Part of the problem with online shooters is that map pack-based downloadable content tends to divide the community between the haves and have nots. While many games like Titanfall 2 have started to eliminate this problem by releasing free DLC content, some of the other bigger AAA games (like Battlefield 1) continue to charge for post-launch expansions. To combat this division, DICE revealed a new feature called Premium Friends which enabled players to play on post-launch maps with those who either own the expansion or premium pass.
After receiving a lot of feedback from fans, Battlefield 1 producer Andreas Skoglund revealed that Premium Friends is the studio's answer to help increase the population size on every map to ensure that everyone has a good experience. When a player who owns the Battlefield 1 Premium Pass creates a party and invites their friends, the party becomes Premium Enabled. This allows everyone inside that party to have access to all maps in the game regardless if each player owns the content or not.
There are a few caveats to keep in mind however.
- In a Premium enabled party, only the Premium Pass or expansion pack owner will receive XP from maps exclusive to that particular expansion. DICE confirmed that the XP will be saved and issued retroactively however, if non-expansion owners ultimately purchase that content.
- Unique weapons and vehicles from a particular expansion will only be available to Premium Pass/expansion pack owners. Non-premium players can enter an expansion vehicle, they just won't be able to spawn in one.
- Unique medals and codexes will not track progress for non-premium or expansion owners.
The test run for Premium Friends begins today during the Battlefest weekend event, letting friends test drive the most recent They Shall Not Pass expansion content.
While this may be a first for DICE and the Battlefield series, it's a feature that has been utilized in other games, most recently Gears of War 4. While previous games in the series required that every player own a map to play on it in the popular Horde mode, Gears of War 4 only requires that the host to own any of the post-launch maps. The Coalition is hoping that this method will then encourage those without the maps to ultimately purchase them after the fact, something which DICE is no doubt hoping will happen with this new Battlefield 1 feature as well.
What do you think of this new Premium Friends feature? Is this something you're planning on using?
Battlefield 1 is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.