“Sometimes when you get disappointment it makes you stronger.” –David Rudisha
Released a mere four days ago, the Prise de Tahure update adds to Battlefield 1 a second night map, set in the now-destroyed town of Tahure in Marne during the autumn of 1917. An urban setting with numerous corners, improvised paths and hastily-dug trenches, Prise de Tahure pits the French against the Germans during the blue hours of dusk. The calm of the sky and gentle lighting attest to the level of artistic design that went into Prise de Tahure; the map is beautiful and completely captures the feel of a French village fallen to the chaos of combat. Subtle elements, such as a crashed plane resting perilously on buildings over a narrow street, and the party lights hanging above what would have been a café add an incredible sense of atmosphere to the map. However, the beauty of Prise de Tahure also belies the map’s nature as perhaps the most frustrating maps I’ve ever played on. The combination of eternal darkness and innumerable passages criss-crossing the map means it’s a haven for campers, hidden away in the shadows and blasting those unfortunate enough to run by them unnoticed. Whether it be the corners underneath torn-up wooden floors, or the rubble, Prise de Tahure encourages a very limited playstyle: it is the antithesis of Neville Nights, whose diverse landscape offered options for players of all styles. By comparison, the combination of darkness and close-quarters setting means that on Prise de Tahure, it is quite difficult to perform well without either resorting to the unexciting approach known as camping or falling back on the assault class’ weapons, which are very much a requirement for besting campers in the shadows.
The difficulties I’ve had means that aside from one match, I’d lost every game I’ve played on Prise de Tahure. Against the innumerable campers, I’d encountered some of the more serious issues with Battlefield 1, as well, such as spawning into the path of a tank shell or being killed mid-reload as an opposing player spawned onto one of their squad-mates I’d just disposed of. These issues are less apparent in larger maps, but in the tight frenzy characterising Prise de Tahure, frustrations mount from poor spawn locations. Challenges posed by Prise de Tahure extend beyond Battlefield 1‘s spawn system – I’ve heard that some folks have taken to increasing their game’s brightness to make the map playable, and even then, it does little to diminish the power that campers hold on the map. A few folks camping quieter routes taking out my team’s top players repeatedly was sufficient to prevent them from contributing to the play, resulting in loss after loss. This comes before the handful of games I was unfortunate to enter where some folks were giving their client-side modifications (cheats) a test-drive. I recall an egregious instance where I emptied my entire Model 10-A into someone standing in front of me, registering no hits, only for them to whip around and nail an instant headshot with a pistol. This sort of thing should not be happening when my ping is 70ms, and other players on my team eventually became sufficiently exasperated that they left the match and spectated to capture footage. DICE needs a much more severe anti-cheat system, similar to Blizzard’s approach of issuing hardware bans to players that feel compelled to cheat. Again, likely a result of the close-quarters nature of Prise de Tahure, some of the issues with Battlefield 1 that seem quite minor on larger, more open maps, become more apparent, and one hopes that DICE will address these issues in later updates.
Screenshots and Commentary
- Before delving into the Prise de Tahure screenshots, I feature two special moments I experienced during gameplay prior to the update. The first was my achieving the longest-ever headshot I’ve ever landed in a Battlefield game: my longest Battlefield 3 headshot was 127.34 meters using the M98B, while in Battlefield 4, I used the M40A5 to land a 113.54 meter headshot. These are not particularly impressive, but in Battlefield 1, with the M1903 Sniper, I hit a target from 299.89 meters on Empire’s Edge, more than twice as distant as any headshot I’d gotten with the M98B.
- The other big deal in Battlefield 1 was a killtacular that resulted from me destroying a landship using the St. Chamond assault tank on Giant’s Shadow. It’s the first killtacular (essentially a quad-kill) I’ve earned in Battlefield – I’ve earned double kills previously without too much difficulty and had a handful of triple kills using the flamethower or grenades, but here was a spectacular kill made using a tank. It brings to mind my multi-kills of Halo 2, and in Battlefield, multi-kills are generally much more difficult to pull off, making a killtacular (assuming the Halo 2 definition) correspondingly more rewarding to achieve. Here, one can also see the Sumeragi-style emblem I’m currently running with.
- With my longest-ever headshot and first-ever killtacular of Battlefield 1 in the books, it’s time to get to the meat-and-potatoes of this post: screenshots of my time spent in Prise de Tahure, which translates to “Seizure of Tahure”. The Automatico M1918 Trench is one of the absolute best weapons to wield on this map and is favoured for its incredibly high rate of fire. Coupled with superior hip fire accuracy, it dominates in close quarters, having enough ammunition to take out up to four opponents in practise before requiring a reload (assuming all of one’s shots land).
- Prise de Tahure is set during blue hour, originating from the French phrase l’heure bleue, a time period during dusk where the sun is deep enough below the horizon so as not to illuminate the land, but otherwise provides enough light to still cast the sky in a deep blue light. It’s my favourite aspect of summer, being able to experience a world where the land is dark, and where artificial lighting has come on, while the sky itself remains quite light.
- Here, I assist teammates in clearing out capture point Bravo and admire the particle effects under a deep blue sky. The Automatico M1918 is only bested in close quarters by a shotgun, and choosing it or a shotgun is purely dependent on one’s play-style. The killing potential of the Automatico M1918 is four enemies for the average player, with its larger magazine size offering some leniency for missed shots (the weapon can take out three players very quickly even if one misses several shots). By comparison, shotguns require higher accuracy, and their killing potential is defined by their ammunition capacity, although missing shots with a shotgun can prove absolutely lethal, since they have a low firing rate.
- Because chaos reigns on Prise de Tahure, quiet moments such as these are exceptionally rare. Here, a teammate spawns on my position and we head towards capture point delta together en route to the central capture point. On this side of the map, the light of the sun under the horizon is apparent, and the clouds on the horizon bring to mind the sunrises that can happen in and around my home town, where lower-level clouds can give the impression of mountains on some mornings. The calm here is a far cry from the insanity that is capture point charlie: I personally would play this map by capturing all of the points on the outside and leave charlie alone.
- The fountain at the center of Prise de Tahure is where the most excitement is found, and when one is not surrounded by opportunists, it is possible to go to town on enemy forces at capture point charlie. Folks with a steady aim and supportive teammates will find the Model 10-A to be the ultimate weapon on Prise de Tahure for its one-hit kill potential, and being the most well-rounded of all shotguns, it is a terrifying force to utilise. Campers make use of the Model 10-A to no end for its power, but getting the drop on them with the Model 10-A is an excellent counter.
- After spawning into point delta while it was still in my team’s control, I found a flame trooper here and was fortunate in that they had low health, allowing me to neutralise them with a few well-placed shots from the M1907 Sweeper. Tight corners and narrow alleyways make it difficult to escape the jet of flame issuing from the flame trooper’s Wex, but curiously enough, Prise de Tahure’s layout is also well-suited for players to sneak up behind a flame trooper and dispose of them with a well-placed melee attack – while not shown here, I managed to survive an encounter with another flame trooper because I ended up behind him, allowing me a knife kill.
- While official documentation describes Prise de Tahure as happening at dusk, the lighting is more evocative of dawn, during the moments just before the sun peeks over the horizon and bathes the land in a warm golden light. In fact, as noted earlier, the skies of Prise de Tahure are more reminiscent of a summer sunrise where I live. Of course, I imagine that amidst the firefights, very few players would have much time to concern themselves with whether or not Prise de Tahure is set during the dusk or dawn.
- The main difficulty about night maps in Battlefield 1 is the fact that very few technologies are available for use in a World War One setting: tactical flashlights, IRNV and FLIR optics simply cannot be introduced for authenticity’s sake. However, Neville Nights made use of star shells to occasionally light up the battlefield and automatically spot players in the vicinity – it is not inconceivable for distance artillery to similarly be featured in Prise de Tahure, occasionally lighting up the map and forcing players to move around. Scouts could also gain access to a TUGS-like lamp that can be placed anywhere on the map to provide illumination as a point light, as well as automatically detecting nearby players: unlike the spot flare, which expires after a time period, lamps could persist on the map until destroyed, or when players put down a new one.
- This side street leading from capture point charlie to delta is where the crashed biplane is located. Prominantly featured in the artwork of Prise de Tahure, it’s a rather nice touch in the map, and while it would have been very cool to have the plane as an asset that could be dislodged to come down on the heads of unsuspecting players, the fact is that the plane is static. In fact, the destruction in Prise de Tahure is quite underwhelming. Increasing destruction would add new dynamics that would force players to adopt different techniques.
- The Cei-Rigotti is a weapon that I’ve not given too much attention to since unlocking the Selbstlader M1916, and while my earliest days as a medic were characterised by running with this weapon, I was not particularly effective with it. However, I was motivated to give the weapon another go after unlocking a legendary skin for it, giving its metal a golden appearance, and I found it a rather entertaining weapon to use: it’s more suited for close-quarters engagements than the Selbstlader M1916 and the Mondragón owing to its ability for automatic fire, but unlike the M1907 SL Sweeper, it can perform at medium ranges, as well.
- The medical pouches invariably remain my favourite gadget for the medic class, providing mobile healing for players that ignores the effects of suppression and, once picked up, will heal a player to full health unless they take further damage. I have only ever swapped out my syringe for the rifle grenade for an assignment: the ability to secure grenade kills is insignificant next to the ability of bringing allied players back from the dead.
- Overall, if and when I’m asked as to how salty I was about the amount of camping in Prise de Tahure, the answer would be “CaCl₂ 3.72 mol/kg and NaCl 0.50 mol/kg”. The origin of being “salty” (unhappy, bitter) dates back to 1938, used in the phrase “jump salty”, referring to someone who’d unexpectedly become enraged, and gained popularity in the gaming community following the definition that the internet community is more familiar with; a sense of humiliation resulting from defeat originating in Philadelphia.
- In spite of my CaCl₂ and NaCl molarity at the map design, playing conservatively has allowed me to stave off death. One of my better runs in Prise de Tahure was during a match where I stuck with my teammates and was reviving more than I was firing my weapons. In this game, we ended up winning, marking the only instance of a victory I’ve had on this map. Here, a fog begins covering the map, lessening visibility further. The random weather in Battlefield 1 is seen in the community as both a blessing and a curse: players with a long-range loadout will be rendered ineffectual, while close-quarters loadouts are favoured.
- While the support class has never been my fortitude, and I’d remarked that I’d become ineffective with the BAR M1918 in my previous post, I seem to have rediscovered the joys of using this weapon once again. The weapon is superbly effective at closer ranges: it is capable of taking out three to four players with a single magazine in close quarters if one is true with their aim, although in practise, two targets is the most realistic. While LMGs are generally more effective in longer ranges, hampered by higher spread when initially fired, some of the slower-firing LMGs could be buffed slightly (dealing one more point of damage at close quarter) so that players can stand a chance against Automatico-wielding players.
- Crawling through the mud has left my weapon similarly covered in mud, and here, I am playing on the Frontlines game mode, a hybrid of conquest and rush. While immensely entertaining in providing shifting fronts that are fantastic for gunning down opponents, I generally prefer conquest because the match duration is better defined. According to my statistics, I spend almost all of my time playing conquest, with TDM being a distant second (I join TDM mainly to try out new weapons).
- The BAR M1918 is surprisingly accurate now that I’ve re-learnt its recoil pattern, and during the aforementioned match of frontlines, I managed to obtain headshots with it to earn the headshot ribbon. We ultimately lost this match, as well, but it was probably the most fun I’ve had on Prise de Tahure since the update came out. Of course, having experienced consecutive losses was not particularly enjoyable, so I subsequently switched over and tried a conquest match on Monte Grappa with the BAR M1918, ending up with a KD of a little over two and earning the most resupplies out of anyone on both teams.
- A bit of trivia that I have not disclosed up until now is that I give my hitmarkers distinct colours for kills and headshots. A red hitmarker indicates a non-killing headshot, while green indicates a successful kill. The reason for this colouration is that, once I see the green hitmarker, I know I can focus my attention towards my next action without guessing as to whether or not an opponent still has health left.
- I reach level sixty-seven with the points I’ve accumulated, and I’ve heard that at level seventy, the war bonds stop coming. It also becomes much more difficult to level up, so my goal of reaching rank 110 will not materialise any time soon. I’ve heard some salt floating around out there about whether reaching rank 110 within a few months of Battlefield 1‘s release is indicative of a healthy lifestyle, and to that, I answer that I’ve put in a “mere” sixty-four hours in game: while I love Battlefield 1, I also love doing other things with my time. So, while it would be fun to reach 110, it’s not a major priority on my list; in fact, the next big deal on the table is Your Name, set for release a mere two days from now. It’s been eleven months since the film was screened in theatres, and I look forwards to writing about the film in what will be the internet’s first proper review.
While Prise de Tahure has been immensely challenging to find enjoyment from, I’ve had a handful of moments during my time spent on this map, as seen in the screenshots above. Combating campers meant taking a much slower, more methodical approach to moving around on this map, following teammates closely and only offering assistance in the form of revives, health and ammunition when one is reasonably certain the area is clear. Playing more slowly to offset the loss of visual information arising from the obfuscation that darkness confers, I eventually managed to die with reduced frequency: longer range weapons such as the Selbstlader M1916 Marksman allowed me to keep my distance and heal nearby teammates while fending off opponents armed with shotguns and SMGs as a medic, and on the occasions that I caught campers off-guard with the assault class, the results were inevitably satisfying. Prise de Tahure also exemplifies an instance where Battlefield 1‘s spotting system needs improvement: in earlier Battlefield games, firing one’s weapon would reveal one’s position on the mini-map. A similar system should be brought back into Battlefield 1, and suppressors should also return: a suppressed weapon would fire less damaging rounds at lower velocities in exchange for keeping one off the mini-map. This is a fair exchange for a bit of improved stealth for such maps, otherwise, players are forced to telegraph their positions, making camping less viable. Overall, I cannot say that I was terribly fond of Prise de Tahure from a gameplay perspective, but the map is beautifully created. If I were to offer suggestions to improve this map, it would be the addition of a few more fires and lamps here and there to improve lighting, as well as sealing off some corners to prevent campers from utilising them inordinately. With Prise de Tahure now out, the next update for August will feature Łupków Pass, a snowy, ravine-filled map set on the Polish border that will set the stage for September’s In The Name of the Tsar DLC.