Boats aren't traditionally seen as the sexiest of war machines, which may be why DICE are working overtime to bring the bombast. If you're a student of FPS teaser trailers, you'll recognise the tricks. There are missiles, explosions, shouty men, and the bit where the music goes "werrrrrRRROMP", then goes completely silent, and then goes "werrrrrRRROMP" again.
Last month, DICE launched Battlefield 4's platoon feature, but restricted the creation of new platoons to Premium members of at least level 10. This is at least somewhat true to the real military, who have realised that letting anybody create their own command structure would be a very inefficient way to organise troops. Luckily, Battlefield 4 is not the real military, and so their variant of the clan model is now available for all.
At this point, "several crash fixes and stability improvements" must be seared into the brains of every DICE employee. I imagine them wandering their offices, chanting it like some cultish mantra. It's cropped up again as a single line on Battlefield 4's latest giant update notes. This time, though, we're also getting some extensive balance tweaks to weapons and vehicles.
There's plenty here, both the significant and the specific. For the handful of people annoyed about the Active Protection and MP-APS's inability to properly stop 12G FRAG rounds, this could be the patch of a lifetime.
Four months after launch, Battlefield 4 still suffers from a variety of technical issues. Today, DICE announced what it’s doing to address these issues, as well as listing out specific problems the developer wants to target.
The upcoming Naval Strike pack will be DICE Stockholm's last new content for Battlefield 4. That's according to "DarkLord7854", the Reddit pseudonym of a Battlelog engineer. In a post on r/Battlefield4, the developer revealed that the game's final two DLC packs, Dragon's Teeth and Final Stand, are being handled by DICE LA. Personally, after DICE's many dinosaur teases, I'm hoping a missed memo will lead to the US-based studio accidentally adding real dragons into the game's fourth expansion. It's about time the military FPS genre took on some giant lizards, be they historical or mythological.
DICE announced today that it will finally begin rolling out Battlefield 4’s Platoons feature on February 27. Similar to the feature in Battlefield 3, BF4's platoons will allow you to create (if you have a high enough rank) or join clans of up to 100 members, and coordinate battles for you and your teammates.
We're over half way through Battlefield 4's "Player Appreciation Month" promotion. Personally, I've not been taking part, as - having not logged in for months - I'm not really a player anymore, and so worry that I'm not going to be properly appreciated. For those that are basking in the warmth of DICE's personal attention, a new set of Kit Shortcuts have been released, and are free for a limited time.
Xbox One owners have already had their fun with Battlefield 4's Second Assault expansion. At least, it looked like they were having fun. Can we really be sure, though? Maybe they were tragically forced to act out some mock pantomime of enjoyment, lest Kinect became dissatisfied with their indifference and deployed Enforced Entertainment Education drones. Luckily, the PC has yet to be invaded by omnipotent cyber-eyes, so we can all be less nervous about sitting down in front of Battlefield 4: Second Assault when it launches tomorrow, February 18th.
Eventually Battlefield 4 is just going to work as advertised. Until then, we'll keep getting patch notes from DICE announcing fixes for issues you'd imagine a major game release would have taken care before the game launched, not three and half months after. The latest patch, which fixes a bunch of bugs, improves stability, and deals with specific issues with AMD's Mantle API, should be live by now, DICE said on the Battlefield Battlelog.
EA has revealed that Battlefield 4's third expansion, Naval Strike, will feature mostly water-based combat across four new maps. The expansion also includes new weapons, a new vehicle, and a new game mode called Carrier Assault, based off of Battlefield 2142’s classic Titan mode.
The previous teased Battlefield 4 performance patch is now a reality, one that should have already been stitched onto the game. At this point, that game is liberally covered in bandages, sutures and comically large plasters; so is one more going to make a difference? Supposedly yes, with significant work done to improve framerates and stuttering, and reduce the duration of black screen while spawning. It also introduces support for AMD's Mantle renderer. At least for those lucky few with a compatible graphics card.
Perhaps the closest thing associated with Battlefield 4 is its shaky launch. Well, that and rendezooks, but I have a feeling that smooth performance is more important in the eyes of EA's investors. In a conference call held yesterday (transcribed by Seeking Alpha), EA's leadership discussed what it learned from BF4's release and that it's applying those lessons to upcoming major launches such as Titanfall.
Funny fact: Battlefield 4 has a lot of guns. You wouldn't think that were the case in multiplayer, as the majority of BF4 players have tended to prefer a few all-around beastly weapons—the Assault's M4A1 or the Engineer's MTAR-21, as examples—that sadly diminishes the chances of seeing more specialized firepower during a match. In a Battlefield Blog post today, DICE outlines some of the upcoming changes to footsoldier weapons as an effort to boost the variance of gun popularity and choice for players.
Yes, Battlefield 4 might have launched at such a sorry state that it garnered several threats of class action lawsuits, but that doesn't mean DICE doesn't appreciate you. Why else would it announce the Battlefield 4 Player Appreciation Month?
One day, DICE will emerge from their bunker, happy that Battlefield 4 is in an acceptable state. Today is not that day. In a post to their forum "control room", DICE's Tommy Rydling announced a new all platform update that's planned to arrive either late-January or early-February. And that won't be the end of their effort to patch the game into a shipped shape. The developers are also inviting player feedback on a number of issues, including game balance and "multiplayer experience".
Amazingly, Battlefield 4's post-release problems were foretold by its own soundtrack, thanks to the inclusion of soothsayer and pop legend Bonnie Tyler. To quote her power-ballad prediction: "Once upon a time I was falling in love, but now I'm only falling apart. There's one thing DICE can do, a promise to fix what won't start." In fairness to the studio, they've taken these words to heart, going so far as to halt all development on future projects until they've fixed the game. Now they've released their sixth patch for the PC version, bringing further stability fixes, bug squishes, and even a little jet rebalancing.
If PC gaming is a romance, then DirectX represents the high-school era. It's the thing that's passing notes between your games and your graphics cards, possibly while getting a bit bashful and giggling. Cute as this image is, it's hardly the most efficient way to foster a relationship. Step in AMD's new low-level API, Mantle, which has been designed to allow games to directly access GPUs. That sounds like a good thing, although it's going to be awkward when Battlefield 4 realises that your graphics card has been seeing other games behind its back.
At AMD's CES conference, Battlefield 4 was demoed on-stage running the Mantle API. It was presented alongside the claim that it could run "up to 45% faster than the original version on this same hardware." Meaning, up to 45% faster than the DirectX equivalent.
For all it's exhaustively catalogued problems, Battlefield 4 is still... well, Battlefield 4. And, as the sequel to a game that was in part notable for its unusually placed boats, it's no surprise that even around the crashes and bugs, the spark of freeform military invention is still live and well. As you can see from this video, where a group of players climb into a Jeep, and make an explosive entrance onto Shanghai's skyscraper.
Before running away for a few days to close out the year with champagne and a new XCOM campaign, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to discuss how two of our favorite 64-player shooters created very different experiences this year. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.
Did you ever crash to desktop and wish you could sue Electronic Arts over the buggy, unstable quality of Battlefield 4? Well, if you bought stock in the company between the dates of July 24, 2013 and December 4, 2013, you can! Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is seeking to file a class action lawsuit against EA and "certain of its officers and directors," with the claim that EA knowingly misrepresented the quality of Battlefield 4 and how it expected it to preform financially. This is on top of a similar investigation led by Holzer Holzer & Fistel, LLC.