Striterax wrote earlier:
My name is Alexander Hassoon and I’m the Producer on the Rent-a-Server program in Battlefield 1. I wanted to take some time to talk to you about what we have in store for it in in the near future.
Firstly, I need to cover some history! In previous Battlefield titles, Rent-a-Server was handled in-game on console by EA while PC was handled outside the game client by third-party providers. This setup gave PC server admins a large amount of control on the game server but often at the cost of the overall player experience. The console server admins had very little control, but the player experience was very similar to playing on official servers. We all remember how as a player you would end up on a server that did not allow certainly gameplay elements and you would be kicked or banned immediately by accidentally using one of the restricted items!
So the challenge we set to ourselves at DICE was as follows - How can we increase admin control levels while not sacrificing the player experience?
We started by implementing PC Rent-a-Server to the Battlefield 1 game client with the release of the Nov 15 patch. It was a very tough call to make but we felt it had to be done to offer a consistent experience for all players and allowed us control of the admin options there are.
We added a lot of customization options that were not natively available in the game client before, features such as Class Restrictions, Weapon Class Restriction and Explosives Restrictions. Server admins in Battlefield 1 can now control all these options while the players won’t be punished for using them by mistake.
So what does the future hold for the Rent-a-Server program in Battlefield 1?
We will continue working on adding more features and tools as well as a bunch of other cool stuff which we aren’t quite ready to talk about just now.
We see the Rent-a-Server program in Battlefield 1 very much as a live service that will evolve over time based on your feedback, so keep it coming as we hear you loud and clear.
Alexander “Striterax” Hassoon
Firstly let me say that we understand DICE / EAs desire to streamline the server offering for BF1. While we may not agree on its implementation it is understandable from a business and uniformity standpoint. I would simply like to address a few points regarding this.
Point 1) I would argue that the differences between official servers and player run servers are EXACTLY what draws players to the rented servers. The ability to set those funky server settings is why may players, myself included, have never set foot in an official server in the Battlefield franchise. For me I find them exceedingly bland and lack depth as well as a solid community. In fact I joined a clan a few days ago specifically because of the group running the servers and the way they moderated it. DICE servers to be painfully honest draw the dregs of humanity. I routinely see derogatory, racist, ****, misogynist, etc etc text scroll by in every match I play to the point I hide chat, which is detrimental to play or in BF4 find a server who's admins will not stand for it.
What you guys only hear is I was banned from X server for no good reason. You don't have access to the wall of scum usually associated with the banning. Im not going into team killing because that's usually not an outright ban just a kick. I know you are saying that the tools are under development but as a past admin I have to question the sanity of releasing this product without the basic moderation tools. To do so seems a huge mistake.
Point 2) It seems that there is a push to blur the lines between consoles and PC gamers. There is a reason that PC titles that have console co-products have been segregated throughout the years. Servers are only a small piece of the bigger picture. Im not going into issues like Aim Assist vs Mouse and Keyboard etc, as they aren't germane to this discussion but sticking to the subject of the servers. PC titles have always had more granular controls simply because the user interface is more granular. Honestly I have yet to see how the two can be made into one universal server offering. This seems to be the direction the gaming industry is moving in and its disturbing as the two platforms will require differences not only to code but modes of operation.
Point 3) Presets in the past iterations of the rental server program have addressed different modes of operation fairly uniformly. Hardcore for example: Server admins had control over specific variable sets and while there were some pretty messed up servers that were created some very fun servers were designed. Zombie servers, Sniper limited or sniper only depending on your particular preference and many more. This granularity is exactly what draws people to play BF3-4 and to remove this seems very short sighted. While Im sure you aren't seeing huge sales of BF4 I know 3 people who picked it up recently based on my recommendations alone. They also purchased BF1 based on similar recommendations.
My big pet peeve at this point is how in HC instead of using a player health variable to determine a killshot weapon damage was boosted 200%. I fail to see how anyone thought this was a good idea. This simply makes half the weapons in BF1 overpowered and begs players to sit back and snipe from afar. 500+ m bodyshots are now one hit kills if ANY damage has been done to the target and with some rifles its a flat out kill. No one could have tested this and if they did the decision that this was a good thing makes the process look haphazard to say the least.
Another issue is the lack of granularity in the turning on/off certain features. The HUD for instance. I'm not sure you are aware but when this is turned off in HC mode mortars become useless. In BF4 you had the PDA used to aim mortars. In BF1 HUD removal also takes away any and all aiming features of the mortar. Every shot is a max distance poke and hope shot. Likewise the removal of the ability to keep hitmarkers if desired has had an adverse effect. While I don't mind so much during land battles, as the effects are fairly evident, aerial battle and AA rely a lot on hit markers to denote hits as most are at distance. Its very difficult to judge proper leads etc without them. I guess what Im saying is as a former admin I think you had it right in previous versions and respectfully ask that you look at those server models and rethink how you approach configuration options.
Point 4)The last one I promise. The inability to set minimum players needed to start dooms a server to not be seeded and languish not garnering any players. Our clan proved this by setting up a hard core server and joining. we sat there for hours and no one joined and the server could not be seen in the browser. We change the settings back to match the official DICE "easy mode" servers and it was full with a queue in less than 4 min. Couple that with the fact that if you change anything your server is labeled as custom and excluded from the quickmatch join leaves servers not running a preset to die.
I hope you read this, honestly I do, and see that a lot of the ire you see on the forums is not done out of spitefulness. We are a very dedicated community that , despite the multitude of gripes you see on the forums there are countless others that outweigh them who fully enjoy your products and wish to continue to do so. In this gamers opinion the previous rental server products were done well and allowed the fanbase to make a game they love their own. It has drawn like minded people together who would normally never meet and forged bonds that last throughout years and multiple iterations of the game.
While yes there are poor admins/server owners they are by far the minority. The community corrects itself and those servers never last very long. Every clan I have joined in my time playing Battlefield have run their own servers. The reason I have joined them remains constant. They had the power and controls to enforce acceptable behavior, they ran a well configured server, and provided a community that I wanted to be a part of. ALL of this relies on a properly functioning, granular rental server program and to be honest what we have is not it. In a perfect world DICE/EA would say you know give us the time and we will roll it back to what it was in BF4, granular control, allowances for third party apps such as RCON etc, and third party hosts (No offence but the same company hosting the rental servers that had all of their servers nuked into non existence due to DDoS attacks bothers me as if this happens none of the servers will be available) but I don't know if at this point that is a viable strategy however one old admin can hope.
Thanks for all you do and please if you need input do not forget the community that truly enjoys the rental servers and ask we will be more than willing to offer any input that may be required.