Gaming, Technology, Uncategorized, Video Games

Fixing Battlefield 4

 

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I felt concerning the bugs in Battlefield 4 (PS4). Now that the PS4 version of the game has been in the wild for a month, I think it’s time for an update on where Battlefield 4 stands in terms of playability and where I stand on how acceptable it is. I’ll admit, DICE and EA have been working hard to get BF4 up and running lately, (read: the past 2 weeks or so) but I still cannot forgive them for selling me a game that didn’t work in the first place.

I have to start from the beginning. At the PS4’s launch, Battlefield 4’s online component was broken. It was so absurdly buggy that I found myself wondering how on earth a game so messed up could be released. After a few days, DICE and EA announced that no other DICE projects would be moving forward until BF4 was all patched up. After that statement, things started looking up. Before long, we had a sizable patch that stabilized many components of the multiplayer experience, but Battlefield 4 was still far from perfect. The game would still crash, cross-hairs would disappear, and textures wouldn’t load right, among other issues. On Tuesday (Dec. 17th) another patch came out, which fixed a ton more issues. That’s a great thing to see; Battlefield 4 is now playable. My disappointment stems from the fact that it took nearly a month to accomplish.

I mean, take a look at this list of bugs that were fixed by the December 17th patch. Skim through this and tell me if you think a game this broken should have been released to begin with. (This list has been copied from Gameinformer.com)

-Reduced the probability of the “Kill trade” issue (see below for details).
-Fixed a common crash that could occur during round transition.
-Fixed a crash that could happen for players that had lots of friends.
-Fixed a problem where the “end of round” screen was adding up scores several times in the rank bar, resulting in the rank bar showing a higher value or rank than players really had.
-Fix for the game mode specific ribbons being counted twice in the multiplayer progression.
Fix for a graphical glitch that could appear on terrain.
-Fixed an engine audio dropout that could happen when driving IFV’s.
-Fix for a camera glitch that could occur when players were switching weapons while moving in crouched stance.
-Fixed an animation bug for passengers on the China Rising dirt bike to make sure that the character is pointing in the direction where the player is actually aiming.
-Fix for an issue where 4x the damage from a vehicle’s minigun would be applied to the chest when a player had the Defense specialization equipped.
-Tweaked the War Tape audio setting to remove distortion.
-Fix for the SUAV (introduced in the China Rising expansion pack) not exploding when hitting enemy soldiers. While these indeed should be deadly, they were never designed for “roadkilling” opponents.
-Servers with users playing on them are now by default placed on the top in the Server Browser.
-Servers that friends are playing on have a higher priority in the server list.
-Server Browser is no longer showing empty or full servers by default.
-Servers that are completely empty will be shown only when the “Empty” option is checked in the Server Browser filter.
-Server Browser filter will count a server as full if all “Soldier” slots are occupied, unless the “Free Commander” slot is checked.
-Balancing jet handling across all stealth and attack jet classes.
-Fixed a bug in Defuse mode where defenders could win a round by killing all the attackers without disarming the bomb. If the attackers arm the bomb, the defenders need to disarm it to win, even if they have killed all the attackers.
-Fix for players getting stuck in the revive screen.
-Fix for players getting stuck in the kill camera after being revived. Note that you might see a graphical bug on-screen after being revived when accepting a revive within 1 second. This graphical bug will be removed in the next patch.
-Fix for a Defuse bug where none of the teams would win a round by letting the timer run out.
-Fixed the instance where players suddenly would transition into Spectator Mode while playing the Defuse game mode.
-Fix for the death camera/screen being displayed too early.
-Raised the first-person camera slightly for walking in crouch to more accurately reflect the actual position of the character.
-Lowered IED explosion sound to not bottom out the HDR.
-General stability improvements.

How does all of this slip past QA? Just remember; this list only fixes bugs in the latest update; we’ve had a couple others to this point as well which fixed a multitude of more serious problems. Compiled together, the list of bugs in the PS4 version of Battlefield 4 would be absolutely astonishing!

As I mentioned before, I’m glad that the developers are working hard to fix this broken game, as they should. My problem is that they didn’t do their job right the first time and they sold me this broken game to begin with. Battlefield 4 is a fun game when it works, but it isn’t worth an entire month of crashes and buggy mishaps; as a consumer who is paying full price for a brand new game, I think I’m entitled to an experience that works on Day One.

As an equivalent, let’s say I went to buy a Ford Mustang; my dream car. I sign all the paperwork and drive it off the lot, but once I do, I find that the radio only plays in AM, the air conditioning doesn’t work, the gearshift only works sometimes, the rear wheels are missing tires, and the upholstery hasn’t been fully installed. Imagine my frustration when I would go back to the dealership where they might simply shrug their shoulders and say that they’ll come perform maintenance in a couple weeks. A couple weeks pass, and the AC is fixed, but then a couple more pass before I get my tires, and in a couple more weeks, I finally get a working gearshift. That wouldn’t be acceptable; carelessness like that would never fly, but DICE and EA seem to be getting off mostly scot-free!

I find the trend of “ship the game out and patch it later” to be unacceptable. I’m not amused, and feeble attempts to apologize with bonus scopes and Double XP don’t work on me. I want my game to work when I buy it, and your apologies don’t fix it. I sunk a decent handful of hours into the campaign mode before finding out that a single-player bug reset my save file! I can’t even muster the patience or excitement to try again, and you think some Double XP will make me happy as if nothing ever happened? I can’t even bring myself to review this game because I have no idea how to judge a mangled mutant like this! I’m aggravated because a month of BF4 being in limbo between playability and being broken is a month too long.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not buying any more EA games until they prove they can make a game that works at launch.

Where do you stand? Do you find broken games like Battlefield 4 as unacceptable as I do, or do you give them a free pass if they “patch it quickly?” Why do you stand by your decision?

Thanks for reading, and leave a like or a follow if you could be so kind. Enter my Christmas Giveaway, and I’ll see you next time.

Still Annoyed
Matt

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4 thoughts on “Fixing Battlefield 4”

  1. (1) “How does all of this slip past QA?”

    From the articles I’ve read it’s split pretty down the middle with (a) slipping past because there isn’t enough QA personnel or time for the QA personnel to do their jobs appropriately due to various publisher/developer issues and (b) the development staff outright dismissing/ignoring issues found by QA. Not being prepared truly flies in the face of things we used to be taught in school as children and the same goes with not fixing mistakes. And when a metric shit-fuck ton of money is involved it’s even more strange because we can’t really grasp why, if someone(s) is so willing to fund something that they won’t do their damnedest to make sure it’s truly done right the first time or as close to possible and willing to actually spend a bit more to make sure that is what happens when such is called for. We’re taught that in school, but once we step outside that pseudo-cloister it’s all about getting (not earning) as much money as possible and, in the event of failure, recouping as much money as possible.

    It needs to be clear to you and everyone else that quality is not the chief concern and that most of this money is being wasted or spent on graphic fidelity.

    (2) “…as a consumer…”

    You need to be very careful with the language you are using, don’t just use language that is commonplace because it is commonplace. Over the years much has been implied with the use of this language, mainly that consumers do so naively, uncritically. When we look at just how much defective games sell for provided they have ‘strong’ brand names behind them it’s pretty clear that the added implication is correct, making that implication all the more derogatory. After all, it’s the business of the consumer to merely consume and not to question.

    Set up the term ‘consumer’ next to ‘customer’ and then next to ‘video game player’ and finally next to ‘gamer’. You should not only see but feel distinctions; they are important.

    (3) “I find the trend of “ship the game out and patch it later” to be unacceptable. I’m not amused, and feeble attempts to apologize with bonus scopes and Double XP don’t work on me. I want my game to work when I buy it, and your apologies don’t fix it. I sunk a decent handful of hours into the campaign mode before finding out that a single-player bug reset my save file! I can’t even muster the patience or excitement to try again, and you think some Double XP will make me happy as if nothing ever happened? I can’t even bring myself to review this game because I have no idea how to judge a mangled mutant like this! I’m aggravated because a month of BF4 being in limbo between playability and being broken is a month too long.”

    Thank you.

    Now all you need to do is save up enough money to venture into the world of PC gaming and, truly, it is not terribly expensive when you consider you’ll already have a PC and that it’s replacing both those expensive consoles and is a serious upgrade to your PC. Added to this is the legitimate mod-ability of games (if you are into that), generally less expensive games since things are all but digital at this point, and ultimately being able to have so many more kickass experiences than on a console due to the presence of genre diversity.

    Nope, I’m not giving up on you and PC gaming. ^^

      1. A couple years back, there was a lawsuit that paid out a decent chunk of cash to anyone who had bought a Madden game during a certain number of years. Sadly, this lawsuit for BF4 is only for investors. Personally, if you thought owning stock in EA was a good idea, you probably deserve not to get your money back anyhow..

    1. Trust me, I do want to get into PC gaming, but I’m waiting till after college. Like Ive mentioned before, building a computer from scratch is on my bucket list, so I’ll definitely be doing that at some point. Your persistence on getting me into PC Gaming isnt fruitless, but it isnt showing instant success either lol

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