Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Guide: How To Win with Tanks in Battlefield 3 Multiplayer – Part 1
Tanks are a major part of the arsenal that is at your disposal in Battlefield 3 multiplayer, so a good tank driver is usually also a good Battlefield player. This is the first part of a series of articles that will help you become a better digital tank warrior.
I still remember the childish joy that I felt when I first put myself in a tank. It was back in 2002. The game was Battlefield 1942. Like a small Leonardo DiCaprio, I felt like the king of the world. For about 24 seconds. At that point, a Panzerschreck put a sudden and effective end to my euphoria. Ever since, Dice has managed to fill their subsequent games with many motorized and large caliber treats. Battlefield 3 is no exception.
The Tanks of Battlefield 3 multiplayer
There are two battle tanks available in Battlefield 3 online. These are:
The American M1 Abrams – A heavy-armed, heavily armored and highly mobile tank. It is named after U.S. General Creighton Abrams, who led American forces in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1972. The tank that carries his name weighs well over 60 tons and is currently the main tank of the U.S. military.
The Russian T-90 – This, too, is a large and well-equipped tank. It has been in service to the Russian army since the mid-1990s. T-90 is a modernized version of the T-72, and got the designation T-72B to begin with. It is almost 10 meters long and over 3.5 meters wide. The tank weighs well over 40 tons. Its top speed is 60 km/h.
Like squads, tanks can dramatically change the flow and outcome of a game of Battlefield 3 multiplayer. However, just as with squads, you need to learn how to use them in order to put them to your advantage. The difference between an excellent tank commander and a poor one is knowledge, and a whole lot of practice.
The following tips will help you spread fear and horror across the virtual battlefield. This article is mostly based on (often painful) experiences I had in earlier installments of the series. However, I’m pretty sure that the advice I am giving will work well for Battlefield 3 multiplayer.
Tanks are not meant for commuting
Do not use a tank just to get from one point to another quickly. I’ve seen this happen many times: players throw themselves into a tank, hurry off to their objective and then leave their vehicle without using it to fire a single shot. This typically leads to at least one of two scenarios:
- Your teammates become mad at you because you are wasting your valuable resources.
- Your opponents take control of your deserted tank. Then, in contrast to you, they put it to good use to defend themselves or attack your side.
You should use a tank for the thing it was made to do – making life difficult for your opponents.
It Takes Two to Tango
A tank will be twice as effective when you man it with two players (in the PC version there is room for up to three players). Let’s say you’re the one who is driving it. This puts you in control of the main weapon and allows you to take out your opponent’s tanks and other heavy vehicles. In addition, you can destroy buildings, trees, vehicles, walls and other things which the enemy is using for cover.
If you allow a friend to man the machine gun, he or she can add to this by focusing on lighter targets: infantry, infantry armed with with rocket launchers ready to blow a hole into your tank, helicopters, light vehicles, UAVs, mines, etc.
This will really make you twice as effective. The battles in the Battlefield series can get quite intense. You will have to deal with more than you can handle if you ride solo – especially if you’re playing against good opponents. The opposite can happen if there’s two of you in a tank. By combining heavy tank fire and fast gunning, you will make life tough for the best of opponents, while ending it for the rest.
Therefore, if possible, you should always take an ally along for the tank ride. Being alone in a tank is about as fun as tango dancing without a partner – and only slightly more lethal.
Keep the engine running
Manning a tank together can offer another advantage, if at least one of you is an engineer. This way, one of you can jump out of the tank to carry out any necessary repairs, while the other can stay inside to make sure that bullets and shells keep flying. By prolonging the lifetime of your tank, you can cause even more mayhem and carnage on the battlefield.
Starting with Battlefield 3, tanks will also come with a pretty useful accessory: self-healing armor. This increases the chance that your tank survives heavy bombardment. A sensible strategy with self-healing armor would be:
- Pull out of the battle if the armor of your tank becomes too low.
- Drive to a safe place.
- Wait for the armor to be regenerated.
- Throw yourself into the fight again.
Of course, moving out of a battle with a damaged tank may not be the easiest feat to accomplish, so having an engineer on-board makes sense even with self-healing armor. Do note that if you want to make use of a repairman within the heat of battle, you’d better be able to provide him with a “bullet shadow” on one side of your tank. In Battlefield, there are few easier targets than an engineer working a power tool!
Later on in this series, I will deal with repairs more extensively.
Count to five
Do not stress when you drive a tank. Work your way forward slowly but surely. Be on the lookout for any possible dangers, like opponents carrying rocket launchers, anti-tank mines, and helicopters. The latter two are especially notorious tank killers, so take them out before they destroy you.
Avoid standing still for long. A tank is a big target, so if it stands still, it’s also an easy target. Each time you stand still, start counting to five in the back of your head. When you get to six, start driving again.
Do not drive a tank into the middle of your opponents’ base. It may look ferocious and yes, you can run over foot soldiers, but a tank is pretty helpless if it gets surrounded. In the middle of a group of enemies, it lacks both the speed and agility that is necessary to take them out. As a consequence, your tank will get covered with C4, showered with grenades and blown to tank heaven faster than you can brag about the size of your barrel.
What goes up…
A tank is a formidable weapon, even over long distances. Use this to your advantage. You can do serious damage even if you are far away from your opponents.
Shooting from a distance is a lot safer than the alternative, but it’s a bit trickier to aim right. As the distance between you and your target becomes longer, you will need to increasingly compensate for bullet drop. As in real life, projectiles are pulled towards the earth by gravity. You may have to fire your tank gun several times to find the correct trajectory for the shells if the target is far away. In a few hits, you can “bracket” the correct aim:
- Fire your first shell.
- You can usually see where the shell hits. Remember this point.
- Did you hit your target it?!? Wow! You really are good!
- You missed? Ok, adjust the barrel for a bit. Either up or down.
- Fire another shell. Return to point 2.
If you’re like me, you will find this difficult at first. However, it will become easier with time. All you need to do is… practice, practice and then, practice some more!