Post Launch Battlefield 3 Balancing: Turning “Our Game” into “Your Game”

Alan Kertz is Core Gameplay Designer on Battlefield 3. In this “Inside DICE” post, he explains how feedback from the community has a direct impact on the balancing we do on a number of items in our upcoming game update.

It’s always a challenge for me to balance a Battlefield game after it has launched. Before a game ships it’s Our Game, and we can generally do what we feel is right with the game, even if it means entirely redoing some part of the balance (we did this multiple times on Battlefield 3’s development before we arrived at today’s combat pacing). It can generally be said that once a game ships, it’s no longer Our Game, it’s Your Game. It belongs to the community; I’m just a care taker; A Game Warden if you will.

So it’s a lot of consideration that goes in to crafting an update with as many fixes and changes as we have prepped for our next update. Sometimes the community comes together and clearly demands a fix: “The USAS-12 and FRAG rounds are Over Powered!” or “MAV elevators have got to go!” It’s easy to make a quick reaction fix, though every “fix” for an issue can be essentially ruining another player’s fun.  What’s game breaking for balance to one player is the very thing that helps another enjoy the game. It’s my job to pick which issues to fix, how to fix them, and analyze their overall impact on the game.

Ultimately the community will make its opinions loud (though not always so clear) when an update lands, and many updates for many different games have come with unpleasant surprises for their respective communities. I really wanted to avoid that situation for Battlefield 3, so we’ve tried a series of different approaches. Various update change lists have been posted on Battlelog for all to see during the development of this update. And many changes and additions (and even deletions) have been made in response. As we went on in development, and after we had reached a feeling of equilibrium for balance in internal playtests, we released the specific data to a community site known for its in depth analysis of Battlefield 3’s weapons and vehicles: Players then were able to look directly at the numbers, and the process of changing, adding, and deleting was repeated.

To me, this process has been a huge success. The clearly unnecessary changes were removed based directly on community feedback, and some changes that may have swung the balance pendulum too far in the other direction have been moderated. I’m sure there’s still a strong set of opinions, and there’s clearly some hot button issues, so I’ve attached a poll for you to vote on: Tell me which change you want to know the reasoning behind. I’ll craft a blog post for each of them in time, and your vote will determine which order. If there’s something that’s missing from this poll list, please add it to the comments section. I’ll throw up another poll when my next blog post goes up with a revised list of hot topics.

I look forward to doing more of these blogs, and to your comments and questions below.

Alan “Demize99” Kertz, Core Gameplay Designer

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  • Robopimp-Homer 01.05.13 at 11:22

    Hello Alan.
    I want to give his opinion on not realestichnye in BF3 is that the head should be head shoot yes even three times to fully realestichnye balance and make the entire agnestrelnogo weapon damage is much higher. You are aiming to show realism in this game.(Sorry for my curve English)

  • TC4SPAZINOUT 05.12.12 at 01:39

    well guns were better with out the crazy recoil added.. that’s why so many left the game don’t ever give them the ability to have a great gun and take it away and im not talking about the famas that no one seem to use any more. i like the shot gun fix… jumping over wall is gay and aiming is affected while climbing over a 2 foot wall before patch jumping wasn’t so gay . tanks still take to many hits..have any of you tried playing on the ps3 what happened to my hk and why when i use acog scope i now see gun sight in the scope wasn’t like that before patch no one using scopes any more because recoil is to much they all use holo now… not the case before the patch… to many flare on jet and heli i shot 2 stinger into heli he just fly’s away like nothing happened. if you were smart you reset recoil on all guns except the famas o and everyone hates blur how do you have a epic battle if no one can see put back to where it was ground to air need more.. rpg dumb ed down put back to normal… in hardcore more option in ranked game like bullet % change higher and still be ranked i don’t play custom game because their not ranked ps i know what u did was to improve game play but changing guns across the board isn’t the answer if i never played from day one i wouldn’t notice these changes as being negative .great game but the changes can and will hurt the game play ps theirs nothing wrong with shooting a bullet straight its hard enough with moving targets now my gun move up because of recoil and the view of game change dont know if this was to fix imput lag game has more of a call of duty look if you fixed these items game would go back to epiccccc knife still has issue tooo. cooking grenades would be great mortar suk after patch…. smoke granades . bigger squads like 6 or 12 o yeah stinger should track at low air level .. i know how devs are they think they know what we want but you really don’t

  • DrMontyDK 04.27.12 at 12:01

    BF 3. Is a great game. But I have some improvements, that would make the game even better. It would be nice to have the opportunities to set up your weapons outside the game. Then it would be great to have chance to have place to test your weapon setup. It could be a shooting range where you also could pratice your skill with the grenade launcher and hand grenades.

  • {SA}StayAlive 04.17.12 at 16:27

    Let me start by saying that Battlefield 3 is a great game, but it has potential for much more. When playing the game there are many issues(too many to list but I’ll be glad to discuss upon request) that cause players to leave, some permanently. We’re trying to “stick with it” as long as we can but find the issues too frustrating and too often. We have lost 1/2 of our clan already and the other 1/2 is talking about moving on. It is unfortunate that the ingredients are all there and yet this game can’t seem to make a leap forward to perfection. If anyone at Dice is interested in listening I’ll be glad to break it down to very specific issues, otherwise this is going to be just another “lost feedback”. If that’s the case, some of us have no choice but to move on to something else.

  • AppleTree4 04.15.12 at 19:41


  • CyberSniper84 04.12.12 at 16:34

    hey allan “fuckface99″ kertz. thanks alot for ruining bf3. i wont be buying another dice or ea game. i was looking forward at the new medal of honor and other new battlefield or dice games, but since u cant create a game and not fuck with it any further, then u can suck it, cuz i wont be buying them.

  • DJ-RUOSS 04.10.12 at 20:49

    hi, from the latest patch applied to my BF3/PS3, i’m experiencing a problem: when i select the mortar and ready to place on the ground it seems like in a position taller by the ground than before installing the patch (the latest one) and it is red (not ready to be placed) and not yellow. can you explain me why i cannot use anymore the mortar? is a bug, or there is another kind of approach to use this weapon?
    thank you in advance and best regards.

  • APOLLO7373 04.10.12 at 07:22

    Hey Dice/EA, as you can see from the overwhelming majority of posts on this thread and many others, your patch didn’t go over so well. I realize you can’t fix it overnight, but where you claim to be influenced by what your users say, could you at least let us know that you’re listening and that you plan to fix some of the concerns in an upcoming patch? I sure havent seen anything like that from you guys with this issue, so either do it, or point us in the right direction and make or a headline Throw us a bone.

    • Foreverloco4 04.11.12 at 18:34

      there’s 10x more kids than adults playing the game therefore they listen to more whiners. If i really wanted to RUN AND GUN THE MAP i would just buy cod mw3. no i bought this game because i wanted to be tactical and sneaky, this game is more like COD since the patch. what a waste eh?

  • tnmphoenix 04.08.12 at 00:18

    NO weapon packs for the love of God. Unless it’s like Mass Effect 3. Where you aren’t guaranteed things. Dice really needs to diversify the battlefield. Make certain equipment load outs really work for special circumstances. Make people think. I want to think. That’s all I’m asking for. I want to not always use the same weapon and attachments for every engagement. The balance thing is all well and good, but every weapon has seemingly the same attachments and it’s silly. Make us really sacrifice something. If we want X we shouldn’t have Y. I feel like you get everything you want in the weapons now so there’s not much a difference. You should have a harder time if you choose poorly for the situation. That just doesn’t exist. You can use whatever weapon you want, most of them practically work the same. Just a different graphic/model.

  • aww_sheit 04.07.12 at 20:46

    screw balancing shit, make it REAL

  • lanman2k 04.06.12 at 23:13

    This upgrade has made the game even more frustrating to play. The jets and choppers seem to have even more of an unfair advantage. At least in BF2, we had AAs and mounted 50 cal weapons to balance things out.

    I keep hoping DICE will finally fix the damage issues. I get tired of shooting people at point blank range just to have them knife me. It doesn’t take a whole clip at close range to kill someone. Certain players seem to have god-like skills; you cannot kill them no matter how many times you shoot them. You shoot them first and they suffer absolutely no health damage and then they kill you. When manning the 50 cal on a tank, why does it take so many hits to kill someone when in reality one 50 cal round will virtually cut someone in half? These are very old issues and have been voiced by thousands so why haven’t the focus been on fixing these problems?

    Why can’t we buy a tutorial server so we can learn to fly jets and choppers without penalizing our team?

  • truskn 04.06.12 at 16:02

    Battlefield 3: Modern Warfare 4

    BF will be full of CoD kiddies. I wonder how many copies the next BF title will generate? Hope DICE doesn’t count on all the noobs to come back? Good going DICE at this rate you will lose your core fanbase\long time fans. I no longer have faith in buying DICE games anymore. All they will do is patch it to death instead of making “their” game and fixing actual problems. Hell I’ll take the OP FAMAS and the OP USAS frag rounds back over this new crappy ass patch.

    • devo229 04.06.12 at 20:50

      why would it be full of Cod kiddies they play that game because its unrealistic and no recoil which i suspect is most of the crying going on here cause people cant shoot anymore

  • lfc5times80 04.06.12 at 13:03

    i want my money back ,this game now sucks dick ,i got the mw3 xbox with mw3 included,played the campaign then forgot about it,guess what?im gettin it out again because its got to be better than this steaming pile of dogshit now.thanks for fuck all dickheads

  • ZOOLOG1C 04.06.12 at 08:23

    Why did you jerks ruin this awesome game?? WTF!!! 600 hrs of my life going this game rocks and a 15min download + 1 half hour of wtf this game sucks! Fix it now!!!!

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