Battlefield 3: What’s Still Wrong in a Game So Right

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Battlefield 3 is easily one of my favorite multiplayer games of this console generation; it’s quickly moving up the ranks in my “all-time favorites” as well. With a hundred hours playtime at rank 49, I’ve put enough time in to really get a hang of the game and its unique elements. I’ve also seen more than a few issues crop up that should be remedied either via patches and updates, or for future Battlefield installments. Some of these might seem minor, and I’m sure I’ll be accused of nitpicking, but for long-term and heavily invested players, they can really add up to an annoying (at best) or frustrating (at worst) gaming experience.

Server Browsers

Server browsers are an oft-requested feature of multiplayer games, and fans were thrilled to hear they would be implemented into Battlefield 3. Unfortunately, they’re kind of pointless. Yes, you can choose a server currently hosting the map you want to play on, but it’s still a normal cycle of maps. That means if you want to play Siene Crossing, and go to the server browser to select a server hosting Siene Crossing, you will only play that map once (at best), and then the cycle will continue. I say “at best” because you might join into a game in progress; you might be plunked down in the game with only 5 kills remaining, and not even get to play the map you chose. Then it’s off to the next random map. The console server browser needs to have dedicated map servers. I could spend entire evening gaming sessions playing nothing but Grand Bazaar. I’m sure other gamers have their favorite maps they’d like to play in a continuous loop. DICE need to make the browsers more like the standard PC gaming servers. They could even look to see what the most popular maps are, and test the waters with them first to see what the community’s reaction would be.

Great news in theory; mediocre news in execution.

Ranking

My mind was blown when I read that Battlefield would feature 145 levels. Unfortunately, my buzz was harshed by the fact that there are really only 45 levels, and then 100 “service stars,” which give you no items or unlocks outside of some rather generic-looking dog tags. To be honest, it feels like an artificially extended ranking system to compete with the likes of Call of Duty’s “Prestige” options. DICE should have either spread out the unlocks or just had rank 45 the highest rank. Having 99 levels of Colonel seems a little redundant. They could remedy this short-term by creating Colonel-only servers, or offering some goodies on the Battlelog or something, but in future games, I hope they rethink their ranking strategy.

Weapon Attachments

For the most part, weapon attachments are an absolute blast to unlock and equip. Unfortunately, many of them are completely worthless for the weapon at hand. A massive long-range rifle scope for a pump shotgun? Really? It seems bizarre to me that shotguns have so many useless scopes, and yet lack foregrips, a pretty standard attachment for gaming shotguns. It would have been nice to see some more unique attachments for specific weapons outside of the heavy barrels for assault, bipods for support, etc.

I don't think I'll be doing any sniping with this anytime soon…

TDM Spawns

The spawns in Team Deathmatch, while not as “meat-grindy” as, say, Modern Warfare 3, can be pretty ridiculous. There are two maps with infamous “instakill” spawns at the beginning of the game. Noshahr Canals and Damavand Peak each feature an opening spawn point that, for some inexplicable reason, spawns a player from each team in the exact same spot. This gives the player looking in the right direction a free kill less than a second into the match. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop at opening spawns. Many maps feature spawn points inside buildings or structures. That’s fine and dandy except that those buildings and structures can be destroyed as the match progresses. Then the game might spawn you inside what it thinks is a “safe zone,” but is really a crumbled building out in the middle of everything, with no cover around. The opposing team can just sit outside the area and rack up the kills. It seems as if there are “safe zones,” and if an enemy isn’t in one, the game will choose it as a viable spawn point for the player. This can get ugly when enemies are outside, but looking into, the safe zones, and can get free shots on a spawning player. Canals also has a few of these spots. I maintained a killstreak and a high Nemesis count on one single player who the game kept spawning by a crate on the docks. I wasn’t near the docks, but I had an open shot into them. It’s definitely a balancing issue that needs some effort spent by DICE rectifying.

Spawnkill in 3…2…1…Spawn kill is a go.

Is Battlefield a great game? For sure. Despite a predictable hairy launch week, the game runs like a dream now, and I would easily count this as the multiplayer game of the year, no question. That being said, I really hope DICE continues to balance and tweak the balancing, and adds a more specific server functionality.

We’ve had almost a month with BF3. Leave your thoughts on the game in the comments and make sure to follow MP1st on Twitter and Facebook!

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