April 25, 2013

Helicopter HUD

Here's another basic helicopter video.  This one provides some info I often take for granted: the meaning and use of the HUD items when in an attack chopper.  I find that I frequently get tunnel vision and only focus on a few things, meaning I had not even picked up on that presence or meaning of some of these items, such as the torque and sideslip.

Battlefield 4 Leaks

An article yesterday at BF4Central showed a leaked poster from EB Games promoting pre-order of Battlefield 4.  There are a number of things at play here.  First, one must wonder if this is in fact real.  Was this created or approved by EA?  Was this created by EB Games based on information from EA?  Or, is this simply a marketing gimmick to get people excited using the information they want to hear, true or not, to get them to pre-order?  Only time will tell.  Personally, I am not pre-ordering BF4 until I know more.  I really need it to be a significant change from BF3, otherwise I will continue with BF3 for some time until BF4 is on sale.

As for what this poster is telling us, the first piece of information is a release date, October 31, 2013.  This surprises me a little, considering that the next gen consoles are rumored to come out after that date.  This could mean a second purchase for console players that want the game at release, but then also want it for their new console.  One can only hope that, if this date is true, they will offer a free next-gen download to players that buy it for their current console.  Otherwise, it would appear to be an EA money-grabbing strategy, which would really bite them in the butt.

The second item refers to a return of Commander Mode.  I am ashamed to admit I did not have a gaming computer when BF2 was big and have therefore never played it.  However, I hear many reminisce on how great that game was, and how important the Commander role was to promoting teamplay in the game.  If this is in, I look forward to seeing what it brings to how the game is played.  However, I am a little concerned about the wording, "rank up into the seat of the brand new commander mode," because it makes me wonder if this will only be available to players that play enough to unlock the mode.  While I see the point in making it available only to the more experienced players that understand the mechanics of the game and playing as a team, I fear this could promote unethical attempts to rank up quickly.  It could also promote the XP-based servers we see so many of already.  I think I would tire quickly of this game if all servers are "Metro conquest/Canals TDM Rank up fast 24/7".

We already know DICE is working on Battlelog 2.0 and have hinted we may get to see it in BF3 before the release of BF4.  This poster seems to indicate the new Battlelog will take stats to a whole new level.  However, I cannot help but think that, "track every shot" is hyperbole.

Go Premium - of course they are going to include Premium.  The question is, can we get it up front, or will it be offered at some later date?  Will its exclusive features make people feel it is pay to win?

Lastly, they tout the singleplayer campaign, making it sounds a bit more like the Bad Company campaign.  I'll also be curious to see how that pans out.  Will it be a linear story with multiplayer controls and flanking routes added in, or will it live up to the hype of deep immersion and pivotal decisions?

All-in-all, this poster looks better than the Gamestop one leaked a few weeks ago.  However, it could still be completely bogus, or an attempt to drum up sales.  Nonetheless, it gets us excited to see what is next; nothing like leaks and speculation to keep us hooked.

EDIT: Poster confirmed by EB Games to be a fake.  Also, cannot believe I overlooked this the first time, but the poster does not mention the PC, just consoles; that should've been a clue.

April 24, 2013

Chopper Training

I am hoping to get in some practice with the choppers this weekend.  I am a little rough.  I have done a fair amount of empty server flying to get comfortable with the controls, and feel that I can fly relatively well, as in I can maneuver okay and typically don't crash unless I am under pressure.  What I need most is combat experience; I need to get better engaging, dodging, dropping locks, and not overcompensating when I try to maneuver.  I use a joystick on PC because I find it more immersive, and also find I have had better luck making more minute adjustments than I do with the mouse.  Of course, maybe I would be better with a mouse after some practice, but I am not out to be a pro, so I'll stick to the immersion.  Really, I just want to improve so I can stay alive long enough to have a little fun, and provide the random gunner that jumps in with me on a public server a chance to get a couple of kills before we are knocked out of the sky.

I'll leave you with one of the many videos I've watched providing some of the tips and tactics on which I'll be focusing:

April 19, 2013

The Battlefield Community

The Battlefield community is certainly a diverse group, and I am not just talking about the countries players live in.  There is a lot of personalities that play: loud, quiet, fun, serious, etc.  One of the wonderful things about this series is the vast array of play styles it allows for.  You want to drive a tank or fly a chopper?  Take your pick.  You want to aggressively push points as an assault.  No problem.  You want to hang back and pick people off with a sniper rifle.  Feel free.  In my time playing this game, I have gotten to try many styles and weapons, I have seen incredible feats of teamwork, I have seen disorganized public server chaos, and various other amazing, exciting, and disappointing moments.  I have seen forum posts where veteran players try to help newcomers better understand the game's objectives.  I have watched loads of videos in which other veterans show tips and tricks to help amateurs improve their gameplay.  I have even laughed at a few "troll" videos of various BF3 pranksters.  In many ways, the community surrounding the Battlefield franchise can be absolutely amazing.

However, I have also seen the more unfortunate side of the community.  I see it more and more as I try to get more involved via Reddit and Battlelog forums.  There seems to be a lot of hate out there, and I often cannot understand why.  This is a game, after all.  We do this for fun.  A little competitive trash talk is one thing, but many individuals take this far too seriously, allowing their mindset to ruin the game not just for themselves, but for the targets of their aggression, as well as collateral players.  In some cases, it is not hate, per se, but in some cases it is so widespread that it will still wear a person out from the sheer volume.

One of the most frustrating is noob hate.  I see it all the time.  "Learn to play, you f***ing n00b!"  My first question is simply this:  how does one learn to play?  My first thought is, by playing.  In fact, I can think of no better way to learn.  New players are what helps keep the game and the community alive, but by insulting them and scaring them off, that is lost.  Everyone was a noob once.  Maybe you learned at the same time as the other seasoned veterans playing 1942, but you had to learn, just the same.    Everything has a learning curve; even a top-notch infantry player has to get used to the controls and tactics of flying a chopper.  Instead of making them feel like shit for their mistake, provide some constructive ideas of how to improve, or just leave them alone.  If you feel they are hurting your squad, find a new one or politely ask them to move.  I am not a great player and have made my fair share of silly mistakes, especially when trying a weapon, vehicle, or map for the first time.  One such instance was when, after having flown a chopper on empty servers for a bit to get comfortable with the controls, I decided to try flying in-game.  Unfortunately, I panicked trying to evade enemy fire and crashed.  The unfortunate soul that had jumped in as gunner was quick to rage on me in chat.  I am a passive and easy-going individual, and I can usually ignore the occasional comments that have come my way when I goof up.  This individual's tirade, however, was so angry and insulting, I found my blood boiling in a way no game had ever managed.  It made it very difficult to enjoy the game that had been fun moments before and nearly ruined one of the few evenings I managed to get online with a buddy.

Another one that confuses me a bit is camper hate.  I understand being frustrated with the K/D-focused snipers that sit in a safe spot in the back of the map, going 3-0 with no objective or teamplay, but they are not the ones I'm talking about.  I see so much hate spewed at those guys that hide in a dark corner while taking or defending an objective.  That seems to me like they are playing the game: they are playing the objective and they are employing an ambush tactic to help their team.  Stop and think about what is frustrating you.  Are you mad because they employed a pointless tactic that does not coincide with the intended spirit of Battlefield, or are you mad because they ended your killstreak by getting the upper hand?  While I have not been playing these games long enough to be sure, it seems to me camper hate originated in CoD, or at least in a TDM-centric atmosphere.  Even then, I don't understand it.  Again, it is a viable tactic to let the enemy come to you.  Just because you feel the best playstyle is to run and gun like a chicken with its head cut off does not mean everyone has to do it that way.  Holding your position and/or creating an ambush is a solid, and occasionally superior, playstyle, especially in Battlefield.

The last one I wanted to touch on is the hate for certain weapons, such as the M16.  As I said earlier, Battlefield is an amazing game because it allows everyone to play in the way they most enjoy.  Just because you feel the M16 is an "easier" weapon does not mean no one should use it, or people who use it frequently are unskilled noob tools.  The M16 is easy to learn and it is versatile, meaning one can use it on more maps than other, more "niche" weapons.  Therefore, people will often have more kills with it because they don't have to re-equip their kit for each new map.  Also, people find it fun.  There is no reason to call them unskilled for enjoying that weapon.  It also does not mean you are automatically a more skilled player because you don't use it.  I think that just makes you a hipster.  :-P

I know it will never go away, but I would sure love to see less hate in the Battlefield community.  It is an amazing game series, and we should welcome all to try it out, no matter their level of experience, skill, or style.  I don't care how good you are, sportsmanship is a big part of being a quality player.  I would rather have a fun, friendly player with a 0.5 K/D on my team than an angry blowhard that rages at the "noobs" because they are keeping him from getting is 1 millionth MVP ribbon.

April 12, 2013

Video: BF3 vs. BFBC2

It's another busy day, so I am going to link to a video by LevelCapGaming that touches on some topics I hope to discuss in greater detail, including how I hope things evolve as we look forward to BF4.  In this video, he is going back to Bad Company 2 and analyzing the gameplay mechanics as they compare to Battlefield 3.  It is an interesting analysis, very worth watching.

April 11, 2013

BF3 Video Analysis

I'm a bit busy today, so I'm going to make this short and sweet for now.  Here is the most recent installment in a video series called "Spoon Fed," in which rivaLxfactor takes a subscriber video submission and analyzes their gameplay, giving them advice for improvement, as well as commending their accomplishments.  Enjoy!

April 10, 2013

EA - Worst Company in the US?

As I am sure many have seen already, EA was recently voted Worst Company in America via the Forbes article points out, relative to the other companies on the list, EA has the most computer-centric and online organized (i.e.: reddit) demographic.  So, does this mean they are in fact the worst company in america?  Doubtful.  All it really means is they have pissed of the most people who are willing to go online and vote in a non-scientific poll.  However, there is one thing we can take from this: considering that game companies have a relatively similar demographic, we could reasonably conclude this means they are currently the Worst Game Publisher in America.  EA's response is, "We can do better."  I am sure they can, but will they?
Consumerist's website.  As this

I am tempted to doubt they can or will.  In some ways, they almost seem too big.  Their focus has become growing and maximizing revenues and profits.  Sadly, this means EA as a whole appears to have become out of touch with its customer base.  As a publisher, that is understandable, so long as the developer studios are still in touch and given freedom to interact with and cater to the players.  However, I get the impression EA micromanages things, at least for its big titles, effectively taking away some of that freedom, and refocusing the development of the games from quality to marketability.  We can see Battlefield going down this path, as we see some of the decisions being made appearing as attempts to cater to the Call of Duty crowd, sacrificing some things that make the Battlefield series what it is.  We can only hope EA learns a little something from this.  The indie development scene has proven word of mouth is still a powerful thing.  If EA changes their focus to high-quality games that players want, they will tell friends and bring other players in. If they instead focus on flashy marketing and emulating rivals' cash cows, sacrificing quality, they may get a lot of sales as first, but those will by and far be disappointed players who will not come back next time.