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DICE wants to encourage cooperation in Battlefield 4's multiplayer without forcing players to work together. In a new blog post on the BF4 website, lead multiplayer designer Thomas Andersson explained how the development team is trying to influence players to be team-friendly. One of the team-friendly features of the game should be familiar to Battlefield 2142 veterans.
BF4's classes are the same as BF3: Assault, Support, Recon and Engineer. DICE will detail the classes more in a later blog post. However, Andersson described the dev team's overall strategy with these kits. They're hoping to make these classes more specialized and have more synergy with each other. The developers want to make players use a wider range of gadgets and vehicles as well.
"I think some players in Battlefield 3 stuck with the default Assault loadout. That’s fine – there’s a reason why it’s the default – but I think they’re missing out on so much amazing variety. In Battlefield 4, we’re clearly displaying what gadgets can do for you, how different weapons compare, and how they affect your options on the Battlefield."
As someone who mainly played Engineer in BF3, I'm hoping for better gadgets to help the team. The Engineer's only team-based utility was healing vehicles. EOD Bots were a waste of a slot, better suited to Wall-E parody videos or Assignment-whoring than actual contributions.
Squad play was mildly encouraged in BF3 with slight XP boosts and more spawn options. To encourage players to stick with their squads in BF4, DICE is bringing back the Field Upgrades from BF 2142. Field Upgrades are temporary, personal boosts earned by squad actions such as repairing a squadmate's vehicle or healing them. The boosts are similar to squad specializations from BF3: stronger armor, more ammo, or faster sprinting. These upgrades improve over time along four specialized paths. If your entire squad is wiped out, though, some of this progress will be lost.
"Showing you how team play gives you the edge in the bigger battle is paramount for us, and it involves all elements of the game: audiovisual feedback, user interface, gameplay mechanics, and the way the entire persistence system is designed," Andersson said. "When we tie all of these elements together with the tweaked team-based scoring, we have a game where I think everyone will find it satisfying and deeply engrossing to truly be part of a team."
BF4's Commander Mode allows one player to survey the battle from above. They can issue orders to squad leaders, who in turn can pass the orders to their squadmates. When these orders are carried out, everyone receives rewards. As the team gains ground in a match, the Commander will also unlock deployables to support their teammates, such as tomahawk missiles and EMP blasts. Andersson describes this system as a "positive feedback loop" that promotes teamwork.
Battlefield 4 is currently in alpha. A public beta will launch this fall.