Battlefield 4 Beta - 10 multiplayer tips to help you survive in Shanghai

Don't be this guy

Pay attention, soldier--this could save your life. The Battlefield 4 Beta has been running for 3 days now, and the most hardcore players in the world have been practicing their aim, learning the map, and earning mega-kit. Theyre the ones who paid for Battlefield Premium, or the ones who loved Battlefield so much that they actually bought Medal of Honor Warfighter to get early access to the Beta (because God knows there was no other reason to pay money for that game).

Its a meat grinder out there, and its going to be tough to compete if youre just joining in. Lucky, your friends at GamesRadar have been playing the Beta since Tuesday too. We know all the tricks, weve worked out the best tactics, and weve got 10 pieces of advice that just might save your life. Or save you from total humiliation anyway. Remember, we died repeatedly all week so you dont have to

Here are the times that the various Battlefield 4 Beta's go live today, 4 October:
PC (worldwide)--9am UK time / 1am PDT
Xbox 360 (worldwide)--10am-2pm UK time / 2am-6am PDT
PS3 (UK only)--3pm-7pm UK time
PS3 (US only)--11am PDT

1. The skyscraper is a blood-bath

Everyone wants a piece of the skyscraper on Siege of Shanghai. On ground level, the supports are constantly being shelled by tanks, so youre likely to pick up splash and suppression damage. If youre going in, dont sneak around the front or back--just get straight in. Theres usually enough to cover to keep you safe until you grab an elevator. The lifts at the front take you to the penthouse level, while the lifts at the back go to the roof. Our advice--always go to the roof. Snipers constantly land on the roof, and youre easy pickings for them at penthouse level. Clear them away before trying to grab the Conquest point at C. Oh, and watch out for Support and Assault troops camping the lift exits. More advice: dont bother with C until the building comes down (unless you have to). The rubble is easier to attack, and youll lose fewer tickets contesting it.

2. Turn off your laser sight

While the laser sight isnt a glaring red dot when it hits a wall, it can easily give your position away as you run around the many interior locations of the Shanghai map. Camping somewhere? Yeah, its still giving your position away--we can see the winking red light. We found it best to switch the sight off, or opt for ironsights in the load-out screen straight away. Its unlocked for entry-level kit, and character load-outs default to red-dot sight, so just be aware that its there every time you spawn. Same applies to flashlights for Recons. Youre 100% more difficult to spot if youre camped out on a rooftop without your flashlight winking at the world.

3. Spot, suppress, and support

Be a team player--you get so many points for it. This may sound painfully obvious to long-time BF players, but it staggers us that so many people still dont bother to spot enemies or use support items. Each time someone kills an enemy that you spotted, you bank 25 points. Each time you lay down ammo as Support, or a Medkit as Assault you get 10 points per resupply. Its easy, easy points people, and it helps your team. Just. Do. It. Dont forget that suppression is another great way to earn points and keep yourself and your team alive. Doesnt matter that you cant hit someone prone behind a wall. Keep them suppressed and 9 times out of 10 youll see a friend take them out, earning you mega-points, especially if you spotted them too.

4. Get help

Again, this is something that seems so obvious, yet happens so rarely. Ask for help. If you need ammo, point your sights at the nearest Support soldier and hit the spot button / key. Ditto if you need to replenish health in a hurry and happen to be stood next to an Assault player. If theyre in your squad, the support-points you earn are doubled. Are you in a tank and need some repair? Get the nearest Engineer involved, because they get plenty of points for keeping you alive too. On that note: dont drive away from an Engineer who is repairing you. Alone you will die, and so will he (because youve just left him exposed to whoever was gunning for you), but together you fight off 90% of all threats.

5. Swimming is your friend

Heres a familiar scenario in the BF4 Beta. Youre losing. Your team holds Conquest points A and B, but the enemy has D and E, and youre losing loads of tickets trying to snatch back C. Dont throw your body into the grinder. Dont run across the bridges to D--youll die. Instead, take the time to swim across the water and aim to capture E. When the enemy attention is soaked up with holding the centre of the map, they usually leave the back door open. Take a wide route, dont go near the skyscraper, and youll avoid detection almost every time. You can duck underwater for short periods by using the prone button / key. Just dont forget that you need to hit jump to resurface or youll drown. Take E (or A, if youre attacking from that side of the map) and you swing the game in your favour.

6. Knife kills are not your friend

Ok, theres mixed reaction to the knife counter-kills. Sure, its great to pull one off, but intensely frustrating if youve spent time and effort sneaking around a foe only to have the kill turned back on you. Our advice? Dont do it unless youre absolutely sure that youre hitting an enemy squarely from behind (negating their ability to counter). Weve seen countless one-on-ones go horribly wrong for the sake of a knife kill, and weve seen Conquest points lost completely because someone screwed up in the hunt for glory. Yeah, its great to own another players dogtag, but it might cost you the game if you mess up.

7. Don't use tanks as sniper rifles

Tanks are powerful vehicles on the Shanghai map. They can smash open buildings, hold positions in the tighter streets, and bring down squads of enemy soldiers. Theyre the key to capturing 4 of the 5 points on PC (2 of 3 on console). So dont steal one, sit in the corner of the map, and use it to snipe at people on the far shore. Yes, youll get some kills, but youll leave your team painfully exposed without armour support and wont help to win the actual game. And they will hate you for it. If you want to snipe, do it with a rifle, and leave the tanks for the big boys.

8. Know your elevator exit

Ha--this ones a simple, but vital piece of advice. You enter an elevator through one set of doors, and exit through the others. If youre facing the wrong way when you reach the roof of a skyscraper or other building, chances are that youll die straight away. In a sadistic twist, elevators chime when they arrive at the roof of the skyscraper, so enemies know youve arrived. Other things to watch out for: people throw grenades and plant C4 at elevator exits, so dont stand right by the door. And watch out for players camped out near the exits. We even saw someone park a helicopter next to one lift, with the minigun hosing anyone who tried to exit. Dirty tricks. Oh, and be aware that if youre taking the elevator to the very top of the skyscraper, the doors open on both sides, so er, be lucky.

9. Assume every roof has a sniper on it

Just assume that, at any given time, someone is sat on a roof trying to shoot at you. Not a huge problem on console, because sniping is tough on a pad. On PC, though, its an issue. There are several ways to deal with it. First off, get to the top of the skyscraper and leap off--youll be able to access any roof from there, and should be able to pick off most Recons unseen. Secondly, some buildings (like the shopping mall) have a lift to the roof. Use it. Thirdly, and we dont advise doing this unless youre absolutely smashing the enemy or the sniping is a huge issue: use choppers to land on each roof and murder the snipers. You could try and shoot them off, but the player with the most height will always have the upper hand, and youre vulnerable to being picked off while youre engaged in a long-range tussle.

10. Get your settings right

Final piece of advice is to make sure youve got everything just how you like it. Yes, its nice to run everything on Ultra if you can, but is that dipping into your frame-rate? We had no trouble running the game on High, but did suffer while we were capturing footage in the background. We know some PC owners have had issues with the game freezing--thats all to do with driver and software updates. We kept our hardware up to date every time we switched on the machine, and didnt experience any major technical issues. Of course, if youre running on console, youre ready to go--be aware that youll probably experience a lot of texture pop-in. We did.

You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!

Feel more confident about joining the Battlefield 4 Beta now? No? Oh, just show up and have some fun. Your stats wont carry over into the full game so nows the time to experiment and find out the classes and load-outs that work for you.

Want more hot Battlefield 4 features? Heres a look at 7 Awesome Things Weve Done In The BF4 Beta and, for reference, heres Everything We Know About Battlefield 4. See you online.

Andy Hartup