Firstly I would like to thank Ali for introducing the RSP to BF1, your vision for RSP so far is recognised and I hope that vision becomes reality sooner rather than later. To a point I understand the decision to move from third party providers to "in-house" providers so that the quality was consistent for all platforms. What I don't particularly agree with was creating a blanket system for all platforms which inevitably will be detrimental to the PC community.
Consoles and PC's. They are different. BF1's UI feels like I am browsing through a console menu and it feels like this was done in a way to equalise the gap between PC and Consoles, or give PC a console experience, I am unsure which one yet. Typically this would seem fair though for us on PC it is not. Our options and customisation have been watered down heavily.
Previously 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.
PC has always had a great range of options when it comes to games, we can host our own servers, rent servers from providers, create unique games and most importantly build great long lasting communities in games because of the endless experiences we can create in a single game. The player experience hasn't been ruined by this, I cannot state this enough, this has created a wider array of unique gameplay and kept previous titles relevant and enjoyable years after release. There is a reason custom servers are more popular than DICE Official servers on PC.
I know there have been a lot of complaints about what we can and can't do with servers in BF1 and the PC community has been more vocal on this issue. I know options are coming but there is still a lot of depth missing even if admin tools are introduced. I have visited many clan websites, signed up to engage in community discussions, browsed their server listings on their website, seen stats and current players, browsed all custom servers in battlelog looking for something that I might enjoy. There are so many custom options in BF4 that you can find anything to get your gaming fix and using procon boosts that customisability and uniqueness 10 fold. None of this exists in BF1.
Instead we have a server browser that has DICE
and Vanilla Experience
written all over it. I change filter settings and even search Hardcore in the name filter, what comes up? More Vanilla Hardcore DICE servers. So I change our server to the same settings as DICE Vanilla Hardcore, search my region and what pops up? Nothing but Hardcore DICE servers, my server is set the same way as a DICE server yet it wont show up. I can't browse ALL custom servers because there are so many DICE servers and the list ends at the first 50 servers (you have to be specific in what you want to find the server you want) Furthermore I do the same with region set to Oceania and it shows 15 DICE Vanilla Hardcore servers, no BLS, no Paradox, no BALZ, none of the servers I know exist by word of mouth (the only way to know they exist). The only way to find a server is searching by name. Sure we can get some traffic if we stay vanilla but thats the problem, most communities rent a server to be different. The server browser is a huge step backwards from Battlelog and needs some hefty work.
We need to be able to have a description on the loading screen with branding, restrictions, rulesets and server info. Our server is redundant without this, no one knows where they are playing or what community they are playing with. We may as well just give DICE some cash to host another DICE server.
Communities are built on catering to their player base, not being force fed a vanilla experience.
So what I think needs to be done is have 2 server browsers. One for DICE Official or Vanilla Softcore and Hardcore and another for Community Run servers both Softcore and Hardcore. Currently the only reason to rent a server is to name it, its near impossible to get noticed, theres no promotion for servers, no branding in game, there is no depth, no reason to pay for it. We had 12 people on our server and they had to ask if it was a clan-run server. I don't want matchmaking traffic, I want people to see our server and WANT to join it. I want to be able to have a unique server with a ruleset and customisation that brings players back, not another renamed DICE server.