“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” —Theodore Roosevelt
I’d expected to only play Battlefield 4‘s multiplayer intermittently after purchasing it, but back during May, DICE began rolling out the “Road To Battlefield” programme that saw the release of all of the DLC for free: beginning with “Dragon’s Teeth”, the DLC became freely available over the course of the summer, and so, I eventually picked up “Final Stand”, “China Rises”, “Second Assault” and “Naval Strike”. I’ve only played a handful of the new game modes and maps, but the greatest addition the DLC conferred to my experience was the inclusion of new assignments and their corresponding unlocks, as well as new maps. I recall when I’d picked up Battlefield 3 Premium and marvelling at all of the new features — the excitement there had been in gaining access to new maps and unlocks, as well. However, this time, the complementary DLC come from a promotion leading towards Battlefield 1. In the time since my last Battlefield 4 post back in March, I’ve ranked up around twenty levels and add thirty-four more hours in multiplayer, bringing that total to seventy-two hours. “Dragon’s Teeth” had come out in May, and I recall many an hour spent in the Sunken Dragon map armed with the MP-412, trying to get kills on opponents while in the water in order to unlock the Unica 6. Several long and difficult matches later, I’d succeeded, and proceeded to the next assignment, which involved using the Unica 6 to score twenty headshots. After numerous deaths, the Desert Eagle was finally unlocked, and has since become my favourite heavy pistol. Although the road to obtaining the Desert Eagle was a tricky one, it was also marvelously rewarding to succeed.
This is the sort of experience that has given Battlefield 4 such longevity: on occasion, I drop into a match now and equip a new weapon to try out, unlocking new attachments and accessories for it. In the occasional match, medals and awards pop up to alert me that I’ve completed some assignment I’d not even heard of before, unlocking new weapon skins or even weapons in some assignments. The unlock system in Battlefield 4, being a more refined upgrade to Battlefield 3‘s system, always finds a way to give back to players for investing time into the game, as well as for being adventurous, and in doing so, continues to encourage players to return, either to work towards unlocking all of the weapon accessories in order to make the weapon something they enjoy using, or else promote altering one’s playstyle with a new weapon. At this time, I’ve unlocked all of the shotguns, as well as all but one of the assault rifles and pistols. There are other weapons, such as sniper rifles and designated marksman rifles, that remain to be conquered, but even once everything is unlocked, there remains the weapon mastery challenges (get 500 kills with a weapon) to be completed. The sheer diversity of things to do in multiplayer well beyond completing objectives means that there’s always room to play Battlefield 4, and over the foreseeable future, I will likely alternate between Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1 depending on whether or not I’m seeking a more modern experience, or Strike Witches in the Frostbite Engine.
Screenshots and Commentary
- I threw down enough resupply crates and ammo pouches such that the resupply medals were my most received medal after the suppression assists. In Battlefield 4, the support class had access to LMGs, along with DMRs and carbines, and for the most part, I particularly enjoy using LMGs for their high ammo capacity. The M249 became my favourite LMG in both Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, handling superbly with low recoil.
- Here, I earn my first-ever chain link ribbon after trying out the game mode for the first time. These screenshots date back to May, during which I would have been in the middle of working for my thesis paper. I did take a few hours off each day to play Battlefield 4 and found out about the free DLC programme while looking up whether or not there would be any events for double XP.
- “Dragon’s Teeth” was the first of the DLC to be offered free of charge; its theme is conflict-ravaged urban settings, and my favourite map is probably Propaganda, which is set in Pyongyang in North Korea. Besides Soviet-style apartments, there’s a statue of the North Korean leader and large billboards. I had a fantastic time on this map, but it appears that games set on DLC maps tend to be more specialised, rather than the conquest or TDM I’m most fond of playing.
- If memory serves, I went nine and twenty-nine during the one conquest match I tried unlocking the Unica 6: the assignment involves getting five kills while swimming and opening the flood gates. Both objectives proved quite difficult, as the other team had superb defense: I was sniped or died to campers hiding out in the towers where the controls where while trying to open the gates. Even after succeeding, the five kills while swimming were a challenge, since players simply shot me out of the water. I eventually succeeded with the fifth kill, finishing the assignment and earning myself much fist pumping and yelling.
- One of my favourite features in Battlefield 4 is the whole notion of “assist counts as kill”, which I find to be a mechanism that appropriately rewards players for dealing a majority of the damage to another target before someone else finishes them off. It is especially satisfying when one is killed before they can get the kill, only to have “assist counts as kill” pop up on the screen, awarding credit for having done the bulk of the work for another teammate to finish them.
- I predominantly play TDM in Battlefield 4, but in general, Conquest is my favourite game mode, bringing large-scale battles to life as teams try to capture and hold objectives in order to deplete the opposing team of tickets. Its smaller counterpart, Domination, is most similar to King of The Hill in Halo, although there is more than one hill and the hills do not move. In this particular game, I’m playing on a remastered version of Battlefield 3‘s “Operation Metro”, which I spent many hours playing during the days of Battlefield 3.
- It was a Herculean task to get twenty headshots with the Unica 6 in order to unlock the Desert Eagle: I normally roll with the MP 412 Rex, which has a higher firing rate and for which I’ve got the green laser sight for to improve hip fire. I count on getting two body shots in close quarters in order to best an opponent while using a sidearm and so, never bother aiming for the head. However, a combination of luck and the occasional unaware player meant that after some effort, I finally unlocked the Desert Eagle.
- I primarily like the Desert Eagle for its aesthetics, and for having the fastest reload of any of the so-called “hand cannons” in Battlefield 4, and my most-used pistol is the MP 412. For the lighter pistols, I used the M9 the most extensively. I am a huge fan of pistols, and typically have a blast on the pistol only servers, but in ordinary servers, a good pistol can be a fantastic complement for one’s primary weapon: a hard-hitting pistol goes great with shotguns or PDWs, while something like the G18 or 93R is a fantastic backup for bolt-action rifles.
- I haven’t gotten a KILLTACULAR since my days of playing Halo 2: Vista, which was defined to be getting four kills, each within seven seconds of one another (or, four kills within twenty-eight seconds) until now: using an anti-tank rocket, I blew up a vehicle carrying four occupants here. In Halo 2 on Lockout, I became so familiar with the spawn points so that I could use a sniper rifle and battle rifle in conjunction with plasma grenades to clear out the opposing team’s players as they spawned, eventually earning me the covetted killimanjaro medal (seven kills, each within seven seconds of one another).
- The engineer class in Battlefield 4, like Battlefield 3, finds most utility on games where there are plenty of vehicles. I usually roll with the repair torch for the sake of being able to rapidly repair friendly vehicles, although I remember chaotic matches where I make to equip an anti-tank rocket, pull out the torch by mistake, then proceed to walk up to the vehicle and begin damaging it with the repair tool, eventually causing it to explode.
- Thanks to the antics of Girls und Panzer, I usually try to flank enemy armour to destroy them, but the main battle tanks in Battlefield 4 are also effective against lighter vehicles and infantry. The combination of double XP events in conjunction with capturing objectives while in vehicles has allowed me to unlock almost all of the accessories for the tanks: I’m only three short at present. My typical loadout for a tank is the default loadout, but it strikes me now as strange that I’ve not altered the tank as the defaults have worked so effectively.
- Dragon Pass in the “China Rises” expansion has some of the nicest scenery in Battlefield, and here, I get a spot bonus as I run through the rice paddies and karst rock formations of the Guilin valley. According to the time stamps on my screenshots, after May and June, I stopped playing Battlefield in July, since I was in Cancún for the ALIFE 2016 conference. After I returned, my goal was to finish revising my thesis such that it was submission ready.
- At the end of July, I submitted my thesis, but during a tense week in early August, my thesis was rejected for formatting issues. However, after three attempts, my submission was finally accepted, and so, in early August, I resumed playing Battlefield, recalling one particularly hilarious match where one fellow going by the name of Mars732 continually spouted profanity when I got him with the SPAS-12.
- Even after acquisition of new DLC, I still think that my favourite maps of Battlefield 4 are Zavod 311: the forest environment and abandoned T-54/55 factory is an excellent environment that suits a variety of play styles. Here, I unlock the RPK-74 as a reward for completing the “Powder Keg” assignment, and further recall another assignment where I had to get one M320 kill, one pistol kill and one defibrillator kill in one match. Players recommend getting the three assault rifle ribbons first, otherwise the kills won’t count, but I jumped in a little late, and neglected to get the ribbons beforehand. So, I hastened to get eighteen kills with the assault rifle, and after a tense match, I unlocked the L85A2.
- After a year of playing Battlefield 4, I finally witnessed the Levolution event naturally occur during one conquest match on “Siege of Shanghai”, when the central skyscaper’s support columns were damaged by tank fire sufficiently for the entire thing to collapse. I was on a mission to finish the “Make a Dent” assignment, which unlocks the MP7. Getting the anti-vehicle ribbons was not a difficult task, but the portable anti-air kills proved more difficult. I was completely unsuccessful with the Stinger missiles, but in a later match, a lucky shot with the Igla netted me a nice double kill, unlocking the weapon.
- Unlike Battlefield 3, the DMRs in Battlefield 4 deal much less damage and require three shots to kill even in close quarters. Quite a force to recon with in Battlefield 3, I found that they’re not as useful in Battlefield 4, being outperformed by higher fire rate weapons in close quarters and lacking the accuracy to be effective sniper weapons at longer ranges. Still, there are some days where I’ll feel up to trying them out, and I’ve unlocked a handful of attachments for the RFB that make it slightly more usable.
- As I hardly ever play the recon class at long ranges, the marksman ribbon is something I’ve not seen during my game time until now. I’m not particularly good with sniper rifles in general, and consequently, have not unlocked many of the weapons. In Battlefield 3, the DMRs and bolt-action rifles were under the same category, so I usually just rolled with the M417 and had a blast two-shotting folks at close quarters.
- After a friend suggested I try out the M240B, I immediately took a liking to the weapon and got fifty kills over the course of two TDM matches, unlocking the support expert title and the associated RPK-12. I’ve now reached expertise for both the medic and support classes, leaving only the recon and engineer classes left to master. However, having spent a “mere” seventy-two hours in Battlefield 4, I’m still a long way from unlocking everything.
- Shotguns see limited utility for most game modes, but on “Operation Locker”, they’re beasts to be reckoned with. Insofar, my favourite shotguns are the SPAS-12 and the 870 MCS: I have been called a “shotgun n00b” before for making use of shotguns in TDM, although I’m unfettered by the remarks; TDM is where I go to focus on farming kills for weapon unlocks, and over the past week, I attempted the “Road to Battlefield” challenge, which asked for twenty-five M1911 kills.
- I’d not actually used the M1911 up until that point, and so, had no attachments for the weapon. Instead, I ran the weapon with no accessories, managing to perform quite well with it and earning me the moniker “pistol n00b” by some players. I’m not bothered, since doing so allowed me to complete the mission, earning me a cool weapon skin and dogtags for Battlefield 1, as well as a gold battlepack for Battlefield 4 (I got two knives from this drop, so I was quite pleased with the outcome of that assignment).
My performance in Battlefield 4 is primarily objective-driven: in most matches, I play to capture points, arm or defuse MCOMs, or else do what is necessary to win a game, even if it means my KD ratio takes a hit. This particular play-style comes from my personal preferences in how I approach problems in reality; it’s acceptable for me to take a few hits here and there provided that the team overall is doing well. Consequently, I will utilise my class to its fullest to assist my teammates in a match, and on several occasions, have reached close the top of the scoreboard despite having what would considered be a poor KD ratio (less than 1.0). This is because I’m more interested in capturing points, healing and reviving teammates, resupplying teammates and repairing vehicles than I am with kills in objective driven matches. To offset this, I play team slayer in order to accumulate kills and unlock weapon accessories. Over the course of the past few months, I’ve also played in a squad with my friends: that was an immensely enjoyable experience where our team won one of the two conquest large matches we played. The first one, we were able to mount a comeback, and the second one was a closer game that we’d narrowly lost. Playing with friends is a vastly different experience than playing solo, although in all cases, I have the most fun where I’m able to help my team out. Now that Battlefield 1‘s out, I’ll probably be dividing my time between this and Battlefield 4, which means that my time in Battlefield 3 has drawn to a close.