Knee-jerk Thoughts: Battlefield 3 Beta

By Alec Meer on September 27th, 2011 at 3:53 pm.

Behold the face of a man who murdered me. Let's vilify him!

My code has arrived, my megabytes have downloaded, Origin has grudgingly been installed and I have managed to squeeze in a couple of rounds in the Battlefield 3 open beta, which launched for pre-orderers and Medal of Honor special edition-buying mooks today (and goes live for everyone a couple of days later). This is nothing like an informed opinion as of yet: it’s just entirely top-of-the-head thoughts based on my very first experiences of manshooting in DICE’s new game and its new engine.

So, the hurdle to jump through before I could get to the point where I tried to hover a reticule over a man’s face was the new server browser/friend management/character system. This all works through your browser, and in my case wanted to download two plugins for Chrome so it could do whatever the hell it was doing. Initially, I thought my only option was to press the big QUICK MATCH button as everything else was apparently disabled for the beta. This didn’t go well, as it placed me in a 80-strong queue and then accused my client of being out of date and kicked me right out when I finally got to the head of the line some 20 minutes later.

In a bit of a mood by that point, I explored the web interface further and found the actual server browser, wherein I was able to track down a game with a few spaces free and join within a couple of minutes (though the game was still launched via a JOIN GAME button in my browser – trying to load the client myself only opened another browser window). In the human versus computer stakes, I was therefore winning – but I guess the match auto-finder might get a bit more reliable once the initial crush has died down.

So, I was into the game, and I’ll say a few words about that very shortly. Firstly though, I’ve got to say I’m really not a fan of not being able to launch the game in a conventional way, but instead having to go through the web interface before I can get even a sniff of actual Battlefieldery. As well as the faffing about element, it also meant none of the game was loaded ahead of the match itself, and if I accidentally closed the tab while I was irritatedly web-browsing during my wait for a game, I’d lose my place. It just seems a bit needless and overcomplicated, and far more about social networky, unlocky, statty, community stuff than about being useful for the actual play experience. Maybe over time I’ll come to appreciate it, but right now I’m just itching to get right into the game not dick about with my browser.

The game itself, then. The only map in there, for now, is Operation Metro, a Paris-set level of impressively vast proportions. In classic Battlefield style, you’ll get given a warning timer and eventually an insta-death if you roam out of the mission area for too long, but that’s to keep the game flowing rather than because far-off areas are barren and empty. A huge lake, the looming Eiffel Tower and assorted other familiarly Parisian architecture, tons of vegetation and the sound of distant, raging battle made for a map that felt huge and slap-bang in the middle of a major warzone. I wanted to explore and admire it, but I got shot in the back of a head by a wanker (i.e. Someone doing what he was supposed to be doing) whenever I tried to. I hope this engine can one day be turned to something other than a high-speed manshooter, because it’s clearly capable of great things.

Performance-wise, I whacked everything up to Ultra [edit – apparently Ultra isn’t actually implemented yet, although the game doesn’t say as much itself and lets you select the option, so presumably I was actually running on something lower) on my Radeon 5850 at 1920×1200 and for the most part it was smooth and great – there were a couple of frame-rate wobbles, but brief and few. I don’t know that I’d say it looks revelatory, but it certainly put most everything else in the pseudo-photo-realistic stakes to shame and didn’t have even the faintest whiff of consolery.

In terms of how it played, I’m a poor witness – everyone else in the map seemed to be accomplished snipers while I was wandering around in my traditional role of Support, offering up ammo to chums and laying down suppression fire in between crawling around on my belly and trying to throw grenades far further than is humanly possible. I was killed a lot, normally in one-shot from someone a great distance away, but I killed a few guys and, probably less than 10 minutes into playing, got my first rank-up and unlock (a shotgun) plus a couple of Achievement-aping Ribbons. I’m not particularly interested in the willy-waving, but it seems like I won’t have to wait long to be customising my class, and I’m happy about that.

What I can say is that it felt a whole lot more dramatic than prior Battlefields, due to the detail of the map and the various megasplodes meant to increase the sense of being in a larger war rather than a neatly-zoned off map. In Rush mode, the aim for my side was to plant and successfully detonate explosives on two key points, which seemed to make a whole lot more sense than the traditional capturing mechanic (though I think that’s in Conquest mode, the only other map option in the beta).

So, I need to play an awful lot more – and will do so just as soon as I post this – but capsule impression is it’s very much Battlefield – not simplified, CODlike gumpf, but ramped up and prettied up. It’s confident, it’s bombastic but classy and it requires patience and carefulness. Proper Battlefield, you know? I suspect it’s going to make people very happy indeed, that annoying web loader/server browser and, of course, the necessity to have Origin installed and running as well as that aside.

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160 Comments »

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  1. sneetch says:

    Oh noes! Photos of the IRA training! Call ITV!

  2. Pod42 says:

    Man I wish I had this, lost my bank card so can’t pre-order :(

    Very nice to hear it’s still Battlefield though

  3. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Didn’t know about the web loader, how utterly shit an idea is that.

    • ShineDog says:

      Meh, sounds bad but in the Alpha I was really taken aback by how fast it was. It’s entirely possible they’ve buggered it up for launch, it is Dice after all.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Indeed, a AAA game should have as few third party dependencies as possible. What if I the only web browser I have installed is not supported? For what ever reason I have uninstalled IE and only use the built in Steam one? Far fetched? maybe, but what happens when all the browsers are updated and the plugin no longer works?

    • Unaco says:

      Lynx support perhaps? For the visually impaired.

    • Premium User Badge

      Richard Beer says:

      Y’know it’s funny. I greatly miss the days of Quakespy and All Seeing Eye which were, essentially, browser interfaces that allowed you to launch the game directly to a server without having to manually start it first. Taking the browser in-game always seemed like a controlling step backwards for game design to me.

      And now here we are, in the Future when we’ve all got used to it, complaining about things going back the other way again. Well, hooray I say! (although I haven’t tried it myself, and am merely going on what’s been said here.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      You may as well say “what if I uninstalled DirectX”? Internet Explorer is a key Windows component (in the same way WebKit is on OS X, or GNOME-flavoured Linux under the guise of GTKHTML), get over it.

    • Splynter says:

      I’d completely forgotten about All-seeing Eye. That was actually pretty awesome. Instead of waiting on slow loading games to get into a buggy server browser, you could look for the servers in a lightweight, third-party program. It wasn’t perfect, but neither were in-game server browsers.

    • woodsey says:

      “Internet Explorer is a key Windows component ”

      So key that I’ve not used it once in about 2 years.

    • Schelome says:

      Internet explorer is in no way integral to windows and most of my friends and I have it uninstalled so it wont update or fucking complain so much.

      anyways, on topic:
      My first reaction to the server web browser was very negative, but after some more thought it does not seem to be much different from launching any game and should take no more time than, say, launching into a steam game from a friend.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Internet explorer is in no way integral to windows and most of my friends and I have it uninstalled so it wont update or fucking complain so much.

      That’s nice dear. I bet they also use nLite to remove “bloat” then whine that Windows is so broken when they find they’ve crippled their systems. Kind of like opening the bonnet on your car and taking a hacksaw to anything you don’t like the look of, then blaming the manufacturer when it won’t start. Or maybe all they’ve done is uninstall the front-end, in which case—congratulations! You have achieved no dubious “gains” except taking away your ability to view pages in IE itself. Fight the man.

      Either way, IE won’t “update or fucking complain”, because that is quite simply not a thing it does when it isn’t running. Unless you’re going to whine that you’re getting security and feature updates for it amongst the other OS updates. (Because, once again, IE is a core OS component. It is a dependency of stock Windows functionality, e.g. Windows Help. Hell in Windows 8 it’s apparently a full-blown subsystem alongside Win32. This isn’t open to debate: it is a simple matter of fact. We can say “Trident” if you want, but Microsoft don’t tend to make that distinction.)

    • dsi1 says:

      @LionsPhil: You’re not exactly correct here. Not to mention that, to the vast majority of people at least, the IE “front-end” is IE. For example, the only way I can use IE (and I wouldn’t even have this if it wasn’t for crappy site developers) is through an extension for Chrome.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Dependencies such as the Trident layout engine are not removed through this process

      Microsoft has held that this [distinction between the frontend and its components] is not meaningful; that in Windows 98 and newer versions, “Internet Explorer” is not a separate piece of software but simply a brand name for the Web-browsing and HTML-displaying capacities of the Windows operating system. In this view, the result of removing IE is simply a damaged Windows system; to have a working system without IE one must replace Windows entirely.

      Thanks for playing.

      (inb4 Power User morons on the Internet think they know Windows internals better than Microsoft and claim “it’s all for marketing and control purposes”, even though having the ability to handle web content in your standard OS libraries is now SOP across all major desktop platforms, including the very liberal interpretation that calls Linux “major”)

    • Shodex says:

      Somebody is just upset because they don’t know how to uninstall Internet Explorer. I haven’t had it installed on all three of my machines for years and I never had any problems.

      The point is, you’re an idiot and an ass. Wait no, that wasn’t the point. The point was the Web Based Server Browser is an awful idea, I got messed up there because you came to mark your territory and piss on this discussion until it was irrelevant to the topic.

      The problem is, Battlefield 3 seems to be relying on a plethora of sources to do it’s bidding (from what I’ve heard, I haven’t played the game yet myself). You have to install Origin, then use a separate web browser to launch the server browser. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put all that ingame? Battlelog is fine in a browser Bungie.net style, though I would rather it ingame.

      I don’t understand why everything needs to have other programs running along side it (Steamworks, Origin, etc.) I wish I could just have an option to install a non-Steam/non-Origin version of my games.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, hey, if you want to degrade to ad-homs:

      “Wah wah wah, I wish I was still running DOS. The idea that software is broken down into separate interdependent components is abhorrent to me. I want to rip out core parts of my software environment and expect everything to still work.”

    • MisterT says:

      I found BF likes chrome a lot, firefox was okay, and IE was IE.
      and I actually prefer it with no splash screens, faster to get playing once you’re used to it.

    • Consumatopia says:

      even though having the ability to handle web content in your standard OS libraries is now SOP across all major desktop platforms, including the very liberal interpretation that calls Linux “major”)

      This is incorrect. Ubuntu, for example, has the closely related Kubuntu and Xubuntu distros–different desktop environments, different web browser engines, same OS. You can even install all three desktop environments simultaneously. Fedora offers similar desktop “spins”.

      Also note that while Microsoft may say the distinction between Internet Explorer and it’s engine is meaningless, I wouldn’t say the distinction between Firefox and Gecko, or the distinctions between WebKit, Safari and Chrome are meaningless.

    • Shortwave says:

      Hello, I’m just here to add that I also uninstall IE because I find it to be terribly crappy to use.
      I don’t require using nlite to do so. I just go to Programs and Applications then uninstall it through “Remove Windows Features” or whatever. Works like a charm!

    • LionsPhil says:

      @Consumatopia: No, really, distros exist? What a fucking surprise, it’s almost as if I tried to be concise and didn’t spell out “an ordinary desktop-oriented GNOME-or-KDE-flavoured spin of GNU/Linux”. I’m sure the one guy still running twm and using Mosaic is grinning gleefully at my inprecision from his fortress of Motif widgetry.

      Regardless, try removing libwebkit on Ubuntu/Xubuntu and see how many dependency issues aptitude throws up. Chances are it will hit your -desktop metapackage (i.e. it is an indirect dependency of said Linux desktop distro) amongst all the applications that it suggests to remove since they will no longer function: it does on Xubuntu.

      (For Kubuntu, you’ll want the package for KHTML, or maybe QtWebKit. I’m not sure if they’ve transitioned yet because I don’t run it.)

    • Consumatopia says:

      LionsPhil is so cute when someone calls him on his bullshit.

      If by “concise”, you mean “wrong”, then fine–be concise. But those distros/spins are the SAME OS (you can even install them simultaneously) with DIFFERENT web engine packages.

      And none of them would say that the distinction between the underlying web engine library and the web browser is meaningless. If a PC manufacturer wanted to remove Internet Explorer but leave IE’s underlying core intact, while installing Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Opera for some reason, you can bet Microsoft would see the meaning there.

      I happened to check what removing webkitgtk packages from Fedora 15 would do, and I was kind of surprised how few dependencies it bugged me about. The help browser I never think to use and a handful of other programs I never use.

    • Shortwave says:

      You’re a bit mental LionsPhil. Coming from me that’s something truly special..
      Everyone realizes everything you are shitting about, it’s not secret fucking knowledge.
      It’s just NOT THE FUCKING POINT AT ALL. I can still uninstall Internet Explorer all the same.
      The program itself, DERP. NOT THE FUCKING WHOLE BACKBONE OF THE WINDOWS OS.

      And.. LOL.

    • Shodex says:

      He’s adorable really, you can tell by every one of his replies he’s lonely and feels inferior to everyone around him. So he lashes out every chance he gets, trying to make himself feel better about his raging insecurities.

    • LionsPhil says:

      @Consumatopia: And? I could install ubuntu-server and not even have X, let alone any browser engines. (I don’t think you even get lynx from that metapackage.) I am sorry if you want to have a slapfest about which side of the standard libraries and desktop environment you want to draw the “OS” boundary for Linux and how this applies across different distributions that use different parts to fill in that functionality but I honestly don’t think that’s a argument worth having on the Internet, especially in the middle of a thread about a PC game for Windows.

      Aww, and a fanbase is here to call me names. Run out of actual arguments, have we lads?

    • turd_ferguson says:

      you have removed the frame and menus that wrap up internet explorer. you have not removed internet explorer.

      http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.windows.forms.webbrowser.aspx

    • Shortwave says:

      /me slams his face into his desk

  4. NR says:

    Hmmm…. Does anyone know why the server browser stuff isn’t integrated into Origin itself? Surely that would have been the most convenient way of arranging things?

    • methodology says:

      The battlelog makes use of ALOT of web technologies, for all the social aspects, stats, voice chat, pretty much a very very nice complete package. Putting all that inside the game would probably require them licensing one of the major browser packages which would cost a pretty penny also would bloat the hell out of the game as well. The major browsers handle it great already, and efficiently so while it seems a bit like they’re adding an unnecessary step to getting into the game, I think you’ll find that it’s very useful and hardly impacts your ability to get into the game quickly.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Uh.

      1) You don’t need to use lol-HTML-and-CSS-and-JavaScript to implement “social” things. It is hip and trendy to, and obviously helpful in cases where the user is not going to be installing native code (say, a game), but not a technical requirement.
      2) You can embed IE liberally, since it’s an OS component. See: old Steam.
      3) Failing that, or if for some reason you think being cross-platform is worthwhile, there’s WebKit. See: new Steam. Pretty sure the server greeting screen in TF2 is rendering as a webpage, too.

    • methodology says:

      I guess they’re using ajax so wouldn’t be a problem but I think it’s more about the fact that they want one central control scheme and community for all their products going forward and maybe even back to bc2. This might include all dice games and maybe other ea games. So having it outside of the game works for them. Which then you would think that having it integrated into origin would be the way to go but since this isn’t just for the pc they wanted something that all the platforms could interact with. Xbox and ps3 get a very limited form of the battlelog integrated in the game, but if they want to do anything more than some very basic configurations they have to jump on a web browser to do so.

      What I don’t get is origin, at first I thought with SW:Tor and bf3 they would have a great 1 2 punch to get a very nice competing community going on. But it seems now that they’re relegating it to just a drm/download platform.

    • Bull0 says:

      Does Origin have an integrated browser, like Steam? If not, my guess is it will fairly soon.

    • Chufty says:

      I would guess the browser is not integrated into Origin because, unlike Steam, you’re not required to run Origin to run the games installed with it.

      As others have mentioned though, launching the game through the browser is very fast and seamless. I’m sure we’ll all be used to it soon enough, and in 10 years time will reflect back and say “lol, remember when we used to have icons for our games on that silly start menu thing that Windows used to have?”

  5. DaFishes says:

    Did you see any bitches in the game, perchance? Their marketing made mention of them in the latest trailer, and I was wondering if it was a new type of gun or something awesome like that.

    • Caribou says:

      Hm, I got the impression from the trailer that out of the many problems to be found in this game, these “bitches” were not present among them. Perhaps they shall be released as some form of launch-day DLC.

    • briktal says:

      I saw the marketing on TV but I don’t recall them saying anything at all about bitches.

    • Unaco says:

      Really, really unfortunate choice of music for the latest trailers. Dripping with misogyny. They should probably just put in the requirements…

      Dx10 or above capable video card required.
      Origin account required.
      Male sex organs required.
      2GB RAM Minimum.
      20GB HD Space required.
      Optional: Deep seated hatred for women and propensity to vocalise this may be of benefit during online play. Homophobic abuse would also serve in place of this.

    • AlexTaldren says:

      @Unaco: I would have preferred a different song myself, but you don’t have to be all Mod Flanders about it.

    • Unaco says:

      Oh… So sorry Alex. Next time I see something objectionable I’ll just keep quiet about it. That OK with you?

    • BrotherCabbage says:

      Unaco: I think he means you’re reading too far into it. It’s just a song choice, and I doubt anyone at EA decided “Hey, let’s actively try to ostracize women, because men are clearly the superior gender”. Granted, the song is shit, but chances are the intent of the trailer is nothing like what you seem to think it is. Looking at the trailer and claiming that the makers have a deep seated hatred for women is a long shot.

    • ShrikeMalakim says:

      @BrotherCabbage: No, he’s not reading too much into it, honestly. He’s exaggerating for effect, but the choices made by game developers about gender perception ABSOLUTELY reveal a rampant misogyny in the industry that’s shared across basically every tech-related interest… And just letting decisions like that slide encourages it to continue.

    • Alexnader says:

      The chorus and hook of Jay-Z’s song ’99 Problems’ was taken from Ice-T’s song of the same name, the former is about racist police officers and race issues and the latter is about a guy and how he “got a ho from the East, got a ho from the West, Got a ho that likes to jack it off and rub it in her chest”. I’m just saying there’s worse things for women in this world than Jay-Z’s song.

      Anyway irrespective of sexism the song doesn’t fit with Battlefield (but fits well with the video thanks to good editing). I find it interesting that while Battlefield is considered one of the more classy shooter franchises within the gaming fold the second it’s exposed to mainstream media it needs a rap song with phat beats blasting over it in a desperate attempt to convince drunken rape mongering frat boys to buy it instead of MW3. (Now that may be reading too much into it).

    • WhatKateDoes says:

      Actually very disappointed that there’s not the option to play as female in the game, it could be defined by your account settings or something, so there’s not a bunch of girl-wannabe’s running around lol.

      Trivia – one of my twitter friends is one of the programmers of Frostbite 2, and alas she had no say on the inclusion or not of female player models :(

      As for the ad.. well. its an ad, and its to get the blood pumping of those wee teens who’ll persuade their parents to get the game for them no doubt :/ – but hopefully they’ll mostly be buying Modern Warfare thingmujig.

  6. ShineDog says:

    Interesting. In my time in the Alpha I found that the game launched from the browser far faster than BC2 did. Both in terms of time to launch the browser vs time to launch the games main menu, and the time to launch the game from in game browser vs browser… browser. I never once felt like I was fighting it (Apart from, like you initially thinking that quickmatch was my only option.)

  7. clockler says:

    Oh come on, the only people who do browser-based game launching are the korean MMO crowd (nexon, ijji and the like). Then again, perhaps someone a tad more intelligent (just a tad, mind) could do it better. Perhaps.

    I like having the option. Options are good. But not being able to load the game up yourself is bad.

    • ShineDog says:

      Eh, it replaces the games main menu, it does exactly the same job as the main menu and it loads fast. The beta might have some teething troubles, but people who tried the Alpha were generally positive about it.

    • ItalianPodge says:

      I find the web interface works really well in iracing. It’s clear but at the same time there is lots of information on the site to keep you occupied before the race begins. Once it begins the app launches from a button which had a countdown on it and generally loads into the race in about 30 seconds.

      I didn’t think I would be a fan but it works really well.

    • Moni says:

      I wonder if it would be a good idea for them to just integrate a web browser into the game client, so, effectively, you can connect to servers within the game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Ace of Spades also uses a web page as its server list, and associates itself as a protocol handler so it works with any browser which actually bothers to behave properly in its host OS’s ecosystem. It works fairly well.

      What I don’t get is why Alec was being asked to install plugins. Buh?

    • Premium User Badge

      bear912 says:

      Options are lovely. Back in the day, I could simply create a script that would launch a game, passing it a few command-line parameters so that it would automagically join my favorite server!

      Oh wait… There are a lot of games that still do that, aren’t there? There’s even the Steam browser protocol that lets me do that with a browser, and the Steamworks server browser (opened by putting “steam://open/servers/” in a link, which WordPress seems to take issue with)…

      It’s not that the way Battlefield 3 is doing this is bad, it’s just that it’s been done better. EA and DICE have a lot of catching up to do.

      And yes, @LionsPhil, Ace of Spades does a web-based server browser correctly, making use of the URI handler system that has been implemented in every major operating system, and has worked successfully for over a decade (if I’m not mistaken). Using a plugin to do this is completely unnecessary, as well as being:

      WRONG AND BAD

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, I fear the hypothetical day when everyone starts doing this, and we get conflicts in the rather limited protocol space. Plenty of games with the same initials. :/

    • nubbuka says:

      @bear912 wow thanks for informing about the server browser, I thought after the new inferface
      the browser has been removed.
      Thank you very much :3

    • LionsPhil says:

      Ooh, that is handy. You can just slap the URI into Run (Winkey+R), btw.

    • Qazi says:

      @nubbuka:
      The Steam Server Browser has been under the “View” tab since the interface update.
      Under “Settings; Interface; Set Taskbar Menu / Jumplist Preferences,” there is also an option that allows you to tag it to the right-click menu for Steam on the taskbar.

    • gamma says:

      bear912: apparently it is actually necessary. How would you get proper “pings” from the browser to list the servers. You need to send the ping request from the machine the browser is running at… not from battlelog servers.

      Also, Battlelog, hence BF3, runs/depends on this Planet and SONAR stuff, and those very plugins you’re required to install, probably (totaly speculative), are not compatible with Origin’s in-game web browser (Shift-F1) and the very reason this is not being advertised so to those unconfortable with alt-tabbing the game to accomplish essential functionality (server browsing). To achieve what I suspect was the idea from the get go.

  8. Inglourious Badger says:

    Hmm, to pre-order and get involved in the beta…. that’s the question. I was totally fine waiting til next month but now I know other people are playing Battlefield 3 RIGHT NOW I feel rather urged. Obviously should wait for a WIT, but come on, it’s Battlefield. It’ll be quite the thing I’m sure

    • methodology says:

      you could just wait till thursday for the open beta?

    • Salt says:

      I believe the open beta begins either tomorrow or the day after. So far as I can tell it’s totally open to anyone willing to install Origin, whether you’ve pre-ordered or not.

      Kind of like a demo, but with an always active “it’s only a beta” get out of jail free card.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      It’s open to anyone!? Swish! Ill definitely be downloading then

  9. smi1ey says:

    Web server list sounds terrible. Other than that I’m stoked about this game. Got the preorder so I’ll be on tonight!

  10. GenBanks says:

    Turns out the early access from preordering on origin only came if you did so by the 25th!! I somehow missed this clause and preordered at 2am on the 26th.

    What a BS arbitrary time limit :/ I paid £10 more to order from Origin.

  11. Creeping Death says:

    I really don’t like the web browser idea. After installing the plugins and sitting in a queue from 60ish it actually timed out before I got into a game. When I finally was able to get into one the game itself refused to launch because I didn’t have the latest Nvidia driver, which I now found isn’t actually compatible with my card. So no bf for me. yaaaaay -.-

    • ShineDog says:

      If it’s queueing you you are doing it quicklaunching rather than the server browser, no?

  12. Isometric says:

    Pre-ordered it on Origin and not got a key yet. I am disappoint.

    • GenBanks says:

      When did you preorder it? See my post a few spots up…

    • Isometric says:

      Yeah I pre-ordered before then and still no key, thus my dismay and confusion. That really does take the piss.

    • rhizo says:

      No key here either. So much for “48h early access”…

    • Isometric says:

      My order was on the 20th so it’s not like it was a last minute job. Apparently there are a few people who haven’t gotten one yet, some are folks who bought Medal of Honour for the beta. I guess it’s going to take a while giving out all those keys.

    • Isometric says:

      Ok since I wasn’t getting an email for my pre-order I remembered I bought Medal of Honour in a Steam sale. Turns out I have a beta key on there. Redeemed it on Origin and downloading now. Kinda strange seeing as I didn’t pre-order MoH but still got a beta key with the standard edition of that game anyway.

  13. Baka says:

    Yes, so. I only played two rounds and are now getting the ERROR 2, whatever that is, but: Infantry only as attacker on the first stage seems rather unforgiving. Defenders are camping absolutely everywhere, no coming through at all. Seems to me like the attackers have to be rather dominant on the aimy K/D side of things to get ze point.

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      Yes, Rush mode is always like that, i.e., it always sucks.

  14. applecado says:

    Also a bit pants that we have to leave Firefox (or whatever) sucking up all the ram it wants while we play the game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s not 1999 any more. You can multitask now, you know. Windows is actually pretty good at it by this point.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I’d be much more worried about what’s loaded into your system tray, I imagine the memory usage of a web browser that’s been minimised will be pretty close to zero

    • psyk says:

      Firefox still uses masses amounts of ram (memory leak) don’t you know.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I don’t see how that’s battlefields problem, surely if firefox has this issue, people should stop using it

      EDIT: That came out ruder than I meant it… still friends?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Minimizing something does not, generally speaking, affect its total memory requirements. Also, anything lurking in your notification area is prrrobably insignificant, save the usual hogs like antivirus (and even then their biggest performance impact is one of file hooking).

      What it does do is reduce its activity level since you won’t be poking it, and as a result its working set will shrink and more of it can be paged out and left there, if somehow you actually run low on memory, or Windows decides that capacity is better used for file [pre]caching.

      If you’re really terrified of leaky old Firefox sitting about in the background, restart it first. It can even mostly recover tab state these days. Or could in 3.x, anyway. 4/5/6.x seems to have broken that, along with everything else.

    • psyk says:

      @Sheng-ji

      It isnt and if people are getting it really bad they probley should.

    • gamma says:

      LionsPhil: Multitasking GPU stuff (2D Desktop to 3D application) is something totally obscure by Microsoft’s own specs for WDDM for Windows 8 still and as low level as the OS graphic driver. It is a DICE’s shot in the dark!

  15. Deadpool46 says:

    Looking forward to playing the Beta.

    Apparently the ‘Ultra’ settings are not implemented in the Beta but will be available in the final release… http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,846884/Battlefield-3-Beta-Hands-on-Gameplay-graphics-und-bugs-75-maxed-out-screenshots/News/

    • Fierce says:

      That’s interesting, because now I’d like to know what exactly is implemented in the Beta under the “Ultra” monikers on the settings page.

      Specifically because, like Alec Meer, I have Radeon 5850s. While I have two of them and Crossfire is giving me a vague, blurry, lukewarm sense of “you don’t need to upgrade for this” security, I’d still very much like to know just how bullshit the Recommended system requirements they released are in actual practice.

      Any chance this could be looked into Alec?

    • Deadpool46 says:

      Repi on Twitter was saying that you need to exit the game for graphic options to take effect. And some people are reporting that option changes are not registering.

      Alec, have you tried maxing everything, exiting and restarting? Otherwise changes won’t take effect.

      I have asked Repi and pcgameshardware.com to clarify if the Ultra settings work in the Beta.

      The footage for BF3 has so far been stunning, so I’m surprised the Beta isn’t following suit. Maybe that’s why it’s called a Beta.

  16. Enef says:

    I’ve been queuing for an empty server for like 20 minutes now.

    • Bull0 says:

      Good times

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Isn’t that sort of like knocking on the locked door of a store that has the lights turned off?

    • Bull0 says:

      No, it’s like a guard at an empty store telling you you can’t go in yet and giving no explanation as to why. Just because it’s empty doesn’t mean it should be locked. Insulting one liners are better when they work. But then again, they kind of always suck, don’t do it.

  17. Sergey Galyonkin says:

    BTW, does everyone, who preordered a game, gets into a beta? Because I’ve preordered and paid for it, but still no luck :(

  18. evilmatt says:

    “I hope this engine can one day be turned to something other than a high-speed manshooter, because it’s clearly capable of great things.”

    It most certainly is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1BS-edKw0k

    All thumbs up for DICE, very nice job :D

  19. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    Good for you :)

  20. celozzip says:

    my only concern is prone. i know everyone wants a ‘true’ sequel to battlefield 2 but if that means everyone squirming around on their bellies sniping at eachother then no thanks. i’ve seen quite a few alpha videos and it seems to happen a lot.

  21. Ace McAwesome says:

    I’m in the “closed beta” and it’s pretty much a disaster. The queues are tremendous, the server browser is terribly inadequate, not to mention it launches from your goddamn browser (it would still be inadequate even if it launched from inside the game), the game is incredibly buggy, on the one map they gave to test there are no vehicles (!! what is this, MW?), and it’s an lolpronesnipecamp fest currently.

    The forums are a mix of rage and people retorting with, “Well it’s a beta, what do you expect?” Considering we’re less than a month from release, some bugs I can accept, but I expected better than this.

    • Alexnader says:

      It’s a software development project, furthermore a game, it’s a good day if they fix that crap before launch. “A month before launch” does not necessarily mean all that much.

      Anyway you’re complaining about long queues (a server loading issue) on the day they launch the closed beta where the number of players jumps from a small amount to a ridiculously large one. There will be fail, that’s all I can say.

      I do agree with your complaints about the map selection though. Why not Caspian Border + Metro? I’d rather have spent the next month of my life playing Conquest than grit my teeth and endure Rush with no vehicles including the LAV we already saw in the alpha test.

  22. Tmoore says:

    Right out the gate a few thoughts:

    1. Controls feel heavy, but in a good way – I love me some BFBC2 but i always felt a bit to “thick” – BF3 seems to be striking the right balance here – i can move fast, bounding is excellent, prone creates a much more thoughtful engagement. shooting is fantastic, recoil means you have to aim and burst properly.

    2. Browser based server, er uh browser – actually works great – hope to see more folks move to this – i spend so much time in browser on a normal day that the transition between browsing and gaming feels so intuitive. Very well done here, any haters need to try it out, and if you still don’t like it… well, i feel bad for ya son.

    3. Gameplay feels taut – as i was expecting, great back and forth, push and pull, i’m seeing tactics being used, teams checking corners, throwing nades into doorways, giving support. Prone is a fantastic addition – i only wish now i could lean around corners.

    This is gonna be game of the year.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Pedant’s corner: prone was in BF2, so isn’t really an addition. (I have many happy memories of diving toward sniped teammates, weilding a pair of shock paddles that somehow fix violent cranial intrusions…)

      (The memories of EA’s fucking account system, less happy.)

    • Premium User Badge

      ata says:

      Fully agree with you there, I was very dubious about the browser based server browser but it actually seems to work pretty well!

      Really enjoying it so far, as with BC2 its so much better when you get a decent squad that actually pay attention to the objectives.

    • johndoe says:

      The game is fucking great. Its jut a shame i cant get into one..

      Ive had the beta 7 hours already, and ive managed about an hour of playtime… ive spent more time looking at the server browser than in game. The main problems ive found are:

      Of all the games I have managed to play, ive not completed a full round yet without a crash/dissconnect to battlelog.

      If i join at the end of the round and i do actually see the win/loss screen, it crashes to battlelog on re-loading the same map.

      If you change any graphics options it crashes back to battlelog.

      The game sometimes randomly minimises the bf3 window so you can see notifications in the background. My PC doesnt like this and goes mental for a few minutues after. I have to prone in a bush untill it becomes responsive again. (I have recommended specs, and ‘auto’ detects me to high graphics)

      After dissconnecting for any reason without a crash, the next load takes several attempts, and around 2-3 minutes.

      Queueing for servers that arent even full.

      If at anytime you ctrl-alt-delete it because its crashed, I have to reboot PC. The game screen goes white/not responding if you try to reload, battlelog says a game instance is already running, and origin wont log out because it thinks bf3 beta is running.

      From the few minutes ive played though, its really good. I guess its a Beta and the servers are a bit overloaded. Hope they get it all fixed.

  23. Ogun says:

    Just got my key (must be midnight somewhere) – this origin/browser business is ugly.

  24. TH0TH says:

    Have you seen the pc vs ps3 comparison vid? :P
    Mild Trolling

  25. Tyshalle says:

    Anyone else feel like this game is kind of ugly? When I played in the alpha I got the same sense from the graphics that I did from Crysis 2; which is to say that it looks great as long as you don’t focus on anything specifically or look at anything up close. From far away and at a glance it looks great, but otherwise is fairly underwhelming.

    Just me?

  26. Premium User Badge

    Phinor says:

    Tons of issues with Battlelog right now. A lot of people simply can’t join servers due to various reasons such as getting stuck at joining, getting a message saying the server is full even if it’s completely empty and so on. Then there’s the quickmatch button which does absolutely nothing right now. Battlelog simply does not work right now for a lot of people. Then there’s Origin with various errors at various stages of the install process. Error 110 being the fan favourite. The Battlelog forums might be useful to find solutions to these problems but the search functionality is disabled in beta so that option goes out the window. DICE probably wouldn’t mind 1-2 months of additional development time but EA says they need the game out before MW3 and that’s that.

    Was this a pointless rant about a beta product? I don’t know. The game works flawlessly for me (apart from not running with my ATI 6970) but it’s pretty frustrating to watch so many people have problems right now.

    • ShineDog says:

      I don’t know if it’s worth pointing out, but in the Alpha there were basically none of these issues and it worked flawlessly. No idea why it’s such a cluster at the moment, too much load I guess.

    • cavalier says:

      I disagree with your opinion about battlelog. I think it worked quite well. Games loaded fast the server browser actually worked, and I liked that I could easily check out all of the social networky things they added in.

      I do understand why one would miss an in game menu and browser though. That feeling you get when first loading up a game just doesn’t exist when all it does is load up a webpage. no awesome intor music or movie, no anticipation or build up. That counts for something. Of course, 2 weeks down the road all you will care about is how fast you can get in a game.

  27. stretchpuppy says:

    I just received my e-mail invite for the PS3, FYI for other console consumers;

    Hi Pup,
    In the coming weeks we will be running an Open Beta for Battlefield 3. To thank you for buying Medal of Honor Limited Edition/Tier 1 Edition, we would like to invite you to join the PlayStation®3 Open Beta 48 hours early.

  28. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Doesn’t that other modern conflict game also take place in Paris?

    I guess we’ll always have Paris…

  29. Stinkfinger75 says:

    But can you play it with a controller? The lack of option to do this in BC2 was a bit annoying.

  30. Telzis says:

    “I hope this engine can one day be turned to something other than a high-speed manshooter, because it’s clearly capable of great things.”
    Since the first videos of Battlefield 3 were shown, I imagine a sequel to Mirror’s Edge made with Frostbite 2.

    • d34thly says:

      LionsPhil says ” It’s not Sony’s fault the PC you bought from them doesn’t work right because you removed the sony trojan, I mean root kit. Quit your complaining and reinstall their root kit.”

  31. hivess says:

    “The only map in there, for now, is Operation Metr” – “for now”? Do you know something we don’t? Hmmm?

    • suibhne says:

      If you’ve played the beta, then you know another map is probably on its way; it already shows up in the server browser as a filterable option, but it’s in testing on locked EA servers. Doesn’t take any inside scoop, just some eyes and a beta key.

  32. Crugath says:

    Just thought I’d add my views on this for anyone who is interested.

    My PC is; 2500k, 8GB ram, GTX 460 1GB, Windows 7 Pro X64.

    So far it’s been running very well at 1680×1050 with med-high graphics (around 50-75fps). And it looks great, especially when you’re in the metro tunnels.

    It’s great to see a decent range of graphics options in game, but it’s annoying that you can only change them when you are quite literally IN GAME. Once you join a server from battlelog and the game’s loaded, you choose your class and kit. You don’t yet have the ability to change any settings. It’s only once you have spawned that you get the ability to hit ESC and change settings. Also, once a round has finished and you see the stats breakdown for the round and then it loads the next round, you have no ability to quit, even ALT+F4 is disabled at that point. Until the round has loaded and you can choose your kit. If you’re looking for a Quit menu option, again you have to spawn to be able to hit ESC so you can quit.

    Also if the server boots you off for any reason, the game will just close, no warnings or messages pop up until you go back to your browser to see a little message in the corner saying “connection lost.”

    When you do find a server with free slots, the time it takes from hitting join game, to having the map loaded ready to play is pretty good. You can in fact even keep the game minimised until it’s loaded and then just hit Open game, where the game will pop up in fullscreen immediately, ready to go.

    Finding servers could be made easier, and I think with minor reworking of the site, it’ll work ok. When you are presented with servers on battlelog, you will be shown something like 25 servers on the first “page” but when you scroll down towards the bottom, a second “Page” of 25 servers will load. This will continue until the server list is fully displayed. While this keeps load times down, it causes issues when it comes to sorting. For example, the first 25 servers I usually see are all full, so if I hit the players column – to sort servers from least populated to most populated, nothing really happens. But if I go and scroll down and load the next 25 servers, which contains a couple of servers with free slots, and then scroll to the top and sort again, the servers with free slots will now appear at the top. Meaning what I have to do to join a server is this:
    1. choose filters (which seem to do little atm)
    2. click View Servers
    3. Scroll down again and again until all servers are made visible
    4. scroll back to the top and sort by number of players
    5. choose a server with free slots and join.

    This could be made simpler if they fiddled with the site a bit.

    The actual game, however, I’m really enjoying, it looks great, the sound design is incredible, the rounds are fun and everything seems great so far for the hour or so I’ve had a go at it this evening. (spent almost as long again trying to get into a server to begin with…)

    Hopefully they’ll sort out the above issues before / shortly after launch, but I’m looking forward to getting into the game again after work tomorrow…

  33. Shortwave says:

    Right so.. I’m scared of Origin and what it will do to PC gaming.
    I understand the benifits of a competative market but like.. It’s EA guys..
    Look at their recent track record with dumb bullshit.

    : /

    I’m disapointed in the current state of RO2 but I can be patient.
    I was thinking I might have to resort to BF3 but, but.. I just, can’t do it!
    SO PIST. Uuuuuhg, uuuhhggg.

    I just, want it in a proper game format. GOD DAMN IT ALL.

    • Shooop says:

      October 18 you can shoot headless screaming men with bombs for hands instead.

    • Shortwave says:

      Totally, haha. I’ve taking a closer look at other games for the time being and Serious Sam is shaping up really well honestly.

  34. Sigvatr says:

    What ever happened to double clicking on an .exe to start a game?

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s an implementation detail, and implementation detail should not be user-facing.

      Also it’s even slower and klunkier than ye olde “C:, CD \\DOOM, DOOM”.

    • tomek says:

      The browsers click the .exe now, we still do the shooting though. Like someone already mentioned this is like all seeing eyebook elite 2.0, best thing they could´ve done imho.

      If Dice manages to squash the worst bugs this will definetly be THE online manshoot for quite some time. My only worry is the performance on big & vehicle heavy maps, operation metro runs great but it is pretty small (narrow) if you take a 2nd look.

    • ShineDog says:

      Yeah. If they can get the problems sorted out the system (as demonstrated in Alpha) is really fast and efficient. I keep seeing people getting angry about extra steps, there are no extra steps, the browser simply replaces the main menu, and loading from the browser is surprisingly fast, about as fast, if not faster, than BC2.

  35. Binho says:

    Did no one use the MSN Gaming Zone back in the day, for AoE2 and games like X-Wing Alliance? I quite liked that it was browser based. In fact, I actually quite miss it, don’t like Steam or in game server lists. Though since it’s not cool to like anything Microsoft does, I’m sure someone will come along and say how it ate their babies.

  36. Shooop says:

    Some of you may have played this game before. Only it was called Medal of Honor.

    Funny how just a different name makes everyone suddenly drool over what is quite literally the same thing as before but accuse Call of Duty of the same thing.

    • James Allen says:

      You could not be more wrong. This is way better than MoH. I’ve gotten sniped a lot less thanks to prone and cover and (eventually) vehicles.

    • Shooop says:

      …The only difference then is fewer snipers and some vehicles then James? Oh dear, how wrong I was! I must recant my statement and instead say, “It’s Medal of Honor with prone and vehicles therefore it is a completely fresh and new experience!”

      What a bad joke EA/DICE has just played on people.

  37. DOLBYdigital says:

    My quick impressions before I am forced to go to bed (dam work)

    Overall pretty sweet for just an infantry only 32 rush map… The browser actually works very well for a beta browser. Very quick refresh, relatively easy to join and loads up very fast… The battlelog website is nice, I would’ve preferred all those stats in the game but its nice they are there and detailed…

    The game animation is simply fantastic. I could honestly just vault and slide around the map for awhile. It feels great. The feel of the game is great and it actually plays very well on my semi-old system (gtx260). I am able to play at full 1920 resolution at medium for most settings. The map is nice for infantry only, varied open and closed areas. Destruction is nice but not over the top and improved from BC2.

    The only gripes I have is that Recon is way too easy to dominate since the sniper rifles have very little sway or recoil. I was popping off head shots very easily which I don’t prefer it to be that easy. Also there are some bugs from time to time that I’m sure will get ironed out but makes me wonder if this is really ready for live in 1 month. I hope vehciles/aircrafts are ready but since they aren’t in the beta I have a feeling they are probably buggy too….

    Overall, great game that will only get better with updates/patches. Its worth the Origin install imo :)

    • gwathdring says:

      I hope they patch that. I suppose snipers are pretty well setup in actual warfare … but since this isn’t actual warfare, I would prefer them not to be the dominant class ALREADY before we’re even out of beta. :\

  38. HisMastersVoice says:

    I’ve got two crashes so far while the game switched between windowed mode and fullscreen (which I expected). It’s still a bad idea to force 3d programs into windowed mode while they run.

    Other than that, yeah, loving it, even if all I’m good for is reviving my teammates.

  39. asura kinkaid says:

    oh for pete’s sake. download definitely NOT resumable. wast at 91% when i had to log. thanks origin!

  40. Icarus. says:

    Awesome game. Don’t like the server browser either, it’s too “Hi, look at our social platform Facebook thingy.”

    I mean, what’s next? “Icarus checked in @ Mi-28 Havoc attack helicopter!”

    Also, no more “Suppress that fucking target!” :(

    • Alexnader says:

      Assault: “Fuck me! I’m hit!”
      Creepy Medic: “Whatever you say soldier boy! ; ) ”

      Also “You smoked his ass”. Just that.

  41. suibhne says:

    The flash from Recon scopes is hilarious. I know, I know – “necessary for balanced gameplay”. But sheesh, it would be just as “realistic” to draw a big arrow to each sniper aiming at you. It’s that ridiculous – the sun-flash shows up no matter what direction the sniper is facing and is actually more prominent underground (due to the surrounding light/art).

    There’s no reason the browser can’t work as well as an in-game version. Right now, tho, it’s terrible. Tons of problems with parties, particularly; playing on your own is much less difficult, and I’m guessing most people saying “It works perfectly fantastically, I don’t know what you people are whining about!” fit into the latter category.

    Also lots of problems with players falling through the map on the first stage, which is pretty funny but also pretty exploitable. I was on one server where a dozen or so people had fallen halfway or entirely through the ground. For those totally down, the only solution is to suicide.

    There’s a great game somewhere in there, but right now it’s really half-baked. I know the BC2 beta was a mess, but this seems much rougher to me.

    • suibhne says:

      Also – it’s crazy that EA controls Origin and Battlelog, yet you’re forced to manually migrate your friends list from Origin into the game. And that migration is really unreliable and seems tied to who’s logged on at any given time. Basically, it looks like slightly more than zero thought went into this setup.

  42. chopsnsauce says:

    Minor point I know.

    But have they implement “hold button down” to aim down the sight rather than making it modal like it was in BC2????

    Twas the thing that pissed me off the most about BC2 (well, that and no prone).

    Anyone?

    • DOLBYdigital says:

      Yes the default option for using your sights is to hold down the right click. It works well and adds to the ‘meaty’ feel of the game. There may be an option to change it to toggle but I don’t mind it how it is. Can’t get over how sweet the sliding/vaulting animation feels. Easily my favorite part of the game…

    • chopsnsauce says:

      Thanks DOLBYdigital!

  43. aircool says:

    Getting shot from who-knows-where is part and parcel of a new Battlefield game. Once you know the maps and the common camping spots, things get easier.

    How was the new suppression mechanic?

    • suibhne says:

      I’ve honestly not noticed it at all. I’ve gotten points for using suppressing fire (without intending to), and I haven’t seen it at all on the receiving end. Not nearly as useful as in RO2, then…at least based on initial impressions.

    • DOLBYdigital says:

      Suppression is very effective at blurring your enemies screen. At least I know it works against me since my screen got very blurry while being shot at… It doesn’t change the game too much but can really encourage real world mechanics of suppress and flank maneuvers

  44. stretchpuppy says:

    So where are the good deals on PC PreOrders?

  45. bill says:

    So how does this browser thing work?

    I have to start up my browser (which’ll take a minute to launch as it’ll have 50 odd tabs going) and then choose a server and then it’ll start the game?

    Do i then have to alt-tab out of the game to shut down my browser because Chrome is using 1.5gb of memory and the game is crawling?

    • DOLBYdigital says:

      Honestly I was skeptical as well but it really isn’t that bad. I found it very fast and actually reliable. Sure its clunky at first but once I used it a couple times it felt good. The filtering is quick and it refreshes the stats on each server quick as well. Its easily the best functioning browser for a BF game in beta (I know that isn’t saying much). I wouldn’t have 50 tabs open though, that’s just silly :)

  46. Euphoric says:

    The browser works completely fine. That’s not by far the most glaring issue.

    The two biggest glaring issues right now IMO are:

    1. To set your keybinds, you have to connect to a server and actually deploy. Just to get into the Options menu. So the whole time your setting up video/sound/controls you’re dying, and everytime you die – it kicks you out of the options menu. Utterly brilliant.

    2. You cannot bind anything to mousekeys, there are default mousebinds and you cannot change them or remove them. Fantastic considering I use Mouse2 as walk forward…so the fact that there is a beta – and I pre-ordered and got in 2 days early…big f@kin’ deal. Huge oversight here.

    These two things might, and I say might very carefully, have been acceptable. But this is 1 month from release and DICE/EA themselves have touted this whole time that PC > Consoles. Obviously they were just blowing hot air – both these issues seem pretty much like the opposite was considered.

    tl;dr: DICE/EA, explain why you’re so idiotic?

    • Weed says:

      @Euphoric

      +1 to everything here.

      I know this is BETA and probably mainly a server load test, but really? No Key bindings for the mouse? Setting up options in live fire mode? I could see this if the release date were 6 months away not 30 days.

      It really does look like Consoles were the main consideration, at least so far as UI goes. My guess is that just like BC2, there will be a couple of months of patches.

      I never learn!

      “I rarely test my code, but when I do, it’s in production.”

      And I have to figure out a vid card driver issue as it is. Having updated to the latest BETA driver for my video card, I can still only play in windowed mode. Full screen slows down to a crawl, and I have a decent setup, i5, 8 GB RAM, decent video card, blah blah blah.

      Oh well. I’m guessing just about everyone else had to upgrade to the latest vid driver as well????

    • Shooop says:

      Well of course they were. If they really were serious about how much they love the PC platform they’d have public server files and mod support. Sadly what they really meant was little more than a love letter to ATI and nVidia engineers. And John Carmack already wrote a much more sincere one.

    • Euphoric says:

      @weed

      Yes, everyone had to update. The installer won’t let you continue unless you do. I’m not experiencing those issues with my GTX 260. The issue I’m having pertains to dual monitors. The dual monitor setup is forcing it to windowed mode on monitor 1, so I had to keep alt+entering to go full screen.

      Not bothering to try again until this keybinding BS is fixed though.

  47. jaimenalee says:

    seo service
    i’ve had about 10 games so far & not come across any yet but I cant help but feel that dice picked this map for the beta mainly for server stress tests and i’ll be honest i’m havin loads of fun on foot. I’m playing on 360 and it’s very fun. It’s not stiff like previous BFs, you actually get legroom. It has a mirrors edge type movement system that just about works in every way.