Battlefield 3 is coming and there's no denying it. EA and DICE are boasting a next generation game for current generation platforms and a first person experience like no other. This isn't going to be another offshoot like the Bad Company series, hell no, this is the next major Battlefield release since Battlefield 2 in 2005. It's got jet fighters, large scale battles and even bigger destruction, all powered by the new and improved Frostbite 2.0 engine. With the game deploying later this year, one can't help but wonder what DICE will be including besides the already announced features, so here are five of many things that we would like to see in Battlefield 3.
Proper Military Appointments and Squad/Class Support
First off, a return to Battlefield roots would be commendable. Granted DICE said Battlefield isn't about churning out more of the same, but nothing's stopping them from keeping what made Battlefield what it is and improving on it. For one, a proper squad based system would be killer.
Compared to Battlefield 2, the Bad Company series doesn't quite promote squad based teamwork or purposeful appointments even though it allows players to join squads online. Case in point, Assault class troops are appointed with support based abilities such as ammo resup, this doesn't exactly work out that well especially since the Assault class is just that, an offensive class. It's hard to resupply others with ammo when you're focused on killing the troops in front of you.
It'll be great to see specific appointments span across a deeper class and hierarchy system. Bad Company 2 streamlined it a bit, merging anti-tank with engineering, medics with support and the like. In addition, it'll be great to have a commander or squad leader take point and appoint key objectives for their men. Zipper Interactive's MAG has done this to a certain degree of success and even Battlefield 2 appointed squad leaders and commanders in any one game.
Faction Specific Weapons and Equipment
I can't stress how weird it is to play as a USMC troop only to see an AK-74 bobbing up and down the screen as I mow down OpFor with 5.45 rounds. Arguably, faction specific weapons can add a greater depth and level of immersion for a game like Battlefield. I'm not just talking about reskins or mirror reflection balancing between weapons, but a truly balanced out weapons system where each military organization has their own respective weapon types alongside their pros and cons.
For instance, the USMC tend to use midrange assault rifles like the M4 Carbine with the smaller 5.56 or even the in-between 6.8mm rounds, whereas the Russian Armed Forces use their own AK-74 or 100 series that utilize the mid-class 5.45 or monolithic 7.62 general purpose rounds.
Each weapon system has their own unique aspects about them and applying such a system can potentially create an interesting dynamic in seeing how engagements pan out between factions. In essence, each side will have to take advantage of what their respective weapon systems offer on the battlefield.
Vehicles With A Purpose
It's a bit ridiculous to see an IFV take out a full-blown, heavily armoured tank. Granted, an IFV will likely deal a fair amount of damage with armour piercing rounds, but in most cases an IFV is just that, an Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Its purpose is to carry infantry units as close to an objective as possible while providing fire support for them. It's also a pretty good anti-air solution. The Bad Company series pretty much removed any dynamic from the vehicle types as any one armoured vehicle with a cannon could take the other out.
With Battlefield 3, hopefully we'll see grander battle dynamics taking place between infantry units and IFVs, IFVs and tanks and even the anti-tank units against armoured vehicles in general. On that note, a good method of promoting teamwork is to have vehicles actually operated by their respective, well, operators: driver, vehicle commander and gunners for armoured vehicles and pilots and copilots/gunners for aircraft, instead of enabling a single player to handle both driving and gunnery appointments.
Large Scale Battles
Prior to the Bad Company series, Battlefield offered what many first person shooter games didn't. A large scale war on many levels, from infantry to armour and even air engagements across an entire map with multiple objectives to complete - not to mention 64 player support. Perhaps it's just me, but the maps in the Bad Company series feel a lot smaller and, coupled with a lesser 32 player cap on PC and 24 players on consoles, definitely more streamlined in order to direct the flow of the action.
DICE have already confirmed 64 player support for PC, so that's a bloody welcome relief. Player caps on consoles, on the other hand, have yet to be confirmed. Hopefully, for a full-out Battlefield experience, it won't be limited to just 24 players. Imagine that, 12-on-12 action on a huge map with vehicles like jets. Even if maps scale to the number of players, it still won't be very fun flying jets across a tiny air space on a small map. Consoles have proven that they can handle more than 24 players: MAG currently supports 256 players while Resistance 2 supported 60 player games.
While we're still on the topic of large scale battles, I would like to bring up the issue of spotting in Battlefield. This feature is what really sets the series apart from other first person shooters on the market. Spotting is an effective way of alerting teammates to enemy units that you can't deal with. While 2D spotting has worked quite effectively for the series so far (by placing a red marker over an enemy unit for a few seconds), what really has me excited is the notion of 3D spotting.
Battlefield 3 designer Alan Kertz touched on the topic, saying that 2D spotting will be a minimum standard, but 3D spotting within teams and, likely, at squad level, is something he would really like to include: "Squad, contact, 11 o'clock, 200 meters behind tree, fire at will," now that's some heavy team work in action. Of course, the question posed is if people would actually use a system like that.
Don't Be Call of Duty
Yeah, yeah, I know. Call of Duty is an amazing series, but you can only run with the same thing over and over again for so long before it becomes stale. Each Call of Duty game has generally felt the same as the previous iteration since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
Thankfully, Battlefield 3 already sets itself apart with very different mechanics like bullet drop, environmental destruction and a huge focus on squad based tactics, as well as its dedication to the online multiplayer component. Besides, copying Call of Duty won't draw the masses away from such a mainstream title.
Even EA and DICE agree the only way to beat a game like Call of Duty is to make a better game. Battlefield 3 presents them with that opportunity and from what has been announced, it sounds like the game is shaping up to be better than any Call of Duty game released, at least in content and depth.
And that's our extensive wishlist for Battlefield 3. The game is out later this year on PC as well as the PS3 and Xbox 360. We can't wait.