Insurgency: Sandstorm – Co-op for Beginners

Co-op Guide

This guide focuses on Co-op, so here it is.

Co-op is the cooperative mode of Insurgency: Sandstorm, where players must work together to complete objectives. Players fight against AI enemies that simulate regular players and have the ability to throw grenades, flank, breach, fire suppressively, and call fire support.

One notable feature in Co-op (Hardcore and technically Outpost excluded) is the increased supply and wider selection of weaponry and attachments.

So far, there are four permanent Co-op gamemodes:

  • Checkpoint, the “original” mode where players must push through several objectives on a map.
  • Hardcore, a difficult version of Checkpoint with numerous gameplay changes, most notably the removal of the player’s loadout on death. Instead of spawning with the selected loadout, dead players respawn with a bolt-action rifle, and must resupply at one of only two supply crates on the map. Supply is also decreased.
  • Outpost, where players must defend a point from seven waves of enemies. Players start off with four supply, which increases by two with each wave. Some waves are special waves that spawn specific types of enemies en masse, such as suicide bombers and RPG-wielding enemies.
  • Survival, where players must capture a random series of checkpoints across a map before holding one final point for a helicopter extraction. The starting loadout is just a pistol; randomized primary weapons can be picked up from weapon cases at every checkpoint.

There are three types of objectives on Checkpoint and Hardcore:

  • Capture points that must be captured by players. Once the objective is captured, either the next objective will appear or a counterattack will be initiated.
  • Caches that must be destroyed. Approaching caches will provide the option of planting an explosive (C4 for a Security cache, IED for an Insurgent cache), after which players must get to a safe distance so the one who planted it can detonate it. Grenades and incendiary grenades will also destroy caches. These objectives will never initiate a counterattack.
  • Final objectives, always capture points and usually in some sort of building. Final objectives will always initiate a longer counterattack upon capture.

Counterattacks are enemy attacks that usually occur after an objective is captured. They go on for roughly two minutes (three on the final point), and generally consist of waves of enemies attempting to rush the point, often paired with enemy fire support, RPG strikes, or grenades.

Gameplay Tips

  • Push up and play the objective. Lots of people say you should stay back and fire semi-automatic. While this is a good strategy on some maps, don’t get used to this. Unless you’re playing Marksman or Gunner, you’re much better off actually pushing forwards and playing the objective, especially if you’re playing Breacher or using a close-range loadout.
  • Don’t blindly rush in. You don’t know if the room you’re rushing into is going to have four enemies in a blindspot. Enter slowly, keep your weapon ready, check your corners, use grenades for rooms with possible enemies that you can’t safely shoot, and wait for your team to back you up if you have to.
  • Don’t go lone wolf. Unless your team is legitimately terrible (not just low-levels or whatever, I mean they have no idea what they’re doing at all), you should always be a team player. For example, as Marksman, don’t just perch up somewhere high and pick off enemies; actually cover your team’s advance and take out potentially troublesome foes such as enemy Gunners, Demolitions, or Marksmen. Likewise, stick close to your Commander as an Observer, and help cover them. Remember, your K/D does not matter.
  • Try to avoid suppressive fire. Enemy AI barely registers suppressive fire; all they really do is go prone, and they still occasionally do that without being suppressed anyways. Whether you’re a Gunner or a Rifleman with a drum mag, don’t waste ammo. Aim to kill.
  • Always pick up grenades. Being dropped weaponry, dropped grenades don’t take any supply, and they’re very common. Dropped Molotovs or incendiary grenades are especially helpful for denying enemy access to the point during counterattacks, and they can be used to destroy caches if you’re in a rush.
  • If someone is destroying a cache, don’t try to join in. Too often do I see two people planting at a cache, or someone throws an incendiary grenade at someone who’s planting. You look like an ass if you almost teamkill someone because you wanted an assist. If someone’s dealing with a cache, unless they clearly don’t know what they’re doing and/or they need help (e.g. they don’t know you can plant explosives on the cache and they’re looking for dropped grenades, like the original cache strategy on the original Insurgency), you’re better off vacating the area or covering that player, since enemies can still kill whoever’s planting. It’s happened to me once.
  • When someone plants on a cache, get out of there. Caches are very simple points. When you hear a teammate mention something about blowing something up or getting out of the area, do it. Don’t loiter around or try to plant another bomb. They might not wait for you before blowing it up.
  • Never teamkill for any reason. I once got teamkilled by someone while defending a point because they were Marksman and they wanted my Honey Badger. We almost lost. If you teamkill, you just decrease the trust between you and your team, and you increase the chance that you’ll get kicked.
  • Don’t rush into fire support. Too often do I see players run headfirst into an area targeted for a strafe or an artillery strike. Then they take damage or die, then wonder what happened. If a Commander calls fire support on a target to clear it out, wait until it’s over. Observers should warn their teammates of the danger if the flare is difficult to see. This, of course, does not apply for the minigun support, since that just flies over.
  • Don’t rely on the technicals. Technicals are very fun vehicles with heavy machine guns that you can drive around and shoot enemies with. But they’re also usually crewed by enemies, and the maps often limit you from taking them everywhere. They’re also massive targets that explode, taking you with it. You’re better off just destroying the technical and moving on. However, don’t always destroy the technical; it can be used as a turret on some final objectives.
  • If you’re playing a Rifleman-type class, actually play it. Bring a grenade launcher or a rocket launcher as Demolitions. Work in tandem with your Commander as Observer. Use fire support and use a smoke grenade launcher to cover your team as Commander. If you don’t want to do any of these, play Rifleman.

Loadout Tips

  • Don’t rely on flashbangs. While flashbangs are very common drops from dead enemies, and they have the ability to stun, the stun effect is minimal and usually wears off by the time you make contact with them. Most of the time, you’ll just end up flashing yourself or a teammate. Unless you’re pinned down and you have no other options, or you’re about to breach a building, forget the flashbangs.
  • Don’t rely on your sidearm. Even in Survival. Yes, it’s very fun and unique, and I do it sometimes too, but I also bring a primary with me or pick one up off a dead enemy. That Desert Eagle is powerful and effective until you’re getting sprayed by five enemies and you don’t have cover. 85% of the time, your sidearm is your backup weapon for when you don’t have time to reload.
  • If you don’t need a laser sight, you don’t have to bring one. Those two supply points are better used for other attachments, such as a suppressor, a foregrip, an underslung weapon, or sights. Also note that AI can’t see the laser, but other players in PvP probably will, so if you’re just using Co-op to practice, start by ditching the laser.
  • Ditch the armor, bring a Light Carrier if you want. Armor is entirely useless in this game. It only decreases explosive damage and time-to-kill on some weapons (most being low-caliber guns you probably won’t encounter too often anyways, like pistols). You don’t need that extra weight. As for the Heavy Carrier, that just adds extra magazines and a grenade slot, and while it’s somewhat useful for Demolitions if you’re bringing a rocket launcher or a grenade launcher, most other classes probably won’t survive long enough to use the extra magazines or grenades the Heavy Carrier provides. It just slows you down, anyways. Unless you’re playing Gunner or Demolitions, you seriously don’t need a Heavy Carrier. Speed counts.
  • Bring a gas mask. Gas masks protect players from chemical gas strikes and have the added bonus of silencing the player’s coughs in smoke, preventing enemies from detecting them. They’re one supply for Security, and they’re free for Insurgents. If you don’t take one, don’t get mad when gas drops down and you die 30 seconds into a counterattack.

Fire Support Tips

This also applies to PvP, I think.

Using Fire Support

  • Never strike an objective you’re attacking. While explosive artillery or chemical gas clearing an objective may sound ideal, this can delay an advance and can easily result in teamkills. Plus, most points are situated inside buildings, making fire supports mostly useless. However, if you choose to strike an objective, choose something light and quick, like strafes or bomber drones. Don’t call a rocket barrage and expect your team to wait for it to pass.
  • Never use smoke artillery. Smoke artillery is practically useless. While smoke can disorient enemies and prevent them from locking onto your teammates from a distance, they usually wear gas masks after the strikes, and they’ll still find their way through the smoke. Smoke grenades are common enemy drops, and you should use those instead. Use them against areas your team crosses where enemies might be able to fire at you.
  • Learn to aim the Security aerial strafe. The strafe goes 90° from where you aim it in a “T” shape, but you can aim its direction if you call it in then turn as your Observer requests it. Or something like that.
  • Keep powerful fire supports for the final objective, or at least just when you really need them. Powerful supports include Security’s helicopter supports and Insurgents’ chemical gas. Explosive artillery, mortars, strafes, and drones are also pretty good, though these can be used before the final point.
  • Call final objective supports after the objective is captured. I was once on a Hideout match where the Commander called for minigun helicopter support before we even started capturing the objective. Needless to say, we almost lost, and we were reduced to one person for the last minute. The only reason we didn’t lose then and there was because the last guy had a grenade launcher, which saved the match when their mag ran out right as an enemy entered. Always keep supports like helicopters for the final objective.
  • Aim the attack helicopter like you’d aim artillery. Never act like it’s minigun support and aim it right at the center of the point. This can and will result in teamkills, because (just in case you didn’t know) the attack helicopter fires its entire salvo of rockets directly at the area where you aim it. This happens a lot with new Commanders.
  • Never use support on indoor maps until you’re outside. Almost every type of fire support relies solely on the target being outdoors. Maps such as Ministry are entirely indoors aside from the final point (last two points for Security), and even then almost all of the enemies come from indoor areas during the counterattack. This makes artillery, mortars, and aerial strafes almost completely useless, though helicopter support, chemical gas, and probably also drones can be used with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Countering Fire Support

  • Kill the enemy Commander. Always look for an enemy with binoculars that might be far from the battle. Chances are that’s the Commander. Killing them will end enemy fire support.
  • Never go outside during enemy fire supports. Fire support counts on you going outside and exposing yourself to them. Stay away from windows and doorways, especially during enemy Security helicopter supports.
  • Shoot at enemy helicopters if you can. Shooting at enemy helicopters, whether with a rocket, machine gun, or even just a rifle, actually suppresses it and makes it leave slightly faster. This doesn’t mean you should run outside and expose yourself to fire all the time, though. If you can safely take shots at the helicopter, and you have enough ammo to burn, do it.

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