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Five things I wish I knew before starting the Battlefield 3 Beta

Top tips and secrets to help you get off to a flying start in DICE's FPS taster

When we first arrived on the Battlefield 3 Beta we died. A lot. Despite ploughing around 30-50 hours into Bad Company 2 online - each - we were at the mercy of the players who'd started a few hours earlier, who had slightly better kit and knew the Beta's single map better. They've now been online for 72 hours (some, we suspect, literally) and they're waiting for you - the fresh meat - to wander blindly into their experienced cross-hairs. Here's how you can hold your own...

1. Think before you spawn

Battlefield 3 offers you the choice between spawning at your base, or spawning on another member of your four-man squad. While your squad mate may be further into the map, he may also be surrounded by enemies, about to die. If you spawn on him, you're an easy kill for enemies because there's always a few seconds, after spawning, when you need to get your bearings. You're vulnerable, you're dead.

However, if your squad mate is dug in (waiting for support) you absolutely should spawn on him. Two people - or preferably four - live much longer in Battlefield, and have much better chances of taking/defending M-COM stations.

2. Support, support, support

Although the Operation Metro map is something of a COD-style killing-field, there are heaps of points to be had from being a good team player. Case in point - we were attacking in one session against a much more organised, more experienced team. It was a massacre. Our final K/D ratio was 0.25, yet we finished as the second highest scorer /overall. How? Support.

When you're playing Assault class you have Med-kits from rank 1. Tap Left of the d-pad to deploy one, and you get 10 points every time you heal a teammate. You get 20 points for healing someone in your squad. Ping a Med-kit into a hot-zone, like the escalators inside the subway, and you can earn 100s of points in seconds. Support class? Do exactly the same with your Ammo-kits.

3. There's no excuse for not spotting

Did you know that if you hit the Back button with an enemy in your sights - no matter the distance - a little red cone appears over their head? A little red cone that EVERYONE on your team can see? Even when that enemy goes prone, or ducks behind a bush? Wow - that's kinda useful, right? So do it. Unless you need to fire instantly, to save your own life, you should spot every enemy, every time, before you shoot a single round.

Spotted enemies are dead meat. If you don't kill them, someone else will. The very least you'll get is 10 points for a Spot assist. If you're firing at them when they die, you get Suppression assist points and Kill assist points. It's the next best thing to getting an actual kill, and your team mates will love you for it.

4. Pick the right class for the right scenario

Ok, we know you'll naturally prefer to play to your own style. Some people are more sniper than shotgun: but be sensible. Operation Metro is a varied map. It starts open, gets narrow, then opens up again. Here's what you should be aiming for in terms of classes.

For the opening section, go Recon or Assault. Snipers can hide in bushes and support the rest of the team who should assault/defend the M-COMs at close range. Inside the Metro? Support will get you loads of kills, as will the burst fire of the Engineer's SMGs. Plus, the engineers RPGs will help you bust through walls. Back outside, at the end, every class has its advantages. Snipers rule the buildings, unless you can get inside with a shotgun...

5. Check out Battlelog too

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