One of the new features of the Update 0.18 Global Operations mode is the option to deploy Wildcards – special abilities that, based on their use, can have a major effect on the course of a battle.
On the initial Desert Crossing Global Operations map, there are three types of Wildcards:
- Recon UAV
- Pillbox Deployment
Throughout the battle, Wildcards appear at random locations all over the accessible battle area in the form of additional objectives that can be captured using the same mechanism as that of standard objectives (entering the location and capturing it for a relatively short time). Multiple Wildcards of different types can appear at once and multiple Wildcards of the same type can appear together as well.
Wildcards that are available for capture can be seen either on the minimap or right next to the objective indicator on the upper part of the screen, to the right of the primary objective indicators.
It is not possible for a Wildcard to appear in the firing ranges of the enemy team's base defense turrets (which are placed near the spawning points) or for example on a building roof.
Once captured, the player can deploy the Wildcard manually. Please note that a Wildcard cannot be held forever. It disappears from the inventory after 60 seconds, even if not deployed at all. This is to prevent players from triggering too many Wildcards at once, which could – especially in the case of the Airstrike Wildcard – be extremely devastating.
The appearance of Wildcards on the battlefield is not entirely randomized. Each battle phase has a different chance of specific Wildcards appearing – the Recon UAV Wildcard appears more often at the beginning of battle, while the Airstrike Wildcards appear more at the end to keep gameplay interesting and diversified.
The Recon UAV represents a Predator drone, circling over a certain area and spotting all enemy units within its viewrange. While the turning radius of the drone is quite small, it has a long viewrange, which can – under optimal circumstances – cover approximately 20 percent of the map. This makes it invaluable for gathering intelligence on enemy movements and strategies.
The drone stay in the air for one minute, or until it is shot down. Any vehicle with sufficient gun elevation can shoot down a flying drone, but it is difficult to hit with tank cannons and it usually requires either autocannons or guided missiles to bring it down. Once hit, the drone is very fragile.
Multiple drones can be active at the same time (including multiple drones belonging to one team). It's worth noting that the drone is much more useful in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Desert Crossing, as the sandstorm cuts its viewrange in half (like any other vehicle).
The Airstrike Wildcard consists of a B2 Spirit bomber attacking a limited area on the map, which is selected by the player (who also selects the direction from which the bomber will approach). The bombed area is limited to approximately one square. All players in the area will get a warning and generally have enough time to escape the bombardment area. Unlike the UAV, the B2 bomber cannot be shot down and will always bomb the designated area (unless the battle ends during its deployment).
It's worth noting that the Airstrike Wildcard has the highest chance of appearing in Phase 3. The bomber is not hampered in any way by the sandstorm.
A successful bomber strike can annihilate multiple careless vehicles, including friendlies – never stay in a bombed area, even if the side that deployed the Wildcard is your own. Furthermore, the bombs have a very steep trajectory, making any cover of limited to no use – always try to escape the bombed area rather than take cover.
As the name suggests, this Wildcard allows players to deploy pillboxes (in series of three or four) into eight pre-determined positions over the map.
Pillboxes act as physical objects. They can block movement, have a certain amount of hitpoints and can be destroyed. They also fire anti-tank guided missiles (which scale in power with Tiers) that will make short work of especially lighter vehicles. Their range is limited to approximately one square, but don't let this limitation fool you. The pillboxes can be deadly to anyone who runs into them unprepared. Deployed Pillboxes last until destroyed or until the battle ends.
Pillboxes appear most often in Phase 1 and 2 and are rare in Phase 3. Just like with the UAV drone, their range is affected by the sandstorm. They can be used to bolster defenses in one particular area of the map and while they cannot stop a determined attack by themselves, they can be just enough to tip the scales in a battle.
We hope you enjoy the Global Operations mode as much as we enjoyed making it for you. For more information, please see our other articles:
We'll see you on the battlefield of Global Operations!