E3: Battlefield 3 Update

After installing BF1942 and playing around with Bad Company 2, I’m pretty skeptical about the upcoming BF3 and it might have a little something to do with EA’s latest blog.  Essentially the highlights of the game pointed out in the blog consist of the ability to go prone, lay down suppressing fire, and more bullshit about a new graphics engine.  There was also an odd statement at the end that mentioned some way to track stats and EA is doing us all a favor by not charging us for it.  Really?  Thanks.

The main reason I’m so hesitant about BF3 is largely a result of seeing how the game has evolved from 42 to where it stands today with BC2.  The mantra seems to be “more is better”.  It often not only becomes difficult to balance the game with so many added mechanics, but you lose out on what made the original game so much damn fun – that is, the pleasure of out thinking and simply out-playing your opponents.  There’s so much going on and so many places to hide that the type of strategy that was born out of BF42 simply isn’t there anymore.

A great example of a new mechanic is the ability to mark players.  Player markers would have ruined BF42 back in the day.  There’s no reason for them.  It’s fairly easy to tell where fire is coming from, and figuring out where tanks and infantry are is part of what separates the goodies from the baddies.  With all the bullshit that’s going on in BC2, playing without markers would be crazy.  Guns are very powerful and laser accurate from long range.  Between the recon mortars, helis, tanks, zooks, and random gunfire, it’s not easy to stay alive, no matter how smart you play.

In 42, if you died you knew what went wrong and what to change in order to prevent that from happening next time.  But with the way CoD or BC2 plays, you’re often at a loss of how to improve.  The deaths can come at anytime from anywhere and are often unavoidable.

My last issue is the 64 player servers.  Loading up today and playing in a few of them (they are the last remaining servers), really cements it in my head that this is something BF3 should steer clear of.  I’m still confused as to why they’re around though and popular to boot.  Most people in the servers don’t even have a 1:1 KD and stepping outside is essentially an instant death.  There’s virtually zero skill involved, if any, and making any type of tactical effort is quickly extinguished by the sheer amount of players on the battlefield at one time.

A visual representation of what I’m talking about is in the works, so stay tuned, especially if you haven’t played the various games I’m talking about.

9 comments

  1. With the recent claims of DICE trying to “out-do CoD and be the bigger FPS”, there’s no way they’ll go back to the more simplistic battlefield experience. They’ve got a mass legion of 12 year olds with their parents credit cards to impress and draw away from CoD. Anyone in their right mind knows that it’s damn near impossible for that to happen, but I’m sure DICE will insist on essentially easy mode-ing the game. I half expect n00b tubes and RPGs the only weapons available in BF3, that’s probably the only way they’ll be as successful as they’re dreaming to be.

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  2. DinoRidingJesus

    I most definitely agree with what you said about DICE probably not adopting a “less is more” approach, especially given their latest comments. I do however think that the problem would exist even if you were somehow able to stop everyone from playing the game that’s under a certain age. Most surveys seem to suggest that the majority of gamers are at or even over the age of 30. If you were a kid when the nintendo came out, you’re probably around your 30’s now. The whole strategy of bringing in more people to games attracts people regardless of their age, and as far as the numbers go, apparently it brings it in a large amount of older people as well.

    I think the first step is the gaming community essentially trying to agree on what elements are out there that make a game great. What is it about BF42 that caused it to be so damn popular, why did it die, and why are people still playing it today, nearly 10 years later. Another way of leading up to this decision might be accomplished by first talking about what elements we don’t like. Paring those away might make it easier to decide on what we do. If we can manage to do that, then I think we stand a better chance at the developers hearing our pleas to make better games.

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  3. I think the whole process of essentially having to put out another game every 1-2 years is what effects the quality. DICE could sit and argue about what made 1942 an awesome game for days or even months, but in the end they have to make a sequel. Could they sell 1942 2.0? Probably, I’m sure quite a lot of people would buy it. They would however lose a large percentage of their target audience as soon as the first review dropped saying its a rehash of 1942 with minor tweaks.

    There’s no doubt the people at DICE want to make the best game they possibly can make, they’re hardcore gamers just like the rest of us. Unfortunately it’s still a job at the end of the day to sell games for them and I suppose that’s why we can expect the “hurr durrr look at all this super cool new stuff you can do, this game is so different, you HAVE to buy it to get the new experience”. Casual gamers seem to be getting priority. I have no problems at all with casual gamers and I fully understand why they’re getting the games made for them (there’s more of them to please than there is hardcore gamers), it’s just kinda upsetting that a developer hasn’t figured out how to please both yet consistently release after release.

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  4. I, too, never understood the need to jam in as many guns as possible into a game. For example, BC2’s SMGs- they can basically be split into three categories- speed (Uzi, PP2000), power (SCAR-L, UMP .45, 9A-91), and balance (AKS-74u, XM8c). The thing is, within these categories, there are only minor differences to differentiate the guns. Uzi is a PP2000 with a few less bullets but a little more power and recoil (or the PP2000 is an Uzi with more bullets, less power, less recoil- whichever way works, of course). Why? The guns are so similar that there’s no real reason for both of them existing. The game would’ve been fine with a UMP .45, an XM8c, and a PP2000- maybe even a 9A-91 because it sort of fills it’s own niche (no recoil, long-range SMG- aka silenced AR).

    Then you look at guns that have no place in the game at all (AUG- M416 does your job better- lower recoil, higher damage at range, all for ‘greater accuracy when moving and sighted’, T88 is an unsilenced SVU), blatant clones (SPAS-12/870 MCS and basically every sniper rifle), and you just have a ton of pointless weapons. I mean, sure, people like variety, but there’s a difference between variety and copy-pasting some numbers and changing one or two.

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  5. DinoRidingJesus

    I read an article over at maddox’s site (best page in the universe) and he was talking about all the different varieties of nail polish. The reason why he chose to write this was due to a large amount of the different varieties having colors that are unable to be differentiated by the human eye. So yes, technically they are a different color, but there’s no way you can pick it out.

    As you said, adding in 23423423 different guns doesn’t give the game variety. What might be cool is for the developers to essentially create a system that lets the users develop their own guns. Different attributes cost a certain amount of points, and balancing though is obviously up to the dev’s. Ideally they could then just create the 4-6 baseline types of guns and let people create whatever else they wanted from there.

    It’s interesting and perhaps a bit ironic than a game like CoD or BFBC2 that seems built to attract the masses has so many different weapons and loadouts to choose from. I’d think a newcomer would take one look and just shit his/her pants.

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  6. TheScariestFish

    I am very hesitant at getting BFBC2 because of the complexity of the game. There are so many different weapons that could all potentially fill the same role. In CoD Black Ops, the weapons are all essentially the same with different skins for your character to have. The sheer number of game mechanics that are in BFBC2 are really complicated and the learning curve is huge when you compare it to a CoD game. I also agree with you that Dice should be using the less is more approach, but so should Activision when they make games. It is useless to have a ridiculous number of weapons and choices when they all are essentially the same. It doesn’t add depth, it just takes away from it. If you are a small child, you don’t know what to do with the 256 crayon box. 24 is more than enough colors for just about every drawing that child could make.
    So far, I am enjoying your blog, as well as your youtube channel!

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  7. Hi, that’s a very interesting article about bf3 but i’m just curious why you believe bfbc2 is complex. I believe the spotting system is a good thing.

    However, i’ve never played bf42 as bfbc2 was my first battlefield and i still think it’s the best fps out.

    Another thing is that I play the ps3 so the closest i got to 64 player servers was on resistance 2.

    Do you believe that bfbc2 takes any degree of skill? I’d appreciate it if you didn’t dismiss me as a person who hasn’t experienced the ‘true’ battlefield as there is a first for everthing.

    Keep up the goodwork on youtube :)

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  8. DinoRidingJesus

    I’m working on getting a video out which will detail my thoughts on this, but by complex I meant that there’s a lot more going on with this game than with other BF games in the past. Obviously this is the case with games in general, more details and elements get added in as time goes on. My two main issues with FPS games at the moment are the radar systems and the intricate level design. One creates a haven for campers while the other sucks out all the skill involved with being aware of your surroundings. The single greatest advantage anyone can have is knowing where the other guy is at. This is what has separated amazing players from average players not only in BF42, but in other earlier TDM games such as Quake or Blood. Because of BC2’s level design, it has that wonderful radar spotting system that broadcasts your position to everyone. If it didn’t have this it would be very difficult to find anyone, but once again I also take issues with its level design, which in my opinion are much better than CoD:BO at least as far as hiding places go.

    There are a lot of guns and many of them are versions so similar or poor compared to other versions that they become redundant. They’re also very accurate at long ranges which can make it tough to stay alive. As far as the vehicles go, the heli’s have odd flight controls compared to BFV. The attack chopper is the only semi-mobile heli, and the rest are sitting ducks for the mobile defensive firing platforms that they’ve turned tanks into. Taking a tank into a point to grey it is suicide, but using it as an anti-air weapon or anti-infantry from a distance is a great way to rack up a lot of points. Once again, the tanks main weapons are nearly laser accurate from long ranges allowing you to down even choppers with ease. The maps are also very open between the various flags and forces you to either take a vehicle (which there aren’t enough, especially on high population servers), or take 3 minutes just to get to the point. Bizarre.

    Also, as far as PC goes, the lag and pings on the servers are huge. Even when I ping ~60 to a server in the browser, I go into that server and everyone is 170+. What the fuck? Also the running feels weird kind of like I’m floating or in water, and perhaps because of the lag/ping, I can’t reliably hit shit. Compared to the other BF games, it feels like most titles since BF42 have really been rushed. 42 was so popular, but the mindset was EA probably got it right by accident. Ultimately they ended up killing the game by tweaking shit that didn’t it and leaving stuff alone that did (amt of bombs in planes for 1). The implementation of punkbuster destroyed the infantry game and made it impossible to be consistent with any machine gun. Even BFV which had some great elements to it was also rushed. The engine was a bloated piece of shit and very few individuals could run it on max graphics. The guns were probably a bit on the strong side, but the heli’s flew marvelously.

    I think all games take a certain amount of skill, but as a result of my experience it seems like games have begun introducing more and more factors as time goes on that create random elements which make it difficult for great players to do great things on a consistent basis. Spawning me at a flag in BC2 without a vehicle and forcing me to run a mile to the next flag is suicide. Radar that reveals my position. Laser accurate weapons that penetrate many layers. Levels that have so many different nooks and crannies to hide in that it’s not possible to check them all.

    This is a theme that in some ways can be reflected by overall KDR’s. In BF42(pre punkbuster), as infantry I averaged probably around a 10-15 KDR. On tank/plane maps it was possibly much, much higher. In BFV I had similar KDR’s but they decreased by a small amount on infantry maps. BC2 plays so differently and I have such a hard time hitting anything that I don’t think my KDR’s mean much of anything. In CoD, a 3-4 KDR is pretty damn good. There are a huge variety of factors as I’ve mentioned that create for a more random experience, but I believe the #1 factor above all else, is radar. #2 without a doubt is level design, but radar takes the cake by a mile. There is simply nothing you can do when someone already knows you’re coming. And when everyone has this information, being good is just 1 round away.

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  9. I appreciate the response :)

    One other thing, what are your thought on the addition of team deathmatch? I don’t think it’s necessary and the need to beat CoD will end up taking away from the game. I don’t really want rush to die out as a game mode if a lot of people decide to play tdm all the time.

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