Accessorize It: Finding the Perfect Setup to Fit Your Playstyle

In this episode of “Inside DICE”, Core Gameplay Designer Alan Kertz returns with an in-depth look at how we balance and rebalance the game after launch. He will also help you realize some of the most significant changes in how the different accessories in Battlefield 3 are tweaked in the latest patch – and how you can experiment to find a new and perfect setup to fit your personal playstyle.

Seek and destroy on the Donya Fortress map from the upcoming Close Quarters expansion pack.

Battlefield™ is a big game. Balancing a game as diverse as Battlefield 3 requires constant attention, multiple iterations, and both a detailed approach as well as a broad vision. To start, we begin with the broad vision: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Tank, Jet, Infantry, Boat, Helicopter. At the heart of “Battlefield Balance” is the idea that no single soldier can be all powerful. We believe this makes the choices presented in Battlefield more interesting, as the player is not simply advancing an ever steeper power curve, but rather the player is consistently presented with new choices. The choices a player makes, whether before spawn, at spawn, or when playing will determine which role he plays and what abilities he possesses.

No silver bullets
For example, on a vehicle level a jet can destroy a tank, but an AA vehicle can destroy a jet, but the tank can destroy the AA. Only through teamwork can the tank be protected from the AA and the AA protected from another tank. Each of the vehicles is powerful within its role, but no one vehicle can master everything. Teamwork though, trumps all. The attack helicopter is a great example of a situation where two players, cooperating in the same vehicle can greatly increase the power of the vehicle. With a gunner and a pilot the attack helicopter can engage both ground vehicles and infantry, as well as defend itself against other helicopters. However, even the attack helicopter is vulnerable to the jet, or an AA vehicle, or even infantry with a SAM launcher. It is when players find all powerful combinations that we need to do a balance update.

Battlefield 3 made some major additions to game balance: vehicle disable, suppression, and deeper weapon customization all have a major impact on how Battlefield 3 is balanced. Suppression is an addition generally unique to Battlefield, as we felt that shooters really didn’t represent the unnerving fear that comes from being truly shot at in an authentic way. Suppression allowed us to better represent this psychological effect of being shot, while also adding to the gameplay. Being able to pin down and suppress a player so he cannot accurately return fire opens up new tactics and strategies for dealing with threats. A player with an SMG might not be able to put effective lethal fire on a sniper, but he can put enough rounds near the sniper to suppress him and get into cover.

A Delicate Balancing Act
Of course all of this is a delicate balancing act, and based on community feedback in the last update we made some tweaks to how suppression is calculated. We increased the size of the suppression sphere (bullets going through or impacting in this sphere cause suppression) in order to allow better suppression of targets in windows or behind some kinds of cover. Previously players would have to shoot over the cover, and this change allows the bullets that hit the cover to provide some suppressive effect. Of course, the closer a bullet passes to the player the more suppression he receives, and some tweaks were made to how close a bullet must be to fully suppress. I’m generally happy with the larger sphere, as it makes suppression clearer (and was a small adjustment), though community sentiment is clear that while divided a significant number of players dislike the changes made to suppression. We look forward to continued community feedback on how these changes are affecting Battlefield 3. Based on that feedback we may make additional adjustments in the future.

Finding the Perfect Accessory Combo for YOU
For weapon customization, we did an in-depth analysis of how players were customizing their weapons and found that players, especially high level players who have many unlocks, were generally gravitating to a single combo: Foregrip and Suppressor. When we see many players gravitating towards a single setup, as game designers we can conclude that the other choices are not interesting enough to give players reason to try them out. We want players to experience the width of the game, and for this reason we concluded it was time to make a change. I think it’s been an overall improvement for the game. There’s some confusion that comes when a system wide change comes, as players find their go to combo suddenly is not as good as it was. It’s time to try out some new combinations! Which playstyle do you want to go for below?

Jack of All Trades
Primary accessory: Foregrip
Secondary accessory: Flash Suppressor

Kertz’ Comments: To be blunt, previously the Flash Suppressor was worthless. Post update it has received a huge buff: It now substantially reduces the muzzle climb of a weapon, making it much more controllable. Pairing the Foregrip and the Flash Suppressor together will give your weapon a huge boost in controllability, and this will especially help with high rate of fire weapons like the F2000, AEK-971, A-91 and FAMAS.

Short Range Stealth
Primary accessory: Foregrip
Secondary accessory: Suppressor

Kertz’ Comments: The Foregrip’s muzzle drift reduction works well at short range and pairs well with the Suppressor’s minor muzzle climb reduction. You’ll be invisible on the minimap, you’ll have a significantly reduced muzzle signature, and your weapon will be more controllable. Finally by pairing the Suppressor and the Foregrip together the Suppressor’s minor accuracy bonus fully offsets the accuracy penalty of the Foregrip — your gun will be just as accurate as if you had no accessories at all.

Hip Fire Run and Gun
Primary accessory: Foregrip
Secondary accessory: Laser Sight

Kertz’ Comments: The Laser Sight gives a massive bonus to accuracy from the hip and will allow you to be much more accurate while mobile. Since most of your fire will be from the hip, adding a Foregrip will reduce muzzle drift and make your fire more controllable without feeling any of the downsides of the Foregrip. You can also toggle your laser sight on and off to afford a bit more stealth if the situation requires. Remember, the laser sight only helps from the hip, so turn it off when you’re aiming down the sights to increase your stealth!

Medium Range Marksman
Primary accessory: Foregrip
Secondary accessory: Heavy Barrel

Kertz’ Comments: This has been a clear source of confusion in the community. Should I pair a Foregrip with my Heavy Barrel after the update? My answer is a definite yes. Although the Foregrip decreases Aimed Accuracy, the Heavy Barrel’s Aimed Accuracy bonus has been increased to offset the Foregrip’s penalty. Pairing the two will still give you much greater Aimed Accuracy than a stock weapon, as well as reducing your muzzle drift. You will see some increased muzzle climb, however you’ll also be getting increased range out of the Heavy Barrel so your hits will have more impact at Medium Range.

Long Range Marksman
Primary accessory: Bipod
Secondary accessory: Heavy Barrel

Kertz’ Comments: If you want to get the absolute best accuracy out of your weapon, this is the setup for you. The bipod has absolutely no downsides when undeployed, and when deployed it gives a huge boost to accuracy both aimed and from the hip as well as substantially reducing muzzle climb and drift. You’ll also get the increased range of the heavy barrel making you a threat to even snipers when using your deployed bipod and a high zoom optic.

These are my recommendations. There are several combinations that haven’t been covered here, so experiment to find your best post update accessory combo. There’s at least one combo that’s perfect for your unique playstyle, so try a few and you’ll likely find not just a new accessory combo, but a whole new playstyle. You can find a handy guide below so you always know what to expect when experimenting with the different accessories discussed above. Have fun, and let me know in the poll below how you like to play!

Alan Kertz
Core Gameplay Designer

APPENDIX: KNOW YOUR BATTLEFIELD 3 ACCESSORIES
ACCESSORY PROS CONS
Suppressor Reduces muzzle climb, increases aimed accuracy, hides muzzle flash Reduces range, reduces hip accuracy
Laser Sight Increases hip accuracy, can blind enemies Visible to enemies
Bipod Greatly increases accuracy, greatly reduces muzzle climb and sway Must be stationary with bipod deployed
Flash Suppressor Greatly reduces muzzle climb, reduces muzzle flash Slightly reduces hip accuracy
Foregrip Greatly reduces muzzle drift Slightly reduces aimed accuracy
Heavy Barrel Greatly increases aimed accuracy Increases muzzle climb, reduces hip accuracy

 

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