Brink – Agents of Change Character Guide: Part 1

Roughly three weeks ago, Splash Damage released “Agents of Change”, Brink’s first, free-for-a-limited-time DLC pack, adding several new maps, outfits, weapon attachments, and most importantly, new abilities for every Class. This also raised the level cap to 24, allowing every player to choose an additional 4 abilities. This added choice may leave some players wondering how they should allocate their points to play their favorite Class as efficiently as possible. Given the time to explore this new content inside and out, I’m writing this guide with the aims to help you better define your role on the team, and recommend the abilities that support that role, no matter if you’re a Soldier, Medic, Engineer, or Operative. In this portion, we’ll go over the General and Soldier abilities.

First, let’s begin with the universal abilities. No matter which role you’re taking, there are a few perks I’d consider essential:
Battle Hardened: Gives you an extra, much-needed pip of health. This is where my first point goes every time – you can’t fulfill your role on the team if you’re dead!
Supply Max Increase: Another essential ability. Since you need Supply to perform your Class’s unique talents, an extra pip will allow you to carry out one additional action when you’d otherwise be waiting for your supply meter to recharge. This also has the hidden benefit of letting your supply begin to regenerate sooner, since you can begin regaining supply over your original maximum. My second point always goes here.
Resupply Rate Increase: This ability goes hand-in-hand with Supply Max Increase, allowing you to use grenades and your Class abilities more frequently. Given that you’ll usually have trouble keeping your Supply meter full, anything that lets you increase it is a must. Once you get to Rank 2, take this ability!
Sprinting Reload: One of Brink’s core rules is, “Keep moving!” Without this ability, your character will stop sprinting when you try to reload, which can spell instant death if you can’t get behind cover in time to avoid that last bullet or two. With Sprinting Reload, you can sprint while reloading, giving you the extra time you need to finish off a retreating enemy or to ready your clip to counter enemy fire. A very important ability.
Downed Fire: Normally, when your character loses his entire health bar, he’ll go into an Incapacitated state, where he can do little but watch enemy movements and wait for a medic to revive him. With this ability, you can ambush your enemies before you go out, which is great when you narrowly lose a one-on-one fight, allowing you to finish the enemy off. You can also surprise a group of enemies and soften them up if your allies are close behind. You can’t get this ability until Rank 5, and for good reason – if you can get there, you’ve earned the right to use it. With the Level cap increase to 24, you no longer have to choose between this and your Class’s Rank 5 abilities – feel free to grab ’em all!
Some of the more situational abilities are listed below:
Grenade Shooting: Allows you to detonate your grenades at just the right time, assuming you can make the shot in the heat of battle. This ability is great with practice, but sometimes fights are too hectic to line up the shot to detonate your grenade. Still, with tactical use, this ability can turn the tide.
Combat Intuition: Causes a visual and audible warning when an enemy who is NOT on the radar puts his crosshairs on you. This won’t help if the enemy is on your radar for any reason, or if you can see them. This ability helps counter enemies with Silent Running and Silencers on their guns. It won’t always save you, but it’s handy when it does.
Silent Running: As the name suggests, this ability prevents you from appearing on enemy radar while running, allowing for faster and better ambushes. Combined with a Silenced weapon, you’ll be impossible to spot until an enemy sees you, or if you’re caught by Combat Intuition.
Sprinting Grenade: Works similarly as Sprinting Reload, but allows you to cook and throw a grenade while sprinting. Grenades require more tactical use than other weapons, and as such I like to slow down and line up my throw to make sure I hit as many enemies as possible. Losing the ability to sprint while doing this isn’t a major loss to me, but if you like completely unrestrained movement, this ability might be worth it to you.
Sense of Perspective: While performing a lengthy objective, such as capturing a command post, planting a bomb, or repairing an object, your movement stick will no longer make your character move; instead, the camera will switch to third person and allow you to see what’s going on around you at all times. This is a trade-off; with this ability, you can see enemies coming and react accordingly so you can survive to finish the objective, but you can’t move. Without it, you can sidestep and crouch to try to avoid gunshots while performing an objective, but you have to look at the objective at all times. Most of the time, this ability lets me survive to finish the objective more than without it, but your mileage may vary.
Tactical Scanner: Allows you to see up to four of an enemy’s buffs when you put your crosshairs on them, in addition to their health and Class badge. This can help you prioritize which enemies to kill first, but in most firefights you won’t have the time to pick your targets based on buffs, unless you’re sniping.
Now that we’ve gotten the general abilities out of the way, let’s get a little more specific.
The Soldier is Brink’s front-line fighter, able to dish out and soak up damage with weapons, a variety of grenades, and permanent Kevlar armor. Their job on the team is to eliminate dangerous enemies, destroy objectives with C4 charges, and supply themselves and their team-mates with ammo packs. Right out of the box, Soldiers can refill ammo, plant explosives on objectives, and throw a Molotov in addition to the standard Frag Grenade, giving them several options on how to approach combat. Their abilities help complement this playstyle, providing additional protection, ammo, and grenade performance.
The most essential Soldier abilities are as follows:
Armor-Piercing Ammo: This passive ability allows you to bypass any Kevlar Armor buffs, making your bullets 100% effective against enemy Soldiers or Engineer-heavy teams. Given the power of the Kevlar Armor buff, this ability is essential for maximizing your damage.
Flashbang Grenades: This provides the Soldier with an additional type of grenade which will blind any enemy who sees it for several seconds. In a game as fast-paced as Brink, this can give you and your team the opportunity to mow down a group of enemies while they struggle to return fire. A central and essential Soldier ability. Take note, however, that any teammates (including yourself) who see the explosion will also be blinded, although for a much more brief time period.
Grenade Mastery: Reduces the cooldown period for your standard Frag grenade. Along with the other grenades the Soldier has access to, this allows you to literally bombard the enemy team with grenades, improving the Soldier’s “shock and awe” style of combat. You’ll want to pick up this ability as soon as you have access to it, as it really improves your offensive power beyond any other class’s.
Kevlar Vest: Sick of waiting for an Engineer to supply you with Kevlar? No worries, this passive ability will give you the same damage-reducing effect at all times. Engineers can still provide you with the Kevlar Plate buff, but it won’t stack with this and won’t show up as a buff on your screens. Still, this is a signature Soldier ability, providing it with the protection to stand toe-to-toe with anybody else in combat. Beware other Soldiers, however, as they’ll likely have the Armor-Piercing Ammo ability, which renders this one useless.
Extra Magazine: Normally, when a Soldier resupplies themselves or allies with ammo, it will give them an extra magazine beyond what they start with. This ability causes anyone supplied with ammo a second additional clip, reducing the need to resupply as often. This translates to more Supplies for grenades, which is definitely a good thing for Soldiers! I made sure to pick this up right after Kevlar Armor; Supplies are the lifeblood of any class, and anything that makes you more Supply-efficient will have a huge impact on your effectiveness.
Frag Blast and Grenade Damage: I mention these two Rank 4 abilities together because they have tremendous synergy with each other, in addition to the Grenade Mastery ability previously mentioned. This will make your standard Frag grenades extremely powerful, above and beyond what any other class can dream of. As the names imply, these abilities will increase the blast radius and damage of your standard Frag grenades, respectively. These are more crucial to the Soldier than any other Rank 4 abilities you can get, so make sure to go for them ASAP!
A few other abilities which can help in some instances are:
Scavenge: This ability allows a Soldier to rifle through a dead enemy’s corpse; after a brief interaction period (about 3 seconds), the Soldier’s supply bar will be filled by 1 pip. This ability sounds great on paper, but bear in mind that while performing a Scavenge, you must look at the corpse and are vulnerable to enemy attack. Still, this ability shines in defensive situations, allowing you to resupply from dead enemies and prepare for the next wave.
Napalm Grenades: This provides your Soldier with yet another special type of grenade, bringing the total up to four. These grenades blanket an area in flames, damaging any enemies who try to cross them. Similar to the Operative’s Caltrop Grenade ability, these allow the Soldier to control the flow of battle, cutting off enemy movements and sealing up choke points for a period of time. Given the Soldier’s penchant for Grenades, there’s little reason not to add this one to your arsenal.
Satchel Charges: If you’re a fan of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you may recognize this ability. Similar to the C4 charge from that game, this ability allows the Soldier to plant up to 3 charges on any flat surface and detonate them later. Extremely useful for setting up traps and protecting objectives, without exposing yourself to the enemy, these charges help improve the defensive prowess of the Soldier. Note that you can’t use these explosives to detonate objectives; you’ll need to stick it out to plant your C4 charge. You can, however, use these explosives to protect team-mates while they work on an objective.
So, what’s my role? As the Soldier, your job is to damage and disorient the enemy and protect your teammates; like they say, “the best defense is a good offense”. Your Armor-Piercing ammo will help deal maximum damage against any enemy; by the same token, having Kevlar Plate will reduce enemies’ ability to damage you. The plethora of Grenades a Soldier has access to allows him to damage and disorient his enemies, throwing them to the ground to be finished off easily and breaking up mobs. It’s also up to the Soldier to plant C4 on destroy objectives, much in the same way Engineers repair objects and Operatives hack them. But perhaps most importantly, it’s the Soldier’s job to keep his team supplied with ammunition, keeping them in the fight without requiring them to run back to a Command Post to resupply.
In short, the Soldier is at the center of combat in Brink, and can dramatically influence the flow of any battle.
Check in at GamersXtreme.org tomorrow for part 2 of my Brink Character Guide, where we’ll cover the Engineer.