Safe Movement: Traversal from one objective to another quickly, efficiently and without respawning.
I’m not going to be talking about running, strafing, jumping and going prone in this article. These are certainly areas where you should develop some proficiency, but since every video game tutorial ever made covers this basic information, I don’t feel the need to rehash it. What you need to learn is when to do those things and how to use them in order to survive and help your team.
I’ve broken down the articles into three smaller sections: Hunting, Sneaking and Attacking. Henceforth you will not move until you have selected one of these three mindsets. The techniques in each certainly carry over between one another, but this is a simple way to ready yourself for combat.
Section 1: Hunting (Overwatch, Bounding Overwatch and Moving Alone)
Imagine that you are the Predator. If you’ve been living under a rock all your life, then quit out of this article and go watch Predator. The original with Arnold Schwartzeneggar. I’m serious – shut your computer down and go fire up Netflix or whatever you have and sit down on your couch with some beef jerky (the warrior version of popcorn) and consume the film with your meal.
Now. Again – imagine that you’re the Predator. Think about what he was doing throughout the entire film right up until the end when he fought Arnold in the rain. No, ‘he was hunting them’ is the wrong answer. That’s obvious – the title of the section is ‘hunting.’ The predator was very methodical. He did 3 things:
• He stayed out of view
• He watched his prey
• He attacked when it was to his benefit
Overwatch and bounding overwatch are two methods of guiding a small force through enemy territory while following these three guidelines.
In Overwatch, one member of your squad locates a position much like the Predator – in an area, usually somewhere high over the battlefield where she can track enemy movements as well as the movements of your team. This is the 50,000 foot view, the macro level hunting method. You have one virtually omniscient person communicating to the others.
In Battlefield 2 and 4, your commander should be fulfilling this role. The good commander drops supplies for the little blips on her map and jams the enemy radar. The great commander decides which objective to assault and zooms in during the combat. She then engages in a liberal use of the ‘Q spot’ mechanic to let her team know where to create their next corpse.
You don’t need this overhead view of the map to engage in overwatch. Have one of your crew climb to the top of a building, tree or mountain. Anything that gives a decent view of the area in which the rest of your squad operates.
Bounding Overwatch provides a more limited view of hostiles from the ground level. Members of your team will take turns moving from cover to cover as the rest of the unit maintains a view of the surrounding area. This is likely the method of traversal that your squad will most employ throughout your career.
This method is perfect for urban environments and anywhere that you have sufficient cover and/or concealment. It’s not real great in the middle of a large open room or on a desert map with nothing but sand.
Section 2: Sneaking (Cover, Concealment, Fire Discipline)
I’m BATMAN. Now think about how the Dark Knight moves. He uses his environment, be it shadows, rooftops, doorways or fire escape landings to stay hidden in plain sight until he decides when to strike. Imagine the first real combat scene in Batman Begins where we get to see Batman actually be Batman as opposed to Bruce Wayne wearing armor.
It takes place behind and around freight containers at a sparsely lit dockyard at night. Now if Bats were to have walked down the central dock area toward his adversaries how do you think the fight would have gone? They’d have shot the crap out of him.
Instead, he hid in the shadows and behind lights – an excellent form of concealment. The thugs wasted a ton of ammo shooting randomly into the darkness hoping in vain to hit something. Using your environment in this manner is advantageous for a few reasons. First and foremost, Gladiator Rule # X – if your enemy cannot see you, he cannot kill you.
Second, fear is a powerful ally. A more powerful ally even, than the Force. When your enemy starts losing spawn tickets without knowing how, they start to freak out a little. A player without a clear head isn’t playing as effectively.
Cover and concealment are our tools when sneaking. The fundamental difference between the two is this: Concealment is anything that prevents your enemy from immediately identifying you. Cover is basically the same thing, but it also stops bullets.
Section 3: The Berserker (Moving Target Theory)
The vikings waded into battle with incredible ferocity. As well known as they were for their battlefield dominance, certain warriors, called berserkers, were even more feared. These barbarians would go into a trance-like frenzy that author Stephen Pressfield calls ‘blood-drunk’ in his novel Gates of Fire (A story of the Spartan 300, not vikings. Nonetheless, it’s the same state.) Berserkers would ravage the battlefield, slaying everything in their path.
You fuck shit up. You have become death, destroyer of worlds.
Believe it or not, there is a flow to your movements during this time. While I can’t present you with the magic formula to become the angel of death, I can point you in a direction. The key points that we need to internalize here are: movement in such a way as makes you difficult to hit and also allows you to hit your enemy with ease. Certainly, knowledge of cover and concealment come into play but there’s also an intuition that you have to develop over time.
In this clip from the beta of Dirty Bomb I’m in the berserker zone. Notice, however, that the entire time I’m knifing and shooting, I’m also planting cover in between myself and the enemy. I’m also doing damn near everything I can to make myself more difficult to hit. Watch how I use walls, crouching, vehicles and even other players to avoid incoming fire during this rampage.
NEXT UP: BT 003.1 Movement – The Hunter