Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Hero Armor Tips

Black Ops 3I’ve been going through the big grindy challenges in Call of Duty: Black Ops III this week, finishing out the weapon camo challenges and today we’re looking at the Specialist challenges. These ones are a little different than the weapon challenges since they have multiple tiers to go through before you reach that final gold armor. So the tips here are a little more general per Specialist than with the weapons. Before you even reach the final set of challenges though, you’ll need 800 kills with each Specialist, which is plenty of time to learn how their special weapon and abilities behave – which you’ll need for those final challenges. Those 800 kills can be handled in any way you see fit – that’s why I tie in a Specialist per prestige as I do the weapon camos.

Once you’ve reached those last challenges though, that’s where things get a little trickier. So we’ll start with the three Specialists that I think have the hardest individual challenges: Prophet, Outrider and Nomad. Each has a weapon that’s actually pretty damn good – it’s their special abilities that have tough challenges. Let’s look at Prophet first. His weapon, the Tempest, is a one-shot kill, and has potential for multi-kills with its arcing damage. So getting double kills with it for the final challenge is pretty straightforward. It’s Glitch that’s a problem. Glitch lets you warp back in time a bit, which is amazing for getting you out of danger in a hurry. The problem here is that the challenge associated with Glitch is offensive based – you are tasked with getting kills shortly after Glitching. The real trouble is that the final challenge has you looking for double kills – even in Hardcore that’s a real hard task. What I recommend is running with Semtex or C4, and using those to set up kills then Glitch before the detonation. I got my doubles done in Chaos Moshpit – Hardpoint on Nuketown. Tossed two Semtex into the Hardpoint, Glitched back and got the kills. I think, unless you have a really precise setup, that’s your best bet. With Outrider, it’s a similar situation. Her Sparrow bow is plenty strong – the multi-kills aren’t too bad to get in just about any game mode. It’s Vision Pulse that bugged me. The range on the pulse isn’t as far as you might think, and the actual pulse/mark feels really inconsistent. I was finding myself picking up one or two kills per match – even with Overdrive on. Getting my doubles was a rough go. What I ended up doing was, again, playing Chaos Moshpit looking for Nuketown. Once I got Nuketown with an objective mode, I just focused on trying to get behind a small group – Hardpoint helped the most. Wait for the Hardpoint to be inside one of the houses, flank behind, pulse and move quick on the double. It’s not foolproof, but that made my attempts a lot easier. Nomad is the one here that I’m really just going on the other side of things – I’ve not played as him yet. But much like with Glitch, the challenges for Rejack have you looking for kills after coming back from the dead. The problem is that when you use Rejack, you have this very large green gas cloud around you. I know that it’s supposed to help obscure you when you do spawn, but all it does for me is tell me to wait and watch for him to pop up. You need to really pick and choose your moments here, unlike with Glitch. I’ve also seen people complaining a bit about his H.I.V.E. Launcher – the simple answer there is just play objective game modes and put the mines around the objectives. Domination and Hardpoint both work, and you can always put down a mine or two to cover your flanks if you want.

Black Ops 3 Ruin

Of the other Speciaists, I think they’re a lot more straightforward. Even the couple I haven’t played as – Ruin and Spectre – I think are pretty self-explanatory. Knowing that the medals for Ruin’s speed boost just require you to get kills while it’s active means it shouldn’t be a bad prospect. In truth I think his Gravity Spike is going to be the tougher challenge to complete. Spectre seems like he’s going to be really easy – Ripper is insane to deal with on the other side of things, so using it has to be a breeze, and having Active Camo in a shooter is always a good thing. I thought Battery and Firebreak were both super easy to finish. Kinetic Armor in Hardcore is a no-brainer, and the Purifier flamethrower is super powerful. I guess Heat Wave can be a little tricky to get doubles with, but again, flank, and play from behind the enemy. With Seraph, just set up your Scorestreaks so they’re close in value – pop Combat Focus, grab the points you need and there you go.

If there’s one overall tip for the Specialists’ challenges, it’s to play objective game modes. Nuketown is probably the best map across the board, especially on Hardpoint, but you can do them on most maps no problem. I like to focus on one ability at a time though – don’t flip between the weapon and ability until you have to. Get the 40 kills with the weapon, then switch to the ability and finish that. I think that generally the Specialists are easier to do than weapons – there are less to do, and the challenges are overall easier I think. Again, don’t burn yourself out, pick your moments and you’ll do just fine.


Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Secondary Weapon Camo Tips

Black Ops 3I talked yesterday about a few tips I’ve picked up while grinding out the weapon camos for the primary weapons in Call of Duty: Black Ops III. What I didn’t touch on at all are the secondary weapons – the pistols, launchers and melee weapons – that you need to also complete if you’re chasing Dark Matter. So today, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what I’ve learned as I also work my way through those secondaries.

We’ll start with the pistols since you’ll probably have one available more often than not on your classes. The three pistols that you need to complete for Dark Matter each behave really differently. You’ve got a standard semi-auto in the MR6, a burst-fire in the RK5 and a full-auto with the L-CAR 9. If you don’t like semi-autos, you’ve got other options, even though I think the MR6 is easy enough to use regardless of how slow your trigger is. What I think is a little surprising is how useful the pistols actually are – in Black Ops II, there was really only one sidearm option that was worth using. This time around, each pistol is powerful enough to kill pretty quickly. If you follow my advice and play Harcore TDM, you can absolutely get away with just using a sidearm as your primary weapon, with any of the options. I said with the primary weapons I pick a couple to do each prestige – that’s not how I approach the pistols. I do focus on just doing them one gun at a time, but I don’t worry about doing them within one prestige. Since there’s only three pistols, there really isn’t as much of a hurry to do them. I do still stick with Hardcore though, since getting headshots in there is much easier, even with pistols. I really don’t see the need for a sight, I actually went with no attachments most of the time, or Extended/Fast Mags if I was working on a primary at the same time. After the headshots are done though, I think you can put on Dual Wield – it ups your DPS, and you can work on a few different challenges at the same time. Dual Wield is certainly easier to manage with the RK5 and L-CAR since they aren’t semi-autos, but two MR6’s are definitely a beast to reckon with in close quarters. Honestly, most of what I said about SMGs yesterday fits here with the pistols – play aggressively, aim high, and take Scavenger to replace your ammo. When you’ve moved on to the final set of challenges, I actually think Hardcore is still the place to be – even getting the five kills in one life done there is easier than in Core. I do think you should combine no-perks and no-attachments into one thing though – get them both done at the same time. I recommend taking Tactician and doubling up on stun grenades – I like Concussion and Flashbang/Shock Charge; doing that acts as a bit of a counter to losing perks and attachments. When you’re going for the five kills, get rid of your primary weapon – throw on Secondary Gunfighter, load up on attachments and perks and run with just your pistol. If you don’t feel comfortable without a primary, pick one up off the ground as the game plays out. Out of the secondary weapons, the pistols really shouldn’t be giving you too much trouble to complete.

The launchers, on the other hand, might be a little slower of a grind. You only have two weapons to worry about, but their challenges almost require you to be in a losing situation. You have to shoot down/blow up 100 scorestreaks to reach the final set of challenges for each launcher. UAV’s and Counter UAV’s are easy enough to destroy – they only take one rocket – but when you get stuck in a lobby with a good enemy team that’s just pounding your team with high tier scorestreaks, they can often times push you before you get the rockets off. What I like to do is combine a launcher with my LMG classes, and run with counter scorestream perks – Blind Eye and Cold Blooded. That way if there are lots of scorestreaks up, I get them with the launcher, and if needed the LMG for the perk challenges. The other thing I like to do is get rid of a third perk and put on Scavenger with Cold Blooded to keep my supplied with rockets. That’s more of an issue with the XM-53, since you only get two shots, and some streaks take more rockets than that. You should always have at least one class with a launcher on it while you’re grinding those 100 scorestreaks out – see a UAV called up, switch to it, shoot it down, switch back if you want. With the last set of challenges though, things get a little trickier. On the XM-53, you need to get direct kills with the rockets, 10 times; destroy five scorestreaks in one game; shoot down two scorestreaks rapidly; take out five Talons or Cerberus; and take out 10 Turrets with it. The Blackcell is a little different. It has double the ammo as the XM-53, but requires vehicle lock-on; it’s basically this game’s Stinger missile launcher. Instead of enemy kills, you have to shoot down a scorestreak 20 seconds after it’s called in 5 times – not too hard with UAV’s, you just have to be in the right spot. The other challenges are the same though – just with the added advantage of more ammo. With the launchers, I think this is the one class where no matter what tips I give, or you find elsewhere, you’re in this for the long haul. You’re at the whims of the enemy team – if they don’t or can’t call up scorestreaks, you can’t really progress with the weapons. Just make sure you have a class or two set up with the launchers ready for when/if they do and you’ll be fine.

The last secondary you need to complete for Dark Matter – the Combat Knife – is the one that I have basically no experience with. I never have been a huge knifer in Call of Duty, save for back in Modern Warfare 2 with the Tactical Knife, Marathon, Lightweight, Commando combo. With the new mobility and everything in Black Ops III though I can see playing with a melee weapon as actually not being obscenely difficult. What is tough though is that this is going to be a grind, no two ways about it. 100 kills is already a lot with a melee weapon – this is one case where Hardcore probably is a bad move; in truth I would say go into Ground War or Chaos Moshpit and look for objective games. Once you’ve got those 100 kills done though, you have a set of pretty tough challenges for the Gold. Survivor medals – if you’re just rushing enemies, you’ll probably get these no problem; Revenge medals, same as any other weapon class, not too bad; Back Stabber medals, a little more setup is involved, but actually not too terrible – use doorways and the thrust jump to ninja enemies. It’s the last two that I think are going to be rough – the five kills in one life, five times really has me thinking stealthy play is a must. Lock down buildings with lots of corners to attack from – use active camo on Spectre to help too. The one that I think requires the most planning though has you knife someone, pick up their gun, then kill them with it – all in the same life, five times. Outside of the bloodthirsties, this is probably the only challenge, across all weapons in the game, that requires you to actively plan ahead and target specific enemies. This is one where I think objective modes really help out – you have a pretty good idea of where the enemies are going to be heading, you can catch one headed there, grab the gun, then wait for the second push.

The secondary weapons generally need you to plan a little ahead – you can just play normally, but you’ll probably die a bit more doing that. Slow down your moves, think about your reduced range and rate of fire, remember what role your launchers are supposed to play, and put stealth and flanking higher on the tactics list and you’ll do just fine. It is a little bit of a grind, but that’s the fun of Call of Duty. Tomorrow though we’ll look into the Specialists, and talk a bit about how to go about finishing their armor challenges for Hero Armor.

Call of Duty Black Ops III: Camo Tips

Black Ops 3I may have been playing a whole bunch of The Division over the last week, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped paying attention to the other games I enjoy. In particular I’ve seen a lot of posts over on the Black Ops III subreddit talking about the Dark Matter camo grind and the struggles people are having. So, while I might not be the most try-hard of Call of Duty players out there, I have found myself burning through the gold camos relatively smoothly. With that in mind, I thought I’d put down some tips that I’ve found useful on my own grind to the Dark Matter camo.

The first thing I do is the same in any CoD game – regardless of hidden camos – I pick one weapon per weapon class to focus on, per prestige. That way I don’t get burned out – I do one assault rifle, an SMG, a shotgun, sniper and LMG per prestige, and limit myself to those weapons. I find that it helps keep me focused and driven on finishing those guns because I don’t prestige until I finish them if they’re close. For example, in Black Ops III, my last prestige was built around finishing the VMP, HVK 30, Man o’ War and Dingo – all got gold before I prestiged to my current one, as well as starting work on my SVG and Argus since they’re late level unlocks. Breaking up the grind as you’re prestiging I find keeps it fresh since every prestige you’re using different weapons and tactics. With Black Ops III, I add in completing one Specialist per prestige too, combining the Hero Armor grind with Dark Matter.

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The second thing is that you have realize it isn’t going to be quick and easy – the weapons all behave differently, and some are just naturally easier than others to complete. I tore through the Kuda but the VMP was a nightmare for me. Same with the shotguns – that first pump action shotgun was a breeze, but I really slogged through the Brecci. If you’re really struggling with a gun, switch it up – the maps are all built well enough where just about any weapon class works, so just try working on a different gun for a couple games. If you’re still on the headshot/one-shot grind I think that’s especially true. It might not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but 100 headshots/one-shots is a lot for one gun. Honestly, I don’t explicitly go for just headshots when I’m doing a gun – I play normally, and let the headshots come naturally. I usually get somewhere between 3-5 a game in a Hardcore TDM game; and it skews higher in objective games, especially on Nuketown. That’s really the most important play tactic I can give you – you have to play naturally. If you focus too much on changing your game around to get headshots or revenge medals/long shots, you’ll drive yourself mad. It’s tempting, especially with guns you don’t like, but you have to remember it’s a long grind – it’ll work out if you just play normally.

In terms of games, when I’m going for headshots/one-shots I do tend to play Hardcore, mainly because I just primarily play it anyway. Since pretty much every gun will kill in one or two hits, it makes getting them a lot easier – you should be aiming at the chest/head anyway if you’re playing an FPS like Call of Duty. Hardcore makes the natural action push your kills more toward headshots, especially with SMGs since you don’t need to worry as much about controlling the recoil. Aim chest high, fire off a few rounds, let the recoil push your gun to the head – rinse, repeat. It does have a little higher learning curve than Core game modes, but once you’ve got the maps down, and understand how TDM flows on each, I think it does help out in the long run. Where I switch out of Hardcore is once I’m on to the final set of challenges. That’s when I pop over to Chaos Moshpit/Nuketown – the games there tend not to be crazy sweaty, and objective games on Nuketown are godsends for those challenges. Playing Nuketown last prestige I finished my 50 Kills with 5 attachments, 5 Bloodthirsties and 5 Double Kills in two games on the Man o’ War. To be perfectly honest, Nuketown is the perfect map for those final challenges – it has everything you need to complete them. One the snipers, assault rifles and LMGs, there are a handful of sightlines that will net you longshots, for the SMGs and shotguns, the action is fast enough where revenge kills are similarly easy to come across. The same rings true for the double kills – the action is frenetic enough where it’s not hard to come across multiple enemies in rapid succession. I’ve gotten my only Core Mega Kill on Nuketown because the action is so crazy around the objectives, especially in Domination and Hardpoint.

Each class of weapons is a little different though, so I thought I’d give a couple top-level tips for each class to help with those tricky parts. First up: assault rifles, the jack-of-all-trades in Call of Duty games. Because they work in any situation, generally there isn’t a whole lot of trouble with them. Of the ones I’ve done so far – all but the Shieva and M8A7 – only the HVK was the one that I didn’t like. I found that its per-shot damage just wasn’t cutting it in Core game modes, even with its pretty high rate of fire. Generally though, you’re best off finding a good spot to control – in Hardcore TDM that can get a little tricky with spawns, but in the objective games just control those objectives. You can play the objective and slay at the same time – they aren’t mutually exclusive options. For headshots, learn the recoil pattern, learn the head-glitch spots, and don’t be afraid to play a little passive if you need to. With the longshots, which have consistently been the one challenge that has given me trouble on the ARs, it’s all about learning the maps and knowing which ones have sightlines that are frequented and also give you the medal. Fringe, Nuketown, Infection, Stronghold all are great for them – there are a couple spots on each map that net you the medal and also see lots of foot traffic to get you the kills. Moving on the the SMGs, this is where I’ve been struggling. The Kuda was butter, the VMP was rough, and so far the Weevil has been in-between. In Hardcore, you really should play a flanking role – try to get around the enemy, and hit them from behind for the headshots. I like to run with Ghost, Fast Hands, Gung-Ho/Dead Silence. If you’re playing Core for the revenge medals or still headshots, play aggressively – you might die a bit more, but you need to get into the guns’ ideal ranges. Take attachments that up your DPS – Extended Mag, Fast Mag, Long Barrel and Stock are all good choices. I get rid of my sidearm generally on this class – I focus more on getting my primary as strong as possible. Again, objective modes help a lot to keep the spawns under control. Learn the flanking routes, sneaky spots and head glitches and you’ll be fine.

Call of Duty KRM.png

While we’re still in close-range mode, the shotguns definitely have the most varied feel of the weapon classes. That’s because two guns have you chasing headshots, the other have you gunning for one-shots. The one-shot guns, the KRM and Argus, are in my opinion two of the easiest guns to use in the game. Once you have their range and rate of fire down, you can dominate games with them, they’re that powerful. Both guns work super well with and without attachments, so those challenges aren’t trouble, bloodthirsties can be if you’re too aggressive and get in over your head, but it’s more about playing smart. Time your run with a teammate or two to split the incoming fire, flank them (again, super important to learn), and pull back if you’re in trouble. It’s the other two – the Brecci and Haymaker – that can be a little tougher. You’re much more likely to just kill the enemy without a headshot in Core game modes. That’s where Hardcore helped me a ton with the Brecci – it’s a one-shot kill, so I knew I just had to aim a little higher than normal, and aerial attacks were good moves too. The same works with the Haymaker – play hardcore, aim high, take Scavenger and play aggressive – you’ve got a full-auto shotgun, use it to your advantage. The shotguns are where I think you can stay right in Hardcore the whole time to Gold Camo if you want – they behave a little more consistently in hardcore.

The last two classes are a little tricky – LMGs can be insanely fun, but also frustrating with the new mobility in Black Ops, while sniping has changed drastically from the old days of Modern Warfare. We’ll go with LMGs first. If there’s one weapon class where I think Hardcore is actually a detriment, it’s this one. You move too slow, even with Quickdraw on the gun you’ll be beat to the punch by just about any other class, and hipfire is too inaccurate. So I stick with Chaos Moshpit, mainly to try and pull Nuketown. Again, it’s perfect for the weapon challenges – headshots come really easily on it, with a number of great spots to look for. In Domination, pick a spot where you can cover B Dom – either window, Blue Car, or the long halls all work well. I said with the other classes to play aggressive, in this case I think you’re much better off hanging back a bit and playing defensive. You lock down your half of the map – don’t push too far and flip spawn, just keep them locked in, and keep getting those headshots. Each gun has a ton of ammo, although the Gorgon doesn’t have a huge magazine thanks to a two-shot kill, so don’t be afraid to go a little hog-wild with them. I like to run with FMJ on to make sure I can pick up the kill through cover too. I also combine my LMG class with my launcher class, so I use counter scorestreak perks, but you can absolutely go with other perks here. As long as you don’t have to deal with an enemy team full of rushers, LMGs should go pretty smoothly for you.

Snipers, on the other hand, are where I’ve been seeing the most frustration. The most important thing to remember is that Black Ops III is fast – it’s built around mobility and speed. It can be really tempting to set up a camp like the old Call of Duty days, but I’ve found that to be a real mixed bag. Combine that with the fact that the four snipers behave really differently, and I can see why people are struggling, in particular with the bloodthirsties. The Drakon really shouldn’t be too bad – use it like a DMR, run Recon ro ELO on it, play support like with an LMG and you should be fine. The Locus can be super frustrating – only netting one-shots chest high and up. This one was definitely a little slower for me – play it more like a traditional sniper, I ran with Variks as my sight and that helped a bit. Again, Nuketown is your friend, same with Fringe and even Stronghold. Play defensive, watch for flanking runs, and absolutely shoot-n-scoot. Grab a kill from one long hall on Nuketown, head up to window for a couple more, then relocate to a long hall again. Keep them guessing, and you should encounter less rushers. The P-06 was far and away my least favorite sniper. That shot delay is brutal to learn. Luckily, it is super powerful, so kills come easily, but you definitely need to know map flow and sightlines with it. I ran with Thermal on it, which I think actually really helped; and got my bloodthirsties done while I did my 5 Attachment kills because Rapid Fire, Fast Mags and Silencer made it much easier. The SVG plays a lot like a strong Locus, so the same things apply here, you just have a little bigger target than with the Locus. Again, Variks or Thermal are nice sights to put on, and Rapid Fire helps out a lot too. This is perhaps the one weapon class where you class setup is the most important. You’ll definitely be using every one of the pick ten. Trip Mines and Shock Charges are lifesavers, a good pistol as a back up helps a ton, and Scavenger helps you keep those traps in place. Perks are less important, aside from Scavenger, while attachments help out a ton I find.

There’s still a bit more to talk about with the Dark Camo grind – I didn’t touch on Secondary weapons at all today. So tomorrow we’ll look at them, and Friday we’ll look at the grind for Hero Armor on the Specialists. Again, I’m definitely not the best Call of Duty player out there – I have a modest 1.5 K/D – but I think that I’ve played enough over the years to learn how to grind out those camo challenges. I have been for years now after all. I’m on the grind as well, so I feel the pain, I know the struggles and I also know that once I have those Diamond camos it feels so damn good. Keep at it, don’t burn yourself out, and they’ll fall one gun at a time.

Battlefield: Hardline Tips and Tricks – Professional

Battlefield HardlineRounding out the four playable classes in Battlefield: Hardline, today we’ll tackle the Professional. The Professional is Hardline’s sniper class – long range rifles and spotting are the name of the game. There’s always the risk in any online shooter to look down on sniper classes as “tryhards” or campers – but played properly, the Professional is a potential team all star.

Weaponry-wise, you’re looking at sniper rifles exclusively. You have a pick between bolt action rifles, or semi-auto rifles. The differences boil down to the obvious rate of fire, but also range and control. The semi-auto rifles have a bit less range, and potential control loss, but have a much higher rate of fire – they’re really built for closer to mid range sniping, like on some of the smaller maps. The bolt action rifles are all about long range power – powerful scopes, super accurate, with small clips. Pick your shots – or have an Enforcer give you ammo. Sniping in Battlefield always takes a little getting used to – unlike other games, like Call of Duty, there’s bullet drop and bullet speed to factor in. You need to lead your shots on moving targets, and also account for bullet drop. Now, the maps aren’t quite large enough to worry about a ton of drop – like in Battlefield 4 – but it’s definitely still present. You have plenty of rifles to look at too – there’s only one cross-team rifle aside from the Syndicate reward. So if you aren’t a fan of the Scout Elite (the default rifle) you’ve got a good amount of options. I personally like the R700 bolt action for the police – it’s a bit stronger per shot than the Scout Elite, but you do have to unlock all the attachments. In general, I have on Professional loadout with a bolt action rifle for longer range sniping, and a semi-auto for more mid range combat on maps like Bank Job.

In terms of gadgets, you’ve got a couple different nice options. You start off with the laser tripmine – a good way to defend your back while your focused on sniping. You’ve also got the placeable camera – which marks enemies that walk into it’s line of sight, a good team option. Beyond those two, you’ve also got the decoy gadget, which makes gunfire sounds, and creates false enemy icons on the other team’s minimap. The final choice is to take stealth training – which reduces your footstep noise, and also reduces the noises that actions make. Now the class assignment does require you to use the laser tripmines for the first one, and camera coins for the second; so you’ll probably want to get used to using them early. But beyond that, I think your gadget picks really depend on your playstyle – if you tend to hang back more, tripmines and decoys are probably a good pick. If you’re more of a close action sniper, the camera is really nice. Regardless, your most important role is to play as a spotter – you should, in theory, have a great view on lots of the battlefield. So make sure you spot any target you see – regardless of whether or not you get the kill. You’re probably not going to see a huge score if you focus solely on kills – you need to support your team in other ways.

Like the other three classes, as you help your team, you gain reputation to use for upgrades. The Professional is certainly the most focused on personal upgrades – there’s really only one upgrade that benefits the team. First though, your picks are either Fast Climb or Reduced Fall – useful for getting you into sniping nests. Second tier is either Advanced Spot or Fast Unspot – this is your team pick, with longer spots netting more potential kills. Third up is longer Hold Breath or Low Profile for explosives – both personal boosts, but focused on different aspects of the game. Finally, you get to pick either Fast Reload or Delayed Trigger.

Of the four classes, the Professional is a lot like the Operator – their roles are both pretty clearly defined. Operators play the medic role, and Professionals are your snipers and spotters. Both are extremely vulnerable to vehicles – most heavy vehicles have bullet proof glass – so even sniping the pilot is out. Just be smart – set up defenses for sniping, limit your flanking potentials and make sure you keep your eyes peeled, and I think you can seriously do some damage with the Professional.

Battlefield: Hardline Tips and Tricks – Enforcer

Battlefield HardlineWe’ve got two more classes to go over here with Battlefield: Hardline – we’ve already hit the Operator and Mechanic. Today let’s look at the class that I’ve played by far the most – the Enforcer. It’s a class built for power and speed – but still has a couple counters to keep it balanced.

The Enforcer is the class that you might not think you really need, but after spending a few hours with him, you realize he may be just as important as the Operator to a full squad. From a pure offense standpoint, the Enforcer might be the best all around pick thanks to his weapon choices. His default weapon, the 870P Magnum pump action shotgun, means that he’s purely a close quarters class. But Enforcers also have access to heavy battle rifles – weapons like the SCAR-H and SA-58 OSW – that give you a mid-long range option. They definitely cost a good chunk of change, but they really open up a whole second aspect to the class. Normally on maps like Downtown or Everglades, you would need to find a small area – preferably a building to lock down – but with the battle rifles, you can add in the lanes, and even better defend points. There are still some weaknesses here though – snipers still out range you, and even at close range, missing your shots with the shotguns can get you killed. Rate of fire in general with the Enforcer is pretty low – and recoil with the battle rifles is definitely an issue. Normally I recommend stubby grip for automatic fire recoil control; but with the battle rifles – especially the SCAR-H – I like the angled grip, to help a lot with the first shot recoil. Sights are always nice too – again, I like the green dot or micro RDS – and I like having the heavy barrel for a bit more control. Accessories are a little bit more based around the gun – on the SCAR-H, I recommend the stock; on the SA-58, I like the laser sight. The shotguns though are a whole different story. They have a pretty different set of priorities for their attachments. Sights, really are totally unnecessary – even when ADSing, I find the iron sights the best choice. You really will want the laser sight on, just for extra control when hip-firing, which will happen a lot. You could go with the 12G Slug, but I think the buckshot is ultimately the better choice – the range on all the shotguns is a bit more than you might think. Your barrel choices are a little limited too – either a modified choke or a full choke. Either one is a good choice – it tightens your spread a bit, and does make hip-firing a little less certain, but in the long run, both are worth taking. If you primarily find yourself hip-firing, I would go with the modified choke, just for the lesser penalty. One last weapon to mention is the Bald Eagle – the heavy pistol you get for finishing the second Enforcer assignment. It’s a beast of a handgun – small clip, huge recoil, but is a two shot kill at a pretty surprising range. I fully recommend using it as soon as possible.

Moving on from the weapons, we get to the meat of why the Enforcer is such an important class – the gadgets. The main gadget, and the one that I really think should be a part of every loadout you have, is the Ammo Box. You play the role of ammo man – keeping your other classes in the game full on their ammo. You should be dropping Ammo Boxes as much as possible around teammates. Within your squad, you should be aware of which players need ammo, and get them all squared up. Not only do you help your teammates out, but you also get points for it. Their other gadgets open up a couple different options. Of the two, I prefer the breaching charges by a large margin over the ballistic shield. The problem is that the ballistic shield is tied into the Enforcer Syndicate assignment – which you need to complete for the Menz in the Hood achievement. The ballistic shield functions just like you would think – it blocks bullets, and sometimes explosions. The problem is that it’s slow, one directional and really weak with its melee attack. You almost need a friend to help boost coins with it – incendiary grenades really make using the shield hard. On the other hand breaching charges are perfect for setting traps and taking down vehicles. The breaching charges are essentially this game’s answer to C4 – plantable, remote detonated explosives that do a ton of damage. I like using them in Blood Money to defend my vault – put one or two in sneaky places near the vault, and when you see it get raided, pull the trigger. They’re also great against the heavy vehicles – it takes a few to destroy the big ones, but they’re just as effective as any other anti-vehicle weapon. Plus you can set them down first to create a trap – really useful in Hotwire – setting down some on the outskirt road that drivers use.

As for the reputation boosts for the Enforcer, you have the usual pick between personal effectiveness and team play. Your first pick is between either Fast Throw or Reduced Fall; second is Fast Ready or an Upgraded Ammo Box; third is Fast Aim or an Extra Charge and finally between either Increased or Reduced Suppression. I almost always start with Fast Throw and Upgraded Ammo Box – but Fast Ready is just as useful in certain games. Fast Aim is pretty damn great, it does require some work to get to that level though and that final tier is actually a little underpowered I think. Suppression is great, but putting those boosts at the final tier of reputation is a weird decision.

Ultimately, I really love playing the Enforcer. It’s a class that essentially acts as a shock trooper – fast, powerful, and loud. There are definitely some weaknesses – ranged combat can be tricky depending on your loadout – but I really do think that the Enforcer can be a super important part of your team. Just try to finish up the ballistic shield stuff quickly so you can move on – it’s really not fun.

Battlefield: Hardline Tips and Tricks – Mechanic

Battlefield HardlineContinuing our run through of the four classes in Battlefield: Hardline, today we’re looking at the class that I’ve admittedly played the least: the Mechanic. While I haven’t put quite as much time into the Mechanic as the other classes, I still think I can provide a pretty solid base for some advice.

We’ll start with the primary weapons – which I’ll admit is probably the reason that I haven’t played a lot of Mechanic. Even though I’m a fan of close quarters, the SMGs that Mechanics have don’t really appeal to me – I have no real definite reason why, they just don’t. That said, I get killed by them all the damn time, so I know very well that they work quite well. The default weapon – the MP5K – comes with a pretty good set of attachments. You get a sight – the SRS 02 that I like a lot – as well as extended magazines equipped by default. Add in that it also has a suppressor and you have a really good choice for some flanking kills. It’s a set-up that can do some serious damage at close range – and it’s not even the best SMG available. In my opinion that either goes to the P90 or the MPX – both guns that I see way more frequently out there. The problem here is that all the weapons available all have limited range; there are some maps where playing as a Mechanic is a real slow grind.

With the range as limited as it is, it might seem easy to dismiss the class entirely. But the gadgets available to the Mechanic make up for it all. There’s actually a lot more flexibility here than we saw in the Operator. Putting it into Battlefield 4 terms, the Mechanic is blending together elements from the Engineer, Scout and Assault classes. They have the M79 grenade launcher unlocked by default – giving them some offense against vehicles. And with the presence of the repair tool, it’s easy to just say that the Mechanic is your vehicle fixer class only. That’s selling it a bit short. The vehicle options are there for sure – especially adding in the sabotage item, letting you booby trap cars; but there’s more here. The satellite phone gadget will let you place a mobile spawn point – letting your squad have an extra option to keep them in fight quicker, or set up some tactical moves. There’s still one more gadget even – the armored insert – which gives the Mechanic a little bit more toughness, helping them get close while taking fire. It’s not too hard to see that the Mechanic is a really flexible class – it’s not just focused on vehicles.

That flexibility is also present in the Reputation upgrades you unlock by playing the class. Your first Rep slot is either an Extra Grenade or Flak Jacket; the second is between Extra 40mm grenades or Fast Repair; the third slot is either Fast Aim or Delayed Explosive Trigger and the final slot is either Fast Reload or Fast Swap. With the first two slots, you can further increase your effectiveness against vehicles if you’re playing that role – otherwise you can help get your survivablility up a bit more. In general I think taking the Flak Jacket is the more important of the two upgrades at tier one – surviving explosives can be a really nice addition.

Even with the flexibility that the Mechanic does have, it’s still got a pretty serious downside to it. That of course being the range – it’s out performed at mid range by every class, and potentially even at close range by the Enforcer. The Mechanic definitely fills an important role on the team – especially on Hotwire. But where I think the Operator is the easiest to pick up and play, the Mechanic is on the opposite side of that coin. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but that makes playing it well that much more satisfying.

Battlefield: Hardline Tips and Tactics – Operator

Battlefield HardlineOver the next couple weeks I will be doing a bunch of class based guides. The first batch will be the classes in Battlefield: Hardline, then when I’ve finished up those, we’ll start hitting the Borderlands characters. Now, I already have written overviews for the four base characters in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel; but since then I’ve looked back at those posts and realized I could do much better – plus there’s two new DLC characters to talk about.

So we’ll start today with the Battlefield: Hardline classes. First up, the Operator – Battlefield: Hardline‘s answer to the classic Battlefield Assault class. The Operator is the medic of Hardline – the default gadget that comes unlocked is the health pack, and the revive gadget is a relatively cheap second choice. Really, that’s pretty much the extent of the Operator from a tactical standpoint. There is a third gadget available specific to the Operator – the Survivalist upgrade, which lets you revive yourself after being hit by a car, or explosives – but the main two would be the health pack and the revive tool. Because the Operator is essentially a medic, it’s a really important role within the context of a squad. I like to think a full squad should have at least 2 Operators, regardless of game mode.

I say that because Operators can keep your squad in the fight – not just health wise, but thanks to the revives they can provide. Having two eases the burden a little bit, without really taking away from the offensive capabilities of the squad. As an Operator, you’ll probably want to play a little more conservative – especially if you’re playing as part of a squad. If you go down, the squad loses its “extra lives,” so it’s important to grab cover and fight smart. Which brings me to weaponry. The Operator is probably the most flexible when it comes to primary weapons of the four classes, being able to select either carbines or assault rifles. These give the Operator a good option at pretty much any range, except for really long ranges. In the beta, I only really used the default carbine – the RO993 – because it was that good. It’s gotten a bit of a nerf since then, but it’s still a really good option – just pace your shots a bit more for anything outside of more than 20 meters. I also use the ACW I got for pre-ordering – it’s very similar in behavior. I like throwing on the SRS 02 for a sight, it’s a green dot sight with plenty of clarity; putting on extended magazines helps with the major downside of the Operator – ammo management; heavy barrel helps with the recoil at range; and the stubby grip helps when you do fire full auto. In general, that’s my set-up for any rifle – carbine, assault or battle – across all the classes. You should absolutely pick a sight that you like though – I just like ones with little zoom for my playstyle.

I very quickly hinted at the major downside of the Operator just above. It’s that the Operator is pretty dependent on the Enforcer for ammo. You don’t spawn with a ton of reserve clips, and all the weapons can burn through ammo very quickly if you aren’t careful. Now, if you’re in a squad with friends – the best way to play Battlefield – that’s really not an issue. You should be coordinating with each other as a squad anyway – and that includes ammo and health pack usage. But hopping a random server can be a bit of a crapshoot – the Enforcer has a bit more flexibility with gadgets as we’ll see – and you might be relying on picking up enemies’ gear. The other huge concern for Operators is heavy vehicles. I touched on this in my Hotwire post. As an Operator you really have no option to fight them – hand grenades do a little bit of damage, but are really tough to hit with, unless it’s stopped. Really, if your an Operator and a heavy vehicle is coming your way, your best bet is get out of there. Grab cover and leave – let the Enforcers and Mechanics deal with it.

The Operator is a really great class for players of any skill level, but I think it’s the easiest for new players to pick up. Your role is pretty easily defined, and easy to execute; you have weapons that behave well at any common range; and it does put you into a team frame of mind. Add in the non-specific gadgets like the gas mask and grappling hook/zipline and you have a lot more flexibility with a medic class than you might expect. The Operator might also be your best pick for a driver – keep the Mechanic in a passenger seat for repairs/combat – and as such, taking the stunt driver might not be a bad idea either. Also keep in mind your reputation boosts. Reputation is the Battlefield: Hardline equivalent to the Upgrade Path. You’re rewarded for playing as a team and playing the objective. As you get reputation, you get buffs that apply for the whole match. Operators have the following choices: at Rep 1, you choose between Extra Magazines or Fast Climb; at Rep 2, pick between Fast Ready or Healing Upgrade; at Rep 3, it’s either Fast Aim or Revive Upgrade and the final Rep is either Fast Reload or Fast Swap. Each point essentially boils down to an offensive upgrade, or a team booster. Pick the one that fits how you play your Operator, and you’ll do fine.

I like the Operator a lot – it was the class I played by far the most in the Beta. Since launch though I have started playing the Enforcer more, for reasons we’ll get into later. That said though, the Operator is really fun class, you can easily get a very high score playing well as a support guy. Just remember to keep dropping those health packs.