Battlefield 3 Gripes

After playing buying BF3 for a few months a month or so ago and logging 128 hours (my soldier’s page) I have come across a few gripes that I feel make this game fall short of perfection. It goes without saying that this is definitely one of the most immersive, graphically and audibly detailed games I have ever played. However it’s lacking some key elements that many other games have in place, and has a few things I would love to see changed. Read on, soldier, read on.

Bigger Gripes

Voice chat between squad/team

This appears to be a community wide gripe, and something Dice/EA refuses to budge on … but that doesn’t mean I will take it lying down. Voice chat elevates team gameplay. Without it, you might as well be playing against computers. The best example of a game perfecting voice chat in small squad setting is the Left 4 Dead series. Being able to tell your team to hold back, or to cover you, or “Dude you got a zombie on your neck” … is infinitely more intuitive than the awkward spotting button, or typing chat.

If voice chat is completely out of the question, I find the “VGS” (Voice Game System) from the Tribes series to be more effective. With it, you use the “V” key to access a pop up menu in game. From there you use other key combinations to get access to clearly audible voice commands. For example “V”, “G”, “C”, “A” would progress through: Voice, General, Compliments, “Awesome“. Your character vocalizes the command and it appears in the chat.

It’s intuitive, quick, and offers a lot of flexibility in communication options. I do not know if this type of a system is protected by any sort of licensing or patents. I highly doubt it, yet Tribes is the only game I have seen it put to good use. Obviously this is the cheap man’s voice chat, but it works quite well.

The lack of voice chat (or even chat at all if I recall correctly) is one of the main reasons why Co-op mode blows chunks. It really is a terrible game mode.

Enable chat after match is over

Once a really hectic, closely played match is over … typically up to 64 people all across the globe sit in silence like recently lobotomised patients as ribbons and unlocks flick across their screen. Without a chat after a match is over, you can’t congratulate your team on a round well played, or accuse the obvious h4x0r, or just plain talk smack to the other team. The game is more boring as a result. The reason I’m playing a multiplayer game is to interact with people … not sit and masturbate to my stats. Err … figuratively of course.

Spectator mode

While sitting in the queue and reading reddit is fun … it would be great to just join a game and spectate (first person or third!). Also it would be nice to spectate because you could easily pick up techniques and strategies from better players. There really isn’t much else to say about this one … but it definitely would be a nice addition to the game. This also links into the next gripe …

Replays

Being able to record short clips, or entire matches without requiring additional software would be very cool. This isn’t a make-or-break kind of feature though … it would just be nice to save the last 30 seconds of footage when a chopper flew overhead with guns blazing and you popped your head up and disabled it with a well timed RPG, only before you had a chance to pat yourself on the back, a US Marine had a knife in it. Youtube integration would be le cherry on le top.


Whiny Little Gripes

Team Deathmatch Mode

The random spawns in TDM mean that there is absolutely no strategy involved, and the game devolves into frantically running around like a rabid dog with a shotgun. I mean … I guess that can be fun for a while. But seriously after playing it for more than 30 minutes I start to feel like I’m grinding mobs in World of Warcraft.

I mean, I guess the reasoning behind it is to “always keep the gameplay moving” so that there weren’t any chokepoints, or camping. But that just means that the level design might as well be a big square room with a few boxes in it (as some of the TDM maps are …). BF3 is so much more than the old “Quake” of yore … I think it could rise above the random spawn mold.

The take-away: make the spawn points fixed.

 

Team balancing is ineffective

The aforementioned Tribes Ascend uses much more aggressive team balancing than BF3. My opinion in this is that: while it may be frustrating to be switched halfway through a game … it’s not half as frustrating for an entire team of people to spend 45 minutes sitting at their spawn getting machine gunned and sniped to death. That 45 minutes isn’t an exaggeration – I’ve been in matches where the score is 600-200 with one team clearly dominating and nothing changes except one team digs about 200 graves and the other fills ‘em up.

I understand this is a server-by-server feature, but in servers that implement it … it seems to just assign the last joining noob to the losing team, not helping the matter. People take time to “warm up” to a match, so someone joining right away, placed on the losing team, will likely fall prey to the inbalance.

BattleLog Gripes

First off: Using a browser as the game’s server manager and UI is really freaking cool. At first I was confused and a little put off, but it really is a genius idea. It also means that these gripes are probably the easiest to fix. As a web developer, I know that changing web applications is infinitely easier than updating C++ or Actionscript coded user interfaces that must be pushed to players with an update.

Match comments

Currently a completely pointless past-time, posting comments on matches could be entertaining. The only thing missing is to make an alert/message come up when a comment comes up in a match a player has played in.

Server history

Recent servers should be sortable by Last Date Played (i.e. so I can join that great server from last night)

 

That’s about all I can come up with. To anyone who would say, “DURR … y do u even play a game if you dun like it and have all these complaints!!11!!” (as I’ve often seen on game forums) Well, Derp, I actually want to see the games I play improved and made better. If you are happy with mediocrity, then that’s your choice.

That said, Battlefield 3 is in no way mediocre and I highly recommend it.