Are you new to Battlefield? If so, jumping into a well-established online community can be a bit intimidating. But there’s really nothing to fear. Regardless of your experience or skill level, there is a role for everyone in Battlefield. In fact, this is one of the only online shooters where you can post a big score without even firing a single bullet. In this section we take a look at the basic gameplay mechanics as well as the different multiplayer game modes.
The heads-up display, or HUD, is the way that vital information is displayed on your screen. None of the items on your HUD are there for aesthetics alone. They are there to help you accomplish your objectives and keep you alive. Here’s a brief explanation of every major item on the HUD.
- Reticle: The reticle is always located in the center of the HUD. The reticle is the aiming point for your selected weapon. To hit a target, place the reticle over it and fire. The reticle may change based on the weapon you’re using—for example, shotguns have ring-shaped reticles. When firing at an enemy, watch for diagonal lines flashing around the perimeter of the reticle. This bloom animation means you’re hitting the target. These hit indicators are especially useful when making long-range shots.
- Minimap: Located in the bottom left corner of the screen, the minimap provides a top-down, 360-degree view of the environment through which you are moving. The minimap rotates as you change direction so that the top of the minimap is always the direction you are currently facing—make note of the compass headings on the perimeter of the map. In addition to showing the terrain, the minimap also shows the location of all detected enemies as red triangles or red vehicle icons. Teammates show up as blue icons, while squad members are green. Empty vehicles are represented by white icons, and battle pickups appear as white pistol icons. It is a good idea to constantly refer to the minimap to keep track of all detected enemies. Even if you can’t see them visually, the minimap lets you know where they are located, whether behind a hill or inside a building. Finally, red and blue diamond icons show you the location of objectives—these same objective icons also appear on the HUD. The color of the ground on the minimap also has meaning. The shaded area behind the red line is out of bounds. If you move into this area, you have ten seconds to get back on the map or else you will die.
- Game Mode Information: The icons and meters above the minimap relate to the current game mode. The diamond-shaped icons represent control points in Conquest mode and M-COM stations in Rush mode. The two meters below these icons track how many tickets each team has. Other game modes have slightly different configurations, but all have a ticket meter and a timer.
- Objectives:The red- and blue-colored icons on the HUD represent objectives. Blue-colored icons are held by your team while red-colored icons are held by the opposing team. Beneath each of these icons is a number showing the distance to each objective in meters.
- Health: By default your health is at 100%. But if you take damage, your health will drop—if it reaches 0%, you die. You can slowly regenerate health by staying behind cover and avoiding injury. But the fastest way to heal is with a Medic Bag dropped by an assault player. Stand (or lay) close to a Medic Bag to rapidly restore your health.
- Ammo: Your ammo is represented by two numbers. The large number to the left is the number of rounds you currently have loaded in the weapon’s magazine while the small number to the right is the amount of ammo available in unloaded magazines.
- Grenades: The number in this box represents how many grenades you have. By default you can only carry one grenade. But the Grenade Boost Field Upgrade allows you to carry one additional grenade.
- Fire Mode: Some weapons allow you to switch fire modes, choosing from single shot, automatic, and burst modes. The weapon’s current fire mode is shown here.
- Weapon/Gadget Cluster: The cluster of four icons at the bottom of the HUD represents gadgets and weapon interactions available in your loadout. Use the accompanying key or directional pad input shown next to each icon to select or toggle these specific options. The icons on the left and right represent your gadgets while the icons on the top and bottom represent interactions with your selected weapon—change fire modes, zero a scope, or toggle a light or laser sight on and off.
- Kill Notifications: The text in the top right corner of the screen reports recent deaths, showing who killed who and with what weapon or vehicle.
- Score Notification: Every time you earn points, text appears in the middle of the screen describing what action you’re being rewarded for and how many points you gain.
- Field Upgrade Meter: This meter represents progression in your chosen Field Upgrade path. Score squad-based actions to progress through the four levels of upgrades. But if your squad is eliminated, you’ll lose progress.
- Squad List:Shown in green text on the right side of the minimap, the squad list shows every member of your squad as well as the kit and specialization they currently have equipped. The squad leader appears at the top of the list with a star icon next to his or her name.
When you first join a game, the deploy screen is where it all begins. Before immediately jumping into the game, take a few seconds to choose your class and gear. It’s possible to switch your primary weapon, sidearm, gadgets, and grenade from the deploy screen. But if you want to make more adjustments to your kit, choose the Customize option. This opens a new screen, allowing you to make even more tweaks to your loadout, including weapon attachments and camo. Once you’re finished adjusting your loadout, return to the deploy screen and figure out where you want to join the fight. If you’re in a squad, you can spawn on any living squad member. Or if a recon squad member has deployed a Radio Beacon, you can spawn at its location. Depending on the game mode, there are also bases, deployment areas, and control points you can spawn at. You can also spawn directly into the seat of a vacant vehicle belonging to your team. As you can see, the spawning options are numerous. In most instances you should spawn on or close to your squad so you can provide support. But if your squad is in a tense firefight, sometimes it’s safest to spawn at a less dangerous location, otherwise you may get killed as soon as you spawn into the game—study the small video monitor in the bottom left corner of the deploy screen before spawning on a squad member. This live video feed allows you see if the selected squad member is under fire. When you’ve determined your spawn location, choose the Deploy option to enter the game.
Congratulations, you’ve made it onto the battlefield. Now what? Moving your soldier around the battlefield is simple, especially if you’ve played the earlier installments or other first-person shooters. When standing, your soldier jogs at moderate pace, ideal for getting around areas where threats are minimal. While crouched, you move slower, and while prone your speed is literally reduced to a crawl. However, since you are lower, you make a smaller target for the enemy to hit and you can more easily duck behind cover. When advancing against an enemy position, it is best to move while crouched or prone, as it is harder for the enemy to detect you. Weapon accuracy is also increased while crouched or prone. So make a habit of dropping to a knee or down on your belly before firing a shot.
At times, it is better to move fast, by sprinting. You can’t use weapons or gadgets while sprinting, but you are much more difficult for the enemy to hit. Sprint when you have to cross a dangerously open piece of ground, dashing from one position of cover to another. But never sprint in tight confined spaces where you’re likely to encounter enemy troops. If you encounter an enemy at close range while sprinting, chances are you won’t have time to stop, raise your weapon, and fire before your opponent does. So don’t give in to the temptation to sprint. You’re better off moving at a slower speed with your weapon raised and ready to fire.
Given Battlefield 4’s greater emphasis on naval combat, don’t be surprised if you find yourself treading water, requiring you to swim. Swimming works just like moving on land, but at a significantly slower pace. But just like on land, you can sprint in the water—this is called sprint swim, causing your soldier to perform a quick freestyle stroke. Sprint swim is the fastest way to cross deep bodies of water—swim to shore as fast as possible and seek cover. And for the first time in Battlefield, you can now dive and swim underwater, using the water to conceal your movements—simply crouch while in deep water to dive beneath the surface. Swimming underwater is a good way to stay out of sight, but you’re not invincible to incoming fire—bullets still penetrate the surface of the water and can injure or kill you. Furthermore, you can only hold your breath so long. If you remain underwater for an extended period of time, you’ll begin losing health at a steady rate. Get to the surface before you drown! For the most part, it’s best to avoid swimming when possible. While in the water your ability to defend yourself is greatly diminished, literally making you a sitting duck for enemy troops. While you’re incapable of accessing your primary weapon or gadgets while swimming, you can equip your sidearm. Firing a pistol while swimming is highly inaccurate, but it’s better than nothing.
Whether jumping out of a damaged aircraft or hopping off a tall building, you can avoid making a crater into the ground by deploying your parachute. While in free fall, press the jump button/key once to open your parachute. You can steer the parachute with standard movement inputs. But unless parachuting from great heights, don’t expect to travel great distances, as the descent is rapid. It’s possible to fire your weapons during the descent, but your accuracy is greatly diminished unless using guided weapons like some of the engineer’s rocket/missile launchers. If you’re descending directly over an enemy position, consider dropping grenades or C4—just make sure they explode before you reach the ground. But the longer you’re in the air, the more attention you’re likely to attract. For this reason, free fall as long as possible and open the parachute just before you reach the ground. This is a great way to sneak into enemy-held territory.
While moving about the battlefield is a major part of gameplay, the sole purpose of movement is to place you in a position where you can deploy your weapons, engaging and eliminating the enemy. And when it comes to weapons, Battlefield 4 has you covered, offering a wide range of knives, firearms, grenades, and anti-vehicle options.
Before attacking your first enemy, you must first learn how to spot them. When you have an enemy player or vehicle in your sight, press the spot button/key to highlight it for your team. This places a red icon on the HUD and minimap, showing your entire team where the enemy unit is located. Enemy infantry show up as red triangle icons while vehicles are represented by red vehicle icons. Targets only remain spotted for approximately five seconds, but that’s usually more than enough time for your team to take notice of the threat. Also, once the icon disappears, you can spot the target again as long as you’ve maintained a line of sight. If a teammate kills the target you tagged, you earn a Spot Bonus worth 25 points. So consider playing as recon with a high-powered scope and simply spot enemy units for your team—you can also spot targets while using the recon’s MAV, SOFLAM, or PLD. Even if you don’t fire a shot, you can still rack up a decent score by spotting enemies for your team. Spotting is crucial for your team’s aircraft, making it easier for pilots to perform air-to-ground attacks on infantry and vehicles. If nobody is spotting vehicles for your team’s pilots, don’t complain about a lack of close air support.
Don’t want to give away your position? Out of ammo? Consider taking out your unsuspecting opponent with a silent knife attack. The knife is a standard-issue weapon available to all players, regardless of their class or rank. But now you can choose what kind of knife your soldier wields—different knives have different attack animations. When approaching an enemy from behind, you can kill them instantly by attacking with the knife…assuming they don’t counter it. But if you attack an enemy head-on, it takes at least two swipes with the knife to score a kill from the front. So if an enemy is looking in your direction, think twice before attempting a knife kill. Chances are they’ll shoot you in the face before you can get within striking range. Instead, always look for opportunities to flank, sneaking up behind unsuspecting opponents and knifing them from behind. As in Battlefield 2142 and every installment since, scoring knife kills earns you the victim’s dog tags, providing you with a permanent trophy. But you only take your opponent’s dog tags when attacking from behind or performing a counter. In addition to scoring stealthy kills, the knife is also great for slicing through chainlink fences and other light obstacles.
Tired of getting knifed? With the new counter-knife gameplay mechanic, you now have the chance to turn the tables on your attacker—but it’s not easy. Just before you’re about to be knifed by an opponent from the front, immediately press the knife button/key to counter the attack and stab your opponent. You only need to press the knife button/key once at the right time to execute a counter-knife—repeatedly pressing the knife button/key won’t help. Timing and quick reflexes are a must to perform a counter-knife, so don’t be disappointed if you fail on your first attempt. A counter-knife cannot be countered by your opponent, ensuring your attacker’s dog tags will be added to your collection.
Battlefield 4 offers a wide range of firearms at your disposal. But it’s up to you to pick the best weapon for the job, taking into account your chosen class and preferred style of play. But what’s the difference between each weapon? Let’s take a quick look at the types of firearms available.
- Assault Rifles: Carried exclusively by the assault class, assault rifles are well-rounded full-auto weapons best deployed when engaging targets at intermediate ranges.
- Personal Defense Weapons (PDWs): Now available solely to engineers, PDWs are compact, fully automatic weapons known for their high rate of fire, making them ideal during close-quarter engagements.
- Light Machine Guns (LMGs): These bulky automatic weapons are lugged around by the support class, perfect for laying down high volumes of covering or suppressive fire.
- Sniper Rifles: The recon class’ bolt-action sniper rifles offer extreme power and precision, intended for long-range engagements—due to their low rate of fire, these are best deployed by marksman experts.
- Designated Marksman Rifles (DMRs): Available to all classes, these semi-automatic rifles offer a great balance of precision and stopping power, putting them somewhere in between the assault rifles and bolt-action sniper rifles.
- Carbines: Also available to all classes, carbines offer the versatility and functionality of an assault rifle in a smaller, compact frame, allowing them to perform admirably at both close and intermediate ranges.
- Shotguns: These close-quarter beasts can be equipped by any class and can be loaded with a variety of ammo types including buckshot, frag rounds, and slugs.
- Sidearms: Every soldier is equipped with a sidearm, serving as a backup to their primary weapon. Sidearms include a variety of pistols as well as the new Shorty 12G, a compact one-handed shotgun.
As mentioned earlier, the reticle in the center of the screen is your aiming point for using weapons. Most of the weapons you use are direct fire, meaning that the projectile you fire travels in a straight line from your weapon to the target. However, when engaging targets at long range, be prepared to aim high to compensate for bullet drop—gravity’s pull on the bullet causes it to drop over distance. Using these weapons is simple. Place the reticle directly over the target and then squeeze the trigger. This is called firing from the hip. Firing from the hip isn’t accurate, but it gets the job done at close range—attach a Laser Sight to your weapon to increase hip fire accuracy.
Most weapons in Battlefield 4 have selectable fire modes, allowing you to choose from single-shot, burst, and automatic modes. For semi-automatic or single-shot weapons such as pistols, shotguns, and sniper rifles, each time you press the fire button/key, you fire a single round. However, for automatic weapons such as submachine guns, assault rifles, and light machine guns, they will continue to shoot as you hold down the fire button/key until they run out of ammo. So experiment with each weapon’s fire modes in an effort to increase accuracy and reduce recoil.
The first round you fire with any weapon exhibits the most recoil. As the muzzle climbs after the first shot, follow-up shots may miss the intended target completely. When firing automatic weapons, the longer the burst, the less accurate your fire. Therefore, to maintain greater accuracy and still put a lot of lead on-target, fire in short bursts. You are more likely to kill your target, especially at medium to long range, with a few accurate rounds rather than spraying an entire magazine over a wide area. If recoil is still a problem, consider switching to burst or single-shot mode. While attachments like the Compensator, Angled Grip, and Folding Grip help reduce recoil, they don’t eliminate it entirely. As you get more comfortable with the weapons, compensate for muzzle climb by applying slight downward pressure, using either your mouse or controller’s analog stick. This allows you to fight the recoil, helping keep the weapon on-target.
Aiming Down Sights
At some point you’ll need to reload your weapon. While reloading, you’re very vulnerable, so make an effort to find cover or have a squadmate watch your back. For most weapons, rounds are loaded in detachable box magazines that are then inserted into the firearm. The capacity of magazines differs greatly based on the type of weapon you’re using—some sniper rifle magazines only hold five rounds while some LMG magazines can carry up to 200 rounds. It’s best to reload your weapon after each major engagement, when you have a few rounds left in a magazine. This means a round is already chambered in the weapon, significantly reducing the duration of reload animation. If you fire a weapon until it runs dry, a reload animation automatically begins. But this time, the weapon’s chamber is empty, requiring your soldier to load a fresh round after seating a new magazine. While this extra action may only take a second longer, one second can make all the difference during a heated firefight. But sometimes you can’t avoid firing all the rounds in a magazine. If a threat is still active and your magazine is empty, instead of reloading your primary weapon, switch to your sidearm. It’s always faster to draw your sidearm than it is to load a new magazine in your primary weapon—shots fired from a pistol may just be enough to eliminate your opponent. If you already began loading your primary weapon when you drew your sidearm, when you switch back to the primary weapon, the reload animation will continue where you left off instead of starting over from the beginning. This is called tiered reloading and is a welcome new feature in Battlefield 4.
Reloading should be a conscious decision and not a reaction. Many players get in the bad habit of reloading after each kill, leaving them open to retaliation by their victim’s teammates—who are usually lurking around the next corner. So quickly analyze the situation before initiating a reload, ensuring you’re in a relatively safe, covered location. Support troops carrying belt-fed LMGs have the most difficult time reloading, as the process can take up to seven seconds—these players should find a good hiding spot before beginning this lengthy animation. Pump shotguns and some semi-auto shotguns are a bit tricky too, requiring soldiers to load one shell at a time. Load these shotguns frequently, inserting new shells at your earliest convenience until the weapon is full.
All firearms can be equipped with a variety of attachments, allowing you customize your weapon to meet the demands of any tactical situation. By default, most weapons have no attachments available—you must earn them. New attachments are unlocked at regular ten-kill intervals while using a particular weapon. For example, scoring your first ten kills with the ACE 23 assault rifle earns you the Reflex (RDS) optic. The next ten kills earn you the Laser Sight accessory, and so on. Once an attachment has been unlocked, you can equip it by choosing the Customize option from the deploy screen, followed by the Customize Weapon button. Most firearms have five customization slots—here’s a brief rundown of the most common options:
- Optic: Here you can choose from three categories of optics from close-range red dot sights to long-range, high-magnification ballistic scopes.
- Accessory: Choose from a variety of laser sights and lights for your weapon. The new Canted Ironsight is also available in this category.
- Barrel: Swap out your weapon’s barrel for a Heavy Barrel or attach a Muzzle Brake, Flash Hider, or Suppressor.
- Underbarrel: The Bipod and grips available here help dampen recoil, making the weapon easier to control. Assault rifles can also be equipped with the underbarrel M26 Shotgun or M320 Grenade Launcher.
- Paint: Select a camo pattern for your weapon to help blend in with your environment.
As you unlock more and more attachments for your weapons, experiment with different configurations until you find one that best matches your style of play. Like weapons, attachments are largely subjective. So don’t be afraid to try out new configurations, taking into account the type of weapon you’re customizing—a favorite configuration for an assault rifle might not feel the same when applied to a carbine or DMR. This is why it’s important to keep experimenting.
Battlefield 4 introduces an entirely new array of grenade types, allowing you to further customize your loadout to meet the needs of your squad and team. Let’s take a quick look at what grenades are available.
- Hand Flare: Deploy a bright red flare for lighting up dark areas or marking areas of tactical importance.
- M18 Smoke: Releases a cloud of thick smoke that obstructs vision.
- M34 Incendiary: Explodes with a cloud of fire, damaging any targets in the area of effect.
- M67 Frag: Explodes on a timer.
- M84 Flashbang: Explodes with a blinding flash.
- RGO Impact: Explodes directly on impact with any surface.
- V40 Mini: A smaller grenade with less explosive force, but a larger quantity is allowed to be carried and it can be thrown farther.
Although these grenades perform different functions, they’re all deployed by throwing them. Use your weapon’s reticle on the HUD to best judge where you want to throw a grenade. One press of the grenade button/key causes the grenade to be thrown, shown as a orange flashing icon on the HUD. But grenades have limited range, so you may need to aim high to get them near your intended target—the farther your target, the higher you should aim your throw. With the exception of the RGO Impact, grenades have a short fuse, detonating within five seconds of being thrown. As a result, you can bounce grenades around corners or roll them down inclines. Like your own grenades, enemy grenades show up as flashing orange icons on the HUD. So if you see one of these flashing icons nearby, sprint in the opposite direction before it explodes.
Hand grenades aren’t the only option. Grenades can also be launched from the assault kit’s M320 Grenade Launcher or the M32 MGL battle pickup. Like the hand grenades, a variety of M320 ammo is available for this launcher. Unlike a bullet or rocket, which travels in a straight line, launched grenades travel in a parabolic arc due to their lower speed and the effect of gravity. Therefore, the farther away you are from the target, the higher you need to aim. That is why the reticle for a grenade launcher’s ironsight has several horizontal line aiming points. For a short-range shot, use the top line. The farther away your target, use the lower lines. By using a lower aiming point, you are essentially aiming the weapon up higher to lob the grenade towards the target. With the exception of the M320 LVG, all launched grenades explode on impact, much like a rocket or missile. So take this into account, particularly when launching grenades at nearby targets—the splash damage of a M320 HE round may injure or kill you.
The battlefield is a dangerous place for infantry, made even more deadly by the presence of enemy ground, naval, and air vehicles—small arms fire do little to deter these threats. Some soldiers can carry specialized weapons designed to damage and destroy these vehicles. The engineer is the master of these weapons, capable of equipping anti-tank weapons like the RPG-7V2, SMAW, SRAW, LAW, and Javelin. All of these rocket- and missile-based weapons are capable of targeting enemy vehicles through direct fire, laser designation, or their own on-board guidance systems. The engineer can also knock aircraft out of the sky using shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles like the Stinger or IGLA. But there are passive options too, like the engineer’s M15 AT Mine and M2 SLAM—place these explosives in high traffic areas frequented by enemy ground vehicles. The engineer isn’t the only one capable of deploying explosives. Both the support and recon class are capable of carrying remotely detonated C4, ideal for turning any vehicle into a flaming wreck. So even when you’re on foot, you’re not totally defenseless against vehicles. Still, minimize your exposure to vehicles as much as possible—even when carrying these powerful weapons, you’re still outgunned.
Battlefield has always prided itself in providing a rock-paper-scissor balance to vehicle combat, meaning there’s no one vehicle that can truly dominate. Each vehicle has always had strengths and a weaknesses, and that tradition continues with Battlefield 4. As the driver or pilot of a vehicle, it’s up to you to exploit each vehicle’s strengths while guarding its weaknesses. No matter what vehicle you’re in, there’s always a host of threats you need to prepare for. For example, if driving a tank, you can blast most ground vehicles with impunity, but still need to watch out for attack helicopters, jets, and engineers. Of course, skill and an attentive crew can help overcome a vehicle’s weaknesses—such as an engineer hopping out of a tank to conduct repairs while the driver continues to fight. A crew that communicates and works together can be a formidable threat on the battlefield, sometimes turning the tide in a close match.
The maps in Battlefield 4 are massive—it can take several minutes to cross them on foot. Therefore, use vehicles to get around whenever possible, making an effort to pick up teammates along the way. There are several types of vehicles in the game, yet they all are driven with similar controls. All vehicles have more than one seat. When you get into an vacant vehicle, you are placed in the driver’s seat by default. However, you can move to another position inside the vehicle with the press of a button/key, cycling through all seats. The driver has control of a vehicle’s movement and, in the tanks, IFVs, and attack boats, also controls the vehicle’s turret-mounted primary weapon. Most vehicles even have gunner and passenger positions, allowing teammates to man other vehicle-mounted weapons. At the start of a match, make sure all crew positions are filled before leaving a base or deployment area—leaving teammates stranded back at your base won’t help your team win.
Damage: Critical Hits
In Battlefield 3, vehicle damage was completely overhauled. With Battlefield 4, vehicle damage is being adjusted once again with the introduction of critical hits. When a vehicle takes damage, there’s a chance the attacking weapon has scored a critical hit. Critical hits take into account damage, the angle of attack, and which area of the vehicle has been hit—hits to a tank’s weak rear or top armor are more likely to result in critical hits. When a vehicle suffers a critical hit, it becomes immobilized, causing it to move slow or become unresponsive—this can be deadly when flying a jet or helicopter. But unlike in Battlefield 3, this immobilization is only temporary, lasting a few seconds. At this point vehicle crew members have a choice: do they stay with the immobilized vehicle and try to score more kills or do they bail out and attempt to find cover before their ride suffers more damage and explodes? An experienced crew can stay with the vehicle and fight their way out of trouble until the vehicle becomes responsive. Compared to Battlefield 3, the temporary immobilization state provides greater incentive for staying with your vehicle.
In the most recent iterations of Battlefield, vehicles had unlimited ammo, making them extremely powerful. But that has changed in Battlefield 4, limiting infinite ammo to secondary weapons like machine guns. This means drivers and pilots must be more selective when firing their primary weapons. But ammo doesn’t disappear forever. Similar to health, ammo regenerates over time. Furthermore, vehicles can be replenished through supply drops initiated by the team’s commander. Initially, tank drivers are most likely to feel the pinch—running out of ammo in the middle of a tank duel can be deadly…and somewhat embarrassing. But limiting vehicle ammo promotes greater skill and discipline in such engagements, requiring deeper tactical planning. So before engaging an enemy vehicle, make sure you have enough ammo to finish it off.
Every time you die, you get a brief glimpse of your killer through the kill cam. This screen appears briefly immediately after your death, providing a shot of the player who killed you as well as their name, rank, health, dog tags, kit, weapon, and attachments. It may seem like a frivolous feature, but the kill cam has larger implications for how the game is played. Snipers can’t camp one spot and kill from an undisclosed location throughout the entire match. Through the kill cam, victims can see approximately where an enemy player is camping and enact revenge once they respawn. So make a habit of moving frequently, or else you’re likely to face one of your angry victims sneaking up behind you with a knife.
If you’ve played past installments of Battlefield, you know the benefits of joining a squad. A squad is a five-player unit that can communicate with each other over headsets. Being able to talk to the other players in your squad allows you to discuss each situation and respond as a single unified fighting force. Beyond the obvious tactical advantages, being in a squad allows you to earn the squad bonus points, boosting your score and fast-tracking promotions. But if you’re new to Battlefield and the squad system, let’s take a look at how they work.
Joining a Squad
At the start of any match, while the map is loading, you’re asked if you want to join a squad. Always choose yes. In this instance, you’ll be automatically assigned a squad randomly. Chances are your new squadmates are complete strangers, so say hi and ask what kit they could use before spawning into the game. If you prefer playing with friends, you can create a squad from your friend’s list before even joining a game. You don’t need five players to form a squad, so feel free to join a game once you have at least one friend on your side. However, if you have less than five players in your squad, the extra slots could be filled by strangers. Once formed, squads can be locked, preventing others from joining without an invite.
One of the huge benefits of playing in a squad is the ability to spawn on any squadmate. In the deploy screen you can see a number of spawning options, including your team’s base and vehicles. If you don’t want to spawn at one of those static locations, spawn on one of your squad members, represented by a green icon on the deploy screen. As you select their icon, the camera view in the left corner of the deploy screen switches to the selected squad member’s perspective. Before spawning on a squad member, make sure they’re in a safe location. The last thing you want to do is spawn in the middle of an enemy kill zone. You can also spawn on any squad member who is in a vehicle with unoccupied seats. The Radio Beacons from Battlefield 3 are back, deployed by recon troops. Radio Beacons can be placed almost anywhere on the map and serve as forward spawn points for your squad. This is a great way for attackers to maintain a presence close to an objective, especially during Rush matches. But don’t let enemies see where your Radio Beacon is placed, otherwise they may camp nearby and pick off your squadmates as they enter the game.
Each squad has one squad leader tasked with issuing attack and defend orders. The first player to form a squad is the squad leader. When you’ve been selected as the squad leader, a message appears on the screen informing you of your new job. Your name also appears at the top of the squad list on the left side of the HUD, marked with a star icon. Serving as squad leader, you can better direct your squad by placing attack or defend orders on objectives. Once an order has been placed at a location, any kills that occur within a wide radius of the given order results in points for both you and your squad. It’s a simple mechanic, but it’s a great way to keep your squad focused on one objective.
Once in the game, you can identify your squadmates by the green name tags above their heads accompanied by their kit icon—they also show up as green triangles on the minimap. Other teammates have blue name tags above their head while enemies appear as red. Stay close to your squad so you can support one another. But don’t cluster around each other too tightly or else all five of you can be eliminated by an explosive attack. Instead, try to stay within each others’ line of sight. By simply communicating and working together you can gain a huge advantage over your opponents, especially those that wander off by themselves.
In addition to talking to each other over your headsets, use the target spotting system to tag enemies and issue attack/defend orders. Only the squad leader can issue orders so watch for blinking boxes around objectives like M-COM stations and control points. If no order has been issued, ask your squad leader to place an order on an objective. Kills performed within close proximity of an objective marked with an attack/defend order results in a squad order bonus, worth 50 additional points. So if you’re the squad leader, don’t forget to issue orders to help your squad’s scores, otherwise you’re just leaving points on the table.
Persistence and Awards
|Ribbons||You earn a ribbon when you accomplish an in-game objective, such as getting a certain number of Kill Assists or Headshots. Ribbons are earned on a per-match basis and can be received multiple times.|
|Medals||You are awarded with a medal once you have collected a certain amount of ribbons of the same type. Medals represent milestones for good performance and can be earned multiple times.|
|Dog Tags||Every player in Battlefield 4 has a pair of dog tags. The standard dog tag has your name written on it. The advanced dog tag features an etching and a statistic, such as your headshot count. You can collect the dog tags of other players by knifing them.|
|Service Stars||A service star is awarded for completing a Tour of Duty for every weapon, lethal gadget, vehicle class, soldier class, and game mode. The stars vary depending on class and difficulty. Each service star can be obtained 100 times.|
|Assignments||There are three difficulty levels of assignments in Battlefield 4: Basic, Advanced, and Expert. As you progress through different ranks, new assignments will be unlocked. Fulfilling the assignments unlocks dog tags, weapon paint, and more.|
|Battlepacks||Battlepacks contain random combinations of new camo, dog tags, knives, XP boosts, and more. These items are designed to add customization options and give you some personalization on the battlefield. Battlepacks are earned through progression or promotion. There are six types of Battlepacks: standard, advanced, superior, distinguished, special, and premium.|
Every action performed in a multiplayer match earns you points. Various actions, kills, assists, resupplies, assignments, and much more count towards your progression and earns you statistics over the course of your career. The better you perform, the faster you move up the ranks, and as you move up the ranks, you gain access to new weapons and gadgets. So at the end of a round, check out your overall performance in the end of round screens. These screens show your current rank as well as your progress toward achieving the next rank. It also has statistical breakdowns of your score, showing how many points were earned with each kit, vehicles, and awards. Speaking of awards, any dog tags, medals, or ribbons earned during the round are shown in the Unlocks and Awards sections. The kits screen shows how much progress you’ve made toward unlocking new equipment for each kit. Finally, the Scoreboard is displayed, showing where you ranked among teammates and opponents.