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Old 08-31-2011, 04:29 PM
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Battlefield 3 commuinty event - PAX 2011

I was recently invited to a private event, held during the PAX West show in Seattle Washington this past week.

Dice/EA was gracious enough to provide me with: round trip airfair, hotel accommodation, a 3 day pass to PAX West and the corresponding security clearance to attend a private Battlefield 3 event. Which was held at an undisclosed highly secure, top secret location. - Ok, it was held in the ballroom on floor 4 of our hotel.

I've been to many events and this was the first time where there was a limited number of invitees. Thus we each had our own dedicated PC and PS3 to get our hands on with the game, during the event.



Did you say co-op via PS3

After having dinner and the opening announcements, we where off to our respected stations and a bit of co-op on the PS3.

We played on a map named Exfiltration and we teamed up. We had to liberate a man being held and escort him to a set of vehicles waiting, then escort the convoy to safety.

I think everyone reading this site knows my love towards the console and how much I hate playing FPSs on said platform. Please, place all drinks down and away from the keyboard. Remove all sharp object that are near you to a safe secure place. For what I'm about to say may surprise the hell out of you.
I actually got into playing co-op on the PS3. I've tried FPSs on the Xbox, Wii and PS3 in the past but the controls would frustrate the hell out of me. For some reason I was able to aim and control my guy with ease and I really got the hang of working with my team mate to provide cover, offer a revive or guide him to the ammo crates along our route. I was amazed that I did not break the controller in half or trh
We stared in an ally way, assembled and made our way upstairs via some CQC to our objective. Once we made our objective, it was now time to make it back downstairs to the awaiting vehicles, on the other side of the street.

Once back outside and with the convoy, we provided security on foot, then a little vehicle ride where we manned the mounted 50 cal, with the computer AI driving. We where soon back on foot. I will say it was intense back on the street, with a lot of street level gun fights as well as a bunch of snipers trying to pick you off at every turn. throw in a few RPGs and it was a blast, no pun intended. Team work helped and we made it to our objective. - I really enjoyed this part of the event and TBH wish we could have spent a bit more time on the PS3 (More on that after the PC hands on)

PC hands on "Now we're talking gaming!"

While I was actually enjoying myself on the PS3, I couldn't help but notice that nice shiny keyboard and mouse. And yes I did use plenty of hand sanitizer after touching the controller of the console. I also burned a layer of skin off just in case .

We got to play the same map which was included in the Alpha, which was a bit of a let down as I put my time in with the Alpha. With that said, we did have all the weapons unlocks available to us to use. You have a lot of options and this should make replay and added bonus. You will not be bored with the attachments you have at your disposal (when you unlock them all). I think I spent more time playing around with different load outs then playing the game. I really wish I had more time to experiment but we only till midnight before it was all over.

The map itself, did have some updates to it as well as we where playing a later build of the Alpha. So there was some small issues like weapon changing but I know I did not crash or lockup once. I know playing the Alpha, reports of CTD and lockups where common. Hell I expected the Alpha to lockup every 20 minutes or so. This build seemed a bit more solid.

Graphics where smooth as butter, seen a few lighting issues but again this is still a Alpha and things are going to change a lot over the next few weeks leading up to the release.

By the end of the night we had reassembled to the other side of the room to play some TDM. While nothing different in the game mode, it was fun to run and gun without having to worry about comm stations or objectives. TDM ran very smoothly and I had a lot of fun with it. (Should note we played the same map but on the other side of the metro station in the streets and buildings)



So to recap:
PS3 - more fun then I expected, controls where very easy to get use to; even for a die hard PC fan.

PC: Operation Metro - some tweaks to the map, looks gorgeous and played very smoothly. Had time to spend playing around with many different weapons and configurations. It's going to be hard to find a setup that beats everything else, there is just too many options, once you unlock everything. This in itself should make it rewarding for all those hours you're going to spend behind the keyboard

PC: TDM - was fun, just like playing TDM from any other franchise. If your looking for quick game play and bragging rights then you will be right at home with the Team Death Match game mode.
And now for something different

As you know from past events, I like to focus on the team behind the game and their attitude towards the game and their customers.

I was able to spend some quality time with Daniel Matros, Twitter @zh1nt0, Global Community Manager at Dice for the Battlefield franchise.

We talked about GSPs, mods, community managers, video gaming, and a lot of other things. I must say he gets it. I was amazed at how in touch he is with the community and his customers. He understand the respect you can gain by communicating openly with your end users. He's an avid PC gamer but also understand that not all his customers are PC games and he should not tailor to just one demographic/platform. Everyone is a customer and is due respect from him and the company he works for.

I also get the feeling from him and Dice, that they truly go to bat for the PC customer. Now some of you will say what about mod and mapping tools and being able to run a server ourselves. Regarding tools, there has already been an interview with DICE’s general manager Karl-Magnus Troedsson, DICE has heard the community and their wishes, and said in recent interview with AusGamers,

Quote:
“We have heard the community very loud and clear on this topic — that they want mod tools. We are considering it, back in the studio. The game won’t ship with mod tools, but we have heard it. I’m not saying that we’re going to do it, I’m saying that we are thinking about it.”
Regarding letting us setup our own game server on our own equipment, I don't see that happening right now and to be honest I think that decisions is more in the hands of EA then Dice or Danial (my own opinion there)

It was a pleasure meeting Daniel at the event and a conversation I'll remember for a long time. A lot of other CMs could learn a lot from him.

Another CM I'd like to mention was Seeson Mahathovrn who isCM for the Battlefield 3 out of LA. This was his first event and I must say it he did a impressive job. first event I've been too where all the machines where setup and "working" upon our arrival. He is the person who coordinated this event and I had to give him a shout out as well.

Big thanks to the following sponsors who gave us some cool stuff:
Off Duty Gamers, Gunnar, Razer and ASTRO Gaming


Oh and one more, Matt Pruitt working the booth



As always any questions, hit the reply button.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:15 PM
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An excellent after action report Rude!!!

Thanks for all the info and for sharing your impressions. I, as Im sure many others, will be looking to get this game especially now after reading your words.

Thanks!
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:40 PM
Matthew Pruitt Matthew Pruitt is offline
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Thanks for coming, Jim! Always good to see you.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:43 PM
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Good report Rudedog, thanks. BF3 still do not disappoint from your impressions, i cant say much for the PS3, i wont be playing it on that - Shame you didnt get to play that gigantic Caspian Border map, hoping it will be whats used in the Beta!

I agree on your point about Daniel, he is very much in touch with the Community, spending time tweeting/blogging community videos, Site fan URL, etc...
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:48 PM
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Very nice review Jim. Looking forward to this game more and more.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Pruitt View Post
Thanks for coming, Jim! Always good to see you.
My pleasure Matt, thanks for having me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeroy View Post
Good report Rudedog, thanks. BF3 still do not disappoint from your impressions, i cant say much for the PS3, i wont be playing it on that - Shame you didnt get to play that gigantic Caspian Border map, hoping it will be whats used in the Beta!

I agree on your point about Daniel, he is very much in touch with the Community, spending time tweeting/blogging community videos, Site fan URL, etc...
While I was hoping we would have got our hands on that map, but it was still worth it.

Like I told Danial, I feel BF3 and Dice have pushed other devs/publishes back to PC gaming again.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:02 PM
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Daniel is a very approachable guy from what I have seen from coming on here to even talking to people on twitter when he can. As you said Rudedog, a lot of CM's could learn from him one in particular springs to mind .
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:07 PM
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Thanks for the impressions! I was wondering if you were able to sneak in any technical questions while you were there, like the FOV question I mentioned in the other thread, it's been bugging the hell out of me! haha.

Oh and Matt, glad to see you posting again!
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tobi54 View Post
Thanks for the impressions! I was wondering if you were able to sneak in any technical questions while you were there, like the FOV question I mentioned in the other thread, it's been bugging the hell out of me! haha.

Oh and Matt, glad to see you posting again!
I did and some of it is off the record. Not because they are trying to hide things, it's just at this time there is so much to do things are getting put in and taken out each build to test for compatibility as well as playability.

Regarding the 24 player limit, you will have to setup your server for that number of slots. You will not be able to mix map and game types with different player limits.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudedog View Post
My pleasure Matt, thanks for having me.



While I was hoping we would have got our hands on that map, but it was still worth it.

Like I told Danial, I feel BF3 and Dice have pushed other devs/publishes back to PC gaming again.
I couldn't agree more, MW2 goes 9 vs 9 P2P only, Carmack jumps on the IW bandwagon by dismissing dedicated servers, Crytek follows suit on player limits with C2, and then DICE goes "Hey guys look what we can do". They deserve a lot of credit for what they're doing with BF3, I honestly think they are looking at the bigger picture, something other devs missed. The success of BC2 on PC showed them the potential of long term profit from digital delivery, if I had to guess I'll say at this point the PC SKU has sold the same or more than the console counter parts, yes there were a lot of sales, and it can be picked up for very cheap, but after the development costs have been covered, does it really matter? There's no manufacturing costs for digital delivery SKU, or royalties paid to either Sony or MS, it's all profit. If we think digital delivery is big today, how big do you think it'll be 5 years from now. While current gen consoles die off DICE is already a generation ahead of the competition and have the tech to hit the ground running whenever the new consoles come out, all of this while banking on the PC market. This is all great for them, but it's also great for us for bringing much needed attention to the PC platform, devs that were slowly turning away are all of a sudden getting a "we can't be left behind" attitude towards the PC after seeing BF3 steam roll over everything else at E3, Gamescom, and now PAX.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudedog View Post
I did and some of it is off the record. Not because they are trying to hide things, it's just at this time there is so much to do things are getting put in and taken out each build to test for compatibility as well as playability.

Regarding the 24 player limit, you will have to setup your server for that number of slots. You will not be able to mix map and game types with different player limits.
I can understand that, hoping most of this stuff will get addressed during the beta. I really liked the type of response I saw during the alpha, they are clearly listening to feedback, now the beta is just going to be a massive stress test of all things, not just gameplay, I wouldn't want to be on their shoes, not one bit, still can't wait to test drive 32vs32.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:56 PM
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I kind of knew Dice was a PC focused dev house (but are also working on their console versions as well - see how I did not say port - more on that in a second) but after talking to Danial, you really get the sense/feeling how PC focused they are.

In regards to releasing versions for both xbox and PS3. They also understand you don't develop for the least common denominator and then try to port up. You build upon the platform with the most power, bells and whistles and then tweak it for said platform.

It's better to have and not need then need and not have during development. Dice just realizes you can have a better experience on all platforms as long as you do it in the right order.

Something other devs fail to realize to this day.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:24 PM
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Great Write up Rude.

I always enjoy your articles.

October can't get here fast enough.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:20 PM
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Thanks David,

You know I almost guaranty this game will ship on time.... why... I'm away 3 of the 4 weeks in Oct
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:18 AM
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Rudedog,

Was there any comments as to why they are not allowing UN-ranked servers as they did for BF2? I realize that the ranked business model they have adapted since then, seems to "work for them", but it doesn't work for gamers as a whole. At least not those that just want to play the game and have the resources to run the game themselves.

The reasoning that "It allows easier cheats and hacks to be created" really has (forgive the pun) gone to the dogs. It has been proven several times over (and is even backed by the anti-cheat community ( I have included Maydax's Quote as one of the sources of this. Being as he is the lead developer of PBBANS automated hub) that server files being released, does not contribute to enabling cheaters.

Pc gamers would just like what they have had and enjoyed for the past 17 years (or so), full control over their servers. BF2 was great for this as we had access to the files and were allowed to mod them for UN-ranked servers.

It has now been announced that MW3 will have Dedicated servers as they have had in the past. While this is a grand announcement, I hope they keep to the promise of them. The only drawback to MW3 will be the fact that, Activision didn't invest in a new engine for the game.

Let's be fair here, just because Activision is giving us back dedicated server files for public use and hosting, doesn't mean that the game will be all that. Basically what we are getting with MW3 it seems is:
  1. New maps
  2. New weapons
  3. New perk
  4. Old Engine
Essentially (from what I gather) we will be playing Modern Warfare2.... Converted.
Granted, this is just a way for Bobby Kotik to get the dollars from the public, but to be honest, I will bite this time because I will have control over MY server. i didn't buy MW2 (nor any of the BF series after BF2).

If Activision has the eyes to see that the public wants this, why would EA/DICE not bite and just give the public what it wants? Can you imagine the amount of people who do not buy the game because they can't host their own servers for their clans?

People like me who rent boxes in the Data Centers who would like the ability to not only play, but host the games. I am not an RSP/TGSP. I am simply a gamer who did enjoy the Battlefield series, up till I couldn't host it for my clan and friends. Why pay a GSP to host it when I have the resources to do so.

Thanks for reading!
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