Why I’m terrible at Battlefield 3 (and how I can claw out of it)

I hate admitting stuff like this, but it’s true. I’m not a great Battlefield player. There are shining moments where I’m like a harbinger of death, raining hot lead on the oppressors, but most of the time I’m doing more harm than good. I feel like my ammo boxes are filled with scorpions and my guns are firing blanks.

I guess the best way to get better is to take a step back, examine one’s mistakes and really analyse what’s going wrong. So why, exactly, do I suck at this shit?

1. I don’t have enough hours invested.

As of writing, I have just over 25 piddly hours invested into the game. A very modest number, considering the length of time the game has been out thus far. Compare that to the people who have more than 500 hours invested thus far. You read that correctly. Five. Hundred. Hours.

Well, that's dedication.

Figures like this boggle my mind. I mean, really? This guy in particular has been playing since October 25th, which means he’s been playing for a grand total of 43 days. If my maths is up to scratch, that’s just over 11.5 hours of gaming a day. I barely manage to figure out what to eat for lunch, let alone play a game or 11.5 hours daily for 1.5 months straight. Even if it were more than one person playing, it takes about 20 people playing at my pace to draw equal with those kinds of figures.

I obviously need some of that time dilation technology.

2. I’m too easily distracted.

I guess I can’t blame EA/DICE for releasing Battlefield 3 early – there is a boatload of competition out there for our gaming dollar. Triple A titles clamour for our attention, hoping that copies of themselves will be present in Xmas stockings and under Xmas trees delivered by an Xmas entity.

Putting on the hurt in a different way.

Lately, games like Skyrim and Arkham City have been my biggest distractions, and it doesn’t help that they are both horrible time sinks. “Oh, it’s okay. I’ll just do one more quest before I finally go pee” is not an uncommon thought that goes through my head whenever I’m playing either of these games. And then there are the inevitable Steam sales, which are money vacuums unto themselves.

I’d love to devote more time to Battlefield, but sweet Jesus have mercy, it’s fucking great to be a Dovahkiin.

3. I have no role models in pub servers.

Then again, it can’t be all my fault. Yeah, that’s right. I’m pointing at you, champ. Have you seen the state of pub servers nowadays? If team mates aren’t boosting in the corner performing their bizarre kill/revive circle jerk, I’m trying to fight alongside wannabe bush wookies camping at spawn, or overzealous assault players continually reviving dead men in a murder hole while the enemy are acting like long lost battle brothers, coordinating our mutual destruction over Mumble from the lofty confines of their attack chopper, spewing Vulcan rounds and guided missiles at us. In the meantime, mortars rain down on us like Armageddon, turning choke points into a scene reminiscent of a World War I no-man’s-land.

Those on my team who actually do come to their senses and realise that we’re losing will inevitably switch sides, as if their win/loss ratio was an insurance policy for future procreation. I can honestly say that a good portion of my chat log is “Teams are unbalanced. Auto balancing in 3!…2!…1!”

Also, let’s not forget the hackers that are appearing in more and more servers. It’s amazing what some of these hacks can do, but it’s never a good time when you’re on the receiving end. This situation will get better later rather than sooner.

4. Communication in Asian servers leaves a bit to be desired.

Whoda thought that not having built-in voice chat in a team-based game would suck? I’ve heard of wondrous servers overseas where there’s TeamSpeak integration and everyone is racking up 5-figure scores because they actually know what their role is and what everyone else is doing. I’m sure there’s something similar in Asia region servers, but I figure it’ll be some kind of terrible gaming nerd Babel where no one knows what the fuck anyone else is actually saying.

“YA SHIPUL KESEKI AIISH”
“DIU LEI GOR SEI YUN MAENG”
“I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU JUST SAID BUT WE’RE FUCKING LOSING, GENTLEMEN”

That’s kinda what happens in text chat right now. No one actually has anything meaningful to say about objectives or status updates. All it is is some guy spouting off some Thai or Indonesian, or someone talking shit in really broken English. (“you bad tank go tkae driver lesson la”)

5. I just plain suck. (OR DO I)

Okay, I can’t be too quick to pass the blame. My skills are more than rusty. I’m as useful with a sniper rifle as I’m am with an Arabic dictionary. Most of the time enemies get the jump on me, and I can tick off no more than half of one’s health. I tend to whiff my knife kills, cutting their flak jackets into pretty ribbons while they open up on my pasty ass. The times I can flank are rare (but satisfying). My accuracy is pretty horrid, and my K/D ratio is less than optimal. I also have next to no freakin’ clue when it comes to aircraft.

However, I’ve been getting better at playing the fucking objective. I learned to let go of that tantalisingly marked enemy in the distance and focus on capturing this point. I still worry about fucking up my K/D ratio but it doesn’t stop me making a move on arming / disarming those MCOMs, or backing up teammates who are capturing an objective.

Ironically enough, after finishing the bulk of this article I had some of the best matches I’ve played since purchasing the game – several unlocks, numerous ribbons, some great kills and my first MVP.

So what was different, exactly?

PTFO, or GTFO.

I would say that the first difference was the total disregard for my own well being. That’s not to say that I ran blindly into enemy fire whirling a cowboy hat over my head. I simply played aggressively and to the situation. If there was a vehicle, I would commandeer it, wait for anyone running up, and engage methodically. If there was a push, I’d support it with ammo or health and pick off stragglers. If there was a choke point, I’d flank and flush out with grenades and suppressive or silenced fire, or take out buildings with RPGs. It was acting in response to the situation, as opposed to grinding on with the same class.

I believe that’s key to winning games – reacting to the situation. Be the recon and use your tools to spot and remote spawn if you can’t see any red blips on your minimap. Be the Support guy if your team is full of engies trying to take out tanks. Divert from the norm, and you change up at least a fraction of what the enemy will expect.

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