DICE have broken down their approach to tweaking and modifying the classes of Battlefield 3 for Battlefield 4. All four of the classes return: the support, the recon, the engineer, and the assault. Now they’re more specialised within their role. Engineers have more variation in their tank disable methods, for instance.
The developer’s gone fairly in-depth with their methodology.
“We knew we wanted to take the four playable classes from Battlefield 3 as a starting point,” wrote DICE’s H Brun. “We’ve tweaked them to be more versatile and more highly specialized within their fields.
“This time around the Engineer has a lot more variation in anti-vehicle weapons. We’ve also revamped the way we do vehicle disables and guided weapon systems to give the Engineer a broader set of tactics at his disposal. This includes everything from high damage weapons that may be more challenging to use (like RPG-7V2) to fire-and-forget smart weapons with low damage (like the MBT LAW), and the fan favorite Wire Guided Engineer Missile (the FGM-172 SRAW) that you might recognize from Battlefield 2.”
The best bit of news for the support is that they’ve now been given a mortar for raining down explosives on infantry from a distance. I never truly forgave DICE for taking away the recon’s mortar in Bad Company 2. Glad to see it’s back in play.
Recons have been made faster and you can now zero your rifle’s sights. That means you can set an aiming distance and not have to aim so far above your intended victim’s head when aiming from a distance. You’ll still need to be able to judge the distance to your target so don’t think sniping will have lost its challenge.
Assault have been given a first aid kit that lets them heal a specific soldier. They still have their medkit drop pack which other players can stand on to heal but the first aid kit travels with the soldier it is applied to, healing them as they go.
That first aid kit is an example of how DICE are trying to make squads more mobile. The original medkit calls for players to stand still to heal. Other gadgets have been given a portable slant, there’s now a portable laser designator and ammo kit, too.
It’s not just the classes which are being changed up. The suppression system’s been overhauled to reduce its effects in close quarters. It’s not all reductions, the suppression effect from the support’s light machine guns has been boosted. DICE are “also replacing the accuracy penalty in Battlefield 3 with a scope sway effect – similar to what snipers get in Battlefield 3 while suppressed. A skilled, focused player can keep his aim on target and get hits, even while under the effects of Suppression.” So that’s nice.
One of the big changes in Battlefield 4 is the field upgrade system. This is similar to Call of Duty’s scorestreaks in that you select four upgrades you’d like and as you score points they’re unlocked and applied to your character. You can only unlock these upgrades by performing squad actions. It’s a canny move by DICE to have you work in a team.
The four classes all have access to four upgrade paths. Two of the paths are the same across all the classes and the other two are specific to the class. One universal upgrade path has a slant on offensive abilities and the other on defensive.
As an idea of what the upgrade paths offer, the offensive path first speeds up your sprint, then increases your ammo, next gives you an extra grenade, and, finally, reduces your fall damage. Defence gives you added chest armour, reduces the vulnerability to suppression, reduces the damage you take from explosions, and speeds up your health regeneration.
It all sounds pretty nifty. You can read more about it here and vote on a new universal upgrade path.