A Brief Guide to Squads in Battlefield 3 Multiplayer
Saying that squads are important in Battlefield 3 online is an understatement. Teams are the very essence of the Battlefield games, as anyone who played Bad Company 2 as a lone wolf, before ending up in a well-functioning squad, can attest.
A squad that works well together can make life miserable for its opponents. I experienced this myself, not only as a member of such a team, but also while playing against a perfectly coordinated squad, that left me staring at my screen open-mouthed, wondering what had hit me.
Battlefield 3 multiplayer squads consist of up to four players.
Dice has also reintroduced the spawn system from Battlefield 2: each squad has a leader and the others on his or her team can player spawn only on that leader. This is different from Bad Company 2, where players can spawn on any member of their squad.
Updated November 1st: Turns out that everyone can spawn on everyone within a squad, plus the Recon radio beacon (the mobile spawn point).
If you play in Hardcore mode, you will only be able to spawn on the squad leader.
The Benefits of Squads
The chances of Battlefield 3 multiplayer success are greater if you play on a squad compared to playing on your own.
Here are some:
- Spawning: as I wrote earlier, all members on a squad can spawn on each other (only on the Squad leader in hardcore mode). When you do this you will often end up closer to where the action is. The alternative – when you play alone – is to spawn at the base, further away from the fight.
- Tactical spawning: the ability to spawn on a squad member can be used tactically. Players can position themselves behind the enemies or near an objective. Now, squadmates can spawn at this location. This little trick can both surprise opponents and (as an example) make it easier to arm and defend a charge at an M-COM station.
- To be formidable: do you think its okay to walk up to the bullies on your own and ask them to leave you alone? Or would you feel better if you could bring two or three friends? Being part of a pack has its advantages – also in BF3. Four players who attack simultaneously pose a much greater threat than one single player.
- Coordination and orientation: your squadmates’ markers will have a different color on the mini map than the other players. This makes it easy to keep track of where they are any time. Very handy if you ever end up far away from your squad.
Another obvious advantage is the rewards; you will receive greater rewards if you are part of a team.
For example: if you play as an engineer and repair a vehicle that does not belong to your squad, you’ll get 20 points. For repairs to a vehicle belonging to your own team, you get an extra 10 points, totaling 30 points.
The art of communicating
To be a good team, squad members need to understand each other. This is why I believe that the best basis for a great squad is four friends playing together.
The more time you spend together in Battlefield 3 multiplayer, the more you will be able to develop different tactics for both offensive and defensive play, based on the various maps, class setups, game modes, weapons and vehicles. Also, you will get to know each other, allowing you to predict the behavior (and success rate!) of your companions.
However, I firmly believe that a team of total strangers can function just as well, as long as they communicate to make their plans and actions clear to each other.
To do this properly, you need to use a microphone. Telepathy and body language work poorly online.
You need to use your voice.
Talk to the other members of your crew and require them to talk back. This makes it much easier to coordinate attacks and defense, and warn other players against snipers, tanks, mines and other dangers.
Don’t worry about language barriers – most players I’ve played with both understand and speak English quite well.
In the beginning, it can be intimidating to open your mouth in the company of total strangers. However, as with most things in life, this is an obstacle worth overcoming. My advice is to just start talking. Eventually, it will feel as natural as calling a friend for a chat.
At times, you will come across other players who are talking in a derogatory manner, either to you, or about you. Just ignore them. Who do you think wins? The person talking trash? Or the ones who actually are trying to contribute positively to everyone’s experience of the game? If a player is especially abusive, just make sure you never play with him or her again.
Some tips on communication:
- Discuss. Talk about who should do what. Talk about how to execute an attack or how to best defend an objective with the rest of your squad.
- Inform. Notify the others on your team about maneuvers you will try to either attack or defend the objective.
- Provide intel. Warn other players about opposing soldiers, snipers, mines, vehicles, etc., as soon as you discover them. You can also do this using the in-game spotting system.
- Respect. Remember to be polite, avoid trash talk.
- Be concise. Provide brief and specific messages; don’t tell long and dull stories from your personal life.
- Whatever you do, don’t sing!
Here is a video demonstrating a team that is communicating at a high level. The game that is shown is not Battlefield 3 multiplayer, but the video is a shining example of how a team can communicate.
One for all, all for one
I’ve played with squads that were not a team at all. It seemed as if all members had their own agenda. No one communicated, no one helped other squad members, and all just ran around in opposite directions, like headless chickens. When I pointed out that perhaps we should work together, all I got was a “F&$# Off!” So, what’s the point of being on a squad then?
The purpose of a squad is to help each other out.
- Squad members communicate.
- They stay together.
Well, most of the team members stay together. The exception may be Recons, who can operate on their own and can position themselves strategically around the map. From these positions, the Recon can gather intelligence and pass this on to the other members of the squad, while taking down a few enemies.
The other members of the squad, however, should follow each other. Attacks or defensive maneuvers are more likely to succeed when two, three or four players work together.
So keep up with the others, but do keep a certain distance so that a grenade, an RPG or a skilled opponent with a machine gun do not take out the whole team at once.
Some tips on collaboration:
- Stay together! Do not be the lone wolf. The probability of success when attacking or defending is much greater if you bring one or more teammates with you.
- Try to avoid attacking an object by yourself. If you’re alone and near a target, try to hide while you wait for help from other members in your squad. If you are the team leader, the others can also use you as a spawn point. The latter is a smart move near an object, especially if your opponents have not yet discovered you.
- Use the mini map to keep track of where your teammates are.
4 +4 = Success
I ended up in a squad with only snipers many times. Now, one sniper is good. Two works, kind of. However, a team consisting of three or four snipers is about as effective as a hockey team with only goalkeepers. It is important to balance the mix of the classes when putting together a crew.
A squad in Battlefield 3 online consists of up to four players. All players have four multiplayer classes to choose from.
I believe that the ideal team consists of representatives from all four classes. That is, the Assault, the Support, the Engineer and the Recon likely combine to form the Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Dream Team.
- The Recon class is ideal for collecting and distributing information about the opposition to the rest of the squad.
- The Engineer can fix tanks, jets, helicopters, and other means of transport which the team uses.
- The Support class makes sure that everybody has plenty of ammunition.
- The Assault takes care of patching together all who experience an unpleasant meeting with the opponents’ weapons.
It is of course possible to combine these roles in different ways. Many players have their favorite class that they use more frequently than others and this means squads may not consist of all classes all of the time.
However, for the balance of the squad, I believe it is important that all teams at the least have both a player who hands out ammunition and one who heals, especially when they are part of the attacking force.
- Make sure you have good knowledge of the different classes’ unique features, and use them as often as possible.
- Learn to configure the classes. Playing on the defending team may require a different setup than playing on the offensive team. Different maps can also require you to switch configurations every now and then.
- Think about how to staff the vehicles. A tank with one or more engineers will usually survive longer in battle than a tank manned by only Recons or Assaults.
- Mix the classes in an effective way. Generally, this will be by using a Dream Team setup, but player skills and preferences, as well as specific battleground conditions, may call for other types of mixes.
Almost there now…
I hope this little guide to squads in Battlefield 3 multiplayer has been useful to you. I will write more on this subject as more information about the game becomes available.
Of course, gaming should be entertaining and fun. Some might argue that all this planning and strategy keeps players away from just enjoying the game.
However, the complexity of the Battlefield series makes that the game requires a little planning and the use of some strategy, so that things can be really fun. Mindless running and gunning is usually a less wise choice in these games.
Believe me, it’s much more fun to play on a squad that communicates, plans its moves and, as a result, crushes the other team.Gigabuster, Bright Hub, Battleblog]