I’ve seen some people bring up that Battlefield V was a “bad game” because it was bad fundamentally, not because it was a “bad WWII” game. While it is definitely true that Battlefield V had a lot of fundamental issues, I think it’s really important to identify that a lot of important problems that the game faced, came from the limitations of its Historical setting.
The most obvious example of this comes from the games persistent issues with Aircraft balance. Battlefield V released without any infantry Anti-Aircraft weapons. Historically this is completely correct, infantry were not running around with anti-plane weapons during WWII. From a gameplay perspective, this is game-breaking-ly terrible, because when someone new gets repeatedly killed by an airplane and their only means of retaliation are to either fly a fighter or sit in a stationary AA turret, which they will either get sniped or bombed out of, they will just quit playing instead. Eventually the Fliegerfaust was conjured up as a solution… sort of… but the whole debacle never would have happened if Dice could just give the infantry an IGLA 2.0.
It isn’t just planes that had balance issues either, tanks also got a historically-minded redesign which made them unusable in the hands of inexperienced players, and un-killable death machines in the hands of experienced players. (You literally could not kill them with your base level of ammunition as an assault until like the Pacific). Which is highly problematic given that tanks (and similar ground vehicles) were historically the great equalizer in Battlefield, where even newest most unskilled player could hop in a tank and probably get a kill or two.
Nor was it just vehicles that had balance issues stemming from the attention to the historical setting. Remember what MMGs used to be like in Battlefield V? That camping with a machine gun in some rubble is probably the best thing to do during WWII is fairly historically realistic, it’s also makes for gameplay that can be really unpleasant, especially for people new to the game.
Likewise, the removal of 3d spotting, is more historically accurate, but significantly harms the ability of newer players to compete.
At this point it should be noted that I have primarily focused on how a lot of these things specifically negatively affected new players, but that was one of the BIGGEST issues with Battlefield V. The game did not attract new players (or even retain current ones), leading to poor sales and low player numbers, which in turn exacerbated other issues in the game like absence of anti-cheat. It’s a lot more noticeable when someone is ruining a server by cheating, when there are only 10 or so full servers.
An issue that more directly impacted veteran players, which was strongly influenced by the games historical setting, was the poor map design. It’s pretty clear that the map design for Battlefield V was top down, where the setting and associated Grand Operations Gamemode dictated the map, rather than the other way around. This in turn led to the saddest collection of Conquest maps ever to release in a Battlefield game. I genuinely can’t think of a single conquest map from Battlefield V that I would want to show up again in future battlefield game, and I just can’t imagine that such universally poor design would have happened had the design team been able to focus on gameplay without worrying about the setting. (And it’s worth further noting, given the numerous complaints about the liberties taken with regards to the battles, that some of the most historically “accurate” maps (Fjell, Narvick, Wake Island) are some of the worst for conquest).
A final big issues with Battlefield V that came from the historical setting, was a split community focus that encouraged the inefficient usage of resource. There were persistent demands from the playerbase (which were often somewhat-met) for things like improvements to the historical accuracy of uniforms, and new factions. And while I appreciate that people wanted the game to look better, and allow for more “historical immersion”, those should have been far lower priorities than fixing Frontlines, which basically single handedly killed Grand operations (The server loss rates whenever Devastation Frontlines came around was truly phenomenal).
I conclusion, I want acknowledge that the Historical setting of the game is not entirely at fault for all of these issues, and that the game had fundamental flaws going far beyond the historical setting. That being said, the WWII setting caused this game a lot of issues I would not have had otherwise, and I think moving foward, we should encourage Dice to not let the Setting come before gameplay.
TL;DR: The WWII setting caused major issues with BFVs design, as with the Infantry vs Aircraft balance, and should not be discounted as a contributing factor to the games ultimate “failure”.
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