“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” –Plato
I only have vague memories of my first-ever conquest match in Battlefield 1; on the night before Halloween, I joined a game that was set on the French map of Amiens. I was playing on the German team and we were losing, so I spawned into the armoured train and used the mortar to shell opponents. This marked the beginning of my journey into Battlefield 1‘s multiplayer component – a year later, I’ve sunk around 105 hours into the multiplayer and reached rank 85. In this time, I’ve become more familiar with the mechanics of the game and have now amassed a large number of stories to share about my time spent in the game. While lacking the same level of customisation and extensive progression system seen in its predecessors, Battlefield 1 fully captures the aesthetics of a World War One setting in its design, introducing weapons and locations that are authentic to the era. The return to an older age has not stopped DICE from being creative and finding ways to ensure that the most is made of limited weapons options of this time period. Despite the relative reduction in content compared to its predecessors and a much more simplified progression system, the game nonetheless remains quite captivating for exciting moments that can only arise from playing games on large maps where the combination of destruction and emergent behaviours in players create what are colloquially called “Only in Battlefield” moments. With a year of Battlefield 1 experiences under my belt, the first thing I’ll share is that conquest has very quickly become my absolute favourite game mode, for the fact that matches are almost certainly to last half an hour. They are the perfect game mode where I can explore a class or loadout, see for myself the “Only in Battlefield” sights and work towards an achievement. I’m closing in on Battlefield 3 with respect to hours spent in Battlefield 1, and unlike the earlier Battlefield titles where I had a wide discrepancy between the medic and recon classes in score, Battlefield 1 has seen me use the scout class to the same extent as the assault class, attesting to how DICE has made each class compelling to play as.
Battlefield 1 marks the first time where I’ve played a Battlefield title close to its original launch date, and one of the biggest aspects that I find to justify the price of admissions is just being able to experience the game as it is updated and improved over time. When I first started Battlefield 1, there were no such things as ribbons, and some weapons were outright useless, with other weapons being blatantly overpowered to the point where the weapon, rather than the user, determined the outcome of a firefight. Numerous patches and fixes have been applied to the game: coupled with a smooth launch, I’ve experienced very little difficulty in the game, which has been steadily improving since launch, even if some features that were added in should have been present in the first place (such as the ribbons and server browser for Operations game modes). This is not to say that there aren’t challenges: quick match still places me into empty servers, and because of my geographic location, ping is a problem, affecting my performance. The server browser is a good way to mitigate this, allowing me to pick populated servers with a low ping, but it would be nice if the match-making system were a bit more effective. When I began my journey in Battlefield 1‘s multiplayer, I was exceptionally poor at the game: while I tried to perform for my team, I invariably died to players with vastly more experience with both maps and weapons than myself. Since my earlier days, I’m now contributing more effectively to team performance – I consistently make the match highlights for most revives, heals and resupplies, and at the present, will have a positive KD ratio when a match concludes. It’s been quite a ride to improve in Battlefield 1, and the game has proven to be consistently enjoyable aside from the occasional hiccough here and there. The addition of seasonal events provides further incentive for returning to the game, and when asked about the Revolution package, which would have allowed me to join the Premium club at a discounted price, I would remark that I do not regret the route I took – I feel I’ve gotten a good value overall.
Screenshots and Commentary
- For this one year anniversary post for Battlefield 1, I’ve got thirty screenshots, all of which are in In The Name of The Tsar maps because I have a feeling that in the near future, finding a match on these maps will become increasingly difficult. In fact, as of late, I have been having difficulty in joining matches, which are always full or else devoid of other players. Here, I make use of the Fedorov Avtomat in a rare game of TDM to slay my opponents. The weapon is perfect for close quarters engagements, far more so than even the M1907 SL Sweeper.
- Helping with a capture point puts me up to rank 25 with the assault class, and here, I help teammates finish capturing a flag overlooking the frigid Volga River on a winter’s morning. The Russian maps are absolutely beautiful, and I’ve been effective on all of the maps now; moreover, I’ve found that regardless of whether I spawn in as the Russian Empire or another team, there’s a 50:50 shot of me winning, attesting to the fact that players have acclimatised to the maps now, enough to figure out how to play them. Tsaritsyn isn’t so bad now, as players have learned to try and ignore the centre point and go for the point close to the enemy’s spawn if there is too much resistance.
- All of the Russian maps have wide open spaces, but like the well-designed Nivelle Nights map, their design accommodates all play-styles. The trenches and rubble of Volga River are perfect cover, and during one of my most recent game, I went on ridiculous kill streaks with the Hellriegel, whose biggest advantage lies in its large magazine size, solid firing rate and good hip-fire accuracy: I’ve gotten to the point where I’m beginning to run out of ammunition now after multiple firefights with opponents.
- A year of Battlefield 1 has meant the SMLE Mk. III Marksman remains my most-used weapon. In Battlefield 4, the M249 was my top weapon, while in Battlefield 3, it’s the M416. Here, I earn another service star for the weapon, and I think that one of my goals will be to earn the mastery rank for the SMLE first, followed by the Automatico. AS enjoyable as nailing headshots are, I foresee a future where I will be playing less Battlefield in general: just yesterday, I spent a morning prepping shrimps, onions and mushrooms for a home-made spaghetti with white sauce that turned out superbly delicious, and as of late, I’ve been feeling that doing everyday household things like cooking and cleaning are about as cathartic and enjoyable as gaming, attesting to my age.
- While the commemorative events surrounding Battlefield were rolling, there were numerous challenges and daily assignments that allowed me to unlock either the PTFO skins for each of the MP-18, Cei-Rigotti, Lewis Gun and SMLE, the starting weapons for each class, as well as battlepacks. I’m not sure how it worked exactly, but I had no difficulty in completing the “get 50 kills” assignments, and during the course of those games, I had some of the best fun I’ve had in Battlefield 1.
- While not quite my longest headshot, this one here comes within 23 metres of breaking that record. I’ve long felt that Battlefield 1 has some of the most accessible sniping in the franchise, rewarding players who stick within a certain range and allowing aiming centre mass to be a viable technique, whereas in earlier Battlefield titles, headshots were the only way of reliably ensuring one-hit kills. To strike a balance between skill and accessibility, the best suggestion I’ve heard is to increase the damage bonus for body shots within a sweet spot, while reserving one-shot kills only for headshots.
- The Kolibri is a weapon I rarely run with: the M1911 remains the absolute best sidearm in Battlefield 1 for its versatility, and I find myself sticking to it except in situations where an assignment requires that I use another pistol. So far, Battlefield 1 has not been diabolical enough to make an assignment that involves the Kolibri. With this being said, I occasionally run with the weapon for fun with the knowledge that I’ll likely die if I mismanage my primary weapon, although I’ve gotten very lucky in some moments.
- While I hesitated to run with bolt-action rifles in earlier Battlefield titles, the scout class is effective on any map in Battlefield 1, and as such, I actually have more kills with the SMLE Mk. III marksman than any other weapon in the game, with the BAR Storm coming in a distant second. I’ve since gotten around to trying the other bolt-action rifles. The Gewehr 98 is excellent for its high bullet velocity, while the M1903 remains best suited for making long-range shots on stationary targets.
- Most of the time, Albion is a dark, gloomy-looking map, but conquest matches last long enough for the weather to change, and sometimes, the sun breaks through, illuminating the land in a cool winter’s light. Semi-dynamic weather in Battlefield 1 is new to the franchise, and while its effects can be irksome on some maps, more moderate effects add a new sense of realism to the maps. In particular, on the In The Name of The Tsar maps, different weather patterns give maps a completely different feel.
- While not quite as frequently used as the Selbstlader M1916 Marksman, the Mondragón Sniper is, in my opinion, a straight upgrade from the Cei-Rigotti for having the proper optics, and here, I use it to take out an enemy on Volga River. It suddenly strikes me that I have not made use of the medic class in Battlefield 1 quite to the same extent as I had for previous Battlefield titles. The introduction of the Federov Avtomat has changed that, however, and in the short time I’ve had it, it’s quickly overtaken most of my other weapons in terms of usage.
- Getting kills with rifle grenades is a bit of a chore; they’re not anywhere nearly as effective as they were as the 40mm grenades available in Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 3. Truly a skill weapon, I’ve found that it’s effective to fire a rifle grenade, then unload a few rounds into an opponent and let the explosive damage do the rest. Here, I get lucky with a rifle grenade and managed to destroy an artillery truck with it.
- The Parabellum MG14 low weight has very nearly overtaken the BAR Storm as my most-used LMG; in close quarters, its stopping power is unparalleled and I consider it to be the M249 of Battlefield 1. This weapon is superbly fun to use, and armed with it, even without the damage modification patch that DICE is testing in CTE, the Parabellum MG14 is outright amazing; ever since I unlocked it, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the support class far more than I had ever in Battlefield 1.
- Earlier this month, I had been out with a cold, and I had taken a Monday off to recover, working from home. Later in the day, after work hours ended, I decided to play some Battlefield 1, having spent the weekend sleeping, and one of the medals available that week was the “Hero of Russia” medal, which unlocks after twenty five kills with each class in the Russian faction (on maps where the White Army faces off against the Red Army, only kills made on the White Army faction will count). I quickly made my way through the kills for each of the assault, medic and support class.
- Late in that evening, I decided to attempt the twenty five kills the scout required and had arrived at twenty four of twenty five kills. I managed to kill another player, which happened to be my tenth kill, and the Royal Ribbon of the Stag appeared. However, a player calling himself “risokani” appeared and killed me before the Hero of Russia medal appeared. I think that their name, りそかに, approximates to “respectfully”, and a glance at their stats shows someone who values their KD ratio over team play, as evidenced by their poor score per minute.
- Artillery trucks are the bane of my existence, offering heavy firepower and mobility to individual players. On Galicia, they are the only vehicle with the 13-pounder, making it capable of shelling distant foes, and I’ve made use of them, although I personally despise players who will take them and camp in some remote corner of the map to farm infantry kills. It is always satisfying to destroy artillery trucks, more so than tanks, and here, I make use of the anti-aircraft cannon to take out an artillery truck maligning my team.
- The October Patch brought minor weapons adjustments into the game, removed sentries from TDM and domination and also changed culling on player heads; the last “feature” made it difficult to differentiate between friend and foe at distances, and for the first few days after the patch was applied, I was wasting ammunition on allies. While this is an update I’m not fond of, it seems that the patch has also made sentries weaker, which is perfectly okay with me: here, I take one out with nothing more than a pistol.
- Looking back, the effort taken to shoot down and destroy two planes was well worth it: in the time that’s elapsed since I unlocked the Parabellum MG14 low weight, I’ve reached level twenty one with the support class, and it’s actually been remarkably fun to play as the support, which had previously been my least favourite class. The October update brings with it a minor change so the reload animation matches the actual reload time to provide a better visual cue of when the weapon is ready to be fired.
- In the days since I’ve started Battlefield 1, I’ve gotten used to the longer time-to-kill and weapon handling; most games, I can finally score above a KD ratio of one and have ended up with a KD of two or higher on particularly good games. KD is of a lesser importance to me than score per minute: I am generally okay with a negative KD ratio if I am able to help my team to victory, and games where I go 10-13 but top the scoreboard for resupplies, heals and revives are not uncommon.
- Ever since explosive damage reduction was introduced, it looks like that excessive use of explosives have been somewhat lessened as of late, but it has not stopped some from switching to gas grenades in their stead. I’m not fond of gas grenades and despite having unlocked them to complete my weapons inventory, I do not use gas grenades out of principal: gas also obscures the vision for teammates despite dealing no damage, and while easily countered with a gas mask, I’d rather not negatively impact the aim of friendlies who are likely much better shots than I am.
- I’ve never been killed by the Kolibri before, but I have enjoyed using the Kolibri to humiliate other players, and if I should encounter “risokani” again, I’d love to use the Kolibri on them. The weapon is definitely not for combat against any player with some semblance of spatial awareness, being intended for making camping snipers salty, but in the cases where I’ve been forced to use the Kolibri (as a result of not changing my loadout), I’ve been lucky enough to land consecutive headshots. One must wonder what it feels like to be defeated by another player with the Kolibri while wielding a weapon such as the Automatico.
- It suddenly strikes me that, over the course of a year, I’ve managed to unlock all of the level ten weapons despite never thinking I’d make it to this point; while I’ve reached higher ranks with the infantry classes, I’m generally not too capable a pilot, nor have I spent much time with the elite classes. With this in mind, my play-style in Battlefield has always been infantry-driven, although if required, I can hop into an armoured vehicle and help my team out with capturing points.
- On Galicia, the wide open plains make it easy to take an artillery truck out, but during one match were my team was out-played in every way, I spawned into an artillery truck with the hopes of eliminating the other team’s artillery trucks. Although unsuccessful in turning things around for my team (I was up against players with 100 service stars for their artillery trucks), I went on a short kill-streak while trying to hammer the enemy artillery trucks.
- During one game of TDM on a Japanese server (I was unable to find North American servers that evening), I managed to unlock the service star for the Model 1900 shotgun. I count myself a casual Battlefield 1 player by all definitions: I’ve seen folks with an excess of a thousand hours in Battlefield 1 and a hundred service stars for their gas grenades. During one game, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked: some of the rank 120 players from both sides remarked that they are post-secondary students at a part of their program with a lighter workload, worked in sessional positions or else were in that transition period between education and work, putting in up to eight hours a day.
- If we look at the numbers, it is conceivable for players to have put in an excess of a thousand hours: I’ve played through a little more than a hundred hours between the present and last year, which averages out to around two hours a week. Folks who drop an extra few hours on weeknights in addition to playing more on weekends could get up to twenty hours a week or more, which would add up. With this in mind, I typically only game on weekends and occasionally do other activities, such as hikes, to mix things up – I only have around a tenth of the hours that the more serious players have in the game.
- This week, DICE has brought in the Halloween Event, in which players can unlock a special dog-tag for performing thirteen revives. I joined a game during the weekend and found myself on Fort de Vaux – I’ve not played a game of conquest on the French maps since May, and it was most fun to fight in the chaotic corridors of Fort de Vaux. This time, I had the Fedorov Avtomat, which was perfectly suited for the close-quarters frenzy, and I got all of my revives on short order.
- I subsequently played another match on Nivelle Nights, switching between the scout and tanker. As the tanker, I dropped into the battlefield with the St. Chamond to help my beleaguered team, going on a killstreak before being killed at capture point delta. According to my stats, the St. Chamond assault tank and Mark V landship are neck and neck as both my most-used tank and the tank I’ve got the most kills with at the time of writing. When I deploy into a vehicle, I go with the St. Chamond for its narrow profile and good speed, while in the Mark V, I prefer being a secondary gunner.
- There’s a new patch to come out in November that will address some issues with spawning on teammates, modify how medal tracking works, and removed smoke from medic rifles, as well as the Ribeyrolles and Chauchat. The recon class will also be able to place down two tripwire bombs at once. In addition, there will be the addition of new Operations campaigns and Frontlines on Suez. I’m hoping that the damage model update is also applied, as well as a fix of icon opacity; overall, the changes don’t look to be too dramatic as of yet, and November looks to be relatively quiet. I could be wrong, of course, and so, it’ll be interesting to see what the November patch actually entails.
- Two weeks ago, I was incredibly lucky in that the “Hero of Russia” medal entered the rotation again, and so, my quest to get twenty-five kills with each class of the Russian faction began once again. Over the course of two evenings when I had a bit of spare time, I got all of the kills required with the other classes. Things went reasonably quickly for the assault class, medic class and support class: the Parabellum MG14 low weight was indispensable, and during one match, I remember shredding another sentry with it as my team pushed towards a victory. There hasn’t been a match where I performed poorly when running with the MG14; more so than even the Federov Avtomat, this gun is a game-changer, giving the support class a viable option for close quarters combat.
- By the time I reached the scout portion of the assignment, I decided to play more conservatively. The game took me to Volga River, where the weather can go from that of a bright and frigid winter morning to a moody, snowy day in a second. This map is located adjacent to Tsaritsyn, and the Cathedral of Light is visible from this side of the river, although the fighting is intense enough so that typically, there isn’t time to admire the scenery. Making use of the SMLE III, I picked off target after target until at last, I reached twenty four of twenty five kills.
- When a new game started, I had exactly one kill left to earn, and a well-placed grenade did the trick, landing me a second Hero of Russia medal. With no risokani around this time, I managed to get a screenshot of the moment, but was promptly killed by other players, visible on the mini-map here. My goal completed, I switched back over to the assault class and played a fantastic match, decimating enemy players left and right with the Hellriegel. The next major Battlefield 1 post I will do will be for the Turning Tides DLC in December, and in the meantime, I will begin my journey in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. I bought the game last Friday upon hearing that the campaign length would be comparable to that of DOOM, and would also feature additional side missions. After giving the game a test run to see how it performs on my four-year-old rig, I also reconfigured the game so I could use the Steam Overlay for screenshots. As of now, I’m ready to begin my journey.
Looking into the future, there are still two more DLCs to be released: in December, the first two maps of the Turning Tides expansion will be released along with several new weapons. I cannot say that I’m as excited about Turning Tides as I was about In The Name of The Tsar, but the new weapons do look quite enticing, and it could be fun to try a game where players get to helm destroyers and mini-airships. There’s also the final DLC, titled Apocalypse that’s only said to depict the most infamous battles of World War One, that is set to come out early in 2018. In the past year, Battlefield 1 has undergone a considerable number of changes, and while there are numerous elements the game can still improve upon, Battlefield 1 has come a long way since its state during release. DICE has consistently supported and maintained their game to make it more enjoyable, and one hopes that all of the learnings from Battlefield 1 will carry over to the new incarnation of Battlefield, which will be announced in 2018. In the meantime, there’s two more DLCs to look forwards to, and if In The Name of The Tsar was any indicator of the events and promotions, it will definitely be enjoyable as we move into the Christmas season, giving me something to occupy my time with after I complete Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and before I make the call as to whether or not I buy Star Wars: Battlefront II.