Category Archives: Xbox 360

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

Battlefield 4

THE PLAYER BASE FEELS DIFFERENT
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.

IS THERE HOPE?
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.

PROFIT AT ANY COST (TO YOU)
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.

THINGS AREN’T ALL BAD THIS TIME AROUND
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
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 0 (ZERO)
— 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
– OFFICIAL SERVERS: 0 (ZERO)
— 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

 ServerQuestTHE FABULOUS RETURN OF THE
GREAT BF3 SERVER FIASCO OF MAY 2012
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.

THE ADMIN POWER TRIP IS NOTICEABLY ABSENT
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!

I UNDERSTAND IT’S PLAYER POPULATION AS WELL
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.

WHO DESIGNED THE INTERFACE?
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.

JOINME

WARNING: MAY CAUSE SEIZURES!

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 KNOWLEDGE AND MOVEMENT

  • 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.

PLAYING THE OBJECTIVE

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.

IMPORTANT CHANGES FROM BF3

  • 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.

 

BF4 Emblem IMAGE_SAVE_ERROR Fix

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:

BATTLEFIELD 3 VIDEO GUIDES LIST

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

BATTLEFIELD 4 VIDEO GUIDES LIST

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.

BUGS AND FREEZES?
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.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE TICKRATE (NETCODE)?
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.

THEY DID A LOT OF THINGS RIGHT
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.

NO ONE TALKS ABOUT THE SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN
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.

IS IT WORTH GETTING?
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.

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