This page is all about specific Battlefield 3 multiplayer tips, tactics and strategies. There are many sites about Battlefield 3 on the web, this is my take on how to play the game online. The text is primarily written with the Rush mode in mind as Rush is a personal preference over Conquest as it (arguably) is better suited to tight squadplay and more intense with the fighting concentrated around only two objects. Tactical teamplay in Conquest requires at least 4-6 players (on console, more on PC) who communicate with each other. Conquest players will however also find useful tips so keep on reading. The purpose of this page is to help players who often or always find themselves in the middle or on the lower half of the scoreboard to score better and win more.
- Play the objective
- Be aggressive
- Play with teamplayers
1. Play the objective
The number one most important thing to keep in mind in Battlefield 3 is to play the objective! That goes for all game modes. As attacker in Rush you shall do whatever is needed for your team to blow up the M-COM stations. Either blow it up yourself or assist someone else who is doing it. If that means taking a huge risk of being killed while delaying the defenders when they try to defuse a set bomb: So be it. You got killed but maybe the defenders never made it to the M-COM in time. That's great! Your personal k/d means nothing compared to blowing up M-COMs as attacker or depleting the attacker's reinforcement tickets as defender! Play team deathmatch instead if you want to manage a good k/d. There are lots of things you can do to aid your team when playing the objective. The tasks will vary from map to map, even from one map area to another and from one situation to another. Knowing what is best to do at a specific time and place in a match comes with experience and gameplay understanding, and we can all improve. One thing is sure though... It is pointless to ALWAYS play one class only as there is no class that does it all. Each class has great assets to bring with you to the battlefield so level them all. Do not stick with a certian weapon, class or equipment just because you want to level it when playing an objective game mode such as rush or conquest. Choose what is best for your TEAM and probability of achieving the objective, not what is best for YOU and your stats.
Start by attacking the M-COM station that is easiest to defend (hence hardest to attack) and leave the easier alternative unattended for the time being. Why? The defending team will probably spread out over a larger area for as long as both A and B are live. A more sparse resistance around the harder M-COM will make it less tough to blow up. Therefore make sure your squad keeps pushing towards that M-COM. Once it is taken, re-organize the squad for an assault on the remaining objective. There is not always a big difference in objective difficulty, but examples of high priority objectives are for instance B on the first area of both Siene Crossing and Grand Bazaar.
Once the M-COMs in one area have been blown up there is a brief waiting time until the next area opens up. If you learn to time it well, you will be able to start sprinting into the next area before it opens up and still survive. Ideally there is a margin of 2-3 seconds left of the countdown when the area is opened up. If you time the sprint successfully you will be far ahead of most of your team and can get deep into enemy territory surprisingly (for the defenders) fast. Remain unseen and there is a great chance that you will be able to plant a bomb. Exploit this possibility to quickly sneak in and set a bomb when it is given! It is perfectly ok to take such a big risk of getting killed when the team has a full account of spawn tickets. The rush will be beneficial to your team even if you fail as the quick surprise attack will put the defenders under stress: "Wow! They are already here... I killed one, but was he alone?". If you managed to plant the bomb before you were killed the whole defending team will be alerted about the attack and (probably) step back a bit. Your team mates can then progress slightly smoother. If you see a team mate rush like just described then follow him! Helping each other out obviously increases the chance of success. Be cautious though when sprinting in like this. If you see defenders heading out to truble your team but who have not seen you, then do not shoot! Just spot them for your team mates and remain unseen. Think of the sprint like a "quick attack under the radar".
Apart from the first surprise attack just described you should try to stick CLOSE to your squad mates when attacking. You cannot revive someone from a distance or supply ammo and medpacks if you are not close to them. Work as a squad and you will be rewarded as a squad as well! An attacking infantry squad consisting of three assaults plus one support that help each other out with quick revives and frequent supply of medpacks and ammo will be very hard to hold back for the defending team. If the support player is the only one still alive he can even pick up the assault equipment from a downed squad mate and start reviving his mates. REVIVE is the single most important asset to the attacking team so there need to be a VERY good reason not to pick the assault class with medpack when attacking! This is particularly true on maps with few or no vehicles like Operation Metro, Grand Bazaar and Siene Crossing. Reviving will counter depletion of reinforcement tickets and maintain the momentum of an attack. Smoke can be a good alternative to medpack when planting the bomb. It can also be used tactically to confuse the defender. Being an engineer or sniper can (in general) never be a greater asset to the attacking team than an assault who heals and revives. If you decide to spawn as engineer on a map with lots of heavy vehicles you should do so with the purpose of keeping attacking tanks rolling by staying close to them and repair. If not, pick assault. Defending is another thing, more about that later.
The recon class has the mobile spawn beacon that sometimes helps a lot if it is set up close to e.g. a narrow passage with fierce resistance. In such situations consider spawning as recon and put priority in setting up a beacon in a useful and safe-to-spawn location. Then team up with your squad again. Assist them with assist them with a spotting MAV. Once you die and spawn again the beacon will be gone. Spawn beacons can sometimes also help you cover some distance on outdoor maps that are heavily defended by ground forces. This tactic applies to maps where you spawn airborne in a parachute, e.g. Kharg Island. Spawn as recon and set up a spawn beacon near the front lines. Then move ahead quickly, don't be afraid to pick a high risk route if it comes with a potential benefit of getting close to a tactical location. The idea with this particular spawn beacon tactic is in fact to die quickly so the you can use the beacon before it is destroyed. Once you are killed, respawn as RECON again and make sure you spawn on your own beacon. You will now find yourself in a parachute above the ground war. Push the direction stick forward so that you fly as far as possible. Once on the ground your first and most important task is now to set up a new spawn beacon as soon as possible. The procedure can be repeated once more if you want to cover even more ground. Hopefully, your squad mates will realize that there is now a great spawning option in your beacon and assist you in the attack. However, I do NOT recommend using the recon as a general class. There are far too many recons out there. Most of them are sorry little bugs who just like to snipe or lack so much in gameplay skill that they get shot a lot in close combat firefights. The two most important classes in Battlefield 3 are Assault and Engineer. That goes for both Rush and Conquest. Only pick Recon temporarily when the assets of this class can help your team.
As attacker you (generally) need to be more cautious about being killed than the defenders need to. One ticket will be subtracted from your team's account of respawn tickets every time you are killed (unless someone revives you of course). The defenders have an infinite number of respawn tickets. Therefore, try not to waste respawn tickets by getting killed in unnecessary situations. E.g. don't let a sniper kill you by running on a straight line over a wide open area. Instead move from cover to cover. The beauty of Rush as game mode partly lies in the fact that you need to take risks to get rewarded. Being killed while taking a (positive) risk like trying to plant a bomb is therefore fine. Planting a bomb on an M-COM station will give you 100 points. If it blows up you will get another 500. In total it pointwise corresponds to 6 kills. If you blow up two of the bombs in one match you even get the M-COM attacker ribbon worth of 200 for it. Blow up 3-4 M-COMs, get a few kills and revives and you are probably the MVP of the match! Or... lie down far back with a scoped rifle and wet pants of fear of being killed and you will definitely end up on the lower half of the scoreboard! On second thought: No, don't do that!
You will sometimes find your squad getting killed repeatedly while trying to progress along a certain route as you encounter an enemy stronghold. You might be interested in bringing out a tank or some other vehicle that has spawned in your base. Sure it may provide useful support to the team and can be used for distracting the enemy team if handled properly. However, it is likely that there are engineers with rockets and supports with C4 waiting for you to do that. This all depends on what map(area) you are playing. In Conquest it is important to get hold of any heavy vehicle avaliable. In Rush however, this is not always the case. Remember: Play the objective. Hence it is often better to stay on foot and try to flank and sneak in though another route instead. If you get close to the M-COM and the area is safe then go for it! If not, wait for a few squad mates to spawn on you before planting the bomb. The enemy stronghold will likely break up once the bomb is planted. They will need to step back and defuse which in turn will help your team move on, fighting a less intense resistance. Being offensive and continue to tro to plant the bomb over and over again will not always get you XP (and you may die a lot), but it will help the team win.
Defending is about killing and area control. Deplete the attacker's reinforcement tickets before they blow up the M-COM stations and you will win. It doesn't matter much if you die a lot just as long as you kill a lot. The defending team need to establish a defensive perimiter around the M-COMs and shall try to truble the attackers by keeping them as far away from the M-COMs as possible. Move out quickly when the match is started or a new map area is opened. You shall in general stay between the M-COMs and the attackers. Some defenders should go far out to meet attacking infantry and vehicles at the front while others need to stay fairly close to the M-COMs and deal with attackers who jump from helicopters or sneak in by flanking. Use the minimap to get an instant overview of where your team is. Once you have got an understanding of what and where the weaknesses are: get there. It is not as important to stay close to your squad mates as it is when attacking. The general responsibilities like repairing as engineer, reviving as assault and supplying ammo as support remains. Help everyone, not just your squad mates.
There are lots of equipment available for the different classes that help the defensive team set up the perimiter: mines, claymores, C4, SOFLAM, MAV, T-UGS, etc. There is no obvious first choice of class for the defenders as the assault class is for the attackers. This is because the defenders have an infinite supply of reinforcement tickets and hence don't need to rely on revives as much as the attackers do. If you play a map without vehicles like Operation Metro there is NO point in selecting engineer (even though you get a nice bunch of RPGs). The assault has the M320 that also comes with smoke AND is capable of reviving. That setup beats RPGs when vehicles are out of the picture. However, the engineer is probably the first choice of class if the map is crowded with vehicles. As engineer you get to choose between mines and the repair torch. This is your choice. However, staying close to tanks and keeping them rolling will really strengthen your team. Take the gunner seat in a tank and be prepared to jump out and repair it when caught in a fight with an enemy tank. Set up a spawn beacon in-between A and B if you go for the recon class. It will help your squad getting to one of the M-COMs quickly for defusing a planted bomb. Supports and assaults shall spread ammo boxes and medkits around them constantly. In particular in places where team mates often cluster and around the M-COMs where lots of defenders run around.
The defensive perimiter should be adjusted to the intensity of the attacks and the number of remaining tickets for the attacking team. Let's assume that the defenders have one M-COM left to defend and the attackers only have about 15-20 tickets left. In such situations many defending players seem greedy to get a couple of last kills and move out to find someone to kill. Don't do that. Someone might flank and sneak in and plant the bomb. Instead, reduce the defensive perimiter and strengthen the defence close to the M-COM when the attackers only have about 20 tickets left. Let the layout of the map around the M-COM guide you to how large the defensive perimiter should be and where to set up ambushes, claymores, C4, etc.
Once the attackers plant a bomb you need to deal with it. Immediately! Quit messing with your SOFLAM, stop throwing out mines, leave that enemy sniper unattended for a while and so on. Get to the bomb and defuse it! It doesn't matter if the risk of getting killed is high, just do it. If you are dead, spawn on the squad mate that is closest to the bomb and assist him. Imagine that four defenders rush in for a defuse. Three of them are killed, but one survives and defuses. That's great! Of course it would have been better if all of them survived but it is achieving the objective that counts in the end. Always go for a defuse if you can. If there is a 90% risk of getting killed there is still a 10% chance of defusing and hence achieving the objective. However, if you notice that a couple of team mates already are trying to defuse you should instead cover them. Still: No matter the risk of getting killed. Put yourself in front of the ones who are defusing and try to kill attackers. Make sure they can see you well because now you want them to shoot at YOU, not at the team mates who are defusing. Yep, you were probably killed. But you indirectly played the objective by covering the defusers and you were a great team player. If you are lucky, the bomb was defused.
4. Be aggressive
If you are one of those out there who struggles with getting a decent k/d* or fighting your way up from the bottom of the scoreboard, a general advice is to be more aggressive. Compare it with driving a car: If you drive at slow speed you can be farily relaxed, adjust the radio or look at the view to the side. If you then double or triple the speed you will (have to) become much more focused. Your view is sharpened and you are much more tensed. All of your systems and mind are 100% dedicated to driving. Now apply this to gaming. You WILL score better if you are aggressive. Try it! Don't hesitate because you are afraid of getting killed even more. That may be the case at first because you are used to hiding somewhere (and often get shot or stabbed from behind?) and now you are rushing forward right into fierce battle. You will get used to it after a couple of matches and start improving. Once you get taste for an aggressive play style and intense battles you will never play like before again, that's a promise!
*) Comment: k/d depends on many things, not only your ability to aim quickly and accurate. It is also about your playstyle, ability to handle different weapons, how you read the gamplay and more. k/d is not very important in Battlefield 3 unless playing the Team Deathmatch mode. Team- and objective game stats are far more important than k/d.
5. Play with teamplayers
Battlefield 3 is a game that is designed to be played cooperatively in teams and particularly in squads. When you join a random match, make sure to find a squad that plays cooperatively. If you find yourself in a squad where the other three players are snipers and you are on the attacking side then leave the squad. The players you have joined have not understood the concept of Battlefield 3 and you will find youself attacking alone (from that squad) over and over again. This is just one example of lack of teamplay understanding. If you are repeatedly killed next to an assault squad mate and he never revives you then leave the squad. One way of controlling who you play with is by entering an empty squad and wait for other players to join it. You will be the squad leader and can kick others from the squad (not from the match) if they don't collaborate.
The best way to find appropriate people to play with is to register with Battlelog, the Facebook-like community that was launched together with the game. There you can search for a platoon (team/clan) to play with. Or start one yourself and try to recruit players to it. Find players to play with on a regular basis and you will definitely grow both individually and as a team!
Once you level to rank 23 you will start to unlock squad perks, the first one is SQD SPRNT. When you use a squad perk it will apply to the whole squad. A smart squad combines different squad perks so it is boosted in four ways. See what the other players are using and pick something else from the ones you have unlocked.
Communication is one of the most powerful weapons in itself. It allows the squad to share real time intel like: Helicopter inbound to the right, they are flanking along the shore, I'm planting B now, spawn on me I'm in a great position, etc. You can only chat with your squad when using ingame chat. If you join a platoon it is recommended that the platoon uses some kind of group chat software like Teamspeak, Ventrilo or Skype. It will allow the group to chat over multiple squads and even with players who are not in the match! A weaker team can beat a statswise better one by good communication.