The Grind of Progression in Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 multiplayer

As much as I loved this past generation, I think one of the worst things it’s left behind is the idea of progressive unlocks in multiplayer. I hate to lay the blame at just any one game’s feet, but let’s face it, everybody pretty much took this from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Now every franchise from Halo to Assassin’s Creed is borrowing the idea, and multiplayer suffers for it.

Last week and over the weekend, I ran into a lot of this with Battlefield 4. While I enjoyed what I played of the game, I couldn’t help but get frustrated that all of the things I really wanted to do were behind a wall of arbitrary XP unlocks. These requirements dictated that I get a certain amount of XP before getting better weapons—which is extremely difficult to do without better weapons.

This trend is particularly problematic for someone that really doesn’t have or wants to budget that much time into multiplayer gaming. It turns what’s supposed to be a regular night of fun into just another grind, where you’re plugging away at a game until you can get to the stuff you actually want to do. It’s ridiculous that I have to wait several nights before I can even use the medic items in Battlefield 4, or unlock a decent sniper rifle in the recon class. I could understand it, maybe, if all of your XP went towards whatever you wanted to unlock (perhaps if you got to spend XP like currency), but in Battlefield they’re made specific to that item. Want a better assault rifle? Better use the shitty one for fifteen hours.

It’s such a chore, and it’s killing my interest in multiplayer gaming at all. I can see why, from a developer’s standpoint, you’d want to give people a reason to invest in the game long term and feel like they’re working toward something. But for me, that stinks of insecurity. If you’re not sure your game is fun enough to keep people coming back night after night, why should we even be playing it in the first place?

What do you guys think? Am I being a fuddy duddy about this? Or is this something that bugs the rest of you guys, too? I miss the days where I could just hop into a game and play right there with everyone else, without having to jump through a bunch of hoops first. But maybe I’m just old and out of touch.

Thoughts? Go!

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

One thought on “The Grind of Progression in Battlefield 4”

  1. I think the main problem here is that the AK-12 (the starting rifle for the Assault class) is easier to control on the PC but suffers on the consoles compared to the other assault rifles which either have a high rate of fire or fire slower but have less recoil. Since the AK-12 fires kind of slowly and has higher recoil, it might be tougher to manage with a controller.

    The one thing in BF4 that I do like is the idea of cross-class weapons, so Support, Engineer and Recon have access to carbines, which is the only class of gun that can really compete with assault rifles in mid-range (and sometimes close) combat. You do have to put some time into the Engineer class to unlock carbines, but it’s worth it if you want to play as a Recon and actually help your team instead of plunking away at the enemy from across the map. This concept was in Battlefield 3 but the cross-class weapon there was the PDW, which is Engineer exclusive this time.

    It is kind of annoying to lock all of the guns away behind progressing with a certain type of gun (such as your sniper rifle example). It’s taking me forever to get the pistol I want in normal gameplay, although pistol-only servers do mitigate that.

    Once you find the right gun for you and the right attachments you kind of get into a groove and you’ll unlock the subsequent guns of that class quickly, but before that it is a chore, I agree.

    If anyone else is having trouble with the AK-12, I recommend an RDS sight (preferably Kobra or Coyote), the stubby/potato grip which gives you a 15% boost to controlling automatic fire, the compensator and the tactical light if you have it (which only turns on when you aim down sight).

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