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Why Battlefield 4's DLC delay is actually a good thing

Future plans for Battlefield 4 DLC are on hold for now, as developer DICE looks to squash the majority of bugs that remain in the game. According to an EA spokesperson, talking to CVG: “the team at DICE is working non-stop to update the game”. Fair enough--it’s a smart move from EA in terms of winning back credibility and trust from players who have experienced problems with the game. However, it’s not an entirely selfless move either.

Personally, I’ve only experienced a single crash during roughly 12 hours of Battlefield 4 on PS4. My game failed to load a map at the start of one session, so I quit out of the application, closed it, and restarted. Took about 30 seconds. No stats lost, no need to unplug my machine and do the restart dance. Hey, maybe I’m just lucky--I know others who claim to have serious problems with the game. If you've had problems, do let me know in the comments. I'll commiserate with you as sincerely as possible.

It’s hardly a surprise. Battlefield games are notoriously buggy during the first few weeks, as the game’s online features go from having 100 or so test players to several million actual players within a couple of days. As I’ve said before, you can't simulate these conditions, so people are always going to find problems. The serious bug issues have persisted longer than most expected--including myself--but I'm an optimist, so I like to think it's because this is the most ambitious game in the series ever. Ok, that’s the background.

EA’s decision to tackle the bugs for good will certainly be welcomed by the vocal elements online; the players who shout loudest about their grievances. Quite rightly so--it shows everyone that the problem is being taken seriously, and not swept under the figurative carpet. 

However, if the latest slew of bugs in the new China Rising DLC (which launched for Premium subscribers on Tuesday) are any indication, then EA and DICE desperately need to stabilise Battlefield 4 before releasing any more ‘stuff’ into it. This isn’t just about reputation and player experience--this is about knowing what you can and can’t do within your own gaming environment. All these problems arising from the game’s launch on not only existing consoles, but brand-new hardware too, are clearly showing DICE what does and doesn’t work in Battlefield 4 online. And that will definitely influence the way it approaches future DLC.

There are clearly issues with some of the basic elements of Battlefield 4, which are causing coding conflicts to arise. In other words, some stuff just doesn’t play nicely with other stuff, and the game can’t handle that… and it crashes. Again, it’s totally understandable that this is happening--you can’t stress test most of that stuff, especially when you’re dealing with (as DICE were earlier this year) non-final hardware. Equally, though, you need to address these issues before throwing more potential problems into the mix.

That’s exactly what the guys and girls at DICE are doing, so credit to them. And yes, they get to win a PR battle too. It kills two (Little) Birds with one stone (IGLA). The battle now is to use this time to smash the majority of the bugs quickly. If this drags on, it won’t just make the forum-threads angrier: it’ll delay DLC and / or make it far less satisfying than DICE has planned for. And that would be a huge, huge shame.

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11 comments

  • Supergamer73 - December 6, 2013 4:54 p.m.

    No shit it is a good thing. I bet the next article this author puts out will be something along the lines of "Why good games are fun".
  • Jackonomics2.0 - December 6, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    Good call i guess, if they are gonna make DLC, atleast make sure it's good and delay it till needed.
  • -Saatkvss- - December 5, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    i've had maps fail to load twice. this i can forgive. but i've had multiple crashes during mp (conquest. and and shitload of xp down the drain). i can honestly say i can't recall ever seeing crashes during mp in ANY game, let alone previous battlefield's. but, most damnable all, the most appalling lack of QC, the crowning glory? the last update wiped my singleplayer data! i just wanted to mop up a few cheevo's. now i have to replay the whole fucking game! anybody else had this happen?
  • P0ck3tC1am - December 6, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    It's not that bad. the Single player was super easy even on hard. I had to restart from halfway through the campaign when our power went out durring a storm. not even 2 hours of game play to get right back to where I was. maybe 5 hours total to beat it and get all the guns.
  • jeremycarrier - December 5, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    Maybe this is too much to ask, maybe I'm just old school, but I would like games to just work when they come out. Not some underdetermined time down the road, not after a few sweet nothings whispered in my ear, not promising that this SimCity/Diablo 3/BF4 server thing is just so unprecedented and it could happen to anyone, pls understand. Games should work when they fuckin' release. IDK, maybe that's crazy.
  • bigmac515 - December 5, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    I've had multiple crashes and my single player progress erased twice... I'm just playing CoD on the PS4 until they fix BF4... I love it when it works but when I have limited time to game I'd rather play something that I know will work
  • hester2 - December 5, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    Kind of off-topic, but has the COD population been kind of sparse for you on PS4? I'm always able to find people on TDM, but I prefer Kill Confirmed, which is deserted whenever I'm on.
  • bigmac515 - December 13, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    The more popular game modes always have plenty of people on them but I sometimes see less than 100 people for some game modes which is sad for the most played game on the PS4
  • hester2 - December 5, 2013 7:25 a.m.

    They really need to just start running a 3-4 week open beta before release. I get that it wouldn't have been possible this year with the game being available as of the consoles' launch, but it's something they should really consider going forward. Problems like these are expected with every big MP game release, so it would be best to iron them out before everyone has dropped $60. The only problem with that approach would be server problems in the beta turning off potential buyers who view it more as a demo than a test, so they lose sales due to problems that may already be fixed by release.
  • Shigeruken - December 6, 2013 8:02 p.m.

    Yeah, that beta time-frame was ridiculous. I'm still so pissed off that they advertised early access as being one of the selling points of Battlefield 3 Premium, and it turned out to be a couple of days.
  • Shigeruken - December 5, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    Yeah, the game is in a pretty messed up state. I've had a few crashes. Once I dropped below 30fps, so I checked my setting to adjust for it, but they had all been set to the lowest possible (I was playing on high) and I couldn't change them. Still ran poorly until my next session when my settings were back and I was back at 45-60 fps. After they patched in that purple blur effect (the emp or whatever), I would see it constantly two out of three games I played. It made the game unplayable for over a week. If I were just getting into the Battlefield series, I probably would have left and never come back.

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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