Some Problems of Battlefield 1

The gameplay I’m using today is probably going to be a motley collection. Ideally, it would be all Battlefield 1 footage, as I still have quite a bit of it sitting on my drive, but I wasn’t particularly good about organizing the clips, and it’s a rather daunting task to figure out where all the good stuff is. Besides, I’m pretty tired of seeing St. Quentin Scar and the same few weapons again and again. In this video, I’ll be looking at some problems with the core gameplay of Battlefield 1 which I haven’t spent much time on in prior videos.

If you haven’t seen, there’s a sort of passive 3D spotting implemented in the game. Since I didn’t think to capture footage of this, I’ll use a snippet of Ravic’s video showing the feature. While I don’t have a problem with 3D spotting as many others do, I do have several problems with this specific instance of it. Here’s why: Firstly, auto-spotting is inconsistent. I wouldn’t mind it too much if it worked in the same manner every time, but it really doesn’t.

Sometimes, it will trigger on occluded targets and reveal them behind solid cover, giving the player free, if really inconsistent, wall hacks. It almost always works against enemy players only visually occluded, making visual obstructions such as bushes, fog, and smoke much less important and meaningful, which I have never felt was a particularly good thing. Other times, it doesn’t work at all against an enemy, in the open and within five meters. It’s an incredibly inconsistent mechanic, and I do not feel that it adds anything interesting or tactical to the game. 3D Auto spotting does not give any uniquely useful information to a good player, and it does not increase the skill ceiling. Now, before you go off thinking that I don’t like 3D spotting at all, you should know that I think 3D spotting is one of the best things to exist in the Battlefield franchise.

Active, deliberate spotting, and the class-revealing icon gives the conscious player better information on how he might best approach an engagement. 3D spotting is a fantastic mechanic which facilitates teamplay and communication at all levels of play. There are those who call 3D spotting the crutch of casuals—oh, that reminds me! Speaking of casuals, I ought to have a collection of Hardcore gameplay uploaded later this week, since I’ve gotten tired of the Hardcore baddies commenting on my videos on how much more manly they are. Anyway, I was just saying that there are those who think of active 3D spotting as a gameplay mechanic pandering to casuals—I do not believe this to be the case, whatsoever. Bear with me while I explain. When you’re playing with a group of very good players, against a group of very good players in a smaller setting—say 10v10, everyone pretty much has a general idea of where everyone else is at a given time. It isn’t that much of a stretch to keep track of ten enemies mentally.

While 3D spotting is disabled in most competitive modes, it’s really not that big of a loss, since the players there are actively communicating with one another in regards to where relevant enemies are seen or heard. It’s easy to make those callouts if you play with a group pretty regularly—if I told another Symthic player that there was an engi on lower 69, he would know exactly what I was talking about. Big Dick, Circumcised, Little Dick, and Eagle’s Nest are all callouts that make perfect sense within a certain group of players, but are completely nonsensical to anyone else. The sort of efficient communication and teamwork you see between players who play a whole lot together is simply impossible in a public setting without some sort of intervention on the part of the developer.

Instead of saying “lower 69”, I’d have to say, the smaller building of the two grouped together between A and B that isn’t the high B roof but the one sort of below it; and by the time I got that all out, it probably wouldn’t even be relevant. As an incidental, CS:GO does show you the officially-sanctioned callout for each area that you play, but this is probably not transferrable to Battlefield, as the maps are so much larger. So, because there isn’t a phrase known by all players for every part of every map, DICE uses active 3D spotting. You mouse over a target, and if it’s outside your effective engagement range, you press Q rather than engage it it, so that your teammates, who, ideally, have better weapons for that engagement, can see the target and do something about it.

3D spotting takes the place of callouts so that everyone can coordinate to at least some extent with blueberries. 3D spotting is good because it facilitates communication. It takes some sort of input from the player to trigger, so it’s not completely mindless. Auto spotting, as shown here in BF1, does none of that. It simply (and inconsistently) puts a large marker over any target in close quarters.

Because it does not require any sort of input for the player, I cannot think it at all similar to standard, active 3D spotting. It simply doesn’t make any sense to have in the game, as it only makes it inordinately easy to see near targets both in the open and behind solid cover. Even if the flaws with it were fixed, I still don’t think it would be a good addition to the game. Spotting is supposed to be a team communication tool, not an officially sanctioned ESP hack. Something as bad as 3D autospotting is, in my mind, the melee mechanics. Machimiib was kind enough to provide me with the clips that you’re seeing now, which illustrate the problems with melee combat pretty nicely as I speak. I apologize for the strange aspect ratio; at the time of this recording I haven’t decided whether I’ll letterbox or crop it—either way, you’ll have to live with it, because his footage does an excellent job of showing just how silly the melee combat in this game is.

There was a distinct point at which I said, “wow, melee combat in this game is terrible”. Here it is: The problem should be pretty apparent. Beyond the fact that I missed my first three shots like a total baddie, I still ought to have won that last engagement. I started at 80 health, which would have been completely fine, as I was then using the m1918, which is essentially a shotgun, except without the ability to one hit kill and not so unforgiving.. The enemy was using a weapon completely unsuited to close quarters—his LMG vies for the dubious honor of having the worst close quarters TTK in the game.

But, because I had lost around 20 health from the last engagement, he can simply press F and win. You can clearly see where my weapon simply stops firing, because the takedown animation has started, and there’s literally nothing I can do. There are very few things that can actually get me angry at a game. This situation was one such. This mechanic—where you start an unpreventable takedown while using a melee weapon the moment your target gets below 80 health—is really silly. As you have seen in this gameplay, all you need to do is hit one bullet with a primary or secondary weapon, and press F. It’s really that simple. In close quarters, if you really want to win a 1v1, just land no more than one bullet, and then press F. Know what’s great? You don’t even have to be aiming at your target when you press F if you want a kill. You can be aiming up to 90 degrees away from the opponent, and have your melee shot snap to him. This is absolutely absurd. In addition to the obscene damage output of an 80 damage per hit weapon that starts an automatic takedown at below 80 health, you literally don’t even have to be aiming anywhere near the person you’re trying to hit.

The game will actually snap your aim to a target, even if you’re not starting a takedown. I’m well aware of the fact that hand-to-hand combat was an integral part of world war I, so I’m not suggesting that it be removed entirely. Firstly, reduction in damage from 80 to 50 is strictly necessary to ensure that one can’t simply get one bullet and a swipe off for an easy kill. A suggestion I’ve already made is that pressing F doesn’t actually activate the melee attack, but simply switches you to the melee weapon to allow you to use it at your leisure.

If none of this is changed, at least remove the aimbot which snaps you to the target when you’re using a melee weapon. You know, tanks really aren’t overpowered in Battlefield 1. They’re not any better than they were in prior titles—in fact, they’re somewhat worse, but this is made up for by the fact that AT weapons are also a bit more inflexible. I say, “inflexible”, and not “worse”, because it’s possible to disable the mobility of all the armor pieces from just about any side, though the weapons either require the user to be very close with the dynamite stick thingy, or bipodded and therefore stationary with the AT rocket gun. Kind of ironically, light tanks are a lot better at camping off in the distance, since their weapons don’t really lose anything over range, and they’re so frail, while the heavy tanks, when fully crewed, are better on capture points. Regardless, there are WAY too many tanks on St. Quentin. There is a total of 8 tanks on a map that is slightly smaller than Zavod.

Just imagine having 8 tanks on Zavod. Of course they’d feel overpowered—every time you turn a corner? Tank! Get on an objective? Tank! Everywhere you go, tank, tank, tank. There is literally one piece of armor for every single flag with two remaining on a fairly small map. This makes absolutely no sense. Why are there three tanks in spawn? Why does two of the best points in the game—E and B, give more tanks? You already know how I feel about flag assets, but this is on top of the absurd number of armor pieces on this map. I have one thing to say on the new conquest ticket system—it’s bad. I don’t like it at all, for the reason that it induces situations in which there is literally no way to enable a comeback. See, the difference isn’t that it counts up—counting up instead of down is just a question of aesthetics and readability—but that a team can continue to gain tickets even when they have the minority of flags.

So, as long as one team has at least one flag, they will continue to gain points. You’ve probably seen this happen quite a bit on Battlefield 1’s Domination games—you’ve had only one flag the whole game, so you have less tickets, but late in the match, you and your team turn it around, and hold two flags. Except, you’re still going to lose, because the enemy team still has one flag. After a certain ticket margin, you might as well just forfeit the game, because there is literally no way to make a comeback.

True, you could come back and make an all-cap, but realistically, that is not going to happen. At all. Ever. Evenly matched teams might be able to grab one more flag for the last part of the game, and end up eking out a victory, but it’s never going to turn to an all-cap. If you’re on a three flag map like Shanghai Conquest Small, it’s possible to have only held one flag for half the game—having a deficit of over 400 tickets—and still pull off a win. In Battlefield 1, you should probably just forfeit, because the difference between gaining two flags of three and gaining all three is pretty huge. Another problem is the lack of point loss from deaths. The current state of things is such that competitive Battlefield 1 will consist largely of redeploying.

Need to cross a gap of more than 50 meters? Redeploy on a squad map. Flag blinking? Redeploy. Out of ammo? Redeploy. There needs to be some sort of penalty from kills and deaths. Thanks for watching..

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