Wot I Think: Battlefield 3′s Multiplayer

By Jim Rossignol on November 3rd, 2011 at 11:30 am.

Hello there!
Over the past few days I have, along with tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of other people, been blasting my way through the initial hours of Battlefield 3‘s post-launch multiplayer. The game has certainly benefited from the time spent in beta, but it still has some way to go before it reaches the kind of polish and balance we’re going to enjoy in the coming years. Nevertheless it’s been predictably thrilling, and getting to grips with this new Battlefield has been one of the highlights of my year so far. That said, it’s also provoked some other, bleaker thoughts…

Yesterday I was sat here showing off Battlefield 3 to a friend of mine. We marvelled at the concussive audio, discussed the odd animation and physics bugs that popped up – acknowledging that a game of this complexity must be a nightmare to bug-fix – lamented the control-seeking rigidity of Origin, and marvelled at the general technical achievements of the game itself. What really struck us about our little session, however, was the inadequacy of showing off a thing like this on a chaotic, public server. To evaluate – as almost all reviews will – this game on the experience of jumping into a random server and playing for a few hours, really only grazes its depths. Further, perhaps, any attempt to critically evaluate it based on situations where one guy regularly jumps in a tank and races off over the horizon without a thought in the world for what’s going to happen next seems like it’s only going to tell half the story.

The point here is that gamers like myself and chum have tasted organised, competitive gaming many times over the years. From running a Quake III clan, through playing Battlefield 1942, and operating Eve fleets – I know what this stuff entails, and how much more it makes of a game. My friend is a little more hardcore, even, preferring Desert Combat and Arma. But the same feeling is true for both of us: we’re going to feel distanced from games like Battlefield 3, because we know we can’t and won’t have time to become fully immersed. Fully committed.


Playing Battlefield 3, then, is actually making me feel a little sorry for myself. Yes, I will be able to jump in and shoot men in the face from time to time. I probably will sink hundreds of hours into it, as I did with Bad Company 2, but I won’t be getting the most out of it. I won’t, except in the brief moments where I’ll play with voice-comm’d chums in a squad, get to taste real competition, or genuine co-operation. I simply no longer have a lifestyle where regular practice and competitive play is possible. Instead I’ll idly plunge into these nightmare worlds of whirling, freeform destruction, where soldiers run solo in the hills, trying to find a sniper to stab.

But perhaps that’s okay. The public server experience will, after all, be what most people who play the game will end up experiencing. They’re also the people who are most likely to have a bit of a read of my words before jumping in. So, with that unnecessarily self-pitying preamble produced, let’s attempt a review of some kind. I’ve broken down this Wot I Think into some helpful categories, which you can see below.

i.) THE SHOOTING MEN IN THE FACE

The fundamentals here build quite elegantly on a decade of Battlefield’s shooting men in the face. Battlefield’s approach is to supply a wide spectrum of combat possibilities, which in this case ranges from a knife through to a jet fighter. It’s the diversity that makes it so satisfying to explore and master. Side-arms alone span a huge range of potential ordnance from pistols, through sub-machineguns, and into sniper-rifles and heavy machineguns. All can be used to turn annoying, jittery alive people into nice, calm dead people.

The diversity of what’s possible in Battlefield 3 is improved significantly on, say, Bad Company 2, but is in some ways closer to Battlefield 2 – you are able to go prone, for example. But there’s more, too, because movement has been expanded: you can mantle over low scenery and even, in specific locations such as window-sills, set up your bipod for extra steadiness in firing. This can be vital for a sniper, or someone with a light machinegun. At least until someone walks up behind you and stabs you in the head.


What constrains your activities, however, is the unlock system. You do not have access to all the possible equipment for the four classes, but instead have to unlock it as you progress. This means that while you can quite effectively shoot men in the face from the moment you start playing, you don’t actually have the best weapons, or the widest range of equipment to do so. I’m acutely aware, too, that critical judgements of the game can’t do much to discuss the balance of these weapons – which will inevitably change over time – because right now we’re just in a race to unlock them all. That said, I am finding the unlock process a little less satisfying than I didn’t with Bad Company 2. Perhaps the novelty has worn off. Or perhaps the basic kits are too basic, and I haven’t yet had enough toys to play with.

Never mind though, because the four classes are, I feel, a better choice this time. Bad Company’s machinegun toting medic never really sat right with me, and making the assault classes carry medic kit, while the support class delivers ammo, makes a lot more sense. The recon, that sneaky sniper bastard, remains much the same, but can now drop a spawn beacon for remote spawn-pointing, while the engineer remains ludicrously satisfying to play in a map with a lot of vehicles in it.

As for the general “feel” of Shooting Men In The Face, well, it’s mostly excellent. DICE know how to make first-person experiences convincing and compelling. I love the fierce recoil on the most primitive assault rifles, and the sparky, punchy kick of a pistol at close quarters makes a lot of sense. Melee seems a but awkward, and I am not totally convinced by the new “suppression” system which reduces your aim when bullets are landing close to you, but the sheer affect of explosions and bullet impacts are what really underscores it all as an experience. Of course I’ll come to that in a moment.

ii.) THE GRAPHICS ARE QUITE GOOD, AKA “A VOYEUR OF UTTER DESTRUCTION”

Actually yes, let’s talk about that /right now/. The most satisfying aspect of Battlefield 3, beyond the solidity of the Shooting Men In The Face, is the environment it creates to do that in. This is a mixture of the brilliantly lit, rendered, and textured imaginary-but-real-world environments, the possible destruction that weaves through that world, and the soundscape which frames it in a giant, seething jungle of keenly-judged audio. This means that while you might have been impressed by the thump of machineguns and ear-pulping pop of grenades in other games, you probably won’t have experienced it in quite the same way that you will here. It’s monstrous, in the most positive sense that word can be used.

Battlefield 3′s achievement is one of all-out ferocity. No game has managed to portray the damage being wrought by 64 explosive-wielding soldiers this convincingly, and it will no doubt be a long time before we get the same density of shattering concrete, collapsing huts, or billowing burning bits of stuff swirling through the air.

Yes, despite the carnage, DICE’s levels often get described as “painterly” and there’s really no stepping back from that here. Laying out on a ravaged mountainside and scanning the complicated mess of structures in an oil-refinery in the valley below is one of those raw videogame experiences that you will remember and think about long after you put down the game for the last time.

iii.) “BATTLELOG” SOUNDS LIKE A BADLY NAMED ENT

Let’s not beat around the war-ravaged bush, here. There are two reasons why game-launching, stat-collecting “service” Battlelog exists in the form that it does – a web-browser plugin – and neither of them are really to do with convenience for the player. The first is to compete with Call Of Duty Elite, essentially enabling players to indulge in stats browsing and achievement surfing, as well as delivering some social tools to smooth over the process of hooking up with chums for either a casual blast or more co-ordinated competitive play.


The second reason is control. Battlelog being a website run by EA means that EA have control. Or at least that was the idea. The issue with that, of course, is that it takes control out of the hands of players. If their web server goes down then there is no game for you.

That said, it does seem like a good game browser. I find the process of launching a game from a browser baffling, and I really don’t understand why it couldn’t have been included within the game itself, but it has got the options you need to get into a game quickly and easily, and the stats breakdown makes for interesting browsing with a pre-work cup of tea. So that’s as far as I am willing to complain about that.

iv.) WORLD WAR CONCLUSION

There are some other problems, of course. (Aren’t there always?) Right now you can still hit Q to spot and enemy, and bring them up in everyone’s HUD, but holding Q down calls up a “communication rose” which you can then produce a number of emotes from. It’s horrible and clunky. Apparently already on DICE’s list of things to redo, too, so I feel justified in complaining about that.

I also understand that control rebinding has not really been finished, and stuff like getting helicopters working with a joystick is still basically impossible. A minor issue, but frustrating for a few.

So yes. I should conclude. And in the attempt to do that I keep coming back to a single idea: diversity. What I think is going to be in Battlefield’s favour in the years to come is not just the visual fidelity, but the complexity of the options it offers. There’s so much here, in the different maps, the different game modes (nothing new, but Rush remains brilliantly dynamic, and the 64-player “large” conquest maps are something else.) Try playing on hardcore maps, and you are suddenly playing a different game. One where, I would speculate, you will start to get a game closer to those organised, competitive clan experiences I was lamenting my absence from at the start of this piece, because you are just going to die so easily. That said, from what I have seen of hardcore mode, there needs to be a few mote options available, because it just randomly strips out UI elements that make it more confusing, rather than more “hardcore”.

v.) ACTUALLY, FINALLY

1. It’s imperfect but extremely beautiful. Balancing and bug squishing will no-doubt continue. And when complete, it will be something exquisite in the history of games.

2. The lack of modding support is a travesty and seriously hurts the PC gaming community.

3. It’s probably worth upgrading your PC for, too. But you knew that already.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that if you can’t find something to like in Battlefield 3′s multiplayer then you are living in a world where multiplayer first-person combat is an unhappy experience. That would be a shame. Ultimately, I think most of you will get something out of being under fire, behind a wall, with your comrades yelling through the dust and the smoke, as snipers try to give you covering fire, with a grenade landing nearby, with an APC exploding like a collapsing star just yards away…

All other considerations be damned. It’s the thrill of battle that really matters. And it’s right here.

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159 Comments »

  1. Ross Mills says:

    I heard that BF2 didn’t have “mod support” to start with, either, and it was the fans that created any such support, so suggestions that BF3′s lack of it is a slap in the face seems weird.

    Can I fact-check on this? I don’t want to be whinging only to be embarassingly corrected…

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I think the difference is that DICE have explicitly said of BF3 that supporting modding would be “too complex”. I don’t believe it was ever ruled out in this way for BF2, just not supported with tools.

    • finec says:

      My memory is a bit foggy on this subject (I was someone who worked on a couple mod projects for BF1942 and Vietnam, I’m 22 now, I was quite a bit younger then, I also have a terrible memory). As I recall, BF1942 had no initial mod support, tools were made and released by the community (which is pretty amazing). When in comes to BF2, I can’t remember but I’m fairly certain we were promised mod tools post launch by Dice. Even then, the engine was quite similar, I believe the tool that was used for BF2 to extract and build packages was the same tool used for BF1942. I could totally be wrong about this.

      Anyways! There are a few problems with making a Battlefield 3 mod. For one thing, battlelog. Also, dedicated servers. Seeing as there are no dedicated server files available, the only way to get a dedicated server is to rent one. I believe this is the largest issue.

    • Sami H says:

      You also forget that EA is in complete control of the servers – there are no dedicated server binaries you can download, thus making it difficult to actually change how the game plays. You might be able to re-skin it, but they would (or should anyway) be picked up as a Client Modification and get you banned.

    • pepper says:

      You are right on concerning 1942(never did a lot of modding for it), it indeed initially had no tools and it was community driven. With Battlefield 2 though, they always promised mod tools . They even invited mod teams over pre-release to have a look at them. The tools themselves where released a month or 2 after BF2 release itself and were(are) quite buggy(aah thats new with BF).

      I dont believe BF3 is too difficult to mod, many game developers start out in the modding scene and are willing to spend obscene amounts of time learning the tools/tricks or even finding out that which isnt even documented. I would say that if anyone can learn the tools then it be the modders.

      To me it just sounds like laziness on DICE’s side, or EA putting pressure on them. Could be neither, could be both.

    • Derppy says:

      It being too complex is bullcrap and they know it.

      The usual kind of modding in Battlefield means creating new maps, weapons and vehicles. It doesn’t mean rewriting the rendering algorithms of the engine.

      DICE is a huge studio now, they can’t require years of C++ programming experience in order to add a new model to the game or move an object on the map. They need to have proper tools for importing models, editing maps and tweaking damage variables easily.

      They do have the tools, there’s no question about it. I’m willing to bet they use standard 3D modelling programs like 3DS Max or Maya in their workflow and can import stuff directly from there and they also have some sort of “sandbox”-editor where you can just drag stuff around the map. Modding scene is more than familiar with that.

      Now there might be additional complexity because of the destruction. It’s not physics-based, so it has to be done by hand. However, the process of making destructible stuff has to be documented in a studio as large as DICE and it’s not like the scene lacks motivation to learn it.

      It boils down to control over the product. For modding or LAN gaming to happen, they would have to open the server files for public and I’m pretty sure EA is saying no, because of piracy concerns. It would make cracked servers and playing through VPN possible, but is it really worth it to prevent it while killing their active modding scene, LAN gaming and free hosting market?

    • zeroskill says:

      As an active part of the modding and mapping communities for different games over the years, I want to express my feeling over this. When we are talking about mod tools, or more precisely, the lack thereof, we have to think about what the actual target audience is for this game. It is obvious Electronic Arts are competing with Activision, the publisher of Modern Warfare, and therefore, they are targeting exactly that audience. Those would be what is called “mid-core gamers”, as opposed to what is generally called a “hardcore gamer” who invests significant amounts of time into a particular game and often take a active part in gaming culture, be it developing independently, or being a part of the competitive scene and generally manifest a competitive mindset (On a side-note I have to add that the so called mid-core gamers often entitle them selfs “hardcore” but in fact, are not. For reference and general definition of types of gamers you can read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamer). Hardcore gamers are often found in games that grant a particular environment that allows for competitive gaming and/or excessive modding, like lets say Starcraft 2, or Counterstrike, Quake 3 Arena.
      So how much sense does it make for Electronic Arts to cater to a particular gamer demographic when their obvious goal for this game is to compete on a economic level with Activision? We also have to think how modding tools make payed DLC obsolete. Its doesn’t make any sense if you think about it, right? Ever wonder why Starcraft 2 or Counterstrike have no payed DLC? So, there you have it.

    • Burky says:

      zeroskill that was the biggest load of elitist wankery I have ever read in an RPS comment not posted by yours truely

      modding tools are not determined by how Core the original game’s audience is

      it’s just that it’s a fair amount of work to create such tools for little financial gain, and it would be difficult to implement with their web-based DRM system that is Battlelog

    • MisterT says:

      @Burky
      Zeroskill is correct to an extent, in that if DICE actually cared about their current community, and were making BF3 for them, then they would at least support modding, say with a basic server binary and not encrypting all the clientside files like they have (which only slightly delays hacks anyway). Heck, the way battelog is set up, you just have a magnet link telling the .exe what server to connect to, so that wouldn’t hurt mods either.
      the truth is THEY DON’T ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THEIR OLD FANS BEYOND GETTING THEIR MONIES, and want a gravy train of DLC money too by not allowing us to create the content we like.

    • Groove says:

      “We also have to think how modding tools make payed DLC obsolete”

      Forget the rest of the points, this is the ENTIRE reason there are no mod tools. When your players can mod the game themselves you won’t sell many maps for £2.50 a piece.

    • dontnormally says:

      Origin / Battlelog can use proven industry tracking tactics because they are based in a browser:

      “Sites Feed Personal Details To New Tracking Industry”
      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703977004575393173432219064.html

    • Dreamhacker says:

      You don’t need a web browser to track people. The iPhone and Android are perfect examples of this…

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  2. BaronWR says:

    So, crucial question: is there going to be an RPS server for this?

    Also, I like the joke about snipers giving you covering fire…

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I don’t know. I couldn’t figure it out.

    • Unaco says:

      There is some discussion of this here (or something very similar).

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?1927-What-Origin-does-when-it-scans-your-computer.

      There was a counter to the “OMG It’s reading everything, even my tax files” that was along the lines of whoever said that was using the software they used to detect the ‘intrusion’ wrongly. I don’t know how it all ended up. I would have expected though, if it was actually reading and uploading someone’s super-sensitive data, that someone would have caught it by now, and we ‘d have a couple big exposes, with all the technical details, rather than just a screenshot.

      Like I say, I haven’t actually been following it too closely, so that may exist.

    • Milky1985 says:

      I believe this is true, the counter argument is that although its seeing the file names its not actually reading the files (but it could still be storing a directory listing). The other counter argumetn was somethign about tcp streams not being detected but the software shown is used to monitor HD use, not internet use so you never know.

      If I have time tonight i’ll install origin and see if it scans, and fire up wireshark if i have it installed to see if it sends any data out. Just a bit worried about the sequentially numbered video files i have in the hidden folder, wonder if it will find them.

  3. President Weasel says:

    Jom, you know there’s an unofficial RPS mumble server and RPS Steam channel where you can hook up with RPS Arma mans and RPS Battlefield mans, and they would be delighted for you to join them for semi-organisedly enemy-man-face-shootery. I am not sure I said ‘RPS’ quite often enough in that last sentence. RPS RPS.
    That these communities exist is in large part down to you; you’re entitled to leverage them.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I’ve been playing with a range of chums already, yes. It’s not that it’s not available to me, it’s that I know I can’t sink the requisite time into it to please myself. When I get good at a game I really obsess.

  4. gausswerks says:

    For having purchased BF3 only to play with my brothers and friends, it’s difficult to understate just what a infuriatingly giant step backward Origin/Battlelog make this game by comparison to Bad Company 2.

    Comparison of joining up with a friend between the two, step by step:

    In Bad Company 2
    - right click on name in friends list in Steam and join server, or invite someone if you’re already in a server.
    - make sure you’re on the right team, and click their squad and join it.

    In Battlefield 3
    - start Origin (like hell you have it running all the time like Steam)
    - Click to start BF3, which is to say, launch a browser window for the Battlelog
    - Oh I hope you’ve migrated your friends over to Origin. Also, Find/Add them within BF3′s own friend system, which is not shared with Origin for some reason.
    - Join a party with those you intend to play together
    - find server, then reconfirm that yes you would like to join the server with the people you have previously assembled to play together
    - enjoy a good crash
    -once you’re in the game you may or may not be on the same team, even if you joined together successfully
    -now the two of you will enjoy hammering the aggravatingly vestigial squad management button, which instead of letting you pick a squad now only joins/leaves a squad, the squad being automatically assigned. The chances of it assigning you to the squad your friend is already in is slim.
    -by dumb luck you may be in a squad together, finally. Hopefully the game will be stable on next map cycle.

    I am enjoying to game, that is when I can keep my fury at bay while navigating the above gauntlet to get to actually playing it. The first multiplayer session was 40 minutes from start to getting into the same squad as my brother.

    • BaronWR says:

      Trying to join in the same squad as people is a complete pain. That said, you can join a specific squad (via a mostly unseen “join” button) provided the squad is not full, or empty, and the squad leader has made the squad public. They need to make this a lot clearer. On the plus side, once you are in a squad, you mostly seem to stay in it as the map changes.

    • President Weasel says:

      “aggravatingly vestigial squad management button” is very nicely put. Kudos to you.

    • Clavus says:

      Uh that isn’t right at all. Bad Company 2 didn’t have Steamworks integration so you couldn’t join servers through Steam friends. BF3′s server browser is actually far faster and easier than BC2′s.

    • gausswerks says:

      President: Cheers.

      Clavus: apologies if my memory is slipping. So you had to launch the game in BC2 and click join on your friends from inside the game–that’s still a quite a lot less pain than BF3 has been giving me.

      Baron: where or where is this unseen join squad button? I have stared at the squad interface screen in vain trying to voluntarily join a squad my brother is in.

    • Admodieus says:

      What are you talking about? Bad Company 2 did not have Steam friends list integration. The only value of Steam friends with that game was being able to see who was playing BC2. Then you had to fire up BC2, use their clunky friend request system (which only seemed to receive requests if you were sitting at the title screen – something nobody ever does). Additionally, the matchmaking was broken and there was no way to manually type in a server IP and add it to a favorites list. You had to try to filter by name or current map and mode and then add to favorites once you found it in the greater list.

      Although Battlelog is in your web browser and, once again, its friends list is not integrated with Origin, it is light years ahead of BC2′s multiplayer joining and matchmaking functionality. The ability to form parties of eight with voice and join a server together with them is already a massive step forward in Battlefield. The only thing really missing is queuing to join a server, and I suspect DICE will add that in an upcoming patch.

    • Baka says:

      - First you have to leave your squad
      - Then you have to make sure to click on the desired squad again
      - Only then the small join button appaers. Somewhere below switch team iirc

      It’s horrible and obvious that they hastily added it after beta feedback. But at least it works.

    • Norskov says:

      I’ve had better luck playing with my friends in BF3 than in BC2. I only managed to friend one of my friends in BC2 due to the friends system acting erratically. In BF3 we usually join a server with 5+ open spots and find a squad together, and we usually stay on the same squad after the server has filled up or changed map.

    • Jabberslops says:

      There is a way to solve the problem of not getting into your friends squad. Just don’t have friends! It’s so simple I thought of it a long time ago…

      Think about it, do you really want to play with a bunch of fart faces who steal your “Shit”. I think not!

    • Durkan says:

      You can hardly hold BC2 up as a paradigm of good server browsing design. It’s pretty lousy.

      Actually I struggle to think of a game with a decent server browser – functional, but not decent. I’ve not found battlelog to be the horrible mess I was expecting. bit weird I agree but I quite like the layout.

      Still a pain in the arse that it does things like forgets that I want the servers ordered by most populated first and the time it takes to refresh invariably means the slots are gone when you get there.

      I agree with the squad thing as well – swapping squads is very clunky. BC2 set up was much better.

    • vodkarn says:

      “The ability to form parties of eight with voice and join a server together with them is already a massive step forward in Battlefield.”

      Which could have been done with, you know, Steam.

      I’m not saying Steam has to be used for everything, but I’m looking at BF3 mashed together with origin and not buying it, simply because of Origin. That’s clearly not working in their favour.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I thought to myself today. ‘Origin can’t be that bad!’ Took the plunge and bought the game. So far I’ve been having no end of problems with Origin, that annoyingly awful server browser and the impossible friends system. Even when I get it to work it usually disconnects me on map change, or the game will just crash.

      Soon I’m going to have Batman and Skrim to play. Still running through The Witcher 2. Looks like I may never bother to play this game again.

      Not that I could if I wanted to.

    • Boothie says:

      just some points =D
      -There was a chance of being misplaced in team when joining a friend in bc2 too.

      -it is stupid that origin friends are different from battlelog friends but its a one time thing to merge that list and its quick.
      -The party system is a great improvement to me, it endeavours to place both me and my party members in the same team (and when it doesnt its to preserve balance between teams.
      -crashes are one point ill have to give u though, i escaped it but a friend had the “wrong videocard” cause the driver made him crash at the end of every map.
      -the button to join a squad is there, its kinda pale blue so its easy to miss, make sure that theres room in the squad and your not in a squad already and you can join, i do wish one could just doubleclick the squad one wants and get in but alas nothing is perfect =D.
      -Once thats all is sorted though it is pretty stable,

    • Nallen says:

      Took me bloody ages to find that join squad button.

  5. airtekh says:

    I’m still not sure if this multiplayer differentiates itself enough from BC2 to warrant a purchase.

    I haven’t been convinced thus far, so I think I’ll wait until I can pick it up cheaper.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It feels like a pretty notable step up to me. Quite a few of the maps are significantly better, and the general combat is slicker.

    • Gesadt says:

      it has jets and mortars what more do you want? also a basejump. nah but seriously i feel like its improvement on pretty much all fronts comapred to bc2 (except the battlog maybe). whole experience is that much more visceral and slick as Jim said.

    • Baka says:

      For an avid air-vehicle player like me the upped metagame is fantastic. In BC2 there was but a single check for air dominance. Is there a good AT-4 soldier in the enemy team? If yes, you lost sovereignity over airspace instantly. If no, the map and all kills were yours. With all those different gadgets now there were a lot of layers added to this. This holds true to every form of combat in the game.
      The improved quality of maps is debatable though, especially considering Rushmode…

    • Knufinke says:

      I don’t like how they’ve locked away so many significant abilities for newbies. Especially when you look at the list of unlockables. It’s like they went insane. Why don’t I have a defibrilator for my medic? Why can’t I shoot missiles as a jetpilot? Why do I have to play 100 hours before unlocking important parts of gameplay.

      I like this game really but it’s not very well ballanced at all. Shame.

    • RedWurm says:

      only been playing for a couple of evenings (when the bloody thing works, it seems to be the most fragile game I’ve ever installed) but I’m enjoying the combat far more than in BC2. Maybe it was just my computer but running about and shooting, especially at close range, always felt a bit floaty and vague. BF3 is much more visceral in that repect.

      Also, after a bit of single player, you’ll appreciate playing alongside real people a lot more. There is some seriously mediocre AI going about.

    • Barnaby says:

      One word comes to mind in response to your post, “prone”. Holy shit it was so frustrating not being able to go prone in BC2! Having played the BF series since 1942, I was totally floored when I started BC2 and couldn’t go prone.

      Even so, I still haven’t bought the thing because I’m trying to see what happens with Origin. Here’s to hoping they just remove the requirement for it and magically make an in-game server browser. Principles are a bitch.

  6. mongpong says:

    Great review/thoughts. Pretty much what i think. Really enjoying the multiplayer but please for the love of god EA reduce the size of that chat box! So huuuuge and distracting.

  7. Fatbubba says:

    Why did they take out queue joining? I loved that in bc2. A server where my buddy is playing is full? No problem, I’ll just go into the queue and wait. Now I have to continuously click the server to join to see that it’s full and after a few attempts I get told to bugger off because I’m trying too much.

    Another thing is indeed the joystick set up. So I plugin my joystick and jump into the game, figuring I might need to invert the y-axis, but that should be it. So I jump ingame, spawn in a plane and suddenly everything reacts weird. Seems multiple controls have been set over the same buttons/movements….so I jump out mid-air only to find out they also registered my joystick for “on foot” movement (and also the ground vehicles) where my soldier continuously keeps shooting his gun. So I press escape, go to movement option and have to remove the joystick options for on foot control one at a time, which takes so long I get kicked from the server for being afk rendering all my changes undone, because I didn’t get to save them.

    On a side note, you can also change control options in sp, but that’s a bit annoying when you quickly want to test.

    So after finally getting controls in order I quickly get to flying, finding out you start out with just the chaingun….no countermeasures or heat-seeking missiles at all. You actually have to unlock those while flying around in a map where most people already have the stinger and you get constantly harassed by enemy planes and choppers with heat-seeking missiles. This seriously frustrated me to the point where I was wondering whether I should statpad the first few points to unlock at least missiles and flares. After a few kamikaze runs on choppers and some assists on tanks I finally got it, but it sure did not make me happy to have to go through those hoops just to unlock basic stuff for survival in a plane.

    edit: Oh and the customizing of weapons and vehicle outfits….why the heck can I not do this during mapchange. Why am I forced to look at the glorified award and point receiving for so long when I could use that time to set up new unlocks or just changing some stuff?

    • Gesadt says:

      dice already have patch in the works to improve and buff up the jets btw. and the chain gun is not that useless as youd think since when you have unloacked missiles everyone else has flares unlocked also, so a lot of the time (at least against better pilots) youre left dogfighting with minigun anyway

    • BoZo says:

      Why did they remove the queue?! WHYYYYYY!?!??

    • Fatbubba says:

      I’m not saying the chaingun is completely useless, but it’s hard staying in that dogfight when you don’t have countermeasures yet and multiple people/vehicles are targeting you with heat-seeking missiles.

    • Gesadt says:

      flares is the very first unlock for a jet and requires 300 points, which quite easily achievable (only few kills or just several kill assists, even mashing Q will help). and if youre getting locked by everyone on the ground, y’know maybe get more altitude? and dont fly in straight lines.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      The jets don’t need a buff at all it’s the helis that have real trouble, you just fly fast and loop (flares optional) in a jet to get stuff off your tail and flares are evenly spaced. In the helis you are usually getting someone lock on to you every 4 seconds, even both pilot and gunner with flares and you will still have major problems. I have learned how to shake stingers in the scouts when the smoke dries out but still you are so up against it in those birds it’s unbelieveable.

      But DICE have said they are going to tweak anti air rockets to a degree so hopefully they make some smart adjustments, they shouldn’t be godlike but having 6 guys trying to stinger you is too much.
      Especially when it takes 4-6 direct rockets to kill a man in the Attack choppers, like firing 5.56s from space.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      Edit busted for me:
      The whole ramming helos in the jets thing is stupid beyond fucking belief too and needs to be fixed since it is rewarding mouthbreathing retards for being shit. Oftentimes they dont even take damage when they do it, and you backflip and explode.

    • Baka says:

      @shaydeeadi: Now that you mention it, the perils of your average chopper pilot could be rewarding if the rockets did some actual damage. Choppers being some kind of glass cannon would work out pretty well in my opinion. At least with rocket pods or tankbuster mgs the jets are pretty decent support for ground troops, but flying an attack chopper right now is not much more than “Yay, I’m airborne!” swiftly followed up by “Holy crap, where can I duck behind?”

    • shaydeeadi says:

      I’d be all for the stingers staying the same if the methods of taking out said engineers were a bit more efficient. If they buffed the infantry damage on the rockets it would be a step in the right direction, I’m probably gonna try some different spec combos tonight to see if things can go a bit better, but low flying needs to be mastered, it’s too easy to clip something and become fiery death.

      Lol glass cannon, so apt.

    • zakihashi says:

      They actually never removed queing from the servers, it’s been there from day one, but like in BF:BC2, it’s a server side setting, and servers need to enable it.

  8. jezcentral says:

    I share your bleak “Damn, I have a life, now” thoughts. It’s now at the stage where I go away for a weekend to meet up with my brother and friends at a LAN party, as it is only then that I get to immerse myself in gaming for any decent period of time. (I.e. longer than 2 hours at a stretch, whilst the wife is out).

  9. garlandgreen says:

    Its like the whole Pro evo paradox. One step forward, two steps back.

    Features that worked fine in BC2 are now ‘improved’ and basicly dont work.

    Namely the squad system.

    Also the spawn points are mashed and seem to cost you 3 or 4 deaths a map.

    Having said that its still worth playing.

  10. Bodge says:

    As has been mentioned, join RPS steam chat, ask if anyone wants a game. There are also Two RPS platoons.

    the second of which is not full yet.
    http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bf3/platoon/2832655241028883850/listmembers/

    Mumble is here:
    VOIP Client: Mumble
    Address: server.herosquad.org
    Port: 64738

  11. Sheng-ji says:

    How is the game for newbies? The basic starter kits makes me think we will be extremely disadvantaged over players with more unlocked making being a newbie even more soul destroying and frustrating. Especially with squad mates relying on you

    • Gesadt says:

      more unlocks help sure , but they dont override general skill, thus as with any mp fps if youre not starting at same base skill level as everyone else youre at some disadvantage anyway unlock or no unlocks. also protip: to skill up and unlock mods for specific weapons faster you can play squad deathmach,- its just naturally has higher kill counts

    • Artiforg says:

      I suppose it depends on how you want to play, if you’re ultra-competitive you’ll get annoyed rather quickly at how everyone else has all the good stuff and is able to insta-kill you. But if you just want to play for fun and don’t care about winning or losing just that you get a bit better then it’s great.

      I got asked to leave a noobs only server yesterday because I was so crap (not played online much before) and screwing up my teams tdm win chances. Ironically, I was the only noob on there, everyone else was at least 20 levels above me. I did find another noob server (only 10 levels above me there – I’m level 2 *Edit I’m now level 3).

      I am enjoying it even though I’m rubbish, but getting asked to leave a noob server has rocked my confidence a bit and might send me back to my SP wilderness if it happens again.

    • Potunka says:

      I’m only at rank 8 right now, but for a lot of the beginner weapons I am ditching my unlocks, especially scopes for iron-sights.

      The game would be far too overwhelming if beginners were given more equipment than they already have available.

      Really, the early ranks, especially for newbies, are all about honing your skills with rifles and IS and remembering to spot.

      Also, unlocking C4 as fast as possible on support class was my main goal. Love when tanks drive right by me or I’m outside a tiny building with a squad inside. It won’t take long to get more diverse kit options which become much more valuable and powerful — tailoring to individual or squad tactics — than a bunch of guns or gun mods will.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      @artifrog I hate those sorts of people, I joined a noobs only server on HoN when I tried that out and when I asked what to do to help, I was told to leave. I alt-tabbed, found out what feeding was (since they wouldn’t stop CAPSLOCKING about it,) did that for the rest of the round and then deleted the game.

      But stick out BF3 man, play with the RPS platoon types and have enjoy yourself, and play conquest! It’s much funner!

    • Chaz says:

      I haven’t played a competitive mp game for ages, and I was able to rack up 8 kills in my first 10 minutes last night with the starter assualt kit. So I wouldn’t worry too much about being out classed just yet if you’re a noob like me. On a 64 player map there’s enough confusion and chaos going on for you to start racking up the points if you play smart.

    • Artiforg says:

      @shaydeeadi thanks for the advice. I am still enjoying BF3, I have been playing Conquest on Operation Firestorm which I’ve enjoyed immensely. I spend all my time in that in tanks as it’s the only way I can survive for longer than 5 seconds (and possibly get a kill) but I’d really like to play TDM and actually shoot someone with a gun! I had a look at the RPS platoon but didn’t attempt to join as I am a bit wary, now, of ruining other peoples enjoyment due to my incompetence.

    • Chaz says:

      I wouldn’t worry too much about what people think of you in these type of things. It’s the internet, don’t take it personally, there’s always a bunch of immature asshats in FPS games some where. If you come across a bunch of twats on one server then try another.

      Also you can shoot plenty of people on conquest servers, try some of the less vehicle orientated ones. Like I say on a 64 player server everyones generally running around like headless chickens. Stick with a bunch of other guys provide a bit of support to start with and you’ll soon get the hang of it. If you can shoot guys in single player then you can do it in multiplayer too. Some of the HI is often not as smart as the AI.

    • PeteC says:

      @ Artiforg

      I was the same. I’m a terrible player (although slowly improving). My best advice is to find a server you like and favourite it. I’ve found a few decent ones that way with pretty friendly types on there.

    • Artiforg says:

      @Chaz I have found a server that plays 40 people in Conquest, but it’s Op Firestorm and Caspian Border all the time, but no-one has complained about my ineptitude so far so I’m going to stick with it.

      @PeteC the server I mentioned above I have favourited and now tend to use that exclusively. I did favourite a few noob only servers but it seems that the word “noob” seems to attract non-noobs and so spoils it for the noobs.

      I played for a couple of hours last night and had a great time. I think I’m level 4 now (can’t check as Battlelog is down). Thanks for all the encouragement.

  12. Schaulustiger says:

    It still baffles me that they made relatively huge conquest maps (huge in comparison to BC2, medium-sized when compared to BF2) but managed to cram all the flags into a small area in the middle of the map. I seriously hope they add some more open maps for 64-player conquest matches. I need room to breathe!

    Aside from that, it’s a gorgeous game and it delivers quite an experience.

    • DarkNoghri says:

      I don’t have BF3 in any form, so I’m just speculating here. Could that be so they could limit the map-size on smaller matches/consoles? It would allow for smaller versions of the same maps with the capture points in the same places.

  13. Kinch says:

    I enjoyed PC B3 for the entire ~10 hours… Then I got tired of all the bugs, the hacks and cheats people were (ab)using, imbalanced combat and mad camping combined with ignoring objectives. Was lucky enough to get a full refund for my Origin purchase.
    Ironically, I had more fun playing TF2 during the Halloween event! For free, with no spyware voluntarily installed in the system. ;)

    @ finec & Gesadt: Oh no worries, I was getting outplayed and outplaying others myself on a constant basis. Was unlucky enough to meet 2 players that turned out to be immune to damage. There were some ‘invisible’ ones too but this appears (nomen omen) to be a problem with the game, not a cheat per se.

    Add that, during my 10 hours I’ve not managed to sit in a jet. Even once. ;)

    • finec says:

      Cheats and hacks? As far as I can tell, I have yet to run into any cheaters. Are you certain they were cheaters and not just players who at that point in time, out played you?

    • Gesadt says:

      i too find that a lot of the so called cheaters (not all) are just players who are way better at the game and higher skill level than rest of the current server population. i mean just look at some of the youtube bf3 player videos, quite a bit of the stuff they pull of might be falsely interpreted as cheating, if you didnt know ant better

    • mongpong says:

      Who’s ant?

      Sorry.

      i haven’t experienced any cheaters or hacks….but i have experienced lots of people accusing people of cheating or using hacks simply because they got shot in the face first…it’s hard to ignore the accusations on the massive chat box.

      Are you sure you aren’t just really crap at the game?

    • Kinch says:

      @ MongPong
      Are you sure you aren’t impolite and jumping to conclusions? I’m describing my personal experience with the game. If I empty half a mag into someone’s skull and he refuses to die, then something’s jolly rotten. ‘Scuse the zombie pun. ;)
      I think you can still look up my soldier (K1nch) although the Battlefeed went poof.
      Then again, don’t focus on the cheats/hacks (if you’re unaware of them, check YouTube). Focus on the problems at hand – did you never get spawn-camped in the Canals? Do you keep running out of ammo as an engineer (oh hai, Caspian Bullet Drought)? Did you fly a jet yet? How about a helli?

    • sneetch says:

      @Kinch

      Most of the bugs I’ve heard of and indeed the emptying half a clip into someone’s skull could just be network issues (or shonky netcode). Not saying there aren’t any bugs or cheats, mind you, I have yet to play MP.

      I just hope you can see people’s pings again: I disregarded several “hackers” in CS back in the day once I saw their pings were over 2 seconds.

  14. Metonymy says:

    The only part I find troubling is that companies can successfully market the exact same low-quality fps they have already remade at least 50 times. One weapon, one environment, one enemy type, one playstyle, one objective, one standard for interaction.

    The expectations for the player are so low that I’m literally revolted. I think about the kind of depth that is possible with something like this, and yet, we are still clicking hitscan cursors on things that move, like a carnival-prize game.

    When I encounter almost no journalists that aggressively attack this level of failure, this kind of unrelenting, chronic, abhorrent compromise, I can’t see the reason. Are they paid off, cogs in a machine that I can’t perceive? Are they young? Are they lacking in confidence? Do they have no experience?

    I don’t know. But it makes me genuinely angry, and I don’t know how to respond to that.

  15. Hypernetic says:

    Great review. Two really cool features I thought you should have mentioned was the laser designators and guided weapons and squad specializations. I’m not sure if you played enough to see these so I’ll describe them.

    The first is kind of obvious, recon players and some vehicles can unlock laser designators that work in conjunction with guided weapons such as the MBT’s guided shell and the engineer’s Javelin. In both cases it extends the lock-on range by a bit and allows you to fire without line of sight. In the javelin’s case it gives the weapon a “top attack” which does more damage (it fires up in the air and comes down onto the armored target)

    Squad specializations are exactly the same as the personal ones (like faster sprint, more explosives, more ammo, etc) but your entire squad gains the benefit of it. These begin to unlock in the high 20s. So playing with a group of friends in a squad you can each have 4 specializations at the same time if you each use a different squad spec. Just cool stuff to encourage you to play as a team I think.

  16. McDan says:

    Don’t think there’s anything I disagree with there. I am in love with this game, with it’s flaws still apparent as well, can’t get enough. Probably play it too much though, as several times in my dreams I’ve died and then been at the kit selection screen and respawned…

    • Hypernetic says:

      Haha. I too have been having Battlefield dreams!

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      I had one of those too! It was one of those early morning dreams where you dream you get up and go to work, only this time when I got there the office was trying to capture flags. It was only when I started arguing with one of them about who should fly the jet that I realised I was still dreaming. Sigh

      Still not as good as my Goldeneye dream where I had a perfectly normal dream about a normal sort of day but the whole time I was holiding a silenced pistol and could see my ammo count in the corner of my vision.

  17. Anton says:

    Battlelog is great and all, but the refresh rate on the PING column is atrocious! Sometimes it does not get filled up at all!

    HEY EA! I NEED TO KNOW THE PING OF A SERVER BEFORE I JOIN A GAME!!!

  18. iteyoidar says:

    I was pretty disappointed with the map design. None of them actually seem to be designed for more than 32 players and there are a two or three that are just plain bad, like I had thought that metro map that was in the demo was annoying, then it turns out there’s an entire second underground tunnel map.

    • Hypernetic says:

      At least that map provides helicopters so you can fly around to the other side and trap a team in the tunnel if you are lucky. Metro 64 player is just a giant cluster fuck.

    • mongpong says:

      I’m sticking to Caspian Border and Operation Firestorm (i think that’s what it’s called) at the moment and simply cannot imagine having anything less than 64 players on the map. it means that all command points are fought over for the entirity of the matches. 32 players (or anything less than 50) on these maps seems wrong.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      It seems obvious to me that the maps have been designed for the consoles and their 24 player limits, rather than the 64 player PC which is just very depressing. Even on the big conquest maps, the capture points are all too tight together making the game far too chaotic and confused.

      The remark by one of the DICE chaps that the lead platform switched from PC to console half way through devpt has sadly had a massively negative impact on the design and layout of the maps for us.

      Why they couldn’t have rejigged things more – i.e. moved capture points – for 64 player maps would seem to be simply because they devoted their time to other things instead. We can only hope that some of the map-packs will resolve this, but I’m not holding my breath.

      I don’t usually subscribe to the whole consoles are dumbing down our PC games, but in this case it’s not too hard to see the detrimental effect they have had and wonder how much better this game would have been if it were a PC-only game (impossible I know, given that the PC sales would not have been able to support it on it’s own, but I can dream)

    • Kadayi says:

      I hate to burst the ‘dumped down for consoles’ stik, but the console versions are smaller in scale Vs the PC.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      More realistic to say the PC versions are slightly larger in scale than the console versions, the point being that they were still primarily designed for the smaller console player count.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      I hated Metro too, but actually liked the other tunnel one. Damavand Peak is it? There’s enough options via the 2 main tunnels and mini pedestrian tunnels PLUS the helicopter option that it still flows as a map.
      Metro is too tight with too many bottlenecks. I’ve spent whole games lying at the top of an escalator shooting anyone who comes up it. BORING. Compared to the other maps I have no idea why DICE thought it was a good idea to release that one in the Beta. I just wish servers would get it out of their rotation, it keeps popping up.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Donkeyfumbler

      Learn to accept that you’ve been shown up, rather than humiliate yourself further through protestation.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      @Kadayi. Resorting to personal attacks when I was just stating my opinion? I’d say that reflected worse on you than anything I might have said, but I’ll let others make up their minds. Try and keep things polite next time though please.

  19. Lobster says:

    I like this game, but the destruction is a joke, it was my favorite feature in BC2. I liked how in the course of a game the whole battlefield would change, also that feeling when you’re in a collapsing building is priceless. BF3 while still a good game feels like a step back compared to bf2 and bc2.

    • Potunka says:

      There seems to be a pattern of the larger, vehicle heavy maps also being filled with larger, industrial structures that won’t collapse. Also, Seine Crossing… not enough holes blown in walls for secret paths through apartments, or something. Not as many options in that urban setting as there should have been.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      This is a good point. Destruction definitely played a role in BC2, but I completely forget it’s there in BF3 for long stretches of time.

  20. MiniMatt says:

    edit: reply fail

  21. Uglycat says:

    I really dislike the fact that soldiers now blend into the scenery. It BC2 they sort of stood out, so it was fairly easy to distinguish people from background noise. Now with the prone position, I end up being killed by invisible people far more often than in BC2.

    I know it’s more ‘realistic’, but I’m actually finding it less fun. That, and the obvious disparity between someone at level 5 and someone at level 10 in terms of equipment. Kills are more about luck until you get decent equipment later on.

  22. Juiceman says:

    I completely disagree about Battlelog. It’s the most convenient way to play ever. I’m constantly on the internet so being able to just click on a server and keep browsing while the game loads and connects in the background is great! No more waiting for the game to load up or before you can even look at servers, or having to alt-tab if you want to do something else while a map loads. The system has my vote and I hope they keep it around.

  23. TormDK says:

    I joined a tournament in BF2 to get that proper Battlefield feeling. I plan on joining that same tournament this time round.

    32vs32 in organized gameplay r0xx0rz my b0xx0rz. http://tod.combatstudios.com/ if anyone has a similar idea of what Battlefield should play like.

  24. Durkan says:

    Something I have really missed, which I know is a bit weird but…

    At the end of the match the success failure animations from BC2 are gone, replaced with a simple “you win” “you lose” screen.

    Peculiarly It made me feel slightly “robbed” of victory. I wasn’t expecting it but I’ve found being “dumped” out of the game world like that really jarring. I hadn’t even been concious of the effect on BC2. I think, subconciously, I quite liked there to be an end “story” even a vestigial one and even on a game with no story per se.

    Actually if you thought of a racing game, it would be a little weird if the game just stopped as soon as wheels hit the finishing line. Don’t you think?

    Am I making any sense? Does any one else care that it ends with a bump??

  25. testman3 says:

    “Stutter stutter stutter stutter die stutter crash” My BF3 experience in a nutshell

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      That’s a shame. I had a similar experience for much of the Beta, but thankfully the full game has been mostly stutter free. One or 2 servers have been laggy, but 90% have been fine even on 64 player.

  26. Potunka says:

    I am wondering what type of controllers RPSers prefer to use in BF3 aircraft.

    When I bought BC2 I tried to use my joystick only to find it really didn’t work well. I am tempted to try an xbox360 gamepad. For now, I just use WADS and numpad.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      WASD and direction keys. But not before I spent an amusing 5 minutes trying to fly a chopper with WASD and mouse. Luckily someone blew me up before I managed to earn a dreaded ‘suicide’

    • buzzmong says:

      I’ve tried using a combination of keyboard and joystick.

      Might return to keyboard and mouse until they can properly sort out the joystick mapping because it’s pretty bad right now.
      As I can’t reassign my Y axis (forward/back) on the joystick and it defaults to “press forward -> nose up” I have to set the flight option to inverted so that “press forward -> nose down”. While this fixes the joystick, it also inverts the mouse to become “forward -> nose up”, the exact opposite of what I want.

      I found changing pitch to W and S, moving throttle to Shift/Ctrl (Afterburner gets assigned to space), and continuing using the mouse for roll worked quite well for jets. Not so much for helicopters.

  27. aircool says:

    Negatives:

    Like all Battlefield games, doesn’t work reliably out of the box. Needs patching desperately.
    Battlelog couldn’t find it’s own arse with a map. Needs some serious TLC.
    Why bother with Origin if we have to use Battlelog, or vice versa?
    Seriously, no colourblind option? How hard can it be to cater for those 8-10% who have problems distinguishing certain colours.
    Poor choice of HUD colours, useless map and highly distracting chat box.
    Usual instabilities, crashes and random DC’s.
    Tendency to spawn under someone’s sights or on a grenade.
    Lots more :(

    Positives:

    Looks ace, even on low settings.
    Some good maps.
    Massive rewards for teamwork within squads.
    Plenty to do for players who can’t shoot (like meeee).
    Vehicles, especially aircraft feel nicely balanced.
    Choose weapons to suit your style of play, rather than min/maxing.
    Not seen any spawn camping so far.
    Lots more :)

    ’tis a good game, especially with some friends over teamspeak. Trouble is, it seems to have been released unfinished, and despite the numerous positives, Battlelog and Origin combined seems counter productve. Overall, it’s a win… or will be when a patch fixes the nasty bits.

  28. buzzmong says:

    Overall, I find BF3 to be acceptable but still fun. It’s marginally worse than BC2 in its current state and it’s not on par with BF2 as I feel there are some big design issues causing it to be a step backwards:

    The ingame UI/Menus.

    The person responsible for how they’ve been designed and implemented should never ever do them again. They’re pretty but near useless in function.

    First up is not being able to immediately bring up the respawn menu when you die, you have to watch a killcam for 5-10 seconds where the game accepts no input. Not even Escape. Bizarre.

    The squad management is just such a massive step back from BF2/BC2 that I can’t understand how someone has ok’d it. Currently it’s seemingly impossible to make a squad with your friends.

    Ditto for the kit customisation screen being buried 3/4 screens deep. Being able to change it only at the respawn menu is odd too when in BC2 you could change it mid game with one button press.

    The final one comes with the end of round report and loading screen. BC2 managed to let you browse your awards/score while the next map loaded. BF3 doesn’t. Waiting 30 seconds before loading the next map isn’t good either.

    Massssive step back on all the menu/ui “features” and functions.

    The unlock system / ribbons.

    BC2′s pins were nice and ribbons in BF2 were generally big things so I don’t understand why they’ve been changed to make ribbons the common ones and the dogtags taking up their old function (ie, 100 jet kills et al).
    The other thing that irks me is getting a Conquest/Rush ribbon just for finishing a round. Talk about carrot and stick system. I find it extremely patronising.

    The unlock system as a whole is rather “meh”. Far too many unlocks means they’re cheapened and you don’t feel as if you’re earning things.

    IR flares for helis/jets should be standard equipment as not having them now people have got portable AA/Heatseekers on jets means near instant death without them.

    There’s also some rather questionable unlocks added, things like the IRNV scopes, which seem to be added for the “awesome” factor and not with a view for balance (they’re silly awesome).

    Origin/Battlelog.

    Origin isn’t very good and it’s also pretty much completely seperate from Battlelog. Being forced to use something that’s not very good is bad, being forced to use two not-very-good things at once is worse. At least games that use Steamworks are using a (rather good) singular combined platform.

    Battlelog could have been awesome as an extra feature for the social and stats side while retaining an actual in game menu and server browser.

    Classes & Weapons balancing
    (Note: Obviously this is just based on the current state, these can be tweaked and normally are in patches)

    Recon has been neutered. They’re also the only class without any sort of explosives/anti-vehicle weapons. They need either C4 or Claymores. So much for Dice saying it could be a close range or sniper class.

    Oh, and two bullets for long range headshots with the starter sniper rifles? That needs sorting, single headshots should end in a death.

    Pistols. I love pistols. In BF3 they’ve got the damage falloff of a wet fart. Somewhat dangerous at near point blank, useless a few feet away. M1911 is rubbish, the Rex only slightly better.

    On the damage note, the alleged “damage profiles” for tanks don’t exist. Tested it out on a private server last night and it’s really just front/back/side, which is less complex than BC2. That game at least made distinctions for the turret, tracks and turret ring alongside the direction.

    Finally on the kit side: Flashlights. They’re mini suns attached to guns. Dear god.

    The other thing is graphical, the lens flare and sun effects are incredibly silly.

    I’m sure lots of things can be tweaked/altered, but on the whole, lots of bits seem like a bigstep backwards from the improvements introduced in the other titles.
    That said, it’s still quite enjoyable to play, it’s just got some big strides to make before it becomes awesomesauce.

    Edit: Oh, chatbox and minimap.

  29. mR.Waffles says:

    Mine still won’t work. It’s been a week. #occupyEA

  30. rocketman71 says:

    They recognized that they shifted the focus to consoles in the end. I think it was more like at the beginning, just after saying “hey, we love the PC”. The amount of features DICE has cut from their games between BC2 and this is bigger than what the FMI would cut out of Greece right now.

    I just can’t support this game or DICE anymore. I prefer my money going to Red Orchestra 2 and companies that TRULY support PC gaming, thank you very much.

  31. dahools says:

    Greatly disappointed at this game, was hoping it would follow on BF2 / BF2142, not the Bad Company series which I wasn’t keen on either! Agree with all the negative points voiced in the comments here and have a MAJOR ONE to add .

    Who’s idea was it to allow people to just spawn on anyone in a team!! ? I’ve been shot many a time tracking an enemy past a window, only to kill them at the doorway, only for one or two others to have spawned on him between the window and the door who then kill me!

    I can do it too, look at the map see who’s near where I want to be spawn on them and change squad back. . . Its like free spawning anywhere on the map!!! How crazy all it takes is for one map to hide behind enemy lines and you have an instant spawn point just swap in and out of his squad! What ever happened to team leaders ? Team play in this game is seriously broken its very disappointing the command rose is a joke its a final five min after thought after so many people complained it was missing. Often i fire a round off trying to spot and all of a sudden my position is given up on the map and a hail of bullets come my way?

    I’ve been called a NOOB across “say all” chat for camping when i’m on the side trying to defend the MCON points? Some 8 yr old doesn’t like not being able to blow them up so that’s my fault apparently!

    I’ve been away with work for over a month and the only thing to entertain was a PS3 and call of duty black ops, not a fan of it TBH but it was that or polish the bishop for a month, and I cant help but notice the similarities, the points this and that weapon unlocks and the way you load out your soldier. EA/DICE have gone far far away from the roots that was BATTLEFIELD and are appealing to the COD fans and console fans in general, which is disappointing but its where they’re placing their game in the market unfortunately.

    I was away with work when the BETA was ongoing, had I have gone into it, I probably would have cancelled my pre-order having now played the game.. I’ll stick it out for a month or two just to get my money’s worth….

    But this game was summed up when I joined a server where the game was just ending I spawned and died in literally 3 secs, right on end of round to be taken to the stats screen and given a ribbon for playing “RUSH 200 POINTS” well done. 0 kills – 1 Death.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      Yup. Team play is really crippled. No team-wide voice, no squad leader communication across squads, no commander, and claustrophobic/meat-grinding maps mean every mode might as well be team deathmatch.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      I hear some of what you’re saying but I actually like the BF:BC2 and BF3 squad spawn thing. It’s countered by making sure you wipe out entire squads and that means getting out of your nice camp spot and flushing them out. Plus it means frontlines really are frontlines that you can spawn to and not somewhere half a mile away from where you spawn.

      Stick with it, it may grow on you yet

  32. Chaz says:

    No server wide in game voice comms. Seems like a pretty big omission to me. It was one of the first things I noticed when I jumped on for the first time last night. Most of the other big competitive FPS’s have it and I would havbe thought it’d be pretty much a standard feature for a game of this calibre.

    Ok there’s text chat, but frankly we’ve moved on from the days of the 56k modem. I know you can do the party chat via Origin, but that doesn’t help if you’re just playing solo and jumping from one server to another. Also there are no comms at all in the co-op mode, not even text chat.

    And yes I know not everyone likes to hear the voice comms, but that’s what the mute button is for.

  33. suibhne says:

    Hey Jim, you might not have gotten this far with the unlocks, but one cool feature of the class-based man-shooting role is that classes now have a few more explicit coordinating possibilities. Recon can spot things for Engineers’ launchers – including both ground and air targets. Sure, this isn’t a massive step ahead of BC2, but it is a slight step and it’s great to see.

  34. Elltot says:

    Christ a lot of hate for this game! TBH most peoples complaints seem to be incredibly nitpicky.

    I am thoroughly enjoying it and I played Battlefield 2, 1942 and BC2 and I can remember all of them having problems at the beginning.

    Plus I don’t see how people are saying this is too much like COD, have they played COD before?

    Lighten up people. Enjoy the game, I know I am.

    • Vorrin says:

      No well, it kinda is a bit coddy… depends on the map, but for example, the metro one, has got nothing at all to do with Battlefield, it’s a cod map, and played in 32 v 32, it turns out messy and deathmatchy.

      The remaining maps, also tend to be way tighter and strewn with chokepoints, whereas the main strenght (in my taste at least) of Battlefield, always was it’s veeery widely open maps, and possible approaches, something which is really very very much different here… and all that, to preserve this CODdy frenzy-twitchy-fast-showy gunplay (and indeed, bf3′s got the best gunplay/movement of any of the previous ones, but it definitely feels very consolized compared with bf2)

  35. Demiath says:

    This article made me wonder just how big the highly organised and committed competitive gaming scene really is in raw numbers. I’ve played PC games for over 20 years and yet never experienced anything remotely resembling the advanced form of collaborative online gameplay he talks about (Q3 clans, BF1942, Eve fleets etc.). Sure, I have grown up to be a singleplayer-focused gamer for both practical and philosophical reasons (among other things, I got broadband comparatively late and also like my gaming in neat little Aristotelian packages with a clear beginning, middle and an end), but it’s pretty mind-boggling that there’s this vast dimension of gaming which even certain groups of so-called “hardcore” gamers have never even seen. Just a thought, there..

  36. Howl says:

    This doesn’t mirror my experience at all.

    In BC2 I had to:
    1) Link up with a friend in Steam chat and decide we were going to play BC2.
    2) Launch Ventrilo and get on the correct server for that particular friend.
    3) Launch BC2 (which by the way had its own completely separate friends list, searchable only by soldier name, which you had to know for each friend. It also had a dysfunctional server browser that was unique to the PC and clearly thrown together at the last minute once the console version was done and took several patches to even have basic information)
    4) Continue to chat in Ventrilo and decide what kind of game you were both up for.
    5) Decide who was going to look for a server and join first so that the other one could quickly follow them in using the friend list.
    6) Pray that you were both on the same team or that it was possible for someone to swap team.
    7) Once the session was over I would go to a third party website and we would update our soldier profiles which would take anything from 10 seconds to 10 hours, to check out stats.
    8) If any of the above wasn’t satisfactory then the front end would require an entire client patch which because of the way BC2 was made, required an entire 2.5GB download and patching process. Needless to say, these things came out infrequently.

    In BF3 everything including friends lists, chat, voice com, stats tracking is in one compact package. It does it all and is browser based so you can carry on checking out the forums or the stats pages whilst people are looking for servers or your clients are all loading the game and map up. Any issues with it and they can push tiny patches to it with no fuss at all.

    People having issues with Battlelog have got to be seriously resistant to change, imo.

  37. Inglourious Badger says:

    There’s been a lot of comments about upgrading your PC for BF3, but one thing I’ve not noticed anyone mention and that was worrying me before I got it was the minimum specs:

    I’m running close to them on a Dual Core AMD 3Ghz; 2Gb RAM; GTS 250 and it runs absolutely fine (30fps usual) on medium settings (apparently better than console) and that’s on SP and MP even 64 player large conquest maps.

    In the Beta Caspian Border was a bit dodgy on the same set up, even when I reduced the settings as low as they could go so I was a bit worried it’d be like that in the full game but I’ve had no problems in the full game even on the largest 64 player maps.

    Might be of comfort to anyone who was feeling similarly like they might have to miss out?

  38. Spider Jerusalem says:

    I’ve really given this a try, but it just bores me.

    I realize now, after some reflection, that BF2 bored me as well until I found some mods (and the accompanying communities) that I vibed with, and that vanilla BF2 was pretty much a clusterfuck of k/d whoring without any tactical awareness.

    Then I got sad because that won’t be happening with BF3.

  39. celewign says:

    almost 2 weeks since buying and i can’t change a single map without black screen game crash. all drivers up to date. this game is awful. what is the point of 15 minutes of fun when you have 45 minutes of issues, crashes, disconnects, rubber banding, and other problems?

    i’m considering a return and purchasing red orchestra.

    • Deuteronomy says:

      Bwahaha. Call of Stalingrad has it’s own share of issues.

    • buzzmong says:

      @celewign
      I agree with Deuteronomy. RO2, while ok, is also fairly flawed. However, TWI are more committed to their titles than DICE seem to be, so it might be worth buying it in 3-6 months time.

  40. Dogsbody says:

    Pretty spot on review. BF3 when taken abstractly is pretty fantastic, graphics, ‘feel,’ class loadouts are nice, bullet damage is nice and high.

    Then, everything else built around the game is pretty shoddy, their server browser is clunky as shit. Yes it works, but I hate it viciously – have to quit out of the game to change servers, can’t change loadout / keybinds except in-game, ping doesn’t show correctly on the server browser screen – I could go on.

    But I won’t. The important shit is it’s fun as hell (once you find yourself in a good server).

  41. Deccan says:

    I haven’t played the game, but I thought the Bowie reference was well deployed, Mr Rossignol.

  42. Ape says:

    Well, Battlelog is down while they update it. Nice timing for the yanks, but I was looking forward to an evening of BF3 here in Australia. I can’t even play the single player. This really sucks.

  43. Pointless Puppies says:

    Granted I’ve never been a longtime fan of the BF series, but my experience has been as follows:

    Bought Bad Company 2 last year to see what all the BF fuss was about, knowing it was a spinoff series for consoles and it wasn’t a “genuine” BF game. I proceeded to absolutely despite the unlock system for punishing new players for the simple fact that they are new (I couldn’t even HEAL anyone as a medic to any capacity because I hadn’t “unlocked” it yet? Pure horseshit), and be absolutely baffled at the complete and utter lack of teamplay, exacerbated by the fact that there was no VOIP. My mind simply couldn’t wrap around the fact that a purportedly team-heavy game would not have VOIP.

    Fast forward to the BF3 Beta, where I jumped in to see if any of what I hated was still there. Yep, it still was. I actually COULD heal people now from the get-go at level 1 at least, but DICE still subscribed to the “punish newbs for being newbs, give LOTS of advantage to the experienced guys” newsletter. I don’t know exactly what DICE’s goal is with that little setup, but fully embracing the absolute worst part of games like DOTA and embedding it into the game’s fundamental design is a rancid, putrid decision.

    Also learned that there was no VOIP, and in fact DICE went one step even FURTHER in that direction by making it incredibly difficult to joint a friend’s squad/team. In short, DICE seems to actively discourage teamplay while simultaneously encourages run-n-gun killing new people by the dozens.

    I bought BC2 for $6 and didn’t enjoy it despite the bargain. Not even going to bother with BF3 at any price given how DICE apparently did nothing but make the game even more frustrating and even less team-based since then.

  44. kyrieee says:

    ““BATTLELOG” SOUNDS LIKE A BADLY NAMED ENT”

    Brilliant =)

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  48. Huggster says:

    Unlocks are okay as long as the basic guns are “the baseline” like TF2, but I get the impression they are not. (SCAR, unlocks have less recoil etc.)

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