“And that’s not the worse of it. I’ve experience [sic] THREE complete runs where Hime was the only one left, star shells and spotlight trigger and… yet no [sic] one crits or cut-ins. I’m angry, and I had to walk away for a bit. I was that mad.” —On the Kantai Collection Fall 2016 Event
A sniper’s round sends me back to the spawn screen as the English-accented announcer informs me that a friendly behemoth is en route. Moments later, I am sitting behind the guns of a dreadnought modelled after the HMS Iron Duke-class, laying down heavy fire against ground targets using the BL 13.5-inch Mk V cannons. Enemy armour and positions are smashed, but their coordination remains solid, and soon, the match ends in defeat, but not before I use the behemoths manage to turn my own KD ratio around from negative to positive. In a later match at Amiens, my team finds itself outmatched. A train spawns in, and the coordination amongst the operators manage to turn the entire game around. Far more than Battlefield 4‘s Levolution mechanic, Battlefield 1‘s behemoths add a new variety to gameplay, giving members of losing teams the incentive to stick around and hold out for the behemoth: when properly utilised, these vehicles can help the losing team mount a comeback. By this point in time, I’ve sunk around twenty-one hours into Battlefield 1 and have greatly enjoyed using the behemoth, having had the opportunity to operate all three now. I’ve also reached rank three for the assault, medic and support class, allowing me access to all of their weapons (save the level ten ones) in this time — curiously enough, the support class has taken off as my most used class, followed closely by the assault class. In addition, I’ve also managed to unlock rank one for the scout class as I slowly acclimatise to the bolt action rifles: as it turns out, the SMLE MKIII Marksman is the best rifle for my style of gameplay, so the weapon I most need also happens to be the one I start out with.
The ability to drive and man the guns of a dreadnought brings to mind something prima facie unrelated to Battlefield 1: naval vessels with large-calibre weapons bring to mind the warships of Hai-Furi and Kantai Collection. World War Two-era naval topics are of interest in Japan, and from what I know, Kantai Collection is a wildly popular Flash-based RPG-style card game where players engage in battles to gain experience points for improving their fleets. I’ve heard that its popularity is attributed to the combination of moé elements with a cast of all-star voice actors, but from what the folks who’ve played it have said, the game requires that players divert an inordinate amount of effort in order to complete some of the seasonal events: some recollections on how tough some events are serve as an indicator that this game is perhaps not my cup of tea. One might ask how this is relevant to Battlefield 1, and the answer is simple: there is quite a grind to reach rank ten even when optimising one’s PTFO strategies and participation solely in Operations or Conquest matches. A bit of extrapolation finds that, if it takes an average of twenty one hours to rank up ten times (three for each of the assault, medic and support class, plus one for the scout), it will take a total of eighty-four hours to reach rank ten for each class. When one considers I’ve only spent seventy-seven hours in the Battlefield 4 multiplayer, this means that there is a long journey ahead. So, what sets the Battlefield 1 journey apart from the seasonal rage-inducing events of Kantai Collection? Battlefield moments are the answer — the game continues to be full of surprises stretching across the amusing and epic spectrum of things, ranging from the spectacle afforded by watching a Behemoth explode, to something as simple as poking an unsuspecting an enemy mortar operator to death with the standard knife.
Screenshots and Commentary
- This post features forty screenshots, double that of an ordinary post, because I’ve experienced so much crazy stuff in the past month, and because requests for the Tawawa on Monday OVA post motivated this one to be pushed back. So, this post might be considered as a double-feature. The first time I spawned into a dreadnought was in a conquest match on Fao Fortress, I somehow wound up in the driver’s seat and could only manoeuvre the vessel slightly. It certainly wasn’t enough to turn the tide of the battle and led to the vessel being destroyed, but I did have fun firing the main batteries at land-based targets.
- Being a novice at driving the dreadnought, the behemoth’s contributions to my team’s attempt at a comeback were minimal. World of Warships has nothing on Battlefield 1 as far as fun factor goes, and it is for this reason that I never did get into World of Tanks: I’ve found that Battlefield games are generally more approachable than any of Wargaming.net’s titles. With this in mind, AnimeSuki’s Mädchen und Panzer appears to be derelict now that Daigensui has been banned, which means that my wish to test my mettle against Girls und Panzer‘s finest will probably not be realised. I’m totally okay with this, since time is precious.
- A ways later, on the Empire’s Edge map, I decided that, in the interest of keeping the behemoth alive longer by letting a more experienced operator helm it, I spawned in and immediately switched into the gunner’s seat, simultaneously fulfilling the roles played by Hai-Furi‘s Shima Tateishi, Hikari Ogasawara, Michiru Takeda and Junko Heki. Over the course of the behemoth’s lifespan, I managed to take out some infantry, destroyed several vehicles and cleared several objectives.
- It is quite fitting that I reached rank three for the medic class while reviving a teammate. Reaching rank two gave me access to the Selbstlader M1916 Marksman: while I’ve also unlocked the Mondragon Sniper and purchased the M1907 SL Sweeper, as well as the Autoloading 8 .25 Extended, to fulfill roles at extremities, the Selbstlader is an excellent all-around weapon I am continuing to field to this day, although the Autoloading 8 .25 Extended proved to be quite entertaining to use.
- The MG15 is the closest Battlefield 1 has to a proper belt-fed light machine gun. In its Storm configuration, it is an excellent weapon for closer range engagements; in one chaotic firefight, I somehow managed to remain alive despite being surrounded by five players, and it was only the MG15’s magazine size that kept it this way. The Supression version has optics and a 200-round magazine, making it more suited as a longer range weapon for defending a position.
- This is probably my Greatest Grenade™ Of All Time: during a conquest match on Argonne Fortress, some squadmates and I were trying to capture objective Alpha, and I noticed some folks running around outside, so I threw out a grenade. Seconds later, the grenade exploded, killing not one, not two, but three enemies to score me a triple kill. The next goal: go for a killtacular.
- Capturing an objective in conjunction with completing an attack order, while healing up teammates, managed to net me a cool two thousand points. Immediately after this capture was completed, I hopped off the bridge, grabbed the flame trooper kit and torched five enemy players before someone knifed me. By this point in the game, players have figured out how to quickly take down the elite classes, so while they are an intimidating presence on the battlefield, they certainly aren’t invincible (and therefore, not overpowered).
- The MP18 is my most-used weapon at present: despite not having the same damage-per-second as the Automatico M1918, it is a balanced weapon that has slightly longer usefulness over range. Here, I unlock my first service star of the game with it, and note that the Model 10-A is following closely behind.
- In another match of conquest, I managed to spawn into the anti-air seat of the armoured train and managed to shoot down some aircraft, as well as take out a few ground targets. While not sufficient to help my team mount a comeback, I did manage to get enough kills to balance out my own stats: on tougher matches where enemy players have superior coordination, I die quite frequently, but usually take one or two out with me.
- While my team would go on to lose this particular match, here, I got one of the coolest kills with the Madsen MG that might even surpass shooting down a bomber with the tank cannon: here, I shoot a pilot out of a bomber with the LMG, which somehow caused the bomber to explode, too. One of the best features in Battlefield 1 is that small arms can deal damage to aircraft: no longer am I forced to rely on Stinger or Igla missiles to do that job, when LMG fire can harm or outright destroy air vehicles owing to their light wooden construction.
- The support class was the second of my classes to reach rank three, and with rank three comes the unlocking of the BAR Storm. I’ve found that on some maps, I’ll have consistently good performance, while on others, I’ll be terrible in the KD department: I generally do quite poorly on Fao Fortress and Sinai Desert, but on Monte Grappa, St. Quentin Scar and Amiens, I manage to perform okay. With this being said, my score per minute, kills per minute and contributions to the team score has been much higher in Battlefield 1 than it has been in Battlefield 4, even if I do feel my performance in the latter is better than the former.
- Sometimes, a quick response to an opportunity yields a cool moment worthy of a screenshot, and here, I use the AT Rocket Gun for its intended purpose of demolishing a boat on Fao Fortress. One had landed itself close to capture point Foxtrot, and its users were preparing to disembark when I noticed them and put one round into the boat, which exploded to land me a double kill and rank up.
- For the first post since I actually bought Battlefield 1, I’ve run with the scout class for a full round and managed to score ten thousand points by playing the objectives. I’ve experienced difficulty in adjusting to the sniping in this game, but the starting bolt-action rifle for the scout class, the SMLE MKIII Marksman, is actually the perfect weapon for the aggressive mid-range scout: its sweet spot is between 40 and 75 meters, which is what ideal for my style of trying to be close to capture points. Here, the “enemy hit” metric shows that I’ve gotten a kill off at the sweet spot, dropping the other player from full health to zero with a single shot.
- The marksman variants of the bolt action rifles have one additional advantage over the sniper variants for medium range combat: while their optics are bulkier and more obtrusive, they do not give off scope glint and allow a scout to be more stealthy. Maps like Fao Fortress and Ballroom Blitz are perfect places to snipe, while at once offering (mostly) enough cover for me to hide around and capture points.
- Shortly after taking objective Alpha on Ballroom Blitz in one match, I unlocked the first rank to the scout class, which unlocks the Gewehr 95 Infantry and M1903 Experimental. While some folks may use the scout class to achieve insane long distance kills, the most widely-accepted way to use the scout is in a more aggressive role to spot enemies and actively being near capture points. To this end, it appears that the Gewehr 95, with its straight-pull bolt, is probably the best for the style of play; while lacking a sweet spot, it has the fastest firing rate of any bolt-action rifle.
- As I can get an average of ten thousand points on most matches where I play the objectives, and the scout class only requiring thirty thousand points per rank, I might be able to punch through to level ten and unlock the Kolibri on short order before the next big Origin Black Friday sale. So, my next weapon purchase in Battlefield 1 will be the Gewehr 95 (I’m hesitant about the M1903 Experimental because it is a five-shot kill at close ranges and that using it for an extended period of time can actually cause real-world wrist damage).
- This capture on Monte Grappa comes after a particularly nasty triple kill with the Automatico M1918: three guys from the other team had managed to sneak in around one of the side rooms, and I managed to shoot all three down using the Automatico, before rushing back in the main tunnel to rejoin teammates in capturing the point, which happened to be an attack order. As of right now, Conquest is my favourite game mode in Battlefield 1, and as I score quite well most matches, I’m actually levelling up faster than I did in Battlefield4, where I predominantly played TDM until recently.
- Here, I use the fortress guns on Monte Grappa the way they were meant to be used: the enemy team was aggressively pushing over the hill to capture Delta objective and were coming up over the ridge. It’s actually fairly amusing that a direct hit with the fortress gun can occasionally deal 80 damage, even though they are firing naval-calibre shells, but here, I manage a double kill on some folks who’ve come too close to the weapon.
- The enemy team must’ve realised that objective Delta was putting up a much greater defense and sent a Mark V up to try and even things out, but the driver seemed a little slow: I destroyed the tank shortly after, and brought my score up to 11-1. After that, I left the stationary emplacement to play the objectives and ended up with a fabulous match.
- Although this post does not feature the M97 Trench Gun, I’ve actually been enjoying its use quite a bit since I unlocked it. Since the December patch, the M97 line of shotguns fire one more pellet than they did previously, and the Sweeper variant has been boosted slightly. It’s actually quite effective, having a higher firing rate than the Model 10-A, and I went for a spectacular run in a match of domination at St. Quentin’s Scar.
- The Domination game mode combines elements of conquest with TDM, being a close-quarters frenzy where shotguns can be quite effective. However, depending on the teams, these matches can also be quite short: I’ve had a situation where the final score was 100-14 or similar because the other team was being outplayed at the objectives. Despite winning and having a positive KD ratio, I scored quite poorly since I was only defending capture points and getting kills, as opposed to capturing objectives.
- I was curious about the War Pigeons mode, and while an interesting game type, resembling Halo‘s Oddball, it doesn’t quite have the large scale appeal that is available in Conquest or operations. Here, I shoot out another player while trying to write a message; I’ve lost every match of War Pigeons I’ve played, but the game mode does seem quite fun to test out weapons, as other players are occupied with the pigeons.
- This was a fun airburst mortar kill against a sentry camping out in one of the towers: the airburst mortar is an excellent indirect firing solution for lobbing explosives into enemy positions, and I’ve made use of it to clear capture points when the minimap is swarming with red indicators indicating the presence of other players. Like the mortars of Battlefield 3 and 4, the mortar in Battlefield 1 leaves players exposed to sniper fire, or as a fellow will find later in this post, melee attacks.
- While fighting a losing match on Giant’s Shadow, I spawned into a Mark V tank and assisted with the capture of a point to reach rank three for the assault class, giving me access to the Model 10-A Hunter and Automatico M1918 Storm, as well as the 12G extended. Save the scout class, by this point, I’ve unlocked virtually all of the weapons for purchase, so it’s on to the elite rank ten weapons. I’ve heard that the Hellriegel and Martini-Henry are the weapons worth the progression for: the medic and support rank ten primary weapons are outclassed by the others.
- I look forwards to the day when I unlock the Kolibri and can humiliate camping snipers the same way Hikari humiliates the Gregori Hive in Brave Witches‘ finale. Here, I get a kill with the M1911 under a panorama that captures the main attraction of Giant’s Shadow: while most of the map is plains and open ground, there are villages close to the deployments for either team. Sniping here is a viable option, although a longer range rifle, like the Gewehr 98, is more suited than the SMLE MKIII.
- I was curious to give the 57 mm cannon a try when the behemoth spawned in, and while powerful, by this point in the game, players were cautious about trying to attack the train using the tanks. I managed to damage a few tanks, but they retreated before I could get any kills on them. The match ended when the driver moved the train to capture point Alpha, and I left the train seconds before it exploded from sustained enemy fire.
- I’ve been reading about how the upcoming DLC for Battlefield 1 will add the French faction and offer four new French maps, which is enticing: my favourite maps in Battlefield 1 are those set on the Western Front. There might also be a Russian-themed DLC later in the future, so for now, my plan is to wait for more DLC to release before I decide whether or not I’m interested in going Premium for Battlefield 1: my criterion are the same as that of Battlefield 3, where I decided to make the jump after learning that I did enjoy the game quite a bit, enough to want the extra features.
- The main reason why I never ended up with premium for Battlefield 4 was because the Road to Battlefield event gave away all five DLC packages for Battlefield 4 to owners of the game for free. Having complimentary access to all of the maps, weapons and assignments was a pleasant surprise, and while I cannot build emblems to feature Miporin or Chino’s faces to make salty my opponents (I run with the simplified Ooarai or Pure Pwnage emblem), the free DLC gives me virtually unlimited options to enjoy Battlefield 4.
- As seen in the previous posts, this past weekend was the Chinese New Year. On Friday, I went out with the company for wings and ginger ale: we’ve been working hard on our apps and have pushed most of them into TestFlight status for pre-release testing over the past month, so this outing wa sa chance to relax. Besides sweet, hot and fried wings, potato skins and fried calamari was also on the menu. This event coincided with Chinese New Year’s Eve, although I had the presence of mind to not eat too much: owing to busy schedules, we had a simpler dinner on Friday to celebrate Chinese New Year’s Eve.
- The player here learns the hard way about tunnel vision whilst operating the airburst mortar: I found a guy using the mortar and poked him with the knife. There was no take down animation, so I attempted again. It took three strikes to neutralise him, and curiously enough, he never flinched once, taking all three hits until he was sent back to the deployment screen. The moral of this is, if one starts taking damage while using a mortar, it’d be smart to leave the mortar and figure out what’s going on, rather than remain oblivious and allowing oneself to be poked to death. Normally, I leave my mortar immediately when I take any damage to seek cover and figure out where the fire is coming from.
- With the highest rate of fire of any of the shotguns, the 12G Automatic is actually quite fun to use at extreme close quarters. While the adjustments to the shotguns’ performance since the patch have lessened their efficacy at long range, I run these weapons for close quarters encounters, where spread and damage drop-off are a lesser concern: the weapon becomes very inconsistent past ten meters and I’ve died because what might’ve been a one shot kill didn’t land fully, leaving the opponent with enough time to melt my face before I could get another shot off.
- The BAR Storm is worthy of its praise: with a high rate of fire and manageable recoil balanced out by low magazine capacity and longer reload, the weapon handles like an assault rifle and is excellent for aggressive support play-styles. In the short time I’ve unlocked it, I’ve gotten forty kills with it: on a kills-per-minute used basis, the BAR Storm is more effective than the Madsen MG Storm. I run with anti-air sights on all of my LMGs since they offer a better sight picture than the standard iron sights.
- In a match where we were winning, an enemy behemoth was deployed, and since I had access to a fortress gun, I was finally able to see for myself just how effective these weapons were against behemoths. While they are severely limited by their elevation angle, the fortress gun deals massive damage against the behemoth. In this screenshot, all of the damage done was from the fortress gun alone, and I manage to destroy a gondola. The shells have substantial drop, but if one adjusts their aim accordingly and aim for the L30 Zeppelin’s main body, large chunks of health can be taken out. I was hoping to destroy my first behemoth, but someone on the other team ended that wish with a grenade.
- Here, I watch the flaming wreckage of the behemoth crash near capture point Alpha. By this point in the game, my team has very nearly won, so I was content to stop for a moment and watch the spectacle. On Saturday was Chinese New Year proper: I celebrated with the family, and went out for a prime rib buffet at the Elbow River Casino. Besides the prime rib au jus and snow crab leg, I also had sweet and sour pork, breaded shrimps, spring rolls, roast potatoes, spiced sausage, Salisbury steak and halibut. Thanks to having lifted earlier in the day, I was able to try everything out, closing the evening off with mixed fruits and a slice of chocolate cheesecake.
- Back in Battlefield 1, I light up some bad guys on capture point Foxtrot with the BAR Storm. While this was a match we would lose, I had played earlier in the day a round of conquest on Suez where I joined the losing team, but somehow, application of the armoured train and a huge push from my team, plus some cheeky kills from Yours Truly here and there meant we staged a remarkable comeback.
- While being rewarded with big points for landing an objective is always satisfying, a part of me misses the old ribbon and medal system of earlier Battlefield games. Simple in concept and allowing players to be rewarded for playing their preferred way, Battlefield 3 and 4‘s ribbon systems enabled players to work on all ribbons, all the time. In Battlefield 1, particular actions only count when a medal is active, and because of how infrequently I play (i.e. only on weekends), I never get around to finishing all of the assigned tasks to unlock the medal.
- Losing a game in Battlefield 1 isn’t so bad: if I personally was playing the objective and accumulated a good number of points, I know those points will go towards my journey of unlocking the Kolibri and Hellriegel. Winning a match offers bouns points to sweeten things further: it’s a far cry from what I’ve heard about Kantai Collection, which can be quite unforgiving. I understand people’s desire to unlock a kan-musume of their liking (it’s like working towards a gun in Battlefield), as well as their frustrations about the game’s random number system causing them to lose what might have otherwise been a winnable game.
- Here, I rank up yet again from playing objectives to earn more money for purchasing more weapons. The whole problem surrounding battlepacks in Battlefield 1 is directly reminiscent of the random number generators in Kantai Collection, and it is for this reason I express a general disinterest in battlepacks. While I will open any I unlock, I treat it as simple fun that is quite unrelated to the actual game itself. With this in mind, I can imagine that it is frustrating to get duplicate weapon skins for those who drop real-world currency into battlepacks, but I’m ignorant as to why people would get so worked up over what amounts to a free-to-play Flash game.
- Here is another game where I joined in to a losing team, but managed to contribute to a win by helping out with the objectives. Skill-based games tend to be a lot more fun that those dependent on a random number — even supposing that Kantai Collection became an accessible game that has a standalone installer, run locally as an application rather than through Flash in a browser, and was given full English support for menu items, UI and subtitles, I am unlikely to pick it up unless there is a much larger skill component (i.e. “I should be able to unlock the things I want through my own improvement in the game, rather than through luck alone”).
- My team is on the edge of a victory as I somehow kill a flame trooper with the BAR Storm. While there have been some irritating moments in Battlefield 1, on the whole, I’m having fun, much more fun than the individual quoted above. To take a leaf from Matimi0’s book, it’s not healthy to play a video game and leave in such a state — I generally avoid games of this type, since my objective is merely is play things for fun, although the individual I’m quoting might not be so willing to consider suggestions (least of all from me, thanks to our history). That’s perfectly fine; all I care for is having a ball of a time en route to the Hellriegel and Kolibri 🙂
Owing to the relative difficulty of its setup (I’m not jumping through a million hurdles to hook up a VPN, grab an API endpoint and play the lottery system with the hopes of getting an account, compared with Battlefield 1‘s “buy and launch”), I do not foresee myself playing Kantai Collection anywhere in the future. However, if Kantai Collection were to be adapted into the Frostbite Engine as a skill-based game, complete with kan-musume and their associated effects, I might double back and reconsider: the dreadnought in Battlefield 1 alone was very fun to man, making full use of the engine to bring the world of Kantai Collection (or Hai-Furi) to life would be quite interesting to behold. With that being said, I imagine it will be very unlikely that such an endeavour would occur, so for the present, I’ll focus on Battlefield 1. Having reached rank three for each of the classes, I’ll probably put a bit more focus towards the scout class with the goal of unlocking the Martini-Henry and Kolibri someday in the future. In addition, the Hellriegel submachine gun is also a potent rank ten weapon for the assault class, and I’m itching to try it. There’s no random number generator determining whether or not I’ll unlock these weapons, and thus far, no match in Battlefield 1 has made me feel quite the same way that Kantai Collection can make some of its players feel. With a ways to go yet, it’s going to be an interesting journey, although one whose outcome will be attributed to my own skill and time commitment, rather than anything to deal with whether or not whatever Kantai Collection‘s equivalent of System.Random.Next() method is working as it should.