Battlefield 3 server issues largely resolved - EA

Q&A: EA Games' Patrick Soderlund recaps the debut of DICE's latest first-person shooter, addresses launch hiccups, the purpose of the beta test, and where the game goes from here.

Yesterday, Electronic Arts engaged in a ceremonial postlaunch victory lap, heralding the news that its first-person shooter Battlefield 3 sold 5 million copies in its first week on shelves. As part of the process, EA Games executive vice president Patrick Soderlund spoke with GameSpot about the successes and slipups the DICE-developed title experienced out of the gate.

EA has no complaints with Battlefield 3's 5-million-selling debut.

GameSpot: So you've shipped 10 million and sold through 5 million. Meaning there's another 5 million left on shelves. Is 50 percent sell-through what you'd targeted for the first week?

Patrick Soderlund: That's a massive number for the first week. We're really happy about that number.

GS: There have been some issues reported from players. What's at the top of the priority list to address with updates and patches?

PS: It's actually a continuous effort. We've been working on trying to [resolve] all the small issues--or in the beginning, larger issues--that people had to play the game. That's now been to a large extent resolved. We're still seeing some minor problems that we're dealing with, but people over the weekend seem to have had a great experience for the most part. And we're following up on every instance of problems we find and hear about. Fortunately, a lot of the problems can be fixed on our end, without having to go through extensive certification processes with console manufacturers.

On the hardware and server side, we can fix a lot. Our focus is to continue improving the experience for people, and at the same time, we're always working on improving the product as well. Last week was the start of Battlefield 3, if you ask me. We're looking at this as a service. We want to continuously update and improve the product so that consumers get a more compelling experience, even more compelling than what they have today.

GS: The past three Battlefield releases (Battlefield 1943, Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3) have all had server issues at launch. Why does this problem keep surfacing?

PS: I think that's a very valid question. The way I look at it, most big online services will have issues when they launch. Maybe we've been having more than we should have had. I think if you look at the user value from Bad Company 1 to Battlefield 3, it's just an enormous amount of [additional] players coming in to play the game. I'm so glad we had the beta. It didn't catch all the problems, but it certainly caught a lot of problems that we managed to correct. In a perfect world, I'd want a completely smooth launch with 100 percent up-time on every single service. I think very few online businesses will have that. Look at World of Warcraft when it launched. You see every year even Call of Duty will have issues in certain areas. It's not an excuse; it's just an explanation. We take it extremely seriously, and we're doing everything we can on our end to make sure people have the experience they deserve, having bought our game.

People need to understand that the beta was a true, real beta in preparation for launch.

GS: Battlefield 1943 being pulled from the PS3 version of the game was realized only when the retail copies of the game hit stores. Why wasn't this change communicated to customers earlier?

[An EA PR representative stepped in to address this question]: We announced this on launch day, communicated through our community channels. In lieu of Battlefield 1943, we wanted to give them something new, which was one-week early access to the Battlefield 3 expansion packs, including the Back to Karkand digital expansion pack.

GS: The Battlefield 3 beta featured the map Operation Metro (with Caspian Border becoming available to PC users only in the final weekend). The map lacks vehicles and large open spaces, two of the hallmarks of the Battlefield series. Why did EA/DICE choose to spotlight a map that doesn't embrace the elements that distinguish the series?

PS: The most important thing for us when we picked the beta map was to find a map where we could gather enough data as possible. So we played through all the maps and decided that we needed specific data on an industry-intensive level. Those are internal, tactical testing things we needed to get sorted. And I'm glad we did, because we found a bunch of issues and managed to correct those before launch. We also didn't feel we had enough data on something like Caspian Border, so we decided to open that up the last weekend to PC players so we could gather more data.

But people need to understand that the beta was a true, real beta in preparation for launch. It was all about what information we had to gather. I realize some people felt this is not what they anticipated of Battlefield, but when they played Caspian Border, they got that. But we also have to realize that the game is more than a vehicular shooter. Some levels are infantry, some are vehicle-heavy, some are more open, some are more dense. That was the reason we picked that level.

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202 comments
WillyChong
WillyChong

I still playing, the new patch resolve the crash to desktop issue, just that most of my Taiwanese friends complaint that they now suffer the crash to desktop issue :|

NARUtotheFISH
NARUtotheFISH

I had a lot of problems the first week but this week was fine up until this morning -.- :(

markkarpoff
markkarpoff

WILL NOT LAUNCH DO NOT BUY RIGHT NOW

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@x_hunter00: CoD 360 didn't run on servers...it was player host driven. But we get ya. I'm gonna hold onto BF3 so i have something to fall back on when I get bored or frustrated with MW3. (got a feeling they messed MW3 up bad with the perks, dog tag collection and killstreaks.) I think BF3 has real potential if they can fix the squad issue and patch some other bugs up.

DAOWAce
DAOWAce

I'll think about buying the game when it's half price. Hopefully the hit detection will be improved by then. (If you didn't experience the beta, google about the issue. It's why I refused to purchase the game and why I stopped playing the beta of one of the very few multiplayer FPS games I actually enjoyed.)

badarren
badarren

i feel the beta was just a rush job for the people that were promised it because of MOH and nothing had been changed since the beta till hopfully soon

x_hunter00
x_hunter00

hey BF and CoD have something in common, crappy servers at launch! Let's all hug :)

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

I still can't fathom why our squad gets split up when we attempt to join a room. Whats the point of squads if friends cant even play together?? @acer7x: I totally agree with 1. and 2. (they just fixed 1. btw).

acer7x
acer7x

Attention DICE and EA: 1. Add more Hardcore servers, they are difficult to get into 2. Add an option to Hardcore Mode to Quick Match 3. On Hardcore Mode: Kill Cams, the map while playing, higher health for players, regenerating health (what's the point of health packs) spawning only on squad leaders. Get rid of all this for Hardcore it is ruining the experience. Those are fine for normal mode, but on Hardcore mode?! 4. Add more of this: More buildings we can enter and destroy like in previous games (seriously on some maps it felt like they were just background decorations) Some of this was better left alone and should have just been improved upon. Those of you that agree with me please get the word out as much as possible so that they start looking into these issues

Getter_Robo
Getter_Robo

Another EA excuse that brushes the issues under the carpet. The fact is they know damn well how popular the title is going to be. They saw the numbers from Bad Company 2, they saw the amount of Alpha and Beta testers there were for BF3, they read the feedback, they put out another buggy, glitchy, lagfest of a game. Bad Company 2 was a mess at launch with preorder codes not working for over a month so by the time the store was working to get our maps and gear, we unlocked it already and everyone else got the exclusive maps at the same time, stat servers losing sync and losing weapons, unlocks lost, rubber banding that carried well into 6 + months after release.No EA, I do not expect the servers to run poorly on a game launch, it's more like you expect us to accept it. If you didn't start Alpha and Beta testing a month before release you would have time to fix issues, instead of grabbing the cash before Call of Duty then worrying about the fixes later. Sorry EA/DICE, brought my game back for a refund, back to Bad Company 2 ( much more fun). No more pre-orders for any Battlefield game until you get your act together. And also another F U to the paying public. We already new for months Karkand was a LE pre order bonus. The decision to not include it at last moment wasn't in lieu of the map. Such liars. I already had 1943, but it's the principal.

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

Wow, those were great questions Brendan, exactly what I would have asked. I now forgive EA for the 1943/PS3 stunt. Based on their response, they truly seem to believe they were doing the customers a favor. It kind of makes sense that the bonus is something current, not an older item. But, they implemented that decision very poorly. They should have known that some people may have still been looking forward to it, and should not have done a last minute decision like that. I have not had any major server issues, and the browser really helps with that, so that really wasn't a problem for me in the first place.

bren7473
bren7473

Instead of a free game We'll let you buy some stuff that should have came with the game before other people get tooooooo! Holy crap thanks EA you are awesome!!!!!!! OCCUPY EA.

megakick
megakick

Could be the video card? Update drivers? Windows Vista or greater? minimum CPU?

bren7473
bren7473

@dbz_nappa Well I just read this now but I have been playing with a lot less issues recently. I still get the same problems occasionally but they seem to be resolving the crashing and server issues slowly but surely. And to those whose answer to peoples' problems is "uh get a newer computer noob" Go pop some zits and chug a mountain dew. And once you've gotten back into your regular state of mind try, for the love of god please try to stop being a douchebag.

DevilMightCry
DevilMightCry

I am glad my system runs BF3 without issues, but I have two friends with built rigs that can't even play due to it freezing up. Anybody that says "you need a new PC" has no clue about the issues. There is a major coding issue and nobody knows what it is.

Patiux
Patiux

Maybe the people complaining about not being able to even launch the game just need to buy a new computer, and get rid of their old piece of junk.

ACWH
ACWH

I posted a fix for the crash to desktop in the BF3 forum. Basically if you're running an nvidia card you need to set the profile of the card to run at full pelt and not use power management as this is what's causing the crash.

HapiJoel
HapiJoel

Tried to play last night and Quick Play was down again, such a pain in the ass, especially with the fact theyer charging second hand users for the server space now, if people are expected to pay £50 or whatever for a game based around online stats/social networking/multiplayer, they should at least get the servers sorted, its not like they didnt know how many copies theyd sold...

dbz_nappa
dbz_nappa

@bren7473 I had the problem with freezing also. Usually when loading a map. Had to CAD to task manager and force shut-down. Found the fix on Battlelog support forums, disabling uPnP on your modem/router fixes the problem. Still get occasional disconnects, and game sometimes still crashes at start up, but the rage factor has come down about 90% ^^

abel57
abel57

i bought this game a week ago and have already replaced the hard disk copy with a digital copy and it STILL doesn't work correctly. i called EA tech support today and the tech told me that they were adding servers as fast as they can. the problem is that they didn't have enough servers to handle 5 million sales in a week's time with EVERYONE trying to log in and play. the tech said it will be fixed sometime, and thanked me for my patience, but refused to say whether it would be fixed in a week or a month or longer. there was also a pre-recorded message from patrick somebody apologizing for all the trouble. does that sound like a game with all of the kinks worked out to you? they badly needed to beat activision and MW3 to market -- this is the result.

drswank
drswank

A lot of you folks need to get the chips off your shoulders.

jbest66
jbest66

I would beg to differ. I have not even been able to launch the game. I tried all updates, and found no solution. Spent over an hour in Chat Hell and got the 're-install then game' line. So far no solutions that address the Faulting application name: bf3.exe, version: 1.0.0.0

sammoth
sammoth

@djazzdv Posting comments about crashing with no specs is no help. Did you try the Tech support forums ? Usally workarounds posted. I read somewhere if your using a 32 bit OS your going to have issues.

djazzdv
djazzdv

@MasterDZ0522 The first thing I done it was for downloading newest drivers, but it did not helped. So now I'm stuck with pre-ordered BF3 Limited Edition which crashes and there are no possibility to play it. So now I wonder, maybe I have to get my money back ...

Wil2001
Wil2001

Understand something ...never-mind f***EA , however DICE is a great developer and will work things out to get BF3 fans the best possible multiplayer experience.

djpetitte
djpetitte

@BDK-Soft You have no clue what you are talking about.

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

Aw c'mon online gaming isn't a new thing, surely they can launch a game with working servers? Xbox players have been blessed with "cannot connect with EA" and "Lost connection" and "Cannot join"and.....etc etc. I must say I was dubious about buying anything with EA on it....I should have listened to myself. When it's running good it's great.....but that's only about 1/3 of the time online.

xsp2000
xsp2000

LunchSackSal, thats almost everything that i did, except ordering for Ps3 cause i dont have one, and i trully undstand what your saying, anyways the game is not that great, its just post processing effects and blury textures up close, and plays like Bad company 2.

shishi96
shishi96

This is like saying MW3? More like COD 8, which is really stupid.

36CHAMBERS1
36CHAMBERS1

This is a sad situation for dice b/c bfbc2 multiplayer was tight work and had a story that didn't take itself to serious but was good.How you go from that to this. This could really hurt the sales of bfbc3 if they make one.Thank you EA for being greedy and ruining ever thing.

Bowser05
Bowser05

Good one SPBoss. And Steam, Impulse and Blizzard Launcher don't run in the background when playing? That isn't exactly something new. What I really am upset about is the dumb Battlelog system. I don't want to have to keep 3 applications open to run 1 game. Not to mention I don't want to have to start my game up from a web browser. Complaints of that aside, I expected launch to be bumpy. It's a big multiplayer release and it is nigh impossible to make it a perfect launch even with a good beta. I'm having fun with it and I know the problems are being ironed out. This is the price we pay for playing at launch.

LunchSackSal
LunchSackSal

WANTED to play battlefield so bad... preordered it for PC.... Found out about Origin.. Cancelled it and ordered PS3 version... found out its only 24 players Max and also has worse graphics than PC ..... Cancelled it and ordered Batman and Skyrim.

LunchSackSal
LunchSackSal

Seriously?!?! Origin is running even when the game isnt playing? Man that is spyware.

SPBoss
SPBoss

GS maybe you should of asked them why we have to use the piece of s*** software that is Origin. I returned my copy, Origin's EULA invaded my privacy. Running in the background even when the game isn't on, pure spyware

bren7473
bren7473

So the campaign blows and online is awesome. Only problem is that the MAJORITY of PC players (there are surveys linked in battlelog forums) are experiencing a crash (frozen screen) requiring ctrl+alt+dlt to exit the game after 2-10 min of gameplay. This is by far the worst game launch I've experienced. I bought it at launch and haven't been able to play it at all. My pc plays EVERY other game I own flawlessly on almost max settings (Witcher 2, all Crysis's, Everthing I've played on steam. And the browser game launch screen is really tacky.

36CHAMBERS1
36CHAMBERS1

Don't know what they are talking about the servers still suck. and don't y'all hate when you have an awesome match then all of a certain the screen goes black and your kicked and you lose all that progress from that match -_-.O by the way the ppl who keep running with your flash lights and lasers on wonder why you get frustrated and killed so much Word of advice turn them off they give away your position.they are meant for CQC not running across the map -__-. And don't get me started on the jet lagging in the sky O_O. Just saying.

LunchSackSal
LunchSackSal

ATTENTION: if you sing or constantly talk over the mic while playing this you sincerely need to go slap your parents.

Edged_out
Edged_out

Seen so many copies of this game already preowned in Game and Gamestation, it speaks for its self.

recon50
recon50

does anyone remember cod games at launch. when all we had was server problems and to this day black ops still dont work on my pc and battlefield 3 is working great. millons of pc gamers still have problems w/ black ops but yet everyone wants to buy cod crap even if they still havent fixed there games. i will never buy any cod game again. someone has to start taking a stand against this kind of greed. thank you ea for a great game and trying to fix all the problems which does take time.

MasterDZ0522
MasterDZ0522

@djazzdv I used to have that, but then I upgraded to the latest nVIDIA drivers and then it was fixed. Plus I had to open my case because my card was overheating.

supergp17
supergp17

Game over, man! Game's over!

BloodHaven13
BloodHaven13

gears of war 3 didnt have any server probnlems...just saying..dedicated servers ?

djazzdv
djazzdv

One thing which they forgot to mention, that some PC users can't play the game because of crash after 1 minute playing the game, fix that first, then you can say all the crap you want about the success selling the game ...

rrandolph
rrandolph

Me 2 Taffelost. I'm having a blast as well. Best online game imo. I had problems getting online the first week but that's it. Seriously... haven't had a connection issue in a while and if I do I just try again. Things are blown out of proportion like always. Most problems here can also be solved by the user and I think thats one of Battlefields greater strengths. Also makes some of you look pretty silly. If you squad keeps getting split choose a server setting to look for a lower number of players. Join that game and if you get split just switch teams. The options are in there!!!!!!!!!!! Can't connect to a game or keep having problems....lol this is too funny. Maybe you should change your server region???? lol

simon1812
simon1812

Having a blast with the game, yeah sometimes it gets a little hard to connect, but no big deal really. I do wish there was an option like in spacemarine WH40 where u can mute players...that sing or talk about random stuff nonstop ...during the whole match....>:C

Taffelost
Taffelost

I'm having a blast with BF3. It's absolutely fantastic. I have 1300 kills now and I haven't seen many of those problems some people are talking about. Sure you sometimes lag and sure you sometimes get killed in a way that makes you wonder... That is the nature of online games. You just have to deal with it. As soon as you stop being paranoid and just enjoy yourself, the more fun you achieve. I'm also positive I've seen way less cheating in BF3 than we've seen in earlier BF games. I think Origin makes people less inclined to cheat as the repercussions might be more harsh. Don't get me wrong I hate Origin as much as the next guy but at least some good can come out of it.

lilflex1
lilflex1

i heard with the bad server connections its easier to join a battlefield 1943 game