What Does DICE Need to Do to Win Back the Battlefield Community After Battlefield V?

Battlefield 5 Update 7.3

Since it’s launch in November 2018, Battlefield V has gone from one controversy to another, which might or might not have contributed to the title not getting any new content earlier than expected. With a new Battlefield game confirmed to be in the works and dropping next year, we were wondering given the recent developments, what DICE needs to do in order to regain community trust once again.

Joining us in our conversations are Battlefield YouTubers, and someone who’s been entrenched with the Battlefield community over the years as a mod on not only the Battlefield V subreddit, but all the Battlefield-related subreddits — in short, the people we asked are those familiar with the franchise, and the community as a whole.

Note: Opinions shared have been edited for spell checking, grammar and punctuation, but aside from that, was left as is.

battlefield v

DannyonPC (YouTube, Twitter)

Don’t add Attrition, punishing for winning duels is bad. Bring the sandbox back, remove the physicality and animations. It’s not fun to be blown away because there’s an explosion nearby + it breaks vehicle gameplay if you can’t get in and out to repair. Also means that PTFO-ing tanking is more often suicide due to the combination of Attrition and not being able to hop out.

A standout function (probably brought by next gen power, like more people/better destruction) BF1 had the Behemotes, BF4 had Levolution, etc.

Announce the plans early and stick to it. No ”soon” memes.

Release stuff more often, dripfeeding sucks.

battlefield 5 squad conquest loading issue

Sgt. DangerCow (Twitch, Twitter)

In short, DICE needs to be more direct and more open in their answers. If something is under discussion they can say “We’re discussing it, but it’s a long way off.” If the game won’t have private servers at launch (for example), then say so. Currently people feel like they are spending their money on a game out of hope and vague promises and inevitably feel disappointed if they don’t get what they perceived out of said promises. If they can move back to a ground of solid answers and clarity, I think that will help to rebuild trust. Further I think making sure that people know from the outset what they will get for free and what they will have to mtx for will help.

battlefield 5 april update

Flakfire Gaming (YouTube, Twitter)

So, first things first — I think they need to apologize. DICE and EA really didn’t do right by the community with Battlefield 5 and its live service. I’m sure there were good intentions, but promises were made and they under-delivered. I understand the reason behind the decision to end content for the game, but it’s entirely self-inflicted, stemming from the response to the game’s reveal and release in an unfinished state.

If DICE and EA want to win back the community and don’t want to correct the problems with Battlefield V, then it begins with Battlefield 6. They need to deliver a complete product — one that not only works, but has been through the requisite stages of development where ideas are refined and sorted. There needs to be a clear direction and game plan. It’s much easier to board a ship when you have confidence in the captain and know where it’s going.

I’d also really like to see some kind of bonus as a thank you to players who purchased Battlefield V. Whether that’s a special skin or a discount, those kinds of things show a fanbase that their connection to the franchise is valued. Many fans will be expecting this with the next iteration in the franchise.

Finally, an alpha/beta test for BF6 is a must. EA and DICE will be under a microscope for it, and they should be, given the performance of BFV. Now more than ever, players will use those opportunities to determine whether or not a product is ready.

There are probably a few other things that could be done, but I think an apology and admission that things weren’t done right, plus a commitment to do things better, would go a long way.

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OddJob001 (Reddit, Twitter)

RSP/Community Games

I believe a majority of the decrease stems from EA/DICE moving away from RSP or Community Games, starting with BF1. I believe this was originally a thought by EA to take the revenue that third-party service providers were making and move that revenue into their own revenue stream. However, they didn’t provide anything even close to what tools the community created for BF3, BF4 with rcon (Procon). This in turn left the many micro-communities of Battlefield with no option to host their own games, run servers how their community wants, or run custom community events. Instead it forced them to play on official, standardized servers. From a match-making and consistency perspective, this is great. What’s not great is that it has effectively killed off Battlefield communities that make up the greater “Best Community in the World” (as DICE calls it). They lost their “homes.” The lack of RSP/CGs in BF1 caused multiple clans to lose their core Battlefield players. Those players just aimlessly go and join whatever server is up, and there now is no feeling of community. I saw the Battlefield clans of BF4, numbered in the 40-60’s, dwindle down to about 5-10 communities in BF1 and even less in BFV. These mico-communities are the CORE of the Battlefield player base. There were Community Games added to BF1 towards its EOL (end of life), but it was too little, too late. When BFV launched there was nothing.. If Battlefield wants to have “The Best Community in the World,” then it needs to give the micro-communities that make up the larger player base, the tools they require to keep their communities alive, to keep players coming into their games, and to keep people playing together, not apart.

Roadmaps/Future Direction

Another issue with the lackluster performance of BFV was simply not listening to their player base. When players heard BFV was going to be based on WW2, people were more excited than I’ve ever seen for a Battlefield release. Most wanted to simply see a BF1942, remastered. What we got were developers, managers, directors, all with different ideas on the direction of where it should go. This misalignment of ideas caused yet further fragmentation of the player base. The release video was ill-received, as it looked like BFV was going to be some alternate WW2 universe. When the player base spoke up against the direction, they attempted to pivot to a more realistic approach, yet still included what some believe were outrageous skins for the era and unknown battle locations. Communication was all over the place about where they were going, moving forward. Roadmaps were put out with things that never happened. Development teams, internally, weren’t communicating with Community Managers, causing incorrect information to be relayed to the players. This made the confusion of where the game was going, turn into frustration. At this point we saw a mass exodus of long tenured EA/DICE employees as other game development companies moved into Stockholm and offered new and exciting career adventures. On the outside, looking in, it appeared as if there was an absolute disarray of the development teams internally. I believe the major reason the game ended early was due to this. As a developer myself, it takes at least 6-12 months (at least) to truly train a new developer in on a project. I believe there is no way they could recover from the loss of their senior development leadership. DICE needs to frequently post their near/far future plans with solid roadmaps that stick, in the next release. This leads us to the next issue.

Lack of Content

The initial content that came out for BFV was well received. The game was fun, the maps were fun (albeit missing a lot of the feeling of immersion that BF1 had), people enjoyed it. However, the content was drip fed. This was their first attempt at a “Live Service” for Battlefield. What many of the players thought Live Service would mean, would be constant small updates (1-2 a month), quick turnarounds for major and minor bug fixes, and consistent content. Instead, what it appeared, was a way for EA/DICE to buy themselves more time to train new employees, and attempt to turn the game around. I dont think they ever recovered from this. UI was never updated, things like assignment tracking was never refactored, it was all becoming stale. More importantly, the major issue with all of this was game breaking bugs — bugs that have been in the game since BF3 and each and every release after. Bugs that are so game-breaking you had to (and still have to) quit the game to overcome. Live Service should mean a bug is fixed immediately; not 4-8 months later, or never. The certification process with MSFT, Sony needs to change for the next game. We can’t be waiting 1-2 additional weeks just to get certification of the updates. If a bug in an update significantly breaks the game, it needs to be fixed within days. With months between significant content releases and new maps, players began to find other games to go to. Games that provided lots of new content and talked with their community to make quick and polished changes based on those discussions, which leads me to the final point.

Changes to the core game (that the player base didnt ask for)

Throughout the lifecycle of Battlefield V we saw numerous changes the EA/DICE made, that the majority of the community never asked for. Mainly the two changes to TTK or (Time To Kill), aka how many bullets it takes to kill an enemy. One thing the BFV had going for itself was gunplay. It’s considered the best gunplay in any of the Battlefields. Players loved it and expressed that love. Then EA/DICE changed it out of nowhere, without warning, without talking to their player base. This was likely to make it easier for new players to pick up, or to make the learning curve a little easier. However, that isn’t how a core Battlefield player views this game. The game has a somewhat steep learning curve, parts of it are difficult to master. But those that stick with it are rewarded for improving their skills and learning various tricks and tips. That is what makes Battlefield fun. It’s a challenge when you first come into it, and many people want to work to overcome that challenge. Outside of those opinions, the issue here was changes to the game that the majority of the playerbase didnt want and didnt ever ask for. This in turn caused more development time to both make the changes, but then to revert them…twice. At this point in the life of the game, what became of that was the frustration of the player based turning into anger. People quit, people went on to all platforms of social media bashing and flaming the game. What new person wants to try a game that the core player base is totally frustrated and angry with? Eventually tweaks were made, and although we dont have the same TTK as the game started with, it’s acceptable now. What’s not acceptable is the fiasco of time and the frustration this caused.

To sum it all up, there is no one reason why the game wasn’t as successful as it could have been, but numerous reasons why it’s considered a failure. A couple of those major issues could have been resolved and the game could have flourished. But too many of them happening together was too much.

The next installment of Battlefield needs to be the most polished Battlefield we’ve seen, at launch. It needs to release with a full set of robust tools for communities to run their own servers, day one. The turnaround time on game breaking bugs needs to be no greater than 1-2 weeks for a fix. The UI needs a massive overhaul to keep players in the game, and not exiting a server just to go change assignments. Internally, the development teams need to make sure they are working closer together and relaying correct information to our awesome Community Managers (Jeff Braddock and Adam Freeman). Content needs to come at a constant rate, we can’t have months between, or people leave. Battlefield needs to get back to its roots; focusing on intense, chaotic, large-scaled warfare. It needs to launch with minimal bugs, along with robust tools for micro-communities, that make it what it can be, the best FPS to ever be created.

Well, there you have it, folks. Do you agree with their sentiments? And more importantly, do you think the community will embrace the next Battlefield game even if Battlefield V is fresh on their minds? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.

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