Some Battlefield 3 players have been lamenting the recent lack of official DICE-run servers when playing online--even on consoles. Ever since the launch of user-rentable servers, many have been finding it difficult to play "vanilla" gametypes. "I rarely got kicked from a DICE server," our own Tyler Smith lamented, speaking about his experience on consoles. "But once the rented servers bit took off I got kicked quite a bit." He claimed that it's now "damn near impossible to find official servers," and that many rented servers feature games with absurd requirements. "I don't want to play a TDM to 500 kills or a conquest to 700 tickets," one commenter voiced on VentureBeat.
So what has been going on?
Some have accused DICE of shutting down servers, but an Electronic Arts representative told us that this is simply not the case. "DICE is not shutting down servers," the rep told Shacknews. However, EA did confirm that the apparent lack of official servers comes from community members claiming servers. "If DICE-managed servers appear unavailable, it is because they have been rented and customized by players."
"Custom Servers have always been extremely popular with Battlefield PC players. With Battlefield 3, we've introduced a Custom Servers program to console gamers. Response has been overwhelmingly positive. Custom Servers gives players the ability to tailor the settings and parameters of a given server, which directly affects gameplay. It also gives players more choice as they select which server and gameplay style they like best."
Unfortunately, it's that choice that has been causing the community grief.
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"As with any new innovation, there may be some confusion among players who are experiencing Custom Servers for the first time. We encourage players to use server filters and 'favorite' options to find the servers that best suit their play style," the rep advised us.
But what about the fans that prefer playing on official servers? Unfortunately, not only are official servers currently in short supply, they are difficult to find. There is currently no way to filter official servers from the fan-operated ones. Are their concerns being addressed? "We have enormous respect for the Battlefield community and are listening to the feedback. It is our #1 priority to ensure all players are having the best possible play experience," the rep told us. "DICE will continue to add servers and will reserve a percentage of servers for players who prefer to connect through DICE-hosted servers."
Given the outrage of certain fans, that percentage is clearly not high enough yet. Has EA damaged the game's reputation in exchange for the revenue brought in by rentals? Perhaps. "To think I actually liked it more then COD but now I am back to COD rather deal with that BS," one commenter noted.