DICE on Battlefield patches: 'We can't win'

Battlefield 3 executive producer Patrick Bach talks about managing necessary game patches with player feedback.

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Battlefield 3's latest patch packaged a lot of changes. But unless you're new to the Internet, it should come as no surprise that feedback was mixed. Executive producer Patrick Bach says this is the natural cycle of game feedback, and pleasing everyone is impossible.

"I've heard some people say, I didn't notice any difference. And I've heard people say, it was good, now you broke it," Bach told Eurogamer. "So when you say that, it's a bit like, this is the patch that made the game complete. But is that a good thing or bad thing compared to the other people who didn't notice anything, or say we broke it? We can't win."

He says that the team couldn't have all of that feedback when they shipped. "We are listening and we are not getting lazy," he said. "We know Battlefield is not a game where you just release it and then move on to something else. It's a game where you need to have a team that works on it post-launch."

He suggests that players might perceive problems that aren't really problems at all, and the developers can tell because they have access to more raw data. "We have people only looking at telemetry, matching that towards the feedback that people actually write in forums. In a lot of cases it doesn't match up. It's like, no, this isn't a problem. You claim it's a problem. It's not a problem. The numbers tell me this is not a problem."

Bach recalls that the team saw similar feedback with Battlefield 2. "When it was released people thought it was great," he said. "And then you had all the complaints. People still played it. We won all these awards. But the guys who were actually playing the game claimed after a thousand hours, I hate your game. It's the worst game ever. You should listen to me because I spent a thousand hours in it. It's like, well you're not really hating it. You're loving it so much that you get upset about these things."

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 27, 2012 12:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, DICE on Battlefield patches: 'We can't win'.

    Battlefield 3 executive producer Patrick Bach talks about managing necessary game patches with player feedback.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 12:27 PM

      its a bit of a new trend of developers complaining about how they supposedly can't win when patching games/balance but the reality is also that its often companies like dice that have a reputation for buggy/broken games and terrible balance because of the intentional grind/unlock mechanics and weapon/unlock sales (see the new tribes unlocks/patches, though to be fair that game is f2p).

      when he talks about bf2 its incredible how he forgets that it took years and gigs of patches (yes back in the old days size of patches was a problem) and the game still didnt have a working server browser or functional guy and stuff like the red name bug are still in the game.

      a prime example for stupid shit is/was the famas. a weapon that practically ate through squads and was only available to people who had either the limited edition or ordered the dlc. they were able to take it into the main game against people who didnt have it. the weapon was so overpowered that practiacally everyone ran around with it or complaint about it. they finally patched it by reducing ammo/mag size and some other tweaks regarding other unlocks.

      naturally people complained because people were used to it. it was the right and necessary thing to do but it was also a problem they introduced in the first place and deliberately as buy incentive for their dlc.

      another example is how they deduced that people want a close quarters dlc because the metro meatgrinder servers are always full. they fail to mention that the only reason people are on those servers is to grind exp so they can unlock weapons.

      in short, yeah the internet is a mean place but ever wondered how some developers get less shit by their community?

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        April 27, 2012 12:57 PM

        ^^this they are so out of touch. Just like their are still bugs in the game

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        April 27, 2012 1:51 PM

        Basically.

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        April 27, 2012 4:36 PM

        Yep.

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        April 27, 2012 4:46 PM

        i can't wait to see people complain that the m26 w/heavy barrel+underslung is broken whenever dice gets around to fixing it

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        April 27, 2012 9:56 PM

        Something tells me the CQ Pack was in the pipeline before the game was even out.

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        April 27, 2012 9:57 PM

        ill say it again, the base weapons in the game are pretty much the most balanced weapons in the whole game.

        the only reason people grind metro is for levels. not really weapon unlocks. everyone uses the same spammy weapons.

        dont be so upset and learn2play. the game is easy to level the guns in like a week of playing.

        Some of us like a challenge and grind to get weapons without shit just being handed to us. keeps things interesting when we are just rolling over you every map.

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          April 27, 2012 9:58 PM

          Also, the CQ maps are REALLY fun when they arent jammed with 64 people. Metro was amazing in the beta at just 32 players.

          These maps released will be really great for the infantry side of the game. Youll get more crazy tank maps later. just relax :)

      • reply
        April 29, 2012 1:50 PM

        This. This right here. You hit the nail on the head, sir.

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        May 1, 2012 5:47 PM

        What company gets less shit on? Have you ever seen the Valve forum or Blizzard forums? Gamers are the bitchiest people in the world.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 12:40 PM

      I just want to be able to enter servers with my squad and still be in that same squad when I'm in that server...

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      April 27, 2012 12:52 PM

      I love this game, and thought the last patch was great - but honestly I don't have much sympathy for DICE at all. I have to side with the complainers on this one. More patches please.

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        April 27, 2012 2:09 PM

        DICE has a horrible timeline for patches. Why are we still waiting for a patch for the Dart exploit? We will wait until the DLC drops, and not before. This is my biggest gripe, the admit or recognize there are issues, but they have no incentive to fix those issues in a timely manner. Didn't that final BF2 patch come out like 3 years later or something.. WTF?

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      April 27, 2012 12:59 PM

      Can't win eh? I think there's a DLC for that.

      • reply
        April 27, 2012 3:23 PM

        only $9.99 for each tier 1-3, or get all 3 at the bargain price or $29.99!

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 1:02 PM

      I think the changes they made were pretty much all positive. I am a tiny bit sad that the suppressor/foregrip combo was nerfed, but honestly it sort of needed it. I hope they continue making great patches like it.

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      April 27, 2012 1:10 PM

      Maybe they should have released a real map instead of just fucking METRO! Yeah, the PC got Caspian also for a short time. Why not make the beta test that map instead? It's not like people would have gotten tired of it by the time of release. Release a real map to do a more thorough testing on instead of a damn CoD map. It's not fuckng rocket science.

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      April 27, 2012 1:11 PM

      First,

      I dont think you DICE guys are lazy at all. Love your game, I still play it every night.

      Don't let the babies get you down. You are doing a fine job and doing the right things. Keep tuning the engine and the weapon damage. You are really close to a good balance.

      Stingers and Javelins I think were a little over-nerfed. The whole helicopter is too low stuff is bonkers and needs to be removed.

      Helicopters are now just a little too powerful.

      Something has to be done with the shot lag. I realize that with a UDP data stream these isnt much you can do about that so bring back the autoboot for top end ping to allow the server admin to not allow people with say 400+ ms pings.

      I do have to agree with others though, the CLAN JOIN server code is really weak. Its ridiculous to not get this correct. Every BF game prior to this one had that issue tackled. (Maybe go look at the older code?)

      In game voip. Man I really miss the BF2 in game voip. Especially the commander to squad leader voip separated from the squad only voip. This is a MUST HAVE at least for BF4 if there is no way to tack it on to BF3.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 1:13 PM

      "And then you had all the complaints. People still played it. We won all these awards. But the guys who were actually playing the game claimed after a thousand hours, I hate your game. It's the worst game ever. You should listen to me because I spent a thousand hours in it. It's like, well you're not really hating it. You're loving it so much that you get upset about these things."

      This right here pretty much emphasizes how much he just doesn't get it

      • reply
        April 27, 2012 3:52 PM

        Multiplayer games are a work in progress. You can enjoy a game one patch and totally hate it the next because the balancing changes how the game feels and acts. Then there are patches that totally change the scheme of the game think "StarWars Galaxies Jedi update". So yes people can dislike a game after spend an obscene amount of time playing it if a patch changes something.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 1:30 PM

      My only true gripe is that they have done nothing to fix hightopper exploiters. It's still fucking silly.

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      April 27, 2012 1:36 PM

      Dude all you have to do is add VOIP to the PC version.

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        April 27, 2012 2:09 PM

        this is such bullshit I'm astonished

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          April 27, 2012 2:14 PM

          I still don't understand how this can be an issue for a game in 2011/12.

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            April 27, 2012 2:16 PM

            signal to noise ratio. I suppose the option would be good though. just saying I'd disable it immediately. CoD has ruined VOIP. it's way way way more harmful than it is helpful.

            ideally of course, they patch in THE COMMANDER MODE and the tiered VOIP from BF2........... :( :( :(

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              April 27, 2012 2:30 PM

              I'm guessing there's a fundamental programming flaw in their engine that doesn't allow for a MUTE button.

              Only on the PC version though.

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                April 27, 2012 2:35 PM

                Oh hell naw, the Xbox needs it as well.

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        April 27, 2012 5:12 PM

        its such a basic, fundamental thing. i think it would add too much overhead and require development of something that would not benefit the console versions, which are the primary platforms. maybe they simply do not know how to do it from a technical standpoint, and cant figure out a way to monetize it like EA loves to do with every little godamn thing.

        if they add voip at some point, I guarantee it will be with one of the DLC's. i would also not be surprised if its so broken we will wish it had just been forgotten.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 1:47 PM

      Every major battlefield game has had an order of magnitude more unlocks then the last one. I don't think this is the best way to go.

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        April 27, 2012 3:26 PM

        In BF4 you'll have to grind to unlock the promotional trailers.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 1:50 PM

      entitled PC gamers FTW

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        April 27, 2012 2:13 PM

        seriously, im a PC gamer and even i think people are taking it way too far with the complaining of this game. its fucking awesome, and the best FPS on the market right now, CoD doesnt even come close.

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          April 27, 2012 2:16 PM

          agreed 100%.

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          April 27, 2012 10:36 PM

          Have you ever played a shooter that is supported by its developers... Team Fortress 2, perhaps? They have nice communities that last years and the developers only make more money by supporting their fans.

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        April 27, 2012 2:23 PM

        Entitled PC Gamers Developers

        "We made several million dollars but people are demanding better quality than a bag full of shit dicks. Whaaa Whaaa why cant they just leave us alone"

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        April 27, 2012 2:49 PM

        entitled

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        April 27, 2012 4:02 PM

        I really think people need to stop using "entitled" as an insult. It doesn't really make a lot of sense especially when they are consumers that spent $60 same as every one else. Dice sold us a product and support for said product its their responsibility to keep the community happy. It doesn't matter what platform is complaining if there is a problem fix it and don't let the problems linger for months.

        I think developers need to learn to communicate with the fan base in a way that isn't adversarial or plain insulting them.

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        April 27, 2012 4:57 PM

        isn't it so fulfilling to be the guy that gets to parrot this out first in a thread? does it not make your loins tingle with how clever you are? does it not cause you to grin, thinking to yourself "I am the one who brought this up this time. i got there first. it was absent, i provided, and here I am a hero to all. my service to this website, it shall never be forgotten. i am immortal."

        i envy you your brilliance good sir! thank you for allowing me to bask in it!

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 2:11 PM

      they need more goddamn maps. people will STFU. world of tanks has like 9823421342 maps and they are all free.

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        April 27, 2012 2:14 PM

        Modern gamers consume content so fast, holy shit. You would think devs would've picked up on this sooner.

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          April 27, 2012 2:19 PM

          indeed. just release some maps. FREE maps. people will be instantly pacified... for a while.

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            April 27, 2012 2:21 PM

            BC2 rush maps for starters, derp

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              April 27, 2012 2:23 PM

              oh hell yeah. port in some older maps, redone a-la karkand, and for FREE... happy customers.

              if they want to distinguish themselves from CoD, who does paid map packs, have their paid content be very substantive... guns, gets, boats, etc. show off what battlefield can do. in the meantime, trickle out some fucking MAPS.

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                April 27, 2012 3:25 PM

                1. Since when did BF3 not have enough maps?
                2. It's not as simple as you make it out to be

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                  April 27, 2012 3:28 PM

                  Since launch if you are talking actual large scale Battlefield maps: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=28090026

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                    April 27, 2012 3:36 PM

                    That would make sense if everyone felt that way, I'm not one of those people. I enjoy the more infantry focused maps as well as the larger ones. There's plenty of maps, just as many as BC2 had except BC2 had maps with either Conquest or Rush but not both until they slowly added those game modes.

                    Don't forget there is a vehicle warfare map pack coming.

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                      April 27, 2012 3:47 PM

                      Except BC2 wasn't the return of epic 64 player Battlefield combat, BF3 was.

                      And they totally dropped the ball and continue to drop it in that area. You realize the Close Quarters DLC still isn't dated, when do you think the Armored Kill pack will actually be released? Nearly a year after launch. That's a long fucking time to wait for a handful of maps you are desperately wanting to fill out the sorely lacking content you are currently stuck with.

                      • reply
                        April 27, 2012 10:41 PM

                        One year for a map pack that you want and have to pay for is pretty rough. Team Fortress 2 already have three free maps and unlocks out by the April after its release.

                • reply
                  April 27, 2012 3:48 PM

                  all the maps do not translate well for rush. some are even retarded for rush.

        • reply
          April 27, 2012 10:31 PM

          They did, that's why they try to sell you DLC. =p

        • reply
          April 28, 2012 12:29 PM

          They know. That's why there was such a rush for procedural content generation systems a few years back. Trying to come up with some efficient, relatively automated, way to keep up with the modern gamer's voracious appetite for content.

          I think this is something which helps Mojang. Let the gamers make their content. It's higher quality than something procedurally generated and makes them feel like stakeholders in the experience.

      • reply
        April 27, 2012 2:39 PM

        I would love a new map every month or two. Not this wait for expansions I don't care about bs.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 2:25 PM

      I love BF3 just the way it is

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      April 27, 2012 2:36 PM

      I just got back to BF3 to test out the new hardware and unlock all the goodies. Game feels ,looks and runs great , love it. Finally got the AS Val. I love this gun.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 2:41 PM

      FIX THE FUCKING BLACK SCREEN LOADING BUG.

      • reply
        April 27, 2012 3:16 PM

        that happened to me 3 times last night, it only started doing it regularly since the patch too :/

      • reply
        April 27, 2012 10:32 PM

        And my drivers crashing. Crash on AMD and Nvidia cards...

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 2:49 PM

      I continue to be happy with my decision (not set in stone of course) not to mess with games with unlocks

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 2:54 PM

      dice does a big crey

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 3:12 PM

      You know, in the full interview with Eurogamer Bach doesn't come off as whiny as the excepts in this article made him out to be.


      "I love the fact they notice the differences and the changes we made and approve of it, they get why we did this and that, because we spent a lot of energy looking at all the numbers. We didn't have all those numbers when we shipped. We didn't know about all the balancing issues."

      "What I'm proud of is people trust us to stay in the game so when we release the patch they're still playing and can actually enjoy the result of the patch. In some games you never get a second chance, you never get the chance to do your first patch."

      [...]

      "to me it's trusting us to improve. I want to improve and do better, and it feels like our fans are actually aware of that. They know if we give them feedback, if you talk about these things, if you bring it up, if you point out issues, they will probably fix it. And yes, we will.

      • reply
        April 27, 2012 3:13 PM

        This is why a lot of game developers HATE talking to the press. A lot of news sites just clip out the sentences that will cause the biggest ruckus and deploy them out-of-context, rather than respecting what the developer meant with their words.

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          April 27, 2012 3:28 PM

          like that writer lady from bioware!

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        April 27, 2012 4:30 PM

        Classic game journalism

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        April 27, 2012 4:43 PM

        Shacknews lied. Gamers died.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 3:15 PM

      Patch timeframe is too long for DICE, they should focus on smaller more frequent updates. Not 4 month mega patches that change the balance of everything. I personally think the balance before the big patch was almost perfect. Post patch some things are better but it's more a step sideways and a shimmy backwards.

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        April 27, 2012 3:21 PM

        I fully agree. One of the main reason they started Origin was the ability to bring out patches faster. However that is completely bunk now since they stated they try to release patches across the 3 systems at the same time.

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          April 27, 2012 7:31 PM

          I remember Michael Kalms (sp) blaming the BC2 engine for the lack of patches, yet here we are with the 2.0 version and the same result.

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            April 27, 2012 7:38 PM

            Wasn't that their same reason why map editor tools didn't happen either?

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              April 27, 2012 10:56 PM

              They may have also given the excuse that Frostbite 2 is too difficult for modders/mappers.

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      April 27, 2012 3:26 PM

      What a huge difference between dice and valve. When valve was heavy tweaking TF2 and talking about telemetry they did huge blog posts about it with red and blue colored pictures and all of that shit. Dice?

      We have people only looking at telemetry, matching that towards the feedback that people actually write in forums. In a lot of cases it doesn't match up. It's like, no, this isn't a problem. You claim it's a problem. It's not a problem. The numbers tell me this is not a problem.

      That statement right there is why you can't win.

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        April 27, 2012 5:03 PM

        it makes them sound so cold and detached from the actual game. it brings to mind some evil corporate fat cat who has never even used his companies product, dictating things based on the printouts his lackey brings him every morning, nodding to himself and thinking of ways to make one part of the pie chart shrink and another part grow.

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      April 27, 2012 3:55 PM

      I am shocked to learn anyone is still playing this game.

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        April 27, 2012 5:07 PM

        i love the game, but i honestly cant see how anyone could see it as a serious "competitive" game. there is so much randomness with so many aspects. the last patch even made all the weapons have an even higher range for the RNG that determines spread, it lowers the skill cap and puts so much onto randomness, or the extreme suppression bullshit that basically takes all player input out of every confrontation beyond who shoots first, not who shoots best. it drives me crazy.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 4:38 PM

      Having a consistent gaming, experience, between three systems is proving to be nearly impossible. I'm certain if they were only targetting the PC market, their desire to patch frequently would be high.

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      April 27, 2012 4:39 PM

      Here's a novel idea: when your game has major bugs or exploits, fix them! You don't actually need to wait 6 months between patches. Crazy, I know.

      The Dart is just the latest example of this.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 9:11 PM

      A bad developer complaining about not being able to keep up with all the issues they introduced through bad development.

      Yawn.

      • reply
        April 27, 2012 10:00 PM

        dice is a bad developer?

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          April 27, 2012 11:11 PM

          Have they introduced a single good idea into video games since Mirror's Edge? A game they somehow can't convince EA to let them make a sequel to. Before Mirror's Edge, have they introduced a single good idea since Battlefield 2142?

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            April 27, 2012 11:12 PM

            is that now the criteria of good developers? introduction of good ideas?

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              April 27, 2012 11:58 PM

              You can use all different kinds of criteria. That's just one example.

              I personally think DICE is a decent developer that is way too caught up in pounding out the same version of the product they have been making for a decade. Much like Infinity Ward.

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 10:11 PM

      How about DICE shut the motherfucking fuck up, stupid motherfuckers.

      BF3 came out damn near 6 months ago, 6 motherfucking months and only one piece of goddamned DLC came out. ONE. Now look, I never thought I'd be one of those whiny Xbox style COD kids screaming 'more maps more maps' but low and behold I realised that that's just how you end u pfeeling as a gamer when you're playing a big AAA rated online FPS . You play these kind of fun, addictive games and eventually you get bored of the maps, especially when you're pouring hours and hours in to them.

      I understand weekly or monthly map packs aren't dead simple but 6 fucking months? Suck my balls.

      And while I'm at it you fucking douche gobblers, STOP fucking trying to goddamn synchronise the motherfcuking patch and DLC schedule! No wonder you're taking so long addressing and patching shit by treating it as "one game" across 3 fucking platforms you dopey assholes, this is slowing you down.
      I'm not even saying "Xbox should get quicker patches" or "PS3 should get quicker" or PC - no, I'm suggesting that by syncing all 3 of them, you're taking too long for any platform despite their constraints.

      Takes FAR too long to patch holes / bugs / exploits in the game, it clearly took too fucking long to add goddamned DLC and jesus fuck no wonder I lost hope of improvements for this fucking game.

      Seriously - one in every 200 posts on their forums was utter gold, there was amazing, insightful and brilliant suggestions and some of them bloody small but totally logical for the game which are just never going to be even considered, because they are slow as fuck doing the basics, let alone improving shit - plus EA want to monetize every fucking minute that DICE spend on the game, the concept of doing something nice / good to drive the game / community is fucking foreign to them. (Thank fuck for Valve software)

      I played the shit out of that game and I loved the hell out of it but after 180 hours, I ended up feeling like a battered housewife.
      Oh and don't get me motherfucking fucking started on the god fucking damned community interaction! The 2 "community guys" I know of were engaging with reddit signficantly more than the OFFICIAL GODDAMNED FORUMS - plus you've got the EA forums and the BF3 forums (accessable from battlelog) and finally you have "getsatisfaction.com" which is surpringly a legitimate forum as well - WHICH ONE YOU DICKCLOWNS - it seems after discussing on all 3, the best fucking place to speak with the devs was,........ reddit
      You stupid goddamn assclown fucktards - "We can't win" indeed - cause you're dumb cunts.

      • reply
        April 27, 2012 11:11 PM

        I pictured you slamming your keys so hard as you typed that to the point that your fingers were bleeding afterwards, right before you passed out. :)

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          April 27, 2012 11:11 PM

          His fingers bled truth.

          Keep spreading justice, abrasion.

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          April 27, 2012 11:17 PM

          I was slamming it out on my new MX-Black keyboard, getting used to it, love how my error rate is slowly getting back to normal. Red and Brown just don't do it for me for errors.

          and damn fucking straight I was spewing the truth, I know (ew) that game backwards but DICE dropped the motherfucking ball, on their foot.

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          April 30, 2012 12:05 AM

          And this is how I imagined your description of it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zE1LbC4Fvs

    • reply
      April 27, 2012 11:30 PM

      I didn't buy BF3. I already own Bad Company 1 & 2.

      Still waiting for the true sequel to BF2

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      April 27, 2012 11:55 PM

      their shitty game wont even launch on my computer anymore... when it used too tho....
      "YOU HAVE BEEN DISCONNECTED FROM EA SERVERS" fuck them Im never buying another battlefield game or getting worked up for one no matter how badass it looks. I feel burnt every time

    • reply
      April 30, 2012 7:45 PM

      Maybe they could "win" a little more with their customers if they didn't make a game that was pure crap and which simply cashed in on the Battlefield name.

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      May 1, 2012 1:40 AM

      "We have people only looking at telemetry, matching that towards the feedback that people actually write in forums. In a lot of cases it doesn't match up. It's like, no, this isn't a problem. You claim it's a problem. It's not a problem. The numbers tell me this is not a problem."
      GGS DICE. GGS.

    • reply
      May 2, 2012 10:57 AM

      Sorry but I hear all the complainers and whiners he's talking about right here. The game isnt perfect and never will be. I bet 99% of computer issues are client issues, not game of software issues. Like I have said before, people get pissy when their little exploit or easy kill-insane point game is taken away from them. People dont like anything in the game they cant exploit or control, so if you pwn me more than once in a certain way, well I'm off to the forums to complain the game is broken. This is not COD. It is not a quake/UT type game that never changes and is always the same just like the baby's want it to be. Sorry but I've been playin this series since day 1 wake Island demo and it has just become a big baby cry fest. Your never happy unless your winning. Its always someone else's fault or the games fault that you lose.......grow up or go play COD.

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        May 2, 2012 11:01 PM

        desevil, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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          May 3, 2012 8:22 PM

          This coming from a someone who calls himself "AgentPothead" ......really? Is that really one of the most insanely idiotic things you have ever heard in you life? ....really? What are you 10 years old? No one in this room listened to anything, they read it if they chose. Don't be a troll.