ArmA 3’s Alpha has my Attention for its Beta

The 25 hours I have put into ArmA 3’s Alpha version have been one of my favourite online multiplayer experiences yet, and I am confident that it will only improve with its upcoming Beta. As such, here are a few of my personal adventures experienced in this huge, open-world game.

Set on the lone island of Stratis, Bohemia has released the alpha version with several test scenarios for users to experience, these being further expanded on in its Beta. In the single player section, there are a few options for you to participate in. Showcases allow you to do missions revolved around their main aspects of the game, like Scuba Diving in the ocean to disarm underwater bombs, transporting a Quick Reaction force via helicopter, infiltrating a base to steal a heavily armoured vehicle, or following your leader to aid friendlies pinned down by enemy fire. Basically, these scenarios allow you to test the fundamental gameplay, and get used to the controls.

The single player enemy AI is smart. You have to assess the area before moving on

However, these single player scenarios weren’t what made me spend 25 hours and counting playing the Alpha version. No. I spent most of my time experiencing its multiplayer. I played extensively between two mission modes hosted on separate servers. There are around 500 servers, so it can often be hard finding a good one, but when you do, it will be worth all the potential hassle. The two missions I focused on were Wasteland, and Real Life mode. In Wasteland, your job is to capture areas, earn money to spend on weapons at gun-stores, and try not to get killed by the constantly forming gangs. If you play all by yourself on these servers, you will want to find a car, weapons, make a hideout, and booby-trap your area with mines, otherwise you will find it difficult to hold off enemy players which come in groups.

A gang huddled around the Light-Armoured vehicle objective

During the game, main objectives pop-up every ten minutes. Unfortunately, those are the same ones every time: switching between capturing a Light-Armoured vehicle, or an attack helicopter. This is where being part of a gang is necessary, as rival gangs camp these areas in order to capture the vehicles, and any solo player will be met with a volley of bullets. I have only ever managed to retrieve the light-armoured vehicle once with sheer luck – I had to run over about six people before I could get out of my car. It is often difficult coming across good weapons, unless you get lucky with a weapons cache, because gun-stores are often camped by people who own said guns. It’s a really fun server type to play when you are experiencing it with friends. and just want to mess around. There is no time-limit to these games, although crashes do occur, after all, it is an Alpha version.

My first ever capture of the Light-Armoured vehicle with the weapon cache to the side

The Real Life mode is surprisingly my most enjoyed server type. It is exactly what the mode suggests – a real life experience with real life actions. There is the police force controlled by other players who can restrain, arrest, and send you to jail for killing other players, disobeying orders from them, as well as for possessing drugs. There are also three checkpoints set up throughout the map on the main roads. These are occupied by the police who constantly check you for illegal items, like drugs, illegal weapons, or even turtle meat. Yes, you can fish turtles, and yes, it is illegal.

Restrained by the police and checked for illegal possessions at one of the three checkpoints

However, rebel players can take control of these areas, so checkpoints towards the south are often a risk. These rebel players (again, controlled by other players like you) are in control of the drug smuggling, trading of illegal guns, and are even able to take you hostage. During my time, I played as a normal civilian, and made money by doing normal things. I started off doing delivery missions to get some money, after which I bought a boat, and started fishing to make money. My cousin and I eventually saved up enough money to buy scuba gear, and an underwater gun to fish turtles which is a solid income, but it is risky selling it, as the only vendor who buys it is placed in town. However, there are other ways to make money, like picking apples, oil processing, or taxi services.

Ordering an artillery strike during the Scuba Showcase in single-player

You can also rob the main bank, which often pockets players over a million dollars, but you’ll need some weapons, and hope no police force shows up. If you have the patience, it is definitely a fun mode to play, but again, since it is an Alpha version, unless you put your money into an ATM, you will lose it all. Oh, by the way, you can also buy your own helicopter, although you need a licence for that. You actually need a licence for pretty much everything, even for driving. You need a licence for guns as well, although civilians can only legally own a pistol, until they move to the “dark” rebel side, and get machine guns. Once you can afford a helicopter, there are two models available for purchase: the basic one which costs $175k, and the helicopter with weapons which is up to $250k. When you eventually get one of those, everything becomes a lot easier.

The basic helicopter – oh sweet swiftly speed

Considering how good the Alpha version is, I am really looking forward to testing out the Beta version, and the added content that will come with it. With more content, and eventually a new map called Atlis, the multiplayer functionality may provide some of the finest options available in this type of game. The graphics of Stratis island are gorgeous to look at. The water looks stunning when flying over it, and a sunset over the valley is made that much better through some excellent light filtering textures. Additionally, please be aware that different servers have different rules and content available within the map.

The upcoming ArmA 3 Beta features include:

  • 10 new vehicles
  • 7 different weapon types
  • 4 showcase missions (Combined Arms, Supports, Commanding, and Night)
  • 2 multiplayer scenarios
  • 4 challenges

Players who are currently participating in the Alpha version will be able to get their hands on the beta version this upcoming Tuesday, June 25th. For those who haven’t purchased it yet, you can do so either through Steam, or the Alpha 3’s official website.