It's commonplace for gamers to voice their displeasure with game developers when a game experiences issues. That's happened a lot recently. Some of these gamers even go so far as to call for players to avoid purchasing or playing a game to show their collective disapproval to a developer and publisher.
Most of these calls to action tend to get lost in the pages of Facebook, Reddit, and other social media channels, with many of these troubled games still making strong sales, despite glaring issues. With little collective action successfully coming from gamers, developers and publishers have little reason to concern themselves with the cries of the few.
One group of Battlefield 4 players is hoping to change this trend, and actually drive Battlefield developer, DICE, to make some much-requested changes. These gamers, many of whom are admins for Battlefield 4 clans and servers, are flocking to a new website, wearebattlefield.com, to pool their voices in an effort to garner change – the ultimate "DICE, plz."
The website headline states "We Refuse!" and has a countdown timer which is set to end at 2:00 pm EST on Saturday, January 3, 2015. When the countdown ends, the clans who have joined their names and players to the site will officially be on strike.
This strike comes largely as a result of a recent update that caused slot issues for admins within servers. Prior to the update, admins could make changes to the number of slots in a server on the fly, quickly balancing players within a game. Once the update hit, admins were no longer able to do this, and instead have to completely restart the server to make changes to the slots.
While this issue may not seem like much to some, for others, it's the straw that broke the camel's back. Not only are server admins upset about the slot change update itself, but also that the change was sprung on them by DICE without warning. One of the site administrators, Staazvaind, posted a set of "Problems" to the We Are Battlefield forum, describing issues server admins have with DICE and the game, which includes the complaint of "Hidden patches and usually without warning."
This, and the rest of the complaints on the page are justified, especially considering the fact that these admins pay to run their servers, and often have a strong following of players who are loyal to their server and clan. When DICE makes unannounced changes to the way the servers work, it doesn't just affect the admin, but can also cause bad experiences for the players. And when these players have a bad experience, they may leave the server, even though it wasn't an admin's fault.
So far, the page touts over 50 clans and more than 130 servers that have joined the movement, with that number growing steadily. So far, neither DICE nor EA has responded to the pending strike, and it seems Staazvaind doesn't expect them to, according to his post in the website's forum.
No, we dont believe this will make DICE change anything _soon_ but on the other hand the attention already is there. Maybe Dice uses it productively to show they are willing to work on the issues and listen to this alliance of admins.
So why should admins put forth the effort, even if they don't think DICE will respond? One reason is to reestablish players' position as the most important element of a game with developers. If this group of admins can successful grab the attention of DICE and motivate change, that sets a new precedent for communication between gamers and developers. Such a precedent could help stop broken and faulty games from making it to shelves in the future, and keep developers from hampering players experience after a game has released.
This is a particularly interesting case of the community rallying since it adds to the already existing stigma surrounding the Battlefield franchise, given the mixed reception of BF4, analysts claiming the brand is damaged while publisher Electronic Arts said the launch was unacceptable. We'll definitely be watching closely to see what happens Saturday.
What do you think about this strike? Do you think it will motivate change or disappear into oblivion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Battlefield 4 is available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.