by MaskedMakrel

Battlefield 2142 Play styles.

To play Battlefield 2142 with other people who are working together to win is a real treat.  I have had some great commanders, played with great squads, and enjoyed both winning (and even losing) when the team play is solid and the action is hot.

Why people play BF2142.

A lot of people play BF2142 because it provides them with a meaningful role in a voluntary association of other people who are trying to play a cooperative and competitive online FPS.  Many people erroneously believe that people want to “live out” some soldier fantasy or play GI JOE, yet nothing could be further from the truth.  What BF2142 allows people to do is play a role in an environment in which they choose the terms and conditions of their participation and are free to excel or not as they see fit.  If you want to get better in BF2142, you can practice more and play more.  You earn more points and get more unlocks and have access to better unlocks.  You control the amount of your participation.  You can join a squad or go lone wolf, you can be a squad leader or you can be a commander.  You decide how much you want to participate and how to participate- though there can be only 2 commanders per round, and you may not always have someone in your squad.

In real life, people often have skills and talents which are overlooked and underutilized because they have an assigned role- one which they may not even have chosen with few options.  In many cases, qualified leaders are overlooked and ignored.  In Battlefield 2142, you can choose your role. 

What role should you play?

That really depends on what you plan to accomplish and what you are in the mood to do. 

Going LONE WOLF is appropriate when you do not feel like following every order and maybe just want to focus on “your game”.  You don’t sign up to play these games just so you can have another boss in the online world.  Some groups might be so self-absorbed and hierarchal that even their online personas are draconian alter egos you do not want to meet or play with.  You may also just want some alone time.  By that I mean, maybe you are interested in trying to get a pin or award and less interested in traditional play.  Maybe you want to get 17 dog tags IASR, you probably will not be as focused on other areas of traditional team play.  There is nothing wrong with trying to get an award or hone an individual skill.  If you learn to play better, you can help your teammates out more when you do decide to squad up.  You risk getting team switch for not joining a squad, and you might not be the most helpful player during those rounds.  But remember, getting unlocks will give you more options in the future, so if you need some points to improve your character, by all means get them.  Of course, you often get unlocks and extra points by joining squads, so unless the award or pin is worth a lot of points, it might not be worth going lone wolf.  Still, a lot of squads appreciate it when they are planning to play hardcore, if lone wolf’s did not join their squad. 

Being a squad member

Being a squad member is very fun when you have an active squad leader and some communicative teammates.  When you work together and share information over VOIP it is great.  As a general rule, you should try to communicate information which is helpful or essential to other players.  Your team will appreciate hearing things like, “N00bzy there is a walker behind you” and “N00bzy behind you, he’s got a knife!”  Without such helpful communications, Noobzy would wonder why he was dying. 

In reality, staying together is very helpful for turning flags and capturing silos faster.  Most of the time, squads need medics to revive and support each other.  You do not, however, need to limit yourself to that role.  As has been discussed at length elsewhere, each class has unique features and attributes that make playing different classes important and essential.  You should get comfortable with all the classes so you can play whatever class your team needs at the time.

Great soldiers make a huge difference on the battlefield, so get good.

Beyond just soldering up, players can take on leadership roles.  The key to taking on a leadership role is to be willing to issue orders and make decisions on the fly.  A microphone is essential for being willing to do this.  It is also very important that you are familiar with the maps, which points have what resources, and which points are “pivotal”.  If you do not learn the maps, you cannot effectively lead.   That being said, don’t be afraid to fail. No one starts out as a squad leader or a commander.  You will have to go through a period of trial and error before you get comfortable with it. 

Being a squad leader.

The best squad leaders communicate with their squad members and the commander.  A good squad leader identifies the goals for the squad.  It is essential to clearly communicate the goal and sometimes to explain the reason for the goal.  A good squad leader also tells a commander what they need, when, and why.  For example, if there is a walker, a squad leader might ask for an emp and an orbital strike.  Approaching a silo or flag, a leader might ask for a UAV. 

Most people agree that a good squad leader is not generally at the front of the pack.  After all, if the squad leader is acting as a mobile spawn point, then the squad leader needs to stay alive.  A squad leader has access to resources (squad leader beacon) that other team members do not.  A good squad leader will use these assets.  A beacon should be routinely placed whenever a major area needs attacking or defending.  Overuse of the beacon is much better than under use.  You can always pick your beacon up and replace it somewhere else if you decide you do not need it. 

Take a position and hold it.  Do not merely silo or flag hop.  That is for lone wolves.  A squad leader needs to get a squad to take and hold a position.  Once the position is secure (which can often be ascertained by talking to the commander), you can move on to another position, but you should always consider in large squads leaving a person or two behind to defend the newly taken position. 

In general, a squad leader should try to listen to the commander.  Not every order issued needs to be followed.  There are many circumstances in which a squad leader may be under direct attack and cannot rush off to the next silo/flag.  Being a squad leader requires a situational awareness and willingness to occasionally challenge an order or at least offer a polite “no sir”, when the situation on the ground demands another course of action.  Good squad leaders make more of a difference than good commanders, and a few good squads is always worth more than a great commander. 

Of all the roles you can elect to play, being squad leader is probably the most difficult.  It is very hard to be in the battle, but still take time to issue an order.  Often times, you will feel compelled to fight as if you were a squad member or a lone wolf and issue an order now and again.  You have to be prepared to do more to organize and communicate as a squad leader.  The role is VERY demanding compared to other roles.  Exercise caution when deciding whether you want to be a squad leader or not.  

Being a commander

First off, you must be prepared to face mutiny.  Mutinies occur in almost every round.  Many times, they are unwarranted.  Most mutinies will fail.  Whether you choose to articulate a defense of your command or not is up to you, but you only have 15 seconds before the votes get cast, so decide early.  For the most part, mutinies are unwarranted in BF2142 and voting for a mutiny should be exercised with great care.

Some of the fun mutinies you can look forward to for no real reason:

You're winning and someone wants to take the win from you.  Yes , some lamer might actually mutiny you while you are dominating just to try to get a commander win and take your points from you.

You're losing and no one has squaded up.  Believe it or not, even when no one is in a squad and the team cannot possibly win, the team may still choose to blame you.  

You only became commander because no one else would and your team was losing badly anyway, so you figured you would help out by getting a UAV going and maybe stepping up for the rest of the team.  Believe it or not, someone will mutiny you.  

You begged the team to take the walker out of the uncap, but no one took you up on the offer.  Now the sat track shows an enemy soldier headed for the walker.  You decide you must get in to prevent the other team from stealing your walker from the uncap.  Even though you verbally told your squad leaders the walker was ready, typed the message in all caps, and practically begged your team to take the walker, no one took it.  Now they are trying to mutiny you for being a commander in a vehicle.  

You sign up to be commander but someone with a lower rank wants to be commander.  Rather than wait one round for their turn, they call a mutiny.  

Your team is losing its conquest match by 30 points.  One of your team members has an outstanding 2 kills and 25 deaths, while another one has gone 3 for 15.  Rather than kick these noobs, someone calls for a mutiny of guess who- the commander.

I could go on with fun examples of stupid mutinies, but  I think you get the idea.

In the other tracks, I started with the do’s, but on commander track, I’m going to start with the don’ts. 

Do not fly and command.  Flying is probably too hard to do with commanding.  You can probably pod to the first silo or flag if you want to and should probably not go much further.

Do not take on a primary fighting role.  It is okay to occasionally step into the fray when it is absolutely necessary or beneficial, but for the VAST majority of your time, you should be stationed somewhere where you can safely issue orders without being distracted.  You do not want to be in the middle of the battlefield trying to issue orders, resupply people, access sat tracks, initiate UAV’s, or using orbital and emp strikes.  There are a lot of passive weapons which you can have with your kit.  Use your passive weapons and supplement your team needs.  Passive weapons include the sentry gun, apm mines, motion mines, and anything which you can basically drop and will kill on its own.  As a commander in titan mode, I routinely leave an infantry sonar and sentry in titan corridors to defend them.  This helps the team, frees up a UAV, and does not substantially interfere with my duties as commander.

You can also pod to the first silo and drop some motion mines or leave some apm’s in the area.  Just try to get back to your titan quickly or stay somewhere safe.  Again, commanders should be focused on commanding.  Your primary weapons are your commander assets.  You should be utilizing the commander screen for just about everything.

Do not get bogged down with focusing on bad players or squads.  In any pub, there are squads that run around like chickens with their heads cut off.  You may also have to deal with a griefer or two.  The important thing is not to focus on them, but to spend your time figuring out which squads are prepared to do their job and do it well.  I’ve had 1 and 2 man squads outperform 6 man squads because they were focused and professional.  As a commander, you need to focus on figuring out which squads are prepared to follow orders and fight. 

Do not argue with your squads.  Issue an order and leave it at that.  Sometimes a squad leader will decline to follow the order.  They may or may not have a good reason for it.  Occasionally, squads are engaged in battles which take precedence over moving to the next location.  Almost nothing will come from arguing with a dysfunctional squad.  Ignore them and provide support to your other squads.

Do not be afraid to throw these rules out the window when you NEED to.  These rules are good guidelines for playing commander and you should almost always follow them.  Nevertheless a special circumstance might arise in which you pitch these rulse out the window..  If the round is going to be won or lost because you decide to fly a transport to the nearest silo and turn it after engaging in a heavy firefight- by all means do so.  Remember, there are no hard and fast rules in BF2142, only guidelines which will help you be a better player.  I have occasionally broken a few of the aforementioned rules in order to win rounds.  Usually, it is near the end of a critical round in which both teams are very close.  At that time, your actions as a commander are critical.  Do you go with an orbital strike?  Do you suit up and join the fray?  Those are the decisions you have to make for yourself at crunch time.  A round could be won or lost with the right orbital strike or with a silo turned or not turned.  Do not be afraid to act when necessary.

Although your team will do better when you focus on commanding, do not be afraid to help out your team whenever and however you can.  You are never too big to get involved if that’s what’s required and you need to keep your ego in check.  Even if you are commander, it helps to remember that the soldiers and squad leaders around you will win or lose the fight.  Your primary role is a supportive one.

A good commander is essentially a good communicator.  A good commander has a birds-eye view of the battlefield.  The best commander I ever had gave us a lot of information.  Too much information in fact.  Every silo he would tell us how many bogey’s where there or how many were coming in.  He would tell each squad what he needed and why and set goals for the squads with time lines for getting things done.  A titan assault might only have a two minute window and then it would be back to the taking and defending silos.  The order would come out and the squads would rise to the challenge.  More often than not, the squads succeeded, but most importantly the team won. 

Explaining to squads and groups what is happening on the ground also lets the squads know you are paying attention to the situation on the battlefield and trying to provide them with useful information. 

Be encouraging to your squads and thank them for the job they are doing.  Being positive is much more effective than being negative.  Also avoid the “commander complex”.  Never forget, soldiers win wars, not commanders.  Commanders and squad leaders who begin acting like they are all that, just burn out their squads and lose respect fast.  Everyone has a role to play in BF2142, and no one role is more important that another.

Don’t forget about the unassigned players.  Lone wolves or not, you can still occasionally ask them for their help.  Issuing a verbal and written order for all lone wolves to do something may or may not work, but it does not hurt.  Orders like ‘Lone wolves defend the titan’ could be crucial in a close match.

Organizing your team is part of your job.  If you have a bunch of 2 person squads, try to focus them on a single objective to magnify their strengths.  If some of the larger squads are issuing their own orders and taking their own initiative well, you can take a more hands off approach.  Sometimes, not issuing orders to a team that is functioning is the best course of action.  Again, you are supporting your team and the most important thing you can do is to give them the information they need to win.  With experienced squad leaders that can mean a very light touch with issuing orders.    

Be specific in your requests and do not be afraid to assert yourself.  Sometimes it helps to go with the volunteer approach and ask for volunteers.  For example, you could say, “I need a squad to volunteer to attack silo 1” sometimes, you could just try to order the squad, “Squad 1 take silo 1”.  Sometimes, you should provide background information.   Early in the game you should be able to figure out which squad leaders are following orders and which ones are not.  Support the squad leaders that are supporting you. 

Some squad leaders will respond to different things.  For example, some squad leaders want constant orders and need regular updates.  Others want to take a more go it alone approach.  Some players may be difficult.  Try to figure out how to strike a balance between issuing orders and getting results.  This is especially challenging on public servers where people come from a wide variety of backgrounds and motivations.
Assess and reassess the situation.  Maybe you ordered squad 1 to take silo 4 when it was undefended but now its heavily defended and silo 5 is free.  Do not be afraid to issue the appropriate order when situations change.  You will make mistakes in commanding.  The important thing is to make constant adjustments and keep a steady flow of current and useful information flowing to your other partners. 

If you have a bad situation, say the other team holds all the silos, you might want to concentrate all your efforts on turning one silo.  Just experiencing a small victory at that time could be beneficial for the team and build some confidence.  Try to stay positive, but also be frank in your assessments.  No one wants to hear you're doing a great job when the other team holds all the silos, but you also don't want to hear how worthless you are as a team.  Instead, try to set a reasonable goal for the team to achieve so it can make some headway and try to build some confidence.  In titan mode, a lot of teams can experience reversals of fortune when they engage in overreaching on a titan assault.  That mode tends to have more dramatic reversals than conquest mode where tickets are king.  

Evaluate requests as they come in.  If someone asks for an EMP and its not ready, let them know thru VOIP.  If a lone sniper is sitting in the middle of nowhere sniping the occasional passerby, you might want to resupply a tank or walker engaged in turning a flag or silo first. 

It can be very helpful to consult with a strategy guide before assuming the commander’s role so that you are a least loosely familiar with the map and the map assets.  There are free online guides as well as the Prima guide which may help you in this matter. 

Try to use your assets wisely.  You might hold on to an orbital strike until a flag is being turned rather than just drop it into a pile of people, or combine the emp with the orbital to take care of a walker, rather than just drop it on a random sniper.  Again, commanding is situational and strategic.  If you know the map, you will know what kinds of threats your team is likely to face and how to deal with them.
Share the opportunity to lead.  At the end of each round, you should let someone else take a shot at being commander.  It should always be one on and one off for commander mode.  Leadership needs to be shared with others in order to develop stronger teams and make for a better battlefield environment.  After a few hundred hours of play, the Battlefield is will be familiar to you, make sure new people have the chance to familiarize themselves with the battlefield as well.
Finally, be prepared to lose.  It’s never fun to lose, but you should still thank your team and get ready for the next round.  Take the time to try to figure out where things went wrong so that it does not happen again. 

In summary 

Whatever role you play, have fun playing Battlefield 2142.  Remember that there will be a bunch of grievers’, aimbotters, hacks, glitchers, and deviants in the online world.   The important thing is simply not to be one of them.  You cannot control how other people play or what they do, you can only control how you play.  See you on the Battlefield.  Cheers.