In this episode of ”The Road to Battlefield 4”, learn how we are guiding players to great team play, rewarding skill and dedication with ribbons, medals, Assignments, and more. Prepare 4 the biggest collection of rewards in a Battlefield game yet.
With Battlefield 4, we are introducing our deepest online career ever. We are also tweaking it to make it rewarding for newcomers and challenging for returning veterans. While sharing similar basics with Battlefield 3, we are now offering a cleaner upgrade path, clearer Ribbon and Medal progression, and an increased focus on richly rewarding great team play. Read on for the full info on how you can earn 900 unique rewards in Battlefield 4, as detailed below by DICE Persistence Designer Valerian Noghin assisted by William Cooper.
We know our fans can spend literally hundreds of hours on the Battlefield. With Battlefield 4, we want to make sure players have goals to aspire to at the end game, while at the same time rewarding players at earlier ranks as well. Ribbons are the quick fixes, whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer to the series. You typically can get one or more of these in a single round if you perform well. They can be awarded for anything from repairing vehicles, capturing flags, or reviving team mates. There are 45 unique Ribbons in the game, and you can earn each of them an infinite number of times.
Perhaps the biggest bragging right in Battlefield 4 is the Rank you achieve, from 0 (Recruit) to 100 (Colonel). Rank is strictly a number that shows your dedication to the game, and each Rank has five sub-ranks denoted by Roman numerals – similar to the system used by the U.S. Marines. So at Rank 16 you’ll hit “Sergeant”, with Rank 20 being “Sergeant V” and Rank 21 bringing a new title (“Staff Sergeant”).
Your Rank is directly tied to your accumulated score throughout your multiplayer career, and is a way to represent the sum total you’ve accomplished so far. A very skilled player will rank up faster than an average player, but it also comes down to sheer time that you have dedicated to the Battlefield. Even if you hit the Colonel 100 Rank milestone, there are still new items to collect – we’re adding high-end Assignments that are only attemptable by high-rank characters, with unique rewards that let your friends know they’re dealing with one of the few elite veterans in the community.
To make the progression path clearer, we’ve cleaned up a few quirks from Battlefield 3 while adding to the overall scope of the entire system. There’s never been more to do and more to discover, and it’s never been easier to understand how to earn everything there is to collect in the game.
Every Ribbon in the game has a clearly corresponding Medal, usually awarded when you’ve earned 50 ribbons of one kind. And now more than ever, these Ribbons and Medals are more tailored to the unique characteristics of the four playable classes. Some of the Ribbons are only earnable by Recon, Support, Assault, and some by Engineer. Players who gravitate heavily towards one of these classes will automatically have a trophy cabinet that differs wildly from that of a player that hones in on one of the other kits.
The concept of grabbing dog tags from other players in the game has been an exciting cat and mouse chase between players since Battlefield 3 and earlier in the series’ history. We’re now more clearly defining how the hundreds of dog tags obtainable are displayed in the game, and what they are used for. The left part of your dog tag is now more focused on who you are – this is where you’d display your country’s flag, your clan tag, or Rank. The right hand side dog tag is where you can display what you’ve achieved on the Battlefield. If you’ve got a knack for flying jets, your right dog tag could for example display your number of jet kills, which is dynamically updated to show your latest tally for everyone to admire.
Service Stars are also returning in Battlefield 4. These are additional distinguishing marks that you get awarded for heavily investing in distinct areas of the game. Think of it as a sub-rank of sorts that takes much more dedication than Ribbons. If you’ve amassed a great accumulated score playing as an Engineer, you might be awarded an Engineer-specific Service Star. In a similar manner, getting great results with a specific weapon will earn you Service Stars for that weapon. This time around we’ve even included Service Stars for winning the available game modes. Note that only objective scoring and actually winning rounds will earn you Service Stars for game modes. So if you run into a player with one or more Obliteration Service Stars, you know you’re up against someone who knows what to do with the bomb that just spawned on the map.
There’s a role for everyone, and you can always play to your strengths in Battlefield 4. That said, one of the major design goals going into Battlefield 4 was to use the underlying scoring system itself both as a friendly guiding tool and as a strong incentive to great gameplay. Since your score is directly related to ranking up and gaining new weapons, gadgets, and accessories, this is where the foundation for the online career is set in place. The scoring system effectively allows us to influence all aspects of Battlefield 4 – from teamwork to playing the objective and the more strategic aspects of the game (such as the Commanders receiving points when their teams use the Supply Drop provided.)
One new way that we are using scoring to incentivize playing the objective relates to flag capturing and arming objectives. Now, as soon as you attempt to capture a flag or arm an objective, the points will start ticking into your account, even if the overall attempt might fail. So if you are trying to reclaim a base but get killed just one second away from completing the capture, you’ll still be handsomely rewarded for the great attempt, for the risk you put yourself in, and for playing the objective. By contrast, doing the same in Battlefield 3 would have netted you 0 points if the flag was not at least neutralized.
Similarly in Rush or the all-new Obliteration mode, simply starting to arm or disarm an objective will make the points roll in. While succeeding in the arm or disarm will naturally yield even greater sums, doing the right thing that actually drives the game mode forward will always be advantageous to your career progression. We’re also more greatly rewarding playing the objective this time around. So in Obliteration, you’ll be granted quite a large sum of points for doing pivotal actions like running with the bomb, arming it at an objective, or killing the enemy bomb carrier. It’s all part of an increased effort to drive each game mode to a distinctly different experience than the next one.
Another aspect of using scoring to promote great gameplay is tied to the new vehicle hit mechanics. In Battlefield 4, the way vehicles take damage from the Engineer’s RPG attacks is directly dependent on the angle of attack and the hit zone. The new ”top zone” on tanks, for example, is especially vulnerable to RPG attacks. By greatly rewarding attacks that deal heavy damage and letting players know how much damage they’ve dealt via the VEHICLE HIT message, the game will drive more and more players to try to achieve certain kinds of attacks. Over time, the full potential of anti-tank weapons will be discovered in a joint effort by the Battlefield community. You can learn more about anti-vehicle warfare and damage models in this earlier in-depth blog post.
The concept of handsomely rewarding great gameplay is also highly relevant for Commanders. Scoring in itself is one of the major ways for Commanders to verify that they are making a critical impact in their team’s struggle on the Battlefield. The Commanders are naturally distanced from the ground fight (this is especially true for Mobile Commanders). The scoring system is a great means for letting them know they are performing well and helping their team out.
A new concept in Battlefield 4 is that of KILL ASSIST COUNTS AS KILL. If you get a few shots in on an enemy but can’t manage the kill, you’ll still get awarded the kill if that enemy is later eliminated. The thought here is that if you’re contributing to your team you should be rewarded accordingly, since team play is at the core of Battlefield. In Battlefield 3, you could take down an enemy from 100 to 1 in health, then a friendly player would sometimes “rob” you of the kill by dealing the decisive shot. In Battlefield 4, we are instead rewarding both players with a kill and with a healthy dose of points. This means that players who put themselves in harm’s way at the frontlines are more likely to rack up decent scores even if they don’t manage to get a lot of regular kills. Overall, the scoring design in Battlefield 4 is meant to make everyone willing and able to contribute to the greater cause.
Team play is one of the defining aspects of Battlefield 4, and with the new Field Upgrades system, we are making sure to reward team play specifically within your squad. A squad is a team of two to five players and you are free to join or leave a squad at any time on the fly like in Battlefield 3. Performing team actions within a squad will net you score towards your own progression, but will also benefit the entire squad. As your total score for squad actions in a round rises, you will move along an accumulative upgrade path that gives all squad members benefits like faster sprint, more grenades, or better cover from enemy spotting. But beware – if your entire squad is wiped, you’ll all lose the progress you’ve made. If you get the message “LAST MAN IN SQUAD” in-game, make sure to stay alive until your friends can respawn and rejoin the fight. You can learn more about Field Upgrades in this earlier blog post, where we asked our fans to vote for their favorite upgrade path. The winner, ”Shadow”, will be in the final game. Thanks to everyone who voted!
We have more weapons and accessories in Battlefield 4 than ever before. With that, we thought it was time to change how you actually get new hardware to play with. Now, weapons, gadgets, and accessories are awarded to you for using items from the same family in multiplayer. So if you’re all about shotgun action, using shotguns (and scoring with them) will unlock more shotguns and shotgun accessories for you to play with. Similarly, if you use a lot of sniper rifles and amass respectable scores with them, you will unlock more varieties of sniper rifles, scopes, and barrels for them. While there is an implied connection between LMGs and Support class or sniper rifles and Recon class, playing a class itself will not bring you new weapons. Killing, assisting and suppressing with a weapon will give you more unlocks from the same weapon class.
One tweak to the progression system in Battlefield 4 based on fan feedback is that each class comes to battle better equipped from match one. The default weapons and vehicles will be starting with a few essential unlocks already from scratch to make sure the fight is balanced no matter when you join the game – right at launch or later. For example, what this means is that jets start with available flares, whereas in Battlefield 3 you had to struggle to unlock them, often in a hostile air space where other players had already unlocked flares and heat seekers. For your weapons in Battlefield 4, this means that starting assault rifles will have applicable grips available while LMGs have bipods from the get go, creating a game where the default class loadouts are both more unique and versatile from the get-go.
Another exciting element to Battlefield 4 progression is the concept of Battlepacks. Battlepacks are bundles of content that are awarded at certain Ranks. Think of them as a collection of items that are not hard-coded and will be granted at specific moments in your career. At certain ranks, you’ll get a handful of items, but you’ll never know exactly in what order you’ll receive them. If you played the Beta, you might have seen these in action already, since the first Battlepack is awarded to players at Rank 3 (and later at set intervals tied to your Rank.)
Depending on your actual Rank, you’ll be awarded a Battlepack of either Bronze, Silver or Gold Rank. The value of the Battlepack decides the number of items you receive in the pack, as well as the chance to get something really rare. Items in Battlepacks include things like weapon accessories, weapon paints, vehicle paints, soldier camos, dog tags, XP boosts, and unique knife designs.
The weapon accessories earnable in Battlepacks are not game-changing in any way, as they are simply cosmetic variants of accessories you can already unlock via the normal weapon progression. For example, if you use a specific rifle, you’ll eventually unlock the U.S. red dot sight for it. At the same time, you might earn a Battlepack with the Russian red dot sight for the same weapon. The special Weapon Battlepacks are awarded for each weapon after completing all its regular unlocks. Thus, a player faithful to a specific carbine will eventually obtain all its accessories by simply using it. You can learn more about Battlepacks at the official Battlefield 4 Battlepacks page.
Battlefield 4 is our biggest game yet and that includes the behemoth that is our awards and unlocks system. Let’s put some numbers to that: there are 45 Ribbons in Battlefield 4 multiplayer, each tied to a corresponding Medal. You’ve got 45 Assignments in multiplayer and 5 multiplayer-specific Achievements/Trophies. There are over 600 dog tags to attempt to steal, 130 Service Stars that can be obtained 100 times over for a total of 13,000 earnable Service Stars. We also have 80+ weapons to unlock and a massive amount of weapon accessories.
With this amount of content, we wanted to help our players visualize what to go for next. Whether you’re longing for that new 40x sniper scope, the new Assault rifle ergo grip, or the Obliteration Mode Medal, we’ve added the option to track up to three unlocks and rewards to see how far you’ve come to earning them. Settable from Battlelog (including inside the iOS/Android app), tracking an item lets you see what you have to perform to receive it, as well as how far along that road you’ve already travelled. On PC and next-gen consoles, you can also follow the progression of your tracked unlocks and awards in-game by bringing up Battlelog. In multiplayer, you can even see in real-time how you’re progression towards these. You can also check your progression for every single unlock via the detailed stats and unlocks pages on Battlelog. The items you are officially tracking will simply be displayed more prominently for you.
Our goal for Battlefield 4 was always to create the deepest and most rewarding progression system in the history of Battlefield. We hope you like the way we’ve set you up for years to come on the hunt for Colonel 100 and beyond. Let us know what you think in the comments section and the poll below – what is your ultimate goal in Battlefield 4 multiplayer? As always, we value your feedback. Thanks for reading.
Stay tuned to “The Road to Battlefield 4”, where we’ll continue the journey towards launch by diving deeper and deeper into every nuance of the biggest Battlefield game ever developed at DICE.
Pre-order Battlefield 4 to get the China Rising expansion pack at no additional cost.