This document was developed by the admin team to set the course for Battlefield 3 at TacticalGamer. It explains what to expect immediately following release of the game, how we intend to move forward, details on what's expected of you, the player, and what you should expect from your admins. We know it's a lot of words and some of it may sound very familiar, but we'd appreciate you reading it :)
Opening Thoughts from the GO
Greetings everyone and welcome to Battlefield 3 at Tactical Gamer!
The time has finally arrived. After many years of waiting, the sequel to BF2 is launching on October 25th. Hooah!
Since the start of the year Dice has let their new creation slowly come out of hiding. At times the developments have been exciting and at others disappointing. In the end I feel we can summarize by saying that this is a battlefield game, but it is not your previous battlefield game. We know the core of BF is there - large scale sandboxy combined arms warfare with the typical class separation to provide the key ingredient for teamwork based gameplay. There is a lot of new stuff along with some noticeable omissions but the core has not been altered. So I will say once again - this is a battlefield game, but it is not your previous battlefield game. Battlefield 3 is part of the Battlefield franchise, but we all need to remember that BF3 is a completely new and totally separate game. This game will not be BF2, POE, 2142, PR, BC2 or COD and accordingly you would be advised to leave your preconceptions at the door. Rules, tactics and long standing Standard Operating Procedures from other games may not apply here. Over the coming months and hopefully years we will develop all of those things together as a community.
A bit about myself, I came to TG during the early months of Battlefield 2. For the bf2 vets here I believe I actually first started in a squad run by Beatnik on a round of Karkand. I was medic and trying to keep up with the demands put on me by a TG led squad was both exhilarating and eye opening. Things spiraled from there... vanilla, a ton of poe2, 2142, a dabble of early PR and a slice of BC2. Out of game... player, vocal contributer, volunteer, admin, scrim planner, teacher and now tasked to launch this huge game in front of us. I have had a ton of great experiences over the years but it all came about because I was welcomed by friendly faces while experiencing TG style of play on a nightly basis.
So that is where I turn to you. BF3 will be flagship game at TacticalGamer - however, for BF3 to achieve it's full potential here, the game needs active support from you, the player. Look back to when you played your first game at TG and how your history at TG spiraled from that point on. Put on your best looking TG hat and be that...
- friendly squadmate you met early on who made you feel welcome, was patient when you made rookie mistakes and encouraged you to get involved
- teacher who helped new players get in sync with TG standards of play
- leader who led his squad or team to memorable tales of victory AND defeat
- tactician who jump started new forum discussions and shared his tips and tricks
- community organizer who helped put together events and scrims
I ask for that support and in the rest of this document you will learn the important launch details and read more examples of the ways you can help make this launch a success.
Tactical Gamer will be launching with THREE servers. We will have:
64 Player Conquest Ranked
64 Player Conquest Unranked
32 Player TBD Ranked (will involve Rush)
We are using two different providers but all servers will be located in Virginia. If you find server performance(lag,ping) varies greatly between the different servers please share that feedback.
Ranked vs Unranked
Battlefield 3 contains an unlock and player progression system that is much deeper than any previous Battlefield game. Depending on your viewpoint this could be a positive or negative.
Determining whether to launch our servers as ranked or unranked is a tough decision to make. We acknowledge the positives and negatives of both viewpoints based on the facts of the game and past title experiences. The common thread that reverberates throughout our internal discussion is the unwavering believe that regardless of ranked status, our server will be successful and TG standards will be upheld. So with our launch server support of three servers we believe we have the flexibility to run both and see which direction the community adopts and/or is best for TG as the full pros and cons of each reveal themselves fully in the launch period.
Server Settings and Rules
When the game is first released, we'll be using our current BC2 customization as the starting point for BF3. To be clear:
- FF will be on
- Killcam will be off
- 3d spotting will be off
- There will be a start timer long enough for most to load in and some pre planning to occur.
- Hardcore will not be on.
From that starting foundation we will be looking at ways to further tweak the game toward a better TG experience during the initial months. Looking at methods to increase immersion will be a big part of that. Regen features, higher CQ ticket counts, crosshairs and squad spawning options are possible tweaks we will be looking at after we see how the vanilla game plays out.
Make no mistake though - we will not be making any changes that will transform this game into something you are not expecting when you buy this game. As noted earlier, the Battlefield series is about sandbox combined arms warfare with class based teamwork. Ignoring the mods - the vanilla titles have always had a tactical but semi-arcadey feel to them with a dynamic and fluid gameplay pace. BF3 continues that tradition and your experience of the game here at TG will not be counter to that base expectation.
When it comes to server rules, the admin team will be enforcing a relatively small number of TG-wide rules such as do not jump to avoid fire, no suicide tactics, TKing, etc. As our collective experience grows as a community, we will expand the rule set where necessary to ensure an appropriate server environment.
Back to Karkand Support
The Back to Karkand map pack is a four map expansion similar to the Vietnam expansion for BC2. It comes free with all preorders and will likely cost $15 when released separately upon its release. The pack will contain four remade BF2 maps - Strike at Karkand, Sharqi Peninsula, Wake Island and Gulf of Oman. Current release date is unknown but the general feeling going around is to expect it a month or two after release - so perhaps right around Christmas? Another current unknown is whether the maps will be able to be mixed in with the base maps on the same server. With Vietnam for BC2 this was not possible - odds are probably good the Karkand pack will work the same.
So what support will TG give the pack? Due to the majority of our community having the map pack due to preordering the admin team is saying now for sure that this pack will receive solid support here. The admin team strongly recommends you preorder to assure you will receive this pack for free. If the maps can be mixed in with the base maps it is very likely we will require the map pack for continuous play on our servers. If the pack has to be played separately then depending on server availability we will either setup a full time BTK server or run BTK only nights 1-2 times a week until interest has played out.
The Gameplay Experience
Games of this size and battlefield games in particular rarely escape the first couple weeks without some chaos. With the number of players slamming battlelog on release you should be prepared for the possibility of downtime and difficulty in accessing the TG servers at times. What you experience during this time will be drastically different from what you experience a month after release. Remember that the game server (players, rules, maps, weapons, admin-tools, etc, etc) you played on before BF3 has had many months, or even many years to mature. As with any new release, there will be bugs; there will be balance issues; there will be weapons and vehicles that don't work like they "should"; there will be maps you love and others you don't care for. Expecting a bumpy-road now will help reduce any potential frustration later.
It's also important to keep in mind that you will be playing along side players with very diverse backgrounds, play-style preferences, and experience levels. Some will have played the beta-version extensively, while for others, this will be the first foray into the world of First Person Shooters. Regardless of what minor differences exist between us, remember that we're here at TG because we ALL value the same thing in our games: vocal teamwork, creative combat strategies, an immersive experience, mutual respect, and good sportsmanship.
Life Without In Game VOIP
Battlefield 3 is launching without any form of in game voice communication. This is a disappointing development and we encourage all members of this community to pass on their feedback to Dice through the proper channels. As the game matures and with your voice being shared, it is certainly possible they could patch voip into the game after launch. We hope that happens but of course we needed a new solution in the meantime.
With Bad Company 2, the community settled on prioritizing team coms through our teamspeak server. It was by no means ideal but for BC2 it worked OK. However when we looked ahead to BF3, we knew we had to shift priority to squad communications. The combo of 64 player servers and a rebirth of the SL position would not work with everyone in the same channel.
Now as most of you know by now, through the hard work of Knyghtmare and input from our Game Services Development group, a solution has been crafted that we believe fits the needs of BF3. It will evolve over time but can currently be summarized as an automated service that reads what squad you are in while playing and then it places you in the appropriate TS squad channel. Change squad or team and it quickly makes the necessary change without any interaction needed on the users end. For team or SL-SL communications there will be a small plugin to install which will allow the higher level coms to take place with another simple hotkey. So far it has worked well in testing and expectations are the system will transfer over to BF3 with very limited coding changes.
The difficulty with any out of game solution is in getting Joe Q. Public to get involved. While on the technical side we are attempting to make public involvement as easy as possible, it is the human element that will be the biggest factor in getting new players to participate on our TS server. In game chat is not ideal but it does work. Ask your fellow squadmates to join you on our TS and help them do so when they need directions or have a question.
Full details about the voip solution will be posted in another thread.
During the days and weeks immediately following release, it is you, the player, that will shoulder the responsibility of making the server(s) a success. As noted earlier, the biggest thing you can do as a player is to remember why you first joined Tactical Gamer, and pass that gift along! Here are a few more things we need from all players to help with a successful launch:
- Have fun! This is at the top of the list for a reason! It's especially important during the initial 'break-in period', that we don't take things too seriously or competitively. If you hang your hopes on a great K/D ratio or an ultra-realistic combat experience, you may be disappointed. Instead, during those hopeless rounds where the teams seem stacked or the map seems unbalanced, find a way to enjoy the small things in-game that make it fun. (Like golf, where one amazing shot lets you forget about all the triple bogeys and lost golf balls)
- Have patience! Have patience with your fellow gamers as they learn and adapt to the new game. Have patience with the game itself, remembering it's an initial version. Finally, have patience with the [volunteer] admin-team as we work to support the community.
- Give logical, fact-based feedback! We'll be developing server-rules after substantial consideration of all community feedback. If one person, after a bad day at work, has one bad experience, in one moment of one round, it's not going to carry a lot of weight. On the other hand, when we see a trend, detailed by numerous unemotional, fact-based reports, we can begin adapting our policies. How did something spoil the gameplay? How often does that happen? Why does it happen? Are there any in-game counters? Do we know if it's an intended feature?
- Educate and Build the Community! As you learn things, share them in the forums. If you perceive that someone is new in-game, give them a friendly "hey did ya know...". When you find a tactic that works, don't keep it for your own advantage or share exclusively with the players in your IHS. We have no doubt that the TacticalGamer community will step up here - tactics, map guides, vehicle/weapon reviews, etc, are bread and butter of our experienced player base. (... and don't be afraid to use google-friendly thread titles ;))
- Spread the word externally! If you read other forums and come across a thread that sounds like someone is looking for the TG experience then let them know we exist! A personal reply that answers their questions/needs and shines light on what TG offers can often bring in a lot of new faces. Or do you like to make videos? Great! Add a TG banner to the video and showcase the high quality gameplay and communication we achieve here. In this digital age where youtube is king a quality teamwork video can draw in a lot of interest.
- Inspire! We want people to never forget the first time they play BF3 with us. Every time you play, you have the opportunity to make this kind of impression:
Originally posted by Wimpinator
Admin Responsibilities and Support
The BF3 admin-team is made of volunteers that are here to serve TG first, the BF3 community at TG (you) second, and themselves never. Our primary role as administrators is to police the servers by enforcing rules in an unbiased and unemotional way. We're also responsible for managing the community and translating community sentiment into codified game policy.
As is the case with every other game at TG, if at any time you perceive that an admin is being condescending or disrespectful in any other way, please don't hesitate to contact the Battlefield Game Officer directly via PM [FBmantis].
The admin team for BF3 is still under some construction and will be posted soon. At launch we will definitely have a list posted in the admin channel on teamspeak.