Game Guide: Battlefield 3: Aftermath Crossbow / XBOW tips
Battlefield 3's new Aftermath DLC introduces one brand new weapon, the Crossbow, or as the game likes to call it, the XBOW. One new weapon may not seem like a big deal considering other DLC packs have included several new guns, but the XBOW is so unique that I can write an entire guide on it for you. That should tell you something about what it brings to BF3 multiplayer.
The XBOW is a dream for anyone who likes to kill people with uniquely bad ass weaponry. It's also great for those "aggressive Recon" players who run around one-shotting people at close range with sniper rifles. It's a one-shot, one-kill weapon in most circumstances, but thanks to the forces of gravity it's not practical for long-range sniping. Miss and you'll most likely eat a hail of bullets while you wait for the lengthy reload time. So it has some downsides, but the XBOW is still a lot of fun.
Easily the craziest thing about the XBOW is all the different bolts you can unlock. Get everything and you'll have a weapon in your gadget slot that can one-shot kill enemies, destroy vehicles, spot targets in an area, and even snipe long-range with a damage penalty. You don't have to settle for one of those options in your loadout, simply switch fire modes to access your array of bolts at any time.
Needless to say this is a special weapon, so I'm here to help you unlock all the pieces for it and put them to good use!
How to Unlock: "Win 3 Rounds in Scavenger"
Scavenger is the new gametype for Aftermath. It plays like Conquest, except you start each life with your pistol of choice and must search the environment for better weapons. Winning 3 rounds is something that could take a bit, but if you have some good players on your team you'll have it in no time. To start working towards your other unlocks, I suggest you spot enemies, aim for headshots, and throw lots of grenades and you'll already be on your way towards the completing the other assignments.
Using the XBOW:
The stock XBOW is your one-shot, one-kill variation. You equip it through your class gadget slot, and it will replace a different gadget for each class. A shot to the head, chest, or stomach will result in a kill, while a shot to the legs will only damage your opponent. I'd go into the exact numbers, but DICE changes them so often that the specifics may be different by the time this is even posted. That's your basic damage model, though. It's also worth noting that the XBOW bolts are heavily affected by gravity. At any decent distance you'll want to aim your shots above your opponent to compensate.
How to Unlock: "Get 20 Spot Assists / Designate 10 Vehicles / Get 1 Designated Assist"
If you've been playing BF3 for any length of time then the spot assists should be second nature. To put it bluntly, if you aren't already spotting enemies for your team then you're not a true BF3 player. On consoles you spot enemies with the Back or Select button. It sounds awkward, but similar to switching between face buttons and the right stick it becomes second nature pretty quickly. Keep in mind that a teammate will actually have to kill your spotted enemy to earn a spot assist. Always be spotting and you'll have it in no time!
The best way to designate vehicles is by going into the Armored Kill maps or any large vehicle maps like Caspian Border. You'll need a Sniper class with the SOFLAM unlocked. Then, just set up somewhere and watch the target designations fly. At some point in the attempt to designate 10 vehicles, an engineer on your team will likely use that designation to destroy a vehicle with their Javelin. While you're at it, try to get a few kills with the sniper rifle since you'll need those later.
Using the Scan Bolt:
The Scan Bolt might be my favorite unlockable for the XBOW. Remember the motion sensor balls from Bad Company 2? Imagine those, but less persistent. Simply fire the bolt into a hot zone and any enemies in the area will be marked on your mini-map. The effect is an instant, one-time mark, but it's enough to get your bearings and you've got enough bolts that you can just shoot them everywhere. The Scan Bolt might not kill anyone, but it really shows the versatility of the XBOW. With a fully-equipped XBOW players can mark a target and then swap to their lethal bolt of choice to make the kill. Not even vehicles are safe, which brings us to our next bolt...
How to Unlock: "Get 5 kills with hand grenades / Get 5 kills with underslung grenades / Get 5 kills with C4"
Hopefully you've been throwing lots of grenades already. If so you're already on your way to the first part of unlocking the HE Bolt. Equip the Frag Specialization to carry more hand grenades and 40mm grenades and it should be a bit easier.
For 5 kills with underslung grenades, use the Assault class and equip your rifle with the Underslung Rail and your gadget slot with the M320. Now you've got super-quick access to 40mm grenades. You'll want to get direct hits with these, though splash damage can certainly finish off weakened opponents. Also note that the M320 is king when it comes to knocking down walls and other obstructions, so make sure you let campers know what's up. While you're at it, aim for headshots with your rifle to make some progress towards later assignments.
Getting 5 C4 kills might be the most fun. Grab a Support class with C4 and the Sprint Specialization equipped and put on your sneaking suit—you're hunting tanks. Find an enemy tank (on the maps that have them...Back to Karkand maps are reliable for this), use the environment to sneak around to their side or back, toss three C4 packs on the tank and detonate them immediately. Don't waste your time trying to get out of the explosion alive, you're just limiting your chances for success. Tanks and other large vehicles almost always net you a double kill or more, so play your cards right and you'll be there in no time.
Using the HE Bolt:
The HE bolt is an explosive-tipped bolt that's great for excessive force against enemy soldiers and surprisingly decent damage against vehicles. There are certainly quicker ways to take out a tank, but neither the Assault class or the Recon class have anything this good for actually damaging vehicles. It'll take approximately four HE Bolts to the rear-end of a tank to take it out. If they're already on to you that's not nearly a fair fight, but if the tank is already dealing with pesky Engineers or your own tanks, one HE Bolt can easily finish it off. Smaller vehicles are disabled immediately from one bolt. You can even take out helicopters with it, though this bolt is heavier than the others and it drops like a brick. You won't be sniping anyone with this thing. But again, that doesn't matter because it's just one piece of a larger tool kit which you can unlock more of on page 2...