The latest DICE dev post on Battlefield 4 focuses on the latest iteration of Battlelog, the virtual scribe that extensively tracks your soldiering career. The big news of this revision is the addition of an in-game overlay, allowing players to access important features - like the game's menu - from inside the game. You wouldn't think it'd be possible to announce that as an upcoming improvement, but then, Battlefield 3 was a weird experiment in having part of your game actually be a website.
Expect to see lots more of Battlelog in the coming years. EA have bought ESN the company who built Battlefield 3's browser based stat tracking/social network/game launcher site. Gamasutra highlight a statement from the company suggesting that they'll be hunkering down with DICE for a while to "focus all of its energy on DICE, Battlelog and the Battlefield series."
The internet detectives over at MP1st have spotted changes to Battlefield 3's Battlelog service that suggest that e-sports matches and spectator modes are on their way. Proper match viewing features could be a big deal for Battlefield 3, as they'd make the game's best moments accessible to commentators, and therefore the wider e-sports audience. There are so many different mechanics in play in a given match that you'd think it'd make for ideal viewing.
We’ve been talking to DICE executive producer Patrick Bach about Battlelog - Battlefield 3’s answer to server browsers. It lets players recruit friends into your squad and specify a server to play on, all from the comfort of a browser window. Once everything is in order, Battlefield 3 loads up you session and waits politely to be clicked.
We asked why DICE opted for the feature (which Graham described as a " bit mad") when talking to him a few hours ago: “We look at players when they’re playing a game. Then we try to take that behaviour and turn it into our next iteration.” he told us.
“We could see people were starting the game, loading the map,” says Patrick. Then they would start reading a paper or they look at their watch: they don’t want to be [in-game] during that, they just want the match, and their pre-match activities.”
A helicopter just buzzed over my head, thirty feet above the ground. It was moving quickly, skirting around a hill, firing its main gun at an enemy I couldn’t see. I stopped running and just stared at it.
I do this a lot. Battlefield 3’s multiplayer makes me want to place a deckchair in the desert and watch the chaos happening all around. On its best maps – like the 64-player Caspian Border – every pixel on screen flickers with battle. I’ll climb to a rooftop and just freeze. In the distance, smoke stacks rise from a burning forest. In the air above me, jets twirl, chased by artillery. On the ground below, a tank has smashed through the lower floors of the building. I’ll spot a glimmer from a hillside 300 metres away, and it’ll be a sniper readying to kill me.
In the wake of the announcement of the Call of Duty Elite subscription fee over the weekend, many wondered if EA's similar Battlelog service for Battlefield 3 would follow a similar pattern, offering matchmaking, friends lists and voice over IP features for free, with a layer of premium extras for paying customers. EA have told Industry Gamers that, as far as Battlefield 3 is concerned, Battlelog will be entirely free.
DICE's online stat tracking and matchmaking website, Battlelog will replace the in-game main menu for Battlefield 3 on PC. Eurogamer report that to change servers in the middle of a session, we'll have to Alt-tab out of the game, and then start another match from the Battlelog website. As if that wasn't strange enough, console versions of Battlefield 3 WILL be getting an in-game server browser. Whaaat.
Battlefield 3's Battlelog service is designed to track Battlefield 3 players' stats, unlocks, XP and kill death ratio over the course of their career. Battlefieldo.com have spotted the now pulled first screenshots of the service on the German Battlefield site, revealing instant messaging features, built-in voice chat and a "join" button to let friends dive straight into each other's games.
It can be easy to forget how dodgy Battlefield: Bad Company 2's server browser was on launch. Lengthy load times, slow refresh times, disappearing favourites lists and a hit and miss search function meant getting into a game could be frustrating to say the least. Here's hoping Battlelog can deliver a smoother experience. You'll find the four screenshots below, click to see them full size.