And by that I do not mean the (great) game Battlefield 3 by DICE.
More specifically I mean the move to offer servers for people to rent so they can host their own Matchmaking experience.
As Tied The Leader we jumped on it, it meant that we could finally control the one thing that irked us most about the BF3 online experience. How hard it was to get on the same team/squad and consistently stay on the same side for a few games in a row.
We posted a disclaimer on both this very site and the load screen saying exactly that. “Come here to play, we will try to play together with our friends, have fun.”
The results have been very good, a few of our own have picked up BF3 again after being frustrated playing against your friends time and time again. We ran into some old friends who came to play a few games in our digital playhouse, seen some regulars develop on our server and even shut it down one night for a challenge that came from one of those groups who dropped by our clubhouse.
Tied The Leader has always been about teaming up and going out into the wild, playing random people, shooting them in the face in a nice way and spreading the good game message. So feel free to drop in for a few games.
The server also enabled us to set the table, you can set the maps/gametypes and tweak with the settings. The Gunslingers like to play Rush, an objective game where you unlock the map stage by stage by blowing up 2 M-COMs, we also have no complaints about the Default game settings DICE set out initially. So our server is Default Rush on a selection of maps that suit that gametype well. (Operation Metro, Firestorm, Caspian Border, Seine Crossing, Strike at Karkand, Karg Island etc)
We set up a few rules: No glitching, No MAV lifting to impossible places, in short: don’t be a jerk. Admins will message someone with a warning before kicking someone for still using the glitched version of the M26 (pre-patch)
The response has been awesome, we got a few messages telling us that people really liked the server, the aforementioned regular faces showing up and the fact that the server is regularly up and running games without any of us being online.
As someone who does a bunch of gaming by himself as well since my clanmates are not always online during my gaming hours there are some effects that the move to owned servers had on the Matchmaking experience.
What did happen when DICE offered up the servers for hire is that we went from this:
To this situation:
The result is that there are hardly any official DICE/EA servers left active since they have all been rented out, don’t be fooled by the [DICE] tag in the server descriptions. What that means is that as someone who really enjoys the Default game setting in a ranked environment my options are very limited. 200%+ ticket count servers are almost everywhere and before the latest update you couldn’t tell if that would be the case unless someone put in into the server title themselves. Any ticket counts over 100% usually end in an attacker victory, unless the defensive team is just so much better and the games last for ages.
In the new update DICE has enabled a § symbool for non standard servers, but that (unfortunately) is on volunteer basis, so the situation is the same. The server admin chooses to advertise the ticket count himself.
Next to that are the honor rule servers, the ones that state “No Camping, No Sniping, No Shotguns, No whatevers”. At TTL we always believed that if it’s in the game it’s fair game to be used, unless something is obviously a glitch (maybe confirmed by the developer), like the underslung M26 with the Heavy Barrel attachment (again pre-patch). Not only do those servers not appeal to me personally, but the enforcement of those rules is off course impossible and usually only applies to 1 team.
Even more frustrating are the moments when everything in a game is clicking, you are picking the right routes, showing up behind the opponent, getting a few streaks going, only to be shown a black screen with a “You’ve been kicked by the Admin” message.
If you like BF3 go watch Battlefield Friends, it’s awesome.
I’m not saying there is no place for “24/7 Rush Operation Metro 500%” servers but the offering seems to consist of a lot of those type of games, while the servers that do offer up the default settings regularly have honour rules in place or some heavy handed Admin action going on. On the other hand the DICE/EA servers, if you can find an active one, lack any form of in-game moderation, so the M26 problem was very apparent there.
For a connected gamer who has an active friends list and is willing to set up a server, this system seems to offer all positives, for a lone mercenary wandering in the wastelands there are a myriad of problems apparent.
So, is a company like DICE/EA responsible for making sure they offer up a standard matchmaking service, or did they do their part by setting the players free?
Why is it that a server based game that thrives on the PC platform runs into so much trouble on a console?
Did you run into any more upsides/downsides connected to the rented servers?
Let us know in the comments how you’re experiencing this shift in Matchmaking mechanics.
To be very clear: I love BF3, I bought premium because I think adding 16 more maps to this game is awesome, I really like the detailed Calender they published straight away telling you what you will get for that Premium Purchase.
See you on our server?