Battlefield 3 has been out for a little while now, and if you didn't get in on the ground floor or you've never played a Battlefield game before, you might find yourself hitting your head against the walls of Operation Metro's subways. Before you toss the disc in the trash and proclaim premature love for Modern Warfare 3, check out these ten tips meant to make you win more often and have more fun, even when you're losing.
10 – Always Be in a Full Squad
A squad is the foundation of fun and success in Battlefield 3. The only problem is that you have to deal with that pesky squad menu in order to take advantage of it. Those few moments of frustration are worth the trouble, though, as a squad can make everything less painful. Even if you don't chat with them, a squad gives you a way to spawn closer to the action, and gain more direct help from your teammates. As squad leader, always spot the objective you're heading for (with Back on 360, Select on PS3, or Q on PC), as it will give your squadmates some direction, and net you a few extra points.
9 – Know Your Role
Each class in the game has some base traits that set them apart, even at level 1. It's important to constantly remind yourself of what makes your class special and always take advantage of it. At first, that means always dropping health packs as Assault, healing and destroying vehicles as an Engineer, dropping ammo as Support, and finding clever hiding spots for the mobile spawn point with Recon. As you level up, you'll want to continue specializing. A well-placed land mine, a building-crumbling grenade launcher round, or an intel-gathering MAV can turn a game around.
8 – Forget About Kill/Death Ratios
Yes, we know, it's fun to kill people. A high kill/death ratio is like a universal language of awesomeness across all first-person shooters. In Battlefield 3, however, it's more like icing on the cake than the key ingredient to victory pie. You don't want to die too often, because that will eventually hurt your chances of victory, but I've seen players with zero kills and eight deaths go on to be the MVP of a winning team. It's all about capturing objectives, keeping your team alive and stocked up, and spotting your enemies as much as possible.
7 – Adjust Your Flight Controls
I'm guilty of (as recently as last night, no less), careening a helicopter into the ground in an embarrassing manner. It happens, it sucks, and sometimes it makes you want to avoid flying vehicles altogether. What you don't know is that you might be an ace pilot in the making, as long as you get a chance to experiment a bit. Everyone who flies helicopters and jets regularly has a different control scheme they like, and it's all about finding one you feel relatively comfortable with. If you try them all and you're still crashing…well, then it might be time to keep your feet on the ground.
6 – Learn to Love the Noob Tubes
Grenade launchers get a bad rap in other games, because while everyone else is trying to kill people with bullets, a grenade launcher is sort of like a bullet that explodes on impact. Kill/Death ratio whores might tell you that's the case in BF3 as well, but don't listen to them. A grenade launcher, rocket launcher, C4, hell, really any explosive can be used to destroy cover, suppress an assault, and open new avenues of attack. Too many matches turn into stalemates because the defending team holes up in a building and snipes everyone. Don't let them do this! Send explosives their way and turn those tiny windows into dust. If you're attacking and find your team getting mowed down in the same narrow path again and again, use explosives to knock down barriers and open up flanking opportunities. Speaking of which…
5 – Explore Your Flanks, Check Your Six
Battlefield takes its name quite seriously. These aren't “maps” you're fighting in, these are places–battlefields, if you will. It's important to remember this because the objectives and firefights might be concentrated in small areas, but most maps have tons of extra space to run around in on the fringes. You should absolutely sneak around in these areas and search for flanking opportunities. Conversely, be aware that as players get better at the game, they'll start doing this too, so always keep an eye out for enemies in unlikely places.
4 – Turn Silly Battlefield Moments Into Victory
It's number four, but in a way this might be the most important tip. There are so many variables in a Battlefield match that there's an almost infinite possibility for shenanigans. The magic is that you can turn ridiculous A-Team-esque nonsense into a game-winning play. So don't take things so seriously, and do put some C4 on your jeep, fire rockets while parachuting, kamikaze jets into unsuspecting helicopters, and kill an enemy tank with your engineer repair tool.
3 – Play the Class No One Else is Playing
This is especially important on consoles, because less players means less players fulfilling specific roles. Don't ever assume someone will eventually kill an enemy vehicle, because they probably won't. Just switch to Engineer for one spawn and reap the rewards of a destroyed vehicle. Are you constantly low on ammo? Well your teammates probably are too, so switch to Support and start tossing ammo boxes. Try to forget about having a favorite class because your stubborn specialization will always leave your team vulnerable to exploitation.
2 – PTFO
PTFO is a popular term in the Battlefield community that sums up almost everything I've said so far: “Play the F***ing Objective.” Everything you do in Battlefield should be helping your team get closer to Conquest capture points, or arming/disarming MCOMMs in Rush. It's also a good reminder that while DICE added Deathmatch modes to Battlefield, you're wasting your time by playing them.
1 – Always Be Spotting
This is the most important Battlefield 3 tip, because no one does it. By highlighting an enemy and pressing Back on 360, Select on PS3, or Q on PC, the enemy is marked with an orange triangle FOR YOUR ENTIRE TEAM. Telling your team where the enemies are is more important than killing them, because if you fail (and you often will) you still have something to show if your teammates know where to shoot. You should always spot first and shoot second, always spot vehicles, always spot jets and helicopters when you're between objectives, and last, but not least, always spot. Always be spotting. Spot, spot, spot. Please, I'm begging you, just do it.
Now get back on the Battlefield and have some fun (also spot).