Battlefield 1 and the Mystery of the Server Browser

EA have delivered on nearly every front with Battlefield 1 – and yet their server browser continually proves to be their biggest hurdle.

Battlefield 1, like many installments in the Battlefield franchise, is a technical marvel. The newly-updated Frostbite engine continues the legacy of its forebears with nail-biting action, incredibly visual detail, and stellar sound design to tie it all together.

As if the new night map wasn't sinister enough. (image: @major_marlowe) #Battlefield #BF1 #Battlefield1

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Why then, do they continually find themselves hamstrung by their own server browser? Even Battlefield 4 – famous for the additional content that EA pumped into the game via its expansions – was confined to a more-or-less base game map rotation.

It’s odd to see the same issue afflicting BF1, a title that has largely side-stepped the many launch woes of its predecessor. With two out of the four planned expansions out, BF1 has already had a generous helping of additional maps added to its roster – for a fee, of course. And yet, even with said maps added, we can’t help but notice that the maps in rotation tend to skew toward the base game’s.

Now, this could be due to the fact that majority of BF1’s playerbase have still not migrated over to the Premium membership – which makes sense, as a $40 price tag is a bit steep after dropping $60 for a full game. Through this, EA has proven that they have no qualms about fracturing their playerbase.

And that’s unfortunate, really. New maps and modes should serve as a function to reinvigorate an online community, not slam the gate shut in their face while dangling the carrot above their heads. Yes, EA has thus far managed to avoid much of the controversy regarding loot boxes in BF1, but if their upcoming Star Wars title, Battlefront II¸ is any indication, they’re not above creating digital Skinner Boxes for their players to drain their wallets into.

The ship has hardly sunk for EA and the Battlefield franchise, but for a AAA developer to still be fighting the same issues for several games in a row really does beg the question: where do their priorities truly lie?

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