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12 things I wish I knew before playing Battlefield 1

Last week I spent two days playing Battlefield 1 (opens in new tab) multiplayer, and while I can’t talk about every mode and detail quite yet, I can still offer some advice to get you ready for  World War (1.5). Some of these tips will sound familiar for longtime Battlefield players, but they’re worth repeating due to how different Battlefield 1 plays than the last few entries in the series. For example, guns are much less effective over long distances, making skirmishes over small pieces of territory much more intense. Old rules still apply, but with different measure.

Here are some of the best basic tips to internalize before Battlefield 1 releases in full later this month.

Spot selectively

Spotting isn't the source of free points that it was in previous Battlefields. BF1's spotting system is stingier and demands more precision, a change we like. If you're prone to spamming  Q on every target you see, get ready to unlearn that bad habit. Instead, try and tap Q on targets that are truly dangerous, like hidden snipers, or a tank that's making a flanking maneuver. 

Support weapons get more accurate the longer they fire 

As demonstrated by LevelCapGaming, Support class machine guns have a negative spread, which means they start out firing their most inaccurate shots, but as you hold down the fire button, the shots crop closer together until they reach their maximum accuracy. This means support weapons are most efficient while the player is prone, immobile, and firing in long bursts. In a one-on-one shootout with an assault player, your innacurate, slow-firing weapon will likely lose out. So instead, Support players should open up paths for friends using bullets. If an assault team needs to run down an open hillside, distract the enemy defense forces with a constant stream of bullets. If a scout is hanging out in a window waiting for a good shot, keep them crouched with—you guessed it—bullets. Fire long enough and there’s a good chance you’ll take them out, even from a distance.

Ammo packs are more valuable than ever 

The final version of Battlefield 1 lowers the amount of ammunition players start with, which means having a reliable Support squad member is just about a necessity now. Be sure to save some of your ammo packs for fellow players for a nice score bonus.

If you’re Assault, you’re the most expendable, so act expendable 

Charge! Get in there! You’re meant to push the front line. If support is doing their job, they’ll lay down suppressing fire, scouts will thin out and call out the back line enemy infantry, and ideally you’ll just stroll in and take a nap on the capture point. Ideally. But chances are as assault player you’re going to get into wild shootouts more often, so your aim will need to beat out the opposing assault players in a more traditional FPS battle of reactivity. Head to point-and-click bootcamp and use our guide to improving your FPS aim and watch the HP melt off.

If you like high FOVS make sure you understand what the ADS FOV setting does 

In most FPS games, PC players make a mad dash for the FOV slider and turn it up. Dont worry, Battlefield 1’s slides up to 120 and it’s accompanied by an ADS FOV setting. ADS FOV applies your chosen FOV value to your weapons when aiming down the sights, meaning targets won’t appear larger, but you’ll maintain wide peripheral vision. Advanced players might like it, but others might be surprised at how small targets appear when they’re aiming. Play with the setting a bit to find what works for you, but if you’re used to a zoom effect, keep ADS FOV off.

Cavalry are powerful, well-rounded units on and off their horse 

Cavalry units are great for flanking and disrupting back line enemy forces and taking out specific targets, like mortars and tanks. They're fast and maneuverable, meaning you can roleplay an annoying mosquito and give your front line a chance to sweep in and take over. Get in there, chop up a few unsuspecting soldiers, instill widespread fear and simultaneous appreciation of your majestic steed—I assume you’ve named it—and get back out. Chances are, you won’t. Horses are a big, attractive target, but they’re also a big source of hope. Cavalry are great support units too, equipped with ammo pouches, bandage pouches, and a light anti-tank grenade. And if the enemy manages to take out your best friend below, the cavalry soldier is still quite formidable—they carry a Russian 1895, a reliable lever action rifle, and a handgun.

Scout weapons do max damage at specific distances

In what players are calling the sweet spot mechanic, scout weapons do max damage at distances specific to each weapon. What this means is that even if you don’t land a headshot, a single body shot still has the potential to eliminate an enemy soldier if you’re shooting from that weapon’s sweet spot distance. We don’t know the distances for all scout weapons yet, but once the game is released it won’t take long for players to suss them out.

Please get in the blimp 

In some modes, the losing side will be reinforced with a massive vehicle called a Behemoth.  Most often, it’s a zeppelin equipped on all sides with machine guns handy for wailing on infantry and vehicles from above or swatting annoying aircraft out of the sky. They’re super powerful and can help tip the scales of a match at the last moment. That is, if anyone gets in the damn thing. Once you respawn, if there’s an open spot available in the Behemoth, you can click its icon on the map and spawn as the driver or in one of its turret stations. Do that. If you’re lucky, the opposing team isn’t focusing on attacking the blimp, which is a great opportunity to eliminate their anti-air weapons, ground vehicles, and a whole lot infantry. I once racked up over 60 kills before anyone bothered to shoot up. And if you're in the blimp while hovering over a capture point, it actually counts as a capture assist. 

Please shoot the blimp 

On the other hand, if the opposing team has a Behemoth, make sure to shoot it. It doesn't go away on its own. Any map with a Behemoth has a method for taking it out. Look for an opportunity to hop on an anti-air turret or into an airplane since they’re the easiest methods for deflating the big balloon. Be sure to aim for the gunner modules on the bottom of the zeppelin if they’re occupied. Focusing on those disables them and takes out the operator. A concentrated effort, one squad or so, focused on the Behemoth is usually enough to knock it out of the sky without losing too much ground.

Sentry Elites are vulnerable to gas grenades 

During a match, elite class upgrades have a chance to spawn on the map. The first player there can swap their gear for extra armor and a water cooled machine gun. But in grabbing the upgrade, players ditch their gas mask. Since Sentry Elites have a slower movement speed, surprising them with a well-timed gas grenade can soften them up or even take them out before they get within a dangerous range. Do this and laugh.

Play in a squad and listen to your leader (if they’re worthy) 

Everyone likes points, and you get a lot of them if you play in a squad. Teammates can spawn at any squad member’s location, so long as they’re not under fire, which can be the driving force behind holding down a capture point or maintaining an assault. Position a careful support character behind some nearby cover and send assault players forward. You get points every time someone spawns on you. And since squad leaders can direct their squads to attack or defend specific objectives on the map, be sure to listen to them. Successfully completing a squad objective gives you a nice score bonus and you’re likely helping out your team. Strength in numbers.

Name your horse 

Meet Gus.

In order for every horse to feel respected and loved, it must be given an inspiring nickname, such as 'Flapjacks,' before galloping into the heat of battle. Be a true soldier, and name your beautiful steed. Horse names won't be officially supported in game at launch, so please share your best horse names in the comments.

James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.