Battlefield Portal appears to be bringing creativity back to the series, and it might be the breath of fresh air the series desperately needs.
I can’t be the only person whose love for the Battlefield series has lapsed in recent years. After Battlefield 3 and 4 defined my formative years, the subsequent releases seemed to take step after step backwards.
The WW1 premise of Battlefield 1 was certainly a good hook, but a strong focus on a more casual shooting model left a lot of weaponry feeling dull to use. Battlefield V also fell short with content growing thin on the landing grounds and the attrition system proving more frustrating than enhancing.
This is all to say that it’s been a while since Battlefield was in its prime. With Battlefield 2042 announced earlier this year, the return to a modern setting left hopes high for a strong series comeback. Now that we’ve seen its third mode ‘Battlefield Portal’ in action, I’m almost certain that it’s going to set the new standard for a modern shooter.
Community is key
You see, the biggest change that arrived with Battlefield 1 and V didn’t actually have much to do with gameplay. It was with Battlefield 1 that the games stopped supporting custom servers.
In previous Battlefield games, custom servers were available to rent from a variety of hosting companies. From there, users could use plugins to adjust all sorts of gameplay attributes. Creating custom map and mode rotations, adjusting ticket counts, or limiting the number of snipers per team. Custom servers are the reason that 5000 ticket matches of Operation Metro existed. They’re a pivotal part of what it means to play Battlefield.
Sandbox games like Battlefield aren’t one size fits all. Players like myself might enjoy playing as an infantry medic soldier while others will prefer to stick to the clouds. As such, custom servers allowed players to find like minded members of the community that enjoyed playing with similar server settings.
The result was that you’d end up with a rotation of a few servers that you could always rely on for a good time. After frequenting the same servers night after night, you’d begin to see the same names pop up on scoreboards. Bonding over a shared passion for Battlefield, that’s how friendships were formed. It’s something that’s impossible to nurture in today’s age of constant server rotation.
Thankfully, Battlefield Portal seems to be shining a light at the end of the tunnel. Remastering mounds of content from previous Battlefield titles is an excellent touch from DICE. It’ll draw in plenty of fans like me who might have previously lost faith in the once beloved series. In all honesty, though, it’s the potential of the custom servers that has me most excited.
Battlefield Portal might have the answers
Using the Battlefield Portal web interface, players will be able to take back custom control of servers, just like the good old days. There’s every possibility of recreating those old favourite experiences. You can create overly long matches of Team Deathmatch on Noshahr Canals, or limit the number of snipers on Arica Harbour’s Rush mode. Those that want to get super creative can use the built in Logic editor to truly go wild with their imaginations.
Not only does Battlefield Portal solve the issue of discouraging communities from forming, but it also solves Battlefield V’s problem of having stagnant content. We’ll still be playing the same maps over and over, of course – at least until new ones arrive in 2042’s live service. However, the trailers for Battlefield Portal indicate that there’s little to stop players from creating truly unique experiences that DICE could never dream of implementing itself.
Battlefield Portal is the cherry that confirms my suspicions aroused since I first laid eyes on the reveal trailer for Battlefield 2042. DICE finally seems to understand what Battlefield is actually about. Beyond the spectacle, it’s about the creativity and community of its players. That’s what drove the series forward with Battlefield Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4. If DICE plays its cards right, I’m hopeful that it can do it again with Battlefield 2042.
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Featured Image Credit: EA/DICE