EA Lists Battlefield Hardline Changes Following Beta

Developer outlines the various weapon tweaks, class balance changes, and meta-game tuning for the cops-and-robbers shooter.

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Electronic Arts and developer Visceral Games on Wednesday outlined some of the changes they are making to Battlefield Hardline following fan feedback and data-gathering from the game's beta. The beta attracted some 7 million people, making it possibly the largest ever. As a result of the popularity, Visceral had a mountain of feedback and data to sift through.

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But don't expect major changes to Hardline. After all, the game's latest beta was held in February, and delivering major changes that close to launch was never the goal, lead multiplayer designer Thad Sasser explained to GameSpot in a recent interview.

Instead, Visceral decided to key in on "very specific, targeted changes" aimed at improving the experience in subtle yet important ways.

Some of the key changes are listed below. Scroll further down to hear directly from Sasser about the tweaks and more. Check back later in the week for even more from our conversation with Sasser about Hardline.

Battlefield Hardline Key Changes After The Beta

  • WEAPON TUNING

    • One hit kill range reduced for 870 and SPAS
    • Fire rate reduced for 870
    • More vertical recoil for 870
    • Recoil reduced for RO933
    • Damage reduced for Ro933
    • Vertical recoil added to M16A3 and M416
    • Increased P90 spread per shot
    • Improved Uzi un-aimed fire accuracy
    • Magnum Ammo OHK range reduced
    • Magnum Ammo vehicle damage reduced 50%

    CLASS BALANCE

    • Moved G36C to Cops and M416 to criminals
    • Moved M/45 to cops and UMP to criminals

    METAGAME TUNING

    • Rank progression slowed down by 50%
    • Repriced Battlepacks to cost more in-game cash
    • Weapon license increased to 1250 kill
    • Gold camo increased to 1000 kills

    HACKER TUNING

    • GPS spotting and jamming range for Hacker mode reduced
    • Overclock timing reduced for Hacker mode

Thad Sasser Q&A:

GENERAL FEEDBACK:

"We had a ton of feedback both player-generated, as in, people sending us feedback on the forums or email or whatever," he said. "But also statistics that we collected. And a lot of this was based around things we're looking at specifically; things like the meta game or the weapon tuning; or even some of the other features like the class balance or the Hacker game mode tuning. So we got a lot of different statistics off all of those areas."

"When we see something generating a lot of heat or a lot of controversy or really polarizing the audience, we go and look at those things first" -- Sasser

"I think one of the first things you look at is, 'What's attracting the most attention?' 'What are people complaining about the most.' That's usually a good indicator that you should look at this problem. It doesn't mean necesarrily that the expected resolution is what everybody thinks it should be, but usually it's a good indicator that where there's smoke there's probably a fire."

"When we see something generating a lot of heat or a lot of controversy or really polarizing the audience, we go and look at those things first."

"We've done a lot of tuning changes. We've made a lot of little changes to the way some of the features work based on player feedback like the authenticity on some of the weapons. We got some pretty observant feedback on some of that stuff; we've made some tweaks to how they work. I wouldn't say there was a feature designed from the feedback. It's mostly things that got modified."

CHANGES TO RANK PROGRESSION:

For the Hardline beta, Visceral issued what they thought would be an impossible challenge: reaching Rank 150 by the end of the five-day beta. The developer was surprised to learn that one dedicated gamer actually completed the challenge, leading Visceral to change the rank progression system to require more time to advance from rank to rank.

"One thing that was interesting is that players progressed through the Rank progression than we expected them to," Sasser said. "We thought that [Rank 150 challenge] might have been impossible, but he showed us otherwise, which was kind of the point of the challenge. As a result, we've adjusted the scale of the ranks approximately doubling the length of time it takes to get to each rank."

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WEAPON BALANCE:

"We're not upsetting the apple cart. We're not making sweeping changes or doing anything like that," Sasser explained. "We are making very specific, targeted changes to bring things a little bit more in-line with the vision we have for the game."

The 870 Shotgun had too far of an effective range, Sasser said. In response to this, Visceral tweaked the gun to lessen its impact outside of 20 meters. "It was scoring one-shot kills at about 30 meters, which is about 10 meters too far," he said.

MAGNUM AMMO:

In short, Magnum ammo was too effective against vehicles. "We've increased the time it takes to bring down a vehicle with magnum ammo," Sasser said.

Was the Beta Released Too Close to Launch to Introduce Any Real Changes?

"There's some truth to that," Sasser said. "One of the reasons for the beta is to make sure the game is stable. And the more things you change after a beta, the more chances you have of introducing instability. And that's clearly fighting your own goal there. So it's not our intention to go out and change a whole bunch of code. But one of the safer things you can change is obviously data values and tuning, and that's where we focused our efforts. Things like the weapon tuning, the class balance, the meta game, tuning the Hacker game mode, things like that, are really where we focused our efforts."

Battlefield Hardline launches March 17 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. Xbox One owners with an EA Access membership can start playing March 12.

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