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Battlefield 1 Beta First Impressions: All-out war with a 200 + ping

Battlefield 1 beta impressions.jpg

Everything I want to say about Battlefield 1 can be captured in these four words: Local servers or GTFO. It's as simple as that. I played a few hours last night with my "shiny" 200+ ping, and even though I managed to land under the top 10 that one time; I mostly missed shots, died a lot, but above all else, I regretted that I couldn't experience what looks like an awesome game the way it's meant to be played.

About local MWEB servers for Battlefield 1

Let's get the above out of the way before we talk about my beta experience.

A lot of you have been asking about whether MWEB GameZone will deploy local servers for the open beta and the final release. Regarding servers for the open beta's duration (30 August to 8 September) I can confirm that it's a disappointing no. However, we have been in talks with gameservers.com about servers for when Battlefield 1 launches in October. Sadly, so far we can't give you a no or a yes - but rest assured that we're doing everything in our power to secure those servers.

Now that we've settled that, let's talk about the beta. I am not the best FPS player in the house, but I've had my share of FPS competitive gaming and I understand how to pull off a win as a team.

All-out war with a 200+ ping

I took the skies. I walked through a sandstorm. I found a sniper camping spot above a water tower and harassed the enemy to no end. I got killed by a man on a horse. I hitched a ride on a train through the Sinai Desert.

Battlefield 1 looks better than I thought it would, but it also looks worse than I hoped. I don't think making a judgment on the graphics is fair at this point, given the 200+ ping. What I can say is that the Sinai Desert could be one of the best maps I've ever played in a Battlefield game.

There is so much happening at any given moment that things are both chaotic and serene. One moment you're sniping from the calm and focused position of a sniper hidden among the dunes, and the next moment a madman on a horse appears from nowhere to slice your head off with something that looks like a scimitar.


So, don't bring a horse to a gun fight - unless it's in Battlefield 1. I captured my humiliating death for your viewing pleasure. Before you judge me, remember this was my first encounter with death from "above."

I would love to see the desert without such high latency, especially the gorgeous sandstorms. It's usually mild, but every now and then it gets really bad, like some dust demon escaped from hell. Below you can get a glimpse at the Sinai Desert in standard conditions.


The Sinai Desert offers seven capture points and a great variety of gameplay tactics. I mostly played medic and scout (sniper). The hiding places for scouts are perhaps a bit OP as it's near impossible to cover all your flanks. Scouts can be prone somewhere on a dune, far removed from any direct action. I camped on a water tank that's on the outskirts of three capture points, yet it covers the approach to all three. I sowed havoc until the opposing team realized what was going on. 

Scouts can even damage the small tanks; I destroyed one while hiding on a dune. I can put most of my deaths at the feet of snipers;. When I saw them in time, the delayed action from my ping was the more deadly enemy, but a lot of times you don't see it coming. Some capture points offer a ridiculous amount of sniping positions; rocks, dunes, on top of buildings, and so on. 

The few times I spawned in a plane led to very disappointing aerial combat. I had to try and compensate for the delay and failed more than I succeed. Taking control of the skies can be crucial to turning the battle in your team's favour, but the pilots from last night have a few things to learn. Air strikes posed the least threat, while it could've dominated the game. That being said, I am sure players with more experience in aerial combat would, in fact, pose that threat. 

Let's talk about playing medic. I was shocked to see how badly people played this class; I didn't receive a single resurrect, or even an ounce of healing. At times I was surrounded by medics, yet they were more concerned about shooting than fulfilling their actual function. In fact, I didn't even see a resurrect or one medic in the whole game playing as they should. Except me, of course, I threw health packs like mad (even though it looked like my teammates didn't know what I was trying to do), and died trying to resurrect fallen comrades. I scored best medic and fourth place overall on my side when I played medic as it should be played - high ping or not.

If you're medic; heal or change class.

Catch a train ride

The armored train is, of course, a first for the Battlefield franchise. From the few hours I played I couldn't figure out the mechanic behind where and why it spawns. I luckily managed to catch a ride once (it's mostly full), you can check it out below.

What I gathered is that the armored train moves between two capture points. It provides a seat for the driver plus five soldiers. Each soldier is allocated a machine gun, while the driver decides which point he wants to defend, and or capture. Naturally, the armored train provides better shielding, opportunity to capture points and taking out secured enemy positions. You also has a massive target painted on your back, as the train is vulnerable to attacks from planes.

A good tactic would be for the aerial forces to focus on defending the train while it's in use by their team, and to attack while occupied by the enemy. 

Overall impressions

The open beta provides a frustrating tease with its one map and poor latency. I can most definitely see the potential though. Yes, Battlefield 1 is the first-person shooter you've been waiting for. The World War I canvas provides all those things we've wanted for such a long time. New additions like the armored train adds a fun and challenging element to the war zone. I only managed to encounter an elite class once - and I was on the receiving end of his flame thrower.

My best and most enjoyable moments were when I found that sniping spot atop the water tower, and when I landed in a tank with a good driver. We sowed death and destruction.

In closing, playing with a 200+ ping is manageable but extremely frustrating. I wouldn't recommend Battlefield 1 without local servers.

Enjoy another funny and embarrassing moment at my expense.  Also a demonstration for Battlefield 1's unique melee combat.

Han: Twitter / MWEB GameZone: Twitter | Facebook

"one of the best maps I've ever played in a Battlefield game"

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