As a top-level pro-player of everything Battlefield, Toby explains his concerns and suggestions for taking the game to an eSport level.
By Toby McCasker on October 16, 2013 at 10:56 am
DICE’s plans to give Battlefield 4 the eSport treatment are kind of a no-brainer, but I still wouldn’t have picked it. At its most hectic, sure, it is ridonkulous fun to watch – especially now with all those very big things that go boom and fall down. For the love of my -69% accuracy rating, why can I never get out of the way of a huge and obvious building about to say hair ya garn to my face?
At its most general, it’s often a slow sort of thing. It’s not ArmA slow (what is? Roadkill on ketamine! Did I win a meat tray?), but its pacing is not the frenetic everyone-is-always-dying frenzy of CoD.
You have not experienced awkward until you’ve been on a date with me, or you’ve heard casters trying desperately to enliven the resource gathering phase of a live StarCraft II match. I pity these people who will be tasked with making BF4’s moments of slog and long-range engagement seem like the most electrifying moments in video game entertainment today.
As a consistent spectacle, I uh, I’m not sure, Bob. Friends unfamiliar with BF’s unique brand of drawn-out tension have watched me play an extended Domination round and fallen in and out of comas.
One thing is obvious and that is that whatever exploits are to be found will be found in triple the time they normally would. This is not the greatest thing. Whenever this happens on a global scale within the online lifespan of a BF game things get markedly less fun – especially if you happen to find yourself lumped with a trough of Colonel 100s who have grown bored with their muse and now exist only as wraiths questing for my one ring.
Being that I am not prepared to give my one ring up to just anyone, these mean people and their hours of accumulated familiarity satisfy their desires by employing every trick in the book to make a match so one-sided you must run crying to a mod… who is on their team, and leading the spawn camp offensive. On the plus side, it’ll be good for ironing out balance issues really quick, a historically lethargic process that has often resulted in huge sweeping reforms in the past and totally exploded everyone’s heads.
The other thing is that five-a-side just doesn’t feel massively right. I dare say Battlefield 3 is at its least enjoyable during Squad Deathmatch, a mode I grew to loathe intensely because it required me to do useful things instead of humming Ride of the Valkyries and crashing helicopters laden with people counting on me. It’s too claustrophobic for a game built for large-scale sin, and has the peculiar knock-on effect of forcing some amount of twitchiness on a shooter naturally given to strategy and guile.
Please note that my definition of ‘strategy’ amounts to beeping my jeep’s horn a lot and my definition of ‘guile’ is whispering Sonic boom in my squad’s ears whenever I mistakenly [*citation needed] detonate them all with C4.
Please choose me for your internationally renowned Battlefield 4 eSports team.