My favorite Loadout game type by far, Jackhammer is a unique take on the classical "capture the flag" mode that is present in most other shooting games. Just like the previously mentioned classical mode, the objective here is still to capture the enemy's flag, with the difference being that the flag is now a giant hammer! Jackhammer can only be accessed randomly through Casual mode so far.
If you have ever played "capture the flag" in any other shooter game, then you already know how Jackhammer works; sort of! Here we have hammers instead of flags, and these hammers are also deadly melee weapons! Both teams have a base on the opposite sides of the map, at the back of which resides said hammer.
The goal is simple and singular: to take the enemy's hammer and get it safely to your base. While it's hard doing this, please remember that in order to capture the hammer and thus score, your team's hammer must still be in your base so it's a joint effort in terms of defense and offense.
I mentioned earlier that the hammers can be used as melee weapons, but I didn't mention that doing so will also increase a capture's value! You can activate the hammer's attack using the Melee or Attack key, which are F and Left Mouse Button by default. This AOE (Area of Effect) attack will instantly kill anyone caught in the area, but you can only do it 5 times.
Each enemy killed with the hammer will increase the capture's value by 100, up to a maximum of 500. Hammer kills are tracked on the top bar as skulls underneath the relevant team. You can also use this top bar to see the status of both hammers, such as "in transit" or "in base".
Once the hammer's charges run out, you can no longer attack and are completely defenseless, so be careful how you go about it. A freshly stolen hammer will have 5 charges; you can see how many charges are left by looking at the upper left corner of the screen. As a side note, you cannot replenish a hammer's charges using Equipment Pickups, so don't even try.
Winning in Jackhammer requires your team to reach 3000 points first, or have the most points when the timer runs out. The base score for a hammer capture is 500 points, which can be increased to 1000 by killing 5 enemies with said hammer. This means that you need a minimum of 3 captures and a maximum of 6, depending on each capture's value.
You can check the match's current score along with the remaining time by looking at the lower left corner of the screen.
Some last points:
- You need to press the Pick Up key in order to take the hammer from the enemy's base. By default this key is E.
- Your weapons and regular melee attack are disabled while carrying the hammer; attempting to switch weapons (for example by moving the mouse scroll wheel) will drop the hammer on the ground. This will also happen if you press the Pick Up key again while carrying the hammer.
- If your hammer is taken by the enemy, you need to kill said enemy in order to recover the hammer. It will automatically be taken back to your base, no need to carry it back, however you do need to touch it in order for this to happen; simply killing the enemy carrier is not enough!
- Both yours and the enemy's hammer will be represented on the screen and on the mini-map via icons. This is useful for tracking your stolen hammer, but will also work against you because the enemy can do the same for theirs.
You can see the official Jackhammer tutorial video here.
There are 2 roles you can fill in Jackhammer, as detailed below:
Here your goal will be to defend your hammer, ie. killing enemy players that attempt to take it. You will also be in charge of getting the hammer back should the enemy somehow manage to take it (shame on you!). Effective weapons here are short-ranged rifles, shotguns, and mine layers. The ideal defense loadout will contain 1 short-ranged weapon and 1 mine layer, along with a piece of equipment that aids in this task such as a Turret or Faux pickups.
The strategy here is to place mines near the actual hammer. This serves 2 purposes: to soften up incoming enemies and also to alert you of their presence. Once an enemy is in sight, switch over to your short-ranged weapon and do your best to kill him. If you decide to use the Faux pickups then place them either directly next to the hammer or close-by in the escape routes, ensuring the biggest chance that the enemy walks over them. The Turret can be deployed as soon as an enemy is in sight; no big deal there!
Here your aim will be to take the enemy's hammer and bring it back safely to your own base. Your weapon choice should be anything that suits your play style offensively, because although your objective will not be to kill enemies you will undoubtedly run into them on your way to and away from the hammer, and these must be killed! If you follow the advice that I give below and split your team into 2 defenders and 2 attackers, then you or your attacking partner can equip a healing or buffing weapon in one of the loadout slots. Healing will obviously keep the carrier alive while "The Juice" will make him run faster. In terms of equipment you can go for Jump Boots, Disguise, Personal Shield, Spawn Point, or Buff/Heal Grenades.
During this role you will need to learn which paths are the safest/shortest way to get to the enemy's hammer, and also cooperate greatly with your attacking team-mate who will support you with heals or buffs (ideally). Proper movement techniques are also essential for this role as you will undoubtedly come under a hail of fire while carrying the hammer.
The Disguise is a very handy tool when sneaking into the enemy base; try to utilize it near the end of your journey as it will also allow you to bypass proximity mines. You can also use this piece of equipment to surprise and kill enemy defenders, making your escape easier. As a side note, you can also Disguise yourself while carrying the enemy flag.
The final point I want to make regarding this role is the Deployable Spawn Point. This is debatable, but I feel as if the only effective use of this piece of equipment is during Jackhammer. The trick is to place the Spawn Point as close to the enemy base as possible while also making sure it's hard to find. This close respawn point will make it much more easy to actually kill defenders and steal the hammer, giving the Spawn Point a 5 star rating in terms of effectiveness.
The ideal solution is to keep both of these loadouts handy and switch between roles as needed, but utilizing only 1 is good as well.
Tips & Tricks
Jackahmmer requires a mix of tactics in order to win, making it a complex game type. Check out the following tips and tricks to help ease the learning curve:
- When you are defending the hammer and the enemy manages to steal it, always back off or you will most likely get smashed by it. This has happened to me so many times I can't even count them anymore, so be careful not to let it happen to you.
- When supporting the hammer carrier with a healing gun always make sure to keep him over-healed at all times, giving him an edge against attackers.
- Likewise, when you are supporting the hammer carrier with a buffing gun try to keep him buffed up throughout the journey. Remember that "The Juice" will make him move faster, which is essential when carrying the enemy flag back to your base.
- The ideal team will be split into 2 defenders and 2 attackers.
- When assisting the carrier stick as close as possible to him, so that if he dies and drops the hammer you will be available to quickly pick it up and continue where he left off.
- Remember that enemies will spawn closer to your flag carrier than you will, so staying alive is very important.
- If you notice that a particular enemy is appearing near your base too frequently, do a search for a Deployable Spawn Point; he might have used one of these to quickly get back to your base when he dies!
- If you are using the Disguise and have luck on your side, you may even be healed or buffed by the enemy players!
- Make good use of the on-screen icons to track both yours and the enemy's hammer.
That's all folks! If you have anything you would like to add please don't hesitate to leave a comment below.