DICE is removing Battlefield 2042's 128-player Breakthrough playlist, says 64 players is 'more tactical'

Image for DICE is removing Battlefield 2042's 128-player Breakthrough playlist, says 64 players is 'more tactical'
(Image credit: EA)

After the next Battlefield 2042 update drops on Thursday morning, players will no longer be able to queue for 128-player Breakthrough matches. There'll still be a 128-player Conquest playlist (the 'main' Battlefield mode, in that it's the original), but developer DICE has decided that Breakthrough is more fun without Battlefield 2042's doubled player count.

The chaos of 128-player maps was one of many criticisms players leveled at Battlefield 2042 when it launched. DICE says that, after giving it some thought, it agrees that the importance of individual squads and players is "reduced due to the increased intensity and chaos of the combat" in 128-player Breakthrough. 

Breakthrough is an attack-and-defend mode in which one team must capture a series of sectors in order, creating a somewhat defined frontline. Conquest, on the other hand, puts all of a map's capture points up for grabs at the same time, and is characterized by many independent skirmishes going on at once.

"When reviewing Breakthrough, we noted that the 64 player version represented a more tactical experience," wrote DICE. "Reducing our player count here helps to remove some of the chaos from the experience, and in combination with the reductions that we have made to the number of available combat vehicles, it means players are better able to hold frontlines more effectively. Players will also find more space to work together and fulfill their individual roles."

The decision was likely also motivated by difficulties filling 128-player Breakthrough matches in the first place. I sat on a 'waiting for players to join' screen for over eight minutes just now before giving up. I was able to join a full 128-player Conquest server without any wait, however.

64-player Conquest and Breakthrough playlists have already been available for players who prefer them to the 128-player versions. After Thursday's update, Breakthrough will be 64-player only, as it's not a mode supported in Battlefield 2042's custom server tool, Portal, where team sizes can be adjusted at will.

Update 4.1 also makes some balance adjustments. Angel's ability to call in a loadout station and hand out armor to allies has always felt like a bit much to me, so I've been expecting this one: "Angel can no longer provide Armor Plates via his Supply Bag." Boris's SG-36 Sentry Gun has also been nerfed.

You can read the full patch notes here. The update will go live at 1 am Pacific, 4 am Eastern, and 9 am in the UK on Thursday. There'll be a download, but no server downtime.

The next big thing for Battlefield 2042 is the launch of its first season, which was delayed so that DICE could focus on player feedback. That'll happen in early June, DICE said in these update notes, and will introduce a new map, specialist, and the first battle pass. 

As far as the player feedback goes, DICE has thus far redesigned Battlefield 2042's scoreboard, added VOIP, made hundreds of balance changes and bug fixes, and outlined plans to redesign aspects of its maps. Some of those changes will come during the first season, but DICE cautioned us not to expect every map to be overhauled at once.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.