Battlefield 3 Vehicles: AMTRAC Edition

Vehicles are one of the differentiators in the Battlefield franchise and one of the many reasons I love to play. Here is part four of a series of blogs in which I share some tips on how to use them. I’ve broken the classes up into offense and defense. Offense focuses on gameplay using the vehicle, defense focuses on gameplay against the vehicle.

AAV-7A1 AMTRAC

The AMTRAC's primary function is to bring troops to the front lines by acting as a mobile spawn point. It's not very fast, but it's heavily armored and comes with a grenade launcher and heavy machine gun.

Communicate

As usual, if you can coordinate efforts with a squad or team, things will go much smoother. As of this writing, the turret does not rotate freely from the turning of the body so if you can tell the driver when to hold still you'll be much more accurate.

Offense

Don't be Rambo. There's no reason to lead the attack. Instead you should provide fire support and a quick way for your team to get back into the action by spawning on you.

If you can keep the enemy in front of you it will be much easier for your teammates to repair without getting shot.

Cover the M-COM stations from a distance. The grenade launcher can be quite the deterrent to anyone trying to defuse.

Sometimes drivers forget that they can use smoke to throw off guided missiles.

The smoke looks nothing like this in BF3...

Sometimes gunners forget that there are two firing modes. Grenade launcher and machine gun. Don't forget to use the appropriate tool for the job.

Defense

AMTRAC's are slow and big. Their high profile makes them easy targets for any kind of projectile, so fire away. Javelins can be particularly effective as infantry are often hopping out of the vehicle. Any armor can easily defeat an AMTRAC from a distance. The only threat comes from the grenade launcher. If you're far enough away you'll be hard to zero in on.

If you don't have anything to destroy the AMTRAC, you can still hang out and shoot infantry that emerge.

And Here's a Video

Here's a video of my brothers and I using the AMTRAC on Wake Island Rush the other night.

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Battlefield 3 Vehicles: Mobile AA Edition

Vehicles are one of the differentiators in the Battlefield franchise and one of the many reasons I love to play. Here is part three of a series of blogs in which I share some tips on how to use them. I’ve broken the classes up into offense and defense. Offense focuses on gameplay using the vehicle, defense focuses on gameplay against the vehicle.

Many of the points made in my previous entry about main battle tanks (MBTs) and infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) are still valid here.

Mobile Anti Aircraft (MAA)

As you might imagine, mobile AA is used to take down enemy aircraft but it’s also strong against infantry lightly armored vehicles and can be effective against tanks if used correctly.

Communicate

Mobile AA is particularly effective if you’re working in tandem with an attack helicopter or armored ground force. It’s easier for you to spot enemy air units than for your buddies in the air who are probably focused on blowing up armor. Letting them know early where the enemy is coming from will give them a chance to hide or make a preemptive strike. If your helo knows where you are, they can retreat back to you for protection.

Offense

Most of the time you will have your eyes to the sky so make sure you don’t leave yourself exposed to tank shells. Keep a low profile by hiding the bulk of your vehicle behind hills or walls. A high rate of fire and lack of any noticeable bullet drop makes the autocannons ideal for taking out infantry at a distance. On maps like Caspian Border, if you’re on the US team you can cover the entire field in front of your spawn between the A and B flags in conquest mode. With the belt speed unlock you should have no problem taking down entire squads on the move.

Don’t be afraid to attack light armor and even main battle tanks with your autocannons, but be smart about it. You won’t survive a head-on slug fest with a MBT or IFV but at a distance you can whittle their health down and eventually disable and destroy them. Make sure you’re far away enough to not make an easy target. It will probably take them one or two shots to adjust their trajectory. It will make it even harder if you’re moving side to side. The high velocity of your autocannon projectiles should make tracking them easy.

If you can follow a MBT and infantry into a firefight, go for it. It can be a gamble, but your air protection and anti-infantry capabilities could pay out dividends. And having your mobile AA in a central map position will give you better sky coverage. Just don’t expect to live long if you’re not moving with a fighting force.

Defense

If you’re in the air, surprise is the key. Try to flank and attack from a direction that they won’t be looking. One pass in an attack helicopter or jet should be enough to get the job done. As long as you don’t have to fly through a hail of 30mm shells mobile AA is relatively easy to take out.

If you’re on the ground in an armored vehicle, make sure you’re facing the mobile AA. Your front armor will last a while against their relatively weak main weapon. Also, since the mobile AA rounds are not explosive, a repairing engineer on the lee side of your vehicle should be safe. The mobile AA on the other hand only has one seat so he will either be shooting at you or repairing. He probably won’t have someone else hanging around to repair.

If you’re on foot try to flank. Most of the time the mobile AA will be isolated in a field and staring at the sky. If you can get off an RPG to the side or rear armor you can disable them so they can’t escape. But make sure you don’t leave yourself exposed after your first shot. The turn speed on the mobile AA turret is fast. They will whip around and blow you away if you’re not careful.

Disclaimer

Do as I say, not as I do. Many of you have played with me on the Giant Bomb/Tested servers. I play for fun, not for a K/D ratio or high score. If you see me driving off ramps in the mobile AA it’s because god damnit this game is fun.

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Battlefield 3 Vehicles: IFV Edition

Vehicles are one of the differentiators in the Battlefield franchise and one of the many reasons I love to play. Here is part two of a series of blogs in which I share some tips on how to use them. I’ve broken the classes up into offense and defense. Offense focuses on gameplay using the vehicle, defense focuses on gameplay against the vehicle.

Many of the points made in my previous entry about main battle tanks (MBTs) are still valid here.

Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV)

Quick and maneuverable the IFV is the ideal unit to bring your squad to the front lines. It holds six soldiers which is enough for a driver, a gunner, and an additional squad of four!

Let's fight some infantry! ... That's what it means right?

Communicate

  • This cannot be stressed enough and will be a reoccurring section for every vehicle. Call out enemy positions, call out mines, call out friendlies getting gunned down, call out that C4-loaded jeep coming straight at you. This is an ideal unit for two squads to work together.

Offense

Driver

  • The need for speed. Use the boost to flank the enemy or quickly deploy infantry into combat. This is the fastest way to move infantry around the field short of a helo drop.
  • Use thermal vision to easily spot and avoid AT mines while in transit.
  • Use the ATGM Launcher or Guided MIssile to surprise enemy armor by firing it first from distance. Follow it up with your main canon to disable and destroy.
  • Like the MBT, you can shoot walls and the ground in buildings flush out enemy infantry. Look for the X that indicates you’ve done damage.
  • Oscar mike. Try not to sit in one place very long. Your armor isn’t particularly strong and you’re big enough that someone is bound to know you’re there. They’re coming for you.
  • Don’t rush to the front of a firefight. You have a high profile which makes you a pretty easy target for AT infantry. Support from a safe distance or try to flank the enemy.
  • Be careful not to drive up on top of stationary vehicles. I’ve gotten stuck a few times.
  • Ribbit. IFVs are amphibious, don't be afraid to get wet.
  • Run away! Speed is one of your greatest assets. Try hit and run tactics to surprise the enemy.

Gunner

  • Again, this position should be the lookout. Spot everything. Make sure someone isn’t flanking you. The C4 jeep or attack helicopter that blows up your fully loaded IFV will ruin your day.
  • Even though there are four more seats, most of the time it will just be you and the driver. That means it’s up to you to repair. Try to wait for a safe time to hop out but in a pinch repair from behind the vehicle.

Passenger

  • You have a weak gun and a limited view. If you don’t spot everything out of that window, you’ve failed.
  • Get out. If you’re playing conquest mode and the driver stops near a flag to capture it, get out of the IFV and spread out. Hop back in as you finish capturing for a quick getaway.

Defense

Driver

  • Generally speaking IFV drivers are in a hurry. If you’re between destinations and see one coming, spot it, lay low, and wait for it to pass. If you have an RPG, hit it from behind to disable. If you only have small arms, let it go.
  • Impatient IFV drivers won’t see mine covered roads. Use that to your advantage.

Disclaimer

Do as I say, not as I do. I’m sure many of you have seen me playing in the Giant Bomb/Tested server. I’m not a particularly serious player. You’ll often see me doing many of the things I advise against. Shouting “LET’S DO THIS!” and rushing a HMMWV through the tunnel on Damavand Peak is not a good strategy... generally speaking.

4 Comments

Battlefield 3 Vehicles: Tank Edition

Vehicles are one of the differentiators in the Battlefield franchise and one of the many reasons I love to play. Here is the start of a series of blogs in which I share some tips on how to use them. I’ve broken the classes up into offense and defense. Offense focuses on gameplay using the vehicle, defense focuses on gameplay against the vehicle.

Main Battle Tank (MBT)

Tanks pack a big punch but their slow acceleration and turret rotation speed make them unwieldy in tight spaces. Used correctly and you can dominate the battle field.

Communicate

Offense, defense, driver, gunner, it doesn’t matter. Get into a voice channel and communicate with your squad. The engineer in your squad won’t hear how loud you’re frantically hitting the spot key on a tank rolling up on your position.

Offense

Driver

Tank hunter. Go to where you’ll be the most useful. Provide support for infantry who are struggling against a MBT or IFV.

Don’t lead the charge. Move up with infantry to support you. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you’re surrounded by enemy AT infantry. That said, know when to blitz an enemy position. A tank rushing will scatter enemy infantry and make way for your infantry to move up.

Know when to pull back. Your tank is probably the only reason why the enemy isn’t overrunning your position. Use the smoke unlock and back up to evade incoming projectiles.

Face your enemy. Your front armor is the strongest, your rear armor is the weakest and your side armor is somewhere in the middle. An RPG hit in the rear will do 3x as much damage vs the front.

Prioritize targets. Take out the big threats first, MBTs, IFVs and AT infantry. If you suspect the vehicle your fighting is being repaired, place a couple of HE rounds at the ground near the rear of the tank to kill the repairman.

Range. Your shells can travel half the length of the largest maps. With the zoom optics or guided shell unlocks you should have no problem hitting distant targets in wide open maps. Remember to lead your targets and account for gravity.

Blow up stuff. If you saw someone run behind a wall or into a building, blow it up. Even when you can’t destroy cover the HE shells have area of effect damage so the wall or floor near the enemy to kill them.

Make it rain. When an HE tank shell goes off next to you, your view shakes and blurs, your ears ring, debris flies everywhere, dust clouds your vision. You’re suppressed. Keep firing shells where you think the enemy could be hiding. It will make it pretty miserable for them and sometimes they’ll break and make a run for it and give you the opportunity to gun them down.

Use the spot key. You can’t shoot everywhere at once. When you initially roll into an area and the enemy scatters you’ll have a better chance of keeping track of everyone if you spot them first.

Using the thermal vision makes it easy to spot both enemies and AT mines.

Gunner

Use the spot key. If you’re the gunner, you literally have nothing to do with your left hand but push the spot key.

Prioritize targets. Ignore MBTs and IFVs. After spotting these vehicles don’t waste your time shooting at them. You can’t hurt them anyway. Look for AT infantry to gun down.

Repair. Hopefully you brought your repair tool with you. Usually you’ll need to hop out and repair when going toe to toe with another MBT.

Always be scanning. You don’t have to worry about driving so you are free to look for enemies. Look down alleys, into windows and along fence lines. Keep your eyes peeled for infantry waiting for you to pass by and give them an open shot to your rear armor.

Watch the sky. Look out for helicopters and planes that are lining up for a strafing run. Your LMG can be effective at taking out air vehicles but don’t bother shooting at something half a map away when you should be looking out for immediate threats.

Watch your back. Unless you’re driving backwards, the driver is probably looking forward. It’s your job to look for sneaky C4 planting infantry that only want to ruin your day. If you’re extra paranoid the third person view will allow you see the sides and rear of your tank.

Defense

Use the spot key. Armor and AT infantry on your side are just itching to blow stuff up. Even mortars can destroy tanks if they’re damaged, but they won’t know where to drop their rounds if you don’t spot the tank.

Unless you’ve got something that is going to do some damage, don’t shoot the tank. Small arms fire It will just give away your position.

Flank. Hit the sides and rear armor when possible, they’re the weakest. An RPG will do ~22% damage to the front, ~44% to the side and ~60% damage to the rear. A javelin will always do ~33% damage.

Scatter. The MBT can only track one target (two with a gunner) at a time. If your whole squad runs to the same spot, you’ll all die together.

Drop some AT mines around heavily trafficked areas. One mine to disable, two to destroy.

Spawn with something to fight back with. Stop hiding behind destructible cover and bring the fight to them. If you start hitting them with RPGs or rockets they’ll think twice about sticking around. You might even get them to abandon their tank.

Don’t panic. Wait for an opportunity to contribute. If you can sneak up to a tank with C4 be sure to plant two. One won’t cut it. If you don’t have something that will damage the tank, sit tight until someone else does some damage. After the tank is disabled you might see someone jump out of the tank to repair. Shoot that guy. If you catch them both out of the tank you might even be able to repair and steal it.

Don’t be an asshole

If you see a teammate jump out of a tank to repair it, don’t steal their tank.

Don’t get in the way. Work with other vehicles, not against them. Don’t block their retreat by pulling up behind them and don’t block their view by parking in front of them. Space out so you can cover a wider area.

What did I miss?

Let me know in the comments.

36 Comments

Image Uploader Update

We have something fun coming up soon and as a precursor I have rewritten the way we upload images on the Whiskey Media sites. For as long as these sites have been around, we've used flash to upload images. I deployed a change today that allows you to 'opt-in' to using a new uploader built in good old HTML and JavaScript. This will allow us to do some neat stuff in the future. As it is, the changes I've made so far are mostly behind the scenes. The only visible difference is we replaced the huge buttons with slimmer ones.

If you want to try out the new uploader you'll need to know how to open up your console in Firebug (Firefox), Web Inspector (Webkit), or something similar in whatever browser you use and type in the following:

Cookie.write('s3uploader', true, {duration: 365});
Using the new uploader will look like this

You'll know if it works if the next time you go to upload something you get spinners after it uploads to 100%. If you want to go back to using the flash uploader just type the following in console or clear your cookies:

Cookie.dispose('s3uploader');

Like I said, this is just a precursor to some fun stuff coming down the line. Let me know if you decide to take it for a spin and something horrible happens.

7 Comments

The Siren's Call

This weekend I was staring intently at my monitor thinking of all the possible moves the A.I. could do in Frozen Synapse when I heard the sweet sound of nostalgia floating in from the next room.

Yes that's right. My wife was playing FF VI for the first time. I fought back a tear of joy, but could not resist moving into the room where she was playing. I probably should have played it cool with "Hey, you're playing FF VI, I thought I recognized that music." Instead I smothered her with love, affection and praise before taking a seat next to her to watch.

I didn't watch for long because I kept humming along with the music and I'm sure she didn't appreciate that. But I did check in every 10 minutes or so to see where she was (currently South Figaro). I feel like this relationship has taken a giant leap forward. Sure we're already married, but this reaffirms everything. She's played through Chrono Trigger and FF IV with my urging, but I kept telling her that FF VI was my favorite. We were waiting for it to show up on the DS, but apparently she couldn't wait anymore and went to the emulator. To be clear, she doesn't play many games. As far as I know those are the only three RPGs she's played.

I just thought I'd document this moment in a place where she probably won't look. :)

7 Comments

The Century List: 100+ Hours

Over the weekend I noticed that I've topped 100 hours in Men of War: Assault Squad. I was trying to think of other games that I've put that kind of time into and not very many came to mind. Here is what I came up with.

1. Half-Life: Counter-Strike

Freshman in college in the dorms with fast internet. Ping < 5. What else can I say? Playtime tapered off after I was kicked out my clan because they thought my brother was cheating.

2. Battlefield 2

My brothers and I poured countless hours into this game. Well, I guess they were counted. According to bf2s.com I played 170 hours, my older brother played 280 hours, and my younger brother played 500+ hours.

3. Final Fantasy VI

I've beaten this one at least three times. The first time I maxed out all the characters in the dinosaur forest. I'm hoping it will someday come out on the DS so I can play it again.

4. Men of War: Assault Squad

Over 100 hours into this one and I still get my ass kicked in multiplayer and cannot for the life of me beat most of the skirmish maps on normal difficulty.

There might be others that should be on the list that I'm not sure about: Super Mario Kart, Final Fantasy IV, Chrono Trigger, Forza 2, Forza 3.

And other games of note: Empire: Total War (60 hrs), Dawn of War II (40 hrs) + Chaos Rising (20 hrs).

What's on your Century List?

97 Comments

IE9 VS Chrome 10 Adoption

Tomorrow FireFox 4 will be released. It will be the last of the three major browsers to update. Two weeks ago Chrome 10 came out, last week IE9 came out. Let's take a look at the adoption rates for each of those on Giant Bomb. 
 

 One week after release, 60+% is Chrome 10.
Hey that's looking pretty promising. Not bad for the biggest change being the options menu. Note that there are two minor versions of 10 showing up and three minor versions of 9 showing up. Let's see how IE did. 
 

 One week after release, 8% is IE9.
More people are using IE7 than IE9? And over three quarters are using IE8? Perhaps you guys don't know that you get ROUNDED CORNERS in IE9? 
 
Let's see how FireFox 4 does when it comes out this week. Any predictions? Better or worse adoption vs Chrome?
24 Comments

Giant Bomb vs Tested: Browsers

I thought this was interesting. Chrome and FireFox traffic are flipped between Giant Bomb and Tested. The same goes for Safari and Internet Explorer traffic. Fascinating.

 Giant Bomb

 Tested
63 Comments

Some nerdy details about the whiskey theater



Video immersion

We just launched a shiny new HTML5 video player and I wanted to briefly point of some interesting stuff about it. It's not a replacement to the current video player, just a little something extra. It's up on all sites for subscribers: http://www.giantbomb.com/video/theater/.
 
  • Uses the same video files we serve to the flash player: H.264 in mp4
  • Uses the flexible box model. If you're a CSS guy, this is awesome.
  • Uses history.pushState to change the URL in the address bar and your history without reloading the page
  • You can save videos to a playlist
 

The future!

I'll be adding bits and bobs here and there as we go along. If you have any suggestions, send me a PM or leave a comment.
 

Pro Tips!

  • In Chrome, shift + command + f makes the browser full screen. You can't do that in Safari and there's no programatic access it in any browser because of OS spoofing. 
  • Use the spacebar to play/pause
  • Start typing to search for something
 

Sorry Duder

The theater only works in browsers with H.264 video support, like Chrome and Safari. 
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