Battlefield 3, when it first launched, was really untouchable when it came to its online multiplayer offering. Of course the gameplay is top notch for the genre, with a lot of really well-designed maps and a solid balance with the weapons, so what could go wrong? A few months ago, the idea sprung up to let players on consoles rent one of DICE’s multiplayer servers for a fee for 30 days. This meant that they could make the rules however they want, the playlists however they want. Honestly, it was a great feature and one that should have been in from the start. The only problem came with the fact that it meant an official DICE server went offline whenever someone would rent a server.
At first, I was really happy about this. I could boot up my Xbox 360, go into the server menu in Battlefield 3 and find a whole ton of servers serving up my favorite maps and favorite modes. Cool. I’d start playing and realize that there were 500 tickets instead of 100, and well, that was cool as well. It meant if I was having a really good game on a really good team, I could just keep scoring points and keep popping off kills. Then, time passed, and I realized I didn’t want to keep playing the same maps over and over again, but quickly realized that most of the rent-a-servers were using mostly the same maps. Nothing against Seine Crossing, Operation Metro and Grand Bazaar, but part of what made those maps so great was playing the other maps and having variety. Then came the fact that matches just went on forever, and part of the “pick-up-and-play” appeal that the game had was gone.
Well, never fear, as EA announced today that DICE has quadrupled the number of official servers on Xbox 360 and PS3. So now there can be a mix of official servers and fan-hosted servers, and maybe balance can be restored to Battlefield 3’s multiplayer mode.