Battlefield 4's Spring update: the most important changes

Battlefield 4 Spring update 3

Spotting

Spotting is the lifeblood of a victorious Battlefield team, and the patch has doubled the importance of keeping accurate while zeroing someone in your crosshairs. Passive spotting—automatically detecting an enemy on the minimap by simply looking at them directly—has shrunk all the way down to a 100-meter limit from a prior distance of 1.2 kilometers. Not only is this a boon for stealth-inclined players, it also reinforces the importance of active spotting, or hitting a key to report an enemy’s position for a longer duration on the minimap. That’s also seen a tighter cone of effectiveness: in practice, you’ll now generally need to center your crosshairs directly on someone to achieve the spot. Spam-spotting, or sweeping your view across an area while hitting your spot key to highlight everyone at once, is also largely eliminated. You’ll have to selectively and precisely eyeball individual soldiers to keep them spotted.

Suppression

Battlefield 4 Spring update suppression system

The suppression effect, a gradual blurring of your peripheral view while under heavy fire, has already undergone a number of tweaks in earlier patches. This time around, DICE has sliced away suppression at closer ranges, so your vision won’t blur into a smudgy mess if someone from a couple feet away lights you up. Suppression now kicks in beyond the ideal range of most guns at around the 60 to 80 meter mark. Although an annoyance on the receiving end, suppression is a valuable mechanic for repositioning, as the penalties to accuracy and stability makes return fire less likely to connect.

Gun Master mode

Another BF3 transfer, Gun Master is a team deathmatch-style mode where players race to climb a tiered weapon ladder by achieving two kills with each gun. Once you get the necessary kills, your weapon automatically swaps to the next in the list. Don’t expect anything remotely resembling tactics or strategic play in this mode, as both teams tend to mash together in a giant murder-ball in the center of the map and stick there until the round finishes. A neat addition to BF4’s version of the mode is the ability for servers to set custom progression lists which is a nice jolt of variety. Good luck getting that final Riot Shield kill.

Netcode

The update’s changes to the netcode are surprisingly sparse given its importance over previous patches. The biggest improvement here stems from stance changes; servers now more reliably determine whether or not you’re crouching behind cover which will (hopefully) reduce the issue of taking hits if you’re up against something solid. Some lingering problems remain unfixed, most notably instant deaths from taking damage from multiple sources (a complication from the server transmitting that data to your character in a single update “frame” instead of a sequence). More netcode improvements are in the pipeline, including a possible increase in server tick rate to 120Hz.