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Game Design 301: Battlefied 3 Massive Update Opportunities (A Battlefield Wish List)

Posted by Yogizilla on October 29, 2011

Battlefield 3 is by far one of the most fun games (of the MPOG variety) I’ve played online in a long time. KiNgDeeM describes Battlefield 3 as digital crack. Really, it’s that good and I’ll take Battlefield over Halo, Call of Duty, and even Halo!

But there are glaring issues with Battlefield 3 that are supressing the fan boy in me…

First and foremost, let’s be honest: Battlefield 3 has a nice single-player campaign (and CoD fan boys say it’s a rip-off Modern Warfare campaign).. But we’re here for the online multiplayer, regardless of whether you play on PC, XBox 360, or PS3. Now for my issues with the online stuffs in Battlefield 3!Multiplayer Mismatchmaking
I have yet to successfully connect to a server using Quick Match. When you want a quick fix, this should be the way to go. No dice here, DICE.

DICE states that they are aware of matchmaking issues but, for now, we still have the Server Browser – too bad that’s broken too!

The Server Browser is awesome and brings me back to my days as a hardcorev PC gamer. You can fave servers and filter them to your delight. Thing is, no matter what filters you use, getting into a server can be done near impossible. EA servers keep crashing and you lose connection constantly.

Battlefield 3 is almost completely a pure multiplayer experience (as it should be) so this should be where EA and DICE focus. It takes you half your gaming time just to find a good server. If you like specific settings, it’s even tougher. In the first couple of days, I was forgiving but it’s been almost a week now. This is unforgivable.

Not So Hardcore
Normal servers are nightmares unless you’re one of the crazies that put in 29+ hours by day two of Battlefield 3’s release. It sometimes feels like Halo, where you need the best weapons to get kills. I’ve had many instances in which I was in prone position with my LMG, getting tons of hit counters at mid or close range, only to be killed and see that my foe had 5 to 13% of his health left. WTF?

Good luck finding a Hardcore (HC for short) server, too. I know it’s not so much an issue on the PC side but, on the XBox 360, people are finishing up co-op and single-player modes so all the good servers are taken practically around the clock. I’ve played at 3AM, 6AM, 10AM, 1PM, 9PM.. Nada.

From what I hear, many gamers are complaining about the lack of servers overall. Connectivity issues do not help. I imagine the DICE forums are getting bombarded right about now! As I write this, all hardcore servers have been full for what seems like ten hours straight.. And waiting in the queue often results in being kicked back to the main menu.

Co-op For Two
Some were expecting epic co-op for four or more players. While this does not surprise me, co-op in Battlefield 3 only seats two soldiers. Battlefield has always been about large-scale battles so the stealthy missions are cute but not really a right fit. This only lends more to the silly Battlefield-VS-Call-of-Duty debate that seems to have no end.

Other than that, the co-op missions are challenging. The online leaderboards make you want to play them over and over again to do better. The Battlefield 3 co-op missions are challenging at just about any difficulty, too.. It was a worthwhile addition yet I can’t help to think they threw it in to compete with Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops’ slew of multiplayer options. Co-op, like many things right now, feel incomplete.. They lack real polish.

Boosting And Cheating
Ah, yes, no shooter with persistent classes is complete without losers that think boosting and cheating is cool. I hear reports of folks exploiting Nemesis bonuses to stack up points and rack up points over 30K. Ridiculous!

I’ve also seen some strange stuff first-hand, including the classic hide-in-a-wall cheat and strange glowing soldiers. Don’t know what’s up with that but smells like funny business to me. Hope this doesn’t get as silly as Battlefield 2: Modern Combat did.. Or Modern Warfare 2, in more recent times.

Nerf It Up!
This is a minor complaint but some of the weapons seem rather nerfed. Claymores and RPGs come to mind. It’s almost a non-issue in hardcore modes but, well, we already discussed that.

I hope DICE UNnerfs some of the weapons and gadgets in Battlefield 3. I understand the slight edge provided by leveling up but the gap is too wide at times, especially if you’re still working your way up to Level 15 (legit).

Speaking of nerfing, I can’t say enough how much certain classes are more appealing if you care about your score. You still rack up more points destroying vehicles and getting frags so, ultimately, it all goes back to the ‘ol K/D ratio in any game play mode. I would have to agree that the Recon has been gimped. Without air strikes and cool gadgets (at least early on), being a sniper often means slow kills and your team struggling. Of course, if your team spots enemies and covers your back, snipers can be great for taking defensive positions.

Due to the Nerfy nature of certain weapons and gadgets, you’ll typically see the same classes being played. Assault and Engineer seem to be the most flexible, though Support is fun once you unlock C4 and M18 claymores. Still, if you’re playing normal servers and like to be on the frontlines, Assault is still the way to go.

Here’s How You Can Fix Battlefield 3, DICE Developers
With the boosting stuff, a simple algorithm that compares average scores against peak scores can be used. Apply a curve to players that haven’t logged enough hours to have the insane scores/levels they currently have.

I know in-game tracking will only bog down Battlefield 3 servers further but it’s pretty easy to spot anomalies. With K/D, accuracy, and other stats actively recorded, it’s easy to see trends. Sudden spikes should be flagged. Heck, I’d even pay for dedicated servers for only legit players.

Here’s another easy win: take points/stats scored and divide by time played. Make a leaderboard based on that. Also use those averages to make it easy to spot the asshats. I miss the ‘ol vote feature and think it should come back.. Kick the suspect players and, after repeat offenses, ban them from servers. There, that was easy.

Average scores can also make for more interesting leaderboards as, right now, it’s mainly about who puts in more time. For those of us with less gaming time than we used to have, this will encourage more friendly competition.

We need more servers. I’d suggest getting rid of empty servers and doing a custom launch feature whereas select players can invoke new sessions on dedicated servers. This may reduce server loads a bit but I know that’s a long shot on the console side.

I’d love to see resupplies do more. Maybe buffs or stacking point distributions? Reward the support roles more, yo!

Future co-op modes should definitely be more along the lines of Onslaugh Mode in Battlefield Bad Company 2. Horde modes tend to do well; after all, it’s what keeps Black Ops in most collections. Wahaha!

Last but not least, make matchmaking more useful. Add filters for ping, toggleable server options, and the like.. And make it easier for squads and big teams to roll in together.

Speaking of squads, Battlefield 3 can be a viable competitive game if big teams are enabled. Roll in with 8-12 clannies for instanced, perhaps moderated battles. Again, this can be a premium feature that us Battlefield aficionados will welcome.

Oh yeah, anyone else want two-seated jets? I know I do! One person focuses on flying while the other can focus on shooting. Oh man.. That’d rock!

All in all, there are many easy fixes here but DICE needs to make an announcement in-game, right before the upcoming DLC stuff. I can see people beating this game and trading it in preemptively just because online play is such a pain in the arse.. Let’s not encourage the CoD-fanatical trolls! ;o)

What would you like to see changed in Battlefield 3?

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3 Responses to “Game Design 301: Battlefied 3 Massive Update Opportunities (A Battlefield Wish List)”

  1. KiNgDeeM said

    Good stuff I’m going to bring some of this up on their forums maybe we can see some of this stuff get done. They have a “Battlefield 3 (PS3/XBOX360) Wishlist” thread (http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bf3/forum/threadview/2832654489420497086/). So they are listening, “Are there weapons, features or maps you’d like to see in Battlefield 3? Here is your chance to get your word across.” Claims one forums mod.

    One other thing id love to see Implemented is when you take a dog tag you can wear It and not have to wait to unlock it. I love taking Dog Tag m collection Is growing I think its up to 59!!

    • Yogizilla said

      They really should put up some polls and platform-specific threads to make those wish lists more useful. I mean, having a squawk box set up is nice but how can they really filter through the mess of wishful-thinking ideas to get to the stuff they really NEED to do?

      I have tons of cool features I’d love to see. It’d really be nice to see more done with the dog tags too. A little trophy room with your top adversaries and all the dog tags would be neat.. But likely resource-itensive. We have to think about all the data crunching servers are already doing, which takes away from game performance. Of course, most of this stuff can be saved on the client side.

      The idea of small, private servers (perhaps self-hosted) seems good.. Of course, people can exploit that so stats would not be recorded if they do that most likely. I was thinking it’d be cool to see vehicle battle modes. It’d be a nice way to upgrade your vehicles before jumping into big battles against the pros. Really, air vehicles suck until you at least unlock flares.

      DICE has tons of weapons and vehicles lined up so we’re good there. My main issue is server stability and availability. Beyond that, it’s all icing on the cake. 8)

    • Yogizilla said

      Damn, just noticed you said 59.. I’ve gotten 15 maybe 20 knife kills. Usually I end up shooting them, just in case they turn around and shoot me. Haha.. Of course, when someone is clearly camping, especially in prone position, knife kills are a MUST!

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