Category Archives: Xbox 360

All things 360.

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.

The BF Diaries: The Beginners Guide to Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4Gaming is about the fun, nothing else. Have fun and shelve the game for a bit if it frustrates you to the point you’re screaming at the monitor (we all have our moments).

And for those overtly competitive people out there, please make sure your fun does not infringe on other’s enjoyment. Don’t be a griefer. Don’t be unsportsmanlike. Don’t be a digital douche-nozzle.

If you are new to Battlefield try and remember the following as you settle into the game:

Dealing with the Bugs

Battlefield 4 is far from being a perfect game, to say it has its bugs would be an understatement. These bugs are extremely frustrating. I do believe DICE will fix most–if not all–of these bugs in time. I can only comment on the problems I’ve experienced on the 360, but here are some things you should expect:

  • You’re going to occasionally get shot while completely behind cover and you will be pissed when it happens. However, it happens less than people want to believe. Most of the time lag is culprit. Other times you just fail to register in your moment of grief that the kill cam isn’t showing the position of the enemy at the moment he shot you, but several seconds after the fact. Occasionally there will be no rhyme or reason for your death. Let it go and move on.
  • Some things you won’t be able to shoot through, but your enemy can. On the Siege of Shanghai map there’s a storefront with the gates down. In one match I laid two full SCAR clips through one of those gates directly at an enemies head who was barely five feet away from me. He was able to kill my teammate attacking from inside the store, switch to his sidearm, turn around and lay 4-5 shots into me through the very same gate I was unable to shoot two entire assault rifle clips through.
  • Two of the core game’s maps, Flood Zone & Dawnmbreaker, will crash your 360 nine times out of ten. Some of the other maps may occasionally crash as well, but those two are the biggest culprits. It only happens on the large versions of these maps in game modes like Conquest, Obliteration and Rush and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason. They will crash when the levolution kicks in, they will crash when there’s a lot of action on the screen, they will crash while you are sitting safely back at your base waiting for a vehicle to spawn. They will simply crash. Smaller versions of the maps in game modes like Team Death Match and Domination are stable.
  • For the most part all the DLC maps are stable. I’ve heard of Second Assault maps crashing but I’ve never experienced it myself.

Settling In & General Leveling Strategy

  • You are going to suck in the beginning. Deal with it. The faster you relax, the faster you will learn how to play.
    • Don’t let the douche-nozzles with high kills and very low deaths intimidate you. They are Snipers who spend their entire careers with the bravery of being out of range and thanks to the inclusion of DMRs there’s a fukton more of them these days. Hell, I’ve been sniped from so far away the dickwad doesn’t even show up on the kill cam; just a picture of the mountains off in the distance. These aren’t talented players, they are chicken-shit griefers. All you can do is stay out of their line of fire.
    • Don’t get wrapped up in wins and losses. BF4 matchmaking is sub-par and you will end up on losing teams in the last 3 minutes of a game more often than not.
    • You will also suffer plenty of game crashes which will add to your quit percentage.
    • To put it bluntly, a lot of the stats DICE is keeping track of are bunk. They do not take into account the full picture by considering circumstances that are beyond your control. So don’t get too wrapped up in your stats. Just have fun playing.
  • If you are having a bad game FIND A NEW SERVER. You know what the most successful generals in history never did? They never fought battles they could not win. You know all those YouTubers with the excellent K/Ds and epic montages? Yeah, they do the exact same thing. You don’t have to win all the time, but getting severely trounced on is no fun at all. If you die 6 times before getting a kill you may be playing out of your league. Find a server where the competition is more balanced.
  • Pick a class and stick with it until you unlock all its devices. Most would recommend Assault because they are walking M.A.S.H. units and for someone new to the franchise it’s a very newbie friendly class to play.
    • Pick one of the first two guns you unlock for that class and use it until you have a silencer. Going silent can really help your game when you are having “one of those days”. If you choose the Engineer class to work on first, I would suggest using the first carbine you unlock rather than any of the personal defense weapons, especially on larger maps.
    • Once you have one silenced weapon you should start to experiment with the other weapons. You are looking for your gun. The one that feels most comfortable and responsive to you. The one that makes the evil little gremlin inside of you think, I’m a god with this. I can control day, and night! Team Death Match is a great place to do this. This does not mean you won’t use other guns. As you get better you’ll understand that certain situations require certain guns. But now you’ll have your definitive fall back weapon for those days when nothing is going right for you on the battlefield.
  • Find a group of people you jibe with and stick with them.
    • Don’t get bent out of shape with people not using their microphones. The gaming community is full of digital douchebags hiding behind internet anonymity. A lot of people are in Live Chat with their friends so they don’t have to deal with those tools. Other’s have just given up hope of the gaming community ever having a semblance of couth and respect for one another. And still others are playing late at night with sleeping children in the house or a sleeping spouse right behind them with a mean left kick that can send one flying off the bed in absolute pain!
      • One time I was playing BF3 without my mic along with another guy on my squad and yet we seemed to be so in sync with each other. We destroyed 10 tanks with C4 that night and celebrated each time by jumping up and down in front of each other. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish without voice comms if you have a little patience and awareness.
      • If you hold down the right bumper you will be presented with a rather useful comms menu the developers implemented for this very reason. It’s succinct, simple and a breeze to use once you get the hang of it.
    • My strategy when playing with others is to figure out what they do best and try to compliment it. If they all run and gun like mad I stick behind the pack a little and cover their 6.
    • Zen and self-awareness are key here. If you’re the type of person that blames everyone else when you die, you’re not going to find your groove anywhere. Not only in a game, but in life as well; every mistake you make is an opportunity to learn more about yourself. If you want to figure out the people around you, figure out yourself first. Why exactly did you just bite the bullet? Yes, your teammate did something stupid, but what could you have done to avoid it? Or keep it from happening entirely? Great players don’t watch things happen, they makes things happen. Most would use this information to take advantage of the shortcomings of the Smurfs on their team to pad their K/Ds and win the skirmishes. You should use it to compliment your teammates. The goal is to win the battle.


  • Map familiarity accounts for 80-90% of your success. Figuring out what routes people take in certain games modes takes time. Figuring out where douche-nozzles like to hide and camp is purely trial and error. Once again, the key here is relaxation. Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out.
  • WALK don’t run. Battlefield maps are notoriously large and make you feel like you have to run everywhere else you’ll never make it to the action in time. Until you know the maps better just take your time, scan ahead constantly and take out any errant enemy stragglers trying to flank the main battle(s).
    • Occasionally check your 6 when walking (look behind you).
    • When not in or near cover, RUN TO COVER.
    • Do not rush around corners. Peek, then go.
    • Stick to the outside of the maps and work your way in.
    • Never take a direct route from your base to the objectives and/or skirmishes.
    • Sometimes it’s just better to stay out of a snipers line of fire. Especially on some of the China Rising maps where there is plenty of high ground impossible for you to reach on foot.
  • Spot everything. Moving the spot button to the right bumper (Xbox 360) was one of the more intuitive design choices the BF development team made. In BF3 it was the back button which meant you had to sacrifice movement for the sake of spotting an enemy for your teammates. Spotting is easier now so use it.
    • Pause before heading towards the battle and spam the spot button a few times, you’ll be surprised at how many enemies can blend into the map. This technique will also show them if they are hidden behind cover waiting for you (most of the time).
  • Do not block doorways. Do not crowd behind your teammates. It’s bold and in red because I can’t stress this enough!
    • If you see an Engineer peek around a corner and fire off a rocket, STAND BACK. Not because the rocket exhaust might hurt you, but because he probably just fired at a tank which is now zeroed in on him and you are standing in the way of his retreat and about to get him and possibly you killed.
    • Same goes for any soldier to step out of a doorway or peek around the corner. Stay out of his line of retreat in case he has to, well, you know, RETREAT!
  • Do not bunch up with your squad mates. Stick together, but do not hold hands.
  • If you are at the rear of your squad, your job is to keep an eye on their 6.


Battlefielders are fond of yelling PTFO! (Play The Fucking Objective). But playing the objective doesn’t mean rushing in with guns blazing. PLAY THE OBJECTIVE SMARTLY. Consider the following scenarios:

  • After the enemy sets a bomb in Rush, CLEAR THE AREA FIRST. You know they are there, probably in a corner waiting for you to come in. You have time to disarm, so make sure the infiltrators are dead first.
  • When attacking it’s better to be stealthy in a Rush match if you manage to get in the enemies base without being noticed. A good strategy here, rather then setting the bomb and hiding, is to set the bomb and sneak over to the second bomb and set it while the enemy are scrambling to disarm the first one. Go on the offensive instead of hiding, circle behind the enemies rushing to disarm and surprise them.
  • Objectives are great but who’s going to take care of the Snipers picking off easy targets that are attacking the objectives with the bravery of being out of range? Normally, in a rational and well thought out strategy, your own Snipers would be hunting those bastards down. But Snipers are the biggest cunts in the history of MPFPS. Most of them want the easy target, hunting down one of their own is far too much work for the type of player who likes to sit back at the base having a Margarita while gently fondling his joysticks. At some point during the match someone on your team has to make the decision to go out into the boondocks and harass the douche-nozzles that keep peppering your team with single-bullet overpowered ownership. Better yet, go out there and kill these juvenile fuktards.


  • AMMO CONSERVATION: Don’t reload until you have to, you will lose any ammo left in the clip.
  • Suppression works completely different in BF4. Support light machine guns and Recon sniper rifles provide the most suppression and it no longer directly affects accuracy but causes the scope/sight to sway more.
  • If you hold your defibrillator button down longer it will charge up and provide more health to the recovered soldier.
  • You can knife someone from the front, but they have the ability to counter and stick it back to you.



Battlefield 4

NOTE: as of 4/29/2014 this problem appears to have been fixed. The emblems are saving correctly 9 out of 10 times or better. If you’ve been having trouble in the past, try returning to the emblem page and saving again. I have decided to post this article anyway just in case some people are still experiencing problems.

You just spent the past half hour meticulously designing your Battlefield 4 emblem so the people you pwn will know the real you, the artistic and talented you, orin some casesthe real douchebag you; I’m talking to all you penis and hairy balls aficionados out there. You think you’re making a comedic statement. In reality you’re just showing the world what’s on your mind most of the time.

You go to hit that save button and BAM!!! IMAGE_SAVE_ERROR

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Fear not intrepid Battlefielder, the solution is quite simple. Though it is excruciatingly tedious.

All you have to do is click on the image to reset the SAVE button and try and save it again. You’re going to have to do this until you get the IMAGE_SAVED message and the thumbnail at the top of the CUSTOMIZE EMBLEM page refreshes.

This may take quite a few attempts before you get a result, but trust me it will work eventually. Seriously, you could be doing this for fifteen minutes.

You can also try occasionally hitting F5 to refresh the browser page. Don’t worry, you won’t loose any of your changes. The image error is related to it not updating so that it will display on your guns and vehicles correctly. It seems to be saving the edit version of the image on the Customize Emblem page just fine.

The Battlefield Video Guides Lists are back!

Seeing that I’m back playing Battlefield (3 & 4) I figured why not throw the Battlefield Video Guides Lists back up.

So here they are:


I think the BF3 list is done. I won’t be updating it anytime soon unless it’s a really great video I overlooked.


This is a work in progress. I will admit that gaming has taken a second seat to writing around here and I won’t be working on this list as much as many of you would probably like to see. So if you know of any videos you feel should be added to the list please shoot me an e-mail or add the link in the comments so I can add it and give you credit for helping me.

Please always be respectful to your fellow gamers. And ignore the douchebags; don’t give them an audience. Have fun, and remember it’s just a game, not a career. Enjoy Battlefield but when it starts to frustrate you don’t yell, scream and throw your controller. Relax and take a break from it. Battle on, brothers and sisters in arms.

State of the Game: Battlefield 4, MAY 2014 (XBOX 360) – Part 2

Battlefield 4Welcome to part 2 of my Battlefield 4 State of the Game article.

Not going to lie, everyone I’ve played with has experienced everything from game crashing to console crashing problems. The map Dawnbreaker consistently crashes for everyone, though it has been stable for TDM matches (a smaller map). There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason for it, it will crash if there is a lot of action on the screen and it will crash if you are standing back at your empty base deciding a better plan of attack. This is unacceptable and DICE must fix this. Dawnbreaker is a great map and I would love to make it through a round with having to restart my Xbox.

Installing the game to your hard drive may belay crashing issues a little. Maybe delete all the updates, clear the cache on the drive and download the updates again if you’ve had the game since release. With a fresh May 2014 install of BF4 (I installed both disks) I have not experienced as many crashes as I thought I would, very few in fact. I’m not saying that I have the solution, only that it is something you should take the time to try if you are experiencing severe problems.

For those not tech savvy, the tickrate is basically how often the computers update player’s positions on the map. Counter Strike’s is something like 100, while BF4’s is 10. However, there is no concrete proof that all the rubber-banding, and oddball happenings (like getting shot from behind a concrete wall or by an enemy that had his back turned to you) is solely due to the tickrate. I will say the low refresh rate of player positions is most noticeable on the mini-map making it very unreliable and pretty much useless.
All in all, I haven’t noticed anything game breaking here and the one thing I do know from my years of gaming is sometimes the Lag Gods favor you and sometimes they curse you. Most of the time the game is pretty stable on the 360.

If you’re experiencing severe lag issues go into your BF4 Options and look under the gameplay tab for Network Smoothing Factor and reduce it to ZERO. It seems to work for me and I have not noticed a degradation in graphics or experienced any visual errors the description of this setting suggests. Never do QUICK MATCH. Browse the servers and only join ones with three bars or higher. And do what the “pros” do if you’re having a really bad game, back-out of it and find another server.

That being said, the game is frustrating at times. Especially when you can’t find your groove and it seems like everyone is shooting you from impossible positions on the map. I don’t know if it’s shoddy netcode, the kill cam showing the enemy’s position too far after the fact, or just that I haven’t found my gun and my go to class yet. It’s probably a little of all of these factors and then some.

Overall it’s an improvement on the series. There’s plenty of game modes right out of the box and the maps are much better designed, even the DLC maps. Except for Flood Zone which is a sniper camp fest for every class now that DMRs are in the game. It’s my Tehran Highway at this point. I hated Tehran Highway. Naval Strike is probably the best expansion in the history of the franchise. Progression through the game is fun and rewarding. Getting a new Battlepack every few levels is like getting a neat little gift for your efforts and the rewards in them are not game changing, just fun camos and different sights for the guns.

They did, but no one liked it. Gamers are fussy little gits harder to please than a Reagan loving Conservative pissed off with the right of Reagan black guy in the White House. BF4’s single player campaign was simply amazing. A far cry from the half-arsed forgettable crap that was in BF3. It’s well written, well acted and played wonderful. It’s been a while since a game pulled on my heartstrings enough to draw a tear and honestly, the single player alone was worth the $23 I spent. I don’t care what anyone says. The single player experience may have been short, but it was one hell of a ride. The only thing that would have made it better was if they implemented a slight roleplaying mechanic into it, so that your character could respond to the people talking to him. Like this one time the Marines on your ship were griping about something humane your teammate did; it would have been nice to tell them to fuck off, we’re Americans, helping people is what we do. Another disappointment was its Fallout 3 ending. The game gives you some choices but leaves out the most obvious one, like sending the Mutant companion into the radiated area to hit a simple switch, only in reverse, and you’re not a mutant, and the area isn’t radiated.

On the Xbox 360 I would say yes. I loved it so much I promptly went and blew the rest of my gaming budget for the year on Premium. If you’ve been following tDCS for any amount of time you would know that I’m one frugal gamer. For me to blow that much money on just DLC for a game is strange, especially considering my history with the franchise!

The game can be frustrating, but like I said, I’m not sure if it is frustrating for me because I don’t have everything unlocked yet and I haven’t found the guns, kits and play style that works for me in BF4 or if the netcode and programming is too shoddy. This past weekend was especially frustrating as I saw my stats go down faster than Bristol Palin on prom night. I suspect it had a little to do with it being a double XP Premium event and a lot of the ubers were on trying to squeeze a level or two to brag about, and I was experimenting with different guns on my assault class.

Yes, I’m worried they won’t fix the game. I’m worried they will push out the final DLC, say goodbye and leave all the bugs and the game unbalanced ala Modern Warfare 2. I’m worried I may have blown the rest of my gaming budget on a digital drinks coaster. We are talking about Electronic Arts after all.

If you are on the fence about BF4 I would suggest getting a used copy off Amazon for under $25. It is most definitely worth that much. If you like it grab a map pack or two or just get Premium. We all have to be smarter consumers. It’s why I bought the game used. It’s why you may want to wait until the Premium Edition is released and save a bit of money.

If you are looking for a new shooter, fear not, despite its problems Battlefield still blows CoD away.

State of the Game: Battlefield 4, MAY 2014 (XBOX 360) – Part 1

Battlefield 4After some glowing recommendations from a few of my BF3 friends on Xbox Live, I decided to test the waters of Battlefield 4 and purchased a used copy off Amazon for $23.

The following are my honest observations about the game on the Xbox 360 after playing it for a week. While I’ve had issues with Battlefield 3 in the past and I am certainly no friend of Electronic Arts, I am hard pressed to condemn this game on the Xbox 360. At the same time I do see some severe issues that must be fixed. However, if you are thinking about getting BF4 for the Xbox 360 don’t let all the negative press influence your decision.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard regarding the 360 version of BF4 since launch is the graphics are terrible on the 360. This could not be further from the truth.

Graphic-wise I’m not seeing anything on next gen consoles that is knocking me off my feet yet. This will change in a year or so when developers are more familiar with the hardware. Consider the games Oblivion (which was one of the first games released on the last gen) and Skyrim. Same hardware, but two very different looking games in terms of quality, eye-popping graphics. The biggest difference between Xbox One and the 360 version is 64 players and for most of you this will not translate into more people for you to kill, but more people to kill you.

Richly detailed graphics will blend into the background once you start getting into the game. I’m not saying they don’t matter, or the game won’t look better on the Xbox One. Only that after the initial wow factor is over and you’re getting shot at you’ll have 32 other things to worry about on Xbox One.

It’s certainly a different color scheme. Brighter. Considering some of the locales it should be expected. China likes its reds and golds, and Asian cities are full of neon (compared to the washed out sand look of BF3). It will take a bit to get used to if you’ve had your eyes glued to the washed out desert look of BF3 for the past few years.

The interface is another story. It’s clunky, not cluttered, but difficult to navigate and there is a huge chance of getting an epileptic fit while trying to join one of your friends. Why they left out the ability to squad up before you get into the game is mind-boggling. And why they left out the option to equip your soldier from the main screen without having to actually be in a match is one of the single most asinine decisions in the history of gaming.

The interface seems to be designed around the misplaced idea that everyone buying BF4 also owns a high-end tablet or has a PC sitting right next to their game console. Adjusting my loadout in Battlelog while I work on this review on my computer is a breeze. However, trying to utilize this feature on my Galaxy Tab during the match is an exercise in tedium. By the time the device responds to my inputs the situation on the battlefield has changed and I just spawned in with smoke when the team really needed another medic.

The Battlelog system does have one fantastic feature. It will allow you to save 2 loadouts for each class (4 if you have Premium) so you can adjust to the SITREP on the fly. Alas, even this has some major design flaws. If you want to adjust your preset loadout you have to delete the loadout you want to change and save it again rather than just save the new adjustment over it and it won’t save different gun loadouts along with the preset. You also can not access these presets from inside the game, you have to use an external device. The more I think about it the more I believe that this Battlelog system is still in pre-beta and we are paying for the privilege of debugging it.

My biggest gripe is not being able to squad up with my friends before we find a match. I’m not the overtly competitive type who sees everything and everyone as a challenge, I don’t like shooting my friends and I really don’t like them shooting at me, but that’s the only way to get into a match and you just have to pray the game balances everyone onto the same team during the intermission. Sometimes it does. Most of the time it doesn’t.

Another complaint I’ve heard is BF4 is too much like CoD. Again, this is bullshit. Gunplay is faster paced than BF3. It does seem as though it takes fewer bullets to kill or be killed, but it’s still a far cry from CoD where someone just points their gun at you and you are dead. In terms of BF3, the whole game feels a little like Close Quarters and for me this is not a bad thing.

That being said, if you are used to BF3 it’s going to take a few days for you to adapt to BF4’s game mechanics. Snipers have C4 now (which they had in previous versions of Battlefield) and so far I haven’t noticed a negative affect on gameplay because of this. I’m not a huge fan of Snipers in these games; one shot, one kill is too powerful IMHO. But giving them C4 doesn’t make them any more or less OP.

Every class now has access to Designated Marksman Rifles (DMRs, basically sniper rifles without a long range scope), and I’m not sure how I feel about this. It’s very confusing to hear sniper rounds all around me and the kill cam showing me it was a Support guy that just raped me from half way across the map. Of course the BF4 gaming community wanted these weapons to have even longer range scopes. Thank the gaming Gods DICE disagreed. Snipers also requested their OP weapons be upgraded to penetrate body armor at close range to which DICE told them to bugger off because resisting bullet damage is exactly what body armor is supposed to do. I swear snipers are some of the whiniest little gits in gaming who won’t be satisfied until they can blindly fire their weapons in the general direction of the enemy, instantly killing all of them.

I’m sure gameplay needs some more balancing. Given all the release problems I doubt DICE has had much time for this. However, I’m not noticing any major issues. There’s the usual gripes and moans from pilots about anti-air devices being too powerful, along with the obligatory gamer cacophony about this weapon and that weapon. I’m not too worried about it. DICE has always been pretty good about game balancing (when they get around to it.)

Thank you for stopping by and reading this article. Please come back tomorrow for part 2 when I’ll discuss the netcode and lag issues of BF4.

The BF Diaries: Playing on a smaller TV

Up until just before last Christmas I had been playing BF3 on my larger 46″ Sony Bravia TV. I’ve heard tell that it’s better to play on a smaller TV. So, one night when the wife was away and unavailable to yell at me for “moving shit around for stupid reasons” I moved the 36″ Samsung TV from the bedroom into the living room, hooked up the 360 and gave it a go. After about 5 games, my buddy and I decided that there is probably some truth in the smaller TV thing. All five games I either pulled off even K/D or better. Keep in mind, I play the f-ing objective, but I’m never that consistent playing on the bigger screen. That very same night I ended up moving the gaming console into the bedroom, along with the router and cable modem… So the wife couldn’t yell at me for moving shit around for stupid reasons, which she did anyway when she returned the next day from visiting her aunt.


It’s now a few months later and while I admit I am still no FPS beast, you can see that my K/D ratio has been rising steadily since I made the move to the smaller TV. Okay, okay, my win/loss has been going down… You can blame Scavenger (and the dreaded and excruciatingly unsuccessful XBOW chase) for that. I’ve also been having to drop out of a lot of games because YOU MAROONS HAVE THE TICKET COUNTS SET TOO FREAKING HIGH AND NO ONE HAS THE TIME FOR THAT! My quit percentage is 14%… I hate quitting games, I’d rather lose. So yeah, quit with the ‘effing huge ticket counts already, especially you gits with the Close Quarters servers.

KDWLBefore I traded Battlefield 3 in on 5/12/2012 thanks to the Great EA Server Fiasco my K/D was an abysmal .66 (in my defense, I PTFO and almost exclusively Conquest back then). I purchased BF3 Premium just after Thanksgiving and played my first game around 12/18/12, shortly after that I moved my 360 to the 36″ TV and reset my stats to get a better grasp of how well I was doing without my old stats plaguing me. Since then my K/D has hovered between .85 and .90, and is slowly and steadily getting better. Like I said, I’m no beast, but there has been a demonstrable improvement since I’ve jumped back in. Rare is the game in which I’m 5 kills and 10 or more deaths (even when I go balls to the wall and PTFO.) Using BF3 Stats and cutting out all the time I did not play BF3 at all, it’s a pretty big jump. My kill assists and headshots have also risen dramatically. I’m getting a lot more headshots on the smaller TV.

My K/D has improved from .66 to .71 just by playing on a smaller screen and is rising slow and sure. All in all, I’m chuffed. I sacrificed surround sound in my games, but I’m playing better because of it. So if you are playing a 46″ TV or larger and desire to improve your game I would suggest moving your console to a smaller TV and see how you do. If I improved I know you can because, unlike WoodyGamersTag, I am truly an unexceptional gamer and most of you are much better than I.

BF3 Stats

Battlefield 3: The state of the end game. Is Premium worth it now?

MARCH 2014

This article has sat on the burner for a while now because I wanted to get a good feel for the true state of BF3 these days. I considered not publishing it at all, but I am coming across quite a few new players lately. Given this I am led to believe this article will be of some benefit to the gaming community.

For me, getting to game again with two great friends in the very game responsible for bringing us together pretty much trumps any misgivings I had about jumping back into a dated game. From that perspective alone, it is more than worth it for me. BF3 is a great game that only gets better with friends.

But is it worth it for you? As far as content availability goes there are a few issues you will need to consider if you are thinking about purchasing Battlefield 3 Premium these days.

Close Quarters
Personally, I absolutely love this DLC. Take the best multi-player shooter ever made, add the more endearing elements of CoD into it, and it’s a win/win. The games are fast paced, frantic and just plain fun. This DLC is not for the faint of heart or the tool that nurtures their K/D like conservatives nurture the bullshit on Fox News. I just wish I could find more games. The few servers you can find are full most of the time and the rest are empty. This is not much of a problem when you are alone, but if you’re playing with friends it’s going to be hard to get your whole group into the same game and on the same team. You can usually find a Gun Master game to squeeze into, which is a nice change of pace sometimes that may introduce you to your new favorite gun. The biggest problem with Close Quarters is the huge, and I mean HUGE, ticket counts. The games never end, which sucks if you want to try the different CQ maps. Quite frankly, it’s absurd.

I don’t care what the Battlefield purists say, CoD like or not, it’s a laugh. More people need to be playing this. This DLC is worth purchasing for the added guns alone, so if you opt not to buy Premium and see this DLC on sale in the Xbox Live store, go for it!

b33m3R’s funfactor score: 8/10
Chances of finding a game: Good if solo or with one friend. Hard with a squad of 4.
Chances of finding a game on an official server: Slim to none for any mode but Gun Master.
Pros: Well worth it for the extra guns if you can get it on sale.
Cons: Ticket counts are more egregious than Jamie Dimon’s paycheck.

Of all the DLC, this was the one I was most looking forward to… Except that no one was playing it! It was infuriating. For a while I couldn’t fathom why, and one day I found a rented server playing the maps… It took me two games of Conquest to put the pieces together. For a game mode like Conquest the Aftermath maps are a CoD campers paradise. Every bullet that killed me came from some dark corner of some broken down building that was all but impossible to see into even with brightness turned all the way up. This problem was compounded more by the fact that the server I was playing on had the kill cam turned off. Yes, the little shits that rented the server knew exactly what they were doing and how to play these maps.

The Scavenger game mode alleviates the campfest design of the maps quite a bit. In Scavenger players are forced to traverse the maps to find weapons with limited ammo; making camping in a dark corner good for only one measly kill. However, this mode is replete with one great big logistical problem. You need to win 3 rounds of Scavenger in order to unlock the coveted XBOW therefore making Scavenger an utter bitch to win. Why? People are only playing it to unlock the XBOW, and will inevitably leave your team if it is losing half way through the match to join the winning team. At this juncture in the game’s history the servers are never full and having one or two players leave your team half way through the match ensures your loss. Extremely FRUSTRATING!

b33m3R’s funfactor score: 2/10
Chances of finding a game: You’d have better luck finding intelligent life amongst the fans of Duck Dynasty.
Chances of finding a game on an official server: Newt “Family Values” Gingrich has a better chance of staying with his wife after she becomes fatally ill.
Pros: The maps look cool. Rush might be the only viable game mode on these maps, good luck finding one though.
Cons: This has to be the most ill-thought out DLC ever. The maps are specifically designed for campers and Scavenger would be better served if it did not allow players to switch teams… Or they could have made unlocking the XBOW contingent on something other than winning 3 rounds of one of the most frustrating game modes in MPFPS history.

End Game
You can find a few people still playing these maps, especially Capture the Flag, and I have to say… Bikes are hella fun! I have not played these maps much, CTF ain’t really my thing. Engineers will be happy to know that Javelins are actually useful now, against bikes. Just know that while riding said bike you will receive no warning at all that a Javelin has locked onto you and will promptly witness yourself being blown into a million tiny pieces.

b33m3R’s funfactor score: 5/10
Chances of finding a game: Fair so long as you want to play capture the flag.
Chances of finding a game on an official server: Slim to good.
Pros: Bikes are really fun (more so when drunk)! CTF is always a solid game mode to play. Javelins are useful now!
Cons: Overall, nothing to write home about. Javelins are useful now!

Armored Kill
I’ve never been a big fan of vehicles in Battlefield. I’m not saying they don’t belong in the game, vehicles are part of Battlefield’s charm. I’ve just been stuck on too many teams that get decimated by crack pilots and honestly, IGLA and Javelin/SOLFAM combos are fucking useless against a talented chopper pilot equipped with below radar and stealth. This DLC is good for a laugh but that’s about it. The maps are huge and if you lose your vehicle it will be a long hike to another one. The servers are populated by vehicle gurus so good luck if you are looking for a place to work on your piloting skills; you’ll be cannon fodder for all the level 100s.

b33m3R’s funfactor score: 6/10
Chances of finding a game: Fair.
Chances of finding a game on an official server: Fair.
Pros: Huge maps, more vehicles…
Cons: Huge maps, more vehicles with level 100s piloting them…

Is Battlefield 3 Premium worth it this late in the game?
For $35+, not so much. If you can get it for $25 or less, perfect. The biggest problem I see is the fact that you are largely limited to rented servers with the DLC, all of which have ridiculous ticket counts and/or ridonkulous rules. Mostly, it’s the ticket counts that grind my gears. Even when I do have the time to sit down for a marathon Battlefield 3 session I have no desire to play the same game mode and map for 3 hours.

There are plenty of BF3 classic and Back to Karkand (which I did not review, because it was released with BF3 and to me that’s part of the original game) games to go around, but if you’re looking to play a bunch of Premium DLC you are going to be disappointed. The core game (and B2K) have a solid player base that does not look to be going anywhere anytime soon.

I recommend picking up the basic game, and get Close Quarters (if only for the additional guns), and Back to Karkand when they go on sale. Everything else is a waste of money.

BF3 Stats


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