“One stage of your journey is over, another begins.” –Gandalf The White, The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers
In the last week of the last Tides of War chapter, DICE announced that the upcoming June patch will be the last update that Battlefield V would receive. After some seventeen months after launch, the decision seems to reflect the prevailing thought that Battlefield V is not salvageable, and when the final patch releases in June, Battlefield V will have had support for just about nineteen months. In this time, Battlefield V found itself riddled with bugs, marred by glaring performance issues and the absence of a good anti-cheat solution, and generally, a lack of a clear direction. Battlefield V‘s initial marketing campaign was a prelude to the woes that would befall on a giant that had a past record of turning bad launches around: Battlefield 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront II had launched in a similarly shaky manner, but made remarkable comebacks to become considered as solid experiences. Battlefield V had appeared to be on the road to recovery, as well: the Pacific Theatre had turned Battlefield V around from disappointment, but the game ultimately was unable to escape from woes that seeped into every aspect of its development; the game did not have the resilience to survive the global health crisis, and with so much of its resources diverted, DICE decided it was time to reconsider and direct effort towards their next title. For the community, this is a bittersweet outcome; on one hand, the stoppage in updates for Battlefield V means that the Eastern Front and Fall of Berlin will never be visited, but on the flip-side, DICE now has all of the resources to dedicate towards ensuring that the new Battlefield title will be successful. The lack of a clear direction and good anti-cheat ultimately were the two major factors that make Battlefield V a diminished experience: while DICE had intended to explore themes of diversity and personal stories through lesser-known battles, World War Two inevitably brings with it expectations of iconic campaigns to liberate Europe from the Axis powers. Focusing on a relatively unknown campaign in Norway or Halfaya Pass simply does not have the same impact as would the Normandy Landings or Stalingrad, resulting in a game that continued to feel empty even after the inclusion of the excellent Pacific Theatre maps. Battlefield V was also cursed with the lack of a good cheat detection, which allowed some players to run amok in the game and diminish the experience for countless others. A great deal of negativity surrounds Battlefield V, and grievances invariably vary between individuals, but for me, cheating and the absence of famous battles are by far the biggest strikes against Battlefield V.
If Battlefield V has been a weak title, then one must wonder, why would I spend a few hours each week playing the game? The fact that I didn’t uninstall the game outright and request a refund indicates that there was something about Battlefield V that made it worthwhile. For myself and most players, Battlefield V‘s superior weapons handling and performance is the biggest draw. Battlefield V‘s gun-play and shooting mechanics aren’t just excellent, they far surpass anything in previous Battlefield titles. Weapons feel powerful and handle in a reliable manner; recoil patterns can be learnt, and over time, players begin to understand how their favourite weapons work. When players understand how their weapons work, firefights become very consistent, and this cultivates a sense of accomplishment in having learnt something well to now contribute to the team play in a meaningful manner. In revisiting Battlefield 4, the shooting is nowhere near as visceral, and Battlefield 1, while being much more tactile, had random bullet deviation that nullified some of the skill factor. Battlefield V‘s shooting mechanics, on the other hand, are satisfying and fulfilling. As the core of any first person shooter, good gun-play is essential, and here, Battlefield V truly shines: when cheaters are absent from a given server, matches are genuinely enjoyable. Besides exceptional gun-play, Battlefield V also has the most sophisticated movement system of any Battlefield title, giving players new ways to move around and forcing one to be tactile in how they move. Finally, the new dynamic of fortifications and destruction introduces yet another level of nuance into the game. Altogether, matches can remain quite engaging and immersive under the right conditions, and overall, there was incentive to enjoy what DICE did get right with Battlefield V: it’s easy to be disappointed that Normandy and Stalingrad will never be available, but where DICE got things right with Battlefield V, I found the incentive to work towards unlocking and running various loadouts from Sora no Woto, Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer: through the final Tides of War chapter, and the circumstances surrounding it, I managed to unlock the elite cosmetic, Misaki Yamashiro, which will allow me to essentially run a Strike Witches loadout on any map of my choosing, in the most immersive manner possible.
Screenshots and Commentary
- This Battlefield V post is going to be more similar to my swan song post for Battlefield 1 in that I’m not introducing any new maps or weapons: my original plan had been to wait until the seventh Tides of War chapter released, presumably with a beautiful new map, and then consider what the Eastern Front would look like, but DICE’s latest announcement promptly shot those plans down. Instead, this post will focus on my thoughts on the Battlefield V journey now that the end is in sight, and I’ll kick off with a triple kill I got using the T34 Calliope.
- At the time of writing, I’m still a fair ways from reaching level 100 in Battlefield V, which is a feat I managed to achieve during my Battlefield 1 days from a combination of squad XP boost and double XP events. While I’ve had a great deal of fun in Battlefield V, however, I don’t think there’s any appreciable benefit to reaching this milestone again, and of late, I’ve been back in Battlefield 1 so that I may reach rank ten for my tanker class and unlock the sawed-off shotgun, the only item I’ve not purchased in Battlefield 1 using their war bonds currency.
- While in retrospect, Battlefield 1 was an excellent game, the one thing that becomes immediately apparent is the inconsistency of firefights, especially with the medic and support classes. Having grown accustomed to the excellent weapon mechanics of Battlefield V, my aim in Battlefield 1 is lacking in comparison, and I find myself missing shots there that I would otherwise be confident to land in Battlefield V.
- One thing that I never got in any Battlefield game, or in the online community in general, is why some players would run with a seemingly-random string of numbers as their user name. From a cursory glance, such an account would have its advantages in anonymity, being harder for other players to remember. While it may seem counter-intuitive for the player to remember their username, the reality is that for the player wielding the username is actually able to remember their number sequence very easily, and folks can retain these numbers for a very long time. I still recall my old student ID numbers, so it’s not inconceivable for these players to easily recall their usernames.
- While the M95/30 has been my go-to rifle for the scout class, I’ve recently taken a liking to the Krag-Jørgensen. This Norwegian rifle deals the least damage of any bolt-action rifle in Battlefield V on a per-shot basis, but also has no damage drop-off whatsoever, meaning that a consistent player can deal more damage at range than with other rifles. Since the latest patch, the weapon is a strong weapon for longer range combat, and I’ve found it to be quite fun to operate.
- Operation Underground remains a solid map that is very entertaining to play through, and in one match of breakthrough, I managed a triple-kill while trying to gain some breathing room and revive enough teammates around me to capture the final set of points, although the final capture points remain a bit of a meatgrinder now even with a team that’s fully aware of what’s expected. I rather enjoyed this map, although since the Pacific Theatre launched, there are fewer servers with Operation Underground on their rotation.
- The Sora no Woto loadout in Battlefield V consists of the Karabiner 98k (Kureha’s rifle) and the M1911 (Aisha’s sidearm): this was the original set of weapons available during the days of the closed alpha, and in practise, the Karabiner 98k possesses a high muzzle velocity and damage per shot, making it a good long-range weapon. In exchange, it has a low firing rate and long reload time: missing shots with this weapon is unforgiving, but thanks to how weapons handle in Battlefield V, weapons have patterns that can be mastered over time.
- The time-to-kill and weapon consistency in Battlefield V means that multi-kills with infantry weapons are far easier to get than they were in Battlefield 1, and in general, I’ve really enjoyed going into a firefight with naught more than a steady aim and good reflexes. Against legitimate players, firefights are an excellent test, and allowing one to gain a measure of how well they know the weapons, as well as the maps.
- Besides gunplay with infantry weapons, one thing Battlefield V also excelled at was its implementation of armoured combat. Tanks in Battlefield 1 were a little too powerful: a good tanker could do some damage, retreat to let their weapons resupply and do repairs, and then return to combat in top condition. However, Battlefield V‘s tanks have limited self-repair capabilities and finite ammo. Coupled with projectile drop that renders tanks ineffectual at extreme long range, and with a slower turret traversal that makes tanks sluggish at close quarters, tanks fulfil a very dedicated role, supporting infantry at medium ranges instead: a good Battlefield V tanker is immensely effective, but not unstoppable, whereas in Battlefield 1, a good tanker could be unstoppable even if their entire function was decimating infantry and not impacting objectives.
- Battlefield V is at its best when all players focus on the objective: my main goal in Battlefield V is to contribute to my team in such a way that helps us to win a given match, and one of the things that I disagree with are players who believe their stats are more important than the team effort: I am okay with a lesser KDR if it means being on a capture point long enough to help teammates out. However, there are players who play in bizarre, confounding ways that defy logic, and during one game of Squad Conquest, I encountered one “HDWaffles” who did nothing but camp all match.
- A quick glance at this player shows that they have a high KDR at the expense of a low score-per-minute and poor win-to-loss ratio. These numbers typically indicate someone who cares more for their personal stats than about contributing to something bigger than themselves. I’ve noticed that when calling out players who do these sorts of things, I’m usually met with a flippant, defiant attitude: such players are only second to the cheaters in terms of annoyance.
- Indeed, cheaters were probably the biggest issue I had with Battlefield V, and I’ve heard that this problem is only really prevalent on the PC environment, so hopefully, those who prefer playing Battlefield V through a console will not have the same experience as I do, where I run into cheaters every five matches. When cheaters are absent, however, I have wonderful time, being able to work with my team, and will generally have fun regardless of whether I win or lose.
- In this match of Breakthrough, I ended up spawning into a Calliope in an attempt to clear the final control point for the win, but as memory serves, there was a cheater on the other team that made it near impossible to do this. Unlike unskilled players who resort to dirty tactics but otherwise play legitimately, cheaters usually do not even speak while on a server, and will ignore all attempts to communicate with them. The text chat filter system makes this even more infuriating, as it is not even possible to call them names. For a while, I found creative ways to insult the cheaters, but subsequent patches continue to restrict what can be said, to the point where it is no longer possible to even call someone “pond scum” without the filter kicking in.
- The recent update gave me access to tank body customisation at last: this feature had been marked “coming soon” since December 2018, and it was nice to finally have it functional. With this being said, the fact that support is now ending for Battlefield V means that there won’t be the addition of new cosmetics for the tanks, and that translates to the inability to run Girls und Panzer loadouts. I was particularly hoping for a wider range of tank skins and the like, so that I could do wild things as seen in Girls und Panzer‘s early episodes, when Ooarai’s students had gone overboard with customising their tanks’ appearances.
- Tap-firing in Battlefield V allows one to extend their weapon’s efficacy out to longer ranges: by firing only a small number of bullets and then stopping, one prevents the spread and recoil of their weapon from increasing from sustained fire. The end result are immensely satisfying kills: I managed to hit a camper on the silo in the middle of the screenshot here with the Type 11 LMG. I ended up specialising the Type 11 so it could use its unique reload mechanism: this weapon handles similarly to the Type 97, so I opted to mix things up with a different reload.
- At this point in time, I’ve finally fully upgraded my Churchill MK. VII so as to run the Darjeeling loadout, but where Battlefield V stopped, my hopes of rocking the Katyusha or Nonna loadout will no longer be realised. The lack of an Eastern Front means that the Soviet T-34 will not be available. One can surmise that players would have initially gotten a T-34/76 which would’ve been upgradable to a T-34/85. The T-34 would have likely been a medium tank, equivalent to the Valentine Mk. VIII and the Panzer IV. Then, a possible light tank would’ve been the T-70, and the IS-2 is a candidate for the heavy tank category, with the ISU-152 being a tank destroyer. As a reinforcement vehicle, the Soviets would then field the KV-2.
- Had each of the British, German, American and Soviet tanks been represented, Battlefield V would’ve been able to allow one a proper, Frostbite-powered Girls und Panzer experience, what Dream Tank Match should have been. However, with DICE pulling out there, Dream Tank Match will remain the superior choice for those looking to relive Girls und Panzer: this is a shame, since Battlefield V actually presents the most enjoyable tank-to-tank combat in any Battlefield game to date: armour engagements are fought entirely on skill alone, and destroying enemy tanks is incredibly satisfying with the sound of punctured metal one can hear.
- When I’m on foot, I have equal confidence in squaring off against tanks: the addition of the M1 Bazooka is a welcome one. Despite dealing the least direct damage per hit, the M1 Bazooka has the highest maximum projectile velocity and as a result, experiences the least drop of any launcher in Battlefield V, making it an excellent long-range option. Coupled with the highest carrying capacity, the M1 Bazooka is a strong weapon for engaging armour at range. While having a small splash damage, it can still one-hit infantry if one lands a direct hit, and here, I get a kill off someone who ran in front of my line-of-sight while I was attempting to engage a distant tank.
- My longest headshot in Battlefield V is nowhere near as long as it was in Battlefield 1, despite the latter having a more fickle random bullet deviation system: this comes from the fact that muzzle velocities are a bit lower in Battlefield V, and the fact that maps don’t seem to have as much open space as the did in Battlefield 1. In spite of landing extremely long-range headshots being rarer as a result of map and weapon design, the scout class is still immensely enjoyable to run for; I usually use the pistol carbines if I’m intending to play the objective, and will use the bolt-action rifles only when I there’s a need to counter-sniper, or have the itch to do some long-range sniping at the expense of helping my team out.
- I think this moment here, where I land a well-placed shot on the dome of a player standing underneath the large bridge of Twisted Steel, is most representative map in Battlefield V of the locales seen in World War Two’s European theatre: besides the beaches of Normandy, wide open plains broken up by bocage and the occasional village, are perhaps the most common portrayal of the European western theatre. These are noticeably absent in Battlefield V, and of the launch maps, I feel that Twisted Steel probably has the most authentic atmosphere in the game.
- I recall that, three years ago, I had been waiting for a flight to Narita on this day: I had spent the previous day finishing off with the packing, and then boarded the plane to what was one of my most memorable journeys of all time. This vacation in Japan brought me close to the locales of Yuru Camp△, and also experience a side of Japan that most visitors pass over if they just stay in Akihabara. Travelling through the Japanese countryside to enjoy wagyu beef, soaking in onsen and walking through the streets of older towns nestled in scenic mountains conferred the most authentic possible experience.
- Among the locations I visited include Lake Yamanaka, Shirakabako, Magome-juku and the Kinkakuji: every day consisted of travels to various attractions that were more out-of-the-way, creating a very peaceful experience. After the Japan leg of the vacation ended, I went to Hong Kong and remained there for another week before returning home. I’ll probably reminisce about this a little more in a future post, and back in Battlefield V, towards the end of the game’s life cycle, I became very familiar with armoured combat, enough to know when to engage and disengage smartly to last almost entire matches in a single tank.
- During one match, I ended up with a 24-streak (one kill short of Halo‘s “Untouchable”) and ended up with a victory. Normally, most players get wise to my panzerfahren antics and coordinate to end my streak, but during that particular match, the players on the other team were too wrapped up in political discussion in the text chat to be focused on playing. I thus went most of that match untouched, and it was only towards the end that one player finally had the presence of mind to go after my tank with a few minutes remaining left to the match.
- I generally don’t run into the same players often, but one “agustd594” stands out: this dedicated but highly unskilled player was defending HDWaffles’ camping as skill in an earlier match. I eventually ran out of patience that match and left, but not before killing both HDWaffles and agustd594 at least once. As it turns out, agustd594 is almost rank 200 in the game and has double the time I spent in Battlefield V, but in spite of this, still performs terribly in a given game: I ended up encountering agustd594 again and defeated him in every encounter, but this did little to diminish his ego. This is combined with an arrogant, sarcastic attitude, and unfortunately, players like agustd594 are common in the Battlefield V community, which probably has the worst user-base of any Battlefield game that I’ve played.
- Here, I take my revenge on a player who was using cheats: calling themselves “PINb0t—Y”, this player was a plague on the server and it was with satisfaction that the one moment his cheats proved inadequate will be permanently remembered. Between cheaters, and players who insist on the Fortnite-inspired belief that memes equates to skill, I feel that if this is the direction that Battlefield‘s community is headed in, there’s going to be less incentive to return to the franchise as a whole in the future. In the old days, players prided themselves on becoming skilful with their weapons and were honourable in tactics, but since the release of games like Fortnite, more players seem to believe that it is acceptable to use underhanded methods to win for the singular purpose of humiliating others, akin to Fortnite‘s dance animations, which players used to ensure others would remember them.
- Flying in Battlefield V was, on paper, supposed to be more enjoyable than that of Battlefield 1‘s, but owing to the way progression for aircraft worked, and how limited spotting was, piloting was something one needed to spend a great deal of time to improve in. Upgraded planes are far superior to their base versions, and once upgraded, can destroy basic planes with no effort. Of the planes in Battlefield V, the twin-engine bombers were the only ones I had success operating, and it was only towards the end of Battlefield V that I got the JU-88 A to level four.
- Being able to land headshots with naught but iron sights is an immensely satisfying feeling, and it’s one way to introduce a bit more of an authentic feeling into Battlefield V alongside increasing the skill ceiling: iron sights are trickier to use in general. Owing to the way the final Tides of War chapter played out, my road to unlocking Misaki (hence the post title, 美咲えの道, or, “The Path to Misaki”) was an unexpected surprise. I had entered the sixth chapter feeling that the prize for unlocking all the tiers might even be worth dropping some Battlefield currency towards, but week after week of tier skips helped me to reach the end to unlock Misaki. Once Misaki was unlocked, I promptly finished her assignment for the Okinawan machete. In retrospect, knowing where Battlefield V ended up, I am happy at having done so without dropping coin for these unlocks.
- There’s absolutely no tangible benefit to having an elite from a gameplay perspective, but having Misaki means being able to hear Japanese dialogue from anywhere in Battlefield V for the true Strike Witches experience. With Battlefield V‘s support very nearly done, one journey is over. For almost every week since Battlefield V‘s first Tides of War chapter began, I’ve spent an average of three hours a week in the game. The Tides of War weekly rewards and unlocks were a key factor in why I returned with a consistent frequency to the game. For the past seventeen months, my Thursday and Friday evenings were largely spent in Battlefield V. While fun, I prefer to experience a game at my own pacing – returning weekly did become something of a chore at times, and so, with the end of the Tides of War, my spare time during some evenings are returned to me.
- While unlocking Misaki was great, unlocking the sai was the main reason why I was interested in getting as far as possible in the Tides of War tier for Chapter Six. These Okinawan weapons were once farming implements for poking holes in the ground for agriculture and became a karate weapon: they’re typically used in pairs, and in Gojūryū, most of the techniques use the blunt end of the sai as a defense weapon for blocking blades. I’ve been training with sai for a decade, so being able to unlock the sai would mean being able to run with a weapon I’ve got some experience with in real-life.
- While their use in Battlefield V is offense-oriented, being able to stab through opponents as easily as a knife (whereas real sai are blunt), it was a great addition to see sai in the game, and I’m glad I was able to unlock them. With this Battlefield V post in the books, I think this is likely going to be the penultimate post on the game in the foreseeable future: I will be returning to Battlefield V one more time to write about the June update is available, if there is enough to write about, but in the meantime, it’s all eyes in Halo 2. As far as blogging for the upcoming portion of May goes, I am almost ready with the KonoSuba: Legend of Crimson movie talk, and there will be a post for Bofuri as well.
In spite of the disappointment, Battlefield V didn’t fail in all ways, and since I was able to explore various anime loadouts in Frostbite to a satisfactory extent, I don’t mind admitting that I did have fun despite the title’s numerous flaws. There is one more update slated for June, but for now, looking back, the game is the textbook definition of a mixed-bag, being diminished by poor decisions, performance issues, and a general lack of content, but was offset by highly refined core gameplay elements. Since the sixth chapter began, my experiences in Battlefield V vary greatly. At one end of the spectrum, the game is unplayable when cheaters roam servers, instantly scoring headshots with a pistol, or else manage to destroy tanks with a knife. On the other end, when the whole of a server’s players are honest and genuine, some of the best experiences can be had: I’ve seen teams mount comebacks comparable to those of older Battlefield games, escaping defeat by a margin of a few tickets because, and I’ve been on numerous impressive kill-streaks on my quest to support the team during a match. The remaining update for Battlefield V will be a swan-song of sorts, and I’ll be returning to see what this final update will be: it appears players will be getting a small map similar to Provence and Lofoten Islands, plus an unknown number of new weapons. The timing couldn’t be better: 343 Industries have remarked that Halo 2 is set for release on Tuesday, and with Halo 2 being the game that defined my entire shooter experience until the servers were shut down six years later, I admit that I am very excited to go back into a simpler realm of MLG Team Slayer on Lockout, where it is possible to drop in, play a few matches and then head off. With Halo 2 on the horizon, the time is appropriate for me to consider where I’m going to be headed in the future with respect to Battlefield, as well as the multiplayer shooter in general.