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Map Recon for Dummies

How do you methodically work through a map you're not familiar with? I'll give you a couple of pointers, listed in priority of how I would organize the work. If you're part of a clan, prepping for a match on an unfamiliar map, I would recommend that several people run through this exercise and compare notes because each person will have a slightly different takes on how the map should be managed.

  1. Determine location of objectives and relative importance to winning the game.

  2. Identify friendly and enemy spawn points. Understand when and under what circumstances each becomes activated.

  3. Identify primary and alternate routes from various spawn points to each objective. A primary route is the most direct route that provides the best cover and concealment. Determine which ones are the quickest and which ones offer the most cover and concealment. As you reach major landmarks, note the locational name in the upper right-hand corner of your HUD as you navigate the map.

  4. Determine primary and alternate routes from various enemy spawn points to each objective. Determine which ones are the quickest and which ones offer the most cover and concealment.

  5. Look for high points in the maps where you can get good fields of observation and fire into key areas - think about what weapons you'll need to place fire into those key areas (grenades, sniper rifle, artillery). Also look for dark areas that offer hiding spots. You'll want to be using these places to ambush people and will want to at least give them a quick check whenever you pass by them to make sure there isn't anyone hiding there. The crates on the right hand side of the ramp exit on Bridge is a good example of a place you always want to check.

  6. For each route, identify chokepoints, branch points, potential staging areas, cover, firing positions, both enemy and yours. For example, on Assault there are the following:

    • Main gate - Obstacle and choke point to both sides
    • Barbwire obstacle in front of gate - Obstacle to both sides
    • Hatch entrance - Obstacle to Axis
    • Stairwell entrance up to comm tower - mostly a choke point for the Axis
    • Ladder from Allied spawn point to comm tower - mostly a choke point for the Allies
    • Exits from spawn points - choke point for respective sides

  7. Identify special equipment/skills or strategies needed to clear various parts of each path (engineers to blow breaches, panzerfausts to take out bunkers, etc).

    • Main gate - There are 2 ways for the Allies to get around the main gate. A team can go up and through the guard tower or they can fight their way through the tunnels. Additionally, there are two paths to the guard tower - the fast way, on the ground, or a slower path along the left-side ledge.
    • Barbwire obstacle in front of gate. This obstacle is designed to slow down movement and buy the Axis time to plant dynamite at the gate hatch. There are at least two ways to gain a few extra seconds. First, you can use a panzerfaust to blow the barrier so that the assaulting team isn't forced to stop. Second, you can simply run through the wire. This tactic will cost you some health, but at the right time, it might be worth it to get the drop on the Axis engineer planting dynamite.
    • Hatch entrance - You know that the Axis side has to stop, plant, and arm the dynamite in order to blow the hatch. This buys you some time to take actions to kill the engineers before they can complete the arming. A team can rush the tower or you could drop artillery and airstrikes into the gate area.

    The corollary to this is the following: once you've identified ways to circumvent obstacles and chokepoints, expect that your opponent will have figured out the same tactic and develop counter-measures. If the Allies are always coming through the guard tower at the gate area, man the MG42 and keep up a stream of fire on the tower window or a panzerfaust shoot at the first sign of allied soliders.

  8. Once you've identified chokepoints, look around for good spots from which to cover them and determine which weapons you need to do that job. This will vary from weapon to weapon. For example, on the Wizernes map, the tunnel is a natural choke point. If you're armed with the SMG, a good covering position is just to the right of the last right-hand side concrete obstacle. This is a good covering position because it lets you see and shoot past the bend of the tunnel, gives you cover, and greatly minimizes the amount of return fire. Basically only one person can shoot at you while any of your stray shots have a good chance of going into someone else. Similar spots exist on most maps, you just need to find them. Here are two examples:

    In Assault, you can wait right in front of the warehouse door. If you position your self right, you have a clean shot into anyone coming through the doorway but return fire is partially blocked by the stair rail and the center pillar. If you have a buddy off to your left, he can take care of anyone trying to assault you from the left hand stairs.On Wizernes, this spot near the last obstacle on the right allows a clear stream of fire into the tunnel while return fire is blocked by the right hand tunnel wall and the concrete block.

  9. For teams, you need to identify key branch points (if they exist) and develop strategies to prevent the other team from making it that far. A branch point is an area or event on the map which opens up courses of action to the enemy. Opening the gate hatch is a branch point for the Axis. Once they open this, they have the option of running through the gate or going into the tunnels. IF you can prevent this event from happening, the Axis side's options are greatly reduced and makes it easy for the Allies to control the game. Once the Axis gains access to the hatch, the Allies have to defend against 2 potential routes to the comm tower and spreads the Allied defense out. Similarly, the side blowing the side entrance on Wizernes opens up more options to get to the comm center. In some cases, there won't be anything you can do about it.

  10. Identify secondary routes that can be taken in case a primary is blocked.

  11. From several stationary postions, have a buddy walk around the engagement area and note when you can see and shoot him and where you cannot. This may vary by weapon.

As you start formulating an idea for a map strategy, a useful acronym to keep in mind is OCOKA. This stands for:

    Observation and fields of fire. Where will you and the enemy have clear lines of sight and fire? In some places, you may have line of sight, but not line of fire with certain weapons due to range. You might have to make sure that someone with long range ability (artillery or sniper) can cover this.

    Cover and concealment. Where are the physical structures that block enemy fire (cover)? What blocks or can block enemy observation (concealment)? If an area needs to be crossed, what means do you have to temporarily block line of sight? Airstrikes, artillery, and flamethrowers can help out here. Also keep in mind that the enemy is going to do the same thing. Where are they going to try and provide concealment for moving troops? Where might those troops be moving and how can you counter that?

    Obstacles. Are there barriers or terrain features that prevent or channel movement? Wire, rivers, unpassable hills? Which can be moved (e.g., some barbed wire obstacles) and how can you create your own (e.g., artillery and airstrikes) to channel the enemy into preplanned kill zones?

    Key Terrain. What key terrain features or locations give the possessor a significant tactical advantage? Far side spawn points, objectives, key fortifications (e.g., the far side spawn points on Wizernes). How fast can you take them?

    Avenues of Approach. What are the primary routes of travel and attack? Where are the best points from which to stage and how can you tell if the enemy is staging for a push?

This is just a useful framework to make sure you haven't left anything out.

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