If after hours of Tactical Espionage Operations you've managed to finish Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and you still want something new, you may want to try some Tactical Team Operations and check out MGS's online alternative; Metal Gear Online, a multiplayer extension to the highly popular open world stealth-action game.
However, don't think that this is any easier than the main game, all your opponents will most likely have the same amount of time invested as you, and to that end may be just as tactically-minded as you are after all of your sneaky infiltrations. This is why this guide is here, to give you the best tips when entering MGO.
MGO has a unique system where even when you aren't in a match, you'll still be able to play the game and shoot at targets with Freeplay. Starting a match works similarly to starting an operation in The Phantom Pain; the Freeplay area acts as a base similar to Mother Base, with various items such as walker gears, turrets and targets to shoot at scattered around the vicinity. With this in mind, you should take your time in Freeplay to get your bearings with your weapons and items, and work out what you can and can't do, as you won't have a lot of time to figure all this out when you start a match. Practice using any new weapons you get when levelling up, see what new items do, or get some target practice in with a walker gear as they come in handy within the world of MGO (although you should also practice the easiest way to destroy one, as they can also be an inconvenience when in the hands of an enemy)
Also available in Freeplay is character customisation and loadout selection. You're allowed up to three different characters, your first character will be the avatar you designed at the beginning of The Phantom Pain, while the other two will be up to you to design (while the first character will be restricted to a Male for story-related reasons the other two can be either gender). Characters can be assigned a class when created, there are three different options available; Scout (long range expert with a sniper rifle), Enforcer (mid-range expert with heavy armour and weapons) and Infiltrator (close-range expert with cloak ability). You should choose the best class for you depending on your play-style. Watch out for Infiltrators as they're equipped with stealth camo rendering them invisible, so if you see any suspiciously mobile refractions of light running across a map, it's best to shoot first and ask questions later.
Once you've created a character you can choose their gear and loadout. Gear is a purely aesthetic option to make your character look good, you can fork over MB coins (MGS's premium currency aside from GMP) to get the exclusive stuff, but it won't give you any in-game bonuses. However, keeping your loadout updated is essential to progressing anywhere in MGO; you're given the choice of equipping primary weapons, secondary weapons, support weapons, items, and abilities. It's best to make sure you always have the best selection you have available as it will make your job a lot easier, but keep in mind that the more items you have the heavier your loadout will be, if your loadout is too heavy you won't have as much sprinting time, thus making quick escapes a lot harder to pull off.
As with Call of Duty's Prestige system, MGO has the Ascension option within the customisation screen. When you reach a certain level you can Ascend, at which point you lose your rank, loadout and perks, but depending on your class you'll unlock some new gear, some GMP and some weapon colour edits. It's possible that you can also unlock skins of characters within TPP, such as Ocelot or Quiet. So aside from the GMP, Ascension is primarily a bragging rights kind of thing.
Once you've finished setting up your character it's time to activate a match, to do this you bring up your iDroid, select an option, and begin the game (make sure when you go into a game you have enough time to finish, as when you start a game there's no easy way to quit without finishing the match or quitting the game entirely). When starting the game there are three different options to choose from; Bounty Hunter, Cloak and Dagger, and Comm Control - all of which will be displayed in detail below.
The first team to reduce the other team's tickets to 0 wins. Enemy tickets can be reduced by killing or fultoning enemies (capturing them for extraction). Killing enemies adds to your bounty while fultoning enemies reduces it. Fultoning an enemy adds their bounty to your team's tickets, which can result in a turnaround.
How to Score - Scoring is based on a tickets system unique to MGO; Tickets sort of act like a team-wide life system, each team starts with a set amount of tickets (normally thirty), if a player is killed or fultoned by the enemy, their team's ticket number will go down by one. Each player within the game also has a 'bounty', every time a player makes a kill their bounty will go up by one, and whenever they fulton an enemy their bounty will be reduced. However, if a player is fultoned by the enemy, all of their bounty points will be converted to enemy tickets. Depending on how many kills that player has made, this could result in a huge power shift in the match. There will be two rounds, scores will be added up at the end of each round and a winner will be decided based on that.
Loadout Planning - Due to how hectic this game mode can be, it's best if you go with a fast, lethal weapon to take down enemies quickly and efficiently. However, it would be good to keep a non-lethal weapon in your secondary as sometimes you'll be able to get behind an enemy without them noticing, and this is critical if your team needs tickets and this guy just happens to have a good amount of bounty points.
Gameplay Tactics - Due to the fast nature of the game, without thinking ahead you could end up dying frequently and not have much fun at all. At the start of the round it's best to stick to cover and keep an eye out for enemies across the map, as some members of the other team may be equipped with sniper rifles, and they will take advantage of the quiet to take down some enemies early on so be weary, especially in large open maps.
Once the round kicks off it's still advised to take it slow and keep to cover as enemies could be around any corner, if you're moving slow and they're coming towards you then it's easy to retaliate quickly or, if necessary, run away. If they're facing away from you and you're going slowly, it's even easier to take them down quietly and fulton them for added tickets. If your team is running low on tickets, stay low and try to fulton as many enemies as possible, games can have immediate turnarounds if you can grab the right opponents. Having said that, if you're on the other end of the scale and winning, then keep in mind your team will be targets for fulton extractions, so keep an eye out for enemies sneaking up on you, and any red balloons surreptitiously rising towards the sky.
Cloak and Dagger
Not dissimilar to Splinter Cell's Spies vs Mercs, armed only with camouflage and non-lethal weapons, attackers must steal a data disc and deliver it to the Evac Point before the round expires. Defenders hold the only lethal weapons and they must stop the attackers from stealing the data disc. There's no respawns.
How to Score - Players will be split into two teams, the attackers and the defenders. Each team will have a different role; the attackers' job will be to grab the data disc from the defenders without getting killed (as all players will only have one life within this game mode). The defenders will have to prevent the attackers either until the time is up or until all the attackers are dead.
Loadout Planning - Attackers and defenders will have two different loadouts, with defenders limited to lethal weapons and attackers stuck with non-lethal. With this in mind, it does give defenders an advantage in that attackers will only be able to stun and fulton to get rid of the defenders. So to keep their team alive (and keep tabs on enemies) all they need to do is keep an eye out for any red fulton balloons
Gameplay Tactics - Because there will be two different approaches to this mode, there's different tactics for each.
Attackers - The best approach is reasonably simple. Attackers will be invisible unless they're spotted, at which point the entire team is visible for a short period of time. With this in mind, everyone should move carefully, but at a fair pace, with at least one person heading to each data disc just in case something goes wrong elsewhere. Try to avoid contact with the enemy as that could very easily alert the rest of their team and reveal your position, if you can take one out subtly then do so, but make sure no one sees the fulton extraction take place as it's a dead-giveaway to your position. Once you have the data disc, your exit should be based on how many enemies are nearby; if there is no-one around, take your time and move to the evac point that's the least guarded. If, when you grab the disc, you're surrounded by enemies, move quickly and dash between cover to avoid being seen, again move to the quietest evac point. Keep in mind that defenders are likely to wait at evac points if the disc is taken, so keep an eye out.
Defenders - It's best to immediately split the team up and have an equal amount standing by each data disc to make it much harder for the attackers; however you have to keep in mind that you can't always rely on team mates, so keep checking the map regularly but don't leave the discs unguarded. Attackers will have a set time limit to grab the disc but the easiest way to win is to kill them, they will be invisible unless you spot one of them, at which point the entire team will appear and will most likely hide until they become invisible again. If they do grab the disc, have at least one player at each evac point keeping a lookout for them, and the others hunting for the player with the disc; make sure the other disc is secure as if that gets stolen you'll be giving yourself more work.
Attackers must capture comm links to download enemy data. Attackers win once the download is completed. Capturing multiple links speeds up the download. Capturing them scrambles the radar of nearby enemies and can also be used as respawn points.
How to Score - Once again teams will be split into attack and defence. There will be three points (known as comm links) across the map, and the attackers will have a set amount of time to capture these points while the defenders attempt to stop them. Once an attacker grabs one of these points, the "download" will begin, once the download reaches 100% the attacking team wins, and each link they have control of speeds up the download. Defenders need to stop them until time is up.
Loadout Planning - Players aren't restricted on their weapon loadouts regardless of which team they're on. It's not advised to have any long-rage weapons due to how much you're going to be moving around between objectives, so you'll need something powerful and fast. Plus capturing enemies doesn't serve any purpose other than for EXP, so it's best to go lethal unless you specifically want to rank up.
Gameplay Tactics - As with Cloak and Dagger, due to the different approaches there are separate tactics for each side;
Attackers - It's a good idea to make a run for the comm links as soon as possible to try and get there and capture it before the defenders can start protecting the area, as they may set up traps and stay hidden to ambush you if they get the chance to prepare. If you capture an objective, have at least one player holding the fort down while you or some other team members head off to try and capture the rest; the more you have, the quicker the download.
Defenders - Split up into three equal groups and move to the comm links, making sure each is well guarded. It's not recommended that you move away from them unless another one gets captured, and even then you should leave at least one player to stand guard. If a link is captured you should try to reclaim it as soon as possible, as every second when it's in the control of your opponent means they're closer to winning.
Now you know enough to go out there and start making your own way as a legendary mercenary with the abilities to match Big Boss himself!