It is already February and the Blog needs an update. This time and for the first time in English (please excuse my poor skills) because the matter might interest more than just the German readers. And the matter is Battlefield Heroes – the new cartoon shooter from DICE and EA. Nominal a successor the new title has not very much in common with the first four games of the series. And that’s a cute description of the problems Heroes will bring to the community.
If you take a close look to the last five years you will shortly realize that the community is no homogeneous party of players. It all started with the release of Battlefield Vietnam in 2004 when the community split for the first time. A huge amount of players were not willed to grant Vietnam the status of a successor and Battlefield 1942 was declared as the true Battlefield. The Solution – or better the least common denominator – was the release of Battlefield 2 in 2005. For a short time all Battlefielders were in a state of joy and happiness. But this period lasted only a short time. The game was full of bugs, the name Betafield was born, and the community split up again. A large number of players returned to BF42 and stayed there until today. And there was a second split between the ranked and the unranked players that might or better will be a subject with Heroes also. The third and probably most interesting split happened after the release of Battlefield 2142 in 2006. Similar to BFV a large number of BF2-Players declared the game as a huge mod for BF2 and stayed were they were – at least one of many reasons for the great success of Battlefield 2 that has still more than 30.000 players a day.
Clash of Gamers
But what the heck has all this to do with Battlefield Heroes? A lot, if we take a closer look to the similarities between the games. The settings and the engines might be different but in the end all four parts of the series are made to be expanded by the gamers. What would the battlefield series have been today without mods like Desert Combat, Forgotten Hope, Battlegroup, Eve of Destruction and all the other great names? What would the series have been without the hundreds and dozens of self made tools for modding, mapping, tweaking and filming? It would be just one of many games that you can play or forget forever. But Battlefield was always more than this and for this simple reason a browser based online game without the opportunity to create mods and custom maps can’t be a part of series. Needless to say that it is not definitely clear if Heroes might be modifiable but there are more changes that are oppositional to everything a “Battlefielder” knows so far: the comic look, the extreme arcade style for the weapons, and the new automatic spawn system (that refuses players the opportunity to enter the battle where they want to). Not to mention that flags as a basic element of the conquest mode are not longer important and the squad-system is going to be elimated. Sounds not longer like a Battlefield and it isn’t. It is some kind of “happy shooter” for casual gamers and no one would ever had the idea to integrate news or a community section for a casual game into a Battlefield website or a forum. Looking at these facts games like “Quake Wars” and “Fuel of War” are closer to Battlefield than Heroes will ever be.
Clash of Personalities
Another important fact that no one seems to realize or care about is the actual PEGI rating. Heroes has an actual rating of 12+ which means that it is made for kids. Kids that beg for mom’s credit card to pay the “cool stuff” like new helmets, uniforms and all the other shit no mature player cares about or at least should care about. All other parts of the series have a PEGI rating of 16+ and the vast majority of players is older than 16 years. As a result the well known forums for the series will be overrun by youngsters once the game will be released. And if you have once seen or written statements of 12 year old kids ingame or in an internet forum you will surely agree that the circumstance of the PEGI rating might lead to a new part of the Battlefield community that gets in trouble with the existing ones. Or does any of you really want to read postings about the “coolest helmet on earth” and other bullshit? And even more than this: what we know so far is that Heroes will bring a new system of abilities and gamemode called metagame which means nothing more or less than RPG-Elements that are already known from browsergames and massive multiplayers. The developers from DICE talk about “alliances” but lets name it like everyone knows it: “guilds”. This looks like a totally new type of gameplay that brings out a totally new type of (Battlefield) player that has the goal to dominate the world (narf, narf) with his alliance. Looking at this circumstance it might be better to ask a world of warcraft forum if they are willed to open a subsection for Heroes and delete those we established already forever.
Surely hard words about a game that hasn’t been released yet but it would be the same if anyone had the idea to make a sequel of ArmA, transform it to a RPG-FPS-Something and put the well known label on it. It’s an affront to call Heroes a “Battelfield” – even if Ben Cousins & Co. try to make people believe that isn’t. And since it isn’t possible to create mods and tools for it our team is glad not to be forced to play it. It would be a pleasure to abandon it completely but unfortunately this is (nearly) impossible. The peer pressure is way to high. As long as all other Battlefield related websites continue with their coverage there will be requests from our members also. But in the end it might be the better decision to eliminate Heroes now instead of covering the development now and handle the above mentioned problems later. I really don’t know what is the right the decision but one thing is clear: Heroes was and never will be part of the games I write about for more than four years now.