Teamplay in Battlefield (and gaming in general) is Probably not what you think.

This is part 1 of a series about teamplay

Battlefield 3 teamwork is not what you think it is.

It is not

  • Giving ammo to your team members when they ask*
  • Giving health to your team members when they ask*
  • Reviving team mates
  • Repairing a vehicle while someone else drives it
  • Being the gunner in an attack chopper while your friend flys

*or even before, that does not make you a good team player either.

Why are these examples not team play? Becuase they are simply actions you can perform as a player. The above are examples of class utility. These actions do not lead to your team being in a superior situation*, you might think they do, but really they don’t. If you think dropping that ammo pack was the peak of teamplay that won you a game then the rest of your teamplay was so amazingly lacking that you should quit. Right now.

*that is what gaming is all about, not killing, creating situations that lead to your team curb stomping the other.

Are the following examples of teamplay?

  • Shooting your gun
  • Pressing sprint
  • Changing your weapon

Of course not.

The first list are simple game mechanics and most developers have been including similar ideas in team games for the past ten years to make their game “team based” when in fact the actions by themselves do nothing of the sort. These types of mechanics are an attempt by developers to force people to play together. Sometimes these utilities achieve this, other times they don’t. However after everything is said and done these are not team play.

The problem is that at best they promote playing near each other, not playing as a team. At worst they are simply a joke and because of other mechanics or settings in the game they just don’t promote playing together, or even playing near each other, enough for it to matter at all.

Dropping ammo in BF3 is a good example of a poorly implemented mechanic. Some assumptions first: You are playing as engineer or assault, with one of the popular assault rifles or carbines. Lets pretend your squad is not running the ammo perk – which means you have 31 bullets in your weapon when you spawn and around 150 for reloading. If you are playing with a support team mate and that you manage to kill two players every 30 bullets or so, you will need their ammo pack every 6-7 kills.

Very few players run 6:1 kill rate, even with revives in a competitive game. On a pub as infantry only very good players achieve this frequently. In a competitive game most players will be running a popular setup so ammo becomes less of an issue. Kill a guy on your second last reload and take his weapon. Done.

If a player happens to go 6:1 and needs a top up they will seek out a support player. This is the “teamplay” mechanic that DICE have tried to force on support. From assault perspective this works decently because you always need health and revives are very useful. Ammo from support is so unimportant that it basically forces none of the teamplay DICE want. This is an example of a poorly implemented teamplay mechanic.

And to top it off you don’t even need to go to the support player – simply kill someone and pick up a kit.

Remember, giving ammo is not teamplay but the mechanic is how DICE attempt to force teamplay, at least what they consider teamplay. In this case giving ammo.

“Fixing” this would involve spawning players with 60 bullets and making them seek out support. This has the opposite effect and is rather unfun. It would lead to weird situations in smaller scale servers without support class running out of ammo extremely quickly. Not very fun either.

I am not a great BF3 player. My background is pretty good however. Reading whirlpool Battlefield 3 section I am always amused by the rage at support players from other posters. I have played with many of these guys and they are worse than me. I rarely need ammo and the amount of angst they direct at support is rather unbelievable.

Continue reading Part 2