While most gamers like to treat beta tests as if they are unpolished game demos, the ultimate goal with them should still be improving the retail product. Betas are an opportunity for developers to see how their game performs in a live setting and to see how gamers respond to their work thus far.
That line of communication is ultimately one of the more important parts of a beta, because it shows the developer what is and isn’t working properly for gamers. Take the recent Battlefield Hardline beta test, for example; because of it, developer Visceral Games has a better idea as to how fans feel about their upcoming shooter and they can tweak the online experience to fit those requests.
As far as what Visceral is changing based on the Battlefield Hardline beta, we’ve already detailed 10 changes coming to the multiplayer but this week, Visceral has revealed 10 more. They run the gamut from vehicle damage to round length and, if implemented correctly, should improve Hardline‘s Heist and Blood Money modes, if not the entire multiplayer experience.
While you can read the full list of changes below, some of the highlights include a rebalance and potential name change for the mechanic class, some tweaks to the in-game HUD, more health for transport vehicles, and better audio cues for situational awareness. These changes may seem minute in the grand scheme of things, but that’s why betas like this are so important, they help developers polish every element of their game, not just test server load.
1. REDUCING FREQUENCY OF EXPLOSIVES
We have heard your complaints about breaking the cops and robbers experience with the amount of heavy explosive weaponry available — but we didn’t want to sacrifice fun! We’ve made changes to reduce the frequency of explosive use to focus on the core gameplay, and we’ve made the use of explosives much more believable now.
2. REBALANCING AND RENAMING THE MECHANIC CLASS
We’ve made the class better in more situations — without sacrificing his ability to take down a vehicle. We’re also looking at renaming it — post your favourite suggestions in the comments!
3. REVISITING THE IN-GAME HUD
We’re working on establishing a clearer visual difference from BF4 and improving the messaging of the in-game HUD, from objectives to player status information.
4. REVISITING THE CUSTOMIZE SCREEN
We’ve taken a new pass at how the customize screen is laid out, and are making it clearer and easier to manage your gear and weapon attachments. This should address the majority of issues reported.
5. MAKING THE WORLD DEEPER AND MORE INTERACTIVE
We’ve been working on adding more touches to the game world, giving players more options and things to do that impact play. Look for interactive objects like doors, radios, ammo lockers, and more!
6. MAKING ROUNDS LAST LONGER
A significant amount of feedback during the Beta was received regarding the quick progression of rounds. We’ve made tweaks to both Heist and Blood Money that should help make the experiences last longer without sacrificing any of the fun.
7. INCREASING TRANSPORT VEHICLE HEALTH
There were a lot of comments about cars dying too easily from gunfire. We agree that one magazine from the AKM should probably not turn your sedan into a 4-person death trap quite so easily. We’ve also increased the survivability of the utility van.
8. IMPROVING AUDIO SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
In some of our game modes, situational awareness is very important. We’re working on improving the audio cues in the environment to help you detect and locate your enemies before they do the same to you.
9. MEDKITS AND AMMO BOXES SHOULD NO LONGER BLOCK L.O.S. CHECKS FOR REVIVE
Previously, you could fail to revive someone if a medkit or ammo bag was blocking the line of sight check for the revive mechanic. We are fixing this so that these no longer block you from reviving.
10. IMPROVING INTERROGATION
We’ve worked out some changes to the T62 CEW and the Interrogation mechanic. We’re working on making Interrogation only show enemies in a radius around the captured enemy, but show the marked enemies as if they had been Active Spotted by a teammate — making it both more useful and less powerful at the same time.
Personally, these gameplay idiosyncrasies never impacted my enjoyment of the Battlefield Hardline beta — which I enjoyed quite a bit, by the way. That being said, certain vehicles did feel weaker than expected and the pacing in the Blood Money mode could use some work.
However, with the test only focusing on a single map and two fairly similar modes it’s important that Visceral address any nagging issues regardless of whether they affected players negatively or not because who knows how they will impact the finished product. Some gamers had no problem playing the Battlefield 4 beta while others struggled to connect the whole way through, and look how that turned out.
Hopefully gamers should see some or all of these changes during the second Battlefield Hardline beta, which is slated for later this year. Visceral has yet to say too much about the second beta, only that it will include more modes, maps, and customization options for players to mess around with. And in turn, the test should give Visceral a better idea as to what else in the game needs to fixed, tweaked, or removed.
What changes would you like to see based on your experience with the Hardline beta? What do you think of these most wanted changes?
Battlefield Hardline releases October 21, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
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