Land mines have been around for a long, long time. The first recorded use of a land mine, the so-called “tunnel mine,” was 3000 years ago in Ancient Assyria (see Figure 9). Later, during the Iron Age, Ancient military engineers developed the, “caltrops,” a four pronged weapon made of iron in which one of its “spikes” is always pointed upward. Its ingenious design and ease of deployment has made it, according to the website, The History of Landmines, “the longest serving piece of military hardware in existence” (click here for more info).
Thus, for thousands of years, this little iron beauty has been wreaking havoc on everything from Hannibal’s elephants to personnel transports like BF4’s DPV (see Figure 2), and it continues to be an effective anti-vehicle/personnel weapon (something that might be nice to have in the next iteration of Battlefield…HINT…HINT, EA/DICE).
But for the Battlefield 4 community, nothing can replace the BOOM of the trusty Anti-tank (AT)-M15 (see Figure 3). When used in the right way, the AT becomes like a BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER just waiting for its unsuspecting prey (see Figure 4). But what exactly is the “right way” to use the AT? As someone who has used it, and used it well, I can tell you it all depends on the map, and more importantly, the terrain.
Of course, anytime you can produce a crater the size of a SWIMMING POOL to obstruct your enemy’s vehicle movements, you can be confident you are doing the right thing (see Figure 5). HOWEVER, that blade cuts both ways, and what may be an obstacle for your opponent, can also become one for yourself. Still, there is a strategy to the madness of mine deployment that goes all the way back to World War I, and the German’s efforts to counteract the terrible new mechanical beast known as “the Tank”.
As the article, The Origins of Military Mines: Part II, notes, “During World War I, Germans scattered their AT mines…in locally created patterns to reinforce wire obstacles and ditches in front of trench lines” (click here for more information). In addition, AT deployments were, “often laid in triangular groups of 3 or more” at intersections and traffic lanes that were likely to be used by the enemy, or that represented a weakness in the defensive line (see History of Landmines above). Thus the role of the AT has always been both offensive and defensive, just like in Battlefield 4.
And yet, not every map benefits to same degree from a well placed mine field. The jungle maps of China Rising, and their uneven terrain (there’s that word again) make the AT an impractical, if not useless, choice of ordinance to carry. But then there are maps like, HAINAN RESORT, where the AT is not only effective, its almost UNFAIR to use it. As the title of this article suggests, the AT can be particularly useful in Hainan, and especially when playing OBLITERATION (see Figure 6).
Since the days of Battlefield 1943, (and even earlier, if we go back to Battlefield’s PC-only origin), the “Kill-Death” ratio has long ruled the bombed-out wastelands of the Battlefield universe without pity, and rightfully so. Fighter games were built upon the fundamental duality of Killing versus Dying. Thus, whether it is represented in the brutal, graphic harmony of games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, or in the head spinning, make you want to vomit, flight-fighters like the immortal Red Baron franchise: Kill and Death are Yin and Yang, the essence of all fighters (see Figure 1).
But times are changing. There are a lot of ways to make BOOM Salad, and the role of Kill versus Death, while still the KING of the First Person Shooter (FPS), is no longer adequate as the only assessment of a player’s effectiveness on the Battlefield, not since the emergence of what I call the “killing machine (see Figure 2).”
This type of player is easily represented, and perhaps unfairly so, by the sniper lying camouflaged by rock, 400 meters away from the frontlines, loading up on their Kill/Death and Spotting scores. He may die once a round, but his Kills will be way up there. Even more deadly, are the jet or helicopter fighters who have no airborne rivals and populate servers where the infamous twins, IGLA and her sister STINGER, are banned. These, “killing machines,” be they on the ground or in the air can dominate a round-squad score without blinking their eyes (and I mean that literally, see Figure 3).
“Killing machines” may have high Kills versus Deaths but their contribution to the winning or losing, my definition for “Battle Effectiveness” is suspect. This leads us to the notion of quality kills and, even more controversially, quality deaths. Continue reading The Battlefield Efficiency Rating (BER): How Much BOOM Salad Do You Create?