May 23, 2013

Battlefield Friends - Campers

Need a little Battlefield-themed funny today?  I seriously could not stop laughing after this one.


May 22, 2013

Battlefield 4 on Next Gen

So, yesterday's big news was that Battlefield 4 will be released for the new Xbox One and PS4.  It almost seems as though they waited to reveal that BF4 would be on next gen because they were not allowed to reveal anything about the Xbox One (because we don't want spoilers that it isn't the Xbox 720).

Also revealed was the release date:  10/29/2013.  That is pretty much spot-on to what many people were expecting.  I am guessing this means the beta will be sometime in early October (they have said it will be in the Fall).

Unexpectedly, they also revealed the first DLC for BF4: China Rising.  This indicates that China will most likely be a faction in Battlefield 4, though it is unclear if they will be immediately available or (more likely) available with this DLC.  The cover art shows a Chinese bomber and tank, as well as a soldier carrying what many have surmised to be an M4 and an M39  EMR (both suppressed) at the same time.  Is this just for show, or will we be able to play a class that can carry a semi-auto EMR and carbine at the same time?

I am still rather torn on buying the game.  I am reluctant to pre-order until I know more about it, but even then I don't know if I should pre-order the base game ($59.99 at Amazon), the deluxe version ($69.99 at Origin), wait to get it on or after release, etc.  With the way they did the base vs. limited edition vs. premium much later for BF3, I am wanting more information before I make a decision.  I feel certain they will do the premium thing again, but will it be immediately available, or will it come out after a few DLCs?



May 20, 2013

PURE Battlefield

I managed to spend a few hours playing Battlefield 3 this weekend.  I spent that time playing on the PURE Battlefield conquest server.  If you haven't come across PURE on Reddit, you might check them out.  Basically, it is a Battlefield community comprised of a bunch of gamers who are coming together to play and have fun.

I think the coolest thing about playing on the PURE servers is that they have a workaround for the lack of VOIP in BF3.  They have Teamspeak 3 set up so that when you join their TS server and their game server, you are put in general chat until you are added to a squad in-game.  At that point, the TS server communicates with the game server, and puts you in a private chat channel with any squad mates also in TS. It is great for meeting new players and for communicating on the battlefield.  I really enjoyed it and will likely get on their server anytime I am playing when my buddies are not, so long as the queue is not too large.

While playing, the infamous Xfactor and his buddies from NCIX joined the server for a couple rounds (on the other team, of course).  They did not stay long because they absolutely dominated us (I think autobalance had inadvertently stacked the teams).  That night did absolutely nothing for my already terrible stats, but I had fun.

May 17, 2013

Rumors: Battlefield 4 not coming to the Playstation 4?

Based on a tweet from the Battlefield Twitter account, some believe that Battlefield 4 is not coming to the PS4.  The tweet, in response to a question about pre-ordering for the PS3 and upgrading later, stated:
It has not been announced for PlayStation 4. So you will not need to worry about that.
This could honestly mean a number of things.  For one, they simply may not want to reveal the next gen yet, hoping more will pre-order on the current gen and later pay for an upgrade (bad PR move, EA).  Or, it may be that they will be offering free or discounted upgrades, but want to announce that at a later date, say at E3.

It is hard to believe that a game too advanced to play at full quality/capability on the current generation of consoles would not be released on the next generation.  That seems silly on the parts of DICE and EA.  I guess it is possible they are not putting effort into developing for the new consoles just yet, meaning it will not be ready for them when they release this year and BF4 for the next gen will come out some time in 2014.

I am sure we could speculate all day about this.  I am a PC player, so it really does not affect me directly, but I have to admit, this is an odd piece of news.

DICE Dev: No Co-op in BF4

So, there apparently will not be a co-op mode in BF4.  That's unfortunate, as I was hopeful of having one where more than two could play together.  I was also hopeful for a more elaborate and tactical version of co-op than what we had in BF3.  I guess this doesn't necessarily rule out a bot mode for practice, though it may rule out playing in any bot mode with others.  It does, however, mean that people are not getting dinosaurs, at least not a co-op wave survival version.  I would not be surprised if co-op came out later in a DLC, though.

What I do hope about this is that it truly means they are putting the time and effort that would have made a co-op mode into improving other aspects of the game, and that their redirecting of those efforts is not all focused on single player.

May 15, 2013

Tips and Tricks Videos

I have spent some time on Youtube trying to garner a few tips and tricks to help me play BF3 a little better and have a bit more fun.  I am by no means a serious player or trying to become competitive; I just want to do well enough that I can feel I provide some benefit to my team and have fun doing so.  Unfortunately, the majority of the Battlefield videos out there are trolls and lols videos, and those are meant for a laugh (though they do teach you that you will become troll fodder if you lie prone in one place all match).

One Youtube channel I have come to enjoy and respect is that of Xfactor.  I have seen plenty of hate directed his way, but I don't know the guy and cannot comment one way or another.  What I do know is the guy makes a valiant effort to consistently produce videos with constructive ideas on playing the game, and I have learned from it.  He goes over his thought process on attacking lanes for different maps, tells us how to use a tank halfway effectively, and shows us his efforts to improve his chopper skills.  If you are looking for ideas for improvement, check out his channel.  Feel free to leave comments...what videos do you like to watch, and what sites do you frequent for gameplay improvement?

I have to say I have learned a lot from his and other videos.  Having come into these games in the last 3 or so years, I had and have a lot to learn about tactics and playing effectively.  I am still very much a scrub, though the thoughts and ideas from various Youtube videos has helped me to start improving my score per minute and k/d ratio, making me a bit less of a liability to my teams.  Now, if I could only get in my practice time...

I leave you with a recent Xfactor video on using armor on Nebandon Flats rush defense:


May 10, 2013

Suppression

Westie posted a video with a great discussion point on the mechanics of suppression in BF3 and thoughts on tweaks for BF4.  I have to agree that it is a little overdone in BF3.  I think it would make the support class more useful to be the primary suppressive class; that is the whole point behind how the LMGs are set up in BF3 (high recoil, spread, bipods).  As it stands, suppression is not a tactical tool; it is just an annoyance when being fired at and being unable to hit the broad side of a barn because of it.  From the other side, it is just another source of points when you fail to kill your target.  If the support class was the only one able to create significant suppression, and if it didn't happen every time a bullet traveled within your general area, it would become a more significant part of the game and have a more tactical use.  I really hope they tweak it for BF4 in ways similar to what Westie offers:


May 9, 2013

Weapon Hate

This video.  All day long.  It hits on my rant before about all the hate in BF3.


May 6, 2013

Repairs

Something that bugs me about playing engineer in BF3 is that I often do not get that image on my HUD that indicates the damage status of the vehicle being repaired.  I find that I am sometimes standing outside a tank trying to repair, but I have already finished.  I do not know if that is because the person in the tank also got out to repair, or if it is a bug.  I believe the game is set up so that you do not get the HUD image if no one is in the tank, because I never get it when I am solo in a tank and get out to do my own repairs.  It seems to me that if it is a friendly vehicle, even with no occupants (meaning the last person it is was a friendly, yourself included), you should get the repair HUD regardless.

I also had a couple instances yesterday where my tank was repaired up to over 80%, but it was still disabled and losing health.  I thought getting it up over the disabled threshold put out the fire and removed the disabled status.  Maybe it has to be 100%, because that is all that fixed it.

May 3, 2013

Class Balance and Roles

I've seen a lot of discussion on class (in)balance in BF3 and how to balance for BF4.  Many want the classes balanced against one another; they seem to want to move Battlefield more toward a situation where each class is used equivalently on every map.  I have to disagree with this.  In Battlefield 3, things are much more balance between classes than they have been in the past.  The most noticeable is Assault and Engineer; arm an engineer with a M4A1 with heavy barrel, and he is nearly as effective with medium range infantry skirmishes as the assault class.  Some may not see it, but this encourages players, especially those unfamiliar with the BF teamplay and class role dynamics, to play an engineer like an assault with a launcher.  They often ignore enemy vehicles obliterating their team's flank and fail to support friendly vehicles attempting to stop that enemy tank.

Instead, I like the ideas presented by many others regarding balancing classes for their role on the battlefield. Provide some limitations that make classes weak when attempting to play the role of other classes, yet strong in their own roles.  This is a not-so-subtle way to encourage people to play their role within the team (which they will not be able to do without VOIP, of course).

Based on some hard thinking, and a lot of reading, here are some ideas that sound enticing to me:
  • 5- or 6-man squads
  • 6 classes:
    • Assault - these are the aggressive front line class.  They engage targets at medium range.  There will typically be more assaults on the field than other classes.  I suggest removing medic from this class because that promotes a lone wolf playstyle in which they leave their squad behind and push too fast.
      • Assault rifles
      • Underslung grenade launcher/shotgun (HE, smoke, etc.)
      • Breach charges or other gadgets relevant to the front line
      • Flash bangs or tear gas grenades
    • Support - this class provides ammo to the squad and cover fire for the assault's movement.  This class provides tactical suppession and should not be so worried about kills and accuracy.  This class should cause suppression more like that in BF3, whereas other classes do not have such a significant effect.  
      • LMG
      • Bipod
      • Ammo
      • Tripod weapons (take time to set up) or proximity/timed C4 or claymores
      • Mortar (would like to see this work more like BF3 mobile arty)
    • Recon - support squad from a distance by lasering vehicles, spotting enemies, and picking off flankers.  Give bonuses for focusing on vehicles and infantry near squad mates to promote squad support over cliff-top sniping.
      • Sniper rifles (bolt, semi, etc.)
      • MAV
      • SOFLAM and/or targeting binoculars suggested by many
    • Medic - this class keeps the squad alive; they are not meant to be a killing machine.  Rather, they stick close to support, drop health packs, and have sufficient weaponry to clear the immediate area to make a revive, as well as watch the squad's flank.
      • PDW or SMG
      • Medkit
      • Defib paddles
      • Optional smoke to cover revives
      • Random idea: self-injection health boost to grab downed squadmate and carry behind front line for revive (new meaning for Rambo revive)
    • Spec-ops - this class is a cross between recon and assault.  It is meant for stealth and infiltrating enemy lines.
      • Silenced carbines
      • Radio beacon
      • T-UGS
      • C4
    • Engineer - this class is all about supporting friendly vehicles and destroying enemy vehicles.
      • AT Launcher as primary weapon
      • Shotgun as secondary weapon
      • AT mines
      • AA launcher, or ability to construct a TOW or AA emplacement
      • Repair tool (always available, this should not be sacrificed for other gadgets, unless they are given some means of interacting with the environment, such as repairing bridges or buildings)
These are just some ideas I have (based a lot upon ideas I have read from others) that could change up the way classes are played, and help encourage players to better utilize their class to its role on the battlefield.  However, I know that my ideas have weaknesses.  Honestly, I am not even sure there could be a "perfect" way to set up the classes in the game, as there will always be lone wolves, trolls, and stubborn ignorant fools like me.  For instance, there is no real way to force a recon to spot for the squad or help guide missiles at enemy vehicles (though that sounds far more exciting than lying prone on a hill, going 2-0 in a 20-minute round).  However, I feel that giving classes primary weapon choices more suited to their role, will help some things fall in to place.  You will know that, when there are engineers on the field, your tank will get repaired rather than having to get out and do it yourself.  Only time will tell us what DICE will offer in BF4.  At this point, we can do little more than hope, speculate, and make wish lists.  See you on the field!