The Battlefield Franchise has solidified itself as one of the top FPS titles since its creation. In the past, its close competitors have usually gained more attention in esports due to the faster pace of games, but now with games such as Rainbox Six Seige and PUBG having slower, more tactical approaches, it begs to ask the question. Why have a Battlefield Esports Scene? What is currently stopping Battlefield from having a competitive community? The ceiling for Battlefield is as high as any game, and Battlefield has a much stronger community than most FPS titles out there. The expectation from the community is an at all-time high and it is evident that it will continue to push for a competitive scene.
To start analyzing Battlefield Esports, you must first analyze the First Person Shooter (FPS) genre as a whole throughout esports. It is one of the most diverse genres of all time. You have tactical games, slow-paced games, fast-paced games, battle royal games, futuristic games, historical games, sci-fi games, and the genre is always changing. All of these reasons affect a games ability to perform at a high level, and how interested a general fanbase would be to see this esports.
THIS IS NOT AN EASY MARKET.
- Call of Duty
- Rainbox Six Siege
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
These are just some of the games which have entered the FPS genre and all of them besides Battlefield have established competitive scenes at different points in time. There are many titles that have adapted into the genre with each having something to characterize them. Battlefield’s uniqueness comes from how strongly it has stamped its identity. It is the only franchise to allow massive all-out battles to rage over giant maps. It allows for epic, game-changing situations to arise throughout different scenarios. Some games have had similar versions of this implemented, but Battlefield is the only franchise to stamp this as their identity. The biggest problem for the franchise is that it faces a lack of identity when it comes to competitive gameplay.
Battlefield Esports: A Lack of Identity
“PLAY THE GAME HOW IT’S MEANT TO BE PLAYED.” –Steve Spurrier
Battlefield Esports… what exactly comes into mind when you think of this? It is hard to formulate a direct answer to this question. Casuals, new players, and veterans all have diverse ways to look at Battlefield and any competitive scene would need to capture the attention of everyone. Casuals would need to be interested in seeing competitive matches, new players need to be interested in grinding to become professionals, and veterans would need to begin the push for esports by establishing teams, finding organizations, and participating in events.
If you think about a Battlefield, you think about the epic gameplay, stunning maps, vehicle combat, squad gameplay, an incredible community, great communication, (and a support player prone 500 meters away from you). A competitive environment needs to capture all of the above (besides that last one) for it to be successful. An esports scene would need to be capable of capturing these epic moments that make the Battlefield Franchise memorable. The struggle to make a competitive game mode that captures the identity of Battlefield has been an ongoing problem. This could be due to either a lack of knowledge on what the community is looking for or trying to fit a mold that simply doesn’t fit Battlefield. The most recent attempt was Battlefield Incursions.
Battlefield Incursions: A Shot in the Dark
Incursions was an interesting mix to the Battlefield Franchise. It was an idea with great potential but it did not receive a strong enough backing. The competitive community was the only sector who would consistently play the game mode. The casual community found it too slow for their liking and many new players didn’t understand the purpose of the game. The date of release, lack of servers, and lack of maps also affected its development. With nothing said regarding Incursions for the future, we can only assume it will be held back for a very long time.
It allowed for some great matches for both competitive and casual fans, but the game mode never truly got going. The attempt shows ambition which is positive for all competitive fans. The Battlefield franchise has always been characterized by its team play. Squads and strong communication are key to success in Battlefield and Incursions was a great game mode to express this.
Battlefield Esports: Patience and Time
Battlefield Esports requires patience and time for it to be successful. The developers have proven their ambition and the community must lead them in the correct direction. For anyone without any experience regarding esports outside of Battlefield, below I will be answering some of the biggest questions for both Battlefield fans and outsiders.
What makes Battlefield Esports so complicated?
Battlefield Esports is a complicated topic because it is currently trying to adapt to a mold that doesn’t suit it. When you think about Battlefield, you do not think about a 5 vs 5 match in a small setting. You think about the all-out war in big environments. Increasing the number of players makes Prize Money/Esport Organizations harder to obtain which is why they continuously try to lower the players.
If we put an example of a tournament having a 10K ($10,000.00) prize pool, having to split this with 10-12 players means there won’t be a high split for players.
Why has it failed in the past?
Battlefield’s 5 vs 5 attempts have failed in the past because of their direct competitors capturing their identity in small 5 vs 5 scenarios. Battlefield has not been able to capture its own identity in a 5 vs 5 setting.
Call of Duty has much faster pacing than Battlefield and the famous “run-and-gun” from Call of Duty can be seen in both casual and competitive play. It is a common thing to see SMG players with over 80 engagements in a very short time-span. Rainbox Six Seige is a better game for information in a small 5 vs 5 setting. The struggle for information is iconic in RS6 and its competitive scene captures this perfectly.
The diversity of Counter-Strike has made the scene grow from non-existent to an esport powerhouse. The game has minimal changes which means teams can play the same game, same maps, same strategies, but add their unique stamps to each one. An example can be the map Dust 2. The map was first introduced in 2001 and had seen little changes until its revamp in 2017. Even then, the revamp did not change any of the iconic spots featured since its launch.
All of these games have casual players playing the same game their competitive counterparts play. In Battlefield, the casual community will usually stick to the large-scale game modes such as Conquest and Operations while the competitive development has been aiming towards 5 vs 5.
What could be a possible solution and is it a viable one?
As someone from the outside who is not a Battlefield Veteran, the best possible solution would be to adopt a competitive game mode that encaptures what casual players enjoy playing. A smaller version of Conquest would probably be the key. Battlefield Pro Players would have to go through low prizes while the scene begins, but most people will not mind this. Just the chance of seeing Battlefield Esports a reality would spark the competitive players to continue working towards a better competitive scene.
A second game-mode would also need to be added. A realistic situation would be making every series a best 2-out-of-3 (whoever wins 2 matches). Map 1 and Map 2 would be Conquest decided by a Veto process and Map 3 would need to be something unique. The most probable solution would be a No-Respawn game mode. No respawn has been the staple of competitive for a very long time with most games having their esports centered around it. It would make an epic ending to a series seeing two teams fight with no respawns available. It would give Battlefield a new dimension.
Communication is Key
The communication with the community has been at an all-time low. Communication regarding RSP (Rental Server Program), Competitive, and general updates will need to improve. The Battlefield community is backing the franchise through the tough start for Battlefield V, but we need to know what will happen next. This makes even the loyal fans warry of what would be the next move. An example was the change to the TTK (time-to-kill). The TTK was slowed down in the attempt to make it easier for new players. This update was pushed with no prior communication and it was not popular at all. The amount of backlash this update received was immense and it could have been avoided with better communication. The attempt was not with bad intention, but it would have been better to see how split the community was with it. The attrition system followed by a slower TTK made the game much slower. The SMGs of the Medic class were heavily affected as well which meant the class was not run often. The developers listened to the community and it was then reverted, but the whole thing could have been avoided from the start.
For now, all we can do is wait and see what are the plans for Battlefield Esports in the future. The Hardcore League continues its aim to help the competitive players.
Featured Image courtesy of Hardcore League