Battlefield 4 fan Guy Cocker talks about being addicted to Anti-Air Vehicles and offers some sneaky tips for the Support class.
One of my favourite things to do in Battlefield at the moment is to use anti-air vehicles. These bad boys (the LAV-AD, 9K22 Tunguska-M and Type 95 AA, depending on the army you’re playing as), are just so effective against aircraft and infantry when compared to their equivalents in Battlefield 3. And that’s not to mention their ability to travel on water.
I’ve also been spending a lot more time getting accustomed with the Support class this week. The Support soldier still seems to be sidelined by a lot of Battlefield players, but they have some unique abilities and perks that really are worth checking out.
I’ll cover both these aspects of Battlefield 4 in this week’s update, so let’s get straight into it.
As I mentioned, BF4’s anti-air vehicles are really effective against aircraft and infantry. The best way to use the anti-air canon is to stay away from combat and just get stuck in. This is because you’re really lightly armoured, but you have a very long range of lock-on, so you can constantly put out high rates of damage against aircraft. Try and avoid the temptation to barrel straight into the action, because the enemy can tear these vehicles to shreds relatively easily, and you won’t last very long. But when you have an AA vehicle on your team, you can control the skies that little bit easier.
The AA vehicles start with a 20mm canon, which is effective against aircraft. But it’s not that strong against light amour and infantry, because it’s just not that accurate. So, when you can upgrade to the 30mm canon, do it, as there’s a noticeable difference when using it against land-based targets, even though this artillery does move a bit slower through the air.
The AA vehicle also has a selection of upgradeable rockets, but I’ve found the most useful upgrade for ground targets are the Zuni Rockets. These explosives are relatively slow, but they inflict lots of damage on infantry. So if you’re going to be on a map where there aren’t that many aircraft units, such as Zavod 311 on Conquest, the Zuni rockets are a very useful upgrade.
The best countermeasure to stick on an AA vehicle is Active Protection, which is the last upgrade you can unlock. Skilled pilots will always do their best to try and kill an AA unit before it kills them, but Active Protection will stop most of these fly-by shootings, so use Active Protection as soon as you can. Combine that with Active Armour or Air Radar to either give you a bit more spongeability (a Battlefield term for being able to take more damage), or a heads-up on other aircraft so you can see them before they see you.
The Air Radar is also good for maps where there’s a lot of tree cover, or not a lot of open air space for you to see where the enemies are. It allows you to anticipate where the enemy is going to come from, especially if they’re doing a lot of hiding behind buildings, and it means you can have your canons ready to take them down. Unless there’s a map like the aforementioned Zavod 311 where you’re going to be close to buildings anyway, try and stay out of the way. As soon as any organised team find out where an AA is, they’re going to try and find and kill you, while their air units are going to run rampant over yours.
In conclusion, unlock the 30mm canons as soon as you can, use heat-seekers or the Zuni rockets if you’re going to be engaging in ground combat, and engaging Reactive Armour and Active Protection will make you that little bit harder to kill. These are tips that a lot of people don’t seem to have realised in Battlefield 4, because a lot of people I see still get into Anti Air Vehicles and think they’re Robocop, and get absolutely obliterated.
I’ve been using the Support Class in the last week, as it’s not a class we’ve covered very much on the blog to date. This class has something called the Man-Portable Active Protection System (MP-APS), which is a very underused but very powerful weapon. It’s basically a portable protection system that you can put down that stops rockets. It can also stop tank shells as well, so if a tank is two feet in front of you and you have this thing in front of you, it will stop a tank shell dead, and you won’t take any damage. It only has a 180-degree arc, and it also has a cool down between every couple of shots that it blocks, so there are some weaknesses to consider. But if you’re getting a lot of hassle from a tank, or if your team is pinned down and you have one or more engineers, you can actually outclass a tank with this setup. Crucially, I don’t actually see the MP-APS used a lot, so at the moment at least, a lot of people won’t know how to deal with it.
This MP-APS system is something I’ve only seen a couple of YouTubers mention, but when I’ve used it, it’s an absolute monster against tanks, because they don’t know what to do. So if you’re thinking of doing a C4 run against some tanks, and the tanks in question don’t have any gunners, you’re basically invincible using an MP-APS. Also, if you’re playing Rush mode and you’re defending from a window, or if you stick it next to the bomb, you’re going to be able to stop the tank pummelling you from range. It should be mentioned, though, that the MP-APS doesn’t stop grenades, so it does still have vulnerabilities.
Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle
Another strength of the Support class is its access to the UCAV, which is a small reconnaissance vehicle armed with an explosive warhead for guided munitions. So, if you’ve got a pesky sniper, or you want the Support Class to have a bit more ranged vehicle damage, you put down a mortar and it fires out a fly-by-wire missile. It’s quite easy to control, comparatively speaking, and you can get it into strange places, or take out helicopters, jeeps and tanks using it.
The main downside is that the UCAV is quite tricky to unlock - it took me about three hours to open it up, because the assignment itself is linked to jets. Specifically, you need three jet fighter ribbons and to win a game of air superiority to get it. You unlock one ribbon by getting five jet kills in a round. Air Superiority games are usually over quite quickly, so this can be quite difficult -I found that playing Conquest on the Lancang Dam map worked well, as it boasts both attack jets and stealth jets. You don’t have to shoot down other jets for the kills to count towards your ribbon, either you can shell people, be it tanks or boats - so that’s the best way to get there. Then you can play a quick air superiority playlist to get the second part of the challenge out of the way.
It’s worth the effort, because the UCAV is one of the lesser-known and lesser-used support items, and in the right hands it can really turn the tide of skirmishes.
The Anti-Air Vehicles may have a distinct weakness - namely the lack of armour - but that shouldn’t stop you playing with them and upgrading them over time. The Support Class is also fast becoming one of my favourite soldiers in the multiplayer game, and the MP-APS system is brilliant when you’re facing down tanks with your team.
As ever, I’m really keen to hear your experiences of playing Battlefield 4, and if you have any tips of your own, please let me and your fellow players know by commenting below or by tweeting me at @guycocker.
Thanks for reading, and see you again next week for more Battlefield 4 tips.