The Laughing Crow is a moniker whose voice I borrow: a rascal who is abrasive but honest, curious, and outgoing.
Blacklight: Retribution was a first-person shooter available on PC and Playstation. It was free-to-play, meaning that you could get started and try it out without having to make any investment at all. You could invest real money, if you want, to speed up your progress in unlocking special pieces of gear, but you could also earn whatever you needed with the currency you earned in-game. Sadly, the game was shut down in 2019, but fans keep hope that the game might be relaunched or remade in the future.
In the most common game modes, Death Match and Team Death Match, you are pitted against other players, and the first person or team to score 90 kills within 10 minutes wins. There are many tactics beyond simply running around and shooting people that will get you a higher kill count.
This article will focus on strategies to trick and deceive your enemies so that they will be exposed and vulnerable to you and your team.
Deception 101: Sun Tzu's Art Of War
In a first-person shooter, things move fast. To deceive your enemies, you have to take advantage of the fact that they might be acting without thinking, and don't take the time to verify what they believe is in front of them.
What complicates this deception is that BL: R has a system called HRV, Hyper Reality Visor. If you hit the "V" button, you will see an overlay on your vision where all the players are, any mines that are placed, as well as hardsuits, depots, and turrets. Because of this, it's very easy to check out the current flow of the battle, and hard to deceive others. But there are a number of tools at our disposal to play with people's perceptions, and strategies we can use to make them vulnerable.
These gear items are best utilized by a sniper, who can use them to misdirect enemies while setting up firing lines, or by a more mobile ambush-style character trying to set up situations where enemies expose themselves. Any of these items can be of benefit, but I would especially recommend using 2-3 in combination, meaning that you will need to sacrifice either some health, speed or HRV capability in the process.
When this gear is placed down, it will create a glowing dome. Anything inside this dome will no longer be visible to HRV. This means that you can hide inside it, or you can set up mines which players can't detect using his method.
However, players can still see the glowing dome, so they will know something is up. They might carefully investigate this, and shoot the mines from a distance, or throw grenades to clear the area.
Because of this, it pays to set this up in a confined space, where the glowing dome isn't so obvious, or to put it right around the corner of a door where it can't be seen.
Another trick is to out if another player has set up an HRV blackout, and then put a dome obviously in sight. That way, you can hide inside one HRV blackout, and snipe other players who've come to investigate the empty dome.
When you place down this piece of gear it will create a holographic duplicate of yourself, which is ONLY visible using HRV. This image will remain for several minutes, and is immune to any damage, although the projector can be shot to remove the image (and it will also disappear if damaged by grenades).
This image can be used to lure players into a specific areas, if they think they can ambush a lone player somewhere. Meanwhile, you can set yourself up some distance away inside an HRV blackout to hide yourself, waiting for unwise players to expose themselves trying to score a free kill.
It can also be a good way of dissuading the enemy - if there's only one or two people where you are at, you can drop this an make it seem like there's 3 people. This will make it more risky for lone players to try and get the drop on your small group, meaning you will be more likely to be left alone.
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This device will set up a holographic image of yourself, fooling others into thinking you are somewhere you are not. When you press the left mouse button, the image will remain standing and static for up to five minutes, while if you press the right mouse button, it will run forward for several meters before disappearing.
Projectors can be damaged by gunfire or grenades, which will remove the image. The holographic duplicate does not show up on HRV.
Using this item near a corridor of enemies can make them believe you are running away or past them, drawing enemy fire. Additionally, if they are not first using HRV, they might rush in after you, allowing you to pick them off from behind.
If you place this double inside the area of an HRV blackout, it will not be obvious to players at first that the duplicate does not show up on HRV. If there is another player who drops HRV blackouts, you can use this second dome to hide while taking aim at your duplicate, waiting for people to rush in.
There are a small number of scopes you can put on your weapon which gives you Infrared (IR) capability. Instead of colors and detail, you can see everything only in shades of blue, with enemy agents, turrets and hardsuits being a bright orange.
The advantage of this is that it's extremely easy to see and home in on targets, even far away or in hiding, but the scopes are not very accurate so it's not ideal for sniping. Even so, many players use them on mid- and short ranges to make it easier for themselves to find enemies moving about.
You can protect yourself against this by equipping Infrared Protection Gear, which will turn you from bright orange to dull green in IR vision. While it does not make you invisible, it does make you much harder to see.
Against players that have IR, this provides a massive advantage, making it much harder to accurately hit you due to IR scopes being less detailed.
Be A Blacklight Ninja
Trickery Using Combinations
Place down an HRV blackout with a holographic decoy inside it. The blackout will hide the fact that the decoy has no HRV signature. Meanwhile, you can set up a sniping position from a long distance on that location. If any enemies try to rush in to score and easy kill, they expose themselves to your aim.
But you can also place down a holographic decoy and an HRV decoy at the same location. This creates the illusion of a person being there in both physical vision and HRV. If you then set up an HRV blackout some distance away, where it cannot be seen by the enemy, you have a hiding place from which you can either snipe or ambush oncoming enemies.
If you combine the HRV decoy with a stun and proximity mine, you can lure people into a confined space, while the mines are hidden by the HRV signature of your decoy. Once they figure out what this setup does, it will be too late for them to escape.
Good targets for this sort of tactics are stairs, doorways and small nooks which people need to get at with some speed to avoid enemy fire.
Trickery Using Movement
Your movement patters are predictable to seasoned players using HRV. They can see what direction you are moving in, estimate your speed and guess where you are going. Once you've played the game long enough each move can lead to only a handful of locations, so they will try to move around and ambush you.
This is why it's important to not simply move in a straight line. Move around, go from cover to cover, or choose to take the long route instead of the direct one. Use HRV often, and check if enemies are sneaking up around you.
When you go into settings, you can choose to change the HRV, Crouch and Scope Sight from being a "toggle" to a "hold". This means that instead of turning the ability on and off, you can be very precise with how and when you use each. This way you can also make sure not to be surprised by someone close by while using HRV! If you see someone rushing you, release the "V" button and you will be back to fighting state in a second.
Another thing to consider is back-tracking. People often move in a straight line and only look ahead. This makes them predictable. When moving, make sure to sometimes turn around and go the other way, or to get out of view using stairs or crates and then move around to where you came from.
People who use HRV to guess where you are going will do this often, but if you're lucky you can back-track while the ability cools down, and catch them by surprise instead!
Trickery Using Gear Loadouts
In Blacklight: Retribution you can make several loadouts, each with a different set of armor, weapons and gear. This allows you to play with another aspect of deception, namely people's perceptions of you as a player. At a meta-level, if people expect you to be slow and stay in one place a lot, they will alter their playstyle to take advantage of this. Likewise, if you are fast but with little HP, you will encounter crossfire, mines and ambushes much more often.
By practicing different styles, and having a loadout dedicated to each style, you can invalidate people's perception of you, and catch them by surprise until they figure out your current playstyle.
For example, if you go from a sniper with mines into a melee specialist speed build, people who see you on HRV will imagine you to still be sniping, and misjudge how fast you will reach them. Melee works well in tight spaces and against snipers, so they will be at a disadvantage. Once they figure this out, you can switch back to being a sniper, or any other loadout and playstyle you have prepared.
Using The Environment
The environment in each map provides opportunities for making life difficult for your opponents. One example is using stairs - if you crouch down at the top of the stairs, so you can barely see the ground beyond it, you are very hard to target. But you can easily shoot anyone who comes up the stairs and exposes themselves completely.
Likewise, some levels have specific things you can use to your advantage. The Piledriver map has a tunnel with an abandoned car in it in one corner, close to the entry into the central building. If you go there, you will find out that there is some steam coming out in that tunnel, making you hard to find on Infrared. This means you can use this area to your advantage against people with IR even if you did not buy IR Protection gear.
On Vertigo, one side of the map faces the sun. Players who have not turned down their graphics settings (god rays and sunshafts) will be dazzled by the sun, and their vision impaired. If you have the sun at your back it's easy to shoot others who are blinded, without them being very effective at shooting back!
Deadlock offers an upper platform with several lifts and stairs down into a protected area with a supply depot. That in itself is a tactical advantage already, but you have a clear line of sight towards either end from the trees next to the big stairs in the middle. These will provide cover for you, while allowing you to stay hidden and shoot people approaching from the trench, the central ghetto or any of the doorways.
Maps like Outpost provide some false assurance by players, when they try and take cover behind canvas barriers. But if your target reticle moves over them, you will realize they they can still be shot. So you can get some easy kills if you can find people huddled behind flimsy screens and shoot them straight through it.
Tactical Gear: Cloak
Tactical gear is a backpack-mounted special power. Some will give you a shield, allow you to repair turrets and hardsuits, heal people or resurrect them. They are in many ways central to your playstyle.
When it comes to deception, the Cloak and Cloak Mk2 are easy to use, but very hard to master. When you activate them, with the "C" button, you become invisible. The Cloak Mk1 makes you invisible for as long as you want, while the Mk2 lasts only 10 seconds at a time. However, this cloak also makes you harder to see on HRV and Infrared.
You cannot shoot, use items or melee people while cloaked, and starting/stopping the cloaking makes a very distinctive "bzzrt" sound which people learn to recognize quickly. This tactical gear is very advantageous when being a sniper (where the sound is masked by the long distance) or melee (using the cloak to get close enough to enemies).
Tactical Gear: HRV Cloak
This tactical gear makes you invisible to HRV for a short time. You can use it continuously, making you immune to being spotted on HRV. However, the device itself makes a distinctive "hum-hum-hum-ping" sound which is obvious at close range. So you trade in increased visibility at close ranges for escaping HRV.
It's a great maneuvering tool for snipers and ambushers, but once you get within earshot, you want to rely on speed and surprise instead. As such, this device is not recommended for melee characters.
It can also effectively be used to lure people into dangerous situations. The distinctive sound will attract people. hoping to surprise an ambusher alone on the prowl, and you can lead them back to your team, hiding in an HRV blackout.
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