June 26, 2013

Changing up Rush Mode

One discussion I have seen quite a bit is how to change up the Rush Mode in BF4 to encourage more team play, and to make it more fun in general.  There are many ideas out there, and I wanted to go over a few.  Granted, the ideas people are presenting may be too late to impact Battlefield 4, but maybe Bad Company 3 could see them.

  1. More points for PTFO (arming, disarming, taking out opponents nearby, etc.).  I think this is a must, especially for the supportive tasks, such as taking out opponents nearby.  Battlefield 3 has a lot of unsung heroes, such as the MCOM cover fire support, and the transport driver.  It would be nice to see things like these get more points to encourage more 'role play'.  Also, unless it is a well-balanced round in which the MCOM is armed and disarmed many times, very few in a round even get the opportunity to get arming/disarming points, despite their best efforts.
  2. Update the scoreboard to be more rush specific.  This would entail listing more than just K/D, such as arms/disarms, defends, etc.  This would be nice, but it is not a must.  Those who are so focused on topping the scoreboard and looking good that this will sway them to play differently are hopefully few.
  3. Exclusive rush maps - I really like this idea.  I know it is more costly to make more maps, but there is a difference in the style of pushing and flanking that is fun on rush versus conquest.
  4. Add more MCOMs per "section".  This would mean that, instead of having two MCOMs at once, there is three or four instead.  This could add to the intensity, making the teams spread a little more thinly (especially on 64-player servers, as most people seem to feel 32 players should be the max for the BF3 iteration of rush).  However, I don't know that it will address any more core concerns than player count, although it may make better use of conquest-style maps, but that is just pure speculation.
  5. Change up the MCOM arming procedure, such as making it more active (requires a sequence of button pushes or actions rather than holding a button), or requiring two people to arm.  These are interesting ideas, though I don't know if they will address the core of the matter.  Instead, I think these might just make it more difficult to get it armed or disarmed, which many may not like.
  6. Get rid of MCOMs and use different objectives, such as parts of the map.  I LOVE this idea! First of all, it would make rush more immersive.  This could also mean that every objective has a different way of being taken out, which could give attackers more options to be creative, and defenders a bigger task than, lie at the end of this hallway with an LMG on a bipod.  A common example used for BF4 is, if Siege of Shanghai has a rush mode for that map, the skyscraper is an objective.  Now, taking out the objective is no longer a matter of sneaking in an infantry and then grenade spamming the armed MCOM.  The attackers have a couple options, as they need either a recon to plant C4, or tanks in position to fire on all four destructible columns.  The defenders can  raise the bollards and defend their controls to prevent tanks from approaching the tower, as well as stopping sneaking recons.  In my mind, that makes the rush gameplay sound more dynamic.  This would also mean they can incorporate the ideas of "Levolution" into the objectives themselves.  If the attackers succeed at this step of the map, they change the entire surface of the map from here on out.  This can be incorporated in many more ways, both significant and subtle, so that every realistic objective has some impact on how the game/map plays out.
Another question to which I have seen no answers is whether or not Commander mode will be incorporated into rush, or if it will be conquest-only.  I would be curious to see how Commander would be added to rush, if they choose to do so, and what impact that could have.

June 25, 2013

If you get bored in BF3

Just a quickie for today: Levelcap and Matimi0 goof off with CF and a transport heli.  Funny stuff.

June 24, 2013

Frostbite 3 Engine - Battlefield Promo Video

The Battlefield Youtube channel just posted this promo video today touting the Frostbite 3 engine.  Honestly, it looks amazing, especially how much more realistically it generates the ambient environment around you, such as the waves in the water that react to other forces.  I am really eager to see how this impacts BF4.  Also, take note of approximately 2:04 in the video; in this frame, we see what appears to be a falling smokestack, which I do not recall seeing before.  Is this a small peak at another MP map, or is it part of the SP campaign?  Curious....

June 20, 2013

Battlefield 4 Destruction Update

Over at Edge, they posted a nice Q & A with DICE producer Aleksander Grondal, in which he discusses destruction in BF4, commander mode, class structure, and other topics.  Some information gleaned from this interview that makes me very optimistic in relation to yesterday's post is that there will be a variety of destruction among the BF4 maps.  It sounds as though there will be tactically-focused maps, such as Siege on Shanghai, as well as maps full of BC2-esque destructible houses.  I can only imagine there will be some forms of in-between as well.  From the interview:
There’s still a greatly reduced level of destruction to what you had in BC2, so what was the problem with BC2 since you guys have absolutely turned your back on that… not only that game, but also that kind of destruction?
We love that kind of destruction, and we want to have that kind of destruction on other types of maps. It’s just that this one, we wanted to be a bit more focused.
So that style of play will be in the game?
Yes, absolutely.
There’ll be maps where players can essentially carve a straight line across the map?
Essentially, yes. So with these houses that collapse, you know the one and two storey houses that completely gets obliterated? We’ll have maps with that type of gameplay, too.
OK, so in this case you have a map built around one type of building which can be brought down and other maps will be a sea of huts that you can wreck?
Yes. I love Bad Company. I also think Bad Company had a better level of destruction than Battlefield 3 and we are the first to admit that. Battlefield 3 didn’t necessarily deliver what we wanted it to be on the destruction level so we’re kind of upping that, we want to make sure everything goes.
I am really curious to see what DICE concocts for Battlefield 4 maps.  I saw somewhere that it had been indicated that multiplayer maps would be largely based on the single player maps (as is often the case).  Yesterday, there was a leaked text file from the alpha to which many random players currently have access, and it had the names of the potential single player levels.  From this, we find one level called "Dam".  This makes me wonder if we might have another focused destruction map in which you can blow up a dam, changing the battlefield into more of a naval battle.

I really think they are going to show us some amazing stuff; I just hope they can exceed the hype with lasting replayability.

June 18, 2013

Destruction in BF4

Many fans of the Battlefield franchise watched the multiplayer reveal and E3 live streaming with bated breath, waiting to see, among other things, what level of destruction we would see in this new installment.  Many were calling for a return to the level of destruction we saw in Bad Company 2, where entire maps could be reduced to rubble after half a round of grenade launcher spam.  Others complained that a flat map was no fun, and BC2 levels of destruction simply turned any map into Nebandon Flats of BF3 End Game.

So, what have we seen of destruction so far?  It seems like we have seen both more and less.  The falling skyscraper was simply insane, especially considering that the timing (destruction required) is player controlled.  However, the other elements of destruction did not seem so enormous; it seemed as though there were designated destructible points, including the skyscraper, rather than BC2's map-wide, "if something explode-y hits it, it's gonna crumble and fall" level of destruction.  Or, as they put it in this article:
Still, in the end destruction in Battlefield 4 occurs where DICE wants it to, and while they do try to funnel you into those areas of the maps so you can see experience these morphable elements, incidental destruction won’t occur much. But Grondol insisted that they’ve built enough “dynamic elements” into the maps that even players who’ve experienced them many times might encounter new interactive bits from time to time.
Basically, DICE has taken the opinion that there is such a thing as too much destruction, and has instead attempted to build in other interactive elements to the maps to add to their tactical nature and enhance replayability.  I honestly feel this is the better approach.  On Arica Harbor in BC2, you always knew the whole map would be flattened to rubble.  That was Bad Company 2, the second installment in the leg of the Battlefield franchise that is known for a goofier take on the Battlefield playstyle.  That is why Destruction 2.0 was treated much like a weapon.  Enough people are clamoring for full destruction that I expect we will see its return, in one way or another, when they get around to Bad Company 3 (2015?).

Unfortunately, I did not see a lot of E3 gameplay in which people appeared to be trying out the destruction mechanics.  I get the impression it will be a lot like BF3, but with the added element of significant map-changers, such as the Shanghai skyscraper.  If this is the case, I think DICE may have made a mistake. While I don't think BF4 needs BC2 levels of destruction, I do think it needs to go farther than what BF3 offered beyond the one "scripted dynamic" item per map.  Of course, we have seen only one map, and in its pre-alpha state.  This map could change a lot before release, and likely does not fully represent the scope of the other maps yet to come.  I have a hard time believing DICE has already shown us their best tricks.  Even with Siege of Shanghai, there surely will be more to learn and discover upon release.  Although I have my concerns, I am certainly going to withhold judgment until we see what Battlefield 4 truly has to offer this Fall.

However, if this post gets to the eyes of anyone at DICE, please consider making sure at least one or two maps (if not all) exhibit a level of destruction that puts us somewhere between BF3 and BC2.

June 13, 2013

BF4 Squad Perks

From what we have seen of the BF4 mulltiplayer so far, it appears that squad specializations, or perks, will work a little differently.  One of the most common complaints players had in BF3 was how squadmates would not pay attention to what perk they were running, and they would get stacked.  Unfortunately, two stacked perks, such as ammo, do not provide additional benefit beyond what one perk provides.  Put basically, this meant that squad members were more or less able to waste their perk slot.

In BF4 multiplayer, we see a bar above the list of the five squad members.  As some of the symbols match those we saw in BF3, it has been assumed these are the squad perks.  From the gameplay seen, it appears this bar fills up as squad members accumulate points (or it could be by individual), causing the perk symbols to become highlighted (and assumed to be active) when the bar reaches certain points.  This appears to mean that the squad can work together to accumulate points to activate perks, making the squad more effective the more successful it has been.  What is not yet clear is how these points apply...is it only for base captures, do any points earned count, must it be squad points (i.e.: squad heals), or is it point earned within a certain vicinity of squadmates?  I am sure we will learn soon enough.

One thing related to this "squad bar" that has been confirmed is that it will reset when your squad is wiped.  This seems to be added incentive to make sure the last squad member standing stays alive long enough for others to respawn.  This could certainly add a new dynamic to the game, allowing for a slightly greater level of team play, as squad members work to keep one another alive more so than you see in BF3.

Edit:  I have since learned that, when a player's squad is wiped, their squad bar will be set back one level, rather than being reset completely.  In the image above, you can see that there are four levels of perks to be activated. If the squad has accumulated enough points to activate the first two perks and then gets wiped, when they respawn the bar will be reset to having only one perk active.  While this is better than a full reset, it is still quite an incentive to keep the squad alive.

June 12, 2013

Battlefield 4 MP Gameplay

I am sure everyone that cares has seen it by now, but I need to share regardless.  Here is the BF4 multiplayer gameplay released from E3.

I have to say I was impressed.  Yes, I was rather skeptical leading up to E3.  There has been a lot of focus on single player mode, so I feared a little they were too focused on that.  There have also been fears that they might rest on their laurels a bit too much and give us Battlefield 3.5, but this seems to indicate that is not the case.

Of course, the gameplay was rather rehearsed.  I really wouldn't expect different, as their intent was to show off some of the best pieces of this map and new features, all with a dramatic skyscraper-toppling conclusion. I am excited to see the extent to which this "Levolution" is implemented throughout the game.  Will it feel like a bunch of gimmicks, or will these features become truly immersed features that become a natural interaction with the environment?  They have talked a bit about it in interviews these last couple days, indicating that no only can you collaps the street under a tank, but you can also have more minor interactions, such as raising bollards to block a bridge, and shooting fire extinguishers to create a temporary smokescreen.

I am curious to see how big the maps truly are, and how much scale-ability there is on a map such as Siege: how many buildings can you enter; how many floors of those buildings are accessible, etc.?

They also have mentioned you can now dive underwater, and you can fire you pistol while in the water.  I am curious whether or not one can deploy C4 while underwater to blow up those boats.  I wonder if there is a limit to how long a player can remain underwater.

For more on what has been gathered from the multiplayer livestream at E3, check out the Reddit thread on the BF4 livestream.

June 1, 2013

Chopper update

Some time ago, I posted videos by others that provided chopper training and talked about trying to get better as a pilot. At that time, I was using a Logitech joystick, as I had been for nearly a year. It worked well for me, as my crashes had reduced dramatically since using the stick, and I felt very immersed in the game when flying. The problem was that, despite hours trying to fly, I had very few kills and still could not hit the broad side of a barn. 

I decided in the last few weeks that it was time to scrap the joystick and learn to fly mouse and keyboard. I can already tell how much more precise on can be with a mouse and keyboard, though it clearly has a steeper learning curve because it seems a little less intuitive. It will definitely require more practice to be viable in combat. 

Last night, I decided to focus on flying, which can be hard to do on live servers, because with only one chopper per team on only select maps, it is a battle over who gets the chopper sometimes. When the chopper is available, it is often because no one wants to fly against the dominating pilot on the other side. I tried getting no one of those "learn to fly" servers with a light population, thinking it would be a chance to practice with a few live targets. Unfortunately, it was a trap. The other team was stacked by the clan hosting the server, and their chopper would TV missile you on takeoff. You can't learn much if you cannot actually fly. Ironic thing is, right after the took me out with a TV missile at spawn, the same person warned the jet on my team not to base rape. After leaving that one, I did manage to find some servers that offered a better chance, as I was able to get a few hits on target before an Igla took me out. I'll keep trying...it's too fun in those hoppers to stop.