As you may have heard, DICE announced an upcoming trio of Battlefield 3 expansion packs during GDC last week. Each of these packs follows a distinct theme: Close Quarters offers intimate, indoor environments; Armored Kill promises vehicle warfare and Battlefield 3's biggest maps yet; and End Game is all about detective work. No, seriously, DICE isn't revealing anything about End Game besides the name itself.
At any rate, the first expansion is June's Close Quarters, and we had a chance to play through one of its four maps at an event during GDC last week. The map in question was an ultramodern hotel rooftop looming high above the Tehran skyline called Ziba Tower. It was mostly an indoor locale that immediately contrasted with the bulk of the vanilla Battlefield 3 maps. As such, it might require you to switch up your strategy a little bit. Here are a few words of advice after our playthrough:
Walls Are Not Always Your Friend
Ziba Tower bears a strong resemblance to the Paris office level from Battlefield 3's single-player story, both in terms of architecture and style. It's an achingly stylish cluster of rooms, hallways, and stairways where you'll constantly be darting in and out of doorways to get from one room to the next.
With this layout, you may be tempted to back into a corner and pick off anyone unlucky enough to run into the room and, thus, directly in front of your gun barrel. But if you camp in the corner, that doesn't mean there won't be some heated shoot-out in the next room over, with both parties flinging grenades every which way in an attempt to wipe the other person from existence. Suddenly, that wall that you found so helpful may come crumbling down, with you left fully exposed to the gunfire.
So be careful when running from room to room. On a map like this one, it pays to keep moving. It may be tempting to hide out in one room and wait for enemies to come to you, but these walls are thin--not sturdy building exteriors. They can topple down easily. Bear that in mind.
Snipers Should Downgrade That 12X Scope
Ziba Tower is a smaller map in the grand scheme of things, but you can still get away with playing as a sniper. There are a number of long sight lines to choose from, such as lengthy hallways that run the length of a building or a large center patio in the middle of the map where a series of balconies overlook a large outdoor area. Hell, there's even a shallow swimming pool right on the edge of the building that you can crouch in, if you fancy yourself an aquatic camper.
But none of these sight lines are quite so massive that you'll want to be keep using the same 12X scope that you've been using on, say, the Caspian Border map. Snipers will probably want to drop to something like the 6X scope (or an 8X at the very most), lest they zoom in on a picture frame at the end of a hallway and fire off an errant round assuming it's an enemy's head.
A Medic's Heaven
Anyone who has played as the assault class in Battlefield 3 knows that there's a strong correlation between the size of a map (or lack thereof) and the usefulness of the medic equipment. That is to say, the smaller the map, the more easily you can run about the place with your defibrillator paddles reviving your teammates. On Ziba Tower, that strategy works quite well. The layout of the map is such that you're rarely out in the open with your defenses dropped, so you can dash around simply reviving any teammates who've recently been gunned down.
So if you're looking to use this new expansion pack as an excuse to try out a new kit that you haven't spent much time with before, assault would be a fine choice. You'll be able to rack up experience points left and right, simply acting as a mobile health station. And your teammates will think you're an awfully swell person too, provided they're not one of those "Don't revive me, bro!" types of jerks. Who wants to be on a team with one of those guys?