The Infinite Zenith

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The Division: Six-Piece Classified Striker’s Battlegear, One Million Damage Sniper, and the Bullfrog at The Endgame

“We won’t get that lucky. We never do.” –Faye Lau

The combination of returning Global Events and their attendant incentive to return to the legendary missions has afforded with me an opportunity to acquire both a complete set of Classified Striker’s Battlegear, as well as the Bullfrog. The weapon compliments the Classified set very well, and in conjunction with a Showstopper, I’ve found myself with an inclination to return to The Division, which has certainly proved to be an enduring game despite my usual preference of playing it solo. Global events and a bit of luck have been instrumental towards helping me complete the Classified Striker’s Battlegear set: specialised for dealing damage with automatic weapons and providing a measure of self-healing, the Striker set is counted as one of the most versatile and effective sets in The Division. In practise, it means melting enemies and having the capability to prolong one’s durability in firefights: at the endgame, The Division provides the gear for players to perform in ways previously not possible, and the variety in Classified Sets allow for enough gameplay diversity so that there is plenty to do at the endgame for folks who’ve not yet collected everything. Of course, with The Division 2 coming out and offering an entirely restructured way to play, I am curious to see how the sequel plays out.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Like the Nekopara Extra OVA post, this one’s a bit of a shorter one: I note that readers aren’t terribly interested in hearing how I’ve managed to more or less get all the best gear in The Division solo, so this time, I’ve kept the post and my bragging to be shorter. For a week back in July, The Division‘s Underground DLC was freely available to all players, so I took this opportunity to give it a go solo. The Underground consists of procedurally-generated missions similar to dungeon instances and there are several game types. On the whole, I found that The Division offered plenty to do even without the DLC, so I never ended up purchasing any of the expansions.

  • Back in late July, I was still running my LVOA-C, a fantastic assault rifle whose performance and accuracy make it one of the best general-purpose weapons in the game. As one advances in The Division, the extended magazines become the best weapon modifier available, offering upwards of 120 percent ammunition capacity to double one’s ability to deliver sustained damage.

  • To counteract this, The Division 2 will be balancing out attachments so that there will be pros and cons to equipping different setups: in particular, equipping extended magazines will come at the cost of reload speeds. This will force players to choose their attachments carefully, rather than lead everyone to gravitate towards the tremendously useful extended magazines.

  • Here, I play the first set of missions for the Underground and melt my way through the final named elite in the mission. While I felt that Underground might’ve been a DLC worth picking up, I eventually decided that considering how many other ways there were of acquiring gear in The Division, strictly speaking, it was not necessary to get DLCs for that purpose. This will preclude me from getting the DLC-exclusive Shield assignments done, but that’s fine.

  • By this point in time, my Striker Set allows me to be more effective against enemy Agents in the Dark Zone. During one manhunt, I managed to burn away a rogue Agent’s health down to around ten percent before they were finished off by other Agents. This is in spite of my gear being unoptimised and not yet fully calibrated to bring out the maximum performance from the Striker bonuses, as well as lacking dedicated PvP weapons; I am still heavily configured for PvE effectiveness, favouring armour destruction and headshot damage for the most part.

  • I vividly recall that, when the Madison Field Hospital mission came out in the Legendary difficulty, my group was devastated by the final fight with the First Wave Agents despite doing okay. Playing through my first Legendary mission with the six piece Striker set, I realised that I was much more fragile than before, and while the health regeneration bonus is useful, I will need to stack other talents and roll more stamina to fully capitalise on the build’s powers.

  • Besides the Striker’s Battlegear, I’ve also got a full Hunter’s Faith and Firecrest classified set, as well. With the Hunter’s Faith set, I am now able to hit for upwards of a million damage on each headshot using a bolt-action rifle without stacking any other skills on top. When a Global Event is on, damage bonuses continue to amplify the damage dealt: I have hit for up to three million damage per headshot during the Ambush event, during which bonus damage is given when one is standing still.

  • Ever since I got a Bullfrog in a very lucky drop while farming open world bosses for GE credits, I’ve found it to complement my playstyle. The Bullfrog is a FAMAS assault rifle with the “uncomplicated” talent, which deals bonus damage if no stability mods are added. The weapon is inherently unwieldy and has a high spread at longer ranges. My Bullfrog has destructive and responsive rolled, allowing me to deal bonus armour damage and also additional damage at closer ranges, which is the range I typically fight best at. The stability bonuses offered by the Striker gearset allows my weapon to become very effective at close range, replacing the House. To quickly build up stacks, I have a Showstopper AA-12 with accurate and predatory, which ensure that more pellets find their mark.

  • If there is a case where I need more range, I’ll swap over to my M700 Carbon. After learning that one of the First Wave Agents were running a healing station, players soon began to focus their fire on the medic first. Once the medic is down, this fight became considerably easier – during my first run, I ran very late and was forced to disengage to catch sleep ahead of the next day, but now that players are familiar with the mission, finishing Madison Field Hospital on Legendary was no different than the other missions. I will need to optimise my Striker build to improve survivability; at this point, I have too much electronics and not enough stamina.

  • Thus, after 170 hours in The Division, I have a build that seems to work very well for me. My remaining aspiration is to complete a Classified Path of the Nomad set and tune this for PvP; at this point in time, I’m only missing one piece in this set. I do not expect to write frequently about The Division from here on out: I am currently going through the game a second time with a new character with the goal of gaining an extra 120 slots for items. With this post in the books, I’m now well-positioned for a special post tomorrow. Doing these short posts also lead me to wonder if folks are okay with me writing more concise discussions.

In the meantime, leading up to The Division 2‘s launch, there have been more global events and in-game activities in The Division. The Shields have been especially interesting: players who complete certain assignments not only unlock rewards in The Division, but also will gain access to different tiers of rewards in The Division 2. These Shields have been quite fun to collect, although there are others that require a considerably greater degree of commitment and patience to acquire. Like Battlefield 1, The Division was launched with less content and progression, but over time, support for the game contributed to its continued replay value; in both cases, DICE and Ubisoft have managed to elevate the excitement for their upcoming titles by offering events in-game to encourage players to get more mileage out of them before their successors are launched, and the results of this is that I’ve been finding incentive to come back to both games and experience them anew. In the case of The Division, coming back means being able to collect the last of the exotic weapons I’ve been eyeing, and also finishing off my quest to collect a good Classified gearset. The replay value and longevity I’ve gotten out of The Division is very encouraging, and my interest in seeing what The Division 2 is about has increased: I will likely have a better idea of whether or not The Division 2 is my cup of tea following the open beta in early 2019, and this game might just be worth purchasing if it starts off strong and continues to improve further during its life-cycle.

Battlefield V: A Reflection on the Open Beta

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” —Winston Churchill

While Battlefield V may have been hampered by a sub-optimal marketing campaign, its biggest selling point lies within gameplay. The closed alpha was a fantastic opportunity to see how the new weapon mechanics and gameplay elements, such as attrition and squad play, functioned, although Battlefield V itself was evidently still in development at that stage; various bugs, such as being unable to spawn, falling through the map, being unable to change squads and performance issues were prevalent. As well, many features simply were not present in the build: the game’s progression and customisation system was a no-show in the alpha, for instance. By the time of the open beta two months later, Battlefield V has come a long way — the game handles very smoothly, and the stutter I experienced in the alpha, especially when being revived or spawning onto teammates, had been rectified. The classes have also undergone some changes, with the assault being assigned longer-range weapons for medium range, precise combat, and the medic class gaining access to submachine guns to fit their role as close-quarters support for squad members. Each class also gains a unique ability: assault players regenerate health faster, medic players can revive any teammate faster than squad members can revive squad mates, support players can build heavier fortifications, and recon players can run faster when damaged. The emphasis on unique class roles is carried over from Battlefield 1 — in conjunction with the fortifications and attrition elements, Battlefield V handles quite differently than its predecessors, forcing players to be even more mindful of their surroundings than in previous instalments of Battlefield. While these new elements seem quite daunting, they are woven into Battlefield V neatly, and ultimately, offer a new way to experience Battlefield, bringing tactical elements into the game and encouraging players to explore their environments in more detail than before.

At the end of the day, however, Battlefield V is a first person shooter, and as such, focus remains predominantly on the weapons and their handling. Battlefield 1 was frustrating with its random bullet deviation, which reduced the potency of skill in a firefight; players with sure aim and mastery of their weapon could still occasionally miss shots from this, and the time to kill was also quite lengthy. Battlefield V‘s closed alpha had a Battlefield 4-era TTK, allowing skilled players to drop enemies exceptionally quickly, and with some weapons lacking recoil and the insufficient damage indicators, meant firefights were somewhat frustrating if one did not get the drop on their opponents. By the open beta, it seems DICE has gone with a balance between the two extremes: TTKs are faster and more satisfying than those of Battlefield 1, but slower than the closed alpha’s allowing players to duck out and escape fire if they chose to. The open beta continues to show that Battlefield V is a game of methodical team play — my best games were experienced by moving together with my squad and picking my engagements. I had no trouble topping the scoreboards and maintaining a positive KD ratio when I played this way. By comparison, in games where I became impatient to try out a newly-unlocked gun, I was slaughtered. If Battlefield V intended its players to cooperate and master its mechanics over aggressively charging into a scenario and counting on no-scopes to win the day, it has certainly succeeded in doing so. While the open beta proved quite enjoyable, the insight it provides into Battlefield V‘s progression system leaves much to be desired. Battlefield 3 and 4 had a solid system, unlocking new weapons, gadgets, attachments and weapon camouflages. Different weapons, gadgets and attachments allow players to very precisely pick their play style, giving a sense of immersion. This disappeared in Battlefield 1, and while Battlefield V‘s progression system does incentivise players to advance their classes and weapons, the decision to split weapon customisation into cosmetic and functional aspects does not make sense. In particular, that weapons have a progression tree that continue to improve the weapon’s performance does not make sense: once one unlocks all of the upgrades, their weapon will be outright superior to the player who is using that weapon for the first time. By comparison, Battlefield 3 and 4 introduced the notion of side-grades, where every attachment offered a benefit in exchange for a disadvantage. A heavy barrel might improve weapon damage at range at the expense of hip-fire accuracy, and a compensator can help some unruly weapons with horizontal accuracy, but increase muzzle flash and make a player more visible. It meant tuning a weapon was an involved and fun task, and this is something that I miss from the earlier Battlefield titles. Similarly, with the archetypes still absent, one must wonder what roles they’ll play in the full game.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • It’s been a shade more than two years ago when the Battlefield 1 open beta ended, and I ended up with two separate posts detailing my experiences. At the time, I remarked that I would buy Battlefield 1 if it ended up with a solid launch, and two years later, with 195 hours spent in the game, I feel that the open beta proved to be a valuable contributor in helping me decide whether the game was for me or not. At present, the open beta for Battlefield V has concluded, and while there are many factors that need improvement, overall, my experience was a very solid one.

  • There are a total of forty screenshots in this post, and while it has been past tradition for me to open with me scoring a melee kill, the gunplay in Battlefield V is superb. When I spawned into my first match on Rotterdam, however, most of the combat was actually opposite to where I was, so I found myself exploring the map and trying to get to one of the capture points before dying to an assault player from around the corner. I subsequently hopped into a Panzer IV and shelled enemies trying to capture the train station.

  • The Panzer IV is likely in its Ausf. D form, and with its upgrade tree, I imagine that there should be no trouble in giving it the equipment needed to make it resemble the Ausf. F2 that Miho and her friends operate. Vehicle gameplay in Battlefield V is more skill-based than its previous counterparts: tank turrets are slower to rotate and have some inertia to them, meaning that one cannot simply look and immediately begin firing at enemies: the turret has to “catch up” to where one is looking before one’s shots begin landing.

  • Battlefield V‘s sniping mechanics are a return to the days of Battlefield 4 and 3, where center-mass shots were unable to kill in one shot at any range. Emphasis is returned to headshots, and sniper rifles again have different handling characteristics, whereas in Battlefield 1, bolt action rifles were largely differentiated by their sweet spot ranges and bullet speeds. The open beta starts recon players with the Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I, which has a ten-round capacity, a lower bullet velocity and a quicker firing rate compared to the Karabiner 98.

  • The medic class got the least use during my time in the open beta: I only reached rank two with the medic. While medics no longer carry a syringe gadget and thus, have a slot free for another gadget. I’m not sure if it was a bug or not, but I found myself resupplying teammates with the medic’s bandage pouches. This could simply be a UI error, although the absence of a dedicated syringe tool took some getting used to.

  • We’ve still yet to see all of the available weapons for Battlefield V, and I’m still hoping that the iconic MG42 will be available as an infantry-portable weapon for the support class. This would allow me to emulate the Karlsland Witch loadout: the weapon was infamous for its high firing rate and was nicknamed “Hitler’s Buzzsaw” for the distinct sound it made. On top of this, the weapon was incredibly reliable and had a quick-change barrel. With all of the sophisticated, detailed animations in Battlefield V, I would not be surprised if overheating an MG42 would result in the player manually replacing the barrel, which could be an innovative way to offset its high firing rate.

  • Having tried them with a greater frequency, I feel that reinforcements replace Battlefield 1‘s behemoths. This is quite welcome, since it means that players contributing to their team will have a chance to further assist with resupplies and powerful weaponry, but without needing to be on a losing team. The Sturmtiger was one of the reinforcements available to the German forces in the beta and the vehicle itself was originally intended for infantry support. I went on a short killstreak with it before getting over confident, driving it to point B and then watching as other players smashed the Sturmtiger with Panzerfausts after I got stuck.

  • Returning to Narvik, the dialed-back particle effects are noticeable, and the map looks a lot clearer now. Here, I take Darjeeling’s tank of choice, the Churchill Mk. VII, for a spin and blast enemies for a double kill. Because of turret inertia, limited ammunition and the presence of effective anti-tank weapons, tanks are no longer invincible monstrosities: I vividly recall Battlefield 1‘s FT-17 during the open beta, which was so overpowered that I went on a 21-streak with it. By comparison, the best kill-streak I’ve been on during this open beta was a more modest 9 with the Valentine Mk. III, and my Battlefield 1 record is a 13-streak.

  • Bolt-action rifles have taken a major reduction in effectiveness with center mass shots to the point where a body shot at range does around 55 damage (and 70 in close quarters). This is taking it a little far: raising their maximum damage to around 80-90, as per Battlefield 4 and having it trail out to 60 past 100 metres would make the rifles more powerful without decreasing the value of headshots. When headshots do connect with bolt-action rifles in Battlefield V, however, the results are incredibly satisfying.

  • It took me a little while to warm up to the progression system; weapons no longer need a currency to buy and unlock automatically once a class rank is reached. I immediately purchased the Gewehr 43 again and put the medium optics on it, as this configuration served me particularly well during the closed alpha. In fact, it was a little too effective, and for the beta, its vertical recoil was increased. Damage was also reduced slightly, but the weapon remains exceptionally effective.

  • A good set of optics on the Gewehr 43, and a healthy sense of caution means that with it, one can do very well at medium ranges. The trick is not to spam fire, and instead, place one’s shots more carefully. The skill ceiling for the Gewehr 43 makes the weapon a powerful all-around weapon, but during the beta, I saw many folks continue to run around with the StG 44, which has more recoil but otherwise remains superbly effective.

  • The support class was easily the weakest in Battlefield 1, but in Battlefield V, their machine guns gain the ability to penetrate soft cover like wood, and overall, the weapons are much more reliable at medium ranges. Playing support at close range is not viable like it was in Battlefield 3 and 4, where I ran around with the M249 and hip-fired like a madman, but with high accuracy at those medium ranges, one can consistently hit more distant targets than was possible with the LMGs from Battlefield 1.

  • My performance in Battlefield V has been consistently good from a KD perspective: in most Battlefield games, my lack of patience is the cause behind most of my deaths, and is only offset by the fact that I am very focused on objectives and team-oriented tasks, which earn enough points so that I can reach close to the top of the scoreboard despite a smaller number of kills. However, for Battlefield V, the attrition mechanics, and the advantages of a more cautious play-style means I adopt a defense-drive strategy, sticking around and fortifying a capture point until teammates arrive, and then capturing new points only with help.

  • The class-specific ranks return from Battlefield 1 and 3: in Battlefield V, class ranks unlock weapons, whereas in Battlefield 4, using a weapon class unlocked weapons. This system was a minor gripe I had with Battlefield 4, since it meant that weapon classes I rarely used, such as the marksman rifles, would be more difficult to unlock. By comparison, Battlefield 3 tied weapon unlocks with class usage, making it relatively simple to earn new weapons.

  • Ribbons in Battlefield V are still a bit of a mystery to me: while they must work similarly to how ribbons worked in previous Battlefield games, the criteria for unlocking them are not yet known. Here, I earn one ribbon for capturing points on Rotterdam, a map that is considered to be the Amiens of Battlefield V: an urban location with narrow streets, courtyards, a harbour and a rail bridge, it offers a bit of everything in terms of combat environments and each class is useful in its own right in different parts of the map.

  • After unlocking the Bren gun, I immediately gravitated towards it. Compared to the closed alpha, the Bren in the open beta has less recoil. While hitting for less damage per shot, its strength is accuracy, making it a solid weapon at medium ranges. Its main detriment is a lower firing rate, making it quite unsuitable for close quarters combat: during pinches where I encountered a medic or assault player up close, their Sten gun or StGs melted me after I got a few shots off.

  • Of course, against unsuspecting enemies at close range, the Bren is quite powerful, and inspection of my screenshots show that I am running with the AA sights. These unobtrusive sights make it much easier to aim the weapon at medium ranges, and a major benefit of a World War Two setting is that more weapon accessories can be used. There is a better selection of sights in the game that make it much easier to use many weapons; one of my weak points in Battlefield 1 was that I was ineffective with iron sights and so, I tend to avoid iron-sight weapons.

  • Bullet drop is much more noticeable in Battlefield V than it was in Battlefield 1: at ranges past 80 metres, one must begin compensating for gravity to land headshots on distant foes. Besides more pronounced bullet drop, the recon class of Battlefield V is also strongly affected by changes to the game mechanics. Spotting has been modified so that only the recon can spot enemies on the mini-map with their binoculars and flares. This increases their value in providing reconnaissance to their team. 3D-spotting is also absent, forcing players to visually recognise enemy soldiers.

  • Planes were left with a severe disadvantage with the changes in spotting, and while they’ve been given additional equipment to spot players on the ground for longer periods, other players have remarked that planes were much less effective. I had the chance to fly for a short period before going out of bounds and exploding for deserting: the planes handle more smoothly than they did in the alpha, but the small number of planes in the sky means dogfights are rare, and while I never tried for myself, strafing ground targets is also tricky. By comparison, tanks are very effective and enjoyable to use: here, I shell an enemy while trying to capture D point.

  • The FG-42 is a new addition to Battlefield V, being a high rounds-per-minute automatic rifle with a correspondingly high damage output and smaller magazine capacity. It is functionally similar to a battle rifle and in World War Two, was a limited production weapon intended for use by the Fallschirmjäger airborne infantry. Highly advanced for its time, the FG-42’s gas-operated mechanics influenced the systems used in the American M60.

  • German weapons of World War Two were among the most sophisticated in the world, and many of their elements made their way into modern weapon systems. The StG 44 is one of the most notable examples: the notion of firing intermediate cartridges in automatic combined the range of a rifle with the close-quarters efficacy of a submachine gun, and the StG 44 directly influenced the Avtomat Kalashnikova line of rifles, whose family and its derivatives have become the most widely-produced assault rifle in the world.

  • Without the blowing snow on Narvik, the map has a much cleaner feel to it and is reminiscent of some of Battlefield 1‘s In The Name of The Tsar maps. Volga River and Brusilov Keep were particularly enjoyable, and I became familiar enough with both maps to excel with all classes. This is my own metric for what makes a map fun: a well-designed map will allow all classes to be effective on it, featuring enough choke points, narrow corridors and open spaces so that players can choose their engagements and move in a more tactical manner to reach their destinations without a single class being dominant over others.

  • In both Battlefield V maps during the open beta, the only class I struggled with was the medic class and its submachine guns. Traditionally, I excel with these hip fire machines: PDWs were among my favourite weapons to run in Battlefield 3 and 4, and in Battlefield 1, submachine guns dominate my list of most-used weapons alongside the bolt-action rifles. For some reason, Battlefield V‘s submachine guns were not as effective in my hands, and this is probably because I became accustomed to playing at longer ranges.

  • We’re very nearly halfway into September by this point in time, and readers will have noted that I’ve got very few posts out. Besides a single post for Harukana Receive, and now, this post on Battlefield V, this blog’s been remarkably quiet. The reason for this is because circumstances in real life have led me to prioritise other things over blogging for the moment. For the first week of this month, I was in Winnipeg, Manitoba on work-related matters.

  • The work itself was quite challenging, but not from a technical perspective; every day left me exhausted. Even after I returned home, I’ve still been putting in non-standard hours and working on weekends in a bid to try and finish my assignment, and the end result of this is that I’ve been much more tired and dejected of late. Being of this mindset is certainly not conducive towards writing good blog posts, and I made an exception for Battlefield V‘s open beta because it was a welcome and enjoyable escape. While in Winnipeg, I was carrying my MacBook Pro; while a reliable and capable machine, it’s not capable of playing the shooters I typically partake in.

  • When things get challenging, I cope by breaking things down and taking everything one step at a time, as well as setting milestones to look forwards to. In Winnipeg, a good meal at the end of the day was that milestone. I am striving to conclude this project to the best of my ability and hope that there will be a bit of a breather before I return to my current work. Back in Battlefield V‘s open beta, towards the end, I figured out where weapon attachments could be added and so, put one of the sights on the StG 44. The result was a fun boost in performance that included a neat double kill here.

  • Having good sights is the difference between night and day, making it much easier to track targets. Of all the cosmetic changes, sights are the one that are worth looking into, since they directly affect one’s performance by helping improve visibility. Insofar, I’ve not seen anything to suggest that Battlefield V will have side grade style weapon attachments that positively impact performance in one area at the cost of another. The weapon tree gives weapons straight upgrades, which leaves players at a disadvantage.

  • Of course, with DICE pushing back the release date to November 20, there remains time to tune some concepts and features, so my final verdict on whether or not I’ll get the game will be made once I learn more about the final product. On the topic of release dates, Metro Exodus will be releasing in February 22, 2019, and DOOM: Eternal will be releasing somewhere in 2019. The Divison 2 will release on March 15, 2019, and there could be an open beta to try the game out come February 2019, as well.

  • Here, I wield the M1A1 carbine, which is a fast-firing semi-automatic rifle that deals less damage than the Gewehr 43 and is better suited for close quarters engagements than long range. It’s a bit of a fun weapon to use, and the high firing rate means it is more forgiving of missed shots in close range. In a few screenshots earlier, I fielded the ZH-29, a self-loading rifle that functions as a designated marksman rifle and can kill with two shots. This weapon is better suited for snipers who prefer a more aggressive role in capturing objectives and pushing alongside teammates, although it can hold its own in longer range engagements, as well.

  • The M1A1 is a variation of the M1 Carbine used by paratroopers and has a folding stock, and despite its designation, is unrelated to the famous M1 Garand. The M1 Garand is an iconic American service rifle widely used in World War Two, replacing the bolt-action M1903 in 1930 and used until the M14 was issued. With an eight-round clip, the weapon has a distinct pinging sound when the clip is ejected. Commonly portrayed in World War Two games, it would be quite surprising not to see this weapon in Battlefield V, and I am curious to see what DICE’s sound and animation engineers did for the weapon.

  • For me, the politics surrounding a video game do not have any influence on whether or not I will buy the game or enjoy it. While I consider myself moderately current with events around me, I feel that the various culture wars on the internet are not meritorious of consideration: life is much too short for one to be worried about taking sides in things that ultimately amount to nothing. The point of video games (and other forms of entertainment that often are scrutinised in culture wars) is to help folks relax, and so, I find that the worth of a game (and entertainment in general) is judged in how well it can help its audience relax and escape.

  • As a consequence, all of the debate surrounding the presence of female soldiers in Battlefield and unusual, steampunk-style customisations ends up being a waste of time. The merit of a game lies in how well it handles and whether or not it offers incentive to return. With this being said, I am of the mind that Battlefield V‘s marketing campaign was quite weak: Battlefield 1 managed to make me excited about the World War One setting, and a powerful campaign trailer ultimately helped make the decision to buy the game an easy one. Released on September 27, 2016, the trailer created a sense of respect and admiration for those who gave their lives in World War One.

  • The campaign trailer for Battlefield 1 was set to Really Slow Motion’s “Sun and Stars”, and with the end of September approaching, I am curious to see what kind of trailer Battlefield V has for its campaign. On the whole, Battlefield V‘s reveal trailer was the weakest, and newer trailers do create some excitement in the game for me. However, for most, first impressions matter, and DICE’s marketing team has struggled to recapture interest in the game following its disastrous reveal trailer.

  • Here, I call in the Allied equivalent of the Sturmtiger: this is the Churchill Crocodile, a heavy flame tank that featured a flamethrower in addition to its QF 75mm main gun. In Battlefield V, the flamethrower has a shorter range than the original tank’s 110m, and it is operated by a passenger. When I first called one in, it was moments away from the end of a losing game, and no one bothered to sit in the tank, but I managed to score some kills with it.

  • As far as major bugs go, Battlefield V still has an issue where the game may occasionally treat players as alive when they’re killed, and on one instance, I was unable to spawn back in, forcing me to quite and re-join the server. Beyond this, my experiences have been very smooth, and even on my computer, which is five-and-a-half years old now, the game still runs very well.

  • While sitting in the front gunner’s seat in a Tiger I tank, I somehow managed to blow up a light vehicle with the machine gun. While drivers are constrained by ammunition, secondary gunners have unlimited ammunition, making them powerful support for tank drivers: an observant secondary gunner can provide some covering fire for a driver while they are reloading or capturing a point.

  • Like the Battlefield 1 open beta, my best kill-streak was accomplished in the driver’s seat of a tank: it was the FT-17 in Battlefield 1, and in Battlefield V, it’s the Valentine Mk. VIII, an infantry tank that proved durable and reliable. The Mk VIII variant has a six-pounder, and in Battlefield V, it is quite manoeuvrable: I had no trouble in dispatching players who had flanked my tank with the aim of placing dynamite or AT mines, although the enemy team eventually brought Panzerfausts to the party, ending my streak at nine.

  • Towards the end of the game, I scored enough points to call in another Crocodile and single-handedly captured point B. I called in one V-1 rocket during one of my early matches to help clear a point on Rotterdam, but the close quarters environments and buildings make the V-1 (or the Allied counterpart, the JB-2) less effective than in the open spaces of Narvik. This brings my Battlefield V open beta post to a close: altogether, I spent around nine-and-a-half hours in the open beta and tried out many of the features. I did miss out on unlocking the M30 Drilling, a triple-barrel weapon with two shotgun barrels and one barrel for a rifle round. Overall, the beta was enjoyable, more so than Battlefield 1‘s, and if the launch is smooth, I may consider buying Battlefield V. For the near future, however, I will be returning my focus to anime, and the next post will be on Harukana Receive‘s penultimate episode this Friday.

While a step in the right direction, and being exciting for shaking up the way Battlefield plays, Battlefield V is still rough around the edges at present. The progression system is not as meaningful as it was in Battlefield 4 or 3, and some mechanics remain unimplemented even in this beta build (noticeably, the ability to drag downed teammates to a safer location before reviving them). It is unsurprising, then, that DICE has pushed back the release date for Battlefield V to November 20. This was a solid move on their part, as the extra time allows them to release a more polished, finished product over a broken one. From the open beta, there is much that needs to be improved on: besides a baffling progression system, the UI also needs improvement. Text is sometimes invisible, contrast is jarring in places, and the flash for earning an award or unlock is so bright that it can block out what I’m trying to shoot at. Time will tell whether or not Battlefield V will address these problems and put a rocky reveal beyond it: the gameplay itself is quite solid, and the World War Two setting has already provided many exciting possibilities for settings that could be explored. I’ve already spent many a match running the Miho Nishizumi and Darjeeling loadouts, as well as running around with Perrine’s Bren gun; it will be quite interesting to see what directions Battlefield V takes, and if the open beta was any indicator, the hit detection and performance does not seem to be an issue. Battlefield 4‘s launch was terrible, and it took a year for the game to stablise to the point where players deeply enjoyed it. If Battlefield V has a solid launch, with the ongoing release of content through the Tides of War, I imagine that there would be enough new content to enjoy that would make the price of admissions worthwhile, and that over time, I could acclimatise to the new progression system, even if it is not as sophisticated as the one I’ve come to enjoy in Battlefield 4 and 3. I’ve never been one to pre-order games, but as I did with Battlefield 1, my decision to pick up the game will be motivated largely by what I hear of its performance and gameplay post-launch — a Battlefield V that features solid gun-play and stable netcode will be one that I would be willing to shell out the full price for, as I am quite sure that I will get used to the new mechanics quite quickly and begin enjoying what is the closest we’ve ever had of a proper Strike Witches/Girls und Panzer game in the Frostbite Engine.

Battlefield V: Some remarks on authenticity and a personal wishlist following the closed alpha

“Every time someone tries to win a war before it starts, innocent people die. Every time.” –Steve Rogers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Battlefield V‘s first trailer was an ill-representation of the game, and a second trailer, showing paratroopers dropping into an icy village under an aurora, would better portray what Battlefield V was about: Battlefield is traditionally about battles and dynamic events at a large scale, so a trailer that focused on bombastic set-piece events naturally resulted in dissatisfaction. While the first trailer was a poor way to spark excitement about Battlefield V, online discussions immediately fixated on the presence of a female British soldier with a prosthetic arm, citing it as unrealistic and not being faithful to the aesthetic of the period, as well as the core of Battlefield itself. However, in their haste to mark Battlefield V as “unrealistic”, those of the opinion that Battlefield V should be “more realistic” are forgetting a key tenant of Battlefield – this series is known for providing an authentic military shooter experience, rather than a realistic one. The key difference is that something is authentic when it captures the sense of a time period or location, and realistic when it accurately reproduces a real-world occurrence. Since we can’t heal our wounds by standing beside a first aid kit, swim at full speed through frigid waters or magically continue reloading weapons at normal speed when struck in the arm, Battlefield can hardly be about realism. Instead, what Battlefield has excelled at is capturing the aesthetic of the conflicts the games depict, and since Battlefield began running in the Frostbite Engine, the visuals and environments are stunning. From uniforms, to vehicles, equipment and weapons, the team at DICE faithfully reproduces the appearance, details and sound for each piece of kit. These elements immerse players into their game, and is one of the key draws about Battlefield – a Battlefield title that can properly capture the era it is set in and features solid, skill-based and enjoyable gameplay is a winner in my books.

We’ve previously considered gameplay mechanics and aspects of a good progression system that would make Battlefield V enjoyable. With authenticity in mind, this post will also detail some of my wishlist of content that Battlefield V should feature, especially with regard to weapons and the different theatres of war that the game will cover. Battlefield V has dispensed with the premium model and will be releasing content chronologically, so after release, the first maps and campaign stories will be focused around the earlier stages of World War Two. Besides the Norwegian Campaign (April to June 1940) that featured during the closed alpha, promotional artwork also shows that the Battle of Rotterdam, tanks rolling through the French countryside and conflict in North Africa. It would appear that Battlefield V is going with a variety of lesser-known, but nonetheless important, battles of World War Two in its presentation thus far, similar to Battlefield 1. However, as Battlefield 1 also depicted some well-known battles, it stands to reason that Battlefield V should do the same. Moreover, because the African theatre is featured in addition to the European theatre, one could also reasonably expect that some conflicts in the Pacific and Asian theatres would also be present once more content is added: in particular, it would be interesting to see DICE’s take on Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the Liberation of Hong Kong and even island-hopping campaigns, both as part of the single-player and multiplayer. There is, simply put, a great deal of content and battles Battlefield V could cover: my personal interest lies largely with the Pacific Theatre, and with the Frostbite Engine, this could bring modern visuals and mechanics into a theatre not explored since the days of Call of Duty: World at War (2008) and Medal of Honour: Rising Sun (2003).

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This post features the last set of screenshots from my time in the Battlefield V closed alpha, which ended a shade more than a month ago. My feats in this post are not as impressive as those of the earlier post, but are nonetheless fun moments that I had while going through the closed alpha. This late in the game, I finally got the hang of the Bren Gun and was stepping on anyone who dared to step onto my capture points.

  • In one match, I spawned in as a squad leader and was doing so well, I had accumulated enough points to call in a V-1 strike. I targetted the town, where I knew friendly players were trying to defend the capture point, and moments later, the missile flew in. I had originally intended to watch the V-1 impact and detonate – the explosion is spectacular. However, while waiting, I had become unmindful of my surroundings, and another player ended up killing me while the missile hit. I got a double kill out of it, but the moment was not particularly worthy of a screenshot, so here we are, with me immediately after calling in the strike.

  • I’ve not placed too much focus on the following topic because it is trivial for me, but a great deal of vitriol was directed towards the inclusion of a female British soldier sporting a prosthetic arm in the first reveal trailer. Critics argued that this was indicative of an industry kowtowing to factions who feel that political correctness must be integrated into all games as a concession to inclusivity and diversity. This fear stems from an online culture war on journalism and gaming four years ago, and there is a concern that as a consequence, games (especially shooters) would prioritise dubious messages, political correctness, forced diversity and banal narratives over gameplay and immersion.

  • A world where such games dominate the market would look as follows: the only “games” that would exist would be written in the Twine Engine and feature next to nothing in gameplay, or else be shoddily thrown together by people with only the faintest understanding of how game engines work. The end result is non-existent gameplay, where individuals are forced to navigate a labyrinthine set of HTML cards featuring no plausible options while listening to repetitive piano music, or else deal with a frustratingly inconsistent grid-based combat system that shows the game was developed with a political message, rather than enjoyment, in mind. If games like these were the only ones on the market, gaming as a whole would collapse.

  • Fortunately, this has not occurred. There is a vast selection of enjoyable games being made, and so as long as gameplay and immersion remain at the forefront of development, one could not so readily say that culture wars have diminished gaming, and the individuals using these culture wars to get their foot in the door have certainly not succeeded, nor can they consider themselves as game developers: the Twine Engine is so informal that individuals wanting to do so can put a set of hyper-card style presentations together, add some music and pass that off as a game without ever understanding classes, inheritance, polymorphism, and the other things that proper developers need to learn.

  • The short of things is that political correctness has not negatively impacted games to any real capacity, so people should 1) stop trying to continue to push this and 2) stop trying to claim that it has. Battlefield V looks quite promising, and I’m more interested in seeing what other weapons there will be in the game: besides the host of LMGs and MMGs that Witches run with, the increased presence of semi-automatic rifles will be interesting, and the era means that there will be a much greater range of weapon modifications and attachments to hopefully choose from. While the closed alpha did not show weapon customisation, I am hoping that Battlefield 3 and 4‘s system makes a return.

  • Besides weapons and vehicles, the biggest thing on my mind is which theatres of war Battlefield V will choose to depict. The game is set to release the different periods chronologically, so it makes sense if the different content updates were all based on period events. If this is true, then what we’re likely to see in October is the Fall of Europe, where the Axis powers swept across the continent and pushed the Allied forces to the brink in 1940. The Dunkirk Evacuation happened at this point in time, although the British also managed to repel the Luftwaffe’s in the Battle of Britain, slowing Hitler’s plans for a land invasion.

  • In 1941, Hitler began Operation Barbarossa with the intent of invading and defeating Russia, and in December, Japan bombed Pearl Harbour, prompting America to enter the war. If Battlefield V depicts the attack on Pearl Harbour, it would mark a first since Pearl Harbour was visited in 2003’s Medal of Honour: Pacific Assault. This is unlikely, since there was no infantry combat during the attack. Instead, the fall of Hong Kong could be shown if DICE is going for lesser-known battles – on the same morning of the attack on Pearl Harbour, Japan also invaded Hong Kong, and in a battle lasting 17 days, Allied forces were defeated.

  • The second update would probably include battles from Operation Barbarossa and conflicts in the Pacific with the Japanese offensives, so besides Hong Kong, the Invasion of Thailand, Wake Island and the Philippines Campaign could be a major part of things. Should DICE go in this direction, it would take a contemporary shooter somewhere that had not been explored for some fifteen years, and would certainly make Battlefield V stand apart. I’ve heard that the upgrades will add campaign missions in addition to multiplayer content, which is exciting.

  • 1942 saw fierce battles in North Africa, where British General Montgomery routed the German-Italian forces at the Battle of El Alamein, and the Russians began beating back German forces at Stalingrad. In 1943, Mussolini’s Italy collapsed, so I imagine that the third major update will involve Africa and Italian campaigns. I was initially not a big fan of desert maps in Battlefield 1, but having spent more time becoming familiar with the game mechanics, I now perform reasonably consistently across all maps, so desert maps no longer bother me.

  • As we enter 1944, the Allies prepared for the full-scale invasion of Europe. This is where players might see the Normandy landings of D-Day in the full glory of the Frostbite Engine. Besides D-Day, Paris is also liberated in 1944, and the Battle of the Bulge occurred, as well. Because armour combat became much more widespread in World War Two, it would be interesting to feature a game mode where players could spawn into tanks and slug it out in a map. Battlefield 3 featured tank superiority, which heavily emphasised armoured combat: this game mode could be modified to work in Battlefield V, and would represent the closest players come to playing Dream Tank Match, albeit a superior version running in the Frostbite Engine.

  • The final stages of World War Two involved the Allied forces crossing the Rhine River, the Battle of Berlin and campaigns in the Pacific to capture Japanese islands ahead of the proposed land invasion, including Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Just looking through World War Two, there is simply so much content that could be featured in Battlefield V, and the continuous service model, as well as the removal of premium means that there is no limit to what Battlefield V could do. My expectation is that Battlefield V will cover World War Two very broadly and depict some lesser-known battles in more detail in addition to major campaigns, similarly to how Battlefield 1 depicted World War One.

  • Operations and Conquest were the best modes of Battlefield 1 – I expect that Grand Operations and Conquest will be the most enjoyable modes in Battlefield V, as well. Having spent nearly two hundred hours in Battlefield 1 since I bought the game, I play conquest nearly exclusively, with some domination, operations and team death-match in between. War pigeons and rush never really worked for me. If Battlefield V had grand operations, shock operations, conquest, domination, team death-match, armoured warfare and gun master as game modes, a total of seven, this would be more than enough to keep me happy.

  • I have a particular fondness for gun master because it forces players to really understand the weapons they’re using, and ultimately, tested their skills by pushing them to get kills with difficult-to-use weapons in order to win the game. It gives players a chance to try out weapons and setups that they normally might not run with, as well. I imagine that Battlefield 1 dispensed with this mode because of a relative lack of weapons to make the mode viable.

  • Battlefield 1 had a plethora of melee weapons grouped into categories with different properties. Through normal play, one could unlock melee weapons from each category, and more illustrious weapons needed to be unlocked through assignments or accumulating puzzle pieces. This approach is one aspect of Battlefield 1 that worked: one could get everything they needed to be effective just by playing the game, and then anyone who wanted more could work on assignments to unlock new melee weapons that, while aesthetically different, were functionally equivalent. Finally, some weapons could only be unlocked with puzzle pieces. If Battlefield V works in a similar manner, with unlockable and pay-only melee weapons, this would be fantastic with me.

  • I’ve mentioned frequently that game mechanics, particularly gunplay and hit detection reliability, will be key factors in deciding whether or not I buy Battlefield V. Here, I add that how microtransactions will be handled is also important: I ended up completely skipping over Battlefront II because progression was slow to the point of requiring payment in order to advance, and the lootbox debacle showed a game that did not let players invest time into it. If Battlefield V can create a proper progression system where exotic costumes, helmets, weapon skins and melee weapons can be purchased specifically without random chance, and these items do not affect gameplay, then it would show that a full-fledged game can also use and encourage microtransactions without impacting the core game.

  • This is why I will not pre-order Battlefield V, and instead, will stick to the same approach that I did for Battlefield 1 – if the game proves itself worthy after launch, then I will buy it. I’ve heard that DICE is also working on their own Battle Royale game. The idea of a Frostbite-powered Battle Royale could be interesting, since the engine is already highly sophisticated and suited for large-scale battles. With smooth performance, re-adjusted weapon balance and properly designed maps, a World War Two Battle Royale game in Frostbite could set itself apart from existing Battle Royale games and offer players something new.

  • With this being said, I personally have no interest in Battle Royale whatsoever: I’ve previously outlined in Sword Art Online Alternative that I am an impatient gamer, prefering to jump right back into the gameplay after dying. I have no qualms with DICE exploring this direction, but only if the development of a Battle Royale comes not at the detriment of the core Battlefield V experience.

  • It is likely that Battlefield V‘s open beta will become available on September 4, a month from now, given the timing of the Road to Battlefield V events. At present, the third and final part of Road to Battlefield V is running: they’ve reduced the unlock score for the weekly rewards, and with twenty thousand points for each stage, rather than thirty thousand, completing the assignments has taken around half an hour less altogether. I’m hoping that a different map will be featured for the open beta, and that there will be a bit of time to sit down and give it a go.

  • With this, I’ve exhausted my collection of Battlefield V closed alpha screenshots, so if I do decide to write about Battlefield, I will be returning to write about Battlefield 1. A few days ago, DICE released their summer update for Battlefield 1 which brought in some new UI changes, a bolt-action mode for the M1903 Experimental and an update to the minimap that shows the radius of allied spot flares. Battlefield 1 has had a solid run, and even with the naysayers saying it was a dead game a year ago, I’ve not had too much trouble finding servers to get into. Whether or not I’ll do a swan song post for Battlefield 1 will largely depend on my schedule, but for now, there is going to be one more post lined up, dealing with the Violet Evergarden OVA, which released a month ago.

Of course, these are merely my thoughts on what Battlefield V could include: while the marketing campaign was a failure in capturing hype on the game, the closed alpha helped salvage some interest, and the new update models mean that as Battlefield V progresses through its life cycle, there could be some exciting developments that await players. With this being said, there is still the matter of the open beta that will provide players with a better idea of what Battlefield V will be like overall, and my own decision to buy the game will largely be based on how well things handle in the open beta, as well as any new developments (e.g. trailers, concept art, announcements, etc) that are released as the launch date comes. It’s not in my nature to make a call purely based on prevailing sentiment in the community – a bad marketing campaign might dissuade interest in the game, but at the end of the day, what matters most in a game is simply the fun factor and immersion. A game with good mechanics and good authenticity will satisfy both criterion, while games lacking these aspects are less likely to excite me, and controversy usually does not influence my decisions in buying things unless it is directly related to gameplay. So far, those with the opinion that political agendas have permeated modern gaming have yet to be proven correct: until the day comes where games are written exclusively in the Twine Engine and force players to type their emotions while they play the game, I contend that gaming is in a fine state, and in the case of Battlefield V, I would certainly pick the game up if the open beta and subsequent promotional materials impress where the first reveal trailer did not.

Yoshika Miyafuji and the Frostbite Engine, or, Strike Witches: Road to Berlin and The Road to Battlefield V

“Hikari Karibuchi was able to take out a Neuroi Hive in the Arctic cold! With a Liberator pistol!”
“Well, I’m sorry. I’m not Hikari Karibuchi.”

—Obadiah Stane and a scientist on miniaturising the Arc Reactor, Iron Man

Earlier this week, it was announced that Strike Witches would return the story to Yoshika Miyafuji and the 501ˢᵗ Joint Fighter Wing. In a thrilling trailer, Yoshika and her fellow Witches deploy from the bomb bays of a B-17 Flying Fortress into the countryside below. They are immediately surrounded by a Neuroi swarm vastly outnumbering the swarms seen in the movie, beginning a fierce engagement. The trailer closes with a distraught Yoshika resolving to protect everyone. Set for release in 2020, this marks the triumphant return of the 501ˢᵗ, after Brave Witches followed Hikari Karibuchi’s time in St. Petersburg: it’s the first time we’ve seen Yoshika and her friends take to the skies since the Operation Victory Arrow OVAs, marking a welcome return to the familiar Witches that really kicked things off. With the likes of Strike Witches The Movie and Operation Victory Arrow setting the precedent for what Strike Witches can potentially cover, expectations are high: while Strike Witches‘ first two seasons were best known for their weekly enemies and flimsy excuses to stare at pantsu (which is unsurprisingly and, should remain, illegal in all jurisdictions outside the realm of fiction), The Movie began developing a deeper narrative about what being a Witch meant, and Operation Victory Arrow explored different aspects of new technology, the strength of resolve when one is fighting for their homeland and how trust is lost and gained. These substantial changes in Strike Witches gave the series a new meaning and the possibility to explore a world that had been surprisingly well-developed and detailed, for a series that was once meant to provide gratuitous pantsu moments. Thus, when Brave Witches came and continued to hone this pattern, crafting a meaningful and engaging story with new characters, it became clear that the world of Strike Witches definitely could stand on its own and explore a wide range of interesting themes. As a result, when we turn the story back to the 501ˢᵗ, expectations are high for this group of Witches to impress and make the most of their world to create a compelling narrative.

Although the date seems quite far off, being 2020, there are a few factors that make this timeline much more palatable. For one, this new Strike Witches series, titled Strike Witches: Road to Berlin, is going to be a televised broadcast, which corresponds with a concrete timeline of when audiences will be able to watch this; Girls und Panzer: Das Finale has no known timeline, and so, could conclude in 2023 at the current rate of progression. The Witches’ deployment from a B-17 Flying Fortress also seems to resemble the Narvik Grand Operations opening cinematic, where British Paratroopers make a jump onto the battlefield. Readers wondering why this post has all of the metadata tags and title of a Battlefield V post have their question answered here: Battlefield V returns players to the World War Two setting, and Strike Witches is set in an alternate-history version of World War Two. Alluded to in my previous post, the shared setting means that players who also happen to enjoy Strike Witches will finally be able to run with some of their favourite Strike Witches loadouts in the Frostbite Engine. Moreover, with a powerful new customisation system projected for Battlefield V, I imagine that players could fine-tune weapons, and even cosmetic features, so that they can more closely resemble their favourite Witch should they be inclined to make a purchase for those items. This aspect of Battlefield V has drawn a considerable amount of flak and will be the subject of a discussion for another day; at present, I am content to simply run with the same weapons and setup as the Witches of Strike Witches, and believe that it will be necessary to learn more about the customisation system before attempting to run around as Lynette Bishop, Gertrude Barkhorn, Georgette Lemare or Nikka Katajainen.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • In this post, I will be mixing talk of Battlefield V with talk about Strike Witches: my story with Strike Witches dates back some seven and a half years, when I picked up the first season out of curiosity. Those I knew recommended against watching the anime on reputation alone, but once I got into Strike Witches, I found a simple and modestly entertaining series during its first season. The second season was more or less a carbon copy of the first, merely being set in a different setting and also began exploring the limits of magic.

  • Here, I give the German MP-40 a go: an open-bolt, blowback-operated submachine gun firing 9×19 mm Parabellum rounds at 500-550 RPM, giving the medic class a viable close-quarters weapon. Battlefield 1‘s medics were largely relegated to medium range combat, and only had the Federov Avtomat as a closer range weapon. This is contrary to the medic’s role of being in closer ranges to heal and revive teammates. One interesting tidbit about the MP-40 is that Battlefield V‘s soldier is holding it correctly: holding the magazine itself could move the magazine out of position, causing the weapon to stop firing.

  • With a selection of submachine guns and semi-automatic rifles available to the medic, this class will become much more versatile and useful now. I believe in Strike Witches: The Movie, Erica Hartmann also holds her MP-40 in the correct manner, gripping the weapon closer to the magazine housing. While typically rolling with the MG42, as Gertrude and Minna does, she switches over to the MP-40 after her MG42’s barrel overheats mid-combat.

  • Running with a proper Karlsland Witch loadout in the finished Battlefield V will largely depend on how the game treats the MG42: this general purpose machine gun could be configured as either an LMG or medium machine guns. Since Battlefield V chooses to balance MMGs by making soldiers unable to aim down sights unless they have their bipods deployed, I did not utilise the MG34 to any real extent during the closed alpha, and a MMG configured MG42 would force players to adopt a more defensive style. Conversely, an LMG-configured MG42 would allow for players to play as aggressively as do the Karlsland Witches.

  • By comparison, bolt-action rifles are much rarer in Strike Witches: the anime allows the Witches to carry heavy arsenals without effort on virtue of their magic, so they can carry heavier weapons into combat, including the Type 99 cannon and Boys Anti-Tank Rifle. Running an authentic Lynette Bishop loadout, then, is impossible, since the mechanics of Battlefield V are such that heavier weapons would necessarily be mounted. However, this isn’t going to stop anyone from being effective with the bolt-action rifles and semi-automatic rifles: I managed to land consecutive kills here with the Karabiner 98k while defending a point.

  • While my performance at the start of the closed alpha was quite poor, once I became accustomed to moving around more slowly, with squad-mates, and chose to play a more defensive game, things turned around dramatically, to the point where KD ratios exceeding 1.5 became the norm. Battlefield V has gone the extra mile to encourage a more tactical play-style: by deliberately limiting players’ ammunition capacity, this prevents camping, while the shorter time to kill encourages a more defensive play-style that is far removed from the aggressive swarming tactics that worked so well in Battlefield 1.

  • The end result is that a shorter time to kill and reduced ammunition capacity forces players to move strategically, picking the best times to press forward and attack, or else defend a position. Things are much more skill driven, and this will hopefully result in much more consistency in one’s experience: it only took me around five hours to get comfortable with Battlefield V‘s approach, whereas with Battlefield 1, I am forced to accommodate for random factors that impact my gunplay.

  • Even though the sweet spot is completely removed from Battlefield V, I nonetheless found sniping to be superbly enjoyable: close to the alpha’s end, I was nailing back-to-back kills one enemies. By this point in time in Battlefield 1, I’ve largely stopped playing within my rifles’ sweet spots when running as a scout: the Enfield Silenced is a superior all-around weapon and aiming for the head will ensure a one-hit kill regardless of the sweet spot.

  • I speculate that Road to Berlin will likely deal with the Human-Neuroi War’s later stages: in World War Two, the Allied forces’ assault on Berlin marked the closing stages of the war, and in Strike Witches, we’ve seen the equivalent of The Battle of Britain in the first season, and the Liberation of France during the second season. With Nazi Germany being the final part of the war, it stands to reason that Road to Berlin will see some of the fiercest fighting seen in Strike Witches to date. The trailer certainly seems to suggest this: the sheer number of Neuroi on screen far surpasses anything seen previously, even in The Movie.

  • While the closed alpha saw players running around in the frozen hills of Narvik, Battlefield V has also showcased concept art of other locations, including Northern France, Rotterdam, Arnhem (so, players will get to recreate the Battle of Arnhem in the Frostbite Engine and play as Perrine), and North Africa (fans of the 31ˢᵗ Joint Fighter Squadron Afrika will rejoice). This is particularly exciting, and in some of the more open maps, such as amidst the rolling hills and sleepy villages of France, it might be possible for some heavy armoured combat to take place.

  • Bringing the sort of tank combat that ought to have been seen in World of Tanks and Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match will be one of the other things I’m looking forwards to seeing in Battlefield V: even if the scale of the tank battles are smaller, the fact is that the Frostbite Engine is incredibly sophisticated and in previous iterations of Battlefield, tank combat has been quite satisfying.

  • The new mechanics of tank combat in Battlefield V forces tankers to play more strategically: much like how infantry carry less ammunition, tanks now have a finite pool of shells for their main cannon and secondary machine guns.  Reloading is a slow and nerve-wracking process, leaving tankers exposed to enemy action. As such, it is no longer viable to shell buildings to the ground, or camp in some remote corner of the map and pick off distant foes. One must make every shot count, but when rounds connect, they are devastating.

  • Going purely from my impressions of armoured warfare in the closed alpha and how tanks are quite fragile against Panzerfaust rounds, the Daigensui-ryu is utterly worthless in Battlefield V: charging into an urban area without any infantry support will doom any tank, even the mighty Tiger I. This individual’s infamy has passed into the realm of obscurity now: five years previously, they’d been reviled for starting a brutal flame war arguing that Black Forest’s practices in Girls und Panzer were a proper display of the school’s skill, and Shiho’s preparedness to disown Miho was justified.

  • With the revelation that Shiho cares very much for her daughters despite her outward appearances, it is quite clear that the old flame wars amounted to little more than a waste of time. Supplementary materials further show that Shiho is a good parent, but struggles to make her feelings known. So, she hides her doubts behind a veneer of toughness. I watched the flame war from the sidelines at the time, since I was entangled in trying to finish my honours thesis program at the time, and looking back, I believe that Shiho’s inability to make her feelings clear could give the impression that she’s cold and unyielding.

  • While I may espouse that Battlefield V is Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match as it should have been, featuring much more dynamic and skill-driven gameplay, a part of me wishes that they would port Dream Tank Match over to the PC. However, I imagine that Dream Tank Match will release for PC the same way Half-Life 3 will release for PC, so having DICE bring new stories of World War Two into life in their engine is more than a satisfactory substitution: it’s like losing a dime and finding a dollar. I’m glad that Battlefield V will be exploring some of the lesser-known battles of the Second World War, and in a later post, I will be dropping by with the last batch of closed alpha screenshots and my own wishlist of what I hope Battlefield V will have in terms of content.

  • The Bren gun in the closed alpha was a mixed bag: initially, I struggled to perform with the Bren because of its low rate of fire and longer time to ADS. This meant I was losing firefights frequently, trying to use the gun in a way that it was not meant to be used. However, once I got the hang of it, I began playing more defensively, hanging back and picking off enemies at range while providing suppressive fire for allies, and the Bren became a powerhouse weapon that I went on several killstreaks with.

  • The Bren is yet another weapon that illustrates that with enough time, one could get used to a weapon and its mechanics to get more out of it: by the end of the closed alpha, I was tearing apart enemies with the weapon between the Bravo and Delta capture points in conquest, using my ammo pouches to help teammates resupply, and building up fortifications to provide our positions with more cover. While the fortification system is useful and fun, one of the things I did not see in the closed alpha was the ability to build a snowman for bonus morale points.

  • The Bren’s slower firing rate and unwieldy iron sights might make it a bit of a challenge to use at extreme close quarters, but at some ranges, it is possible to hipfire the weapon and score kills with it. In order to run with Perrine’s Arnhelm Bridge loadout, I would also need to have a PIAT handy. Because of the class system, it may or may not be possible to pull this off, since the PIAT is an anti-tank weapon and likely to be made available to the anti-vehicular archetype for the assault class. American-made Bazookas might also be available as a viable anti-vehicle weapon, and looking through inventories of World War Two-era anti-tank weapons, the list is extensive.

  • This post was largely written about Strike Witches: Road to Berlin, and before I wrap up, I’ll explain where the page quote is sourced from – I’ve been doing some catch-up with some of the MCU movies that I did not watch previously, by beginning with 2007’s Iron Man. During one point in the movie, while tasking his scientists to replicate the Arc Reactor, Obadiah Stane yells at the lead scientist at their lack of progress. The page quote, then, is a modified variant of the quote: I was most impressed with how Brave Witches handled their Neuroi Hive fight, being a true example of teamwork and resourcefulness. As a result, Yoshika and her fellow Witches have a rather tall order ahead of them – they must put on an equally good showing without resorting to the ridiculous antics that were seen at the end of seasons one and two when the 501ˢᵗ took out their hives.

  • The ribbon system was very inconsistent in the closed alpha, and I imagine that ribbon criteria will likely be tuned before the final release. Here, I earn one for resupplying team mates, and with this final screenshot, my part-Strike Witches-part-Battlefield V closed alpha talk comes to a close. I’m sure that readers might be disappointed to learn that this post has no screenshots of Road to Berlin, but I do have a stockpile of Battlefield V closed alpha screenshots to make use of, and a post talking about Strike Witches with five screenshots would not be too exciting, either. Upcoming posts are less likely to disappoint readers – I am going to write about the second Yuru Camp△ OVA very soon, having recently watched it, and there’s also Harukana Receive‘s second episode to look at, as well.

The Battlefield V closed alpha provided a fine opportunity to run around with some of the weapons that will feature in Battlefield V; the time to kill at present is very low, and with semi-automatic weapons having next to no spread, their laser-like precision at range creates an interesting challenge in which semi-automatic weapons become sufficiently powerful to dominate gameplay. The Gewehr 43 and StG 44 in semi-automatic mode are so versatile that they may render the other weapons obsolete if not properly balanced. Fortunately, there is a solution: adding increased recoil to semi-automatic weapons forces players to learn their pattern without requiring changing spread and damage mechanics. Skill-based shooters are largely built around recoil control, so if Battlefield V can stick with modifying recoil patterns and modifiers, as well as reload times, for different weapons without affecting damage, then each weapon will have a consistent behaviour that one can learn over time. Mastering these patterns confer improved experiences over time and also provides an incentive to better oneself: there is a sense of accomplishment when games reward players for taking the time to learn their mechanics. Players who invest the time in learning their weapons and archetypes will help their team substantially and may also bring about more Only in Battlefield™ moments that make the best titles of the series so captivating to play. Similarly, in Strike Witches, Yoshika started out as a bit of a joke, but her persistence and determination to do right in the name of her friends and duty led her to become a hero of sorts. With at least a year-and-a-half between the present and Strike Witches: Road to Berlin‘s release, I imagine that there will be a sufficient amount of time to go into Battlefield V and unlock all of the necessary weapons and equipment needed to run with the same, or at least, a very similar loadout as their favourite Witch.