Why Battlefield 1 Triumphs Over Other FPS Multiplayer Games

Before all micro-transaction hell broke loose across the genre, there was a little shooter set during The Great War that stood firm on the podium.


Released before we were blessed with David Fincher’s Mindhunter series on Netflix and before we witnessed EA’s catastrophic downfall with Star Wars: Battlefront II, the holiday season of 2016 graced us with something rather special.

On October 21, 2016, Battlefield 1 deployed itself onto shop shelves, digital storefronts and through people’s letterboxes with full force. After an exceptional response following the announcement trailer, Battlefield 1 was set on becoming a big success for DICE and EA. The main competition being Call of Duty’s Infinite Warfare which failed to rally as much spark of excitement (but still performed relatively well in the first week of sales), driving a significant amount of hype and actual measurable sales – reaching approximately 3.46 million copies sold on consoles within the first week.

We’re now 14 months into Battlefield 1’s lifetime. We’re halfway through the dispatch of the season pass’s third (of four) packs. 80,000 people are still playing the game on a regular basis. There’s no sign of letting up. Battlefield 1 is nothing short of a success, which is probably why I still find myself drawn to it despite having new games with under 10 hours of play waiting patiently for me on the side.

I got LA Noire and Dead Island Definitive Edition recently, dabbling here and there for some hours before the craving for intense FPS action began to emerge. Don’t get me wrong, I adore LA Noire and have plenty of skull-smashing fun with Dead Island, but for me, holding the frontline with a bolt-action rifle at my side and grenade primed just feels all too familiar. But familiar in a good way. In a way that your favourite sweatshirt fits snuggly, not too tight or too loose. Battlefield 1 challenges me in a fair way that doesn’t leave me cussing at strangers but respecting and being impressed with the person who killed me with a headshot 300 metres across the map. I laugh when I get impaled by a lance-wielding horseman, I don’t cry and rage quit, a behaviour that seems all too common in other FPS multiplayer games.

That’s not all; Battlefield is notorious for its incredible destructible environments (Levelution, people), player-controlled vehicles, higher amount of players in matches and epic sprawling maps packed with immersive detail and intense atmospheres. Something you don’t find in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, nor the latest WW2 instalment. It’s an age-old battle between the two franchises. I remember when I bought an Xbox Magazine several years ago how it was packed with ‘Team Battlefield” and “Team CoD” freebie badges and stickers. It all seems a bit immature these days, but back then, during a time when I played every Call of Duty instalment, I had already made up my mind. I am Team Battlefield.

My older brother plays Battlefield 1, he doesn’t get much time to play anything, but when he does he goes straight to Battlefield 1. Why? Because it’s intense, set during an interesting period (although slightly fantasised in the game) and it’s fun. Although, he does have one problem with the game, and that’s the interesting season pass model. Separating new map releases across a couple of months, the model arguably ensures that players hang around for a longer time, so there aren’t significant spikes in player count. In contrast to traditional season passes, which would release all maps and content in one swoop, Battlefield 1’s season pass has been releasing one or two maps, including new weapons and such, almost a month before the remainder of content is released.

I still can’t tell if I like it or not. I think I do. Being able to demo new features before the final release almost feels like early access; it also incites the feeling of getting more bang for your buck, giving paid content a longer lifetime than a regular flash in the pan. Premium players are encouraged to play new maps thoroughly, which means I never felt like I missed anything that was released. The fact that I’ve put 200 plus hours into the game already justifies the price I paid for the season pass. Of course, everything has changed since then…

We’re now 14 months into Battlefield 1’s lifetime. We’re halfway through the dispatch of the season pass’s third (of four) packs. 80,000 people are still playing the game on a regular basis. There’s no sign of letting up.

EA and DICE have at the time of writing scrapped season passes for free seasonal content, as first demonstrated in Star Wars: Battlefront II. We all know how that went. It’s almost concrete to assume that EA intended to make lost money from micro-transactions, however, that plan got completely ripped to shreds by fans, press and just about everyone across the globe, apparently. It didn’t go well, and as mentioned in my last post, the game has been left fundamentally broken.

Battlefield 1 is the last true example of an FPS done right. Ok, the season pass is kinda expensive, yes it does dilute the player base somewhat, but overall the game worked. Will the next entry into the Battlefield series feature a return to old season pass roots? Unlikely. If it attempts the free seasonal content model it needs to get it right – no pay-to-win controversy, please. It really destroyed a game I had the highest hopes for, and I don’t want to see Battlefield fall victim to the EA money-making machine. They can make money from micro-transactions, a plethora of game do it, that’s no problem. They just have to do it right.

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Rogue Content: Star Wars Battlefront II’s Missing Features

Planet-specific skins and Starfighter arcade are among the MIA


Delving into Heroes versus Villains mode for the hundredth time, waiting patiently for players to join the showdown – a worrying sign of lacking activity – upon loading the character selection screen, the mode feels improved. Yet, I can’t help but feel like something is still lacking.

Stepping back, why does Heroes versus Villains feel better? Well, this is the result of the introduction of two shiny new heroes; Finn for the light, and Captain Phasma for the dark, providing 16 total heroes split between the two sides. Alongside a brand-new Galactic Assault map, Crait, and a Starfighter Assault map, D’Qar, these new slices of content arrive for free to all players as part of ‘The Last Jedi Season’, the first batch of content in place of a season pass. Releasing adjacent to the debut of the latest blockbuster Star Wars Episode XIII, the content intends to uphold EA and DICE’s promise to maintain a unified player base by bringing fresh experiences and making them available to all.

Following micro transaction controversy early on, efforts to rekindle excitement in Battlefront’s sequel have, to some extent, failed. The damage is already engraved deep beneath the core, with the in-game Crystal currency pretty much redundant, and a page that clearly meant to operate as a place for buying more with hard-earned cash empty and blank. It’s almost poetic, really. Areas of the game that have been cut as a result from sincere hatred towards pay-to-win structures, a failure on EA and DICE’s part, leave a sour taste. In a way, the game almost feels broken without it.

As a die-hard fan of Star Wars and the Battlefront series, I can’t help but compel myself to soldier on. I defended the 2015 reboot with the hope of seeing similar visually stunning Star Wars titles land onto my Xbox Dashboard, but it’s hard to feel amped for a game that’s been torn apart by the press and players, rightly so in most cases. It’s led to significant adjustments by EA and DICE as they backtrack and attempt to recover from a media sh*tstorm. Unfortunately, I believe they’ve already lost.

Where’s old man Luke? Draped in a fraying grey cloak, grey beard and grey Jedi ways (kinda), wielding his green lightsaber and shooting witty and grumpy comments at his foes. I’m not even kidding, where is he?

Battlefront II is in serious need of skins. Skins, arcade content and more seasons. At the time of writing, there are no announcements for the second season, leaving fans half excited to see what’s coming (Grievous, Grievous, Grievous… Come on!) and half concerned that the damage inflicted early-on has impacted development for upcoming content packs. It’s embarrassing that the community is being forced to create mods for skins and characters before the developers do. In the last week alone I’ve seen skins for Kylo Ren, Rey, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and new heroes such as Anakin and Count Dooku – all of which make me more excited than any official announcement from DICE. That’s just not right. It can’t seriously take that long to implement Han’s Hoth outfit and Leia’s Endor attire, two skins that already exist in the first game.

Has the backlash damaged the game’s reputation as well as planned seasons? Is there any point in adding new maps and heroes if the player base is already in rapid decline (evident in my experience by the lack of players when match finding)? The situation might be more complex – involving blunt conversations between EA, DICE and Disney of which we, the public, will never hear. The Battlefront II community eagerly awaits for a spark of hope.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to force push Captain Phasma off Wookie platforms on Kashyyyk…