We went house hunting in Battlefield 1’s Frontlines

Forty-one minutes after the first shots were fired, an explosive charge put an end to one of the longest games of Battlefield 1 [official site] I’ve ever played. This is the new Frontlines mode, which came with the shooter’s first batch of DLC. Thanks to the rules of this mode, the feverish WWI battles have become long back-and-forth fights over long tracts of land. Many players are reporting obscenely lengthy matches with some even lasting almost three hours. So I decided to jump in. Not to scramble with the other soldiers to the frontlines. No, no, no. But to stay far back and see if I could find a nice cottage in the French countryside. Here’s a blow by blow account (plus video) of what happened.

2 minutes – I spend the first few minutes of the game mindlessly running forward out of habit. When I remember what I’m supposed to be doing (hanging back), I do what any red-blooded young man would do in my position, and immediately hide in a bush. Three enemy soldiers pass me right by, within metres. The fourth stops. He must have noticed there is a Frenchman lying in the shrubbery, because he promptly shoots me in the belly.

4 mins – I discover a pleasant town house. It has a table, chairs and a cosy looking attic with a couch covered in a sheet. I decide this is a good place to hunker down until the war is over. Our boys have charged forward with daring and courage. It will probably all be done soon.

5 mins – A soldier spawns beside me. I say hello. He runs through my new home smashing all the windows with a spade.

7 mins – I’ve gone to discover a new home, one without broken windows. And boy did I hit the jackpot. A lovely farmhouse, far from the fighting. Complete with fireplace, balcony, a fully-functioning water mill and adjacent tree house. It’s got a bit of a machine gun problem on the upper floor and a giant howitzer has settled itself in the gateway of the mill. But otherwise, it’s picturesque. An estate agent would call it “idyllic” and would ask you to ignore the mustard gas discolouring the horizon.

8 mins – “We’re being pushed back,” says the announcer, suggesting that our boys are experiencing some sort of impediment. That’s to be expected. It’s probably nothing.

12 mins – A loud bang nearby forces me to come downstairs to investigate, leaving the comfort of my new home. It’s one of our boys, behind the barn. He’s inside a tank and is firing shells into the distance. There’s absolutely nothing there for him to shoot at. I don’t know why he’s doing this.

12 mins 45 secs – A second tank rolls around the corner of the mill. He displays a demoralising disregard for private property, as he has driven straight through my storage building, demolishing two of the walls.

14 mins – There are some shady figures on the hillside. I can just about make them out with my periscope. Germans. But they are quite far away. Here, there are birds singing.

15 mins – I go back inside and discover that my millstone has stopped turning. I briefly wonder if this is a glitch but when I head out the backdoor to investigate I see that the water wheel has been totally destroyed. Another vandal has taken a pot shot at it on the way to the front, destroying the property of an ordinary French citizen for nothing but his own puerile entertainment. I’m a proud supporter of our boys but I wish they’d stop this.

17 mins – Well at least they are giving it to Fritz. Distant gun shots and the announcer tell me that a recent counter-charge has been successful. I climb the tree house to get a better view of what’s happening in the distance. Tanks, soldiers, all fighting far, far away. It’s probably safe to go back and explore the town now.

20 mins – “We are being pushed back,” says the announcer, who I ignore. The town is a very nice place. There’s a dusty bridge across the stream, cobblestone streets, a library and a gorgeous townhouse whose floorplan is more or less identical to my own. “Idyllic”.

21 mins – The sound of gunfire is growing louder, for some reason. I stand in the middle of the cobblestone street, inspecting the smoking hillsides in the distance through my periscope. Suddenly, a German appears within 50 meters of me. That’s about 200 meters too close! He’s firing at something in the opposite direction though, and doesn’t see me slithering away like a panicked newt.

22 mins 15 secs – Having put some distance between myself and the gunfire, I turn to look again at the hillsides. There is a rifleman in the hazy distance. He has stopped on top of the hill and is looking toward the town, but probably not at me.

22 mins 16 secs – The rifleman has shot at me.

23 mins – Arrived back home after a brisk jog. Tanks and cavalry pass me by on the dirt road. They seem in a rush. One of them stops, as if to say “hop in!” but quickly starts back on the road when he sees that I’m happy enough where I am.

27 mins – “We are being pushed back,” says the announcer as I relax in the farmhouse. Again!? What are our boys doing out there? Making daisy chains? Come on lads.

28 mins – I have climbed the tree house to see what these lads are playing at. Yes, the town seems a bit more smokey than usual, and yes there are some tanks I don’t recognise in those nearby fields, but this shouldn’t be so difficult to handle. I shout some encouragement at a passing tank, telling him to “get in there” and “do something about this”. Then go back to looking through my periscope.

29 mins – A German cavalryman has abandoned his horse on the roof of an outhouse, which is absolutely savage.

30 mins – A shell shakes the whole platform I’m standing on. They’re trying to take down the tree! But I’m still in it! Disgraceful behaviour. I quickly clamber down the ladders and walk at a fast but firm pace back to the farm.

34 mins – A lot of our lads and machinery passing through the farm now. I’m trying to mind my own business, sitting quietly on a bench (well kind of, like, crouching above it) and looking downstream toward the town, but it’s getting very loud. I’ve also noticed there are some large telegram stations installed in the courtyard, which I believe are significant.

34 mins 30 secs – Someone is shooting at me.

35 mins – I’ve ducked inside. With any luck this will pass over. Our boys will go for another big push and take Jerry back to the town, then back to the hillside, then all the way back to God knows where. There’s little chance of the Germans coming in here. I’ve closed all the doors.

35 mins 30 secs – Turns out the Germans aren’t the ones to worry about. Our boys have spawned in with me and have commandeered the whole building. A sniper is peeping out the upper floor window. And there’s a man on the machine gun who won’t stop firing it no matter how many times I tell him it is for decoration only. Everything has become very, very loud. I can’t hear the birds singing any more, or the stream flowing. Every time a soldier runs through the house I have to close the doors behind them. They are very disrespectful.

38 mins – I am trying to tell the two troopers on the upper floor that they have to leave. This is private property. They don’t seem to care about anything I’m saying, and spend most of their time shooting at things I can’t see. I know we need to support the lads and all but–

38 mins 1 sec – The sniper is killed by an explosive shell, which also puts a massive hole in the window, an action which has almost certainly lowered the property value of the farmhouse.

38 mins 4 secs – The gunner is blown to pieces by a second explosive shell, rendering the decorative machine gun and a large portion of the upper floor uninhabitable.

38 mins 10 secs – I’ve left by the backdoor and am on my way to visit the neighbours. An affordable cottage just across a small bridge and further up the hill. There’s nobody there, obviously, so I’ll be able to stay as a guest without trouble. I can hear bullets whizzing past me on the way. I don’t think Jerry realises that I’m not part of the army. “We have lost objective Butter,” says the announcer, which I have interpreted as a bad sign.

39 mins and 50 secs – I’m standing on a hill and looking at what they’re doing to my farm. It’s an absolute shocker. One of our lads spawns beside me and immediately immolates himself for no discernible reason. It’s no wonder Bosch is winning, with an attitude like that.

40 mins 15 secs – As I watch parts of my dream farmhouse collapse into bricks and dust, the news comes. We have lost the battle. An explosion by the second radio sends the whole farm up in smoke. It’s over. Our boys have fought valiantly, but were ultimately defeated. Despite this I have every faith in them for whatever battle comes next. Come on lads, I’m behind you all the way.

From this site

29 Comments

  1. varangian says:

    The Channel 4 program “New Home on the Battlefield’ is probably already having its first production planning meeting as I type.

  2. Cramdown says:

    Shame about the mill. That was a lovely property.

  3. Donkeyfumbler says:

    I preferred the church on Operation Market Garden. The fun we had, trying to drive a jeep to the top of the tower.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Ben King says:

    That was a delightfully tragic end to such an idyllic home.

  5. Artiforg says:

    Do more videos, please, Brendan. They’re a great watch. This and Bot Colony were hilarious.

    • poliovaccine says:

      I’ll second that motion..! The horse on the roof gave me a bit of a flashback to that golden age of gaming where technology’s limits left “immersion” in this funky midway point where you could either take the game dead seriously, or just faff with glitches for your fun, and either approach would be perfectly serviceable within the same game… there was a roughly equivalent period in early movies too, come to think of it.

      Anyway, yeah, the videos are great fun, here’s hoping for more..!

  6. Faldrath says:

    Oof. I have just finished reading Ernst Jünger’s “Storm of Steel”, and that scene in the video with the sniper and the machine gun guy blown up by artillery really reminded me of some stuff he describes in the book. Ugh.

  7. Artemas says:

    When hunting houses, do you use the anti-house gun?

  8. Menthalion says:

    YSo trolling / AFKing MP games, ruining them for other players, is good article material for a gamer’s website now ? Total dick move for a piece of click bait article.

    “For the lulz !” I expected more from a site I visit for their usually intelligent take on games

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      “Clickbait” does not mean “any article I don’t like”.

      • Menthalion says:

        Advertising “Come see me troll some people after the break” is.

    • Ghostwise says:

      Thanks old chap, I needed a laugh.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Why you funy?! Serious hobby. You ruined the lives of those poor people who played that one game. My mum cried. Total dick bait.

      • Menthalion says:

        Typical Millenial “Everybody should think of me me me, but I don’t have to think of anyone else” mentality.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          Hmm. A few people may have had a slightly marred 40 minutes playing a videogame (for entertainment) vs many entertained by resulting article (not you, obviously). I wonder if any of the other players even noticed. Still, call the author a dick, that’s totally in proportion. Typical millennial overreaction. See, we we can all play.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            P.S you don’t get to play the courtesy card after being so discourteous in your original comment. Fair’s fair.

          • Menthalion says:

            Calling something a dick move is something else than calling someone a dick.

    • aldo_14 says:

      Excuse me old chap, I’m afraid I need to note that you appear to have misspelt ‘why’.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Ruining?

      Ruining.

      OK then.

      • thelastpointer says:

        No but honestly, he totally ruined the game forever. It is literally unplayable now.

        • Menthalion says:

          game

          noun
          1. an amusement or pastime

          4. a single occasion of such an activity, or a definite portion of one

    • ziddersroofurry says:

      It’s an online fps. Nobody cares.

    • theblazeuk says:

      Typical millennial, screeching their rage around because people aren’t playing the ‘right way’ with zero sense of humour.

    • Tomn says:

      There was one chap who commandeered a tank and was firing at nothing, another fellow who immolated himself (and almost another player) out of the blue, and another running around smashing windows for no real reason.

      It’s a large online shooter of 32 players a side. Unless you play exclusively in private clan matches, there’s always going to be someone faffing about (and sometimes even then). At least this way there’s folks entertained by the faffery.

      Besides, let’s be honest, the way most public players play running, ducking, and dodging shots and thus drawing fire probably contributed about as much to the battle as the average “charge directly forward into the open and get shot” pubbie.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    I played this map about 10 times in this mode now and never noticed the watermill 0_o. Lovely video, although I do have one thing: Please do turn off the text chat when you’re recording a video. There’s some content in there that would not be fit for publication if you typed it out here. Tapping “H” does the trick.

  10. thelastpointer says:

    I will not watch the video because I’ve read the article in Black Adder’s voice and it doesn’t get any better than that.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Solrax says:

    Oh, that was brilliant!

  12. manny says:

    Not that far from truth, warfare is 99% waiting around playing house with 1$ terror and death. One of the nice things about saving private ryan was the waiting around in houses.