“Somewhere in the city of Pasadena, I’ve hidden a golden COIN!COIN!COIN! You all will be faced with a total of ten PUZZLES. Each puzzle will lead you to the location of the next, the last of which will lead you to the COIN!COIN!COIN! The first team that finds it, WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINS!” – Rajesh Koothrappali, The Big Bang Theory
Battlefield 4‘s M249 was my most-used weapon overall: after unlocking it through completing the campaign, I found it to be an immensely reliable weapon whose high rate of fire and manageable recoil made it immensely effective at close ranges, in spite of its weaker damage (the M249 fires the 5.56 mm NATO round as opposed to the heaver 7.62mm rounds) and high spread. When equipped with a compensator, foregrip and laser sight, the M249 became the ultimate weapon for close-quarters combat, allowing me to play the support role aggressively, pushing onto objectives with allies and clearing out rooms on my own in TDM. Until now, there’s been no such equivalent in Battlefield 1 – LMGs fire more slowly, and have been relegated to a medium-range role. However, with In The Name of the Tsar, Battlefield 1 introduces the Parabellum MG14/17, which fires at 700 RPM. After testing this weapon in the CTE, I found it to be the closest equivalent of having an M249: the weapon fires faster than the BAR M1918, making it absolutely lethal at the ranges I prefer supporting teammates from, and as a result, tears through infantry. Its immense power is tempered by its spread when fired from the shoulder, but putting down a bipod turns it into a precision tool for longer-range engagements at the expense of mobility. By no means overpowered, the MG14/17 fulfils a very specific role in Battlefield 1, and in particular, with the low weight variants recovering faster from spread, making it more responsive in a close-quarters scenario, the MG14/17 low weight is ideally suited for those firefights in close quarters. It marks a return to the play-style that I’ve grown so fond of in earlier Battlefield games, and while seemingly the perfect LMG for playing in my preferred style, there is a caveat – unlocking the weapon is a rather arduous process.
The requirement of taking out twenty players with the airburst mortar is not a particular challenge: players clustering around capture points are susceptible to impact and explosive effects even with the new specialisations that reduce explosive damage, and are a matter of patience. However, the other requirement to unlock the MG14/17 low weight proved an unpleasant surprise for the community – players must destroy two planes with LMGs. This is not an easy task: skilful pilots can catch onto players shooting at them from the ground and manoeuvre away to repair, while the bullets themselves do little damage to the plane. It takes a steady aim and anticipation of the pilot’s actions to do noticeable damage to the plane to disable it, and players will be denied credit for destroying the plane if it crashes prematurely or else is destroyed by someone else. However, despite the assignment appearing impossible, DICE is attempting to remind players of a fundamental lesson in the worth of persistence, all the while trying to impress upon players that a squad of LMGs can in fact be lethal anti-air options in the absence of the QF-17 or an allied artillery truck. With enough determination, a willingness to make sacrifices, and some luck, destroying planes becomes possible, akin to how perseverance in a difficult task and seeing it through can often lead to spectacular results that cannot be attained by giving up. Taking that extra shot can make a world of difference; in Battlefield 1, it means getting that plane destroyed marker, while in real life, persistence can lead to finding employment or asking someone out. It’s a curious place for a life lesson to appear, and while I’ve always been a believer in seeing things through to the end, I reached an epiphany of sorts after downing my second plane on Monte Grappa, serving to reaffirming these perspectives.
Screenshots and Commentary
- While the grays and blues of Albion can be quite dreary, the sun does occasionally break through the clouds, flooding the land with light. This map occasionally necessitates swimming between the different islands, and one of the only strikes I can readily think of against In The Name of the Tsar is the fact that players do not lose any health when swimming through the frigid waters of the North.
- The Coastal Guns are actually quite fun to use: it’s more effective in third person mode, and while a bit buggy (similar to the stationary guns in Battlefront), they can deal massive damage when one’s aim is true. After nailing three other players earlier with the weapon while in third person mode, I tried helping clear out point D from E, and landed myself a nice triple kill. The weapon can be fired in first person mode, although I have a feeling this perspective is best for when a behemoth has appeared.
- At this point, I had decided to take a break from the challenge of trying to shoot down planes with the LMG, and began working with the MG15 low weight. The weapon is surprisingly fun to use, and one of the unintended side effects of this particular assignment was that I learned to be much more effective with the support class. While I’d long avoided the class in favour of the others, playing the challenge and seeing for myself where the class is most effective led me to really appreciate what role the support class plays in Battlefield 1.
- By keeping my distance, the LMGs became significantly more powerful, and here, I unlocked the Perino 1908 low weight variant. One of the gun’s most distinct features is its hopper-fed magazine, which allows for fast reloads, and it’s a fun weapon to use. Its slower firing rate makes it more similar to the Lewis Gun and MG15, being most useful at a distance, and while outclassed in terms of firing rate, the Perino 1908’s unique reload mechanism allows it a slight edge in that department to balance the weapon out.
- In one particularly fun match on Brusilov Keep, I spawned in with the Parabellum MG14/17 suppressive version, which I’d unlocked early into the release of the DLC. With the same high firing rate as the low weight variant, the suppressive mounts an optical sight that makes it more useful at medium ranges. This weapon is not suitable for close-quarters firefights when aiming down sights: like the MP-18 Optical, it tends to kick quite a bit; when the bipod is deployed, on the other hand, the suppressive version becomes a beast.
- The new weapon approach seen in Battlefield 1, where all weapons fulfill a specific role, addresses the issue in earlier Battlefield games where the assault rifles became the best weapons to use on account of being versatile enough to perform in almost all situations. By comparison, the strengths and limitations of weapons in Battlefield 1 are more apparent, and I’ve found that including some of the more distinct weapons in In The Name of the Tsar makes it worth the price of admissions.
- While the Parabellum MG14/17 suppressive is not the prize I was seeking to unlock, its reasonable requirements meant I decided to get it done first, and in practise, I perform remarkably well with it. During one match of conquest, I used the weapon to great effect, deploying my bipod by a window and slaughtered the other team, helping my team to victory. With its strengths in mind, this is the LMG I will likely take in maps that are larger, and as a result of having spent so much time shooting at passing planes, I’ve now developed the habit of firing at nearby aircraft in conquest when I encounter them.
- I suddenly realise that I’ve not played Far Cry 4 at all this month since the In the Name of the Tsar DLC came out for Battlefield 1, and probably should get rolling on that. Since I published my talk at Far Cry 4‘s halfway point, I’ve unlocked the Buzzsaw – while I’ve more or less beaten Fay Cry 4 for all intents and purposes, there remains the small matter of actually liberating Kyrat. Competing for my time will be the Battlefront 2 open beta, and the Call of Duty: WWII open beta, which will be occurring in the very near future.
- The Mle 1903 is one of the more versatile pistols despite lagging slightly behind the excellent M1911, and getting five kills with it in a round will unlock the Obrez pistol. A cut-down Mosin-Nagant, it has a five-round capacity, extremely slow firing rate and hits like a truck. I opted to play conquest in order to unlock this weapon: conquest matches last on average around half an hour and gives plenty of time to get kill. The close quarters frenzy of Amiens made it a suitable location for finishing the assignment, and I finished this assignment without any difficulty.
- While not shown here, I also managed to destroy a light tank using the AT mines during this match. I died shortly before the moment, but managed a double kill. In this particular moment, I manage another kill with the Mle 1903, having run into a situation where I was caught mid-reload with the Model 1900: its extreme power is offset by the fact that it can hold two rounds, balancing the weapon out. Running with the Model 1900 forced me to rely more heavily on my sidearm, hence my decision to carry it into this match on Amiens.
- I spent most of the last weekend farming mortar kills after destroying the second plane on Saturday afternoon. Slowly inching towards the required twenty airburst kills, it was Sunday evening when I spawned onto a match on Monte Grappa. I had spent the day playing on maps like Argonne Forest and Fao Fortress for the kills. Seeing the presence of enemy players clustered around one of the hills leading to capture point B, I fired for effect and was down to my last two shells. When I fired my second last shell, I was blown away by the fact that I managed to get a triple kill. At the time, I had seventeen Mortar kills, so I finally unlocked the assignment in a spectacular fashion, earning me the Parabellum MG14/17 low weight.
- It’s interesting as to how luck actually works, and this week, Battlefield 1 also put on my rotation two assignments for medals that was achievable. The first was the tour of duty medal, which involves spending ten minutes with each class, culminating in my unlocking the medal shortly after spawning into a conquest match on Galicia. At this point, the clouds had not rolled in, and so, I had a beautiful blue sky when the medal popped up on the screen. Medals were unlocked differently in earlier iterations of Battlefield, hence their rarity in Battlefield 1, and while I love Battlefield 1, I miss the old progression system.
- I decided to stick around for the match after unlocking the medal, and under overcast skies, did some sniping with the M1903 sniper. I’ve had a chance to try the M1903 experimental myself now, and it’s actually a decent weapon for close quarters, akin to running the recon class with a PDW back in Battlefield 3: in a single TDM match, I managed to get fifteen kills for it, putting me one step closer to one of the weapon assignments for In The Name of the Tsar.
- The page quote comes from The Big Bang Theory, and Raj’s presentation of a scavenger hunt was so over-the-top, it remains memorable to this day. Raj’s “WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINS!” succinctly captures how it feels to finally complete what was probably the most diabolical challenge I’ve attempted in Battlefield 1. The most diabolical challenge I had in Battlefield 4 was the journey towards unlocking the Desert Eagle, but I somehow managed without any assistance. I was motivated to get the UNICA and the Deagle after another player asked me to help him with the Deagle, so I stood still for a match and gave him free headshots. When I attempted the 20 headshots with the UNICA, I did so in a regular server, where other players were running with assault rifles and the like.
- The other assignments of Battlefield 1 that seem intimidating are the ones to unlock the Mosin-Nagant marksman (which requires 15 kills with the HE tripwire bomb) and the General Liu rifle’s storm variant (30 kills with rifle grenades). I’ll probably leave these ones to patience. With this service star, I’m a third of the way to getting the Hellriegel Defensive, which features a 120-round magazine, bipod and optics. The elite level ten weapons have steep unlock requirements.
- After work, I decided to give the Parabellum MG14/17 low weight a spin, and was immediately blown away by how similarly the weapon handles compared to the M249. According to my stats, I’ve got twice as many kills with the suppressive than the low weight version, but I’ve only put in two rounds worth of gameplay for the low weight variant. The weapon is well-suited for aggressive support players owing to its high rate of fire, and ultimately, is worth the effort to unlock. Now that I’ve got it, I will note that the tutorials out there are definitely applicable towards helping out with the unlocks.
- Some of it still boils down to luck, however, and I will be the first to admit that I was uncommonly lucky in getting that second plane on Monte Grappa. While I’ve not got any screenshots of that moment, having chosen not to open FRAPS that round, the fact that I have the Parabellum MG14/17 low weight here should be a strong indicator that yes, I have destroyed two planes. Overall, the low weight variant is immensely fun to use, and I finally feel like I’m beginning to get the hang of the support class.
- This killtacular came completely unexpected: while on Tsaritsyn, I spawned into a tank so I could move safely to the cathedral, and en route, somehow managed to get a killtacular when another tank fired upon us. After blowing up the tank, I exited the vehicle seconds before some AT grenades ruined it. Within the confines of the cathedral, I began working towards another medal that was available: this one required twenty kills as the assault class, twenty revives, twenty resupplies and ten kills with single-action rifles. With this particular feat, I’ve surpassed the St. Chamond in kills using the Mark V.
- According to the Battlefield Companion tool, I’ve logged around 94 hours in the game, and I’m still having an incredible time in the game. While the progression system is limited, the game remains incredibly fun to play, especially for what are called “Only in Battlefield” moments. I’ve heard that Call of Duty: WWII will have an open beta running from September 29 to October 2 on Steam, and that the campaign will detail some of the darker moments in the European theatre. I’m still on the fence about this one, and I’ll likely wait before I make a decision as to whether or not Call of Duty: WWII worth buying.
- I’m certain that sharp-eyed readers will note that I only play Call of Duty games for their campaigns, and with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, as well as Battlefront 2 coming out, I’ll probably hold back and wait for a sale. Back in Battlefield 1, in the close quarters chaos that is Tsaritsyn, I managed to get the ten kills and unlocked another medal. This brings the post to an end, and upcoming is a revisitation of Sora no Woto‘s final OVA. I’ve also crossed the finish line for Sakura Quest, so a special discussion for that will be coming out in the very near future.
One of the biggest questions that remain is how to go about destroying planes with an LMG. There are numerous videos of folks landing lucky shots with the BAR Storm or Madsen MG, and people have suggested doing this with a friend, but in the absence of uncommonly good luck and friends, there are two approaches that maximise the probability of taking out a plane. The first is to unlock the Parabellum MG14/17 suppressive variant, whose requirements are much lower and whose optics are well suited for shooting at aircraft. The second is what I ended up doing for both of my kills – I equipped the MG15 suppressive, went prone and shot at bombers on Monte Grappa. Both of my kills ended up arising out of blind luck: my first kill was on an attack plane that the pilot ditched after I disabled it, and I kept firing until I saw the “Vehicle Destroyed” message. My second kill came a week later: the teammate operating an AA gun had overheated after damaging a bomber severely, and I managed to disable the plane. I continued shooting at the bomber as it flew overhead, and it exploded, taking with it two occupants. The assignment boils down to a combination of skill and luck, specifically, ninety-nine percent skill to one percent luck: one must be skilful enough to lead their shots and manage their choice of LMG so that it does not overheat at the wrong moment. The ability to be aware of the air, lead one’s shots and fire is completely in the player’s court, so most of the assignment comes from the conjunction of these skills. However, in order to complete the assignment, one must also be lucky enough so that the other pilots are reasonably unaware of one’s presence, as well having the timing to be present before a teammate can finish the plane off. It only takes one or two bullets to beat the assignment, hence my assertion that only a little bit of luck is required. This combination of skill and luck brings to mind the two biggest challenges folks of my age face: courtship and employment, hence my comparison. Consequently, for the folks who have persisted with and succeeded in unlocking the MG14/17 low weight, I contend that a similar mindset can be useful in real life itself, as well.