The huge 1.5GB Battlefield 3 PC patch has arrived, bringing tons of balance changes, bug fixes and new, paid-for "shortcut boxes." These will let players pay to get hold of unlocks like weapons, attachments and vehicle add-ons without having to level up.
According to the Battlefield blog , the bundles are supposed to be available on Origin now, though they don't seem to on there yet here in the UK. When the collection does go live, it'll include a Kit Shortcut bundle that "immediately unlocks all items unique to the four playable classes," a Vehicle Shortcut Bundle that unlocks all items for all vehicles, and the "Ultimate Bundle" which unlocks "all items from all other available shortcut packs," which is basically everything.
Each class kit can be unlocked separately, as well. The Battlefield site has a rundown of the prices for each kit. A class kit costs £5.49 / $6.99, the Ultimate bundle costs £31.99 / $39.99, eight pounds less than the full game.
There's plenty of good stuff in the patch notes , including improved minimaps, cleaner vaulting, faster movement from prone to standing, vehicle horns and dozens and dozens of tweaks to weapon balance, but it's overshadowed somewhat by these shortcut kits, which will be infuriating to players who have put in the many hours needed to unlock that gear.
Of course, new players who haven't played many games won't have a clue how to use some of Battlefield 3's more complex gadgets, so these microtransactions probably won't upset the balance of the game too much. But still, grrrr. What do you think?