The End of Battlefield Hardline?

Posted: June 22, 2015 in Battlefield, Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Battlefield Hardline has now been out for just over three months. It was released March 17th, 2015 and was a game that I thought was a bit fun and enjoyable, but was not something I was going to pick up because it did not have that perfect feeling in the beta that I said had to be there for me to purchase. Being burned on the issues with the Frostbite engine three times already, I decided to wait. In that three month time period a patch has been released as well as the first DLC, that is except for on PC due to issues. The game has gone on sale two times that I know of and the last time was at the price point that I said would be reasonable, which is $30. I did not pick it up, however, due to one thing….player count.

That is correct. A brand new, triple A title, is having player count issues across the board. To show this I captured the player count from the Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline stat sites. This is a 24 hour period and not during the weekend, so you may be thinking “Well, that’s not much of a look into player count!” but the issue is that you can check it any time throughout the week and it really doesn’t change all that much. You see the same trend throughout the days with just slight increases and drops each day. So, here are the player counts for both as of today, June 22nd, 2015:

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I am a PC gamer, so I pay attention to the PC stats more, but there is no denying that across the board the numbers are way down. In fact, the only place the numbers are better are in the next gen consoles. Some say that is because there just about no other FPS games on those consoles right now, so those numbers are higher. Because all the other platforms are so low, I would have to tend to agree with that opinion. PS4 and XboxOne both have very high numbers, but are still lower than the BF4 numbers.

So what went wrong? You might even be thinking “Crunch, you gave the game a 7/10 and said it was fun and that you would get it some day!” Yeah, I did and though I have not played the release, I am sure it is still fun, but there were issues that the full game brought to light that the beta didn’t entirely do. So lets look at some of the issues.

1. People felt it was DLC material – I disagreed with this. I still do. I think the game has a bit to offer and more than just a DLC. The thing is that it doesn’t matter what I think. People were tired of the BF4 problems and they want more and more and more each game. The industry has created this consumer monster and it must be fed. With the pains of BF4 and the lack of things in the beta, for many, it wasn’t enough. People said no right up front.

2. Weapon Balance Is Awful – As of this writing, it is still awful. There are just a small handful of weapons that are really good and are over-shadowing all other weapons in all other classes. You run with a shotgun, the M16, or the K10 if you want a good KDR. There are still plenty of snipers in Hardline and looking at their stats, its pretty bad. This weapon imbalance has made the game lopsided in classes and teamwork because of it.

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3. Game Mode Issues – So in the beta the game modes were pretty good and not really a problem. Then release came and 64player count came into play. As people ranked up and unlocked explosives and trunk rockets, driving a vehicle was suicide. This killed Hotwire. With the weapon issues and most people drifting toward the classes with the weapons mentioned above, this really hurt other game modes. Then you had spawn issues. Serious issues that makes it hard to play other modes when enemy is spawning right next to you. Same with protective cover on maps in spawn areas. That was a complaint of mine in the beta about how on the map Bank Heist criminals can snipe into the police spawn from the roof tops. This went into other game modes and made them very hard to play.

4. “Netcode” Issues – They’re still there and in full swing. The higher TTK continues to help cover some of it up, but I know a number of people that quit playing the game because of one shot kills, no hit markers, reload issues, lagging out, having out-of-region players have advantage, and so on. The game is still a bit behind the patching Battlefield 4 has had.

5. Time to Kill – This is just preference. I felt that the TTK was a bit high as well and should have been adjusted. It takes some getting used to, but people want to have fun in a game and this does make it hard. The response time to respond to a threat was just too low and people did not like it. I believe Visceral has stated though that they have no plans to change it.

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6. The Game Felt Incomplete – More time was given to develop Hardline. Supposedly Youtubers and “pro gamers” were consulted on what to change and how as well as what to adjust and tweak. There were game mode changes and adjustments on the perk system. Each class was adjusted. The game was even very different for me from the Alpha testing to the Beta test. I think that was some of the problem though. Many major Youtubers have stopped showing Hardline content because of the lack of views. There are just a small handful that are trying to put a positive spin on this game and are just ignoring the issues. Hiding behind a shield of “if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.” thinking. Yet, what happened to the consultations? What happened to the bug lists given from the Alpha? Why do we still have the same issues that we have seen on the release of Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, and Battlefield 4? Why do we need yet another CTE (Test Environment) setup to fix yet another game? No one is asking these questions. Or maybe people are and they’re just not getting any answers.

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So the bottom line is that Hardline is going Flatline and the player base is dropping. A lot still needs to be done to the game and it could be fixed, but it has to be done quickly or there won’t be a player base to spread the word and keep the game going. It’s the same situation Frontline:Fuel of War had. It was plagued with problems on release and the player base dropped off so fast that even though a lot of fixes were done, it wasn’t enough to save the game and made a bad reputation for their next release, Homefront, which was actually a very good game, but so few purchased it.

The game was fun in the beta and I really enjoyed the things it had to offer, but as I’ve complained before, if the core mechanics of a game are not up to par and ready to go, it doesn’t matter how fun the game is.

Comments
  1. jimykx says:

    As always I really enjoyed your article and love your views on this since they reflect so closely the way I also feel about this. I still think that in terms of content it was more of an expansion than a new game. It’s like in the lines of being a pretty good expansion, but not enough for feeling like a complete new game. I have this by just looking back at previous expansions, like Vietnam for BFBC2, or Special Forces for BF2. Nowadays, they would just add some more content to those, tweaks the weapon feeling and brand them as a new game. But of course, that’s arguable.

    I really enjoyed your comparison to FFOW, as it was also a game I purchased right as it was released since I already had love for the BF games and after I knew it was from the same team that developed the Desert Combat mode that was the least I could do for them. I was really sad with how it ended up being, even though I really enjoyed the game.

    It’s also a good point to compare to what happened to Homefront. Even though Battlefield has a much bigger name already, Hardline caused some damage to it’s glory already. There are countless of people which I have already seen, commenting on youtube videos or on news websites with some comments like “DICE really screwed up this time!” or “Battlefield is starting to be like COD!”.
    Even though I corrected some of them by saying it was developed by someone else, some the damage is already done, there is no going back now. I just REAlly hope they wont be releasing a BF every year. 2-3 years is a pretty good time period.

    • jimykx says:

      By the way, I can’t edit my latest post, but I just checked the player counts (PC) and they are as follows:
      BF H: 3,390
      BF 4: 29,511
      BF 3: 10 379

      Yeah, the numbers speak by themselves…

  2. jimykx says:

    Here goes another post, about something else I remembered today. Many people considered Battlefield 2142 the sort of black sheep of the battlefield series. I think that in comparison to Hardline, that’s a big joke. I absolutely loved BF2142, to an extent that for a long time I preferred it over BF2. But now you can’t even make that argument anymore, if back then so many people didn’t enjoy BF2142 because they called it a mod for BF2, how are they making this now again but so many times worse?

    • CptainCrunch says:

      Thanks Jimy, Im glad you like the write ups.

      I understand when people say something should be DLC. I dont really mind that they say that. I think it just gets used a bit much to where technically EVERYTHING can be a DLC.

      Also getting used so much is “BF is becoming like CoD!” They have been saying that for so many years now.

      2142 was very black sheep and I think it was way better than BF2, though very few are willing to actually look at it and see why. I heard the DLC complaint about it as well.

      I dont think “the community” knows what they want and everyone has their own ideas on what should be in it. People are hating on Hardline, but the community asked for most the changes that were in the game. Visceral listened a lot. I think people are still mad about BF4 and dont know what they want.

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