October 29, 2013

Battlefield 4 Levolution - Main Event Details

There is a post over at Reddit outlining the details of the main set piece Levolution events of each of the ten vanilla maps for Battlefield 4.  I think I am going to wait until I have had the chance to play before I spoil all the details for myself, but here it is if anyone wants to check it out!

Or, if you would rather see them on-screen, here is a video by shosho10199.

October 25, 2013

Flood Zone Gameplay

EA/DICE has allowed Levelcap to upload some footage of game play on the new Flood Zone map.  It appears this map will again offer very vertical game play, as we saw on Siege of Shanghai.  It is more of a medium-sized map, with five flags in conquest.  It should really prove to offer some intense infantry gameplay.  In fact, Levelcap's video starts off with some Obliteration gameplay, which may be quite fun on Flood Zone, because despite the bomb carrier always being spotted, there are so many levels, corridors, nooks, and crannies, that they will not be an easy kill.

His video also includes our first peek at Rush game play in Battlefield 4.  While it does not reveal much of a change in Rush, I somehow get the feeling it will play better than BF3.  I think that may be due to the maps appearing to have greater opportunities for flanking and other tactical game play than the styles of maps we had previously.

Unfortunately, Levelcap did not show us much about what kind of destructibility elements this map may entail (can we drop rubble from those taller buildings?), but he did prove that we can dive underwater far enough to enter the buildings from there!  That will add a whole new element to back rage.

Check out Levelcap's Flood Zone video and get excited; this is your last weekend before the release of Battlefield 4!

October 22, 2013

Battlefield 4 Battlestation Giveaway

Razer and CyberPower PC have teamed up to offer a Battlefield 4 Battlestation giveaway featuring lots of cool stuff.  You can enter via Facebook or email: Razer's Battlefield 4 Battlestation giveaway.

Battlefield 4: Official Single Player Trailer

This morning, Battlefield posted the new story trailer for the single player mode of Battlefield 4.  DICE promises this will be a much more engaging single player campaign than ever released with any core Battlefield title.  This is certainly an exciting trailer, and makes me feel that the single player campaign will be worth the time.  Kudos to Randy Evans (@killat0n_), the DICE Senior Video Editor in charge of this particular trailer.

Playing out much like a blockbuster movie trailer, it leads us into a story in which a naval fleet appears to be cutoff.  We then see a key source of drama in the story: distrust from “Irish”, leader of the campaign squad, of the key female character, Hannah. The trailer then goes into a montage of action sequences, and we hear Irish state what may likely be (and often is for modern military story lines) a central them of the story and his character, “We are not going to leave you behind; no one gets left behind!”

The trailer moves to a theme of desperate hope as (what I assume to be) the captain of the Valkyrie addresses those on board to state they are the only ship left, but they won’t go down without a fight.  Once that hope is established, we see the action rise again as ship our characters are on is split in two and the battle moves to land.  It is here that the trailer appears to take a shot at Call of Duty when Irish punches a dog like the COD dog at 1:37.

Overall, it appears to be the intense action one expects from a modern military setting, and may well involve a deep and engaging story line.  Of course, it will likely still include some of the cliche moments, themes, and lines, but I am hopeful the team at DICE has made it their own so it rises above being “just another action story”. Let’s also hope the enemy has a halfway competent AI; an engaging story is only half the battle.

Do you look forward to the single player campaign?  If so, will you be playing it first, or just when you need a break from multiplayer?  I have some time off work in the first weeks after release, so hopefully I can play through it some time when friends aren’t online to play with.

October 19, 2013

Battlefield 4 - Battlerecorder

Battlefield 4 will not have Battlerecorder at launch. However, many feel this tool is necessary for monitoring for cheaters, making quality videos, and making BF4 viable for E-sports. If you think BF4 should have Battlerecorder, you can sign this Change.org petition.

October 18, 2013

Battlefield 4 - Awards and Progression

The latest Battlefield Blog post details information about the awards and progression system of Battlefield 4. Here's some of the key points:

  • There will be 100 levels, like BF3.  This will consist of 20 ranks, each with 5 sub-ranks (level 16 is rank Sergeant, and level 20 is Sergeant V).
  • There are 45 ribbons available, each having a distinct medal tied to it that is earned by obtaining a ribbon 50 times.
  • There are 130 unique service stars, each obtainable 100 times (13,000 total).  This includes new service starts for game modes, earned by playing the objective and winning.
  • Many of the tweaks to the scoring system are meant to provide better feedback to the player and encourage more objective gameplay.
  • Confirmed that the new "Kill assist counts as kill" system means both the player receiving this message and the one inflicting the final blow receive a kill credit (meaning one player killed can count as two kills on the scoreboard, but still only one ticket).
  • Players will start the game with basic items that were not available without unlocking them in BF3, such as flares on jets, and some grips on assault rifles.
  • There is a way in Battlelog to mark certain awards and unlocks to track your progress
  • There are 45 multi-layered assignments to achieve, that offer dog tags, vehicle paints, and weapons.
I am curious if they plan to expand on some of these with each DLC, as they did in BF3.

For those who get a thrill from unlocks and awards, Battlefield 4 certainly has a lot to keep a player seeking new goals.

October 16, 2013

First Video!

I have successfully created and uploaded my first YouTube video!  It is nothing special; in fact it is really just meant to share a bug I found in the Battlefield 4 Beta on the Battlelog forums.  Nonetheless, I am happy to have figured this out.  Now, I just need to figure out everything else about the process: editing, narration, thumbnails, intro, music, etc.  Oh, and finding time for it...that's an important one.  I guess I also have to figure out how to make content people would want to watch out of my terrible game play.  Wish me luck.

October 14, 2013

Battlefield 4 Beta - Fun with Bugs - Free Willy by JackFrags

This is some absolutely hilarious stuff.  This is how you take advantage of a beta bug to get some serious entertainment.  Boat spawns on land?  New objective...let's see if we can get it back in the water!

October 11, 2013

Battlefield 4 Beta - Initial Thoughts

The Battlefield 4 Beta has been active since October 1 for those with "exclusive" access, and October 4 for everyone else.  It has certainly been a great experience to get in and help DICE test server loads and other factors of their game in a live environment.  I certainly hope they are getting as much as possible out of this to make this the best Battlefield yet.  I have been lucky; while my somewhat outdated CPU has been pushed to its limits, I at least was able to play whenever I had time and did not find myself stuck on the loading screen.

Floating Pistol Bug
The version we are playing is about a month old and was developed somewhat in parallel with the retail version to get it ready to go live sooner.  This means we are playing with a number of bugs and issues that have already been fixed in the retail version, thankfully.  This beta has certainly provided us a fair number of entertaining and unusual bugs to report, such as the attack boats spawning on land, elevator button that survives the tower falling, resulting in teleportation to where the tower used to be, and the floating pistol no arms bug I recently posted.  I am confident DICE will get most of these cleaned up so we can have a clean game at launch, so keep testing and reporting.

Unfortunately, I have not played the beta quite as much as I would have liked, but I have managed to gather a lot of thoughts on what I am seeing.  Overall, I feel really good about what BF4 will offer us.  I see potential for it to be much more entertaining than BF3.  The look and feel of the game, from the HUD to the in-game graphics, all feel more refined to me, although that could just be the "new car smell."

This umbrella resists more than wind
I am really excited to see what the other maps offer.  Siege of Shanghai is fun, but I think it will be far from their best map.  I find myself a little let down by the lack of destruction and non-levolution interaction with the map.  I really lose immersion in the game when an RPG fails to damage the side of a glass building, or when a tank is stopped dead in its tracks by an umbrella stand.  That said, I have heard rumors that DICE has a lot of these things disabled, and we will see glass falling and rubble dropping in the final build.  I certainly hope those rumors are not just wishful thinking.

What I do like about Siege is the verticality it offers.  You are not stuck playing on one or two levels.  You can get as low as the water in the bay or Metro (objective B on conquest large).  You can get as high as the top of the C tower and other buildings of similar height.  You can also reach the roof of smaller buildings, as well as ground level and the levels in between.  The map also offers also offers a wide mix of play options: you con focus on driving vehicles, destroying vehicles, getting to a rooftop to snipe, or close quarters combat attacking and defending objectives.  If this is the approach DICE is taking to map design, I like the idea.  A player can choose a role, such as anti-tank engineer, and have a completely different game than their next round on the same map as an assault or recon.  Of course, jury is still out on how the BF4 map design will hold up to the various game modes.

Once they get more of the bugs worked out, Levolution still has good promise.  It may require some tweaking though.  Take the falling tower for instance, it is possible to take that down very early in the game.  It is possibly too easy to initiate that set piece, which may cause it to lose impact on gameplay if it is down early and often.  There is a significant different in how the game plays when it is up versus down.  When the tower is up, there is a clear battle to dominate the rooftop.  When it is down, the game becomes a bit more chaotic.  I have seen games where it remained up for some time and was brought down when a team expressed concern they could not take C without dropping the tower.  It is reassuring to see a round play out is a more tactical and team-based manner.

Where's the dust?
I do have concerns about how graphics settings affect the large-scale Levolution.  The falling tower was sold as game-changing in that it created a large dust cloud that makes things more difficult for air support and snipers.  However, with graphics set to low, the dust cloud is not much of a problem, if at all noticeable.  This brings up the concern that if a team is doing really well in the air and the other team takes down the tower to obscure their vision, will the team dominating in the air be able to continue doing so by simply turning down their graphics?

DICE is still working to perform final tweaking and balancing of the weapons and vehicles.  For instance, Demize99 has tweeted they they have not yet determined if RPGs will still have locking capabilities in the final build.  If they do, damage will be reduced, at the least.  To me, the weapons had a good feel, although there were moments when some weapons, like pistols, seemed to do an extra burst of damage.  Also, the vapor trails on sniper rounds seemed inconsistent with the actual bullet trajectory.

I love the new deploy screen.  Choosing your spawn point is straightforward and intuitive.  I also like that the spawn screen is a real-time map, making it easier to see the big picture and think tactically about where you spawn.  I found myself making better spawn choices.  I also found this was improved by having VOIP, because it enabled me to communicate with team mates on where to spawn and as what class, as well as communicating with them on what I saw on the map while I waited for the countdown timer.

Battlefield 4 will also offer some new weapons and gadgets.  One we got to try in the beta is the XM25 airburst grenade launcher carried by the support class.  I really love the way this weapon works, even if it is a bit of a niche role.  I took out my fair share of rooftop campers thanks to its airburst mechanic.

With less than twenty days until release, I am really looking forward to this game.

October 8, 2013

Battlefield 4 Beta - Floating Pistol

I recently encountered a bug in which my player had no arms from first person point of view (here is my Battlelog submission thread, in case you've encountered similar and want to add to it).  Unfortunately, this also meant no gun or ability to defend myself.  That is, until I tried switching to my sidearm and found my magical floating pistol!

I really wish my PC was good enough to capture video, because this was a funny little bug!

October 3, 2013

Battlefield 4 - How to Airburst! - Tutorial on the XM25

The following video is an incredibly useful tutorial on how to use the new XM25 airburst grenade launcher.  I, for one, definitely used it wrong the first time.  This could prove to be an incredibly useful tool!

Also, bonus points for the "fuck off tanks!" line.  Too flippin' funny.