The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1: Some remarks on being a marksman

“The role-based approach allows for an agent’s internal data to be structured neatly and also illustrate which parts of this data is shared, complementing object-oriented modelling. This approach is not effective if agents have overlapping or similar roles, since agents could operate on data while in the incorrect role, and the presence of multiple roles may also confuse observing agents that are predicting their behaviour.” -My lecture notes on role-based agents from CPSC 607, Winter 2015 term

Despite being the starting weapon for Battlefield 1‘s scout class, and contrary to uninformed remarks on Japanese Battlefield communities that the weapon is “ugly” or “inadequate”, the SMLE Mk.III marksman variant is perhaps the single most powerful weapon available for this class. The weapon is characterised by a ten round magazine, a moderate firing rate of 53 rounds per minute and a sweet spot spanning 40 to 75 meters. Being a remarkably unremarkable weapon, and lacking the ability to zoom in for sharp-shooting at longer ranges, the SMLE’s statistics sound average on paper – it is in the middle of the pack amongst the bolt action rifles and does not seem to excel at any one role. However, in practise, the weapon is incredibly effective at closer ranges, and with its ten round magazine, is very well-suited for engagements within its sweet spot: ten enemies can potentially be dropped on a single magazine by the most accurate of snipers. The marksman variant’s optics, a moderate-powered sight housed in a bulky enclosure, is initially a hinderance to use owing to how much of the screen it blocks out, but this disadvantage is quickly offset by the fact that the weapon has no scope glint. A careful scout can move into the sweet spot and decimate an enemy position without being spotted as a sniper, before retreating to safer grounds. It is with this weapon that I’ve been playing the scout class, and quite unlike any previous experiences I’ve had with the recon class in earlier Battlefield titles, I’ve been performing extraordinarily well with the SMLE Mk.III, placing close to the top of the scoreboard and making my own quest of unlocking the Kolibri closer and closer to reality.

The scout class has exceeded all expectations for its fun factor. Though I cannot heal, resupply or revive, I can fire spotting flares onto a contested objective and watching the mini-map light up gives my team a sense of what they’re up against. Lining up my optics at the head of an opponent some ways away, tapping “fire” and listening to the visceral “ping” of the round as I drop my target with a single shot has been an incredibly satisfying feeling. To chain consecutive back-to-back kills with the SMLE on a group of enemies bunched together induces a dopamine rush that is quite unlike the feeling I’ve gotten while playing as any of the other classes. The scout class certainly has seen some substantial changes compared to previous entries in the Battlefield franchise, and while fun, Battlefield 1 is where I’ve genuinely felt as though I’m contributing to the team effort despite hanging back from the action. Although a far cry from being in the thick of things healing, reviving and resupplying teammates, making visible enemy players and informing my team of where the enemies are is enough for them to adequately decide how to best handle a tricky capture point. Time and time again, I find myself surprised at just how entertaining it is to roll into battle as a scout, armed with a good rifle and steady aim to help my team out as effectively as I do when I elect to play as a medic or support class. Sniping simply feels fantastic, and nothing is quite as rewarding as picking off targets one after another at range.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Why is there a post coming out this early when I should be at work, designing building iOS apps? Today is Good Friday, allowing me a day off, and after a Chinese-style lunch of beef ho fun, spicy noodles and Hokkein fried rice, in conjunction with Cantonese-style fried chicken, I contemplate my experiences as a scout. In this post, all twenty of the screenshots will be of the scout class, and a very large number of these will feature the SMLE Mk.III. The irony of all this is that during the Battlefield 1 open beta, I remarked that the weapon was quite tricky to use and ended up faring quite poorly when using the weapon owing to a lack of familiarity with its mechanics. I subsequently remarked that the Gewehr 98 might be more appropriate for its faster bullet speed and longer range, but since Battlefield 1 proper, the SMLE Mk.III has been my go-to weapon for everything scout related.

  • The “assist counts as kill” mechanic is something I’ve seen much more of as of late owing to how much time I’ve spent with the scout class: these typically arise when I hit a tricky target at range without killing them outright, and a teammate finishes the job. The teammate landing the finishing blow is credited for the kill, but I also get a kill for my troubles.

  • According to my Battlefield companion app, my longest headshot is 187 metres, although the best headshot I’ve scored in any of my screenshots is roughly 158 meters. I have an inkling that the ultra-long range headshots probably result from an immensely lucky shot made from a vehicle, probably the heavy tank, where I once shot someone camping near the top of Fao Fortress’ at point foxtrot with the passenger machine gun from across the estuary.

  • While snipers may prefer camping at long ranges, my approach is a highly aggressive one: I enjoy sniping at medium ranges and providing support for teammates as I can. During one moment on Sinai Desert, I took out at least four enemy players in a row who were attempting to take capture point delta, allowing my team to re-take it. I’ve found that sniping works best for me on this map if my team has charlie and delta captured, as this allows me to spawn into the town area and pick off anyone coming into town.

  • While best-suited for medium range sniping, the SMLE Mk.III has reasonable hipfire, and here, I down another player who’d surprised me while I was moving between buildings. I’m almost always on the move as a sniper, trying to get close enough to a capture point so that it’s within the sweet spot, and from there, it’s a matter of good aim. A capable mouse is required to aim well in Battlefield 1, and owing to my setup, I find it is often easier to make minute adjustments to my position before firing, since my mouse can be a bit imprecise owing to the lack of a good mousepad.

  • In spite of my team losing this match, I still performed well enough to end the match KD positive. Normally, victory or loss is determined by team composition (i.e. what classes players choose) and their coordination: I typically lose when everyone is unconcerned with objectives, and the page quote comes from my old lecture notes about different means of modelling a multi-agent system. As with a good role-based multi-agent system, performance is best when agents have a well-defined role. In my case, I usually PTFO and make use of my class abilities liberally to help my team, which is why I can end up in the top five of the scoreboards despite having a third or even a quarter of the kills.

  • It’s been some two years since I’ve finished the multi-agent systems course, which I took for the purpose of learning how to formalise and describe agent-based systems within my thesis. It was a fantastic course for all of the learnings I got out of it, and also for the project that saw me build a multi-agent rescue simulation with a team of graduate students. Our approach made use of a combined master-slave approach to link the robots together (they can only dig survivors out of rubble if paired), and subsequently use cooperation by information sharing to decide on the optimal decision. The system proved reasonably effective provided the agents could pair, and if isolated, the agents would fall back on an independent system, although this proved ineffectual.

  • I unlock the service star here for the SMLE Mk.III Marksman, and I remark that the weapon has now become my most used weapon in Battlefield 1, surpassing even the MP-18 Trench and Automatico M1918 Trench: in the narrow streets of Amiens, the environments seem quite unsuited for sniper combat, but the central canal, being lined with houses, proved to be an excellent spot to set up camp and pick off unsuspecting players on the other side of the map.

  • I was quite surprised I could hide in this house here for the period that I did without being zeroed in on and will attribute it to the weapon’s optics. The lack of scope glint on the marksman variant of the SMLE Mk.III is one of its biggest assets: this weapon is not meant to be an ultra long-range weapon capable of taking out someone from obscene distances, and when used in the manner it was meant to be used in, it is devastating. I’ve gone on some kill-streaks where I actually began running out of ammunition because of how many shots were fired.

  • One of the most entertaining match I’ve ever played in Battlefield 1 was against another player who claimed to be an apologist in their user name. They were sitting in an artillery truck and was spamming the chat, insulting other players. When the next match rolled around, I managed to shoot them in the head and, for good measure, did my customary Halo 2 tea-bagging. Subsequently, this player became so angry that they spent the rest of the match calling me names. Plainly lacking anything approaching a post-secondary education (evidenced by their lack of understanding of how the fundamentals of biology works), they went 4-23 for the remainder of the match, standing in stark contrast to the 20-5 they had in the artillery truck the previous match.

  • I couldn’t stop laughing after the match ended, having wrapped it up 21 and 13 (on account of being so close to the front lines to support my team out with captures). I’ve never been too fond of folks who wear their beliefs on their sleeves and make it a point to let the world know what they believe: to see them grow so riled when challenged non-verbally with a teabag was downright hilarious, and I can only wonder what would happen if I were to go down the premium route and teabag such players while sporting an emblem bearing Cocoa Hoto or Miho Nishizumi’s mien…perhaps my emblem would be reported.

  • Reaching past rank four for the scout class means I have access to all of the weapons in the scout class for purchase, but rather than buying things without information, I usually exit the game and then take a look at what’s available among the options that suit my style before spending the warbonds. I’ve purchased the M1903 Sniper already, and it might make sense to look at the Gewehr 98 as the next weapon for slightly longer range firepower. One thing that I did pick up immediately was the hatchet, since that melee weapon can punch through barbed wire and makes it easier to move around.

  • This match on Amiens proved to be incredibly enjoyable: I was landing kills left, right and centre, and even the presence of an armoured train did little to slow me or the team down. Although a bit slower in pacing than the other classes, the satisfaction derived from landing kills with the sniper rifles is immense, and in conjunction with playing the objective, allows me to perform reasonably well. While I spend most of my time in conquest, rush and operations are two other game modes that would be a fantastic place to do some long-range shooting. Conversely, domination and TDM are better suited for close quarters weapons.

  • I paste another fellow’s pate here with the M1903 Springfield’s sniper variant, which has a sweet spot beginning 100 meters out and extends to 150 meters. While the bullet velocity is not remarkably fast in order to balance the weapon out, the shots this weapon places can be quite accurate, making it a good choice for maps with wide open spaces, such as Fao Fortress. The sweet spot mechanic turns the different sniper rifles into CS:GO‘s AWP: CS:GO balances out the AWP in competitive team play by assigning it with a high purchase price in order to offset its one-shot kill power, and even in TDM, where all weapons are free, the best way to deal with an AWP is to keep moving and close the distance, where the AWP’s slow rate of fire makes it less effective.

  • The M1903 also has a marksman variant, but at the ranges I’m typically using it at, having the higher-powered optics makes it easier to see a target at the expense of scope glint. On some maps, the chaos is sufficient so this becomes less of a concern, but when I see scope glint, I duck away for cover immediately, uncertain if I’m about to be one-shotted by a patient sniper.

  • I normally run with the spotting flare and K-bullets, the default gadgets for the sniper class. These two offer the class the most versatility, allowing me to quickly spot opponents and impede vehicles from repairing (or even outright destroy them, if the timing is right). The other gadgets that are highly useful include the tripbomb, which is fantastic for defending a position and prevent attack from behind, and the trench periscope, for its application in peeking over cover to spot enemies and gauge distance.

  • I’m usually a very mobile sniper, unlikely to stay in one spot for extended periods of time, and I always check my surroundings before moving around. A well-coordinated team can still take me out if they so choose, but at the minimum, I’m not totally oblivious to my surroundings – JackFrags has encountered some snipers with serious tunnel vision in his absolutely hilarious video, titled “HUNTING FOR SNIPERS“. Spanning fifteen minutes, it’s done in the manner of a Nature video and provides non-stop comedy for its duration.

  • On a very tight match of conquest on Suez, I managed five headshots in a round. I’m very fond of headshots and will aim for the head for stationary and slow-moving targets, but uncertainty with hitting faster moving targets at range means that I will try for centre mass instead: when I park myself in the sweet spot, I have managed to earn consecutive kills. In some occasions, I’ve even raised my KD from negative to positive owing to the powers conferred by the sweet spot.

  • While the sweet spot is a highly useful mechanic, all of the sniper rifles remain useful outside of these areas. They will take a bit more finesse to utilise properly, and it can be a little tricky to keep a bead on faraway targets obscured by smoke, gas and particle effects. Looking through this post, it is telling that I can tell stories for twenty images’ worth of figure captions with just the scout class alone, and what was initially a class I was apprehensive to try out has quickly turned into a class I’m in love with. In fact, the support class is now my least-used class, but this is likely a consequence of me playing it the wrong way: LMGs are not like their Battlefield 3 or Battlefield 4 incarnations. I have a feeling that playing at longer ranges might turn things around.

  • I wrap this post up with me reaching rank six; I’m now 62.27 percent of the way to my target of reaching the Kolibri for some Hikari-on-Neuroi Hive humiliation. At this point in time, I’ve also reached rank 40 in Battlefield 1: when considering that I’m rank 42 in Battlefield 4, I’ve gotten quite a bit more out of Battlefield 1 despite the latter having less content and unlocks in its progression system. All of these factors together, coupled with the fact that a sale on Battlefield 1‘s premium package is unlikely owing to the game being relatively new, contribute to my decision to upgrade. It brings to mind my decision three years ago to upgrade to premium in Battlefield 3, and that was a decision I’ve never looked back on.

With the incredible amount of fun I’ve had fulfilling the role of a mid-range reconnaissance agent more than capable of holding out against other opponents to capture or defend a point, I’ve advanced from rank one to rank six for the scout class. This means that I’ve now passed the medic and support class in rank, matching my class rank for the assault class. Quite truthfully, this was unexpected, and I had not imagined that the scout class would offer enjoyment of this calibre (I shy away from sniping for the most part in Battlefield 4, although in Battlefield 3, the M98B became my favourite weapon for the sniper class, and I unlocked a service star with it). After some consideration, and a glance at my pocketbook, I have reached a decision – I will be purchasing the Premium upgrade for Battlefield 1 so that I can explore additional maps and access new unlocks. This is not a light decision: Battlefield 1 has kept me entertained to a non-trivial extent, and glancing at my stats, I’ve been improving since I picked the game up. Contrary to prevailing sentiments that the game is growing “stale”, I’ve been finding plenty of motivation to play Battlefield 1. At this point in time, I’ve still not bought all of the weapons and their variants yet, but I am growing a little weary of experiencing the same maps in every match I play (Suez and Fao Fortress are two maps I’ve seen more than my share of); it would be nice to get more variety, and admittedly, I much prefer the French maps in Battlefield 1. Adding Premium to my library will allow me to fight on more French maps, and in the upcoming DLC, I will get a chance to play “Brave Witches in the Frostbite Engine” as the battle takes me into the snowy landscapes of Russia.

Battlefield 1: I Shall Not Pass- A Spring Patch Reflection

“A man is usually more careful of his money than of his principles.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Although I am well aware that the first Battlefield 1 DLC is titled They Shall Not Pass, I’ve chosen to title this post “I Shall Not Pass” because of my present decision to not purchase the DLC or Premium upgrade. While I’ve been having a fabulous time in Battlefield 1 as of late, I’m likely to remain a little more reserved until I learn more about the remaining DLC packages. From the footage I’ve seen of They Shall Not Pass, the French maps look wonderful (and a part of me purchased Battlefield 1 simply so I could light things up in Gallia France): one map features a field abloom with poppies, while another features a sleepy French village that Yoshika might find herself stopping by while visiting Lynette and Perrine. There’s also a map with a large fortress at its center whose close-quarters layout could make it the new Operation Locker. The new weapons are interesting, adding new dimensionality to the play, as well. There is a new Behemoth and French tank, along with the Trench Raider elite class. So far, the DLC looks reasonably fun, and personally, the French maps are the most appealing element of this DLC. With this being said, the next DLC is going to be titled In The Name Of The Tsar, and if the Russian maps provide snowy environments for combat, I will almost certainly purchase the Premium upgrade, if only for the fact that I will be able to experience both the Strike Witches (Gallian) and Brave Witches (Orussia) fronts in the Frostbite 3 Engine. I am surprisingly close to my stipulated goal of having two classes at rank ten, so the Premium purchase could be very real on my horizon.

While I’ve not tried the new maps, weapons or vehicles, the release of They Shall Not Pass has also brought some changes to the gameplay in Battlefield 1: grenades are now lessened in count, forcing players to finally run with fewer gas grenades. Weapons have also been modified, with the most noticeable change coming for the medic class’ self-loading rifles. Spread increase and magnitude has been reduced for these weapons, allowing them to be fired more accurately, with the optical versions acquiring an even more appreciable decrease in spread. The net effect of these changes mean that medic weapons are now more useful at range while being able to maintain a respectable rate of fire (for semi-automatic weapons): in practise, this allows me to hit distant opponents at longer ranges, and during one match, I landed a headshot on another player from around 150 meters. Although they ducked behind cover, that I can now have more confidence in engaging targets at this range is a huge boost. The medic class is my second most-used class, so having better weapons offers a much better experience; I know that I can hold my own at long ranges now while healing team-mates, although better shot placement could also make my close quarters engagements a bit more manageable.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I’ve now got some 28 hours in Battlefield 1, and my performance has been steadily improving with respect to contributions to the team. Although I don’t top the scoreboards or have the best KD ratio, I do manage to score quite well despite having a smaller number of kills because of my emphasis on team play beyond merely camping at a capture point. Compared to most folks, I actually don’t game as often or as hard: while my interests suggest otherwise, I’m actually quite casual.

  • In a match of conquest, after spawning into a Mark V whose cannon was jammed despite the vehicle being in full health, I died and respawned, switching out to the medic class so I could try out the M1907 SL Sweeper, a medic self-loading rifle with the option for automatic fire. Because of the setting, options for a good RDS are non-existent, and so, I tend not to do so well with the iron sights. With this being said, it is immensely satisfying to land a good shot with the iron sights, especially at longer ranges.

  • I usually find myself in the thick of things owing to how I play Battlefield, although how hard I push will be determined by which class I’m running with. The medic can occupy the mid-range role quite nicely, allowing me to hang out behind attacking teammates to heal or revive. There are other occasions where I will die from carelessness, but because I’m pushing forward with my team, I will likely get revived by a friendly medic. I don’t communicate with other players with a microphone, preferring the text chat to ask for support or instructions as required.

  • The medic ribbon for getting seven kills in a round looks quite nice, and I obtain one here after lighting up another player with the M1907 Sweeper. As of now, I’ve purchased around four primary weapons for each class except for the scout, but have done nothing about sidearms or melee weapons. For folks who play more Battlefield 1 than myself, the DLC might just be worth it to gain more variety, but in my case, I’ve got a ways to go before I yearn for more diversity in my gameplay. With this being said, the new maps in They Shall Not Pass look beautiful and, while more experienced Battlefield players may digress, seem to be worth the price of admissions.

  • After being given increased horizontal recoil in the previous patch, light machine guns are a little trickier to use, but during one match of domination where my team was steam-rolled by the other, I finally acclimitised to the recoil patterns of the BAR Storm and scored seven kills to obtain the support ribbon. In the latest update, ribbons now give 500 experience points rather than 300, making them even more rewarding to obtain.

  • Post-patch, the BAR Storm remains a formidable close-quarters LMG. As of late, I’ve found less time to play Battlefield 1: things have been rather active in the real world. This past weekend was a double experience weekend, but I only got three conquest matches in. On Saturday, I visited the International Truck and Auto Show, stopping by a restaurant in the neighbourhood to have Chinese-style fried chicken marinated in oyster sauce and a grilled fish with deep-fried bones. Yesterday was my dōjō’s annual Spring Banquet (a buffet style luncheon featuring sweet and sour pork, ginger beef, fried noodles, spring rolls, fried chicken, gaozi and beef skewers, plus mango tapioca). I attend with my family every year, although I skipped last year on account of the banquet being set on the eve of my flight to Laval.

  • In a particularly brutal match of TDM where my team was losing, I managed to find a flamethrower and went on an 8-killstreak, burning to death players who tried to knife me. It was enough to raise my KD ratio and turned the entire match around, with my team winning by exactly one point by the time everything was said and done. I’ve been in several losing matches where my team would somehow mount a comeback and win by a very small margin, sometimes, these were as close as one point.

  • It’s the first day of Spring today, being the Vernal Equinox. This bitterly cold winter comes to a close, although with the weather in the Foothills, I imagine we could be hit with a handful of spring snowstorms before warmer weather sets in to stay as the days grow longer. Last week marked the beginning of Daylight Savings time, and while it did mess with some schedules out there, in addition to potentially reducing the amount of time one sleeps, it also marks the welcome return of light.

  • A sharp-eyed viewer will note that I only do major posts for the winter and summer solstices: the transition from winter to spring, though welcome, is set in the month of March, which has always been a quieter time of year for me. During my school days, it would be midterm season, and in the present, I’m pushing further into the ResearchKit and CoreData frameworks for my work. It feels a little strange, but very liberating, not to have a number of assignments, papers and exams on my plate: while work is definitely more high-paced than university, gone are the days of rote memorisation to pass exams.

  • I tended to end up KD negative or lose on Sinai Desert, making it one of my least favourite maps. However, this is a map that is quite unsuited for close-quarters weapons in most areas – I’ve had the most success either by equipping a good weapon with optics, such as the Mondragón sniper here to shoot someone from a ways away, or else simply stayed within the town area to pick off lone players with close quarters weapons. This particular match turned out quite entertaining, and I did quite well.

  • I definitely will need to go back and give all of the weapons I’ve unlocked a shot; at the minimum, I should get service stars for all of the weapons I’ve already got, and aim to try the weapons whose specs are less suited for my play-style. The concept of weapon mastery returns from Battlefield 4, with a special codec entry unlocking for folks with five hundred kills in a weapon. The counter only began with the winter patch, so it’ll be a while before I get to any weapon masteries in Battlefield 1.

  • During one match of conquest, I spawned into a light tank, having forgotten to set it to the heavy tank in the menu earlier, but I went on a 9-killstreak with the tank, rolling over the hill and blasting the enemy team with the canister shells. Playing more carefully and strategically allowed me to last much longer than I usually would: my efforts very nearly allowed my team to catch up in scoring as we captured points charlie and delta on Giant’s Shadow.

  • The light tank remains my favourite vehicle in spite of how toned-down it is in Battlefield 1 compared to its beta incarnation: as a single-seater, it means that if I am surrounded as a result of ill-fortunates or carelessness, then only I die as a result. With a heavy tank, a successful kill can lead to the deaths of up to six team members. The ribbon here is for scoring seven or more kills with a tank in a round, and now, with ribbons present, there is definitely more incentive for me to try out other play-styles.

  • With my team losing and a terrible driver operating the armoured train, I was on the verge of death here, but managed to get another kill to earn my first-ever ribbon for scoring three or more kills with a behemoth. I typically avoid spawning into the driver seat, since I lack the means to effectively communicate with teammates on where the behemoth should go. Instead, my most effective operation of the armoured train is when I’m given access to a weapon for defending the train from threats. I’ve never used the sixth seat before, but the 20mm auto-cannon wrecks both light vehicles and infantry. There was a landship bombarding us from across the map, and although the 20mm rounds did negligible damage, its firing rate meant I could put enough shells down-range to force it to retreat. Ultimately, an incompetent driver meant the train contributed minimally to the team’s attempt at a comeback, but it was fun to try the 20mm auto-cannon for the first time.

  • I don’t normally run with the scout class, but like every Battlefield before this one, I’ve always taken up the scout class last. Sniping has never really been my speciality in multiplayer shooters, but with some time, it’s a class that I can perform modestly well with. Battlefield 1 has proven especially friendly to new-time snipers: the SMLE Mk.III Marksman variant, the starting sniper rifle, also happens to be one of the best weapons. With a sweet spot spanning 40 to 70 meters, it’s ideal for closer range engagements, although as I learn here with a 158 meter headshot, it’s also effective out to longer ranges.

  • Although dealing little direct damage to vehicles, the main utility of K-bullets is to stop a vehicle from repairing at range, allowing one’s teammates to finish it off. My first ever kill with the K-bullets, however, came on a match of conquest. I was running from capture point echo to foxtrot and noticed a heavy tank nearby, so I hid in some foliage after spotting it. Some teammates began shooting at the tank, dealing some damage, and I fired a few K-bullets at it. What I did not expect was for the tank to explode after I fired my third round. Through all of this, the tank driver never noticed me sitting in the bushes.

  • My team ended up winning this round by quite a margin, and I was surprised at how much fun the scout class can be. While I cannot heal or resupply teammates as a scout, I can use my spotting flares to help friendlies determine where hostile forces are – it’s fun to fire a flare into a capture point, watch as the map lights up with hostiles, and then watch as teammates come in to clear it out.

  • This conquest match of Suez was quite one-sided: my team pushed forward and quickly captured every point except for alpha, pushing the enemy team to one side of the map. They dug in and soon, most of their players had taken up long range weapons, going prone. I managed to go on a kill-streak thanks to these stationary players, racking up a number of sniper kills on these players. On some occasion, the other team would sneak up and take capture point delta, but alert teammates would expediently recapture it.

  • Here, I end up with another scout ribbon after making my fourteenth kill in the conquest match. I ended up placing fifth overall on a team of thirty despite having only a small number of kills relative to those who placed in the top five primarily because of my PTFO styles. All of these points contribute to my scout score, so I’m not bothered as to whether or not they come from kills or team contributions. During the course of this match, I also made rank two for the sniper class, allowing me access to the Gewehr M.95 marksman variant and M1903 marksman, plus new melee weapons that can cut through barbed wire.

  • After a hectic match on Monte Grappa to test out the longer range medic weapons, I ended up on a flank that saw me cut back to capture point echo, where I shot an unsuspecting AA operator in the head. I proceeded to nearly finish capturing echo with some teammates, with the game ending before I could fully capture the point. With the ending of this post and the beginning of spring, we look ahead into the future: upcoming posts will include Sora no Woto‘s finale discussion, plus a talk on Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth to coincide with my setting out for Laval a year ago.

Looking ahead, Battlefield 1 continues to play well, although regenerating grenades has not been welcome, taking away from the traditional Battlefield feel of having a necessity to depend on a good support player. Recent news of the prospect of regenerating consumable gadgets is equally unwelcome: being able to resupply these only with a support player’s assistance contributed greatly to the team component of earlier Battlefield games, and to be able to allow these to regenerate on their own would decrease team play. Hopefully, negative reception from the community will prevent this feature from seeing the light of day. The joy of Battlefield for me is being able to resupply and heal players, so if players have no incentive to seek out a means to replenish their stores of gadgets, then it means the support class would become next to useless. Team play is an integral part of Battlefield, and while I might not be the best shooter or vehicle operator, I do my utmost to help my team out using the means available within the game. This is why a Premium purchase will likely wait until both more DLC is released and to see if DICE is intending on reducing elements that encourage players to work together towards victory — if DICE is responsive to the feedback and continues to deliver DLC that adds variety to Battlefield 1, I could see myself going down the premium route. If that happens, one might also reasonably expect to see a GochiUsa emblem if they fall to me.

Battlefield 1: Winter Revision, Ribbons and The First Behemoth Kill

“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

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  • 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 WitchesBattlefield 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.