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Battlefield Heroes

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Battlefield Heroes Preview

by Chris Faylor Feb 29, 2008 7:01am CST

EA DICE's decision to release Battlefield Heroes as a free-to-play, web-based title has raised a lot of questions and concerns.


How will the game-funding advertising be handled? Will the oft-dreaded micro-transactions be worth the dough? And most importantly, how will it play? Is this going to be a free game, or a game that's free?


During a presentation last week, senior producer Ben Cousins took the opportunity to show off the latest build of the cartoony game, and answer some of these questions in the process.


"[it's] probably the deepest Battlefield game we've ever created," boasted Cousins, before launching into a laundry list of notable features.


Gameplay Tweaks and Changes

In the effort to bring the franchise to a more casual audience, EA DICE has made numerous changes to the traditional Battlefield formula.


The most obvious of these is the shift to a third-person perspective, which abandons the series' traditional first-person viewpoint. This was done due to DICE's belief that many casual gamers find themselves confused and disoriented by a first-person camera, unable to properly navigate their character around corners or remember if they are crouching.


Apart from providing a better view of the player's character, the third-person camera doesn't change much, Cousins claims. Players sill move using the WSAD keys and aim with the mouse, allowing for similar core combat.


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The next step in broadening the appeal of Battlefield Heroes was to simplify the user interface. A player's chosen abilities appear alongside the bottom of the screen, a move that places each icon right above the number key used to activate them. Health and experience information appear next to the character portrait in the upper left-hand corner.


The mini-map, meanwhile, has been entirely removed.


Defending the controversial choice, Cousins argued that the team had created a multiplayer mode that did not require an overall view of the battlefield. A mixture of Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch, players will be hunting each other down while attempting to capture the flags scattered about the map. While the flags aren't needed for victory over the other team, each capture speeds up that team's respawn time.


Other casual-friendly modifications include the absence of friendly fire and the removal of one-hit sniper and knife kills, which are said to make the game less frustrating and more entertaining. Matchmaking will be handled based on a player's skill level in an attempt to keep the frustration level low.


Tanks and Planes

Vehicles are now simpler and more fun to control, according to Cousins.



The tank has been sped up in comparison to previous Battlefields, and now zips along at a good clip. To balance this shift, it is now less effective at taking down infantry. While a tank's shells are extremely harmful to other players, their arcing trajectory requires a bit of skill to nail a target.


Further reducing the emphasis on armor, each class comes equipped with a sticky bomb that is extremely useful against tanks. However, getting close will be tricky, as running someone over in a vehicle qualifies as one of the few one-hit kills in the game.


The propeller planes, meanwhile, are much more maneuverable. Taking a Battlefield 1942 exploit to an extreme, other players can now sit planted on the wings of planes, adding both extra firepower and a bit of character thanks to the game's emote system.


Character Classes, Customization and Expression

When it launches later this year, Battlefield Heroes will sport three character classes: the standard Soldier, the fast-moving Commando, and the heavily-armed Gunner. Instead of picking their faction at the beginning of each round, players will be forced to swear their allegiance to the National Army--a politically correct Axis team--or the Royal Army when registering their account. The conflict between the two has something to do with a dispute over the Olympics. Yes, really.


The chosen faction ties into the overall meta-game, which is centered around territory acquisition. Though no details were provided during the presentation, it is presumed that conquest will be decided based on the number of victories each side accrues per map.



Looking forward to this one!

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