“I think there’s a part in each one of us that wants the impossible to happen, and that’s what surprises are.” —Gina Carano
The latest Battlefield 1 revision brings several new things to the game, including the much-welcomed return of ribbons for achieving different goals during the course of a match, weapon mastery codecs that also offer a twenty five thousand experience bonus for reaching five hundred kills with a certain weapon, and increasing the class rank cap from ten to fifty. Under-the-hood adjustments have also been made, altering the way the different weapons handle. The submachine guns and light machine guns now have increased horizontal recoil, while the medic’s self-loading rifles have increased reload delay and slightly reduced recoil to improve their accuracy. Aside from these modifications, multiple bug fixes have also been implemented to improve the game’s stability and performance. In addition, gas grenades have also been downgraded, giving them a reduced time of efficacy. Overall, the most noticeable change is the addition of ribbons, which brings back a portion of Battlefield I was very fond of. The news that ribbons are the first stage in the progression system is most welcome; Battlefield 1 has had a dramatically simplified progression system compared to its predecessors, and as one of the most entertaining aspects was having the things to unlock, so I’m hoping that this will mark the return of different weapon accessories and attachments for obtaining a certain number of kills with a weapon. The modifications to the weapons are minor: post-patch, I’ve been having more trouble with the LMGs, but beyond this, the guns remain very usable. The lessened duration that gas persists after being deployed is also a welcome change: I’m not fond of the extent that gas is used, as it cripples the medic class at close quarters.
One feature that would be a powerful addition in conjunction with the return of weapon accessories would be to modify how spotting presently works in Battlefield 1. While each of the weapons in Battlefield 1 presently come with a set of options that allow for some customisation, it would be nice to be able to unlock barrel modifications and under barrel grips to modify the weapon’s stats in a very minor manner to allow one the choice of fine-tuning their weapon further. The return of different barrel types, suppressors and foregrips would be fantastic; while perhaps unrealistic, it would definitely bring back the level of customisation available in earlier Battlefield titles. In particular, barrel modifications (suppressors, extended barrels, compensators) would allow for the spotting system to be altered. At present, spotting can only be done via hitting the spot button or else using spotting flares; in Battlefield 3 and 4, firing a weapon would put one on the mini-map. Because players are now able to stay hidden for longer, this encourages camping, allowing them to merely wait at a spot and blow away unsuspecting targets. The proposed change would allow players within 10-20 meters of someone who’d fire to hear them, placing them on the minimap for several seconds. This forces players to fire their weapons more tactically, and apply different weapon modifications to accommodate their play styles (e.g. folks who enjoy camping could equip a suppressor that keeps them off the mini-map at the expense of bullet damage and travel speed). For now, however, Battlefield 1 remains remarkably fun, and in this post, I recount some of the misadventures I had following the application of the Winter revision, which, among other things, saw me land the finishing blow to a behemoth for the first time.
Screenshots and Commentary
- Today, we’re not here to poke fun at the RNG mechanics of Kantai Collection that cause players to go ARGH: this post is purely about Battlefield 1 and the whacky adventures that I’ve been on since my last post. All of these screenshots were taken over this past weekend, so the moments of me trying out the Gewehr M.95 and the M1097 SL Sweeper have not been included. Here, I’ve returned to my medic tryhard weapon, the Selbstlader M1916 Marksman variant. The map Ballroom Blitz has a great deal of open areas in Conquest, making weapons with a suitable mid-to-long range optic an essential.
- The ribbons caught me by surprise; when I was playing through this match of conquest, I managed to get ten kills, leading my first-ever ribbon to appear. They’re well-designed and reward consistent play-styles, offering 300 XP when acquired. This means that I’ve now reached rank five for my assault class, and rank four for the medic class. In most conquest matches, I’ll switch frequently between the assault and medic classes; depending on what my team needs, I’ll usually choose a role to revive them or else take out the vehicles impeding our progress.
- After a traditionally weak start in Battlefield 1, my KD ratio’s leveled out and is holding steady: for the past few weeks, my performance has been sub-par as I focus on playing objectives, but having acclimatised back to the different weapon updates, I’ve stayed positive for most of the rounds. Some of my better matches, I’m finally managing to hold a ratio of two or greater, and when that happens, the text chat usually has players remarking how easily our team is holding against the other team.
- While only yielding forty-five-point-seven percent of the points I scored last time I shot down a plane with the Mark V Landship’s main cannon, this particular shot remains an impressive one because I manage to shoot down a much more nimble fighter. Intended for anti-air dogfights, fighters are quite weak and compensate with their superior maneuverability. Thus, using the slow-firing 57mm cannon to shoot down a plane counts as a wow moment: I thought it was an attack plane about to strafe capture point alpha and fired, watching the shell arc and graze the plane. A hit marker appeared, and seconds later, the plane exploded.
- Here, I make use of the anti-tank grenades in their intended role of damaging vehicles and successfully destroyed my first-ever behemoth. Only a small bit of health remained, and the train had stopped. I tossed the granade towards the final seat, thinking to contribute to the armoured train’s destruction, but instead, the train exploded completely, netting me a cool thousand points for my troubles, a new codex entry for my troubles and some remarks in the text chat from teammates thanking everyone for working together to take the behemoth out. I’ve come close previously, using the fortress gun against the Zeppelin on Monte Grappa, but was killed before I could do too much damage.
- Shotguns have seen a bit of modification throughout Battlefield 1‘s lifespan so far; the game launched with the Model 10-A dominating all of the other shotguns, and the subsequent autumn update gave the M97 Trench Gun and 12G Automatic minor improvements so they would be more competitive, while at once reducing the upper range the Model 10-A could one-shot someone. In this patch, the 12G Automatic has been further upgraded so it has a slightly longer damage drop-off.
- I’ve gone back to try the Model 10-A Hunter now that I’ve unlocked it, and while perhaps not quite as powerful as it was prior to the patch, the weapon line still stands among one of the most frequently used shotguns in Battlefield 1, with the M97 Trench Gun used with a slightly reduced frequency. Here, I focus on helping my team defend and recapture points to preserve our lead and make certain that my successful behemoth kill was not wasted.
- Suez, despite the several changes made to the map earlier, still remains horrendously unbalanced in that once the Ottoman team takes a lead, they will likely retain that lead. Here, however, I play on a short TDM round and while my team is devastated, I manage to get a few interesting moments with the Sentry kit and with the Automatico M1918: I’ve not seen a squad saviour ribbon since Battlefield 4.
- I now run with the AT Rocket Gun primarily as my long range weapon, since most of my weapons as the assault class are not particularly useful at medium to long ranges. Aside from the cool kill I get here on a sniper, I also stop to admire the clouds in the sky: they look photorealistic, far better than the clouds in any Battlefield game I’ve seen previously, and are dynamic elements, moving through the sky and affecting lighting.
- In a match of conquest on Giant’s Shadow, I noticed capture point foxtrot was still occupied, but with no one outside and teammates dying, it was probable that the enemy team was camped out in one of the buildings. I tossed an anti-tank grenade into the building, which took out the guy inside. Another fellow running outside to escape the grenade was met with fire from my MP-18 and by this point, I’m finding the MP-18 to be a reasonably effective SMG.
- On a foggy conquest map at St. Quentin Scar, I drive a light tank over two players taking shots at me, splattering them. I’ve actually spent very little time in vehicles since purchasing Battlefield 1, preferring to act as a gunner for a vehicle already in operation or else going on foot. Incidentally, this morning started out quite foggy, but by the time I arrived with the family for Dim Sum (it’s the Family Day holiday today in my province), the skies had cleared up. It’s been a while since I’ve had Dim Sum, probably in excess of a year: 炸蝦角 (fried shrimp dumplings) were the first to arrive, followed by the customary 蝦餃 (shrimp dumplings) and 燒賣(pork-and-mushroom dumpling). The fare at the restaurant is as good as I remember.
- With clearer skies, I took a stroll around the core, through Prince’s Island Park (incidentally, the place where I did the simulated date with Nagisa Furukawa) before heading home. Returning to Battlefield 1, here, I destroy an artillery truck that’s been maligning my team with the AT rocket gun. The artillery truck is capable of laying down incredible firepower and is more than capable of defending itself against infantry, being counted as an underappreciated vehicle in the game. With this in mind, I am not fond of players who spawn in an artillery truck and spend entire matches camping out on some far corner of the map going 50 and 1, so it is incredibly satisfying to destroy an artillery truck and deny them of this play-style.
- I’ve heard that the bayonet charge challenge ends today, and I’ve only gotten two of the six bayonet charge kills required for the dog tag, so I’ll have to wait for another encore event if I’d like another stab at the dog tag. Bayonet charges are a fun element of Battlefield 1, allowing players to charge into any infantry and take them down in one shot, although the use of this feature is balanced out with a cool-down time. The screams and battle cries associated with the bayonet charge is hilarious.
- This domination match was one of the best games of Battlefield 1 I’ve played since buying the game: the match was up to 150 points rather than the usual 100, and I maintained a 2.1 KD ratio, scoring 7502 points during the match’s run. In conjunction with the bonus, this netted me a total of 12678 points, pushing my assault class closer to unlocking the Hellriegel, and here, I get another shotgun kill to earn a shotgun ribbon.
- All of the shotguns are equally viable to use now, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. While the M97 Trench Gun seems to have the slight edge in general, I return to the Model 10-A Hunter to tear apart the enemy team. It’s been quite some time since I’ve really had this kind of performance in Battlefield, but now that I’ve become a bit more familiar with the map layout and mechanics in Battlefield 1, I’m slowly beginning to perform more consistently.
- It is fantastic to see Battlefield 1 reward players for helping their teammates, and here, I get a kill assist ribbon when I fire on a distant opponent, dealing a bit of damage to the target who is subsequently finished off by a teammate. “Assist counts as kill” is also a fantastic and fair way of rewarding players for having done much of the work in shooting at an opponent who is finished off by a teammate.
- While our team was steam-rolling the other team, near the end of the match, they began playing in a much more coordinated fashion and began mounting a comeback. However, it was too little too late, and we managed to hold onto our lead. At one point, I found myself critically low on health and crawled underneath a train to await regeneration. I saw a sniper peering down at me from the other end, switched out to the AT rocket gun and fired, taking him out, then continued crawling over and killed two more people with the shotgun.
- After a fantastic match of domination with the shotguns, I swapped over to the Automatico M1918 Trench for a round of TDM, and despite the slow start, I managed to even out my KD ratio and obtained the submachine gun ribbon. The Automatico M1918 is the king of close quarters DPS, balanced out with a small magazine size, and under the foggy cover of St. Quentin Scar, I flanked my opponents and unloaded magazine upon magazine into unaware players.
- This was actually quite a close game: we only won by a point, and the lead continued shifting throughout the match. I ended up with a KD ratio of 1.81 and 6078 points in a victory. While Battlefield 1 has done a better job of balancing out the classes than Battlefield 1, by now, I’m finding myself gravitating towards the assault class more frequently owing to how this class seems to have the best time-to-kill out of any of the other classes.
- With the fog lifted, I enter the streets of St. Quentin Scar and find myself impressed yet again at just how strongly it reminds me of Strike Witches: Battlefield 1 is the closest we have to Strike Witches in the Frostbite Engine, and will continue to hold this position until DICE announces their next major project. A full-fledged World War Two shooter will allow me to replicate the Witches’ loadouts more faithfully, but for the time being, one setup that I will be trying soon is the Charlotte Yeager loadout — BAR Storm, M1911, repair tool (she loves tinkering with her Striker Unit to boost its speed) and limpet charges to stand in for the 500 pound bomb she used in the Operation Victory Arrow OVA.
The increased level cap and presence of weapon masteries now means that there’s plenty of things to do in Battlefield 1 in order to unlock everything conceivable, and with the DLC “They Shall Not Pass” coming out in March, I’m curious to see what the new maps, weapons and vehicles are like. If this DLC, and the upcoming Russian one offer exciting new maps, I will likely pick up the Battlefield 1 Premium upgrade: it’s rather pricey now owing to the fact that Battlefield 1 is a relatively new game, but if the new maps are well-built and offer atmospherics unparalleled (in other words, maps that remind me of the Strike Witches and/or Brave Witches), then I will pick up the Premium upgrade during a sale either during the Easter holiday or Black Friday. Despite all of the complaints levelled at Battlefield 1 and remarks that the decreasing player-base is a sign that the game is “dying”, I’ve continued to have fun in an environment quite different than that offered by Battlefield 4, and for the present, there’s still my journey to the Hellriegel, which I’m halfway towards unlocking, and the Kolibri, which I need to put a greater amount of effort towards so that I may replicate Hikari’s kill on the Neuroi hive in Brave Witches’ finale.