Battlefield 4 developer DICE summarized the changes they've made to vehicles in the military shooter on Friday. Elsewhere on the web, EA chief operating officer Peter Moore revealed when the beta will launch.
"The highly-anticipated Battlefield 4 action starts with the Battlefield 4 Open Beta on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on October 1," Moore said in an EA.com announcement. It's interesting to hear that it's an "open" beta, as that implies it's available to any interested gamers. Last we heard, you had to either pre-order BF4, own Medal of Honor: Warfighter, or be a BF3 Premium member. Perhaps they're going to repeat their approach BF3's beta, and give that group a few days of early access before opening it up to everyone else.
Meanwhile, DICE's blog post explained the changes we can expect in vehicles once we dive into the beta. They started by reiterating their pledge to make naval combat important again. Players will now have access to larger naval units that can hold their own against both air and land vehicles. Also, to make sure that players ride in the larger transport ships more, DICE added more gunner spots and made these vehicles into team spawn points. Both attack boats and transports can deploy smaller craft like the Personal Water Carriers or LCRS rafts so players don't get stranded in the ocean when their ship goes down.
As we know from leaked screenshots, DICE is expanding vehicle customization dramatically as well. Players can now customize the primary weapon for their vehicle to tweak their role on the battlefield. For example, the patrol boat can be outfitted with missiles suited to either air or ground targets. The dev team revealed today that players can now choose special optics and countermeasures for their vehicle instead of having to decide between one or the other. An upgrade slot allows you to outfit your vehicle with new perks like incendiary grenades.
"Now we can fine-tune our loadout to gain an edge in different situations," DICE says. "Is it helicopters we’ll encounter more often, or jets? Long range or short? Is there more cover for aircraft on this map or are they out in the open more often? So the biggest tweaks in the rock-paper-scissors gameplay come from what kinds of customization options are now available to each class."
The developers have also changed how vehicle damage works. They want players to feel like they can still win the fight even when their vehicle is disabled. Now, if your ride takes a critical hit (determined by the area damaged and the angle of the hit), you'll still be disabled but the effect only lasts a few seconds. If tank-busting is your jobs, you'll be pleased to hear that the tops of MBT's are now more vulnerable to damage regardless of whether you're using a guided missile or an RPG.
Aircraft were tweaked as well. Attack jets and fighter jets are now distinctly suited to air-to-ground and air-to-air combat, respectively. The scout, transport and attack helicopters have had their abilities adjusted as well so they feel more suited to their roles. It's not going to be any easier to fly but DICE is promising test range so you can practice by yourself.