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Letters from the Front

2018 was a year that was dominated by loot boxes, battle passes, log-in bonuses, and more. 2018 was the year that I spent most of my time on the battlefield: playing across war-torn cities, the French countryside, battling across famous locations like the River Somme and the Argonne in Battlefield 1.

Now, in Battlefield V, it is a completely different thing. Tides of War is Battlefield V’s live service in which the live service will take us across the war in a journey that mirrors the actual war with respective battles coming in their respective years and the Tides of War is another example of the Live Service model in which you have to keep track of everything, trying to keep a calendar that would get me all the limited in-game rewards like new gear and new weapons like the MAS-44. This is the new model of multiplayer games, now that season passes are going away, there needs to be a new way on how to monetize and gain money back without the reliance of season passes.

Battlefield V currently is at a state similar to that of Rainbow Six: Siege, where at first, it seemed to be a failure which came roaring back. Battlefield V currently at that same point with low physical sales and a lack of content despite being the most promising title in the franchise since Battlefield 3, DICE has said that it plans to continue to update the game throughout 2019 but I have no hope in them saying that since DICE answers to EA and whatever EA says, it goes. Anything can change in a year’s time, the game could be abandoned after Trial by Fire which is releasing in March and that is as far as the roadmap goes.

A big part of the conversation surrounding Battlefield V is the lack of maps and a general lack of that World War II “feeling” that many of us grew up within the early and late ‘2000s. Rewards in Battlefield V are pretty fleshed out and the distribution of the rewards are pretty healthy but there needs to be more and its worth questioning if the Live Service was the right way to approach Battlefield V when a Season Pass offered more in one go than slowly dripping it out through content updates each month. DICE needs to find a way on how to keep the playerbase engaged with more things to do and more content.

KEEP THE CONTENT ROLLING

No two games handle Live Services the same way. Developers use weekly events, seasons, create battle passes like Fortnite or Black Ops IV or seasonal events to keep the ball rolling. Games like Fortnite, Black Ops IV, and perhaps Battlefield V understand that the service must keep pushing along and that stagnation is death. This idea will continue to become truer as 2019 progresses.

The statement of “Give players nothing and see your game die but give everything to the player all at once and they become bored.” is true because there has been plenty of examples that make this statement true. In the case of the Battlefield franchise, everyone ditched Battlefield 1 because all the content was dropped at once in an expansion pack and once everyone required the new weapons and played the new maps then everyone left because there wasn’t anything to come back too because everyone already had seen it. In the case of Battlefield V, this will not be the case as all the content would be drip-fed throughout each chapter to keep you coming back to the game. All of this is good but there needs to be more content like releasing several maps all at once and build on that as the chapter progresses into its final stage. There needs to be more and I hope DICE understands that.

QUALITY v. QUANTITY

Online multiplayer games and online games, in general, are moving away from the Season Pass model that is now outdated. After the successes of Overwatch and Fortnite Battle Royale, the idea of a Season Pass is no longer beneficial because why drop everything at once when the content can be fed piecemeal and everything is separated into separate expansions. For example, Combined Arms, originally slated to release in the original build of Battlefield V was pushed back and is now releasing in Chapter II: Lightning Strikes, the current chapter but its not going to release until February. New expansions invalidate old quests and invalidate old content. World of Warcraft, for example, there are 14 expansions in total so that is 14 years of content but you have to ask yourself what do you get out of those 14 years of content? Yes, there may be old stuff but everything favors the new stuff.

Overwatch and Fortnite have done away with that line of thinking. Battle Royale in Fortnite is played on one single map but the map is always changing. Overwatch has new things constantly that adds onto the base game like a brand new map or a brand new hero but everything in the game changes. Sea of Thieves have also contributed to this idea, in some kind of way, despite getting criticized at launch for a lack of content but it has completely turned around. While Rare has been rounding out the game since March 2018, there are no rewards in the traditional sense beyond cosmetics. Everything you do in the game and everything you receive in the game simply unlocks cosmetics and allow you to further along your reputation to gain more cosmetics.

However, despite this, Sea of Thieves has offered rewards in exchange to generate fun moments with your friends. I have had plenty of fun moments with my friends, the last time I logged on, these moments include hunting the Kraken and looking for pigs to sell for money and losing said pigs to the ocean as our ship sank.

This is the problem that Live Services must solve, it’s not items or gear score but the ability to captivate players and the ability to make memories. Battlefield V does not have that at this stage of the game, there is a lack of that WW2 “feeling” going on currently in the game, there needs to be more of that WW2 “feeling.” so we can start making memories. Let’s start to see those iconic WW2 maps or those iconic WW2 moments like flying a P-51 Mustang over a small island in the Pacific and engaging in dogfights with Japanese Zeroes or fighting along the Volga River in Stalingrad against the Germans in one of the war’s most famous battles and arguably the turning point against Nazi Germany.

DICE needs to start adding this stuff in and let’s start making memories because, at this point, the game doesn’t have enough to it. It’s tiring to play on the same old maps and its tiring to wait and wait for new maps like Crete and with the overall threat that is EA to DICE and to Battlefield V, I am concerned that new maps like Crete or new fronts will never arrive in the game because the support would be cut or EA will decide to kill off DICE because Battlefield V didn’t make enough money to please Wall Street investors. This form of Live Service raises the question if DICE even knows how to work a Live Service or if a Live Service was the right choice for Battlefield V. Battlefield V feels like home but there isn’t enough to keep playing, especially this early on in the lifecycle when DICE needs to make the case on why someone like me wants to keep playing the game?

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