Electronic Arts and DICE are going back old-school by pulling a Battlefield 4 for Battlefield 1. They're reviving the test server for PC gamers playing the game on Origin. The move comes ahead of a slew of new content they have planned to release for the World War I shooter.
Over on the official Battlefield website, Electronic Arts announced that the Community Test Environment will make its way to PC players first and will then roll out for console gamers at some point in the future thereafter.
They explain on the site that the CTE will be used to test new updates and patches they plan to roll out for Battlefield 1. Players will be able to play the content ahead of the public release and offer DICE feedback on the content as they iterate and fix certain things in the game.
It's a move that EA and DICE are mirroring after the very successful Public Test Realm employed by Blizzard. The PTR is used for most of Blizzard's multiplayer games as a way for them to help iron out any of the kinks or bugs in a game before pushing it out to the public. In fact, Blizzard has recently been working on lots of content for games like Overwatch, where they allow players to take new characters and maps for a stroll before a public release. During the PTR some people have uploaded videos of them glitching through maps up, down, left and right as they attempt to break any and everything they can in the game so Blizzard knows what to fix. Essentially it's publicly outsourced quality assurance testing.
The CTE for Battlefield 1 will commence through test codes being handed out to the community by DICE. Battlefield veterans will be selected first, along with those with Battlefield 1 Premium. They have opened up registration for the CTE through the companion app for Battlefield. For those looking for more info to register they link to a Battlefield registration page.
CTE and PTR servers can most certainly help speed up content updates and patches for a game. Blizzard was able to quickly pinpoint what they needed to fix and iron out with their latest map for Overwatch thanks to the PTR, as well as re-balance certain characters and abilities before releasing it in full to the public.
Battlefield 1 launched to wide acclaim last year in October alongside Titanfall 2. Both games released within weeks of each other in other to cannibalize sales in the first-person shooter space in order to diminish the market share of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. It was only partially successful, resulting in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare selling 50% less than Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 during its initial launch but the game still went on to dominate sales revenue for the holiday season.
EA and DICE have now moved more into the utilitarian phase of support, working on keeping content rolling out in a timely manner and focusing on increasing community and player engagement by implementing things like the CTE for Battlefield 1. The PC version will be available first and they hope to get the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the CTE up as soon as possible.