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Battlefield 3 Won't Skimp On Progression

by Matt Bertz on Aug 06, 2011 at 06:44 AM

Swedish developer DICE says the Battlefield 3 progression system the deepest it has ever created.

Battlefield 2 was one of the first shooters to implement a progression system, but in recent years the Call of Duty series has developed the ideal model for keeping players engaged. The robust leveling systems in Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops fuel a sense of constant achievement thanks to an addictive stream of new ranks and unlockable weapons, attachments, perks, killstreaks, custom class slots, call signs, and accolades. Infinity Ward and Treyarch know how to keep the carrot dangling in front of the player. 

Compared to these progression systems, Bad Company 2 fell short. When we visited DICE's Stockholm, Sweden offices during our Battlefield 3 cover story, executive producer Patrick Bach told us the studio was surprised by how quickly players rose through the ranks in the game. After reaching level 22, there was scarcely anything left to unlock. Once you had access to all the weapons, gear, and specializations, moving up the ranks was a long and arduous journey that offered little reward. That won't be the case in Battlefield 3.

In a new Battleblog entry, persistence designers Valerian Noghin and Fredrik Thylander break down the new approach. In comparison to Bad Company 2, the duo says Battlefield 3 has "more than 10 times the hardware unlocks spread over weapons, weapons attachments, gadgets, and a huge unlock tree for vehicles alone." As with previous Battlefield games, players will earn badges, ribbons, and service stars for their battlefield prowess and mastery of specific weapons as well.

Though the designers didn't mention the total number of ranks, they said their approach is "similar to Battlefield: Bad Company 2," which capped at level 50. DICE didn't explicitly rule out a prestige style system, but in saying "even if you hit the max rank, there is always more glory to strive for with the new concept of Service Stars," it sounds like the team has other plans for keeping players engaged.

The blog didn't go into great detail about the Service Stars, only to say that players can get them added to their weapon skill badge, vehicle, kit, and overall rank. "Anytime your kill card is displayed, everyone will see exactly how experienced you are with your current equipment," the blog reads. "The ultimate bragging right would be for a player to be awarded the rank of Colonel with 100 Service Stars attached, and to have 100 stars in all weapons, kits, and vehicles. Getting there will be a massive task – consider that a challenge!"

Read more about the new unlock system and how DICE is giving players more flexibility within the class system at the Battleblog.