And Now for Something Completely Different…

Always loved Weird Al…
Anyhoo, guess what?
Everyone is instructed to have a drink today. No exceptions.
Kids, you gotta drink a soda; not booze. Lots & lots of soda. The more sugar the better.
Then run around the house annoying the living hell out of your parents for me!

Check out more from College Humor on YouTube.

The BF Diaries: Dragon’s Teeth Quick Review & 1st Impressions

Battlefield 4The BF Diaries are back and today we’re going to talk about Dragon’s Teeth, the new DLC released this week (for Premium members).

My first thought as I watched the Dragon’s Teeth trailer was, these maps are going to be Sniper Haven Cluster F&^ks! We all know there is no love lost between myself and snipers. One shot one kill, coupled with the bravery of being out of range is just too much power for the many childish people playing BF to wield responsibly.  And riot shields plus R.A.W.R. units… Seriously? CoD much, DICE?

With all this in mind, I went into Dragon’s Teeth expecting to be at the mercy of the recon class, shield bashing buffoons and hopped up killstreak wannabees.

Dragon’s Teeth is an infantry-centric DLC and thus it plays like Close Quarters only with bigger maps that result in a much more Battlefield-like experience.

Oddlydespite the wide open areas and long lines of sightthe maps do not play out like sniper havens of abase opportunity. It could be snipers haven’t figured out the optimal positions to bivouac yet. Map familiarity is a huge factor in how people are playing the game right now. That’s not to say snipers aren’t trying to figure out their place.

The first games I played were Rush and the other team was loading up on snipers like Recon was going out of style. My team was constantly on the move, attacking objectives, defending objectives, reviving, etc. Doing all the things you need to do to win the game. Maybe the people I played with were BF vets. Maybe the other team was full of CoD quick scoping scrubs playing to get footage for their crappy YouTube channels… It’s hard to say, no one was communicating so I wasn’t able to get anyone’s feedback.

I believe map design has a lot to do with it. Unlike the abysmal design of the Aftermath maps in BF3 (far too many dark corners in equally dark broken down shops for campers to set up) these maps are designed quite well. While there are plenty of long lines of sight there is also plenty of cover (both destructible and reinforced concrete solid,) dips and crests, and attack routes you can take to avoid even the most talented one shot one kill git. And, much like the China Rising maps, these maps are gorgeous.

Flood Zone is one of my least favorite maps on BF4 and I thought I’d feel the same way about Pearl Market. Flood Zone is a nest of Recon and Assault with ACOGs or longer range scopes waiting for their opportunity to strike from another rooftop. Pearl Market is a cluster of closely knit rooftops and alleyways with fewer clear lines of sight than your average sniper would like. Your biggest problem on this map will be talented grenadiers. Try to not bunch up with your teammates and you won’t give the enemy an easy multi-kill.

Lumphani Garden is a wide open garden paradise with arching bridges and plenty of shelled craters to take cover in. Sunken Dragon is a cross between Dawnbreaker and Lancing Dam with a dash of Operation Locker smack dab in the middle of it all. Propaganda is the cold grey North Korean city of Pyongyang, it bleeds disparity the moment you spawn in and plays like an open and airy version of Operation Locker.

It’s more like seeing a women with a baby stroller suddenly appear and start parading across the battlefield and you wonder who the hell would bring a baby to a firefight?

Dragon’s Teeth is an infantry-centric DLC and thus it plays like Close Quarters only with bigger maps that result in a much more Battlefield-like experience. The first thing you’ll notice if you’ve played a lot of Close Quarters is explosives aren’t reduced to simplistic and annoying trolling devices and serve a more consistent strategic use in Dragon’s Teeth.

Surprisingly, the addition of the riot shield hasn’t turned the game into a CoD kiddie montage fest, albeit no one is using them strategically at this early stage either. Shield users tend to be lone-wolfing it to try and get a shield bash for what I can only presume to be shits and giggles. Shoot them in the feet, throw a grenade (try bouncing an RGO off the ground near them so it explodes behind the shield) or circle around back; problem solved. I suppose a squad of five using two shields upfront followed by three infantry wielding a carbine, assault rifle and a shotgun could be a formidable force. But that would require people to actually start communicating with each other.

The R.A.W.R. (imagine R2-D2 and Chuck Norris mating; this would be the offspring) is a Battle Pickup (found on the battlefield). It’s more of a whimsical toy than an effective tool to turn the tides of war with (at least in this early stage of the DLC’s release.) As it stands right now it’s fairly easy to kill but not totally useless. I’ve been killed by one or two. It doesn’t make me cower in fear like when I spawn in as Assault only to be staring down the barrel of an enemy tank. It’s more like seeing a women with a baby stroller suddenly appear and start parading across the battlefield and you wonder who the hell would bring a baby to a firefight? It’s tough enough; like the riot shield, it could be a formidable companion to a squad working together. However overall, much like Chuck Norris, even a dead Bruce Lee can kick its ass.

The additional weapons are nice. The Bulldog is well balanced out of the box, a quick killing beast that takes some measured skill to master due to its high rate of fire and slow reload time. I’ve been getting killed a bit by the MPX, but have yet to unlock it myself. Still, being on the losing end of an MPX isn’t flaring my anxiety. I’m not much of a sniper so I can’t comment on the CS5 other than to say I haven’t been getting killed by it much, if at all. Either the snipers haven’t unlocked it or they don’t care for it.

The Unica 6 and the DEagle 44 are another story entirely. The Unica is deadly in close quarters, so much so people are using it as a primary in TDM matches. It’s overpowered and needs nerfing. I’ve seen players sprint in circles with this thing and still get one and two shot kills. Nothing seems to affect its aim and the reload speed is a tad fast as well. As for the DEagle, I haven’t been getting raped in close quarters with this weapon (yet,) but I have been one shot killed from clear across the map with one a few times. In certain hands this thing is more effective than a sniper rifle. DICE may have to balance these weapons in the future.

The best way to describe Chain Link is Team Death Match with some sort of rhyme and reason. If you look at it like that you won’t be disappointed and may actually find yourself enjoying this fast paced chaotic game mode. Though DICE may want to look at the spawn system here. Quite a few times the enemy spawned behind me despite the fact my team controlled all the flags in that direction. And when I say right behind meI mean, like, holy shitsnacks, how the f&^k did you get there?behind me.

It most definitely adds value to Premium. Pearl Market crashed my 360 the first time I played Conquest on it which pissed me off quite a bit, but my anxiety levels were dialed up to 11 on that day (not sure why), so it was more me than the game. Still, console crashing bugs have existed in BF4 for far too long now and it was disappointing to see the issue continue in spanking new DLC. And for that reason my recommendation remains to pick up Premium when it goes on sale for $30-35.

DICE is fixing the game, it’s better now than it was, but the patches for last gen consoles (on which they sold the most copies of the game) are few and far between. The netcode is still shoddy and there has been no word regarding when we are expected to see the fix implemented; a fix that has already found its way to PC and Next Gen consoles. We don’t even know if the fix will work on last gen consoles. We hang in limbo.

Dear Israel…

Dear Israel,

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

Friedrich Nietzsche

P.S. Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster; and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you.

Don’t be a village idiot. Question everything.

The one thing the advent of the information age has irrefudiatedly (a word, according to Sarah “I can see Russia from my back porch” Palin) proven is the ratio of village idiots to actual villages is a lot higher than we ever could have imagined.

When I was younger I never knew what to believe. The only thing I was ever sure of is everyone has an ulterior motive. Sometimes those ulterior motives would make me temporarily warm and fuzzy inside. They’d make me feel like I wasn’t so alone in the world. That my adolescent and inexperienced worldview was as right and righteous as I perceived it to be. Often this would happen at my expense. Like many others from my generation we were at the mercy of the village idiots. And unlike the previous generations the village idiots weren’t so clearly visible.

There was a time when you could spot the village idiots quite clearly. They usually carried a soap-box and often ranted on it whilst standing in the middle of the town square. Then something happened. Some say it was the printing press. Others the telegraph. Whatever it was, the village idiots were no longer confined to a soapbox in the middle of the town square. Many, in fact, worked for the news organizations we were told we could trust to always be acting in our collective best interest. Others got elected to government. The result was tragic. The village idiots had the power of media and a wider more disconnected audience to bait and manipulate.

You see, up until fairly recently, fact checking was a labor intensive and time consuming endeavor. You had to use libraries. Search through reams of microfiche rolls. Actually track down the information’s source to get a first hand account. It was much easier to yes the village idiots to death and bog off to our favorite watering hole to get sloshed.

The tech revolution has given us a lot of things to be thankful for as well. Mainly, research is a fukton easier these days.

Granted, you have to sort through all the utter bullshit the Village Idiot Consortium (VIC, for short) manages to push out on an hourly basis. But if you ignore glaringly obvious spin masters like Fox News (village idiots with access to broadcasting equipment) and your average conservative blogger (village idiots who learned how to write English somewhat coherently) and your average young liberal blogger (less village idiot and more inexperienced knee-jerk reactionary) and spend a little time cross checking the information you’ll find it rarely takes more than ten minutes of your valuable time to sniff out said utter bullshit.

So what caused me to write this article? I woke up the other day and found this link in my Facebook feed.

It’s a letter from Chubb Electronic Security (Chubb, seriously?) written sometime before 2008 by a village idiot who managed to get through the high level of detective like scrutiny Chubb Security obviously invokes in its hiring process; you know, being a “security” company and all!

It informed people to not flash their headlights at on-coming traffic driving with their lights off. Doing so could make you a victim of a Bloods “initiation” game, because apparently dodging cops so they can sell drugs and kill each other leaves them plenty of time to drive around town looking for courteous people worried about the gang’s personal safety to kill as well. In early 1980s it was the Hell’s Angels practicing this “initiation” test. Before that it was the Keystone Cops. Before that it was Spartacus.

The closest this silliness ever got to being true was in 1992 when Kelly Freed, a school secretary from Stockton, California, was shot to death after the driver of the car she was riding in gestured to a carload of kids who had forgotten to turn their headlights on. Except the carload of kids weren’t gang bangers. Just more village idiots that thought someone flashing their lights at them was tantamount to flipping them off. Okay, these weren’t your average village idiots, these kids were walking poster children for abortion.

It pains me that people can be this fucking stupid. Especially when it would take you less than two-minutes to vet this nonsense properly.

So please, friends, people, casual purveyors of this blog, do me a favor; Google is your friend. QUESTION EVERYTHING ANYONE TELLS YOU. This includes me. With the internet at your disposal there is no reason for anyone out their to still believe in Bigfoot. There is no reason a media company like Fox, who sued for the right to lie, to get away with actually lying to the masses. Do your research, people.

Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it.

State of the Game: Battlefield 4, JUNE 2014 (XBOX 360) Part 5: HOPE?

Battlefield 4

Adding to my disillusionment, BF4 seems to have attracted an abundance of CoD kiddies and playing with general population is not the same experience it was for me in BF3.

Too many kills by Snipers and classes running around with Designated Marksman Rifles (a poor game mechanics choice by DICE, IMHO). In Domination people tend to stick on the outside of the map and pick off people capping the flags while your own Snipers are never savvy enough to realize their first priority should be the enemy Snipers. It’s so bad Domination is now my least favorite game mode.

Despite my many grievances with BF4 I still find it fun to play, but only with friends.

When I’m alone I find myself playing BF3 or something else entirely. I still believe the single player campaign was well worth the $25 I spent on a used copy. However, considering the lack of servers I’m starting to feel like the $50 I spent on Premium was too much.

In my naivety I thought I would do my part to support the developers because I believe (still do) BF4 is a step in the right direction for the franchise, but I forgot about the corporate douche-nozzles operating Electronic Arts. I was stupid to think they would actually fix the game before implementing cash cows like rented servers and purchasable Battlepacks. I was stupid to think they would not repeat their actions of May 2012 and manufacture predicaments in which people are gently forced to buy servers.

I should have waited till Premium went on sale and so should you.

They’ll fix most of the game eventually and lately the game has been a lot more stable, but they’ve made their money and are not obligated to fix anything. It’s a shitty reality we all must face in the current onslaught of laissez-faire mediocrity ruled crapitalism. All things considered, Battlefield 4′s biggest problem on the 360 is the dwindling player base.

Would more players equate to more available official servers? I don’t know. I’ve worked in marketing and the strategy is always the same. They never do the righteous thing to get you to buy their product. They trick you into buying it or create dilemmas that give you little choice. The printer is only $99, but the ink carts are $50 and you need four of them. The game is only $60, but you’ll want the DLC which is another $60 (you can bet your friends will be playing it!) Wait in queue to play a match or buy your own server.

Marketing people are some of the biggest and most dishonest scumbags on the face of this planet and the older I get the more I tire of their mind games. If it wasn’t for my friends playing BF4, I honestly would have left it alone considering the well deserved negative press surrounding it (another paradigm that works in EA’s favor).

Despite my reservations, I’m glad I did take the chance on it. There’s so much I like about it. It plays different, maybe not better, but I like the changes. The maps are much better designed. The award system, while a total fucking Skinner Box, keeps me entertained and pining for the next Battlepack or unlock.

I can deal with the bugs; occasionally getting shot while safely behind cover; the console crashing; the CoD Kiddies. All that is easily rectified by one loud exclamation of ‘ARE YOU ‘EFFING KIDDING ME?‘ to which my wife yells ‘STFU‘, and with my frustration vented I’m back in the game.

What’s a little hard to deal with is spending over $70 on the gamemost of it on content I haven’t actually received yetin addition to a monthly Xbox Live fee, and I can’t find decent servers to play on quick enoughif at all. I don’t have time to waste waiting in a queue for a game. And that’s just the crux of it.

Besides EA and DICE doing the right thing and putting more official servers into play, the only thing that could possibly fix this is a hearty influx of new players. This won’t happen until they release the BF4 Premium edition, and even then I would suggest everyone wait for it to go on sale for about $35 before they buy into this game because I suspect, at the rate they are going, you’ll have to spend more of your hard-earned money on a rented server if you plan on actually playing the game.

It’s not a terrible game and I will continue to play it. Hell, I even made a kick-ass tDCS BF4 Stats graphic to sign off my BF Diaries articles with! You can’t tell me I’m not a fan of this great game. I still strongly recommend the game with a price caveat (do not spend more than $50 on the Premium edition), though my reasons are selfish; the game needs more players. Specifically, the game needs more Battlefield Veterans to come back.

State of the Game: Battlefield 4, JUNE 2014 (XBOX 360) Part 4: Server Evidence Conclusions

BF4PRICELESSYou’re back! I thank you for sticking with this State of the Game article for this long. I wish I had the time (and willpower) to physically document a ton more research. You’ll have to take my word that I’m a pretty fair and honest guy and while I haven’t been going to the lengths I went to on the 29th, I assure you the data is pretty consistent whenever I pause and take a quick look on Battlelog during my busy day or when start up BF4 to see what the server situation is before playing something else. The official servers are few and far between.

What could be causing this? Microsoft and Xbox Live were having server problems during the time I compiled this research, but that would not account for the problem appearing right after they started renting servers.

Could it be the code? Maybe. You’ll see some of the searches for Carrier Assault turned up the occasional Obliteration or Rush game server as well. It’s apparent much of BF4 was rushed out the door to compete with CoD Ghosts and Battlelog is not as polished as it could be. Maybe the official servers are there and they just aren’t showing up when you look for empty ones.

Maybe it’s the way DICE and EA have it programmed. Does the system “intelligently” add an official server when all the available servers are full? I see no evidence of this and if that is the gist of the way it works, it sucks. Most people who log on and see full servers are going to look for another game mode rather than wait in queue. How would the system determine more servers are needed unless there are extended queues?

Maybe it’s all just part of their whole gimped game problem and will be fixed in time. Maybe it’s a bean counter thing, the sales figures don’t add up so reduce the server count and save electricity. Maybe they are in the process of adding new servers? Maybe half the servers are down while they take the time to properly update them?

I certainly want to be optimistic, but EA’s track record does not endow me with much confidence.

The ulterior motive is glaringly apparent. A corporation’s only goal is to make profit for its stockholders. Servers cost money to maintain which the corporation sees as cutting into their profits and not simply the price of doing business. PC gamers have been paying for their own servers in Battlefield since Battlefield God knows When and they are quick to mention this whenever console gamers moan about purchasing servers.

PCGbatSlapBut PC gamers don’t pay a monthly fee just to be able to play the multiplayer aspect of a game on Xbox Live. Multiplayer is the only reason to have an Xbox Live Gold membership. Live members are already paying for their servers and have been for a while.

This is the long game for EA. Ten years from now gamers will forget servers were once considered part of the price of the game. Paying an additional $200 a year to play a game they purchased for $100 will be considered normal. The only question is, with the way Internet Service Providers are savagely raising their fees, will gamers be able to afford such a game ten years from now?

Let’s say all that is a little far fetched and their goal is more modest. EA and DICE simply need to sell servers to make up for poor BF4 sales and the overtime needed to fix the game in a timely manner (if they even care about fixing the game in a timely manner).

The history of rented Battlefield servers on Xbox is one filled with bad memories that still sit strong in the minds of many adult Xbox Battlefielders. Friends being ‘team balanced’ despite numerous verbal pleas to leave your squad alone. No using this, that and that gun on a Tuesday during a full moon. No shooting the admin’s clan with IGLAs or Stingers while they are decimating your team from the sky. No shooting the admin more than once in a match. Kicked for this. Kicked for that. Kicked for friends…

So it goes without saying most people out there avoid rented servers like the plague. But the idea of having your own server with your own rules is very appealing and countless people are sure to try it for a few days at least. It’s doubtful they will return after the server sat empty for most of those days. The solution? Eliminate official servers thereby forcing players onto the rented ones.

Rented servers were more miss than hit on BF3, but I will concede the Admin Douche-Bucket paradigm is less of a factor in BF4.

As I’ve stated before in this article, I am thankful a majority of  server admins are not compounding the problem further by demanding ludicrous and often insane rules on their servers. In fact, quite a few servers have ‘NO RULES’ clearly stated in their message which is often followed by a ‘don’t be a douche’ caveat; a perfectly reasonable request in my books.

I thank those admins from the bottom of my heart. Your efforts to not be totalitarian douche-nozzles is duly noted. However, you can still be booted ‘to make room for friends’ on many of these servers. Something I feel they have the right to do even though I wouldn’t do it myself nor would I request a friend with a server make room for me in such a fashion.

Finding an official server was not a problem before they started renting servers. I can’t reiterate that enough. Before rented servers went live there were tons of official servers. And while the data does reflect a decent amount of rented servers to choose from, they are full most of the time and taking the time to vet them for obnoxious rules and jumping in before those few available slots fill up is another story entirely. Add a squad of friends into the mix and you’re in for one hell of a stormy ride.

Thank you for reading and please come back tomorrow for the final part of this State of the Game article when I will discuss the changing player base and the hope I have for this game.

State of the Game: Battlefield 4, JUNE 2014 (XBOX 360) Part 3: MIA SERVERS; The evidence

ServerQuestThe day they announced rented servers had gone live was the day finding an official server became exercises in patience and persistence. After two weeks of this nonsense I decided to document the problem. After about a day of documenting the problem I decided that it’s really not worth my time. I’m not married to this rant (which is honestly a legitimate complaint).

I must make it absolutely clear I am enjoying Battlefield 4 and I can deal with the bugs (which are all slowly and surely getting fixed). Alas, I can only truly enjoy the game when I can actually find a game. And therein lies the problem.

The following data I collected on May 29th 2014. I’m using Carrier Assault because this is where the problem is most noticeable. I was going to place the screen shots in the actual article but that would make the piece excessively long and difficult to read. I’ve presented my evidence in text with links embedded in the dates to the screenshots at Photobucket.

The following was very briefly compiled after a night of gaming. I took the screenshots with my HTC Amaze and the in-game search settings I used were: Free Slots – All checked (including full servers); Server Type: Official, Ranked; Preset: Normal; Region – US East & West.

5/29/2014 @ 12:55 AM
– RENTED SERVERS: 3, 1 w/ 4 slots, 2 w/ 23 slots,  1 with a NO RPG caveat in server description

5/29/2014 @ 12:57 AM
– RENTED SERVERS: 7, 5 full, 1 w/ 2 slots, 1 w/ 23 slots and NO RPG caveat in server description

I was going to stay up longer but decided this would be easier using Battlelog on my PC the next day. Though I have only used two examples here they are indicative of my in-game search results for Carrier Assault since DICE/EA started renting servers; ZERO OFFICIAL SERVERS!

The next day I would periodically check in on the Battlelog Multiplayer Server Browser and take screen shots of the data. The Search settings I used were: Mode – Carrier Assault; Free Slots – None, 1-5, 6-10, 10+, All; Type - Official, Ranked.

Keep in mind that there is no option to select region on the Battlelog Multiplayer Server Browser and there is no way for me to see if the rented servers have ridiculous rules so I did not include their details in the text data (I did not edit them out of the screen shots). The focus of this complaint is the amount of OFFICIAL servers available. Keep in mind that servers with 1-3 open slots will fill up fast and throw you into a queue more often than not.

5/29/2014 @ 3:00 PM
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 4, 3 full, 1 w/ 23 slots, all 4 w/ crappy PINGS
– RENTED SERVERS: 8, 3 full, 1 w/ 1 slot, 2 w/ 3 slots,  1 w/ 6 slots, 1 w/ 23 slots

5/29/2014 @ 3:10 PM
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 3,  all full, all w/ crappy PINGS
– RENTED SERVERS: 9, mostly full

5/29/2014 @ 3:20 PM
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 4, 3 full, 1 empty but it’s a RUSH server! (the search is for CA)
– RENTED SERVERS: 7, 6 full, 2 w/ queues
* It’s worth noting that someone called their server THE LAST PREMIUM SERVER *CARRIER ASSAULT*… Irony?

5/29/2014 @ 3:30 PM
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 3, all full and w/ crappy PINGS
– RENTED SERVERS: 8, mostly full, 1 w/ queue

5/29/2014 @ 3:35 PM
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 3,  1 w/ queue, 1 w/ 1 slot, 1 w/ 5 slots, all with crappy PINGS
– RENTED SERVERS: 8, mostly full

5/29/2014 @ 5:35 PM
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 3, all full, 1 w/ crappy PING, 2 w/ really crappy PINGS
– RENTED SERVERS: 11, mostly full

5/29/2014 @ 6:15 PM
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 4, 1 full w/ really crappy PING, 1 w/ 1 slot, 1 w/ 4 slots, 1 w/ 23 slots, and all 3 w/ crappy PINGS
– RENTED SERVERS: 10, mostly full

5/29/2014 @ 6:50 PM
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 3, 2 full, 1 w/ 6 slots | all 3 w/ really crappy PINGS
– RENTED SERVERS: 11, mostly full

5/29/2014 @ 7:30 PM
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 3, 1 w/ 1 slot, 2 w/ 7 slots and all 3 w/ really crappy PINGS
– RENTED SERVERS: 10, all full, 1 w/ queue

5/29/2014 @ 8:34 PM
OFFICIAL SERVERS: 3, 1 full w/ really crappy PING, 1 w/ 15 slots, 1 w/ 1 slot and BOTH w/ unbelievably crappy PINGS.
RENTED SERVERS: 13, mostly full, most w/ crap PINGS.

5/29/2014 @ 8:50 PM
OFFICIAL SERVERS: 4, 1 Defuse… WTF? 3 w/ 3, 6, and 19 slots ALL w/ unbelievably crappy PINGS.
RENTED SERVERS: 12, mostly full, some w/ queues all with crap PINGS

Regarding the PING rates: I have a solid Comcast XFINITY connection, but I suspect the piss-poor PING rates are due the fact the only official servers are not located in the USA (these servers do not show up in the in-game server browser with only US East & West servers selected). I will also concede the severely poor PINGS occurred during peak hours which is more of a testament to our crap internet infrastructure than anything else. “Murican exceptionalism at its finest, folks!

Still, I believe with just half a day’s worth of documented research I have succinctly proved my point. There are few, if any, official DICE/EA servers to go around.

Thank you for reading and please come back tomorrow for part four when I will discuss what we can glean from this research.

State of the Game: Battlefield 4, JUNE 2014 (XBOX 360) Part 2: MIA SERVERS

There does not seem to be enough servers. Official or rented (at times). Search for servers with 1-10 or zero players in them and you’ll find none (in BF3 there are always empty servers). For game modes like Carrier Assault you will find mostly full games and be forced to wait in queue.

This problem only showed up right after the addition of rental servers. One would think I’d have more to say on the subject, but I’m an adult and I should have known better. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… DICE pulled this stunt on BF3. They just rinsed and repeated the standard corporate sponsored customer buggery and this time they may have no intention of fixing the problem. All the YouTubers who would normally cry fowl have moved on to NextGen (thanks to our support) and besides them having their own server problems, they no longer give a rat’s arse what happens on Xbox 360.

Thankfully the server problem is not being compounded by an influx of douche-nozzle admins this time. You’ll still have the 6 hour long games in Metro to watch out for, but at least I haven’t been kicked for using an IGLA on an Admin Flyb0y69… … … YET!

It could be the daft sods throwing their money away on rented servers are aware of the limited player base and have turned down their Power-Trip-Douche-Dials from eleven to about an even 5. Still, you’ll run the gambit of “getting kicked for friends” which may happen more often than not considering the actual amount of available servers in certain game modes and DLC.

Not enough official servers is my biggest grievance with DICE and EA on BF4. As a Premium member (who also pays an Xbox Live monthly fee), I should not have to wait in a queue and there should be at least 5 OFFICIAL DICE or EA empty servers for any game mode available at all times. As I said, fool me twice!

The Xbox BF4 player population was split from the start with some people moving to the XBOX ONE right away. However, globally the Xbox 360 edition of BF4 far outsold the Xbox ONE version. Using sales figures alone there should be a ton more servers on the 360 than there is.

Then there are the droves of people that left the game in disgust and the typical corporate knee-jerk reaction to such a dilemma. Seeing the population falter, the bean counters may have decided to cut back on official servers in a vain effort to force the more loyal player base to rent a server in order to find a game they want to play. This time EA doesn’t have to worry about popular YouTube gamers reporting on this. It’s a win-win for Electronic Arts and a giant f%#k you to their customers. EA is really good at giant F%#K YOU(S) to their customers.

A few years ago I would have ranted about this to the point of veins bursting inside my head. I just don’t give a shit anymoreFirst World Problems and all thatthis time I’m shouldering the responsibility. When it comes right down to it I have no right to be upset. I just have to consider my experiences when purchasing any future products from these companies.

Not that I believe I’ll have any affect on the market. The free market is now the stockholder. EA proved this when they ignored player complaints about their broken game and only acted to acknowledge the bugs and fix BF4 after the stockholders threatened to sue them. This isn’t about sticking to the man. This is about saving myself from utter disappointment in the future. Corporations are entrenched in greed fueled single-minded tunnel vision and the mindless consumer masses are nothing but ATM machines. ATM machines with very low standards. The sheer amount of consumers in the world works against those very same customers. EA plays the odds, and odds are most of consumers don’t care much about product quality or truly understand the technology of what they purchase and therefore what they should expect. All is well in LaLa Land as long as it turns on or loads up.

All that said, the lack of servers is disheartening. Carrier Assault is by far my favorite game mode these days. Servers for it are few and only one of my regular gaming friends has the DLC. Not that it would make a difference if more of my friends had it… It would just make trying to find a server with enough spots and no idiotic admin rules that much harder to find.

Thank you for reading and please come back tomorrow for part three when I will present evidence of the missing servers.

State of the Game: Battlefield 4 JUNE 2014 (XBOX 360) Part 1: Interface Woes

BF4BUGSI’ve come to the conclusion there are enough bugs in the entire game to re-shoot the scene in Temple of Doom were Kate Capshaw had to stick her hand in a hole full of creepy crawlers which, coincidentally, is exactly how I feel when I start up BF4 sometimes!

The first draft of this article had me complaining about the console crashing bugs on certain maps. That draft was over a week old and I’m pleased to say the console crashing is happening a lot less frequently lately. YAY DICE! Good job, and thank you. That said, it does still crash… Look, I’m trying to throw DICE a bone here!

Other bugs still exist. There is something fishy with the netcode (they have increased the tick rate on their Community Test Environment, we’ll see if this helps consoles any sometime soon). You will be shot while 100% behind cover. The death cam needs tweaking. Avatars will moonwalk on their butts across the map. Lots of ways for Snipers to glitch. And many of the weapons need balancing. I am confident DICE will address most of these issues in time. Despite my unusual optimism, I persistently wonder if I wasted my money on Premium, but not because of the bugs. I can deal with the bugs.

The real dilemma is finding a game.

From the poorly designed interface to an appalling lack of official servers (which only happened after they rented servers, kowinky-dink?), just finding and getting into a game is a wee bit vexing at times.

The interface is cut and pasted from the PC version. The fact you can’t adjust your soldier/vehicle loadout without being in a game is not only frustrating, it is one of the single most stupid design decisions in the history of console gaming.

I suppose the implementation of a more robust Battlelog experience was meant to alleviate this. In reality it’s totally useless unless you have a PC or tabletpreferably a PC Tabletnext to you while you play and even then it’s more of an exercise in tedium than a leap in innovation. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cool feature—it would be better if I could access things like soldier presets from inside the game.

The Squad Up feature has finally returned. It’s half-assed. It will throw you into a rented server without giving you the opportunity to vet it and chances are it’ll be some crack-pilot’s server with the no IGLA or Stinger rule. Squad Up needs more robust search options or have rented servers eliminated from its search entirely until they do add more robust options.



The best way to find a game on a reliable server with a group of friends is have them select you on the ‘epileptic fit waiting to happen screen‘ and join on you when you’ve found a game with enough empty spaces (good luck with that).

The folks at DICE would do well to study the life and times of Steve Jobs a bit because searching for a server is a convoluted process. Continuity, fluidity, ergonomic functionality, all these things and more are absent from the interface design.

There’s no way to search for only DICE or EA servers (though I concede, this is probably on purpose). The map selection column is painful to look at with no option to quickly select specific DLC or the just core maps (for those times when your friends have none or some of the DLC). The problems run deeper into the coding; the search results aren’t always what you asked for, and as if that wasn’t enough, the game often erases your search settings.

When you do finally manage to successfully navigate the game’s clunky interface and find a game, you’ll end up in a queue…

Thank you for reading and please come back tomorrow for part two when we will discuss the lack of official servers on the 360.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 198 other followers