Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Gameplay; an overview of gametypes and maps

Battlefield 3 is primarily a multiplayer game. Like its predecessors* Battlefield 3 revolves around multiplayer matches played online with human team mates and opponents. This aspect of gaming has appealed to me since playing Doom 2 via serial cable way back in 1994. Multiplayer has come a long way (and probably gone backwards) since Doom 2 but the premise is still the same. Kill the bad guys.

Mutliplayer in BF3 is as competitive and cut throat as other games. One can opt to play on public servers with any range of player skill, or participate in ladder/competiton play with organised teams. Team sizes can range all the way up to 32v32 (64 player), however many of the maps are ill suited to this player count. Sticking to 32-48 max, once you are used to the basics will generally provide a superiors BF multiplayer experience.

*Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Vietnam, Battlefiled 2, Battlefield 2142, Battlefield Bad Company 2,

Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Game Modes

Variety is the spice of life and game modes in Battlefiled 3 leave nothing out. At least nothing the modern gamer wants.

Battlefield 3 Out of the box

Maps: Grand Bazaar, Seine Crossing, Operation Metro, Kharg Island, Operation Firestorm, Caspian Border, Noshahr Canals, Damavand Peak, Tehran Highway

Conquest – Conquest Large

Conquest is the original multiplayer Battlefield game type. Present in every release of the franchise with the exepction of Bad Company 2 – conquest has stood the test of time and plays reasonably well.

Each map has pre-defined points (or flags). To capture points players must stand near the flag until it decaps to neutral and recaptures; a countdown appears for all players within range to indicate cap time.. Having additional players helping makes this process faster. On the flip side the defenders having the same number of players as the attackers stop capping. If attackers have three players and defenders have two the flag progresses at the speed of one attacker.

It may sound unusual having multiple players “at the flag”, but the flag area is rather large. Firefights can occur across the flag area as the defenders tend to spawn away from the attackers until the flag is decapped. Even then players spawning in on their squad mates at the flag can create drawn out battles over points.

Teams start with no flags in their “uncap”, their base spawn point where their starting vehicles live. From the outset of a round each team must advance across the map, capturing points as they go, typically meeting around the middle points for a good ol’ multiplayer mash up. The middle points on the Battlefiled 3 try to force conflict, by either having two points close to each other, so attackers/defenders can push against each other without long travel time (think hilltop/forest on caspian border and offices/construction on kharg island) or a single point that funnels each team into one place; think the middle point on firestorm.

Each team starts with a predefined number of points and the loser is the team to reach zero first. Points are called tickets in Battlefield 3 multiplayer. Tickets are lost when a player respawns, but not when they are revived by a medic. Tickets also “bleed” when one team controls more points than the other. Public multiplayer battlefield 3 games are quite often decided by ticket bleed. One team may have all the good KDR players but still loose due to never having enough points in their control.

Conquest large maps have more points than the regular conquest maps and typically have larger “in bounds” area as well.

Of the maps available Kharg/Caspian/Firestorm seem to be liked by the “old guard” Battfield players and most servers run a cycle of these three maps. The other three, Metro/Bazaar/Seine are infantry based with minimal vehicles. Servers often run these three maps in a cycle to appeal to that particular player segment.

Metro is the one stand out that gets played 100% on some servers (and fills up every night). This is because the conquest large map version has three points, when the conquest large on all other maps have 5-7 points. In addition the entire map takes place in a cramped subway station, leading to massive amounts of spam and high points. I feel this one aspect detracted and split the community too much on release.

While most vehicles are available from the teams uncap and must be driven from here back to the action after being destroyed, some flags also spawn vehicles. Examples of this would be the closest flags to the US/Russian uncaps on Caspian border – these points spawn additional tanks M1 Abrams for US and T-90A for RU. Taking the offensive to these flags early could yield an additional tank for your team!

Rush – Squad Rush

When compared to conquest, rush is a linear and focused gametype. Instead of free flowing map in conquest teams are pitted against each other over one or two objectives at once. The MCOMs. The defending team must protect their MCOMs and the attackers must destroy them by “planting” explosives on them. Unlike other games where engineers are required for planting, any class can plant in rush for Battlefield 3 multiplayer.

Attackers have a set number of tickets to use which are reset each time a new set of MCOMs are opened up.

Once a set of MCOMs is destroyed there is a breif preiod for the attackers and defenders to regroup for the next assault. During this time any deaths inflicted on the attackers come off their new set of tickets.

Squad rush is a smaller variation on this idea. Teams typically play 20 ticket rounds 4v4. In squad run there is only ever one MCOM to arm/defend at one time. Popular 4v4 squad rush maps are Operation Metro, Seine Crossing and Grand Bazaar.

Metro (Map MP_Subway)takes place inside the station and near the russian cafe. The initial MCOM is at the Russian end of “lockers” and the second MCOM is in the corner of the left hand building near the cafe flag. A tip for the first MCOM – taking and holding the ticket booth is very handy for both the attackers and defenders when playing organised squad rush.

Seine (Map MP_011) crossing takes place on the Russian spawn side. This map plays quite openly, with many avenues of attack. Defenders need to be on their toes to respond to pushes that may not come from their assigned defence location. Taking any of the buildings around the first MCOM is important and allows your team mates to spawn in, rather than run from your start spawn. The second MCOM is located in the bank behind the normal conquest uncap.

Bazaar (Map MP_001) takes place around the market area, with the first MCOM residing in the market building closest to the B alley exit. Attackers spawn in the back section of the alley and can attack down alley + curved/banana/golden alley or via main road that leads to the corner building and russian spawn in conquest. This MCOM tends to split teams quite heavily, allowing sneaky spawning + pushes to take the defenders unaware. The second MCOM on bazaar is located in the alleyway close to the russian spawn/burning bus.

Squad rush plays surprisingly slowly if you come from a larger pub gametype. Teams tend to face off with little action for long periods of time. Game time comes for the attackers when a kill (or pick) is made. The game becomes 4v3 (unless the pick is revived) for the next 15 seconds until the player spawns back in. During this time the attackers should try to capitalise on their advantage and either push for more ground; probably on the side the death occured, or even better push for more kills. If the attackers can down two players within a short time period they may be able to completely wipe the defenders and plant. When the defenders are players down they should ensure they play passively enough to have someone alive close to the action for spawning.

Communication is key in squad rush multiplayer. The next most important attribute is teamwork, or rather using the information that is being communicated effectively. Lastly is individual skill.

TDM – Squad TDM

Team Death Match is similar to COD versions and not really indicative of what TDM is all about – see Quakes or Unreals for an introductino to TDM. Both teams spawn opposite sides of the map and attempt to push into each others area. Once enough kills/distance has occured the “defender” or less aggressive teams spawn is moved, and the cycle repeats. TDM is not played competitively because (besides being crap) there are no objectives and it would turn into a massive camp fest.

TDM is excellent for practicing your infantry weapons. Pick a server running Noshahr or Kharg as they are the better close quarters maps.

Back to Karkand Expansion/DLC

Maps: Strike at Karkand, Gulf of Oman, Wake Island, Sharqui Peninsula.

Conquest Assault – Conquest Assault Large

Back to Karkand ships with new maps and a “new” gametype; Conquest Assault. Conquest assault plays similarly to normal conquest except there is now a defender and attacker. The defender starts with all the points and the attacker must take them from them. The defender has no uncap (execption being Gulf of Oman) and once the attacker has all the points and the defenders are all dead the round is over. This is good for public servers and generally prevents excessive spawn rape.

Close Quarters Expansion/DLC

Maps: Operation 925, Ziba Tower, Scrapmetal, Donya Fortress

Conquest Domination

Conquest domination takes place on small indoor maps. Flags cap very quickly compared to normal conquest. There are no uncaps and players can either spawn on their squads or at random spawn points.

Gun Master

Gun master is the equivalent of gun game from counter strike. Players gain a new weapon after every two kills. The first to reach the last gun and kill with it wins.

This is a gimmicky gametype and I wonder why Dice included it.

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