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11 ways to not be an idiot in Battlefield 3 multiplayer

With Battlefield 3 having sold more copies at launch than all of the other games in the series combined, there are obviously going to be a lot of new players getting involved in the legendary BF multiplayer for the the first time right about now. This is a good thing. New blood and new people with whom to share the rich tapestry of incendiary wonders that is Battlefield. Positive stuff.

But Battlefield can be confusing at first. Over-awing, in fact. There are many things you need to learn to do, and many thing to need to learn to absolutely not do ever. It isn't like other multiplayer shooters, but its rewards are much greater. So I've compiled here a crash course of tactics, tricks, etiquette and basic good Battlefield manners to make sure that you're both useful and well-liked in the fight. It'll make you better at Battlefield, and it'll make you a better human being overall.

1. Don’t fly the chopper if you can't fly the chopper

Seriously, don’t do it. I know it’s tempting to sprint from your base deployment directly to that big shiny whirly-bird ahead of you the very first time you play Battlefield 3 online. You want to be the cool one. You want to be the soaring, unseen killer. You want to be the guy raining flame and death from above in your nigh-impervious, vengeful sky-chariot. You want to be the guy who gets the chirpy salutes and earnest, meaningful, slow nods from your team, as you fly away into the sunset knowing that once again it was your safe transportation that got your men where they needed to go, and got them there safe.

But seriously, those things are a f*cker to control at first, and if you don’t get some solo practice in before you set yourself up as the bus driver of the heavens you’ll just plough your entire squad down into a barbeque of twisted metal and disappointment within seconds of lifting off. And that’s going to give the group respawn a really bloody awkward atmosphere. 

2. Don't drive off in the jeep if it isn’t full

There’s a reason it has multiple seats. If you hear gunfire coming from behind you as you speed from your base the second after your battle-eager arse hits the driver’s seat, it’s not because the enemy have suddenly appeared. It’s because you’ve accelerated an empty car away from a few prospective wing-men who don't have head-sets, just as they got close enough to see the ‘Enter vehicle’ button prompt. And they’re now really, really pissed off with you. And they’re right to be. You’re a twat.

Oh yeah, treat a jeep as a special personal transportation meant just for you if you want to. But good luck when an unexpected hail of gunfire leads to a flaming radiator and you realise that you left your vehicle-fixing Engineer jogging along in your dust three quarters of a mile back.

3. Don't f*ck with a tank unless you have heavy explosives

Don’t. Just don’t. If you’re not carrying anything in the way of C4 or rockets, treat the incoming rumble of caterpillar tracks as you would the sound of a volcano beginning to erupt underneath your feet. A tank cannot be bargained with. It cannot be reasoned with. It absolutely will not stop, ever, until it has mulched you into fertiliser and posted you back to your mum with a note saying “HA HA!” in really big lettering so that she has a cry. And it won’t even care.

Seriously, pick your battles. There’s enough going on at any point in a Battlefield game that you can always fall back, regroup, and find a new purpose elsewhere. Or else team up with an Engineer, come back properly equipped (having spotted the tank to track him), and blast that f*cker to Pluto before mopping up his stinking, cowardly crew as they bail out. They were going to make your mum cry. They deserve it.

4. Capture zones are bigger than you think

Don't assume that you have to be right on top of a flag in a game of Conquest in order to capture it. The viable area can actually be pretty big. Once you see the countdown ticker start, move around a bit to get a feel for where the boundaries lie. You'll find that you have more space, and therefore more cover options and more ability to set up a defensive perimeter than you might expect.

5. Respect your medic

Seriously. Your Assault guy can help you. Pay attention to him. If you knew the number of times I’ve chased down a troubled friendly squad in order to help them out, risking life and limb by sprinting through an unholy horizontal rain of lead in order to reach the building in which they’re hunkered down, only to have them ignore my medkits and immediately sprint out into yet another hail of gunfire and become immediately 100% less living… Well, you’d know a big number and it would make you feel sorry for me.

Pay attention to which classes are around you and act accordingly. They might be trying to help you. In fact if they’re even a half-decent Battlefield player, they definitely are.

6. Don't kamikaze with a tank

If you’re in a tank, you should know that it’s not just the blunt force implement it at first appears. Yes, it’s tempting to just wade up to an objective and start pummelling away until everyone, including yourself, is dead, but there’s not a great deal of point in that, especially if you’re on the attacking team in a Rush game. Remain stationary in a contested spot, and the opposing team will just roll in a tank of their own and initiate a pointless, attritional Mexican stand-off, in which both tanks have a 50% chance of losing, and in which neither battle-beast really does any overall good due to being forcibly tied up with fighting its opposite number.

No, as a tank driver, you want to be a rolling threat, there to intimidate clusters of the enemy away in order to pave the way for your ground troops. You want to scatter the opposition to allow your troops to more easily cement their presence at an objective, before you move on to herd around the wider fight as you see fit. See yourself as a big violent sheep dog. With massive guns. Do it that way, keep an Engineer on your crew for repairs, and you can have a long-term, persistent effect on the battle while seriously saving on the respawns. If you park up and just start firing, you’re simply turning yourself into a big flaming roadblock with a very limited lifespan.

36 comments

  • Emprasoforvio - February 26, 2012 10:15 p.m.

    I always spot,, Is like Ohai.. *Enemy RPG spotted* then 2 seconds later see all crosshairs pointed at him.. and all the fire in the world is being subjected to that position.. Is awesome XD
  • zd24 - November 9, 2011 3:53 p.m.

    i object, my rocket launchers are always hot for men and tanks and helos i pick them off from across maps just like in Bad Co. 2, platinum star carl gustavs with 96% accuracy dont lie
  • Joco84 - November 9, 2011 11 a.m.

    I do all the above and love when a squad works together - no other games does this. I cant stress enough, people have to spot the enemy. It's done using the back/select button. I use it more than the fire button and it helps the team so much find the enemy. Any European ps3 players want to play some good squad action, feel free to add me on PSN: Joco84 (mention BF3 or I wont accept)
  • secher_nbiw - November 9, 2011 4:20 a.m.

    5.1- Don't revive someone in the middle of a firefight.
  • mothbanquet - November 10, 2011 6:54 a.m.

    Correction - don't accept a revive in the middle of a firefight. I've forgotten that I can say no so many times already...
  • MusesofMe - November 9, 2011 3:14 a.m.

    I can fly jets so good that I can literally go for extended periods of time without crashing them into the floor. Killing anyone with the damn things is another story though. I can't even get near another jet fighter... :(
  • mothbanquet - November 10, 2011 6:52 a.m.

    Sometimes that's good enough - stops enemy planes from killing me when I'm in a tank!
  • VTheSystemV - November 9, 2011 3:04 a.m.

    There isn't an I in TEAM, but there are 5 Is in INDIVIDUAL BRILLIANCE. Something that isn't really great to have in Battlefield.
  • Pwnz0r3d - November 8, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/7/17 That there, is the bane of every experienced Battlefield player's existence. It applies both to jets and choppers (more-so jets) Playing the game like Call of Duty will get you killed in roughly 3 seconds. (i actually tried this.) You have to move slowly, stay low, run from cover to cover, and prioritize. If you see a friendly squad getting mowed down by a tank, spot it, and call an engineer in to your position, as chances are the tank won't mess with you until the squad it's currently engaging is all dead, which will be very soon. As a sniper, always scan the horizon for any enemy snipers FIRST before taking on support and assault classes. Taking one of them out is a good call, but there's always going to be one replacing them instantly once an enemy sniper sees your muzzle flash. And for the love of God, don't rush the bombsites or objectives without eliminating enemy presence and securing the immediate area. You will all die, and the bomb will get defused faster than you can say "WTF NOOOOO!!" And yes, we covered spotting. Just do it, don't ask why. Another peeve of mine is a squad's preference to stick to one class for the whole game. Your buddies aren't going to help you or the whole team if they're all recon and you're the only medic. Learn to switch classes on the fly, it can prove to be very beneficial to not just you or your squad, but to the whole team and the outcome of the battle as well.
  • Logic - November 8, 2011 2:18 p.m.

    Something I learned playing Battlefield: Vietnam was that helicopters are for picking up turret boats and using them as flying sniper positions. Can you still do that? If so, I'm getting BF3.
  • ChaosEternal - November 8, 2011 6:51 p.m.

    Ah, helicopter boat sniping. Such fun. :3 And then you can also attach a tank instead. Not as useful, but what is better than a flying tank?
  • D0CCON - November 8, 2011 1:51 p.m.

    Another thing, when somebody is asking you for ammo/medkits, please stop ignoring it and help them! It gives you points dammit! Especially when that guy is an engineer and is out of rockets and there is a tank and you can give him more rockets which will let him kill the tank and let you kill the stragglers if he misses any. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK!!! (guess who plays the engineer class a lot?)
  • mothbanquet - November 9, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    On so many maps establishing air dominance can be key to eventual success. So when I'm the only guy on my team using Stingers then I expect at least one of the 5 supports to feed me missiles!! Or is it too much to ask? Am I just being selfish?!! >.<
  • xtech1 - November 8, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    I love this. It points out so many things I wish people would do in the game. Two things I would add are: 1. More spotting. Seriously it only takes a second and it helps out your team. It especially helps people in jets and helicopters find ground targets. Also, don't forget to spot enemy aircraft. It helps the engineers and and friendly pilots take them out sooner. 2. Add this to the don't fly the helicopter part. Don't fly the jet if you don't know how. This cant be even harder to master because of the maneuvers you will have to pull in dogfights. Taking the jet only prevents the good pilots, who probably have things like the laser-guided missile to help them take out ground targets, from help the team. (I realize you cant get better if you don't fly, though. So, get your practice in in a conquest game where there are two jets per team.)
  • lilspooky - November 8, 2011 11:18 a.m.

    There is no "I" in team, but there is a "ME". I kid, I kid. Protip: Put ammo packs and/or med pack on a jeeps hood, mobile ammo and health center.
  • TheMasterJeef - November 8, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    Good pointers for the uninitiated. Some more helpful advice: As someone else said, more spotting please! If there are other engineers in your squad, try and get a mix of those with ground based rocket launchers and surface to air rocket launchers. Especially on the bigger maps. However (or should that be luckily?) most of those people obsessed with k/d ratios or who don't give a hoot about objectives will be playing a certain other game. Modern Warfare 2.5 wasn't it? ;)
  • mothbanquet - November 9, 2011 8:08 a.m.

    You are absolutely right. I've said this time and again though - they should have done away with KDR entirely and focused purely on win/lose ratio or some way to measure usefulness in the team other than the MVP ribbons. While there is a KDR to worry about there will ALWAYS be a distraction, something that will stop teamwork being a priority. Seriously, leave stats like that in purely competitive games where they belong...
  • Counternub - November 8, 2011 10:07 a.m.

    I took my helicopter and threw it on the "gound".
  • morbid237 - November 8, 2011 9:17 a.m.

    EA should print this up and include it in every copy of the game, or dice should have something like this in the menu screen; hopefully a lot of the moronic players will switch over to mw3 today.
  • Corsair89 - November 8, 2011 8 a.m.

    The guide to not being an idiot in Battlefield 3's Co-op is much shorter: USE YOUR F*CKING MIC!!! Goddamn, these f*cking mute jackasses are everywhere. Communication is especially essential on hard or if you're going for achievements. So please everyone, use the mic!

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