First up, let me quickly explain the lack of Minecraft Monday posts. My laptop’s display recently died completely, so in the meantime I’m running it through the TV I use. The only problem is because I use the laptop for my Mega Man source art, switching is much more complicated – I tried working on the project using a notepad to help my count on blocks and still managed an issue. Add in the fact that I’ve been playing a ton of Battlefield, as well as Borderlands starting tomorrow, as well as my kind of burnout on the project and I think it’s just the right time to take a few weeks off. The project isn’t dead – I will finish it, just a little later than originally I had planned.
Now then; on to the real topic for today – more Battlefield: Hardline multiplayer tips and tactics. I started this on Thursday, talking about the new twist on Conquest mode, the new Hotwire game type. Today I’m hitting another of the new game modes – Blood Money.
I’ve definitely spent the bulk of my time playing Blood Money since launch. While Hotwire is a lot of fun, and Heist is a pretty cool new take on Battlefield (more on that tomorrow), and the other new modes haven’t really drawn my interest; Blood Money has hit the sweet spot. It’s kind of hard to describe Blood Money in terms of other modes – it’s not like Conquest at all; nor is it anything like the other major Battlefield 4 mode Rush. It’s something a little unique. Both teams are fighting for control of money – so in a way, the closest thing I can really think of is King of the Hill – but even that’s pretty far off. Ultimately, just having control of the central money pile isn’t enough – both teams have a vault they are depositing the piles they collect into. And each vault can be breached by the other team – so there’s an element of Capture the Flag in there too. It’s a nice little mash-up of a couple popular competitive modes, that doesn’t really play like any of them. Now, some of the tactics I mentioned in Hotwire really still need to be used here. Battlefield is a game that rewards you for playing as a team, playing the objective and playing your class as intended.
Let’s start with the classes – mainly because it’s pretty simple here. Each and every class works in Blood Money, albeit for different reasons. Operators should be a part of any full squad – their healing gadgets are super important, especially the revive one. The fact that they also weild carbines and assault rifles makes them super flexible in their combat roles. Mechanics, while not as important as in Hotwire, still fill a pretty powerful role. There’s only two maps without vehicles on them in Blood Money, so their anti-vehicle gadgets still help a ton – as do their repair features. That said, I think their most important gadget within a squad setting is their satellite phone – it allows for squad members to respawn on that point. This helps keep your squad always in the fight. Combat also isn’t out of the picture – generally the money pile and vaults are in relatively close quarter areas – which their SMGs do really well in. Enforcers can actually fill a pretty powerful role here in Blood Money. Their weapons are built to hit hard and fast – the shotguns are incredibly strong, provided you are in range; and the battle rifles give you a perfect option on the longer range maps. Their ammo crate also helps you support your team – which you should always be doing. But their most useful potential might seem a little underhanded – even a cheap tactic. Normally I’m totally against trap items – claymores in Call of Duty were a pain in my ass online. But in Battlefield using explosives in…interesting ways has been a part of the game since Battlefield 1942. Enforcers have access to breaching charges – this game’s equivalent to C4. I don’t think that the breaching charges stick to vehicles like C4 did, so the classic “mobile bomb” option is out. But those breaching charges make for a perfect vault defense option. Plant a couple on your teams vault – if you see that the enemy is stealing from it, detonate and watch your kill field pop. I’ve managed to grab more than a couple multi-kills using this. It’s a little underhanded sure – but the breaching charges are visible, and can be disarmed if the enemy spots them before you hit them. So there is a counter to it, it’s not a totally cheap move. As for professionals, their role is pretty simple – long-range spotting and sniping. That’s really all the class is built for – snipers and DMRs aren’t really built for anything but long range in Battlefield. That’s why I think professionals should be used sparingly on your squad – at most two in a full five man squad. Set up in a spot where you can see either vault or the money pile and play spotter. Snipe targets that you can, mark the ones you can’t kill and relay that info to your team.
Moving on the the objective – which is where I’ve found the divide between a good match and a bad one. A fun match has both teams playing both for the the money pile, as well as a few well timed runs at the vault. Bad matches has teams play exclusive for the vault – which I’ve seen a few times. Playing for the vault isn’t a terrible thing by itself – but when a whole team is ignoring two-thirds of the game, it tends to really bog down the flow. I’m not at all suggesting to ignore the vault – my team has been two stacks and five stacks away from score limit and lost the matches because of a well timed raid. But that’s a raid that makes sense – when I see a team hitting my vault when we have maybe 20 stacks, I just don’t get it, especially when they have just as much. In an ideal game, the bulk of the action will take place around the neutral pile, vying for a few free seconds to take as much money as possible – then setting up for a counter attack. What I’ve seen plenty is a team lose control of the neutral pile, essentially give up on trying to take it back, and switch focus to our the enemy vault. That’s fine in a short burst – it actually is something I would recommend – hit the vault while they’re all at the middle pile. Your ultimate goal needs to be something of a balance between controlling the middle, and disrupting the enemy. But your end goal should always be putting money away – you can only carry ten stacks at a time – if you hit that limit, race back to your vault. Otherwise all you are is a target. The other tactic that I’ve really come to like using is stashing a vehicle a little away from the neutral pile – not so close as to get stolen or destroyed right away – but close enough so once I get ten stacks, I can hop in a drive to safety. Which is a good segue to one specific vehicle – the mobile spawn point. Each side has one – cops have the mobile command center, criminals have a huge SUV. It acts just like it sounds – a spawn point that drives around. In general you probably want it to be positioned close-ish to the neutral pile to keep you near it at all times. But if you see a big offensive coming at your vault, it’s not a bad move to reposition it.
Finally, teamwork is always important in a Battlefield game. In a game like Halo or Call of Duty, it’s absolutely possible to do well lone wolf. In Battlefield, while you can still enter solo, you really can’t expect to win without helping the team. The objective is valued higher than kills – you gain more points for playing that, than you just grinding kills. That’s not to say that a team that doesn’t kill as well, but only plays the objective wins; kills are still important to help the flow of the match. But the game is designed with teamwork in mind – I mentioned in the Hotwire tips post that spotting is such an underused ability. It’s simple to do, and helps everyone out – and you get rewarded for it. There are other small things like that – setting defensive traps, playing your class as intended, and using the non-lethal abilities all help. The new non-lethal takedowns are actually super useful. I found this when I was grinding out the 25 Taser takedown achievement last week. After any non-lethal takedown – either with the taser, or with a blunt melee weapon, you can interrogate your victim. It takes about a second, but it reveals on the radar every enemy within a pretty sizable range. It’s like a massive spot – you get points for assists while it’s active, and it can help spot troublesome enemies.
In general, Blood Money is a quick game mode – I’ve only seen a few games go the whole 15 minute time limit. It’s fast paced, there’s a lot of room for flexibility in playstyles, and really, it’s just a lot of fun. I’ve been enjoying my time with Hardline all around, but I am most pleased about Visceral and DICE not shoehorning in the same modes that Battlefield 4 had. They went and thought about it and put in a bunch of modes that fit within the new setting, while still very clearly being Battlefield modes.