer mode is typically your campaign mode, where the game is trying to progress through a story to complete the game. Multiplayer, arguably the more popular of the two modes, can take many different forms with multiple game mode types.

Multiplayer Game Modes

The most popular multiplayer game modes are team deathmatches, free-for-alls, capture the flag, search and destroy, king of the hill, domination, escort and last man standing (Battle Royale).

  • Team Deathmatch – In Team Deathmatch games two teams fight against each other with the objective of killing the enemy. The match is completed after a total kill goal is reached or a set time limit is hit.
  • Free-for-alls (FFAs) – Free-for-alls are very similar to team deathmatch, but it’s you against the rest of the people in the lobby. The lobby is usually smaller than one in a team deathmatch, but the same objective remains. Kill your enemies to reach the kill total goal or be ahead once the time limit hits to win.
  • Search and Destroy – Search and Destroy is another popular game mode seen throughout first-person shooter games. Although it might have different names across different games, the concept of the game mode remains the same. There is an attacking team that must plant a bomb and destroy the objective, while the defending team must prevent the attacking team from plating the bomb. If the bomb is planted, the defending team needs to defuse the bomb. The match is won once every player from the opposing side is dead, or the bomb was set off or defused. The game mode is normally a best-of-seven or first to 11 round wins.
  • Domination – Domination is a control point game mode in multiplayer first-person shooter games. In a normal domination match, there are three control points spread out across the map. One point is close to the base of Team A, the second point is close to the base of Team B, and the third point is found somewhere in the middle of the map. The objective is to hold as many control points as you can and earn points. You earn points by holding the control points. The game ends once the goal limit is reached or a time limit is reached.
  • King of the Hill – King of the Hill is very similar to the domination game mode, as it is a central control point game mode in multiplayer first-person shooters. King of the Hill rules will differ depending on the game. There is one style where there is a central point on the map and teams must make their way there to control the point when it becomes available. The other version of king of the hill is like Headquarters in Call of Duty. Two teams are battling for control of a central point, but the difference is that the control point will move around the map.
  • Capture the Flag – Capture the Flag has been a staple of most first-person shooters since multiplayer game modes first originated. The objective is to obtain the opposing team’s flag and bring it back to your own team’s flag. The only way you can capture your opponents’ flag is by having your own flag at its base. There are commonly variations of this game mode where neither team has a flag. Instead, the game mode revolves around capturing a neutral flag from the center of the map.
  • Escort – Escort is a multiplayer game mode that is featured in Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch. The attacking team is required to escort a payload to a delivery point before the time runs out. The payload is on a fixed track and will only move when an attacking team member is next to it. If no one is next to the payload, it will begin to move backward, but passing specific checkpoints prevents it from going past certain points. The defense wins if they prevent the attacking team from reaching its destination. The payload will remain still if the area is contested with members from both teams.
  • Battle Royale – One of the newest and most popular multiplayer game mode for a first-person shooter is the Battle Royale game mode. Made popular through H1Z1: Battle Royale, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Fortnite, players are put into a lobby with 100 players and flown onto a specific map. The player is required to jump from the flying object and parachute to the ground. The objective is to survive. The last person standing is declared the winner.

Popular First-Person Shooter Esports Titles

  • Call of Duty
  • Battlefield
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive
  • Overwatch
  • Halo
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battleground
  • Fortnite

Popular First-Person Shooter Terminology

Some of the most commonly shared terms throughout the FPS genre are:

  • Pushing – When you try to attack towards the other team’s base.
  • Flanking – When you go a longer route to get behind the enemy.
  • Camping – Staying in one location trying to get a kill. Once killed the player returns to the same spot.
  • Spray/Recoil – How much your gun kicks when you are using it.
  • Spray ‘N Pray – When you’re just holding down the shooting trigger and hoping for a kill.
  • Noob Tube – Using a grenade launcher that is attached to an assault rifle. Became popular through Call of Duty.
  • No Scope – Another term that became popular through Call of Duty. This is where you kill someone with a sniper rifle but didn’t look down the scope.
  • Quick Scope – Similar to no scope, but this is a quick glance down the scope and shooting someone. This method made it easier to snipe and maneuver around the battlefield.
  • Hard Scope – Someone who is aiming down the scope for a long time, waiting for someone to appear in their crosshairs.
  • FPS – Also stands for Frames per second. Most games run around 30-60 FPS, but some first-person games are better to run at a 144 FPS.
  • ADS – Stands for Aiming Down Sights.
  • Clutch – Getting the final kill of the match, game or round to win the match for your team.
  • KDR – Kill/Death ratio.
  • Ninja Defuse – Act of defusing a bomb soon after the enemy plants it in Search and Destroy.