Battlefield 4’s beta has been heavily criticised, but DICE producer Patrick Bach has said the build on show is well out of date and that players are often “objectively wrong” with their critiques.
Speaking to GamesIndustry, Bach said Battlefield 4’s beta is vitally important, as it’s likely to prevent a GTA 5 or Diablo disaster, but player complaints aren’t necessarily useful at this stage.
“In the first hour of the beta we got more playtesting than we’d have previously during the entire project. The feedback you get is huge,” he said.
“We’re trying to compare our list of feedback and bugs with the list we’re getting from the community. While we know that what people are playing isn’t the latest game, it’s one or two months old, we’re comparing notes on what is already fixed.”
That doesn’t matter so much, though, because the beta is about load-testing the back end, Bach said, “so that you don’t end up in a Rockstar situation where the game doesn’t actually work on day one”.
“We’ve been in that situation previously for the same reasons, where you’re expecting one scenario and then it turns out to be completely different – it’s really, really hard to cater for that,” he added.
“We’re getting really good feedback. I think we’ve got more or less everything that people have found now, people are finding less and less and just playing for fun. So for us it’s extremely helpful, even though it hurts because you know people aren’t playing the actual game and you hope they don’t think that they are.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Bach also noted that while DICE listens to player feedback, a lot of it is quite misinformed.
“My biggest concern is when you see online feedback as truth, because we actually build into the game a lot of telemetry, ways for us to measure different things happening almost on a player level but also on a match level and see who won, what happened, how many kills did he get with his gun etc etc, making it possible for us to actually compare feedback from the internet with facts,” he said.
“And it’s actually quite scary to see how objectively wrong people can be. Because they want to win, personally, therefore they claim the thing that prevents them from winning is a design flaw or a bug or something.”
The producer said before DICE had access to telemetry it sometimes made updates based on Internet rage and made the game much worse, because player perception is inaccurate.
“It’s in our interest to keep the game balanced and stable and find the right things to tweak to keep things on top. If people are only using one gun in the game, the game is probably broken,” he said.
“If you are using the right amount of variation within the game, the game is probably pretty good because Battlefield is about variation.
“We actually saw in Battlefield 3 that we had a really good split between the classes. I think it was like 49, 51, 49, 51 between classes, it was amazing. Still we read on the internet that certain player types – ‘oh, there are only snipers and you should have a system that prevents too many people from being snipers blah blah blah.’ But it’s not true,” he added.
“If that was the case we’d maybe do more to that but we can even see that in the data now. I saw people saying ‘oh, you haven’t fixed the problems you had in 3 because there are too many snipers,’ and it’s like no, we can see on the data that you are objectively wrong about this thing.”
Battlefield 4 arrives on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 29, and hits PS4 and Xbox One at launch in November.