By now, anyone playing or even loosely following Battlefield 4 knows that its launch has been anything short of smooth. A broad spectrum of issues have plagued those who have tried playing the past week and a half. Servers have been crashing, causing points, ranks, ribbons, and other progress to be lost. The Lancang Dam map has an issue where sound completely cuts out for some players. Using a suppressed QBU88 cuts out game sounds for the entire server. Some of us are even so lucky as to experience an issue where the game freezes while and endless loop of the last game sound plays. Over at Battlefield On My Mind, I discuss the steps I have taken to mitigate this issue (tl;dr: changing to borderless rather than fullscreen video mode seems to have helped the most). These are just a few of the most prominent issues.
Honestly, I am extremely frustrated by the issues of this launch. It can be difficult to understand how such seemingly glaring issues made it through the quality control process. Thankfully, DICE is working to solve these issues and made a forum post outlining those of which they are aware and their game plan for providing solutions. Based on this, we can likely expect a PC patch soon.
So, how does this happen? A redditor recently posted a conversation had with a member of the DICE QA team that provides us some insight into this process. Put basically, DICE has grand plans for Battlefield 4 and wants to make it as great as possible. But, something so vast and complex as this game requires constant tweaking, resulting in a lot of changes and things that there is simply no time to test. Combine DICE’s ambitious scope with the deadline set by EA, strategically set and held fast to by a company looking to make money (as companies do), and you have the always volatile mixture of a lot to do and little time.
This conversation also makes a very sturdy point that EA/DICE simply do not have the manpower to do the same level of testing on the quantity of combined systems as they get with a product launch. This certainly does not excuse them from releasing BF4 with such a lack of polish, but it does help one understand how that can happen. For this reason, I always expect bugs and issues at launch, but the magnitude has been surprising.
This begs the question whether DICE should better utilize the loyal player base for game testing. Should more players have been invited to the Alpha? Should the Beta have been longer and used a version of the game closer to the final retail version? It seems to me this could have alleviated many issues.
The most constructive thing we as players can do at this point is to provide DICE useful reports and feedback to help get these issues solved as soon as possible. EA is conducting a Battlefield 4 survey. Feel free to provide them your thoughts regarding the current state of the game, but please keep it civil and constructive; cursing or being otherwise dramatic is a great way to get your thoughts ignored. You can also head over to the Battlelog Forums or EA Answers HQ to report, or add to reports of, the glitches and issues you have encountered. Be sure to include your PC specs and other useful information, especially regarding freezing and crashing issues. You may also find solutions to your issues on these forums, or at least workarounds to let you get in and enjoy the game.
I look forward to the PC patch in hopes it will fix most of these issues. Now that I have found a workaround to mitigate my freezing issue, I have found that I am thoroughly enjoying this installment of Battlefield, and look forward to many more hours playing and (hopefully) improving.
See you on the Battlefield…if you don’t see me first.