“さぁ, 素敵なパーティしましょう!” —Yuudachi, Kantai Collection
Turning Tides is the third of four DLC packages in Battlefield 1. Unlike the last DLC, which released with six maps and a plethora of new content, Turning Tides is broken up into two separate releases. The first round released on December 11, with two new maps, seven new weapons (excluding variants), the return of the conquest assault game mode, L-class destroyer. Themed around the Gallipoli Campaign, Turning Tides places an increased emphasis on amphibious warfare, pitting the British Empire against the Ottoman Empire. History would see the Ottoman Empire victorious during these battles, repelling the British Forces and setting in motion the events that would lead to a Turkish independence movement. The new maps, Cape Helles and Achi Baba, both offer a unique experience. Under a swift sunrise, players must either defend or storm the beaches of Cape Helles in the conquest assault game mode: British forces are assisted by the L-Class destroyer and a ticket advantage, while Ottoman forces begin with all the points under their control. It’s a full-on D-Day experience in a World War I setting in the Frostbite Engine. Achi Baba, on the other hand, is a frantic and chaotic battle on the rocky, arid terrain of the Achi Baba area on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The lighting and design of this map brings to mind film pieces shot near the Mediterranean in the 70s, most notably, the 007 film The Spy Who Loved Me. While a superbly designed map from an aesthetic perspective, gameplay here is as unforgiving as Prise de Tahure. Narrow passageways and choke points encourage excessive use of gas grenades, as well as mortars. This is only the first half of the Turning Tides DLC, however, and January will see the release of two new maps, as well as the C-Class airship.
Because the remaining two maps will release in January, I’ve chosen to do a shorter post on Turning Tides, and while perhaps not quite as exciting as In The Name of The Tsar, the new naval combat options have definitely exceeded expectations. The L-Class destroyer was remarkably fun to use, and during my first round on Cape Helles, I managed a 10-kill streak with the QF 4-inch gun while in a secondary gunner seat, shelling land targets and blasting torpedo boats as they tried to kill the destroyer. I later played through the Achi Baba map, where the close quarters turned each match into a rout in the making: deaths were common, but the tight corners also worked in my advantage here, allowing me to sneak around and flank opponents. On this map, slower firing weapons were not effective; I forced myself to use the M1907 SL Trench to unlock the Farquhar-Hill Storm, and immediately switched over to the Hellriegel (the Automatico simply did not have enough rounds in a magazine to deal with the packs of opponents roaming the maps). In the chaos, I somehow managed to score twenty kills during a conquest match and unlocked another medal. I later returned to Cape Helles and joined a game in progress. The match seemed quite quiet, and I was looking to destroy boats to unlock the Maschinenpistole M1912/P/16 Storm, but as luck would have it, I saw an L-Class destroyer menacing teammates some 400 meters away. I hopped onto a Field Gun and slowly began firing on the destroyer, destroying it. Another destroyer spawned in, and the operator had the presence of mind to shell me before I got too much damage in. I respawned back in at the 305/02 O Coastal Gun. With the destroyer still active, I landed a shot that destroyed it, and spent the remainder of the match shelling the Dreadnaught that appeared. That particular match turned out quite entertaining, and I managed to finish a community mission for a superior battlepack in the process. While perhaps not quite as grand in scale as In The Name of The Tsar so far, Turning Tides nonetheless has had its moments that make it quite fun.
Screenshots and Commentary
- The British L-Class Destroyer is a torpedo boat destroyer; twenty two were built between 1912 and 1913, while an additional two were built during 1914. This particular class of destroyer was essentially a larger torpedo boat with a high speed and could mount heavier weapons: the L-Class was equipped with three QF 4-inch Mark IV guns, as well as a pair of QF 1 AA guns for anti-air combat. In Battlefield 1, the L-Class acts as the intermediate between the Dreadnaught and MAS Torpedo Boat, being more manoeuvrable than the former and having more firepower than the latter.
- The MAS Torpedo Boats are the only surface craft that the Ottoman Empire have access to, and a well-placed round from the QF 4-inch gun will sink MAS attacking the destroyer. This is a highly effective means of earning the multi-kills needed for several of the weapon unlock assignments: I get a killtacular here on a MAS, and also earn my first ribbons for kills using a sea vehicle. Besides the QF 4, which was immensely fun to use, players in the gunner seats of the L-Class also have access to a deck-mounted 21-inch torpedo tube.
- The weapon assignments for Turning Tides are rather more reasonable than they were for In The Name of The Tsar, corresponding with the sense that the new weapons for this DLC do not offer a particularly unique approach for players. Once my kill-streak on the L-Class came to an end, I set out on my journey to unlock the Farquhar-Hill rifle’s storm variant, a new medic rifle with a twenty-round drum magazine that is suited for medium range combat. The requirements are reasonably straightforwards – get twenty-five kills with the M1907 SL Trench and revive ten people in the same match.
- The M1907 SL line of rifles is one I hardly ever use: the Federov Avtomat fulfills the role of a suitable close-quarters medic rifle, while the Selbstlader M1916 Marksman and Mondragón Sniper are the best rifles for the long-range medic. Thus, when going for this assignment, death was quite frequent: the M1907 SL Trench has solid hip-fire but is otherwise outperformed by other available weapons for the medic, and after unlocking the Farquhar-Hill, I immediately reverted back to my usual medic weapons.
- Conversely, getting ten revives in a match was trivially straightforward. Of the two new maps, I’m a bit more fond of Cape Helles for its gameplay; the variety in terrain means that players can make use of cover to move between the capture points if they are equipped with close-range weapons, but there are also plenty of open fields for snipers to pick off players cutting across. Both maps have a unique aesthetic that make them look quite nice. Cape Helles is set during the morning under a swift sunrise, and the skies look photorealistic.
- The M1917 machine gun is the new weapon for the support class, and while perhaps not as much of a game-changer as the Parabellum MG14/17 Low Weight, it’s nonetheless a curious weapon whose strongest attribute is the fact that it has the largest ammunition capacity of any machine gun in Battlefield 1 so far: with 250 rounds, it’s probably the best suited for shooting down planes, and folks who’ve not unlocked the Parabellum MG14/17 might consider using this gun: its statistics indicate a lower recoil and slightly higher minimum damage, at the expense of a lower muzzle velocity compared to the MG15 n.A. Suppressive, the most similar counterpart to the M1917. Unlocking the weapon is not too difficult, requiring players to score twenty-five kills with the BAR Trench and deal 250 points of vehicle damage.
- Achi Baba is the other map introduced with Turning Tides’ first half. Unlike Cape Helles, Achi Baba is an infantry-only map, consisting of narrow ravines opening out to fields. To put it mildly, this map is hell owing to the flanking routes and ravines becoming choke-points. All of the matches I’ve played here were remarkably one-sided, and it’s quite difficult to move about because of the ceaseless use of grenades.
- One change that I would like to see added to Battlefield 1 is that use of explosives on a gas cloud dispersed by a gas grenade would immediately cause the cloud to dissipate, and that gas should also affect allied players: I’ve long viewed gas grenades as a tool for the dishonourable player, and it baffles me that some folks have a hundred service stars with them. They’re used as area-denial weapons and force players to put on a gas mask, which prevents aiming down sights, but because they have no effect on friendly players, it becomes difficult to ascertain when it is safe to actually run through a gas cloud.
- Besides the missing weapons damage patch, which is supposed to reduce all of the time to kills for submachine guns and light machine guns, as well as make self-loading rifles much more accurate, this first half of the Turning Tides DLC does not include the anti-air variant of the Vickers QF Mk. II Rocket Gun. A competent pilot is nigh-unstoppable, and the announcement of an AA Rocket gun was most welcome, finally providing infantry with a man-portable anti-air solution that finally allows players away from a QF 1 to do some real damage to aircraft.
- I’ve not made extensive use of the Howdah pistol, a good all-around pistol with reasonable stopping power and range, but a slower reload rate. It’s the closest equivalent to Team Fortress 2‘s Shortstop, which is itself modelled after the COP .357 Derringer, and folks can actually run with the Scout’s loadout in Battlefield 1 by equipping any shotgun for the primary, the Howdah to stand in for the Shortstop, gas grenades for the Mad Milk and the spiked club for the Boston Basher.
- While behemoths are supposed to be powerful weapons on the battlefield, in practise, they sometimes can come too little, too late in a match to have any appreciable differences on the outcome. Nonetheless, it is quite fun to hop into the seat of one when one is losing a match and hammer at other opponents using the powerful weapons available to behemoths. A note is that, for completing the sniper’s multi-kill assignment requirement, players can optionally choose to do so by destroying vehicles using K-bullets, another vehicle or even the behemoth: while I’ve gotten double kills with a single sniper round previously, this is an uncommon occurrence and cannot easily be reproduced. I’m not fond of excessive grenade usage, so I’ll reluctantly add that multi-kills with grenades also count towards this requirement.
- While the Automatico M1918 has long been held to be the single most effective weapon in Battlefield 1 for its high damage-per-second, I’m actually not a fan of it since it trades off versatility for its efficacy at close ranges. There’s no doubt that it’s a fantastic weapon for melting faces at engagement distances of less than six meters, but I generally prefer the Hellriegel because it has a larger magazine and slightly longer range. However, the assignment for the Maschinenpistole requires fifty Automatico Storm kills, as well as five boat kills using the AT Rocket Gun. At the time of writing, I’m short two boat kills for this assignment.
- When I wrote my first impressions of In The Name of The Tsar, I remarked that I was considering buying Battlefront II based on how the game turned out. We’re now nearly a month past the release of Battlefront II, and I’ve reached a decision. While it would be fun to play through the campaign, I do not feel that I can adequately invest time into the multiplayer to more through the progression system to fully experience the game; the progression system is unintuitive and time-consuming. Quite simply, I don’t expect that I have the time to really dive into Battlefront II the same way I did for Battlefield 1, and consequently, I will not be buying Battlefront II in the foreseeable future.
- At this point in time, I’ve also unlocked the M1917 Trench Carbine, making use of my Care Package M1911 to pick off enemies during the course of the assignment. This super-rare legendary skin was recently available in the exchange for 10000 scraps, and as I happened to have 16000 scraps in my inventory, I purchased the skin. I’ve heard that people spent upwards of 120 USD to try and get this skin when it first was introduced into one of the battle-pack revisions, and given that a standard battle-pack costs 2 USD or 200 scraps to purchase, the Care Package skin would therefore be worth 100 USD (about 129 CAD) by these calculations. With my remaining scraps, I picked up two puzzle pieces for the sabre, which puts me one step closer to mirroring the Perrine H. Clostermann loadout in Battlefield 1.
- Medals in Battlefield 1 are named in a rather more ornate fashion than those of Battlefield 3 and 4. Here, I unlock the Royal Order of the Imperial Crown after narrowly escaping an encounter with eleven health: the medal description is “Be The Best”, entailing finishing top five, scoring two multi-kills and earning twenty kills in a round. While the new medal system has been an improvement over the old one, I wish that I could pick and choose the specific medal that I wished to unlock, rather than rely on a random number generator to decide this for me.
- Achi Baba reminds me of the terrain seen in Sora no Woto, as well as the area surrounding Francesca Luccini’s home in Strike Witches; old Greek ruins can be seen strewn about the map, and the map’s atmosphere is surprisingly pleasant when I’m not dying to endless gas grenades. Large clouds on the horizon stand out against the tans of the rocky surface and blues of the sky; the area is reminiscent of Sardinia as seen in a car chase sequence in The Spy Who Loved Me, when James Bond and Anya Amasova evade pursuers in his customised Lotus Esprit.
- I had joined this particular game mid-match, while one of the community missions were active (score 50000 points in conquest), and things had been progressing slowly, so I decided to simply focus on having fun rather than try to finish the mission. When I saw an L-Class destroyer, I made my way towards an available FK 96 Field Gun and fired one round for effect. I subsequently made some adjustments and destroyed the ship, which was 400 metres away, to earn a triple kill. However, this was the beginning of a truly exhilarating match: I then entered the coastal gun and set my sights on another destroyer. Two well-placed shots later, I earned a killtacular, sinking the ship.
- Owing to the disparity in scores, the opposing team also gained access to a behemoth. For fairness’ sake, the coastal gun cannot be rotated to fire on the British spawn, but the dreadnaught’s operators moved it into range of the coastal gun. I spent a few minutes sending shell after shell at the dreadnaught, destroying it and earned myself another triple kill. By the end of this match, I ended up with an excess of 32000 points, which was enough for me to meet the community mission’s requirements.
- I managed yet another killtacular with the coastal gun on a destroyer in a match of conquest I joined. While Battlefield 1 has its share of random number generator moments, a year’s worth of time in the game means that I’m a bit more familiar with the mechanics. A ways back, I made a post in jest comparing Kantai Collection to Battlefield 1 – Kantai Collection and Battlefield 1 are completely different genres, making this an unfair comparison. Truthfully, I still don’t really understand the appeal about a game where registration alone requires a bit of knowledge in computer networks and security. I prefer games whose registration involves a simple registration by username and password, as well as a payment method of some sort.
- In the spirit of Battlefield 1‘s Turning Tides DLC being a naval-themed one, and the fact that Kantai Collection would look more like this screenshot had it been done using Frostbite, I’ve opted to go with a quote from Yuudachi. Translated, it approximates to “Now, let’s have a wonderful party!”, which captures the fun that naval battles in Battlefield 1 have presented with Turning Tides’ first half. I’m greatly looking forwards to the remaining maps, which will be made available in January, and the DLC’s second half will also include the C-Class Airship.
So far, the biggest additions to Battlefield 1 from Turning Tides are the new weapons, whose unlock requirements are significantly more manageable compared to those of In The Name of The Tsar, and and some modifications to the game mechanics governing how players move. Movement from a standstill is a bit slower now, mirroring real people must pick up momentum before they can begin sprinting. This does away with the choppy motions that allowed players to dodge incoming fire and reach full sprint from prone position, making it more important to move around tactically. Conversely, for shooters, it makes it easier to shoot at player who have placed themselves in poor positions. Numerous weapon fixes have also been applied; among the changes include the fact that scouts can now deploy two trip wire traps rather than one (so I might just get to trying out the Mosin-Nagant marksman assignment), and that the Model 1900 has been updated to have improved spread and recoil. The long-awaited time-to-kill patch remains to be applied, however: this would ensure that all SMGs are competitive with the Automatico M1918, make self-loading rifles significantly more accurate and most exciting of all, boost the damage that LMGs can deal per shot. Overall, it is fantastic to see DICE continue on with their support of their game, and I’m hoping that the weapons damage update will be applied soon: the slightly quicker time to kill will make Battlefield 1 handle more like its predecessors, making games a bit quicker in pacing. I’m rather excited to see the new maps coming in January: they will be set in the North Sea campaign and I’m rather looking forwards to seeing what these maps entail. In the meantime, there are new weapons to unlock and experiment with.