Weekly Debrief

Mordor ...

Ferdinand_J_Foch
3388 postsMember, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, BF1IncursionsAlpha, Battlefield V Member
edited August 19
You might seem a little intrigued by the title ... what does 'Mordor' have to do with Battlefield? Apparently, there's quite a bit of forgotten history about a place that was once known as MordorHQ.

People on these forums reminisce over 'simpler' times, especially when it comes to Battlefield 3. Of course, I was around a bit during the Battlelog days, so I could somewhat safely say that things weren't quite rosy back then, but I never knew the true backlash DICE was facing back then ... I was too young to know. I didn't know that BF3 generated so much controversy at that time ... I loved BF3, so I couldn't even imagine that people out there hated it. I've seen people refer to MordorHQ as a 'black hole of negativity' that used to exist in the Battlefield community.

However, the truth is much more complicated. Recently, I have been browsing through MordorHQ's archives, and I've seen a somewhat different picture. I saw a community that was highly disappointed, but wasn't terribly unreasonable about it as a whole. I saw a side of DICE which showed that they have always been rather snarky and defensive towards their own customer base ... their recent shenanigans with BFV are nothing new. One DICE developer literally asked their community to 'have some bloody faith'.

Essentially, I found this:

https://web.archive.org/web/20140713142024/http://www.mordorhq.com/showthread.php?3880-The-True-Story-of-Battlefield-3-the-Battlefield-Franchise-Its-Community-amp-EA-DICE

It's astonishing. I wish I had known more about this when I was younger. It seems that BF3 wasn't universally praised, as many had asserted over the years. I saw an 'old guard' that was apprehensive towards the 'new guard' of BF3. The old guard said that they shouldn't have been ignored and told to silence their complaints, because one day, BF3 fans might lose the features they had, and then they would become the 'old guard' ranting about newer players ... which is exactly what has happened. The BF3 era 'old guard' is upset with BFV, just as the BF2 'old guard' was upset with the BF3 fans back in the day.

It's incredibly intriguing, and I highly recommend that you have a look at the thread I linked above. I really like delving into little 'historical' pieces like this ... especially when they show me something I didn't notice back then.

Good stuff.

EDIT: I'll add some choice quotes for those that don't want to go through the whole thing. There's quite a few that I'm going to list, so here goes:

State of the Community Quotes:

"EA UK was once a mostly happy place. Those that were there remember the shift in the balance of positivity versus negativity. It started off mostly positive with a few doomsayers and cynics which were mostly ignored. (95960) Almost with each new piece of information though, the dynamic would shift more and more. Previously positive people began to have doubts, the cynics grew more convinced. The era from BETA to release was probably the most balanced and the most entrenched. The cynics thought anyone that was still positive was a fool and the positive people thought the cynics should wait and see. Wait and see was a theme that popped up far too often. Wait for Beta. Wait for release. Wait for the patch. Wait for the DLC when we get our next patch (61). For most people at EA UK it didn't take too long after release for the tide to turn almost completely in favor of the cynics. (626364) They had been duped."

"Even disregarding previous games, you can see devolution in the different iterations of Battlefield 3 itself. For example the voice overs and sound effects were much clearer and distinctive in the alpha build (52). Audio was not the only thing to take a hit through the different versions. A hot topic has been the changes in the visuals of the game from alpha (53) to beta (54) and finally to release (55)."

"If you were to do a comparison between Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3, you would probably be shocked to discover that most of the additions or subtractions made the game much more like the Call of Duty series than Battlefield 2, the supposed predecessor (65). So yes, EA UK became a very dark place very quickly. DICE stopped coming by, except to peddle their newest DLC. Any newcomers were likely scared off."

"It is hard to give a proper picture of how deeply wounded the EA UK community felt at the hands of DICE. The months leading up to, and even after, release were filled with literally hundreds of extremely well thought out and constructive posts containing ideas for maps (666768), features (697071), comprehensive lists (7273), polls (74), and organized questions for Q&A sessions (7576). Many instances of the community manager, Daniel zh1nt0 Matros, asking for feedback (77) or looking for feedback he had seen previously (78) only to never, ever hear anything back from him. "Soon." "Maybe in the future." "It's being discussed." "We'll look into it." These non-committal responses were the best the community ever got."

Feedback Quotes:

"Feedback is a very strange subject in relation to DICE's thoughts and actions in regards to it. They will ask for feedback but then come up with a reason why it is invalid. They might tell you that you are wrong like they did with PS3 input lag, "[...] I think it’s important for people to understand that it’s not that we aren’t caring, it’s just that we can’t always tell people that they’re wrong, because people have the right to feel whatever they feel, but that doesn’t make it right for everyone." (26) They may also tell you that the feedback they give themselves in the studio is more important that community feedback like they did in an IAmA on Reddit, "During my time on BF3 and post launch I have actually never really heard anyone complain about it in the studio." (79) They may even dismiss it entirely because their 'telemetry' differs from the community feedback, "It's like, no, this isn't a problem. You claim it's a problem. It's not a problem. The numbers tell me this is not a problem." (80)"

"Interestingly, the community wasn't the only party that resorted to a blackout. After many posts on the official EA UK forums showing a leaked fact sheet for the soon to be announced Premium service appeared, the forum was locked down without warning and without an explanation (848586). This was an unprecedented move and a very ineffectual one at that. By the time the forum was closed you could find the fact sheet at any number of third party sites such as Battlefieldo (87), Reddit (88), and EGM.com (89). This may have been in anticipation of the backlash some of Premium's features would cause."

"Phyrefli, for those who do not know, is a YouTube director who is most famous for his weekly digests which mostly deal with detailing Battlefield 3's many shortcomings. He has made excellent videos about the missing team play elements from Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 (110), realistic and modest solutions to a few of the game’s biggest problems (111), and even a tongue-in-cheek video about Battlefield veterans and why they play Battlefield (112). Matros had even retweeted one of his videos that dealt with the big problems and offering solutions.

Less than 24 hours after asking Phyrefli for help, the EA UK forums were permanently shutdown."

"As covered before, the people at DICE have become quite adept at explaining away community feedback. It's wrong, studio feedback matters more, people lie in polls (115116), or 'telemetry' says otherwise. But what is telemetry? Telemetry is DICE's term for statistics they gather about how the game is played. Statistics they refuse to release to the public. Statistics they refuse to explain how they interpret."

DLC Quotes:

"Let's not forget when asked if we would get a "paid premium service for Battlefield 3 comparable to Call of Duty Elite" (95) the answer was we would get the same features but it would be "perfectly free...we won't charge you for it." (96) In yet another poor customer relations move, the main Battlelog page was absolutely covered in "Premium" (97) so much so that blockers were created (98) but in-game you could not escape the Premium ads because anytime a Premium player killed you, it would be pointed out to you (99)."

"As reported by a few third party sites Armored Kill was going to allow players to "Bring back five new vehicle unlocks to the base game" (104105). However, when Armored Kill arrived and these unlocks were nowhere to be found, people started asking for an explanation. The answer was simple. DICE responded by saying that there were no such unlocks and that they were not sure why that information was up on some sites (106). This would have made sense if the third party sites hadn’t simply taken screenshots of the official Battlefield site and attached those images to their articles. Of course, by now though, the official site has been quietly changed so that the unlocks are no longer listed (107). DICE's confusion would be more understandable if those unlocks were not also advertised on Battlelog (108)."


Telemetry Quotes:

"When asked why Operation Metro is the most popular map despite all the hate and complaints DICE had been hearing about it, Patrick Bach responded "It's a great map. It's an awesome map." (80) Community manager Daniel Matros had a differing opinion on that very subject, "I´d say telemetry and analysis shows the behavior of certain aspects but it doesn´t show WHY. Metro is the most played map, yes. Why? It´s easy to rack up points." (117)"

"After a quick search it was easy to see that despite small and medium maps each having more servers available than large maps, there were more full large map servers than small and medium combined and far fewer empty large map servers as well. Looking at data about only full and empty servers completely ignores the middle ground however. This oversight was corrected in yet another community driven stats collection (121)."

"It has been said that only a vocal minority is displeased with Battlefield 3, after all 15 million copies had been sold by the end of June (122) and only a few thousand people active on Twitter, YouTube, and forums complaining about the game. But is it right to assume that every Battlefield 3 owner not active on the internet is 100% happy with their purchase? Of course it isn't. There are probably some people that simply returned the game or received it as a gift from someone that didn't know them very well or just moved on to something else after the game didn't live up their expectations. What is accurate to say is the vocal minority are the ones that care."

Features and Development Quotes:

"In the March 2011 Game Informer cover story it was mentioned that the PC would be the lead platform for Battlefield 3 (13). PC being the lead was reiterated several times up to and even after release. April (14), September (15), and even the day after the US release in October (16) all saw articles published wherein DICE still claimed that the PC was the platform development was focused on. However, only one week later it was announced that the lead platform was switched to consoles mid-development (17)."

"The commo-rose is only one in a long, long list of things DICE has somehow managed to make inferior in comparison to previous Battlefield titles. From the really, really nitpicky (44) to the very basics of the game like HUD, stats, deployment and more (45) it's easy to find areas that have taken a step backwards."

"Maps in Battlefield have traditionally been large and open with multiple opportunities for flanking the sides or even coming around behind the enemy (123124). In contrast, Battlefield 3 has several maps wherein players are funneled into tunnels (125126) and alleyways (127) with little or no room for tactical maneuvering."

"But from the start, DICE had an emphasis on lowering the threshold. Commander may have been more complicated than the average player would have liked but the solution to that problem already existed. You were not forced to play as Commander, you applied for the position and could resign at any time. If you didn't want the complexity, don't be a Commander."

"The facts remain that Battlefield 3 is a broken, buggy game that was sold, and continues to be sold, to a neglected community based on lies, broken promises, and misleading information so much so that it is almost certainly criminal."


Influence of Call of Duty Quotes:

"The loss of Battlefield's defining features of sandbox gameplay on large maps, Commander, Commo-rose, and basic team play elements are almost as baffling as the new additions. Features like appearing on the enemy's minimap when firing a weapon without a suppressor and skull icons appearing where teammates have died were nowhere to be found in the Alpha and Beta phases of the game but were suddenly and quietly included the final release. These features are mostly associated with Battlefield 3's biggest competition, Activision's Call of Duty series, and Battlefield 3 borrowed heavily from those games."

"Just about every aspect of Battlefield 3 has been influenced by Call of Duty in some way. In the cases of audio spotting and death skulls, it is subtle. A focus on dozens of mostly meaningless ranks to progress through and an absurd number of unlockable attachments for each gun is more blatant. Domination may have first appeared in Unreal Tournament, just as Gun Game originally appeared as a modification for Counter-Strike, but their inclusion in Battlefield 3 is mostly likely due to them appearing in the Call of Duty games. The Close Quarters maps being in very tight arenas much the same way as the maps found in Call of Duty instead of the open landscapes of previous Battlefields is also disingenuous. Not to mention a very popular Call of Duty kill streak reward, the AC-130, being included in the Armored Kill DLC and being the only unpilotable vehicle in the game which essentially made it virtually identical to the version in Call of Duty."

"This is in stark contrast to saying "You don't kill COD by trying to be COD. You kill COD by making a better shooter." (130) If only DICE would have listened to themselves. Honestly, in an age of ever increasing Call of Duty fatigue it's hard to understand why a developer would mimic that stagnating series instead of emphasizing the ways in which its franchise is different. It would stand to reason that it would make much more sense to allow the growing crowd of disenfranchised Call of Duty players to discover your game and fall in love with what makes it unique. After all, if you're tired of eating McDonald's every day, you wouldn't go to Burger King instead. You'd find something other than fast food hamburgers to satisfy you."


Old Guard vs New Guard Quotes:

"First let me say this to the new guard, if you are enjoying Battlefield 3… great. I’m glad that you are and I wouldn’t try to convince you that the game is not fun or that you shouldn’t be playing it. That being said, the new guard has absolutely no right to tell the old guard, “if you don’t like it, leave” or “quit complaining.”"

"Hear me out. I’ll tell you why I think so. The old fans are the reason the franchise has lasted to make the sequels you now enjoy. The old fans know the legacy the franchise has built. They know what makes the series unique and have certain expectations based on previous entries.

More than that though is the following point that I posit to you in a hypothetical. You enjoy Battlefield 3 for its insane amount of unlocks, the destruction, the vehicles. Let’s suppose Battlefield 4 removes all of those things. Whatever you liked about Battlefield 3 is removed from Battlefield 4 and a bunch of people new to the series end up loving it. It’s great, fun, better than anything else out there. Battlefield 4: Barbie’s IRS Lecture Seminar has nothing resembling your beloved Battlefield 3 but the fans won’t allow you to criticize because they love it. If you don’t like it, leave."

"Why shouldn’t the guy whom bought his first gaming PC for Battlefield 3 be allowed to talk to his squad the same as the group of friends that started PC gaming together years ago? What’s wrong with demanding you get what was advertised when you put your money down? Who could argue that one group getting their way is better than both groups getting what they want?

Stop being so entitled. That phrase has been used against the complainers but I think it should be leveled at the defenders and apologists. Your opinion isn’t all that matters."

"I’m not saying every complainer should get their way but they definitely should not be told to leave. People have a right to criticize. Improvements come from criticism. And who doesn’t like for things to get better?"
Post edited by Ferdinand_J_Foch on

Comments

  • HawkeyeAM47
    1353 postsMember, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, Battlefield V Member
    U agree that the community has always been that way, but nothibg to whatvitbhas become now. EA stocks didnt take a direct hit like they have recently, BF4 saw investors extremely mad, but nothing like what it is now. Tons of bad reviews for BFV the last Battlefield games all got solid reviews (maybe except hardline) bjt you get my point. And, yeah everyone went crazy with Battlefield 3 on the forums after each patch. Then, when premium was announced evrryone went crazy lol.
  • Ferdinand_J_Foch
    3388 postsMember, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, BF1IncursionsAlpha, Battlefield V Member
    U agree that the community has always been that way, but nothibg to whatvitbhas become now. EA stocks didnt take a direct hit like they have recently, BF4 saw investors extremely mad, but nothing like what it is now. Tons of bad reviews for BFV the last Battlefield games all got solid reviews (maybe except hardline) bjt you get my point. And, yeah everyone went crazy with Battlefield 3 on the forums after each patch. Then, when premium was announced evrryone went crazy lol.
    The state of the franchise definitely seems to be at it's worst point yet, but what I'm showing is that people were indeed upset back then, just as they are today. As you just mentioned, BF4 and BF3's Premium saw a ton of hate as well.

    The reviews may have been 'solid', but that depended on the person reviewing them. Mordor would have rated BF3 and BF4 as absolutely atrocious games, which contrasts the overall mainstream opinions of those games. Hell, we can see that a lot of mainstream game journalists gave BFV decent reviews, even though many of us here would say that BFV isn't all that 'decent'.

    There are some among us today that seem to insist that things were nearly perfect back then, but I wanted to show that this was clearly not the case. DICE developers received a lot of severe criticism, and they responded with the same 'Soon (TM)' malarkey that we see paraded around today. It was also interesting to see all of the times that DICE said one thing would happen, only for something different to happen. The PC focus being switched during development was a major example of this.

    I wonder if there are any MordorHQ posters out here reading this ... I'd like to hear their thoughts on this, to see if their opinions and views have changed after all of these years.
  • LOLGotYerTags
    13065 postsMember, Moderator, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, BF1IncursionsAlpha, Battlefield V Moderator
    I remember MordorHQ,

    It was originally made because EA shut down the EA forums and many were displeased with the migration to Battlelog,  And thus MordorHQ was born.
  • MachoFantast1c0
    2033 postsMember, Battlefield 4, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, BF1IncursionsAlpha, Battlefield V Member
    Fascinating stuff, thanks for digging this up.
  • Ferdinand_J_Foch
    3388 postsMember, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, BF1IncursionsAlpha, Battlefield V Member
    I remember MordorHQ,

    It was originally made because EA shut down the EA forums and many were displeased with the migration to Battlelog,  And thus MordorHQ was born.
    Judging by some of the stuff I found, EA's Battlelog implementation wasn't the most important reason why the EA UK forum was angry with BF3 ...
  • Hawxxeye
    5593 postsMember, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, BF1IncursionsAlpha, Battlefield V Member
    I had some idea of these old stories but maaaaan this is really a case of history repeating itself.
  • 4evaBattlefield2
    7 postsMember, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Battlefield, Battlefield 1 Member
    I remember the EA UK forums. They were pretty much right about BF3's development and how it was aiming to compete with MW3.
  • LOLGotYerTags
    13065 postsMember, Moderator, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Battlefield, Battlefield 1, CTE, BF1IncursionsAlpha, Battlefield V Moderator
    I remember the EA UK forums. 
    I was a bit of a recluse back in the EA UK forum days,  More of a lurker than a poster lol.
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