If there is one thing that DICE may have learned about their community during the post-launch cycle of Battlefield 3, it is that they want smaller and more frequent patches. That is, not to say that the’ve been cheap on the patching process. The last mammoth of a patch alone almost turned BF3 into a different game. However, it’s the wait between patches that can be almost unbearable at times, especially when having to put up with awful glitches like the one plaguing the M26 DART underbarrell attachment, rewarding players with instant kills at even unreasonable distances.
Global community manager, Daniel “zh1nt0” Matros, discusses DICE’s patching process with Battlefield 3 fans in a recent AMA on Reddit.
When asked if DICE would ever consider patching in smaller and more frequent doses, Matros agreed that “they do make sense in theory.” However, senior gameplay designer, Alan Kertz commented on the limitations of patching more frequently before, stating that it’s “not possible due to the overhead of the patch process and the interdependency of patch fixes.” Matros continued, “If we compare it to how we patched 2142 last time that went through combat testing, that took much longer time to do. I’m more for open patch testing and such. I also would like to see combat testing back in action but that is something I have to speak with the team about.”
With the fairly negative reaction to DICE’s tweaks to the suppression mechanic in the last patch, many wonder why DICE did not consult the community before-hand in order to avoid such mishaps. Matros explains, “because if you send out a suppression update on a blog or whatever, you will get many different responses. Sending it out as a patch update requires time, resources and downtime just for a test.” However, there are other alternative’s to putting a patch through its paces post-release. Matros talks of the concept of ‘Combat Testing,’ stating, “I believe Combat Testing was a great way of testing things. Combat Testing was a community based group that used to handle pre-update stuff for us.. Great people too.” Hopefully this is something DICE could implement once again in the near future.
Some fans speculate that perhaps management of the relatively new Frostbite 2 engine is what is causing the delay between patches. Matros couldn’t get into details but he mentioned “it’s not only just the Frostbite engine.” He added that “BF2 had long intervals between the updates. So did BF2142, BC1, BC2 and so forth.” However, he assures fans that DICE is taking the feedback to heart. “I’ll leave the priority listing for the patch group I’m working with but I hear you loud and clear. More frequent patches and hotfixes,”
As for the M26 DART glitch, Matros made it clear that “it’s in testing and the goal is to have it fixed. No ETA on rollout.”
Do you think we could be seeing more frequent patches from DICE in the future?