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I have a little problem, as you can see in this image:

battlefield 3 ribbons

Yes, yes, I play Battlefield 3 too much. I'm not referring to that problem. See the missing ribbons, above? That's the problem!

I understand why I don't have the melee ribbon yet, but as much as I've played Battlefield 3 I can't understand why I don't have the M-COM defender ribbon yet!

The description says

M-COM DEFENDER RIBBON

In a round, defend 4 M-COM stations.

Surely, surely I have defended 4 M-COM stations in 80+ hours of play. I have two M-COM attacker ribbons. But apparently I've done nothing to defend M-COMs?

How the heck do you get this badge?

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The description sounds like you need to defend 4 M-COM stations in a single round, not defend four over the course of your total playtime. –  Wipqozn Nov 18 '11 at 11:42
    
that was never in dispute –  Jeff Atwood Nov 18 '11 at 11:53
    
Note that one of the patches reduced this to defending two M-COMs in a round –  SSumner Sep 14 '12 at 17:36
    
Mine still shows 4 are needed. I have done it twice, but can't seem to get 4 in a round now. –  Bratch Mar 10 '13 at 6:49
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4 Answers

You are regarded as an 'M-COM Defender' if you kill someone while they are arming the M-COM station.

Note they have to be actively arming it, not just standing in it's vicinity or after they have finished arming it.

This is a somewhat difficult set of criteria to meet, and to kill 4 people while they are arming in a single round without actively camping an M-COM is pretty unlikely, hence why you haven't received the badge yet.

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Apparently, the trick to this ribbon is:

You can only get the M-COM defender badge by killing an enemy as they are planting the bomb on the M-COM station.

You'd think that killing an enemy very near the M-COM station would be enough, but noooo. The only thing that counts here is killing the enemy as they plant the bomb.

So if you want to get this ribbon, some suggestions are:

  • Play Squad Rush, where the teams are 4vs4 and the odds of the kill happening during the bomb plant are higher simply by virtue of the tiny teams.

  • Play as support and "mine" the M-COM with C4, but stay near (and out of sight, obviously) so you can hear the telltale beeps of the M-COM bomb being armed by the enemy.

  • Favor the Operation Metro or Caspian Border maps as those have 8 M-COM terminal as opposed to the standard 6. Obviously, stay near the M-COM at all times.

  • Camp the M-COM so you have line of sight to it, but the enemy does not, then just be sure to wait until they are physically arming the bomb before you fire. Video of that technique below.

Kind of a dumb design for this ribbon in my opinion if an avid player doesn't get it in a ton of hours of all kinds of play, but whatevs, man.

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Target one of the M-coms as a squad leader, then kill an enemy near the m-com. This counts as defending an m-com too.

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Can you (or somebody) verify this? This would be very cool and we wouldn't have to resort to nasty camping tactics. –  Steven Lu Feb 5 '12 at 12:02
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All of the above are plain wrong or next to wrong.

All you need to do is kill any 4 enemies, who are really really close to any m-com (could still be 1 guy killed 4 times in the same m-com).

It does not matter if the m-com is armed or not. It does not matter if the guy you killed armed the m-com or not, all it matters is that you kill a guy, within the retardedly small hotspot around the m-com. I would say the retarded hotspot is about 3 feet or a meter.

Suggestions:

  • C4: The tedious route, of putting c4 on the m-com and waiting for peeps from the other team approaching it.

  • Mortar: The tedious task of simply raining mortars on your own m-coms most of the game (you need to be just right outside the spawn to reach your own m-com. That's tough.).

  • Semi-auto-sniper-rifle: You can find a safe camp, use an sks, and try to eliminate the squads as they enter the perimeter of the mcom.

  • Aggressive: If you plainly kick ass in BF3 you can stick to defending it really close with your AR or SMG and grenades.

There is no weird set of rules as the others said. Just kill guys who are within 2-3 feet of the m-com.

(btw I got the ribbons and the medal)

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The other answers may be wrong because DICE changed the rules on how this ribbon works in a recent patch. Which is a good thing considering how impossible this was to get before.. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 6 '13 at 18:15
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