“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” —Greg Anderson
I’ve come a full circle from the Thursday afternoon that I purchased Battlefield 3 on: it had been a grey, overcast day, and after the game had finished loading, I played through the first two missions of the campaign to see if things worked. After that, I set the game aside for until after the Fall term had ended: when I began, my performance was terrible, and I recall that my first ever kill was a frantic close-quarters melee as the recon class during a conquest match on Caspian Border. Since then, I’ve reached Rank 3 Colonel, and according to my BattleLog, I’ve logged some ninety hours in Battlefield 3 so far. All ninety hours have been a journey that has seen everything from rough patches to days where the stars seem to align and I won every game I played. A year later, I can say that Origin’s Black Friday sale was probably one of the best deals I’ve had the opportunity to capitalise on, and that Battlefield 3 has fulfilled the same role that Halo 2 had in previous years, being a top-of-the-line shooter that’s entertained for hours.
- After many hours, I’ve finally unlocked the Colonel rank, and here, I’ve also got the MG36. Despite being one of the lower-performing LMGs in Battlefield 3, I enjoy it for its appearance. It appears in Enter The Matrix as the G36 and is mis-classified as an assault rifle. Seen most frequently in the nuclear power plant, the MG36 in Enter The Matrix was one of the best assault rifles in the game (second to only the SG-552) and had a 60-round capacity.
- I hardly ever get behind the cockpit of a jet because I’m still prone to being shot down by helicopters. However, ever since playing Ace Combat: Assault Horizons, I’ve noticed that I’m much more comfortable with flying and have unlocked several of the upgrades for the jets, through playing air superiority, although sometimes, I will get the odd kill in a jet while playing through conquest.
- Even after getting Battlefield 3 Premium, I still spend most of my time on Noshahr Canals. There are occasions where I’ll be wanting to play different maps, and this protracted round on Death Valley was one of them. By this point in the game, I finally had enough experience to play through conquest games with a positive KD ratio (typically, the extreme ranges mean I hardly encounter players on foot and will be shredded by players in vehicles).
- The Assault class is my most frequented class owing to the assault rifles’ versatility and the presence of health packs and defibrillators. After that comes the support class, which gives me the role of resupplying my teammates. Here, I’m fighting in an underground parkade on Operation 925, which, as was kindly pointed out to me, is a pun on the phrase “nine to five”, referring to typical hours for an office position, and with this being an office building…
- Back in the old days of Halo 2, I would go grab a Ghost and splatter players on Coagulation until someone stopped me with a rocket launcher or sniper rifle. In Battlefield 3, getting splatters (or roadkill) is much more challenging because a large majority of the vehicles are slow, and many of them have weapons that some passengers make use of to blow away infantry units long before the driver can splatter them. However, here, I splattered a low-level player with a bike during a pitched conquest match.
- It’s quite rare that I get kills with the Stinger or Igla, since most pilots choose to bail out the instant their vehicle was destroyed. This will required a bit of patience: I kept the lock on him until after he dumped his flares, and fired while his flares were cooling down. The Stinger tracked him and blew out his helicopter to earn me this kill.
- I’ve finally settled on a sight that I’m truly comfortable with: the holographic sight was once something I hardly ever ran with, but after trying it for the Sabagebu-style Firing Range, I discovered that the holographic sight was versatile enough to be used for medium to long ranges, and that firing from the hip would suffice in extreme close-quarters.
- I don’t typically go for knife kills because they tend to leave one vulnerable to attack while one is carrying the knifing and taking of dog tags. I cannot count the number of times where an enemy player had knifed someone on my team, leaving them open for me to unload upon them. The knife should only really be used when one encounters a lone enemy completely unaware of one’s presence. Here, I got the drop on another player and knifed him, earning me my second service star for the ACB-90.
- Inspired by Matimi0’s terrible weapon challenges, I did play a few rounds where I would attempt to kill players with unusual weapons such as smoke grenades and the repair tool. The smoke challenge was quite amusing, and although my aim is nowhere near as sure as Matimi0’s, I still had a lot of fun with the smoke grenades: to score kills with the smoke rounds, one has to treat them as M320 buckshot rounds and attempt to land direct hits on the enemy players: a successful hit is a one-hit kill.
- One of the things about the scout helicopters is that it’s possible to repair it while acting as a passenger, thereby providing a source of reliable vehicle repair while one is occupying the passenger seat. This is what the repair tool should be used for, but I rarely get maintenance efficiency ribbons because vehicles get destroyed faster than I can repair them.
As entertaining as the standalone version of Battlefield 3 is, by around March, I found myself itching to try the new weapons and maps offered by the expansion packs: on their own, they’re not a particularly good deal, but by chance in late April, another sale arrived, and I picked up the Premium expansion at the cost of one DLC pack. I’ve now played matches on all of the maps and have most of the new weapons unlocked (save the MK3A1, which requires some four hours of gameplay and kills from vehicles). I’ve also become quite comfortable with the bolt-action sniper rifles and the engineer class: while the assault and support classes remain my go-to classes for most matches, it is quite surprising that my first and second combat efficiency ribbons come from the recon and engineer classes (and more amusingly, both ribbons were from my sessions to capture gameplay footage for the Firing Range series). In previous posts, I’ve already given my take (an overwhelmingly positive one) for Battlefield 3, and as such, any further words from me about the game itself would be redundant.
- Repair tools have a more insidious and amusing use to them: they can deal damage to enemy players and kill them, making for some hilarious moments. As with the knife, attempting to kill someone with the repair tool is best done on an unsuspecting player who is relatively isolated. It takes a few seconds for this to work, and while most players will realise that something is draining their health and react (usually resulting in one’s death, since all the weapons in Battlefield 3 hit harder than the repair tool), there are some players who don’t even notice and end up succumbing to the power of the repair tool.
- The only thing more embarrassing than dying from a repair tool is dying from an EOD bot. The repair tool still affords one the full control of their soldier, but the EOD bot has terrible steering and suspension, bouncing around the map if not properly driven. It was remarkably difficult to get this kill so I could unlock the MTAR-21, and given how tough the EOD bot is to use, anyone who dies at the hands of an EOD bot had it coming to them.
- The M5K has quickly become one of my absolute favourite PDWs because of its high hipfire accuracy. Like the Deutsche M9K form 007 Nightfire, the M5K initially comes with a 20-round magazine that runs dry in a flash because of its 900 RPM firing rate. However, after sixty kills, one can unlock the extended mags for it, which bumps it up to 30 rounds (plus one in the chamber) and gives one a longer operational time.
- Of all the DLCs, I most often play the Close Quarters Maps, and at the time of writing, I’ve unlocked everything except the MK3A1. Gun master is a particularly fun game to play, and while most days, I’ll stick to the objective and level up for the best possible score, other days, it’s fun to hide in a corner and knife everything that has an orange triangle over its head: in Gun Master, being knifed typically causes a demotion in weapon rank.
- This is one of the longer range shots I’ve made, although it was not a headshot. On an unrelated note, I occasionally encounter some cheaters in Battlefield 3, who are characterised by low levels in conjunction with an uncanny ability to move far more quickly than what is normally possible, or else are able to score headshots from across the map with a pistol. They make the match a little tiresome, although some cheaters only have one or two enabled and can still be killed. While documentation states that reporting cheaters to EA is the recommended course of action, in actuality, bans are hardly given out, and most servers just kick suspected cheaters.
- The melee medal is given to players after twenty melee ribbons are accumulated. I typically play on knife-only servers to accumulate melee ribbons, but one TDM round on Noshahr Canals lent itself to knife kills, and I wound up getting the medal while capturing screenshots for the Sabagebu! Firing Range post. I decided not to share this moment for that post, since this was a melee award, and that post was about the M4A1.
- Curiously enough, my first ever sniper medal came from the vanilla M417 (no barrel attachments and iron sights): this DMR’s combination of a large magazine size and damage output makes it well suited for medium range firefights.
- I imagine that Gun master is probably the best game type in which to get pistol ribbons, as players typically start with pistols and work their way up to more powerful weapons. In regular game types, the pistols are intended as a backup weapon for the hectic moments in close quarters when one’s primary weapon runs dry. I typically roll with the G17 or REX depending on my primary weapon.
- I don’t intentionally go out of my way to target a single player, so when I start going on nemesis streaks, I just consider the other player unlucky. With the day almost over, I played through a TDM round today and was placed on the losing team, but 45 minutes later, my team somehow came out on top (and I scored second for my team). It’s a little surprising to recall that it’s been a year since I picked up Battlefield 3, and although I did not purchase anything from Origin during this year’s Black Friday Sale, I did pick up Crysis: Warhead, Go! Go! Nippon! ~My First Trip to Japan~ and DEFCON on Steam for a total of 10 USD.
- The stationary emplacement medal is one of the easiest to unlock: all one needs to do is sit in a TOW missile launcher or the C-RAM (US)/Pantsir-S1 (Russia) for an hour. Getting kills with the stationary weapons is a challenge: despite their unlimited ammunition and high rate of fire, their rounds travel relatively slowly, and most targets are out of visual range even when zoomed in. With this obligatory Battlefield 3 post now over, I have one more Battlefield 3 post in the works (dealing with a Stella Women’s Academy loadout). There are a handful of posts coming out for December (such as a talk on my journey to level 10 Borderlands 2 and my verdicts on some anime I finished but never reviewed over the past two year), but before I get to those, I’ll kick the month off with a talk on Bokura wa minna kawaisou, which I’m about halfway into.
Perhaps it is not surprising that I am presently more comfortable with Battlefield 3 than I ever was with Bad Company 2, and looking into the future, I’ll probably continue to drop by into team deathmatch on Noshahr Canals if a sufficiently long break presents itself, and close quarters is where I happen to excel. Over the next year, I’ll probably unlock the service medals for the US and Russian teams, as well as the service medals for each class. Of course, there’s also the long road to reaching the level-100 colonel; I see those players from time to time, and they’ve spent thousands of hours in-game. I don’t have that kind of dedication (it lies elsewhere, for the same reason I’m prone to falling behind in anime), but this also means that there is quite a bit of Battlefield 3 to finish. With this said, I’ll be playing less Battlefield 3 in 2015 compared to 2014: a pile of games from Steam sales still need to be completed, and I still need to get further in Skyrim (at the very least, I should finish the main quest line).