Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Guide on what to do/play for newbies to ArmA

Recommended Posts

This is a guide for new players on what to do when you first install ArmA 3, or any ArmA game for that matter (Since ArmA has no official matchmaking or the like). I originally posted this as a response to a question on steam from a new player asking what he should do now that he had downloaded the game, hope this helps!

Learning the Ropes

I would recommend playing the single player showcases first, they can teach you how to do everything in the game (Just the basics though, if you want to get good your going to have to play MP, and lots of it). You can find them under the singleplayer portion of the game.

But be aware, ArmA is not an easy game to "get the hang of". If you are unused to the tactical shooter/milsim genre, you will probably die and be frustrated in the beginning. A lot. If you feel you really need help, I would recommend watching some videos of people playing ArmA, so you can get a feel for how to play tactically and smartly.

After you get the hang of things, if you feel you aren't ready for MP yet, you can continue to play singleplayer through the campaign, which is pretty decent, and gives you tons more combat and variety than the showcases.

Lastly, a good tool to mess around with things with, look around the maps, or just run some scenarios is the editor, which allows you to set up pretty much anything you want on any of the maps. Its easy to use, I would recommend watching some of Jester814's tutorial videos on the editor if you get stuck.


Besides the campaign and showcases, your only other option for SP is custom missions made by community members. You can download these either off of ArmAholic, the official BI forums, or steam workshop.


Multiplayer is a whole different story from singleplayer. You may be a bit overwhelmed at the start, since there are so many different gamemodes (We call them "missions" in ArmA 3). Almost all missions are made by the community, so you will find a wide variety in the server browser, each completely different.

The ArmA server browser is pretty standard, filter for mission to find the specific mission you want to find, and filter for server name to find specific servers.

If you want to host private games with your friends, you can download some missions off of ArmAholic, the BI official forums, or the steam workshop.

Some multiplayer missions to avoid at the start:

Altis/Stratis life: I wouldn't reccomend joining a life server for your first experience of ArmA, it isn't representative of any of the actual gameplay at all, despite its rampant popularity. Its just a roleplaying mission with a cops vs robbers vibe where most of your time is spent making money through various mostly-non-combat means and then you run around messing with people and roleplaying. Maybe try this later down the line.

Modded missions: Many servers run with mods, since ArmA has a VERY active modding community. Playing with mods will just confuse you at the start, so I would not reccomend playing with any in the beggining

Some Multiplayer Missions to try

Invade and Annex (AKA Domination): This is the unofficial premier gamemode of ArmA, it's sometimes known as Domination (Esepcially in ArmA 2). Basically, you are cooperating with a team of players to clear out areas of the map, in succession, of enemy AI. Although this gamemode can seem a bit hectic, if you ask people for help they can get you on the right track (Try to look or ask for the people that are working together)

Patrol ops: Like Invade and Annex, but with more varied objectives. People on this mission usually work together a bit more.

CTI (AKA Warfare): This gamemode is one of my personal favorities in ArmA, you can usually find it under the name of CTI, Warfare, or something similar. It essentially turns ArmA into a hybrid FPS/RTS, where there are two teams of players and AI controlled by player commanders who build bases and give orders, and all of the players can buy troops and vehicles using resources from capture towns. Very fun, and people tend to work together.

Wasteland: Although not the most teamwork-oriented gamemode, wasteland is like DayZ (I assume you know about DayZ) with no zombies, a million times more guns, vehicles, and base building, and two teams in addition to the regular independent players. Pretty good for having fun with a group of friends, or joining a team and trying to set up a base (But don't expect random people to work together too much on here)

ZGM (Aka Zeus): Zeus is the new official feature/gamemode for ArmA 3, its essentially a real-time-editor, AKA a gamemaster. One or more players are the game master, and they create on-the-fly missions for the other players to enjoy. This can be very fun, since there are an infinite number of missions that can be played in this gamemode. I have some videos of this on my youtube channel, if you want to see what that is all about.

Now that you are comfortable...

Now that you are comfortable with ArmA, both SP and MP, you may be wanting to enhance your experience even further.

I would recommend, if you haven't already, to download and try out some mods. ArmA has one of the best and diverse modding communities out there, and there is something new coming out every day. Your hub for installing mods will be ArmAholic which will teach you how to install mods and give you daily updates on new missions/mods that are released and WiP. You can also check out the good ol' BI official forums which too have tons of mods.

Now then, how about community? You may be a bit dissatisfied with the lack of cooperation or teamwork on many public servers, but fear not, there is a solution. The ArmA series have many active community groups and clans, most of which would be happy to accept new members. Groups in ArmA are very diversified, with some people running hardcore-milsim coop and others just playing casual PvP, so i'm sure there will be one that can fit you. I would definitely recommend looking for a group to play with if you are happy with ArmA but want more enhanced teamwork. The best place to look for a group to join is to either stumble upon one of their servers, or check out the Squads and Fanpages section of the BI Forums.

Important links for ArmA stuff:

Official ArmA 3 forums: http://forums.bistudio.com/forumdisplay.php?112-ARMA-3

This is where most of the ArmA community hangs out (Typically its the more casual players that use the steam forums... although people like me sometimes lurk around here). You can ask anyhting you want on these forums, the people there are generally friendly and very welcoming to new players, just mention that you are new and you need help (And make sure to post in the right section of the forums!) You're on them. Herp Derp.

ArmAholic: http://www.armaholic.com/

If ArmA was a drug, this is the place you would go for your daily fix. ArmAholic is a community-run site that hosts everything related to ArmA, from missions, mods, updates, everything. Be warned though, you may eventually find yourself checking ArmAholic every few hours, googling ArmA videos on youtube in your spare time while you download the latests addons and post discussions on the ArmA forums on your second monitor. It is at that moment that you will realize you too have become, an ArmAholic.

ArmA 3 official site: http://www.arma3.com/

The ArmA 3 site is actually pretty important, even though ArmAholic may notify you about updates to the game, they will be first posted here, in full detail. The BI devs are very open about their game development, and the game is constantly being patched and getting new content, almost always for free. All of which will be posted here.

Have anymore questions? Post them in the comments of this post!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


If the enemy has you suppressed, don't stand up.... call for help.

Any other action including... leaning around corners, throwing smoke, peaking, falling back, moving to cover, all have the same outcome.... HEADSHOT HEADSHOT HEADSHOT.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say that if they’re just now coming onto ArmA then the best place for them to start would be the EDITOR. As you stated watch some videos to learn how to place units and whatnot. They don’t have to learn how to make missions, just place some empty vehicles so they can get the feel of the basics and learn the controls.

Start off just moving, shooting, and driving vehicles around to get a feel for the game and more importantly…. Change what you don’t like. (Keep in mind that there are a ton of controls and it will more than likely seem overwhelming in the beginning. Take your time and think about what’s easiest for you to reach and how often you will need to use those functions. Here is a list of functions that I consider necessity and therefore need to be kept close so they don’t require you to move your hand or at least have to look to make sure you hit the right key.

Movement keys, Lean keys, Stance keys, Reload, Grenade, Inventory, Compass, Crouch, Prone, Push to talk, and switch channels. In addition I would suggest putting the zoom/lock feature on your mouse if you have an extra button…Also freelook… The main point is make yourself comfortable and don’t forget the functions above…try them in the editor.

Once you do all that and you’re comfortable with your controls, then you’re free to try out single player missions and showcases… and like the original poster said…then multiplayer… Might be best to stick to Co-Op missions for a while till you learn the basic mechanics…

Here are my own multiplayer pro tips….

Please please please! DO NOT TRY FLYING A Chopper with passengers if you’re not completely comfortable with flying in and landing on a dime while underfire! DO NOT USE AUTO HOVER!

Do not try to land in a “HOT LZ†this isn’t Vietnam and even then it rarely worked out well for the troops and crew. (I see this happen all the time!) A helo pilot will clearly watch two helicopters and the troops their carrying get ripped to shreds and the first thing he says is… “DUH… okay guize… we’re going into a HOT LZ!†…..Then everyone dies. Before you even get to the AO you need to be asking friendlies who are already there if there is any armor in the area…. If you see something where you’re about to land…FIND ANOTHER SPOT. Also don’t try to land in the AO unless you’re absolutely positive it’s clear!

USE YOUR MAP! Find a safe spot, mark enemy locations, and then communicate/relay that to your team! (Be careful though because the enemy can hear you talking from 30m away.)

I agree that if you’re alone and being suppressed it’s good to call for help… HOWEVER, if help isn’t already nearby and you CAN get out of there… DO IT! …. Waiting more than 1 minute for someone to help you is just asking to be flushed out.

If you’re exchanging gunfire with someone then leaning is good but…try not to use the same corner, doorway, or window twice.

Also stay away from the dang windows! You don’t need to get right up on the windows to see out, that’s how you get spotted/shot. If you have to move up next to a window then lean and peek out, don’t stand in front of it. (I still catch myself doing this.)

Keep the doors closed too!

Treat AI as Terminators… If you don’t have good HARD COVER….then don’t even try it.

(I’ve been meaning to finish my ground combat guide that I was making for a friend…haven’t heard from him in a while though… maybe I’ll do it anyway and post it.) In the end the main rules still apply…

Head on a swivel (360 degree awareness)

Try not to give your position away until you know you have the upper hand. (Don’t shoot at enemy if you can’t hit them... don’t silhouette yourself.)

Don’t hold one spot too long, switch it up a bit.

Shoot + Move + (Communicate) = Conquer

Some great PvP multiplayer games that I enjoy are King of the Hill and Tactical Battlefield.

Tactical Battlefield is a mod though and I don’t see a lot of people playing it mainly because I don’t think many people know about it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

as not so long ago i was a noobie (probably still am) for me the most over whelming thing about Arma 3 is not knowing what to do in certain conditions and the mind boggling controls,

i really felt i needed tutorials on how to play, so unless you know someone who has alot of patience and willing to sit with you for hrs teaching you then i would say show case is the best place to go. . .

im a big fan of youtube, one of the reasons why im here, but i would say thats more for advanced users of Arma 3, it doesnt really teach you the basics

just my opinion :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
it doesnt really teach you the basics
I've made a few tutorials for Arma 3, including a 'new to Arma 3 guide' which gives you a brief overview of the game.

I enjoy making video tutorials that assist the Arma community, so when you say 'teach you the basics', what do you mean exactly? Maybe it's something i can put together for other new players.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I'm thoroughly allergic to video guides (no offence, but they're pointless. You can't scroll through a video. Written information is continuously present, as it's not a synchronous medium like video, but asynchronous. With a written guide you can read and play at the same time, you can look at the text and immediately use what you're reading, jump back to another chapter or paragraph and so on. If you have to watch a video (at best you have to watch it 'till the end so you get the informations you need) you can't really do things simultaneously and every bit of information is only accesible at the moment it's given in the video. Yes, it's a bit more work to make a written guide, but come on, people! it can't be that hard to write something.) I like to resort to written guides to help me improve my knowledge about the games or about my gaming performance, like Dslyecxi's TTP3-guide or even his TTP2-guide, one of which is even available in print. TwistedX also made quite a nice and helpful guide, which is continuously growing.

Edited by Pergor

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this