Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising Walkthrough

Our guide to Joint Operations gives you a run-down of the game’s myriad weapons, vehicles, and maps, with tips on how to play each class and how to survive in and conquer the wild jungles of Indonesia.

by

By The Stratos Group
Design by James Cheung

Although it’s only been a year and a half or so since Battlefield 1942 first hit the shelves, its formula - with the double whammy of easily-controllable vehicles and some potent team-based gameplay modes - became an instant classic, and now it’s fairly difficult to imagine online gaming without it. But although BF1942 has seen a couple of expansion packs, a follow-up (Battlefield: Vietnam), and an imposing number of modifications, we’re just now seeing the first wave of imitators. Soldner has already hit stores, Star Wars: Battlefront is coming this fall, and the first true sequel, Battlefield 2, should be arriving early next year. Amidst all of this, Novalogic, the developer of the hit game Black Hawk Down, is throwing its hat into the ring with the modern-combat simulation Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising.

The laundry list of features in Joint Ops will be familiar to anyone who’s played a Battlefield game: you can play as one of five distinct classes, have a couple dozen different vehicles at your beck and call, and engage in some fierce battles over control points scattered across the map. The game does attempt to stand out from the crowd in a few areas, though, most noticeably in the size of games. Thanks to the fact that Novalogic has its own servers and hosts many of the Internet games that are ongoing at any given time, they were able to build the game from the ground up to include many more players than most online FPS’ ever see - up to 150 on the same server. To accommodate these large games, they’ve crafted some incredibly huge maps, with some spanning as much as nine kilometers from one end to another.

But, even if you’ve never played a game like this before, GameSpot is here to help. Our guide to Joint Operations will give you a run-down on the game’s myriad weapons, vehicles, and maps, with tips on how to play each class and how to survive in the wild jungles of Indonesia.

Forces and Outfits

There are almost a dozen different factions you can choose from when designing a character in Joint Ops. While these choices are mostly cosmetic (no faction gains any gameplay advantage over any other), each faction does have its own selection of character models and outfits to choose from, some of which are much preferable to others.

Joint Ops Forces

Indonesian Kopassus

Motto: Daring - Righteous - Successful

This Special Forces branch of the Indonesian army is also known as the "red berets," due to the fact that they were originally formed by a Dutchman who based this unit on the Dutch Army’s own "Roode Baret". As befits an elite Special Forces unit, the selection process is rigorous and designed to weed out any individuals who are not physically capable of performing up to Kopassus standards. The culmination of the nine months of the selection process is a march of almost 250 miles across mountainous terrain.

In addition to the rigorous physical training, members of Kopassus are also subject to ideological filtering, due to the fact that they’re often tasked with facing and suppressing rebellious or subversive factions across Indonesia’s many islands. They have reputation for success, but also for occasional brutality when dealing with the terrorist and guerilla forces that threaten national security. Their role in the East Timor conflict was especially controversial, as the Indonesian military was accused of aiding anti-independence militias in that area, and of standing by while said militias assaulted pro-independence groups, organizations, and even churches.

United States Navy SEALS

Motto: The Only Easy Day was Yesterday!

In the early 1960’s, there was a recognized need for small units of highly-trained soldiers that could perform specialized tasks in a variety of settings. The decision was made to shuffle soldiers from the Navy’s Underwater Demolitions Team, and the SEALs (which stands for SEa, Air, and Land) were formed on January 1st, 1962, and saw their first major action during the Vietnam War.

Much is made of the rigorous training that SEALs are required to endure; the first eight weeks of basic conditioning training includes what is known as "Hell Week," a five-and-a-half day course of continuous physical exertion, including timed runs and swimming courses, during which each soldier is only permitted four hours of sleep. Not four hours of sleep per day; four hours of sleep for the entire week. Even if a soldier is capable of surviving this rigorous test of stamina, there are still five weeks of basic conditioning, seven weeks of dive training, ten weeks of land warfare training, three weeks of parachute training, two weeks of Special Operations Technician training, and then thirty weeks of medical training. After all of this, they’re required to wait through a six-month probation before officially becoming a SEAL.

The SEALs are tasked with an array of missions, including direct action, reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, and counter-terrorism.

United States Green Berets

Motto: De Oppresso Liber ("To Liberate The Oppressed")

The legendary Green Berets are part of the US Army’s Special Forces, and are subject to grueling mental and physical training to prepare them for roles as soldier-ambassadors to the armed forces of other nations. Their training is intended to prepare them for the role of detached operations, in which groups of 12 men form Special Forces Operational Detachment-A’s (or A-Teams) and are expected to function autonomously. In addition to a 150-mile march with over fifty pounds of gear, there’s also a notorious land navigation test dubbed "Star," in which soldiers are tasked with navigating through 18 kilometers of rough terrain, at night, by themselves.

After completion of the selection process, soldiers can choose from a variety of advanced training, with multi-month courses in weapons, engineering, communications, or medical skills. Each course is designed to prepare a soldier for extended service in foreign territory. Even after they earn the right to wear the green beret via a field training exercise designed to test their cumulative knowledge of the battlefield, more training ensues, including at least four months of language training.

Delta Force

The secretive Delta Force is the US Army’s counterterrorist group, and consists of soldiers drawn from already rigorously-screened units, such as the Rangers and the Green Berets. They’re trained in a wide array of counterterrorism skills, from hostage rescue to behind-the-lines intelligence gathering. Delta Force units were also used during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, having infiltrated Baghdad ahead of the main invasion to access informants and designate critical bombing targets with lasers. They also operated behind the lines in the first Gulf War, when they moved in mobile columns, along with SAS soldiers, and attempted to find and destroy SCUD launchers.

US Army Rangers

Motto: Lead the Way!

The Rangers are the US Army’s quick deployment force, and are capable of being deployed anywhere in the world within eighteen hours after the need arises. Although they have been in existence since the 18th century, their role has shifted over the centuries, and the Army Rangers of today specialize in rapid assaults on vital targets, such as airport seizures.

USMC and Force Recon

Motto: Semper Fidelis ("Always Faithful")

The United States Marine Corps has traditionally been the branch of the military that allows the US to exert military power without extending the full force of its armed forces. While deploying a carrier group to a region can is generally referred to as "rattling the saber," in that it can forestall the use of force merely by demonstrating America’s willingness to use it, sometimes obtaining results requires a true military deployment. When this is the case, the Marines are essential in their role as a quick reaction force, with the ability to rapidly deploy around the world.

Although the Marines are themselves often thought of as being an "elite" component of the US armed forces, due to the fact that, as an expeditionary force, they’re often the first military force to engage the enemy, they do have their own subset of special forces known as Force Recon. Force Recon Marines are trained to act independently of larger Marine units, and are tasked with providing the commanders of those units with reconnaissance of the areas in which they’ll be working. This entails behind-the-lines work and autonomous action.

British SAS

Motto: Who Dares Wins

The Special Air Service has a long and distinguished history, which begins with its incorporation as a commando unit during World War II. Nowadays, the SAS focuses on counter-terrorism, and features one of the most hard-core selection programs of any military unit in the world. The three phases incorporate physical and stamina training, followed by training in a jungle environment, followed by preparation in escape, evasion, and anti-interrogation techniques. Only six or seven percent of SAS trainees persevere and become a member of this elite group.

German KSK

The German KSK special forces unit was designed primarily to protect German citizens and nationals outside of German borders; their traditional counter-terrorism unit, GSG-9, is legally bound to German land. As such, the KSK specializes in hostage rescue, evacuation of noncombatants from hostile territory, and ensuring the safety of German citizens abroad.

French GIGN

The French GIGN is notable for being a unit of the French police, rather than being a part of that country’s military. As such, they engage in many more operations than do traditional military counter-terrorism units, and have gained plenty of operational knowledge. Although the force is small, they’re recognized as one of the most competent counter-terrorist units in the world, and train with members of the armed forces of many friendly nations.

Russian Spetsnaz

Motto: Any Mission, Any Time, Any Place

The Spetsnaz gets its name from the Russian words for "special purpose," and has indeed been the Russian special operations unit since well before the end of the Cold War. During the early years of their existence, the Spetsnaz was responsible for behind-the-lines covert operations, such as assassination of political targets and sabotage of critical enemy facilities, with a special emphasis on locating and disabling NATO nuclear launch sites, should World War III have ever broken out. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, the Spetsnaz has been forced to adapt to the changing world order, and now takes part in both conventional warfare and small-scale operations, such as the disastrous hostage rescue during the Chechen siege of a Moscow theatre in 2002. They’ve also seen extensive combat in Chechnya itself.

Training to enter the Spetsnaz is as physically grueling as that of any other special forces unit, but with a special emphasis on forming unit cohesion by stripping away the dignity of each individual soldier. Training can last up to five years.

Australian SASR

Motto: Who Dares Wins

The Australian SASR is the Australian military’s special operations unit, although it takes on a broad range of missions. It’s been deployed to Rwanda and Somalia to deal with humanitarian crises, seen more conventional military roles in Afghanistan and (rumor has it) the first Gulf War, and trained for anti-terrorism roles during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. In addition to the main SASR unit, there are also sub-units called TAG (Tactical Assault Group), which is the full-time counter-terrorism branch of SASR, and OAG (Offshore Installations Assault Group), which specializes in assaulting ships and oil rigs.

Rebel Forces

The rebel forces consist of Indonesian separatists and ex-military units. The soldiers that have defected to the rebel cause have brought with them some serious military-grade hardware, including helicopters, mortars, machineguns, and enough miscellaneous equipment to almost transform the rebels from guerilla fighters into a conventional army.

Outfits

There are a huge number of military outfits to choose from in the game, some of which will let you blend into the background, and some of which are, well, less than inconspicuous. You can’t modify your uniform in-game; this has to be done from the main menu, so choose wisely. For the most part, gray and green camo outfits are your best bet if you wish to move with some element of stealth; all-black ensembles may be tempting, but your profile will be high-contrast when you move against the green background of the jungle. Even in night missions, nightvision goggles will eliminate most of the advantage of wearing black, as these help players pick up on movement, no matter what their target is wearing.

If possible, you’ll want to select a gear loadout that leaves you with normal encumbrance. Engineers and Gunners may have no choice but to go heavy, but they’ll pay the speed penalty.

For the Joint Ops player, a good all-around choice is the United States - Scout/Sniper - Ghillie Camo/Vest. This grey covering will let you hopefully blend into the foliage a bit, and the ghillie hood does a great job of blurring your outline while you move, particularly in missions where nightvision is required. Other good choices are the Ranger - Cap/Camo Face - Camo BDU and the SAS - Headwrap (Tan) - Jungle BDU. If you’re looking for darker camo for dusk missions, the KSK - Combat Helmet - Jungle BDU outfit is a good choice.

As a Rebel, there are few choices for full-body camo; most outfits will leave the face and arms fully visible. The women dress pretty modestly, however, so the Female Ex-Military outfit is a decent choice, if you can put up with the terrible voice acting, and the Head Wrap - Female Militia is likewise fun if you fancy yourself a ninja.

Classes

Rifleman

The rifleman’s rocket launcher is a potent anti-vehicle and anti-personnel tool.

Most players on any given team will be riflemen, as this class combines the broadest array of primary weapons with the ability to select anti-vehicle accessory weapons. Riflemen are the only class that can use underslung grenade launchers on their assault rifles, and are also the only class that can load out with rocket launchers. Other than that, they aren’t much more than a generic warrior class, with no particularly special abilities. Still, they’re a good choice unless you recognize that your team is deficient in another class.

Sniper

It takes a different breed of cat to successfully play as a sniper in Joint Ops. As in many team-based games, sniping isn’t going to win you many friends among your teammates, simply because snipers are usually players who prefer to rack up kills rather than help their team complete objectives or convert bases to their side. Which isn’t to say that it’s impossible to be a team-oriented sniper; it’s just that Joint Ops, by its very nature, requires players to have a high degree of mobility in order to actively pursue the goals of the team, and snipers aren’t known for moving around much.

Of course, if you’re just looking to have fun, there’s no reason not to be a sniper. With the amount of cover that the foliage in Joint Ops provides, and the ability to snipe from hundreds of meters away from your targets, it’s not uncommon for stealthy snipers to hunker down in an out-of-the-way spot and unload all of their ammunition into their enemies before being discovered.

One of the interesting things that Joint Ops implements is the effect of gravity on bullets in flight; unlike in most games, you’ll be forced to account for the amount of distance that your bullet will drop during its trip towards your target and adjust your aim accordingly. You can adjust the elevation ratings of the sniper rifles in the game to prevent having to manually aim above your target, but this involves whipping out your binoculars to get a range to the target, switching back to your sniper rifle, zooming out the scope, and then holding down control while adjusting the elevation with the plus and minus keys. This is all well and good when your target is completely immobile, but most online players will be constantly moving. Unless you’re maniacally patient, your best bet to get kills as a sniper is to close within 200 meters or so of an enemy spawn point and aim slightly above an enemy’s head as they pause momentarily.

Otherwise, your primary pickings as a sniper will be enemies who choose to defend a position by manning a mounted emplacement, such as a .50 caliber machinegun or a grenade launcher. Another great source of targets are enemy vehicles; the first player to board a vehicle, especially large ones, will generally pause until other players come aboard. If you notice a group of players heading towards a waiting boat or helicopter, scope in on any mounted weapons on the craft itself; these are almost always the first positions that are taken by players that hop aboard, and in many cases, you should have a completely immobile target until the driver of the vehicle doesn’t see any more friendlies approaching. Just make sure you get a good shot off; most mounted weapons have infinite ammo, so anyone you annoy, but don’t kill, won’t think twice about letting off a fusillade in your direction.

The most important thing to remember if you’re playing as a sniper is that the grass that covers most of every map is only visible for about fifty meters or so; you may think you’re being super-stealthy by laying prone in the grass, but chances are, anyone who’s a decent distance away from you will be able to see you as plain as day. Your best bet for going undetected as a sniper is to find some kind of large object to hide in or behind; shrubs, trees, rocks, and the like are all good places to be. If you’re lying flat, and have a decent camo outfit, your profile should seem to be another bump in whatever object you’re beside, and, if you get sighted, you can use your object as emergency cover.

Engineer

Engineers share with riflemen the ability to select any of the assault rifles available to your team, although they cannot use the grenade launcher attachments for those weapons, or rocket launchers. Instead, they gain three weapons unique to their class: the mortar, the satchel charge, and the anti-aircraft Stinger missile.

Mortars have an interesting implementation in this game. The most noticeable thing about them is that they give you a targeting cursor on your minimap, complete with an error circle that will let you know just how far off the mark your shells will fall; the radius of possible landing points increases as you attempt to cover more and more distance with your shells. Unfortunately, the shells themselves have an underwhelming radius of killing power, making the prospect of getting kills via them a spotty one at best. You can coordinate with a teammate who has a laser target designator to increase accuracy a bit, but the fact that the shells take nearly 15 seconds to fall to the ground after being launched means that you won’t hit anything except targets that are stock-still. The real unforgivable sin of the mortars, though, is the fact that you can’t load out with more than four shells at a time, which means that you’ll have to stick near an armory to reload after launching every fourth shell.

On most maps, Stinger missiles are a better choice, as they can neutralize enemy helicopter threats with just two or three missiles in most cases. They don’t require any special acumen to use; just equip them, use the scope to lock on, and fire away. Most helicopters move slowly enough that you stand an excellent chance of making contact with any given missile, although the best pilots will pick up the radar lock and launch flares while banking rapidly to avoid your fire.

Satchel charges are mostly useful to defend bases. Although the game trains you to use them by having you penetrate an enemy base and blowing up an enemy helicopter, the fact of the matter is that they’re just not very useful as anti-vehicle weapons, unless you manage to spot an enemy vehicle coming down a road and can lay them down quickly. Attempting to use them as mines will often result in you sitting around forever, waiting for the really cool thing that’ll impress all your friends to happen, but you’ve presumably got better things to be doing with your time. There are all kinds of James Bond supermissions you can dream up with satchel charges (sneak into the enemy base, lay down the charges on a gunship, hide out in the woods, wait until the boat fills up with people, then kaboom!), but they’re mostly unworkable. Still, they pack an impressive punch, and if you plant a couple near either entrance to a base, you’ll be assured of a couple kills when the enemy attempts to take it over. If, you know, you’re not tracked down and killed while waiting. Satchel charges are required for as many as half of the co-op missions in the game, though.

Medic

The medic, like the engineer, is capable of loading out with any of the standard assault rifles that are available for your team, albeit without the grenade launcher attachments. Medics, however, get no accessory weapons, save the oh-so-useful target designator for mortar attacks. Instead, they get a health pack which can be used to heal up wounded friends, and revive dead allies, so long as they haven’t respawned. After dying, a soldier can wait for up to two minutes for a medic to arrive, or they can respawn immediately; medics, luckily, have a special icon on the minimap, which lets other players know whether or not help is anywhere nearby.

Unfortunately, medics can’t heal themselves, which makes this a poor class choice for players who wish to forge their own path in the game. If you’re willing to join up with large groups of teammates as they saunter off to enemy bunkers, however, you can make a large difference in the effectiveness of group fighting by reviving downed allies.

Gunner

Gunners eschew the puny automatic rifles that most classes use in favor of hulking machineguns that are capable of spitting out lead at rates that make enemies cringe to see it. Gunners are the big damage-dealers among the classes, especially when it comes to anti-personnel work.

Packing along a machinegun doesn’t come without its drawbacks, though. In addition to their massive weight, machineguns are horrifically inaccurate when you’re not lying prone, and they also have a good amount of recoil when you’re standing up or crouching. This all combines to make them basically unusable unless you’re lying prone. If you do lie down, however, you’ll be able to mow down enemies left and right with relative ease, provided you stick to short bursts - holding down the fire button makes for an impressive display of strength, but also greatly increases the spread of your bullets.

Gunners, like snipers, can benefit from cover. Try hiding underneath bushes and other plants and waiting for the enemies to come to you.

Unfortunately, many of the Indonesian islands and landscapes across which you’ll be fighting are covered with a foot or so of undergrowth, which is generally not a problem, but every time you attempt to lie prone in it, you’ll find yourself with a face full of grass, which has an understandably deleterious effect on your aiming capabilities. If this happens to you, you’ll need to find a ridge or hill to get up on to get the grass out of your face. In this sense, picking a spot to fire from is almost as important to gunners as it is to snipers. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a spot with a view over a wide area that will also be enclosed on any sides that you’re not constantly monitoring. The openings in the sides of a base are ideal for this; any other buildings on the map also make good choices for gunning spots, but you don’t want to be more than a hundred and fifty meters or so from the area that you’re planning to open up on.

Vehicles

Land Vehicles

The selection of land vehicles in Joint Ops isn’t very broad; both sides will normally be limited to a troop-transport truck, an armored 4WD vehicle with a mounted gun, and an armored troop-transport vehicle that provides complete enclosure for any troops inside, along with a mounted gun that can be fired without having the gunner stick his head out of the vehicle. No tanks, regrettably, and no vehicles that will let you fire weapons and drive simultaneously; you’ll need teammates along if you plan on wreaking havoc with any of these bad boys.

The troop-transport trucks are fairly poor choices for transportation, unless you have a long distance to travel, have no other means of transportation, and are relatively sure that you won’t be encountering any enemies along the way - a truck laden with troops makes for a ripe target for a rifleman with a rocket launcher. Trucks do take two rockets to destroy, though, so any passengers should be able to jump out before a single soldier is able to reload his weapon.

The jeeps are a better bet, as you will have some form of mounted gun (usually a .50 cal) to protect yourself with as you travel, and they’re quite a bit faster than the trucks, to boot. Unfortunately, jeeps only require a single rocket to be destroyed, so driving one of these into a war zone is something akin to suicide. Again, you’re better off using it for transport over long distances of safe ground, or perhaps for getting on the periphery of a firefight and using its mounted weapon to unload on any enemies.

The cannon on an APC is able to take down pretty much anything you see, even helicopters.

Lastly, we have the Stryker and the BTR, the two armored troop transports with mounted weapons. These are the most preferable vehicles to bring to a fight, as anyone inside is completely safe from small arms fire. Two rockets are required to destroy these vehicles and, perhaps best of all, they feature mounted guns that are enclosed as well, meaning that your gunner won’t have to stick his head out to fire on enemies.

Air Vehicles

When you have to get somewhere quick, or transport a whole slew of people, or pump a few thousand rounds from a minigun into an enemy position, a helicopter is what you’re going to be looking for. Each side has three models: a light bird that seats either two or six people; a larger attack helicopter; and a hulking transport chopper that can load up vehicles into its underbelly.

The birds are your best bet for solo killing, as they’re the only kind of helicopter (and indeed, the only vehicle in the game) that will let you fire a weapon while controlling a vehicle, assuming you get one of the models that feature either machineguns or rocket launchers. The third model has troop benches that will let up to five people tag along on your trip, which can help you move a small strike force into an enemy-held position, but you’ll need to fly low and land as soon as you get within the control circle, as these babies go down after a single Stinger hit.

The medium-weight helis (Blackhawks for NATO forces, Super Pumas for the rebels) are a better bet for pure infantry transportation. You can fit more people into them, they can survive more Stinger hits, and they have two minigun mounts that will let your passengers wail on infantry below the bird. If you’re piloting, though, and you hear your gunners shooting away, you’ll want to try and keep the heli on an even keel so that they can actually hit their targets; lots of juking will force them to continually readjust their aim. This advice is null and void if you’re being shot at yourself, of course.

The largest helicopters (Chinooks and HALOs) are mostly useful for getting a ton of soldiers into a contested zone quickly. They can be used to transport ground vehicles in their bellies, but unless you have voice support, this is somewhat difficult to coordinate on a random internet server, especially the largest ones. Otherwise, their rugged resistance to Stingers makes them great for loading ten or so soldiers up and dropping them off near an enemy base.

Keep hammering away at the countermeasures key as you fly. It won’t help against emplaced machineguns, but it will prevent you from meeting this unfortunate fate.

One tactic that applies equally to all helicopters has to do with the countermeasures that you’re capable of dropping. This is something that may get patched in the future, but as of this writing, helicopters have an infinite amount of chaff to drop, and you can repeatedly drop them just by holding down the key. A continual stream of chaff goes a long way to preventing Stingers from impacting your vehicle, so it’s always useful to just keep the key pressed down when you’re over hostile ground.

Sea Vehicles

On the game’s massive, 150-player levels, you’re often going to be faced with the task of taking an enemy base that’s located across a few hundred meters of water from where you spawn. In these cases, helicopters will usually be taking off as soon as they respawn, so you’ll probably find yourself getting a ride in some form of boat more often than not. As you may have deduced by now, each side will be able to use three different forms of boats, one light, one heavy, and one in-between.

The lightest sea vehicles are the four-man inflatable Zodiac boats. These don’t have any armament, save what your passengers are able to bring to bear, and are predictably fragile, but can usually fly under the radar of enemy defenders if you manage to take a roundabout way into a contested zone. In other words, you don’t want to be driving one of these right up into a base’s bay; you aren’t protected at all while you drive an inflatable, so you, along with anyone else hanging around, will be cut to pieces by the time you get anywhere near an enemy. If you try to skirt around the edge of an island and make landfall somewhere where enemy presence is unlikely, however, you should be able to make the trip intact. Even during heavy firefights, enemies with the ability to fire over long distances (such as those in emplaced weapons) will be more likely to attempt to shoot at your heavier boats and helicopters than smaller vessels like these.

The armored patrol boats are where the real carnage comes home to roost, however, as they boast the most armament of any vehicle in the game. Each boat will have two .50 cal machine guns and two grenade launchers, with one of each on each side of the boat, letting your passengers take on pretty much anything that comes along without fear. However, although the boat is armored, this is applied only to the boat’s health; you and your passengers will still be out in the open, ready to die at the first sign of enemy fire. Thus, if you’re driving, you’ll have to make a delicate balance between moving consistently enough to allow your gunners to hit their marks, and weaving enough to avoid any incoming fire, with the emphasis preferably on the latter.

The last kind of boat is the large vehicle transport. While these guys are generally highly armored, they aren’t useful for much more than transporting troops. Ground vehicles can easily be loaded onto them, but the general inutility of most of the land vehicles in the game makes this kind of pointless, although soldiers in jeeps and armored troop transports can fire those vehicle’s weapons as you travel along. Otherwise, though, you can hold a basically limitless number of troops on the deck of the ship, with one or two of them available to man the mounted guns for a limited amount of protection as you float along.

Equipment

Pistols

There are only three pistols in the game, the Colt 1911, the S&W .357, and the M9 Beretta. Any of these is a decent choice for close-up encounters, with the Colt 1911 being a bit more powerful, but the Smith and Wesson is capable of carrying more total ammo. The M9 is probably the consensus choice, however, as it can hold 45 rounds total. In any case, though, you won’t want to be using a pistol unless you’re completely out of ammo for your main weapon. Snipers can sometimes make use of pistols if you suspect that an enemy is creeping up on you; it’s generally better to sacrifice the power of your rifle for the more rapid fire of a pistol in these situations.

Assault Rifles and SMGs

Common

Mossberg Shotgun

This seven-round shotgun actually fits into your handgun slot, and, if you’re willing to carry a bit of extra weight around, is obviously superior to either of the pistols for short-range wetworks. It’ll pack on around five extra pounds into your loadout when compared to the pistols that would otherwise occupy your second weapon slot, but if you can accommodate this load without getting bumped up into the next weight bracket, then go for it. The spread of buckshot is much more likely to connect with and kill an enemy at close range than any bullet fired from a pistol. Snipers and Engineers cannot select the Mossberg, unfortunately.

Silenced MP5

The Silenced MP5 has the distinction of being one of the few true silenced weapons in Joint Ops, and is thus fairly useful when you intend to penetrate behind enemy lines and wreak havoc on foes that are comfortably ensconced in their base. Nearby enemies will hear the distinct clicking of your silencer, however, and unfortunately you’ll need to be fairly close to your enemies in order to actually hit them: rounds fired from the MP5 follow a trajectory that drops incredibly fast when compared to other automatic weapons. You’ll probably need to aim above targets that are just a hundred meters or so away from you, to avoid having your bullets hit the ground at their feet.

MP5/10

The MP5/10 is ostensibly a more powerful version of the silenced MP5, but it still suffers from the horrendous inaccuracy at medium distances that plagues its stealthy cousin. There are much better choices than this, no matter which side you choose to fight on.

Joint Ops

M4 / M16

The M4 and the M16 are both decent weapons, although they fulfill different roles, and should be chosen according to your play style. The M4 is the weapon of choice for up-close-and-personal encounters, as it features fully automatic fire. The M16 is far more accurate than the M4, and is able to place single shots on target at ranges of a couple hundred meters, but doesn’t possess automatic fire; instead, you get a somewhat worthless burst-fire mode that clips off three rounds at a go. Either weapon is capable of single-shot semi-automatic fire for long-range targets of opportunity.

The M16 possesses accuracy nearly equal to that of a sniper rifle over ranges of one to two hundred meters. Just don’t fire too rapidly.

In short, the M16 is the clear choice for engagements at long range, just due to its accuracy, but the M4 noses ahead in short-range combat due to the simple fact that you can hold down the fire button and rip through your targets.

Rebels

AK47 / AK74

Although the manual states that the AK74 is more accurate and has less recoil than the AK47, for gameplay purposes, these weapons might as well be identical. Beyond 200 meters or so, these differences may come into play, but at those ranges, you’re almost certainly going to be using semi-automatic fire anyway, where recoil doesn’t much matter, and both rifles are almost precisely accurate. In close-range fighting of a hundred meters or less, though, it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Machine Guns

Joint Ops

M60 / M249 / M240

The Joint Ops gunner has a few options when choosing from the machinegun pool. The forerunner here is the venerable M60, which features a large amount of power, excellent accuracy for a machinegun, and almost no recoil. The tradeoff here is that you only get 300 rounds of ammo; in smaller games (under 40 players or so), you may find yourself chewing through this and being left with only a Mossberg with which to defend yourself.

The M249 and M240 both let you carry up to 600 rounds of ammo total. The M249 is probably the better choice of the two; the round that it fires is smaller than that of the M240 or the M60, but it’s more accurate than the M240, and lets you fire off 200 rounds of ammo before reloading, whereas the other weapons here only pack 100-round clips.

Rebels

PKM / RPK-74

So far as accuracy goes, the PKM and the RPK are functionally identical over the ranges at which you’re likely to be using them. The main sticking point with the RPK is the fact that it can only load 45 rounds at a time. While it has a shorter reload animation than does the PKM, this is still substandard for a machinegun; if you’re on base defense, you’re going to want the 100 rounds that a PKM offers you.

Sniper Rifles

Common

L115A

The L115A may be a decent weapon, depending on your play style. Its most important feature is the 16x zoom, but this will probably be counterbalanced by the bolt-action slowness and the 40-round maximum ammo capacity.

Joint Ops

M82 Barrett / M24 / SR-25

You can effectively eliminate the M24 from the running before selecting a sniper rifle from those available to the Joint Ops corps. It has three strikes against it: it’s bolt-action, which means that you’ll require more time for reloading between shots; it can only hold five rounds per magazine, compared to ten for the Barrett and 20 for the SR-25; and it only possesses a 10x zoom, compared to the Barrett’s 16x scope. None of this should instill you with confidence.

So, then, the Barrett and the SR-25 are the real choices here, and both have a role to fill within the sniper squad. The Barrett is the monster gun of the two, weighing in at over 30 pounds. Its .50 caliber ammunition will drop most enemies in a single shot, and the 16x scope will let you deliver your ammo from a long way out. The 40-round ammo capacity is the smallest amount of the bunch, however. The SR-25, on the other hand, only has a 10x scope, but has a 20-round magazine, and is able to fire much more rapidly than either of the other sniper rifles. Thus, it’s a better choice for close-range base suppression. You don’t want to get much more than 300 or 400 meters away from the zone that you’re going to be sniping, however, as the less powerful scope will start to affect your accuracy at that range.

Rebels

Dragunov / M21

No matter what kind of sniper rifle you choose, you won’t last long if you don’t pick a good camo outfit and place yourself accordingly. Hit F4 to check just how well you blend in with your surroundings.

There isn’t a huge amount of difference between these two weapons; they’re both semi-automatic sniper rifles with a 10x zoom, capable of rapid refiring after each shot. The M21 pulls slightly ahead with its 20 round clip; as the Dragunov only holds ten rounds, you can expect to have to reload more often, which can directly lead to greater mortality rates when you’re up close on an enemy base.

Grenades

Each side in Joint Ops has access to the same three types of grenades. Frag Grenades are fairly useful for chucking into a base or bunker that you know is occupied by enemies. They can be tricky to aim properly, due to the lengthy charge-up sequence, so you’ll need to be careful not to accidentally cause them to ricochet back onto your position.

Flashbangs aren’t usually worth exposing yourself to enemy fire for - since you have to switch over to them, press the button down, and wait until the meter gets up to your desired strength of throw, you’re going to be open to counterattack while you do all of this. If you’ve managed to lose your enemy while ducking into the grass, you can sometimes confuse them with a flashbang, then dart up to kill them off, but there aren’t many instances in which it’s better to do this than to just stick with your primary weapon.

Smoke grenades are useless, except perhaps as a distraction. They don’t put out a very large volume of smoke, and the smoke that they do produce is thin and easily seen through. If they were the huge, thick smoke grenades of Full Spectrum Warrior, you could expect to see them being plopped down all across the battlefield, but as it is, all you can really do with smoke grenades is throw them into the open and hope someone comes along to check it out.

Game Types

Team Deathmatch

There’s nothing too complicated about Team Deathmatch; your only objective is to seek out and kill members of the opposing team. Without having to worry about control zones or proceeding to a certain area of the map, TDM can be a great way to just enjoy running around fragging folks. With the expansive maps of Joint Ops, though, finding someone to shoot can be just as difficult as actually surviving a firefight.

There isn’t a heck of a lot of strategy to Team Deathmatch, but it’s worth noting that there’s little use for the medic class here. Without the need to control points or revive soldiers far from the initial spawn location, neither team should have much use for medics, although a team made exclusively of medics can sometimes make an annoying raid force if they can make it to the enemy base. In most cases, though, you’re going to want to be a rifleman or a sniper, with some maps having call for Engineers (for Stingers) or gunners (on the smaller maps).

Team King of the Hill

In King of the Hill, your objective is to locate and enter a control zone, usually located in a spot between the two teams’ initial spawn point. Each team has a timer that starts counting up when that team has one or more soldiers within the zone; if either team manages to kill off every soldier from the opposing team that’s in the zone, then the opposing team will see their timer reset to zero. The first team that gets their timer up to a preset amount wins the round.

KOTH is survival of the fittest, essentially; the team that concentrates on getting inside the control zone and staying there will generally wind up the victor. Once you get into the zone, you can either become a hunter or a hider; hunters actively move about the zone, attempting to track down enemies and blow them away, while hiders simply hunker down in an out-of-the-way spot and try to prevent their team’s timer from getting reset. Both roles are necessary if your team wants to win, with hunters being perhaps a bit more critical, especially if your team has fallen behind in the timer race. But hiding is also a crucial role, and can be fairly rewarding on a personal level, as well, due to the fact that you gain points for the amount of time that you remain in the zone.

King of the Hill matches can be won without ever firing a shot, if you find a good enough hiding spot.

If you want to hide, there are a few things you can do to increase your survivability. The first is to move as little as possible, especially on dark or nighttime maps. Movement equals death more often than not, as it makes you very visible to anyone who might be looking in your direction, whereas a soldier that stays still will often blend into the background if they’re wearing an outfit with good camo properties. The second is to pick a logical spot to lay low: lying out in the open will increase your chances of being spotted, but laying next to an object, such as a tree or bush, can help you avoid detection. Water is also a great spot to hide, if you use the F4 key to check your third-person view. If you walk into water that’s deep enough to submerge yourself in, then look straight down, you should be able to stay completely underwater without needing to come up for air. If you have the patience to stay like this for minutes at a time, and don’t shoot at anything that moves, you’re likely to remain unbothered for the duration of the fight. It’s unglamorous to be sure, but it can be a necessary job, and you may find yourself as the sole soldier in the zone on occasion. Since this prevents the enemy from resetting your timer, you can sometimes credit yourself with saving the game for your team. In an incredibly passive way, sure, but hey, small victories are sometimes the only ones we get.

So far as classes go, medics should be considered a priority for any team that wishes to win a round of KOTH. The ability to revive soldiers that fall inside the zone itself is a huge advantage for either team, since that will prevent your teammates from having to respawn back at base and trundling across a half a kilometer or more’s worth of land to get back to the zone. When you have multiple medics in the zone, you can create a deadly feedback loop, wherein all of the medics revive each other and anyone else who dies, and pretty soon the whole zone is overrun by the walking dead. This can be incredibly frustrating for an opposing team to deal with.

The most important tip for King of the Hill, however, is to simply get to the control zone as quickly as possible at the beginning of the round. Joint Ops is pretty good about getting all the players into the game at the same time, so if you rush to the nearest helicopter or other vehicle as soon as you spawn in and immediately get to the zone, you can hopefully start your team’s timer before the other team manages to get into the area themselves. On the maps with particularly large control zones, where it’s very difficult to eradicate the enemy completely, this can sometimes win you the match in and of itself.

Co-Op

Cooperative play pits humans versus bots across a dozen or so objective-based levels. Although the phrase "humans versus bots" should rightly strike fear into someone who’s buying a multiplayer-only game that’s not prefaced by the word "Unreal," these missions are a peculiar kind of fun, and a lot more laid-back than the other game modes, since you’re not going up against horrifically talented human players. The bots here are decent, although they are pretty bad shots when you engage them from a distance.

The important thing to do in co-op is to pay attention to the loading screens, as they’ll give you a good, basic overview of your tasks during a level. Unfortunately, the waypoint system within the maps themselves are almost completely useless, and will often reset if you die and respawn, even if the earliest objectives have been successfully completed. In most cases, there’s just no substitute for experience on a given map, but if you’re completely clueless about what you should be doing, pop up your map or commander’s screen and head for the largest concentration of friendly forces. The G key will also pop up a list of the objectives; if you cross-reference the point designations with your map, you should be able to tell what remains to be done.

The distances between objectives and the spawn point can make the medical arts valuable for your team. If you’re playing as a medic, let one or two of your teammates wander on ahead of you, and wait for the enemies to fire on them before opening fire yourself. This will help you stay protected from enemy attacks, and you’ll still be able to revive any teammates who happen to get killed. Otherwise, you’ll want to pay attention to your mission briefings to get a clue as to what class you should take - any mission that indicates that you’re going to have to destroy objects will require engineers with satchel charges. In general, though, there should be handy armories that will let you switch classes near such objectives.

Advance and Secure

If you’re playing in a 150-player game, you’re probably going to be playing the Advance and Secure gametype. Anyone who’s played Battlefield 1942 or Battlefield Vietnam should be familiar with the basic concept of two teams vying for control of bases, but Joint Ops adds a few twists to their version of the gametype.

First of all, although there are usually anywhere from half a dozen to 15 or more bases on a map, not all of them will be conquerable all the time. Instead, at any given point in a battle, there will be one, two, or three contested bases that the teams will be fighting for. Bases that are behind the lines of this war zone are unconquerable by the team that doesn’t control them, which forces the team that’s on the offensive to plunge further and further into enemy territory, stretching their supply lines; after they conquer one base, the next base further back will open up, and so on. When one team conquers all of the bases, they win the round. Each team will also have a permanent spawn point that can’t be conquered.

Another change to the formula comes in the way you can spawn at bases. The ability of a team to control a base depends on its ability to constantly refresh that base, both with players spawning there and by bringing in soldiers from other bases on vehicles. This is because of the fact that one team can prevent the other team from spawning at a base, even at a base that the other team controls, merely by outnumbering them within the base’s control zone. For instance, if team A has control of a base, and has five soldiers within the control zone for that base, and team B brings six soldiers into the zone, then A will no longer be able to spawn at that base, at least not until they manage to kill enough soldiers on team B to even the numbers out.

What’s more, when you outnumber the defenders of a base, that base will slowly but surely shift to your control. If you only have one more soldier than does your opponent, the control will shift very slowly; if you greatly outnumber them, though, the control will shift more rapidly. If your team manages to outnumber the enemy long enough for their control to be reduced to zero, you can then enter the bunker at the center of the control zone to convert it to your cause. Even after this occurs, however, you’ll still have to maintain your numerical superiority over the enemy until you manage to fully camp the base; only then will you be allowed to spawn. Obviously, this all takes a bit of time, which means that the team with good organizational skills will usually prove to be the victor. Advance and Secure, more than any other gametype, requires players to work together - lone wolves can get plenty of kills, but if you’re not inside a control zone, you’re probably not helping your team at all.

As is the case in many of these gametypes, medics are a crucial part of a team’s success, especially while your team is on the offensive. Since it takes so long to convert bases to your side, a good medic can help keep your numerical superiority while a battle rages on inside a control zone. Beyond that, every class can be useful in its own way during AS battles - engineers perhaps least so, although Stingers do come in handy against helicopters.

Speaking of helicopters, they’re going to be your best bet for shepherding large numbers of soldiers to a contested zone, especially in the 150-player games. If you happen to get into a helicopter’s control seat, then let your teammates load up into your vehicle, and double-time it to the nearest enemy or neutral base, sticking as close as possible to sea or ground level to make it more difficult for enemies to spot you. When you reach the control zone, it’s usually best to land near the perimeter, and ideally you should be setting down somewhere where there’s a hill or other obstruction between your helicopter and the bunker at the center of the zone. This will give your ragtag group of fighters a good chance to overpower any outriders on the outer edge of the control zone and corner anyone who happens to spawn inside the bunker.

Beyond the basics, though, there isn’t a heck of a lot to say about Advance and Secure. Successfully running the table and getting every base on the map is a heck of a task, and on the 150-player servers that don’t have an upper time limit on rounds, it’s not uncommon for rounds to go on for three or four hours before one team finally manages to mount a furious charge and wrest the upper hand out of the jaws of defeat...or something like that.

Maps

Co-Op

Emerald Scorpion

Emerald Scorpion is a fairly straightforward smash-em-up mission, with five or six targets scattered around a sizable enemy compound. The entire base is open, with plenty of walkways and open-windowed buildings, so attacks can come from any direction.

You will need satchel charges to destroy the gas barges and the weapons caches, but there are a few armories in the base itself, so obtaining these are no trouble. You get all of your objectives at the beginning of the mission, so there’s no need to do them in any order. On most servers, in fact, the players will be spread throughout the base pretty thoroughly, as it’s difficult to keep a team together when everyone has their own target that they’re gunning for. Still, the timeworn strategy of keeping a tight team together and having medics revive fallen soldiers will get you through this mission a lot quicker.

If you’re looking for some solo fun, you can take one of the ATVs south past the first objective until you reach the rear of the village, near the gas barges. Approaching from this direction means that all of the enemies will be facing away from you, which will let you get off some cheap shots before they have the opportunity to return fire.

Phoenix Dawn

In this mission, your team is tasked with tracking down the pilot of a crashed Blackhawk, then escorting him to a landing zone where he’ll be evacuated by helicopter. You’ll have to proceed along the river in the inflatable boats, but your path is watched by a couple dozen rebels at various locations, so keep your eyes peeled and let your passengers do the shooting. If you have a medic on board, it’s sometimes desirable to just blast through the river until you reach objective echo, which is where the Blackhawk came to rest. You can dodge the enemy fire easily enough if you go full tilt.

After you reach the Blackhawk, you’ll discover that the pilot has, predictably enough, been hauled off to the nearby enemy base. The distance between the enemy base and your initial spawn point is fairly immense, and the fact that you need a boat to get anywhere complicates matters quite a bit; if all of them get taken out, then anyone who spawns to the rear won’t have much choice but to sit around until one respawns or the round ends. To this end, it’s best to encourage everyone on your team to use the armory near the beginning of the map to change into a medic, if only to keep your force together. You won’t need any special equipment to complete the mission, so the generic M-16s will work fine, while your medic kit will let you revive fallen soldiers before you make the assault on the compound.

When you bust the pilot out of the base, head to the next objective to reach the helicopter exfiltration point.

Ghost Harvest

The hardest thing about Ghost Harvest is actually finding the locations of the items that you’re supposed to destroy. It’s a good chance the game will be pointing you in the wrong direction on your minimap most of the time, so the best you can usually do is to pop up your commander’s screen and scroll around, looking for settlements and concentrations of buildings, which is where the comm dishes, weapons caches, and so on will be located. You’ll need satchel charges to destroy the objectives, and even if you only require one charge for each object, that still means that you’ll want to be on the lookout for armories to restock your supply.

There’s a goodly amount of running around during this mission, so try to stick close to your teammates, and follow whoever looks like he knows where he’s going. Come to think of it, you can apply this advice to all areas of your life, at no extra charge.

Street Justice

Street Justice is a pretty straightforward assault-and-exfiltrate mission, but it’s a chance for you to jaunt through the urban environments that are pretty scarce in Joint Ops. If possible, change over to a rifleman (especially if solo), or a medic. You’ll mostly be facing infantry in this level, although there is a vehicle or two, so having an AT4 is desirable. Although there is a PSP in the middle of the level, you’re going to be traveling on foot, so having a medic or two along will help prevent fallen soldiers from having to respawn all the way at the entrance to the city.

If you get turned around in a co-op map, the commander’s screen can be a big help in reorienting yourself.

Most of the enemies you face here will be snipers, who are fairly easy to spot, as their sartorial taste tends towards the black-from-head-to-toe look, which contrasts with the overcast skies. They’ll be on rooftops, so keep your weapon on semi-automatic mode and fire away when they pop up. There will be soldiers on the ground as well, though, so lean around corners if possible and stay off the main streets; it’s best to try and weave through the buildings as you move, because the sightlines will be narrow enough for you to have a pretty precise idea of where fire is coming from when the vectors pop up on your minimap.

Shortly after you take point alpha, you’ll have to deal with a vehicle or two, but after that, it’s more or less a straight jog up to where the rebel commander (wearing standard-issue evil dictator sunglasses) is holed up. Eliminate him and his men and book it north until you reach the exfil point.

White Noise

Although the game will send you far to the east when you spawn, your first objective, X-ray, is actually to the north of your infiltration point. The only catch is that the bridge leading that way is busted. You can either take the ATVs at your spawn point and bust through a couple of enemy checkpoints to the east until you’re able to circle back around, or you can just swim across the river and head to the PSP on foot. Don’t do this unless you have a few comrades at your back, though, as there are plenty of soldiers in the woods, and they’re very tough to see at night.

After you get the new spawn point, it’s a relatively easy jaunt through the nearby village and up the mountain to reach the mine. There are armories inside the mine, so don’t worry about outfitting as an engineer from the outset; you can pick up satchel mines inside the mountain.

Gothic Shield

You’ll have some hardcore fighting to do in Gothic Shield, as your objective is to assault and rout the rebel inhabitants of a castle near your spawn point. The trouble is that the rebels are all over the place: on the ramparts, inside the castle’s courtyards, in vehicles roaming the roads around the castle, on boats in the water, and so on. Luckily, your spawn point is fairly close to the castle itself, so you’ll be able to send wave after wave of soldiers until you complete your initial objective.

This is one of the few objective missions where snipers are really called for, as there are good lines of sight to the castle, and the soldiers running around on the corners are too far to hit for most weapons. A sniper can clear the walls fairly easily, while the riflemen and other classes head towards the main opening in the castle’s southern wall - watch out for rebels positioned just inside the opening, however. Another team can take one of the 4WD vehicles and use its .50 cal to clear the forests to the north of the castle; there are a few vehicles around, as well, so bringing along someone with an AT4 is a good idea.

Your goal inside the castle is to assault and take the central structure, which has a PSP inside of it. You’ll need to move quickly, though, because as soon as you open the doors on the north side of the little shrine, the enemy counterattack will begin. Get the PSP before you try to fight back, though, as it’ll help reinforce your troop strength as you take on the new influx of enemies.

Glass Arrow

You can expect to do a bunch of island-hopping here, as your objectives are spread out across no fewer than four different islands. Unfortunately, your helicopters are simply troop-carriers, but they can still be used to get your engineers near the objectives that they’re required to blow up. Otherwise, just stick to the inflatables, and you should do fine.

You’ll have five objectives total on the southern chain of islands, and you’ll need to approach cautiously, as the rebels can be difficult to spot among the trees in the dark of night. It’s generally best to make your landing on the opposite side of an island from your objectives, and then proceed overland; this gives you the best shot of spotting an enemy from a distance at which he’ll be unable to hit you with his weapons.

After cleaning out the first three islands, you’ll have to make your way up to Delta and assault the enemy base there. This place is rabidly defended from all sides, so it makes a certain amount of sense to go ashore to the east a ways and walk in towards it. You can expect plenty of resistance, and you should position a gunner or rifleman on the north side of the base, as that’s where reinforcements pour in from after you start dispatching the base guards.

Iron Anvil

Again, this is a fairly straightforward destroy-all-of-these-objectives mission, with a twist: it’s a really, really huge map. You’ve got to cover almost two-and-a-half kilometers to get from your base to the enemy village where your objectives are, but they’re fortunately all clustered together, so once you subdue the village, you shouldn’t have any problem finishing the mission off with a few satchel charges.

You have plenty of helicopters at your airbase, but it’s still a pain to cover the distance to the enemy village when you respawn, so your first objective should be to land somewhere near the PSP to the south of Pembom and secure it before you make your assault on the village. Don’t bother with the PSP labeled A; go straight to B and grab that one instead and use it as a base from which to attack Pembom itself.

Iris Jade

Iris Jade is one of the more elaborately scripted of the co-op missions, so a bit of teamwork (read: waiting around) may be necessary at points. As always, being a medic or a rifleman is a good idea, although having a gunner or sniper along will help out quite a bit at the end of the mission.

First off, you have to secure the village and take out the nearby Stingers and snipers to ensure that your helicopters can land safely. These helicopters are bot-controlled, so make sure that everyone on your team is nearby before jumping on, and try to get everyone on as quickly as possible. They’ll take you to the overlook position, and a PSP, but hold your teammates back before cresting the hill, as the next objective is triggered when any of your members walk towards the airport.

When you get the assassination objective, all of the soldiers in the airport will open fire on you, creating quite a cacophony. They’re far enough away so that they’ll have a difficult time hitting you, though, so start mowing them down. If you have a sniper or a gunner, have them keep an eye out for the VIP; he’ll be arriving in a helicopter, himself. Finish him off to end the mission.

Shattered Harbor

Since you’re going to be taking out BTRs, you’ll want most of your squad to be outfitted as riflemen; your AT4’s are the easiest way to take out these armored vehicles. You’ll find one each at objectives Alpha and Bravo, so gear up and take them out before moving on to Charlie.

The BTRs at Charlie are a bit more difficult to get to than those at Alpha and Bravo, mostly because they’re guarded by a whole village full of rebels. If you’re looking for a boatload of kills, respawn at your default base, grab one of the M60-equipped inflatables, and take it back to the village before unloading on all of the bots running around. If you position yourself far enough away from the village, you should be able to get a couple dozen kills without getting hit at all, which will hopefully clear out the village enough for your teammates to sneak in and finish off the BTRs.

Evasive Action

You’ll need to book it as soon as you spawn into this mission, as enemy patrols will start converging on your downed aircraft within a few seconds after the mission starts. They’ll drive up in trucks, but unfortunately, these vehicles are rigged to explode if the rebels die, and the same holds true for the 4WD vehicles on the roads beyond the crash site, so you’ll be forced to proceed to the enemy village on foot.

The truck that you’re supposed to hijack is outlined on the minimap in blue, so fight your way to it and start heading towards the exfiltration point. You’ll come across a guard station eventually; it’s best to dump the truck at this point and proceed on foot until you’ve managed to clear out the post. From there, it’s a fairly short jaunt to the end of the mission.

TDM / TK

Almost every map in the game, besides co-op maps, can be played as Team Deathmatch or Team King of the Hill maps - they may vary a bit from gametype to gametype, but the basics are the same. Since team deathmatch is fairly self-explanatory, we’re going to concentrate on King of the Hill descriptions of these maps.

Tobo Wetlands

On a server with more than 30 or 40 players, this map is usually decided when the first team arrives in the control zone. The zone itself is huge, and encompasses part or all of at least three different islands, each of which features tall grass and numerous shrubs to hide in.

If you’re the last person in the zone, or are just looking to ensure that your team can’t get wiped out, the rivers themselves make for pretty effective natural cover. If you hop into a river near the edge of the zone, hit F4 to check your third-person view, then look straight down into the water, you should be able to stay completely submerged without running out of breath at all. You will be seen if someone comes too close to your location, but if you’re on the side of the zone that’s closest to your base, you hopefully won’t have to worry about it.

Kecoa Crossroads

The team that gets to the crossroads base in force first will usually win here. At the start of the round, you have zero time to screw around with; you need to get your troops into vehicles and charge across the bridge ASAP. If you’re one of the first ones to spawn in, get into a jeep or ATV and go by yourself. Once you reach the base, take cover in one of the pillboxes near the east or western entrances and wait for the cavalry to arrive.

Whatever the game type, if you’re going to use Stingers, wait until your target is fairly close. Firing from this range will give the pilot plenty of time to use countermeasures and evasive action.

After the situation stabilizes a bit, you should be able to control the entire zone from the central structure. Most of your team should be riflemen with rocket launchers and medics. Your riflemen can use their rocket launchers to destroy any incoming vehicles, preferably from the first floor, as it has very small windows that make it difficult for snipers to peer in. You’ll want to keep a presence on the second floor, as well, obviously, as the armory there will let your riflemen keep a continuous stream of rockets flowing.

Your medics should hunker down out of sight inside the structure and revive anyone who gets killed as soon as possible. If you’re particularly daring, a single medic and one or two other soldiers can man the guns atop the center building and keep the pressure up on the enemy indefinitely. Firing the emplaced .50 cals will leave you wide open to enemy snipers, but if you have a medic that’s able to lie at your feet and revive you over and over again, you won’t have to worry too much about dying. Just give it five or ten seconds between revives to encourage your enemies to move, then catch them as they run. Otherwise, use the guns to focus on the bridge leading from the enemy base; you should be able to kill most jeeps before they even know where they’re being shot at from, and two guns in tandem can destroy APCs as well.

Kartone Narrows

If you notice that the other team has managed to get a few soldiers to the control zone before you do, then you can essentially forget about winning the round. This probably sounds like a familiar theme by now, but the zone is too massive to hunt down every single hiding spot. Even with a fleet of gunships grenade spamming every exposed space, you’re not likely to ever rout the enemy completely from the area, so don’t hesitate to take out a patrol boat by yourself if you’re close to them when you initially spawn. Your teammates will get pissy, but you’re doing it for their own good. After you get to the zone, go ashore and hide until someone comes along to populate the zone alongside you. If your team isn’t completely incompetent, and the people driving your boats don’t insist on engaging in pointless sea battles, you should have an easy time riding out the enemy invasions and winning the round. Submerging yourself in the water near the rocks in the river is a particularly good subversive tactic.

Black Rock Beach

The control zone here is fairly small, doesn’t have many structures, and is very prone to sniping and gunning by soldiers on the outside, especially on the hills to the west. For this reason, it’s vital that your team take and hold PSP Alpha; this will give you the upper hand on actually controlling the zone permanently. Both sides will likely see their timer reset multiple times before the round is over, so if you can get the PSP and continually respawn and return to the zone without having to drive a kilometer, you’ll obviously have the upper hand. Keep an eye out for enemy gunners and snipers in the hills, though; there are always players who enjoy just camping around the zone without ever actually going in, and they can cause havoc here.

Flooded Village

He who controls PSP Alpha wins the match here. It’s so much closer to the control zone than the bases are that it’s not even funny. If your snipers spawn in and start picking off the base inhabitants, the rest of your infantry should be able to cross the open space towards the bunker with relative impunity.

Otherwise, you should be careful not to be too predictable in your assaults on the base. With the proliferation of roads around the bunker, you should be able to approach via vehicle from any angle. The hill to the northeast is especially useful for reducing the defenders’ line of sight on your approach. You should also try to keep pressure on the guns atop the bunker, via snipers or mortars, to prevent the enemy from using them. When you’re ready to head into the bunker itself, start by using flashbangs, grenades, or M203 grenades to lighten the resistance, then head in full-bore.

Kubong Island Bridge

There’s nothing particularly unique about Kubong Island Bridge. The zone itself does encompass a few buildings, but it’s small enough to allow for timer resets should one team manage to rout the other and check the few hiding spots that are around. Transportation time is nearly the same whether you’re on a vehicle from a base or walking from one of the PSPs. If you’re a sniper, though, it’s worthwhile to set yourself up somewhere where you can monitor the approach from an enemy PSP, as there will be quite a few soldiers who’ll forgo spawning in their base in favor of hoofing it from the frontline spawn points.

Two Dragons Gorge

Each force here will have a base that’s absolutely full of vehicles, and that, combined with the relatively short drive to the control zone, will obviously make the base at the center of the zone the crux of some huge firefights, since soldiers on both teams will be able to respawn at the base and make it back to the zone within 20 or 30 seconds of dying.

Adequately controlling the zone, then, generally comes down to three things. First up is coordinating the two armored transports that you have. If you can venture out in two Strykers or BTRs, and stick together, with a gunner in each vehicle, you should be able to guard the base quite well, so long as you concentrate your fire on enemy vehicles. Second, controlling the hills around the zone with snipers is crucial. You’ll need to be on the lookout, both for enemy soldiers entering the zone, and for enemy snipers themselves. Third, the Alpha PSP should be controlled by your team. Most players will generally choose to spawn at the base, whether you control it or not, but you can’t let your enemy have two approaches to the base.

Bumbo Channel

Get to the control zone post-haste. Although you can take the loading screen’s advice and load up some of your big boats with APCs, this is primarily an infantry and boat map - the infantry will be responsible for controlling the zone, while the boats will shell it with grenades, especially when the enemy gets a leg up on zone population. The bulk of the zone is fairly open, thanks to a recent forest fire, but there are still plenty of shrubs and grass on the hills that will let you hunker down and hide, while still giving you a good view of the zone itself. Grenade spamming from the patrol boats is rampant, however, which makes survivability unassured anywhere you go.

If you’re just above this bush, you should be within the control zone. Hide here, and they may never find you.

There’s a particularly good hiding spot just behind the radio tower atop the hill. If you walk until you’re just one or two percent inside the zone, you should find a large tree that you can hide behind - it’ll give you pretty good cover from all directions.

Padang River Basin

The most notable thing about the Padang River Basin is that both teams start the round with an assault chopper in their base - a rarity. It’s best if you use it to destroy any enemy jeeps as they approach the control zone, but don’t forget to move around a bit; hovering in one place will leave you open to return fire from the mounted weapons on the jeeps, or even to getting sniped out of the driver’s seat of your helicopter. We can assure you that there’s no purer form of embarrassment in Joint Ops than being the victim of this latter event.

Kutu Arms Market

Maps don’t get much more urban than this, as the entire control zone is a series of one-room, one-story buildings, encircled by slightly taller buildings on all sides. Although you have jeeps and APCs at your base, this is definitely an infantry battle, with room for snipers to do their thing from the rooftops. All you can really hope to do is to grab one of the PSPs and get your teammates into the zone as quickly as possible; from there, it’s mostly a matter of who’s quickest on the draw.

Sungai Sabe Lumber Mill

This is another of the get-there-first-and-you’ll-probably-win variety of KOTH maps, as the relatively large control zone will give you numerous places in which to hide. The lumber mill structure itself offers a number of ambush points, particularly near the armory on the second floor, but the zone encompasses numerous small structures. Actually getting to the control zone from your base is a bit of a task, though, due to the number of turns in the river, so the first team that’s able to reset the other team’s timer and get a number of soldiers into the zone will likely win.

Banyan Forest

This is another of those maps with a large control zone and too many places to hide. Get to the zone quickly and hunker down for a firefight. If you can’t locate that last enemy soldier, start chucking grenades into buildings that are unoccupied by your team, and walk the perimeter of the circle itself - the tall grass around the village is easy to get lost in. There is a PSP here, but it’s mostly irrelevant, as there aren’t any vehicles, and it’s the same distance from the zone as the two bases are.

Snake River Ruins

Nightvision isn’t perfect, but as you can see in this comparison, it’s far better than being essentially blind.

SRR is a popular KOTH map, due to the rather intense combat that it fosters. The combination of a mid-sized control zone that encompasses just enough grass and ruins to make a few hiding spots with a pitch-black, 4 AM local time game world forces the player to be acutely aware of his or her surroundings at all times. Even with your nightvision on at full blast, it’s still immensely difficult to see anything, especially Joint Ops players who’ve selected the ghillie outfit.

Your basic strategy is to get into the zone, kneel or lie prone in a corner of a wall, and don’t move. If someone gets close to you, they may be able to see you, but if you manage to hunker down without attracting too much attention, you should be able to maintain your position almost indefinitely. You can distract foes by laying out smoke grenades, which show up as bright spots in night vision; when they come to investigate, pop a round or two in them.

Overall, though, you want to just lay low and let your enemies come to you. Be careful of approaching via the boats near your base, as they make a lot of sound and you can expect the enemy to camp on the outlying islands for easier shots.

Dormant Volcano Isle

This is an another KOTH map with a control zone too small to allow much more than infantry into it. It holds the same kind of structures as does the Tenaga Delta KOTH map, but this map has two PSPs very close by the control zone, each of which will spawn attack helicopters, which should combine with the openness of zone to foster a whole lot of timer resets.

Your primary objective, if you intend to win the match, is obviously to control one or both of the PSPs and use them to flood the control zone with infantry while attempting to hold your enemy back. The PSP at point Bravo is the more desirable one to control, as its elevation makes it a bit more defensible against ground forces, and the surrounding trees will force snipers to position themselves along a couple of predictable alleyways to get their shots off.

Karo Highlands

A helicopter with a few soldiers on it should head towards the control zone at the start of every King of the Hill match.

The first team to get five or six decent soldiers into the zone here should win, end of story. There are too many buildings and too many places to hide within the control zone to effectively sweep through the whole place before reinforcements come, and thus it’s almost impossible to completely clear out every enemy soldier once they reach the zone and hunker down. This is more true in smaller games than it is on larger servers, though; if you have a few dozen soldiers on your team, do your damnedest to get them to the zone in large bunches, such as by loading up the biggest helicopters and landing inside the zone itself. Shock infusions of manpower are your best bet to overwhelm enemy forces.

Kombang Valley

Both teams begin almost a kilometer and a half from the control zone, so you’ll want to get up to one of the PSPs closer in and take it over as soon as possible. Ideally, you’d have an even split between people going straight to the zone and people heading towards one of the PSPs; if you notice a bunch of people heading in one direction, break off and head to the other objective. The PSPs have the additional advantage of containing spawns for attack choppers, which makes it easy to keep the pressure on the enemy PSP or the control zone itself.

So far as the control zone goes, it’s dominated by a large gray building. The second story here is where you’ll have the best luck hiding out, especially if you’re a gunner or have an automatic rifle; the M-16 is a poor choice for interior work like this. Just stay away from the windows so you don’t get sniped! Speaking of sniping, though, anyone who likes long-range work can get up on the large hill near the control zone and pick off enemy soldiers as they approach from their PSP. You’ll be open for retaliation, though, especially if someone grabs an attack helicopter and comes after you, so don’t expect a long life if you do this.

Palu Cut Rice Paddies

The PSPs here are strategically unimportant for your team, in most instances; they’re bare patches of ground with a few emplaced weapons around, no vehicles, and aren’t very much closer to the zone of control than your base is. You can safely ignore them, if you’re concentrating on getting to the zone and keeping your timer going, but a team that wants to open up a second front of battle can do so by taking over the PSP closest to the enemy base. The emplaced weapons can be used to fire away at vehicles trundling out of the base, although this is more of an annoyance than a true masterstroke that’ll win you the round, as you’ll usually be quickly overrun by enemies when they figure out what you’re up to.

Tenaga Delta

So far as King of the Hill goes, it doesn’t get much simpler then Tenaga Delta. There aren’t any PSPs, each side only gets a couple of ATVs, and the control zone is barely a hundred feet across, centered on a set of bombed-out buildings that provides little cover. You can expect the timer for each side to be constantly reset, as there just isn’t anywhere to hide in the control zone. If you manage to hit a lull in the action, though, you can climb the ladder to the second floor of one of the buildings and lie prone inside of it; you can expect your opponents to pepper that area with grenades and rockets if they get down to one enemy left in the zone.

Hilltop Excavation

This is one of the more difficult KOTH maps to stage a comeback victory on if you manage to get wiped out, as the zone of control is very difficult to access without being attacked by the defenders atop the hill. If your enemy manages to get a few soldiers into the zone, it can be very difficult to stage a successful assault on them, given the distance from the bases to the zone and the difficulty of approach. There are really only three ways to get atop the hill. You can either take one of the two narrow walking paths up, if you’re on foot, or you can attempt to use one of the ATVs in your base and charge up the side of the hill.

The battle for the zone itself can be heated, as there aren’t many places to hide, and the daylight makes most outfits easily visible. If you do manage to get pushed off of the hill, you may want to light up the area with mortars before regrouping with a few teammates and making an assault. Whatever you do, you don’t want to charge up the hill by yourself, especially not if there are more than one or two enemies in the zone, as they’ll be sure to have the entrances watched.

If you’re feeling sneaky, you can set yourself up on one of the hills to the southwest or northeast and snipe away at anyone you manage to spot heading up to the ruins. You’re going to be out in the open if you do this, though, so don’t expect to have a spectacularly long life expectancy.

Surga Mtn. Overwatch

The openness and accessibility of the mountain here makes for some particularly epic battles, as the entire plain can become choked with vehicles and infantry attempting to make their way to the bunker that forms the center of the control zone.

If you can guess what route enemy vehicles will be coming along, you can lie in wait with a rocket launcher and destroy them as they pass.

Each of the team’s bases has an impressive number of vehicles to use to gain access to the mountaintop; you’ll obviously want to hit the helicopters first and try to get them up to the bunker as quickly as possible. If you’re piloting the larger helicopter, try to land long enough for any passengers to get out; if you notice that your minigunners bail as well, follow them onto the ground, but if they stay aboard, take the heli up again and use it to frustrate enemy advances to the bunker.

If you’re inside the bunker itself, you’ll probably want to vary your activities between lying prone on the floor and using your weapons to fire on anyone who approaches. Riflemen and medics are particularly appropriate here; riflemen can use their AT4s on any enemy vehicles that come up, while the medics will obviously be useful in bringing enemies back to life. It’s fairly easy to get routed, though, if enemy infantry manage to stage a coordinated assault on the position, so don’t get too frustrated. Just concentrate on getting back to the bunker and returning the favor; you have plenty of tools at your disposal to do so.

Awan Atoll

The KOTH zone for this map is inordinately large, and definitely transforms the entire bay into a war zone as time goes on. There’s virtually no way to clean out the enemy from it entirely once they get a few soldiers in, as there are simply too many hiding spots, both inside the structures and in the forest, to check everything thoroughly, although you’ll definitely want to try. The emphasis, therefore, is on getting to the zone as quickly as possible, and with enough soldiers aboard your helicopter to spread out quickly.

After the first minute or so of gameplay, things will settle down into a near-constant firefight within the bay itself. Controlling the Citadel Island Fortification in the southwestern corner of the zone will help you repel any ships that make a foolhardy attempt to enter the bay through the southern opening, but you’ll have to be wary of enemy snipers; even if the readout shows zero enemies in the zone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that someone’s not drawing a bead on you from further out. It’s especially important to have a couple of engineers with Stingers at the ready to take down any attempts by the enemy to land a helicopter on the island. Helicopters won’t always go directly to the bay, though, so you’ll want to position yourself atop the hill on the island to give yourself a better chance at spotting enemy helicopters as they fly around.

All in all, though, the team that manages to get into the zone first will have a marked advantage, especially if they manage to secure the bay itself and keep a constant supply of soldiers incoming through the southern gap. Try not to get caught up in ship-to-ship fighting if you can avoid it, especially not out in the open. You can park a patrol boat inside the bay, however, and use that to monitor the southern pass.

Kubil Oil Tank Farm

The Oil Tank Farm has a more level control zone than do most KOTH maps, and the inclusion of two PSPs in the zone’s immediate proximity makes this an infantry-centered battle. Your first priority as a team will be to grab control of one of the PSPs and use it as a base from which to wade across the shallow water into the oil tanks. You’ll only have one helicopter in your base, but you can use it to drop a few soldiers inside the zone to get the timer started before zapping over to the nearest PSP and starting the countdown on that.

Within the zone itself, fighting is generally a riflemen and gunner affair, as the darkness serves as effective natural cover. The nearness of the PSPs obviates the need for medics, for the most part. The terrain itself, with the exception of the oil tanks, is fairly open, so each team can expect heavy casualties. It’s important to keep one or two soldiers in a hiding spot somewhere in the zone, to avoid having your timer reset, but there are few decent ones to be found. If you can jump out of a helicopter onto the top of one of the oil tanks and lie prone, there’s precious little that can kill you besides a sniper on top of one of the hills around the oil tanks.

Moreau Water Castle

The castle here should be the center of some amazing firefights, as it features a host of passages in which to lose yourself. The feature of the map that will most often decide the balance of power, however, is the two PSPs on either side of the castle itself. If each team manages to control one of these, the fighting within the castle itself can get pretty intense, albeit in a deadlocked kind of manner, as there are quite a few places within the castle to hide.

The structure in the center of the castle is a predictable magnet for people looking to crouch down within the zone. The top floor, especially, gives you a few good places to lay prone and watch the approaches, especially if you camp out just above the staircase leading up. The exterior walls of the castle are also rife with small rooms that you can use to camp out or to snipe from the windows onto soldiers in the courtyards below.

You can control the entire castle if you overlook the two entry points, but this is fairly pointless, as the control zone extends beyond the castle walls on either side, letting enemies keep the timer going by lying prone near the wall. Since the interior of the castle has so many hiding spots, the obviousness of this ploy can sometimes go undetected for awhile, especially in games with fewer players, so give it a whirl.

Advance and Secure

Almost every map in the TDM/TK section can be played as an Advance and Secure map, but, again, this gametype is fairly self-explanatory. The maps here can only be played as Advance and Secure maps.

Cold Water Gap

The crux of this map is obviously points Charlie and Delta - you can do your team a service by hopping into one of the small choppers in your base at the outset of a round and beginning to convert the point nearest your base before the enemy gets his vehicles too close. When it’s ready to convert, you can hop out and do it yourself if your teammates are still lagging behind. After you manage to convert both Charlie and Delta, you’ll need to immediately move on to the next threatened point, as each team gets enough vehicles here to make holding the far side of the bridge very difficult. You’ll need lots of riflemen with rocket launchers if you want to actually keep your foothold on the enemy’s side of the bridge.

Speaking of the bridge, the large one between Charlie and Delta, despite being green on your minimap, isn’t destructible. It is, however, a natural chokepoint, and as such makes a prime spot for satchel charges laid as anti-vehicle devices.

Laba-Laba Archipelago

On 150-player servers, you can expect this map to run right up against the timer limit in most games, rather than it being decided by conquest. Unless, of course, one team is tremendously incompetent. Unfortunately, victory requires your team to take and hold all three of the central points simultaneously, and without teamwork above and beyond the kind that you’re likely to find on a random Novaworld server, it’s unlikely that any team will be able to accomplish this feat. All it takes is one patrol boat full of soldiers that manages to make it to your weakest control zone (and the control zones are massive!) to ruin your plans. A successful takeover therefore requires aggressive interdiction of boats as they approach from your opponent’s rear bases, a task best suited to helicopters or patrol boats. Again, though, try convincing random players of your master strategy, and you’re likely to get left behind as they take off for the precise destination at which they’ll do the least good.

Straits of Malacca

Breaking through the initial trio of contested zones is slightly less difficult here than it is at Laba-Laba, due to their smaller control zones and greater proximity to one another. The Joint Ops team may have something of a slight upper hand when it comes to the initial zones, as it can use point G to cover much of the northwestern water and air, allowing it to take out boats and helicopters with that bunker’s emplaced weapons. The southeastern approaches to the islands are relatively more difficult to see from the bunkers, and are therefore easier to approach.

Twin Islands

Your first priority here will be to set up an adequate defense at your forward base. You should have plenty of emplaced machine guns, which you can safely use until enemy snipers and riflemen hit the island, but another good plan is to wheel out your APCs from your hangar and drive them down to the beach facing the enemy island. You should have a tremendously broad range of view from which to fire away at anyone who attempts to approach, and you won’t be vulnerable to anything except fire from an enemy ship or helicopter.

In a pinch, a landed helicopter can become a makeshift emplaced gunning position by itself.

If, on the other hand, you plan to lead the assault on the enemy’s forward base, it’s critical that you don’t fly straight across the channel, because a team that’s halfway intelligent will be using every emplaced weapon in their base and will be watching that precise approach. Instead, it’s usually best to swoop north of Charlie or below Bravo and set down somewhere inland, and attempt to get within the control zone from the rear. A chopper full of soldiers will often be able to wear down the enemy enough to keep them from respawning, after which more troopers on boats can lead with a frontal assault and take the base itself.

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