Dynamic Recon Ops: Big Expansion And Big “Sequel” Mod


I let Arma 3 back into my life despite knowing how much time it would suck away from other games like Zelda Breath of the Wild. I figured I’d almost never get the chance to go back to it if I always put newer games in front of it. Bohemia Interactive also just added a new map — “Malden 2035” that’s apparently a remake of a map from the original Operation Flashpoint. Then you’ve got that new free game Argo that’s based on the systems of Arma.

My current favorite mod, “Dynamic Recon Ops,” from modder Mark “mbrdmn” Boardman has been getting significant updates in the months since I took a break from it, and I guess it’s time to talk a little bit about them.

Generally, the changes to DRO make it more about actual recon. Intelligence you gather by observing places or looting enemies plays a much bigger role in what happens and what players are aware of. One type of objective you can get actually just involves observing an area, or sometimes you don’t know where an objective is until you find more intel about it. That’s all the more interesting when you realize it’s not pre-scripted into the missions.

Stuff like this proves with enough careful balancing, a dynamic mission generator can provide a virtually endless supply of first person shooter fun that actually feels worthwhile. Adding more factors to that generator has done a lot for the variety you get in DRO. On top of this the whole UI has been reorganized with a bunch of new options added.

The biggest addition though during my absence is actually an entire sister mod to DRO — “Dynamic Combat Ops.”

Instead of completing a few objectives with a small team and extracting, in DCO you have to capture an entire battle space filled with a greater number of enemy infantry, tanks, and aircraft. You get more support too in the form of artillery, infantry divisions, armor divisions, and helicopters. It’s basically a full-blown battle generator with some extra objectives sprinkled in — blow up some supply caches, kill some high-value-targets, destroy some anti-air that can actually shoot down your helicopters, that kind of thing.

DCO missions in my experience so far are more intense and take longer than their Recon counterparts, though the sense of variety isn’t quite as high yet. That’s probably either because this mod is a younger one or because players will spend most of their time just eliminating targets.

In one battle I’ve completed before drafting this, the biggest challenge was spotting the enemy tanks and accurately directing artillery (which did not have infinite ammo) to strike them, sometimes from close up before the tanks could kill me. I spent a good while at the beginning of this mission doing this from a radio tower overlooking the battlefield. In Call of Duty or Battlefield this would have been the same old part where you point some binoculars at tanks and they blow up, but Arma 3 and this mod makes it a more challenging and dynamic bit of gameplay.

Arma 3 continues to be my preferred military shooter because of the breadth of the sandbox it provides players with, not just in terms of big maps but in terms of possibilities in the action. Mods like DRO and DCO continue to facilitate and enhance this in new ways.


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