Battlefield 3 Tactics to get you started

Battlefield 3 is DICE/EA’s latest Battlefield Game. There have been many to come before this one but this is clearly the cutting edge of First Person war-related shooters. There are tanks, planes, light vehicles, artillery, soldiers and all manner of equipment simulated. Its an amazing collection of tools, objectives and terrain effects. It is such a collection that it can be hard for the beginner to fit in. These tips apply to the XBOX 360 version of the game. They may apply to other platforms but may not. YMMV.

This article is about giving advice to the new person about how to level up and get proficient so that each game isn’t about watching yourself get killed after 10 seconds or less of play over and over again.

Game Types

There are 4 game types: Rush, Conquest, Team Deathmatch, Squad Deathmatch and Squad Rush. Each plays very differently and each offers unique challenges. For the beginner I highly suggest Team Deathmatch or Squad Deathmatch. The reasons are simple. You start off as inexperienced in 4 categories (Assault/Medic, Engineer, Support, Recon.) The weapons you start with are plain. Each weapon has a path of progression. As you get kills with the weapon you earn the accessories that come with it. Weapons have between 12 and 18 possible accessories you can get for them. At some point each weapon gets a set of accessories that make its ultimate configuration for a task at hand. Here is what you will face in each gametype. The deathmatch games focus on killing infantry with small arms. If you want to level up your small arms these are the game types to choose. Acccept no substitutes!

Rush: In rush a defender defends a series of objectives in stages. Each stage has an Alpha and Bravo target. The aggressor is trying to get men on those objectives and taking a few seconds to activate explosives on them. The defender then has seconds to get in there and deactivate them or lose the target. The aggressor has 75 lives and the defender has unlimited lives. It seems like an easy win for the defender but in reality the defender has two lives at each stage, Alpha and Bravo. In that context it is clear what the weakness of defense is. In order to make it to the end of the aggressor’s 75 lives the defender had to inflict as much pain and harm on the aggressor as possible as they take more or less predictable routes to the targets. It is a glorious thing for the aggressor if they blow the last and final target.

Conquest: In Conquest there are 3-5 objective areas. Each team has a set number of tickets. Each time you lose a life your team loses a ticket. If the enemy has >50% of the objectives under control then your team loses a ticket every 5-8 seconds! There is a point of diminishing returns in trying to hold everything instead of just >50% of the objectives. That said, the processeses of taking and then holding objectives are quite different and can utilized the whole range of weapon types in the game. Conquest games have the most vehicles. If you want to learn the art of flying jets and helicopters, driving boats, tanks and jeeps then this is the game type for you. Tank Hunting is worth it’s own article.

Team Deathmatch: this is the best way to level up your arms. Its all about killing the enemy. The spawn points on some maps rotate, causing a situation where you could spawn right near the enemy and vice versa. You have to keep  on your toes! It is chaotic but fun.

Squad Deathmatch: This is one of the toughest game types and teaches the most valuable lesson – how to play with your squad correctly. The squads that don’t break into lone wolves but instead support each other with ammo, health, spotting and heavy fire power are the ones that win. There is one vehicle that respawns on the map. The squad that controls it tends to get the most kills. Being good at coordinating to take vehicles, keeping them alive and operating them correctly such that your enemies lament your very presence is vital.

Squad Rush: This is the game I need more time with. Basically, it’s a mini version of Rush and is much more tactical, requiring great skill among your teammates to operate together. Everyone must contribute to the final victory. Anyone from beginner to expert can aid in that and learning the skills needed is easier in this environment. You aren’t tossed into a target rich environment and so each tactical problem is neatly packaged.

Small Arms

Besides accessories there is the combat modeling of small arms. In many games, such as Modern Warfare, the bullet goes where the cursor is pointed. This is, of course, unrealistic as gravity comes into play. Bullets in real life drop. They follow a parabolic curve and over distance they slow down and lose energy via friction. Each weapon system is differentiated by a model that covers the CEP (circular error probable) of the weapon. This means that the bullet will hit something inside of a circle of a given size at a given range 50% of the time. So when you shoot you want to consider two things – the CEP and the bullet drop. There is nothing you can do about the CEP of a given weapon. Shotguns have a huge CEP meaning after about 50 yards the circle becomes pretty large, being larger than a man-sized target around 70-80 yards out. An M16 had a CEP about the size of your head at 100 yards. So a shot at someone’s face at 100 yards has a 50% chance of getting a head shot if bullet drop is compensated for. If you are using a telescopic scope you can actually see the bullet drop. A good marksman learns how much bullet drop to anticipate which dictates the “hold-over” gap they should have above the target at distance. At medium and close range this isn’t a big deal. A target that is 50 meters away isn’t hard to hit and bullet drop is a pixel or two. Getting hits at longer distances that are effective requires adjusting your aim point up. We call this hold-over and it works in real life as well.

So as the beginner start as the assault class with it’s M16. Its a great weapon to begin with. Keep your shots at close to medium distance targets. The iron sights are a bit of a chore but if you are really close you don’t need to engage them (left-trigger throws the weapon in aimed fire mode – without it you are hip firing.) The best hip firing tactic is to use very short controlled bursts. Just tapping the right trigger will get you the right amount of fire. The weapon will become grossly inaccurate with full auto fire. Doing 5 quarter-second bursts is far better than a 1.5 second burst from hip fire. Even aimed fire can be inaccurate with long bursts. There are ways to compensate for this with accessories. Let’s look at what gifts can be yours if you stay faithful to your Rifle. Like in Full Metal Jacket I suggest you name your rifle and make it your girlfriend through these exercises. Be faithly to your Rifle and she will be faithful to you as you graduate from noob to Minister of Death!

Here are the things you can earn while being faithful to your M16 rifle:





The first 30 kills generate the ACOG, Heavy Barrel and Foregrip in that order (10,20,30). This combination produces a platform that can transition from medium to long range with ease. The first, the ACOG is a weapon sight with 4x magnification and a bullet drop reticle that makes taking distant shots a lot easier. For close shots don’t aim and use short burst hip fire. For those medium and longer shots magnify. The heavy barrel aids accuracy making the already good CEP even tighter! The problem is that it also means you are using better bullets with more kick (what are known as “match” ammunition – in other words ammo you’d load up to got to a competitive shooting match for its strength and accuracy.) This means that barrel climb is significantly increased so when equipped keeping bursts short is more critical. The benefit is that getting headshots for the instant kill are easier. When you finally get the foregrip you have much greater accuracy. The other solution is to start aiming lower and letting barrel climb take your point of impact from the chest up to the head. Generally my thinking on automatic weapons fire follows this. Single shot weapons I hold over and automatic weapons I aim lower and allow for climb.

The D-Pad controls some interesting aspects of your weapon’s operating system. By using DOWN-DPAD you will change the fire mode of the M16 from auto to “selective fire” (aka single shot fire). For distant targets you seem to be failing to hit with aimed fire, go to selective fire, aimed fire and take individual shots. What was once out of reach you are now introducing to a World of Shit. Keep it up. Eliminate your foe. Make them watch you on death cam and curse this damn game! They deserve no less than your full wrath.

At 40 kills which you have taken with total impunity because you now have become one with your weapon you will get the first monkey wrench. It’s the tactical light. The use of this weapon addon comes with caveats. The first is, at distance not only will the enemy see you, they will know what direction you are facing. The use of this device is limited to a few situations. The first is you want to be close to the enemy. How close? You want to smell the oder of their last breath as you waste them kinda close. The light is good at illuminating dark building interiors but mainly it’s use is to blind the enemy. The light is extremely bright and causes pretty massive blooming in the visual spectrum up close. This means that getting an easy headshot when being blinded by the light is hard. However if you are blinding them you can make them seen an entirely different light – the light emitted by the death cam as they again curse this damn game!

Now, the light is an awesome tool up close but if there aren’t any enemies near by and you want to be concealed, don’t worry there is a solution. UP-DPAD will toggle the light on and off. You can control when it is on or off easily. As it should be.

At 50 kills you get the REFLX RDX optic. This allows for quick sighting of targets at close range. It will make the rifle worth shit at long range. Add the Sprint specialty so you can move fast and this combo will allow you to charge the enemy and weed out the non-hackers who can’t pack the gear to play this game! While your own life will be short using this tactic, on some game types it is preferable to be full on aggressive than not. For example lets say you are playing Rush and some ass-grabbing piece of slime is going for one of the targets with the help of friends. While they are concentrating on getting hands on your beloved objective go full on ape shit aggressive, charging the target and snap firing at each and everyone of them. You will get kills and importantly you will get them suppressed and this is another important subject.


Suppression is represented in the game as a loss of fine motor skills, clear vision and loss of speed of movement. The more you suppress a target the less likely they will be able to accomplish their own wishes or react to your actions. Some weapons lay down suppression like a hard heart that kills. The LMG class weapons excel at this. Suppressed targets are easy to kill. With a teammate in the back laying down ungodly fire upon the enemy you can move in and mop them up. Knowing a target will be important and will attract the enemy makes for an opportunity for a support gunner to find a good place to set up and make hell come to a very small place. Sniper weapons are also fantastic suppression weapons and eventually you will earn a skill to improve your ability to cause suppression.

One upgrade that any weapon can get is the bi-pod. This is a great device if you know its secrets. This is especially useful for suppression. The bipod steadies even the most violently jumping weapons in your arsenal. Equip them and kneel or stand at a wall or go prone on flat terrain and the bi-pod will activate when you go into aimed fire. If it doesn’t adjust position or stance and reaim. Once equipped, your weapon will have a limited 90 degree arc of fire. However it will also be a steady source of instant death. The first LMG, the M249 with a bi-pod can be the most effective weapon you have in your first 10 levels of game play. In the right position on the right map you can reap thousands of points from kills and suppression kill assists. Add the right optic and the range at which you will be tearing off the balls of the enemy so that they cannot contaminate the World will be impressive.

Long-Range Weapons

The art of the long range kill is one worth studying. My personal best is a headshot at 454 meters thus far. I am hoping to beat 500 yards. I know it is possible. It requires patient planning, setup and execution. Long range (8x or 12x) scopes have point of aim sway. This is natural and you can compensate for it by clicking the left stick to hold your breath if you aren’t set up with a bi-pod. Remember, know the drop at the range you are shooting for, hold over, hold breath, squeeze trigger. To gauge the drop take a shot, but not at your target (don’t want to spook them with a close shot!) and watch the bullet drop. The faster the bullet the less the drop. Even at extreme range all bullets will have significant drop but some weapons have less. The SV98, for example, is a great sniper platform but it takes 30 kills before you get the bi-pod you need for really great accuracy. Some snipers stick with that weapon for along time simply because of its great accuracy and stopping power. For very long engagements the M98, M40 and L96 are your go to guns. They are slow but good. For accurate and speed at medium to long range go with the M11 and SVD. The SVD with a low power scope, bibod and light attachment is fantastic for Metro inside the station. You have the accuracy and killing power plus the ability to engage in rushing the enemy.

Be sure to try setting up the bipod on unusual surfaces. For example it will work with building scafolding. The bi-pod can get you killed by making it hard to disengage from where you are but if you do end up in a close quarters fight hit Y and go for your pistol. The best self defense pistol is probably the M9 because it’s large capacity allows you to shoot a lot. Its low probabillity of a kill means you will need it, though. Once you are good at getting kills with it, try upgrading to something more powerful, if slower.

Well that is it for now. More to come later if people like this.


  1. Kilimanjaro69 says:

    553 yarder here! Kilimanjaro69

  2. Sweet Pete! 

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