“Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.” —Samuel Butler
Battlefield 1‘s reaching the end of its support cycle, and yesterday, the first cinematic for Battlefield V was released detailing that the upcoming game will be set in World War Two. Before delving too deeply into the trailer and speculate to our heart’s content, there also been some experiences in Battlefield 1 that I would like to recount. Since DICE made the They Shall Not Pass expansion free for all players, the French maps have seen a resurgence in player count, and more players means a corresponding increase in opportunities to experience Only in Battlefield™ moments. In one match of conquest on Rupture, I picked up a trench raider kit and went on an amusing 10-streak with it. In another match, my team was losing and was granted the Char 2C behemoth. I was lucky to spawn in as the driver and proceeded to break a personal best with a 13-streak. Besides free DLC content for non-premium players, DICE has also released a new update that adds eleven new weapons for all players. Eight of these are variants of the DLC weapons (four each for the assault and scout classes), two are melee weapons and finally, there is the all-new and long-anticipated Thompson Annihilator. The new variants add variety to the gameplay: the M1917 Enfield Silenced and Ross Mk III Infantry are superb weapons. With the introduction of scope glint for marksman optics, the Ross Mk III Infantry’s highly usable iron sights make it a superb choice for aggressive snipers. The Annihilator’s inclusion is a very positive indicator that DICE is very much attuned to community feedback, and after the disappointment of its exclusion from the underwhelming Apocalypse DLC, that the Annihilator is now available for all players (who earn it in an assignment) is simply fantastic.
Yesterday, Battlefield V‘s reveal trailer was released, and with the reveal come broad, sweeping changes to the gameplay. The trailer itself shows some interesting concepts, as well as some aspects that feel out of place in a Battlefield game. Regardless of what this trailer entails, I’ll have a better idea of whether or not Battlefield V is the kind of game I would buy later, and with the trailer out in the open, we now that we know what the setting for Battlefield V is going to be World War Two. I would like to go over my very own wishlist for what Battlefield V would need to entail if I am to purchase the game close to launch. Battlefield 1 marks a considerable departure from the mechanics of Battlefield 4 and 3. While some of these were good, others were more lacking. Battlefield V should have a more substantial progression system: leveling up a soldier rank should unlock all-class weapons and soldier specialisations, and levelling up a class rank or weapon rank should unlock currency for buying new weapons. Medals should follow the old Battlefield approach of being always available, or players should be able to select their own medals to work on. Achieving specific milestones should also give players weapon skins and dog-tags to show off. The Battlepack system should return to its old system in Battlefield 4, where using a class or its weapons gives additional accessories and customisation options for that weapon. Micro-transactions can take the form of a system where players can pay to buy the skins of their choice without a random system, and on this token, skins that can be purchased should not be available through normal gameplay. While Battlefield 1 had its share of problems, the community is still very much alive and well; all of my issues with the progression system aside, Battlefield 1 has managed to keep me entertained for the past two years.
Screenshots and Commentary
- Elite classes in Battlefield 1 are very situational, excelling only in specific roles to balance them out, but once picked up, one cannot drop the kit and revert back to their old loadout. When done right, however, it is possible to go on absolutely hilarious and devastating kill streaks with them: during one memorable match on Rupture, I picked up a trench raider kit and dominated the enemy team, even landing a headshot with the trench raider club: the combination of a one-hit-kill weapon, with a ten percent boost in movement speed and a medical crate allows raiders to be lethal in defending tight areas.
- I never did have much of a chance to play the trench raiders when They Shall Not Pass had just released, as other players would always reach the pickups first. While elite classes are more powerful than standard infantry, a well-coordinated team can eliminate them on short order, and players with a good position can take them out with a single melee attack, as well. As an elite player, one must advance and retreat as needed and remain mindful of their surroundings. Having a good medic around also helps, and it is for this reason that the trench raider is so powerful: having a health crate allows the trench raider to survive far longer than normal by enabling them to attack, then retreat to heal up, and continue attacking.
- Over the past year and a half in Battlefield 1, I’ve managed to get legendary skins for most of my favourite weapons, but a good skin for the Model 10-A has continued to elude me: I’ve not even gotten a basic skin for the weapon yet, and skins don’t seem to be available in the exchange. Here, I knock out a player by the name of “Teyama Ayano” – there’s no shortage of low level players running around with unusual properties, and unfortunately, for every legitimate player trying out the game for the first time, there are others who feel compelled to enhance their performance. I’ve personally seen that folks from Mainland China are bad with cheating, for instance.
- The Howell Automatic Factory was a pain to use, but once I got the fifty kills for it, I unlocked the Sniper variant. With its optic, the Howell Automatic Sniper is an excellent mid-range weapon: while outclassed by the Selbstlader M1918 in magazine size and reload speed, the weapon hits slightly harder at closer ranges and is a fun medic rifle that was worth the unlock. Of late, I’ve also unlocked the General Liu Rifle after trying out the Mondragón Storm: while I was ineffectual with this weapon earlier, it’s been a different experience as of late.
- The Ross Mk III Marksman is the best marksman rifle in Battlefield 1 at the time of writing, being a faster-firing version of the SMLE Mk III. On the slopes of Caporetto, snipers are perhaps the most effective class to run with, and by this point in time, I’ve noticed that the imbalances of conquest assault have been rectified by resourceful players using cavalry and vehicles to quickly breach enemy lines: players on the defending team instinctively all spawn at point alpha, leaving the rest undefended, so a few attacking players with a vehicle can pop over to the distant echo and delta points and capture them unimpeded. This gives the attacking team a chance to spawn behind enemy lines and disrupt the defending team.
- One of the biggest issues I had with the spotting system in Battlefield 1 was that players remained off the minimap until actively spotted. Older Battlefield games put players on the minimap for firing, and to stay off the minimap, players needed to equip a suppressor, which traded damage for stealth. The design of some maps allows players to stay invisible, making camping a viable tactic. This is actually one of the biggest reason I play the scout class: the spotting flares are indispensable and allow for my teammates to be alerted to the presence of unskilled camping players.
- In Battlefield V, they should make elite kits something players can freely drop and dispense with the health boost: the old battle pickups of Battlefield 4 were perfect, allowing players to pick up super-powerful weapons and assist their teams out, but did not increase their durability. Similarly, while I’ve found Behemoths to be a fun way to pad my KD ratio in a losing match, they’ve actually not had too much of an impact on the performance for a losing team. They can be used to frustrate enemy players, but in the time since Battlefield 1 released, players have figured out how to down Behemoths quickly to the point where even I’ve taken a few out to score that thousand-point bonus.
- Besides the endless grenades that unskilled players use (especially gas grenades), one other aspect I would like to see Battlefield V implement is reduced random bullet deviation: Battlefield is most certainly not Kantai Collection or Gun Gale Online, so when I shoot my weapons, I expect the bullets to land where I aim, and if I miss those shots, then it’s my own responsibility for trying to land them better, rather than some random number generator deciding whether all of my shots landed or not.
- Looking back through Battlefield 1, I would say that They Shall Not Pass had the best maps and additions, and In The Name of The Tsar had the best weapons. Turning Tides was fun for implementing behemoth-on-behemoth combat, and Apocalypse was lacklustre overall, although it did add Passchendaele to the maps available in the game. The upcoming Battlefield V title will feature no premium model at all, and I’m wondering how DICE will continue to make money now that a premium pass is gone. If they go the route of shortcut kits and purchase-only cosmetics, that will totally be okay, since I know that for all of the vociferous complaints out there, the most dedicated and hardcore players will want to make it known to others that they are a cut above the remainder of the community.
- After a year-and-a-half of playing Battlefield 1, I finally got a chance to sit in the driver’s seat of the Char 2C Behemoth. This is the ultimate tank of Battlefield 1, being the heaviest tank in the game, and equips a 75mm Canon de 75 modèle 1897 that is so powerful that it can destroy any other tank in two shots. Light tanks and other vehicles can be shredded in a single shot. In exchange for its awesome firepower and resilience, the Char 2C is very slow-moving and has a massive turn radius.
- In my first run using the Char 2C, I ended up staying on the north side of Rupture, shelling distant opponents with the 75mm cannon and eliminated the armour trying to capture point charlie on the bridge. I managed to keep the tank alive for the remainder of the match and went on a 13-streak. Against this tank, the best countermeasure is air support: during one match, I used the Ilya-Muromets to damage a Char 2C on the ground, but the match ended with our victory before I could destroy it.
- It’s a bit late, but one of the things I would have liked to see would have been a map where a Char 2C would go up against another Char 2C. With this being said, this is unrealistic (since nothing of the sort ever happened in history), and moreover, Behemoth-on-Behemoth combat is a laborious process. On Heligoland Bight, the Dreadnought on Dreadnought combat ends up being a manner of who has more supportive teammates, who knows their minimap better and who times their shots better: the battle is a matter of knowledge rather than raw skill owing to the slow, lumbering nature of the Behemoths.
- Battlefield 1 gave each class a well-defined role at specific ranges, whereas in earlier Battlefield games, the medic class and their assault rifles were versatile enough to operate at all but extreme long ranges. Class balance has always been a bit of a challenge in Battlefield, and Battlefield 1 ended up ensuring that all classes, except the scout, were balanced. The sweet spot mechanic was fun early on for me, but as I became accustomed to how rifles worked, I became more comfortable with using weapons out of their sweet spot ranges. The sweet spot was meant to encourage a specific style of play, and while it was successful in getting scouts to play closer to the objective, it also made it too easy to chain back-to-back kills with a bolt-action rifle.
- The suggestion that I would have for Battlefield V is to use a combination of Battlefield 1‘s sweet spot and the damage model of Battlefield 3, where bolt-action rifles did a maximum damage of 95 in close quarters and dropped out to 59 damage at range. In this system, shots fired by bolt-action rifles would deal 80 damage at extreme close quarters, deal 95 damage at the sweet spot and then drop down to 60 damage at very long ranges. Headshots at any range should still be a one-hit-kill. This approach would incorporate the sweet spot, encouraging players to stick closer to the combat and help their team out, while at once allowing the most skilled snipers to still perform at range (an average sniper like myself would then be discouraged from camping).
- The high bullet velocities of Battlefield 1 reduced the need to lead one’s shots and compensate for bullet drop, but earlier iterations of Battlefield had bullets travel almost comically slow. A good bullet velocity would be somewhere in between the 800 m/s of Battlefield 1 and the 600 m/s of earlier titles. Here, I shred another player using the lMG 08/18: this weapon was nigh-unusable for me during the CTE, but in the actual game itself, has been a modestly fun weapon for the fact that it has less recoil than the Parabellum MG14/17.
- The Ross Mk III Infantry was an unexpected surprise with its iron sights: the ghost ring makes it much easier to acquire a target than using the post on open sights. I demonstrate the efficacy of the ghost sights by shooting out an enemy sniper with a headshot at 110 metres, and in the same match, took out several other snipers whose scope glints gave them away. Since the last patch, all rifle optics now have glint, and iron sight rifles suddenly gain a bit of an advantage for closer ranges.
- Following the Apocalypse DLC, the SMG 08/18 Factory has displaced the Hellriegel as being the most overpowered weapon in the game: sporting a larger ammunition capacity than the Hellriegel, faster fire rate (770 RPM against the Hellriegel’s 650 RPM) and better damage at close quarters, the SMG 08/18 is a monster that shreds at close ranges. The Hellriegel does have less recoil and a faster reload speed, however, making it more suited for slightly longer range engagements. For various assault community missions and the Thompson Annihilator mission, I’ve used the SMG 08/18 to great effect, playing through multiple games where I was KD positive.
- As it turns out, the No. 3 Revolver was a bit of a hidden gem for me: all revolvers have a two-hit kill in Battlefield 1, but the No. 3’s fast draw time means it’s an excellent weapon to rely on in a pinch. In this match here, I use it to help me score the sidearm kills needed for the Thompson Annihilator mission: I ended up being banned from the server for suspected cheating by a salty admin who goes by the name of “GF_Six66”. This is the first time this has happened to me in Battlefield: previously I’ve been kicked from Halo 2 servers for PC for similar reasons, but this was a first, suggesting that I’ve definitely gotten a little better in Battlefield 1. This particular asshole has a Patrick Star emblem, and I note here that I personally hate all reaction macros and reaction GIFs from that particular series.
- The top contender for best long range rifle is challenged by the M1917 Enfield Silenced: the suppressor is a cool aesthetic addition that dampens the rifle’s report and muzzle flash, but the true champion is the sniper optic, which finally allows the Enfield to be used at the ranges it was meant to be used at. Coupled with the fact that it fires slightly faster and has one more round than the M1903 Sniper, the Enfield is a true winner that acts as the ultimate long-range option. On wide open maps with chaos, where scope glint can be hard to spot, the Enfield has no equal.
- The M1917 Patrol Carbine is a cool weapon concept that gives the assault class its first-ever weapon with an optic. This is neat, and allows the M1917 Carbine to reach out further, but because the weapon was meant to be a close-quarters semi-automatic option, the damage drops off at ranges requiring a scope: it feels like I’m throwing rocks at distant opponents, and when they are armed with self-loading or bolt-action rifles, the M1917 Patrol Carbine is not the weapon to have.
- The powers of the SMG 08/18 and No. 3 revolver allowed me to wrap up the assignment for the Thompson Annihilator on very short order. This cool-looking gun handles like the Automatico and is a hipfire machine designed for overwhelming individual targets. In practise, it’s a fun weapon that, like its real-world counterpart, which was shipped out to Europe the same day the First World War ended, comes into Battlefield 1 a bit too late to change the game.
- My thoughts on the Battlefield V trailer are that it’s quite unlike any of the previous Battlefield reveal trailers, showcasing some very early pre-alpha footage that straddles the line between gameplay and cinematics. I’ve heard that Battlefield V will bring team-play into the equation far more strongly than any previous game, to the point where one must be with their teammates in order to heal and resupply. Squadmates can now revive one another to a very limited extent, and teammates can pull downed players to areas of safety where they can await reviving.
- Operations will make a return in Battlefield V as “Grand Operations”, which are so dynamic and great in scale that even the world-changing events of Alfheim Online look weak in comparison, and War Stories are coming back. I’m hoping that this means we’ll get to see some missions set in the Pacific Theatre: being able to storm the beaches of Iwo Jima and participate at The Battle of Midway would be truly spectacular. So far, the concept art shows European locations, which means I’ll be able to play Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches in the Frostbite Engine, but being able to fight in the Pacific would mean Battlefield V would truly be Kantai Collection in the Frostbite Engine.
- I admit that I’ve waited quite some time for something like this: being able to drive a Tiger I, Panzer IV, M4 Sherman and T34 around in the Frostbite engine would definitely put the likes of Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match to shame. While the European concept art suggests a European setting for Battlefield V, the prospect of free content (there’s no more premium pass) and how DICE had handled diverse locations in Battlefield 1 means that we could see some interesting theatres with new updates. DICE has been marketing Battlefield V as #NeverBeTheSame, and with the trailer now out, it’s clear that Battlefield V is going in a very different direction than its predecessors.
- Having seen things for myself now, I believe that it is still too early for me to be making a call as to whether or not I will be buying Battlefield V: instead, I will do as I have for Battlefield 1 and make the decision once I’ve had a chance to see more trailers, learn the system requirements for the game and if I can run it, try out the open beta. If my impressions are favourable, then I will make the purchase, otherwise, I will hang on to my coin and wait for a sale to occur. Having said this, the prospect of being able to drive a Panzer IV is very tempting.
- While Battlefield V will very likely begin dominating all things Battlefield in the near future, there’s still one update left for Battlefield 1 that will introduce Shock Operations, shorter operations set on a single map. In addition, the CTE has also suggested that the Thompson M1919, the Winchester Burton LMR, the Mosin Nagant M38, the Fedorov Degtyarev, the BAR A2 and the Single Action Army Revolver will be included in a future release. Since DICE had kept their word about introducing the Enfield Silenced and the Thompson Annihilator into Battlefield 1, I have confidence that these new guns will be included come the June patch.
- At the time of writing, DICE has made In The Name of The Tsar freely available to all players to claim, and so, I expect that in the near future, we could be seeing more players on the Russian maps. Having an influx of new players is great, as it increases variety, but one challenge that DICE faced in Battlefield 1 were the presence of cheaters, especially the non-obvious ones who can whip around and one-shot someone with a pistol or Chauchat when they need to but otherwise give little indicator that they are cheating on the scoreboard. I’ve long been supporting the notion of a hardware ban to dissuade cheaters as Blizzard has done with Overwatch.
- Under the beautiful skies of Amiens, the first Battlefield 1 map showcased in the alpha, I score kills with the Annihilator Trench. It’s been almost two years since Battlefield 1 was announced, and back then, I was similarly cautious about buying the game with information based purely on the reveal trailers. The results speak for themselves, and I’m not going to jump to any conclusions with Battlefield V – once I know a little more, I will be better informed to decide whether or not this game will enter my library.
- In this post’s final moments, I showcase some moments I have flying the Ilya Muromets Heavy Bomber: I’ve seen the sort of damage the strategic bomber package can do against infantry and was curious to try it out. During a game of conquest where my team was losing, I decided to hop into a plane and see what it could do for fun, seeing as there were planes available. I was not disappointed: capture point bravo was very crowded, and I flew over, unloading the bomber’s cluster munitions overhead. My first few runs netted a few kills, but as the capture point became busier, I managed to score three killtaculars.
- With the Ilya Muromets’ ability to score ridiculous multi-kills, I’ve experienced yet another aspect of Battlefield 1 that I never thought I would, and in the process, earned a second Royal Order of the Imperial Crown (score in the top five overall, get two multi-kills and then get twenty kills in a round): the bomber is simply so powerful that scoring well is trivially easy, and even though it can be destroyed quickly, the Ilya Muromets can be instrumental in denying an area to the point where mounting comebacks can be possible, even more so than the Behemoths. This brings my latest Battlefield post to an end, and as we near the end of May, my attention turns towards Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?? Dear My Sister, which will release next week and will see a review on very short order.
What are some of the things that Battlefield 1 did correctly from the gameplay perspective? The first thing I can think of is a consistent length conquest game mode. While ticket bleed for controlling a majority of the flags should be brought back to accommodate for comebacks, the game mode has been superbly enjoyable for me because I know that when joining a match, I am entering a game that will likely last for half an hour. Destruction in Battlefield 1 is also of a very high standard, being comparable to that of Bad Company 2. Buildings can be levelled, the terrain deformed and overall, the game begins looking like a battlefield the longer a match progresses. Some buildings cannot be destroyed, so players know how to utilise cover and the like when softer targets are destroyed to strike a balance between impressive visuals and good gameplay. The ability to vault over some obstacles has also been superb: it offers players with interesting flanking routes and forces one to be alert, as enemies can now approach from more directions. DICE also experimented with weapon roles: without all-range assault rifles, players are forced to play in their weapons’ effective ranges more in Battlefield 1. It took some time to balance every class out, but at the endgame, it does feel like most of the challenges have been addressed. In Battlefield V, I would like to see some of these features return, and with the reveal now behind us, I am looking forwards to seeing what Battlefield V has in store for players. I will make a decision on this one after trying out the open beta and looking at community feedback following launch, and in the meantime, there is at least one more patch from DICE for Battlefield 1 to look forwards to.