Battlefield 1 is finally out in the wild, and while I’m certainly having a lot of fun with it, there’s a bit of a learning curve as DICE has switched up some of the traditional Battlefield mechanics. What follows is a list of 10 tips that will help guide you across single-player and (mostly) multiplayer that will hopefully help get you ahead.
Play the campaign out of order
Battlefield 1 has a short but decent campaign that can be played out of the recommended order. You should absolutely do this. The prologue (Storm of Steel) is compulsory, but after that, you can choose any one of the five remaining anthology stories to start on. If you want to start with the best ones first, go for Friends in High Places (lots of flying) or the Gallipoli story in The Runner. Nothing is Written is a stealth-heavy section, Through Mud and Blood puts you in a tank for most of it but also funnels you quite a lot, while Avanti Savoia is an action-heavy infantry story. Also, watch the Remember Us section that appears after you’ve completed all anthologies to unlock the Trench Clearer M1909 Benet-Mercie modification, which you can equip or sell.
Or skip the campaign entirely
Unlike previous Battlefield games, you won’t receive unique weapons for finishing the campaign. That aforementioned Benet-Mercie modification is actually a weapon skin, which is purely cosmetic. If your intention with playing the campaign is to unlock stuff for multiplayer, avoid it. Still, I think the campaign is worth playing, at the very least The Runner and Friends in High Places, but if you don’t want to be left behind in multiplayer, there’s no need to delay.
Salvage skins for more Battlepacks
As you play online, you’ll unlock Battlepacks. Unlike previous Battlefield games, at least not in my 32 hours of playing, these Battlepacks don’t contain anything that will practically impact your weapons: so no attachments, for instance. I actually noticed last night that you can unlock “puzzle pieces” for new melee weapons, though (but it’s tied to an RNG). To stack the RNG odds a bit more in your favour, you can salvage Battlepack items for scrap that help to unlock Battlepacks faster. If you do like the idea of customising your weapons with the skins, keep an eye out for item double-ups, which can be salvaged for faster progression towards your next Battlepack. The rarer the item, the more scrap you'll receive for salvaging.
Customise to buy new weapons
The default weapons for the four classes are okay, but the better weapons come later. You’ll have to stick with a particular class for a while to rank it up (separate to your overall rank) so that you can unlock additional weapons. There are 10 ranks in total for each of the four classes, but most of the guns become available a few ranks in (and some of the rank-10 weapons aren’t that great). These weapons are then purchased with War Bonds by clicking on ‘Customize’ (next to ‘Squads’), then clicking on the Primary, Sidearm, Gadget One, Gadget Two, Grenades or Melee options to purchase new weapons/items. The better weapons and items are restricted by class rank, so some patience and perseverance is required to get to the better ones. Also, be aware that…
Not all pistols are class agnostic
I discovered this the hard way when I dropped 150 War Bonds on a pistol early on. I figured the pistol that I bought for one class would be available for the others: big mistake. If you’re particular about your pistols, it’s worth checking which ones do carry across classes before spending War Bonds, particularly early on. Bear in mind that once you get closer to rank 30, hoarding War Bonds seem to matter less (I’d stockpiled quite a few) and you can afford to unlock things a bit more freely.
Play to your class weapon range
Just like how certain pistols aren’t class agnostic, none of the primary weapons are. Unlike Battlefield 4 that had a few weapon categories external to the classes, Battlefield 1 restricts you to particular weapon types: LMGs for Support, shotguns/SMGs for Assault, semi-automatic rifles for Medics, and bolt-action rifles for Scout. Additionally, DICE has tuned these weapons to work best at particular ranges. Scouts are meant to play at longer ranges, Assault excels in close-quarters battles, Support is best at laying down cover fire while prone (particularly with the earlier weapon unlocks) and generally works best at medium distances, and Medic weapons are best at around mid-range. Initially, classes are best matched to your preferred play style (dictated by engagement range), but later unlocks allow a bit more diversity.
Medals are frustrating but rewarding
Medals in Battlefield 1 are both timed and incredibly specific. You can also only have one active at a time, and if that’s not frustrating enough, the criteria must be completed in ascending order. This means that if, say, a medal requires you to get 30 kills on the first step, and 10 headshots on the second, scoring 10 headshots as part of those 30 kills won’t count towards progress on the second step. It’s an odd design choice, but you are rewarded with an XP bonus for every stage before the big one at the end once you unlock the medal.
Install it on an SSD
DICE has seemingly taken a step backwards in how it treats loading between rounds, or even into a map that’s just started. In previous Battlefield titles, having the game installed on an SSD offered a competitive edge for snagging vehicles and planes before other players loaded into the game. DICE fixed this for Battlefield 4, and then it reverted somewhat because of inconsistent between-round timers between players in the Battlefield 1 beta. Well, the timer issue has been fixed since the beta, but as someone who has Battlefield 1 installed on an SSD, I can tell you that I have my choice of vehicles, planes, or cavalry when a map switches. DICE will likely address this soon but, for now, it’s worth taking advantage of if you’re looking to improve your driving, flying or horse-riding.
Modify weapons to suit your play style
Another way to help Battlefield 1 feel a bit more familiar compared to previous entries is by customising your weapons. Given the restrictions of the era, customisation options aren’t as extensive as recent Battlefield games, but if you’re anything like me and suck at using iron sights, it’s well worth tweaking the limited options available. Certain guns have variants that include scopes, but it’s worth tweaking the iron sights, iron-sight magnification, and recoil pattern to suit the range at which you intend to engage enemies. Most of the maps include plenty of cover for run-and-gun close-quarters combatants (like me), so you can close the distance without giving away your position by firing a weapon that might not be suited to that range. Conversely, with a 2.0x magnification on your iron sights, a close-range weapon can be a bit more effective at medium ranges.
Shooting doesn’t make you appear on the mini-map
It’s a big change for Battlefield 1, and as a run-and-gun player, it’s a welcome one for players like me. This means that spotting (‘Q’ by default) is more essential than it’s ever been before, but it also means that you don’t have to rely on a suppressor to quickly clear a house with enemies, or attack from behind enemy lines. This means sound is crucial, and I’d advise using a decent set of cans (7.1 surround sound is best), because you can clearly hear footsteps during the sporadic lull of gunfire and explosions. Scouts can use certain gadgets to spot enemies on the mini-map, but training yourself to hit ‘Q’ while/before firing (unless the enemy is up in your face) is the best way to give your team an edge. Oh, as a squad leader, you can tag points from the Commo Rose, but bear in mind that you need to press ‘Q’ again on flags in Conquest at certain points to switch from attack and defend orders.
That’s by no means an exhaustive list above, so if you’re playing and have any tips to add, let me know in the comments section below. Also, if you have questions (I’ve played more than 32 hours in pre-release and since launch), let me know below, as well.