Battlefield 3 only has four classes, down from seven in Battlefield 2. However, roles have been combined, rather than outright eliminated. The Assault class picks up the eliminated Medic's healing abilities, although DICE insists it's still the same old "frontline run and gun class" and players needn't equip life-giving gear if they want more death-dealing tools instead. "It makes sense that the class on the frontline will be able to revive fallen team mates," DICE explains.
Engineers are largely the same as ever, able to repair vehicles, and armed with carbines and RPGs.
The Recon class is still a snipe-o-man, though he's picking up some new toys and tricks DICE isn't willing to reveal just yet. "Recon traditionally has been seen as just a sniper," senior mulitplayer designer Alan Kertz said. "We wanted to change that perception, so we've built several completely new teamplay oriented gadgets specifically for the Recon class so he can be a team player, even if he's sitting on the top of Wookie Mountain."
The light machine gun-wielding Support class, ditched in Battlefield: Bad Company 2, returns with some new mechanics. LMGs can deploy bipods when you're prone or crouched behind suitable waist-high cover, stabilizing the gun to boost accuracy and lessen recoil.
LMGs will also be handy for laying down suppressive fire, a new mechanic usable by all classes, but perhaps most powerful with machine guns. "When you lay down fire in close vicinity to an enemy, the incoming barrage will show up as a graphical blur effect on his screen to stress him and let him know it's not safe to pop out from behind cover," DICE explains. "Just as importantly, this mechanic also affects his character's in-game firing accuracy, making him less of a threat by using real world tactics. Better yet? You get team play experience points for doing so!"
"Supported shooting with Bipods and Suppressive Fire finally allows us to achieve an obvious difference between Assault and Support, since the heavy LMGs are not terribly mobile," Kertz said. "When deployed with a Bipod, they become an incredibly powerful force. Suppressive Fire forces the enemy to keep their head down and lets the Support gunner pin his enemies in place so teammates can flank."