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How can DICE and Electronic Arts build off the success of Battlefield 3? We have a few suggestions.
Quit Chasing Call of Duty We already get an explosive, over-the-top, linear Call of Duty campaign every year courtesy of Activision, so we don’t need another one from Electronic Arts. Instead of copying Treyarch and Infinity Ward beat for beat, DICE should embrace Battlefield’s core values – non-linear gameplay, open environments, and a healthy mix of infantry and vehicular battles – to create its next campaign. Successful games like Crysis and Borderlands prove gamers aren’t averse to sandbox shooters, and given DICE’s pedigree in creating natural battlefronts in multiplayer, I’m willing to bet the community would enthusiastically embrace this approach.
Make It Co-op While You’re At ItBattlefield 3 features a standalone cooperative mode, but the half-baked implementation makes it an afterthought for many gamers. For Battlefield 4, DICE should make its campaign a four-player cooperative experience. This would create harmony with the four-player squad approach to multiplayer mode and help differentiate the campaign from most other modern military shooters.
Bring 64-Player Skirmishes To ConsoleThe difference between the PC and console versions of Battlefield 3 was made even more apparent with the Armored Kill map pack. These wide-open spaces were clearly designed for 64-player matches, and it is tough to find skirmishes from time to time on the 24-player console battles. Presuming that DICE plans to bring BF4 to next-gen consoles, this would be the perfect time to ditch this smaller player cap size and give console players the true Battlefield experience.
Keep The Classics ComingBattlefield 1943 came out of nowhere to win over console gamers with a low-cost shooter that captured the glory of the series' past. Capitalizing on the nostalgia of jumping back into the World War II jeep and cruising through Wake Island proved to be a smart move, as the game became the fastest selling XBLA arcade game in history. Battlefield 3’s Return To Karkand map pack also successfully tapped our nostalgia, and DICE shouldn’t stop there. I would love to see more classic maps from 1942, Vietnam, and Bad Company be given an HD makeover.
Release Map Packs In A More Timely FashionDICE gave Battlefield 3 fans the Return To Karkand map pack as a reward for pre-ordering the game, but then we had to wait eight months for the next expansion, Close Quarters. Why make us wait so long? By comparison, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 had two significant content drops in that time span. If DICE wants to keep the community happy and halt the annual slide down the Xbox Live multiplayer charts, it needs to deliver expansions with more frequency.
Curb The Squad SpawningWe've all been there: You hear the distress signal and blow through a closed door to the crate you're defending. The assaulting soldier is predictably crouched in the corner of the room waiting for your arrival, and you quickly lob a few volleys his direction and return to cover to reload. The next time you peer around the corner, you're greeted with four enemies, not the one that was there earlier. Squad spawning is incredibly useful for getting back to the frontlines on large maps, but there are areas in the map where it should be blocked to preserve the integrity of the match. DICE should make the hotzones off limits and instead spawn the reinforcements just outside the area of contention to make it a fair fight.
Bring Back The Battle RecorderBoth Halo and Call of Duty give players the ability to record their combat exploits and share them with the world, but neither game has as many water cooler moments as Battlefield. Whether it's dodging a missile with a helicopter by turning so the warhead flies through the cabin doors, sniping a chopper pilot out of the air from a mile away, or driving a C4-charged ATV into a base, jumping off, and detonating it to take out a mass of defenders, the game is filled with amazing happenings. It's time for DICE to let us capture all those “Holy crap!” moments and share them with the world.
Teach Noobs How To FlyLearning to fly a chopper or jet in the middle of a firefight is not ideal. Teammates are rightfully pissed off when noobs destroy their primary war asset by slamming it into the ground when a top gun could have hopped into the cockpit and turned the tide of the match. We’d love to see DICE give players a safe environment to master the subtleties of the vehicles. Bot matches would work, as would a standalone mode of FIFA-style skill challenges that teach newcomers the basics while allowing veterans to vie for the high score on the leaderboards.
Let Us Alter Loadouts Between GamesWhen you’re coming off an intense, infantry-focused map like Ziba Towers and loading into a vehicle-heavy map like Caspian Border, many people change their classes and weapons from a close quarters loadout to something that accommodates vehicular threats. Instead of making us wait to don an engineer kit after the game loads, it would be nice to do this in the menu between matches. Giving us access to our kits while the map is loading would also allow us to equip a new weapon or attachment we just unlocked without having to drill into a menu while other players are fervently moving to cap an M-Com station at the start of the next round.
Deliver Shoutcast SupportAs e-sports grow more popular, shooters that support the broadcast of competitions will have a leg up on becoming a featured game for competitions. Treyarch is adding livestream and shoutcast support to Black Ops II, and if DICE wants in on the action, it should embrace this emerging market sooner rather than later.
Add Native VOIP To PCBattlefield 2, which released in 2005, featured VOIP support so players could easily chat together. Battlefield 3, released just last year, did not. We’re not sure why DICE decided to forgo its inclusion, but to make everyone’s lives easier it should reverse course and implement it in Battlefield 4.
Give Users Creation ToolsIf LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers, and Minecraft have taught us anything, it’s that communities love to create. Instead of hiding the keys to the Frostbite Engine, DICE should give fans easy-to-use tools that allow them build their own multiplayer maps and game modes. This kind of crowd-sourced creativity matches perfectly with the rent-a-server concept, and could be the key to keep innovating past the competition.
Now that we've outlined our vision of Battlefield 4, it's your turn. What would you like to see DICE change or add?
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