BF3 – the story so far

The Battlefield 3 Beta has been out since the 26th of September now and I started playing it yesterday. Why so late? I wasn’t one of the special people who either pre-purchased BF3 via Origin (because I won’t be playing it on PC, although I have it pre-ordered elsewhere), nor did I buy the truly awful Medal of Honor. This meant that the Beta was not available to me, and everyone else until the 29th. Sure, I downloaded it on all three platforms (PC, PS3, XBOX) on the 29th, but it was a nice day so I opted to go outside (BLASPHEMY!) rather than play video games.

There was another reason why I wasn’t in a rush to play the Beta. I’d already played it. Not the Beta itself, but the Alpha a couple of months earlier. The Alpha was Operation Metro, the Beta is Operation Metro. Some players on PC were invited in to Conquest on Caspian Border to load test the servers, but that map/game mode apparently will not be available to console players. Ironically, despite all the big talk about dealing with those who broke the NDA on the alpha, at least one of the players who broke the NDA was on the Caspian Border map…. using the same gamertag as in the Alpha. That is a total pisstake by that player, and also EA/DICE for allowing it to happen (unless of course they were allowing him to “leak” the footage to begin with).

So at this point I’m a bit fed up of the same map all the time. The good news is that there have been a number of changes between the Alpha and the Beta. For example, the LAV. This was an attacker armoured vehicle but is now absent from the Beta. When I first spawned I went looking for it, but it wasn’t on the map. It took me a while to realise it wasn’t there.

The positions of the MComs on the first base (in the park) have also changed for the better. The locations are more accessible for both sides without having direct lines of sight from spawn.

You no longer vault over everything, it’s possible to leap small obstacles without doing an impersonation of Daley Thompson’s Decathalon. The vaulting is still there, and it is a cool animation, so it’s good that it’s limited mainly to objects you would normally vault.

Flashlights are in. These were mentioned in pre-Alpha posts but weren’t in the Alpha. They are a gift and a curse. The flashlight, which I’m going to call a torch from now, since I’m not American, and it takes less to type are a gift when you see the beam coming and you fire at the source to get the kill, but a curse when you’re totally blinded (especially by a team mate) and get killed. In the Alpha there was only the RDS or laser sight which caused a red blinding effect, this is also in the Beta.

The biggest hinderance I’ve had so far has been a single team mate with the damned torch. Trying to hold down an MCom is not easy when some window licker keeps running past, blinding you. It’s a bit like the team mates who blow up your mines in BC2…. “thanks dude, that was really helpful”.

What about the weapons? Well the MLG Pro are using the PP2000 and UMP45 this season as those laser death cannon kill you before you know it. The M70 shotgun is an adequate counter – but requires you to be up close and is mostly a two hit kill unless you get a head shot.

It’ll be interesting to see what others make of the different weapons and unlocks as you have to unlock each attachment for each weapon. For some I can see them getting to the level where they unlock the UMP45 and not using any other weapon unless DICE “balances” the damage characteristics.

Lastly on this let’s talk about graphics. PC understandably has the best graphics out of the three available platforms (mainly as it’s outputting on current hardware rather than components that are over half a decade old). From there it’s pretty subjective, platform of choice. Both the PS3 and Xbox360 have positives and negatives against them in the graphical department, but nothing that really puts one much much much above the other. Here’s a visual comparison between the platforms:

But don’t forget: IT’S A BETA
Which means that DICE are looking for areas that they can improve on.

That’s it. Stop reading now.

GeoHot in the clear… Sort of

George Hotz aka GeoHot the hacker famous for cracking the iPhone and most recently the Sony Playstation 3 has had the lawsuit against him dropped by Sony on condition that he diverts his attention elsewhere. And doesn’t do it again!

Personally, this is the worst example of copyright abuse by a company in my opinion. But what else is the DMCA for if not to stomp on people with an overreaching draconian piece of legislation? Digressions aside, Mr Hotz is obviously an incredibly clever guy and his endeavours have the potential for a lot of good. However, in reality the result of his efforts will be script kiddies with no talent, except in the art of general annoyance, abusing the hacks/cracks to run pirated games and cheat in online multiplayer games.

You can argue that GeoHot is not responsible for what other people do with his discoveries, but on the flip side he has some culpability when his discoveries are used for the wrong reasons. For that reason I back Sony’s effort to prevent him, and others, from releasing hacks for the PS3. You only have to look at the Xbox360 and the Nintendo Wii to see the damage that is done to online gaming by those who routinely cheat for no other reason than they fail at life. The PS3 has remained relatively hack free and I for one would like to see it remain that way.

On this blog GeoHot posted “I am joining the Sony boycott. I will never purchase another Sony product.” Which I presume to mean that the PlayStation 4 will be safe from him.

Peas and loaves.

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David Nicol is Articles Editor for, YouTube gaming commentator and blogger based in the UK.

Coding for the Lowest Common Denominator

Back in the 80’s (the 1980’s not the 1880’s) a trend began where technology was diffused not based on what was best, but by who had the biggest market share.

To my memory it first started with the VCR formats. On the one side you had Betamax (from Sony) and on the other VHS (from JVC). Both were developed by massive Japanese companies, but technically Betamax was the superior format. We had a Betamax VCR and my older brothers enlightened my young mind to not only piracy, but also The Evil Dead. It was a shockingly awful copy, but none the less it did have an impact on how I viewed the world, and particularly trees, for quite a while later.

You all remember Betamax right? Okay, let me rephrase that: all of you who are over 30 remember Betamax right? The rest of you are probably going Beta…who? Well here’s Jimmy Wales’ link for some background. In a nutshell what happened was that Sony were so confident that they had the superior product they were sure it would sell itself. JVC on the other hand embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign.

The result: prior to the DVD generation pretty much everyone had a VHS VCR and Betamax was mostly forgotten.

My second eye opener for better format/technology being trumped by better market share was with my first computer – the Amstrad CPC464 (and I know that good buddy Hypermole had one too). At the time the competition was the Commodore64 and the ZXSpectrum, however, the Amstrad and Commodore were both superior to the ZXSpectrum in graphics and general capability (a bit like PS3 and Xbox compared to the Wii today), but the ZXSpectrum had a much larger market share and as such many game developers coded for the Speccy and then ported them to the other formats.

So for many games played on full colour machines were made to suffer the four colour blocky graphics of the ZXSpectrum. Even then, in my young mind, I felt that I was being short changed. I had this machine with all these capabilities yet I was being denied the opportunity to fully experience them because games were being coded for a lesser machine. I could never understand why they weren’t coded for the better hardware and then ‘dumbed down’ for the other formats rather than starting with the ‘dumbed down’ version and….. leaving it at that!

Then we had HD-DVD versus BluRay. Thankfully, this time around the better tech won the day!

Now we’re in 2010 and it’s the same shit…. different decade. But this time it’s a more closely matched thing. I’m not getting in to a format war here. I have both Xbox360 and PS3 (and a Wii) and the PS3 is technically the most capable machine. Yet we’re still seeing the ‘start dumb and hope no-one notices’ approach to product releases.

Black Ops…. I was talking to one of the guys I game with and he said that it was clearly coded for the Xbox and ported to PS3, the Xbox experience being much better as well. And it seems that he’s not the only person to have noticed this as there is now a petition doing the rounds relating to the sub-standard service that the PS3 community is receiving from Black Ops and Treyarch compared to Xbox360 users:

I don’t have Black Ops, and after seeing this news I think I’ll be definitely be giving it a miss. I didn’t mind so much back in the 80’s when people for the most part didn’t know what they were doing, but I don’t accept this now. It’ll be interesting to see what the excuses are this time….. if Treyarch responds at all.

Peas and loaves.

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David Nicol is Articles Editor for, YouTube gaming commentator and blogger based in the UK.

Blur Multiplayer Demo now on PS3

Okay, I don’t know if this New news, or Old news to most of you, but it’s new news to me as I only just got the Activision newsletter email:

The Blur Multiplayer Demo is now available on PS3.

The Demo gives you 20 Car on track action, 2 gameplay modes, and Twitter and Facebook functionality so you can brag to your friends.

“one of the best online experiences of the year.” – IGN UK

To Download the Demo:
1. Go into the PlayStation Store on your PS3
2. Scroll down to Demos
3. Scroll across to PS3 Demos
4. Choose A-C demos
5. Scroll down to Blur
6. Select Download and follow the on screen instructions

“leaps off the screen with its glossy power-up effects, great sense of speed, split-second strategy, and thrilling action” – Game Informer

© 2010 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision is a registered trademark and Blur is a trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. The ratings icon is a registered trademark of the Entertainment Software Association. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners.

I’ll be having a look at that later as I quite looked the like of the game when people were putting up their vids from the Xbox. It’ll also be interesting to see how much lag there is as in my experience of online racers there is usually a truck load of it – or maybe that’s just for UK players…..

Anyone else giving this a go?

Peas and loaves

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I’m Not an Ignorant Pig Dog

I turned the PS3 on earlier today to download the BFBC2 patch and left it on until just now when I went to check that it had downloaded correctly.

Well, I had a couple of messages from peeps and I just wanted to say that I do not deliberately ignore anyone. I’m going to quickly fire off a couple of replies on PSN, short and sweet because it takes me aeons to type using the controller. So sorry I missed your messages guys but I wasn’t actually online.

I thought that it would have shown that yellow clock icon thingy next to my name if the controller is off, but never mind. I’m actually a bit disappointed as well because the past couple of times I’ve been online I’ve been on my own and could really do with getting some proper squad action going…… and get my 200th knife kill!

And for those interested in what I was actually doing…. I was catching up on YouTube videos while the other half watched ‘Cougar Town’, and then ‘The Good Wife’ – after we had watched ’17 Again’ earlier (which wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be).

Peas and loaves.

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MW2 Stimulus Pack for PC and PS3 is out!


I mean…. Yay!

Or maybe – yay.

Actually, I couldn’t care less.

If you’re subscribed to comments you’ll have seen my opinion already. For everyone else here’s where I’m at with MW2 at the moment:

I’ve spent the last month or so watching people play the new maps on the Xbox360 via the power of YouTube, I’ve also been putting most of my time into BFBC2. The couple of times I’ve put MW2 in I’ve not had a particularly enjoyable time (and I wish I hadn’t prestiged either!). I’m not going to whine about the game, it is what it is and at the moment I don’t enjoy playing it.

The exclusive deal Activision did with Microsoft over the Stimulus Pack was the best thing they could ever have done for PS3 and PC players. It has given us a chance to evaluate the expansion and decide whether it is really worth the money. Previously I said I’d be getting it….. now I’m not so sure.

As kylegetsspam has said, in a couple of months CoD7 will be out and MW2 will be dead (or become the next CoD4 when CoD7 fails to live up to the hype). Donncha downloaded the map pack on the Xbox and has played them maybe once…. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve not seen anything that has made me go “WOWEEEEEE! That’s totally awesome!” – the new maps are a bit poo in my opinion and the CoD4 maps are….. CoD4 maps. If I wanted to play CoD4 I’d turn my Xbox on.

So thanks Activision, but no thanks. I’ll pass.

Peas and loaves.

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My Thoughts on the BFBC2 Patch


In Donncha’s post about Shotguns I followed a couple of links and came across the definitive patch list from the horse’s mouth.

The original post can be found here.

I’ve read through the changes and feel my nerfaphobia rising. Weapons should not need to be nerfed or buffed. Issues should be resolved at the very latest in the Beta stage. That’s the point of a Beta isn’t it? The nerfing and buffing appears to be a reaction to general whining rather than genuine issues. When the game is played properly and in the manner it was intended then it is extremely balanced. But when you try and play it as if it was Modern Warfare 2 then it becomes unbalanced.

The nerfing and buffing that is going on is only going to make people move to the next most effective weapon combination. Then what? More complaining? “Oh such-and-such a gun is sooooooooo overpowered :sadface:” More nerfing and buffing until it’s all Ogga Ug Banga Whack Whack?

Here’s each nerf/buff section by section, along with my opinion on the changes:

Increased the base range of all Automatic and Semiautomatic weapons for more consistent close range combat.
Slightly increased the damage of Semiautomatic rifles over long range for more consistent damage output.

agreement, harmony, or compatibility, esp. correspondence or uniformity among the parts of a complex thing

So they’ve all been made the same for close and long range damage? That’s what that means to me.


Slightly reduced the base damage of the M16 and G3 to balance the increased range.
Slightly increased the damage of the AEK971, F2000, AN94, and AUG over long range to balance them with other Assault Rifles.

…. so the M16, G3, AEK971, F2000 and AUG now all have the same damage to range ratio?


Reduced the lethal blast range of the 40mm grenade and M2CG to highlight their role as a secondary weapon against infantry.
Slightly Reduced the max range of the 40mm shotgun to balance it with other shotguns.
Slightly increased the base damage of shotgun rounds and reduced their range to clarify ideal shotgun combat distance.

Okay – this has to be the most messed up nerfybuff so far….. reducing the explosive damage of explosive weapons to make them more of a secondary choice against infantry. Both the grenade launcher and Carl-G take one lunar cycle to reload which means that unless you’ve actually killed everyone on the map you’re going to be dead if you try and use either of them as a serious choice for offence. They are explosive weapons, not bubble blowers – the clue is in the name. KABLAMMO go BOOMY! If a weapon is capable of taking out a tank or a helicopter then funnily enough it should also be ideal for vapourising a group of enemy that are engaged in a group hug.

Then we have the shotguns (which Donncha’s original post was about). Fair enough, reduce the range of the Master Key attachment (which should have a ridiculously short range anyway), but upping the damage and reducing the range of the shotguns in general…..


Reduced the base damage of the PP2000 to balance the increased range.
Increased the damage of the 9A91 over long range to balance its lower magazine size.

So the PP2000 (which is crappy compared to the Uzi) is now the same as the 9A91…. which means that the fifth gun you unlock a gun is not really any better than the first gun you get except it has a higher rate of fire…. Fab!

Increased the damage and range of the M9, M93 pistols to make them more desirable as a secondary weapon.
Increased the range of the MP443 pistol to make it more desirable as a secondary weapon.
Increased the damage of the MP412 over long range to balance its low rate of fire.
Slightly reduced the rate of fire of the M1911 pistol to balance it with other pistols.

Don’t bother reading that ^^
In a nutshell: all the pistols are now the same.


Increased the repair and overheat speeds of the Power Tool. Now overheats sooner but repairs the same amount before overheating.
Increased the maximum number of Motion Sensors that can be carried from 2 to 3 and increased the speed which new sensors are acquired from ammo boxes.
Significantly increased the speed of the Tracer Dart projectile to make it more effective against airborne targets.
Increased the reload time of the Mortar Strike and reduced the damage it does to heavily armored vehicles.
Decreased the range of Bolt Action Sniper and Pump Shotgun Slug rounds when using Magnum Ammo for better Kit Balance, especially in Hardcore.
Slightly increased the Health of soldiers in Hardcore for better Kit Balance.

The first one, the repair tool – lolwhut? Increase the repair speed and overheat speed so it has the same effects but faster!? Why?! I’m not a mechanic but I know that it takes a damned sight longer than a couple of seconds to repair a vehicle. The repair time should be INCREASED not decreased. Or have it on a damage/repair ratio – the more heavily damaged a vehicle the longer it takes to recover each “blip” to a certain amount. Instead they make it easier for Engineers to keep vehicles running?

Tracer dart speed – I’ve considered this one for a while as I have a real problem hitting helicopters with the tracer dart. The increases speed will help me no end….. but I don’t want it. I think it’s fine the way it is. If they increase the speed, why not introduce bullet drop as they are effectively grossly unbalancing the tracer dart just because people complain that they can’t hit shit with it!

Increasing the mortar strike reload time…okay, I don’t have a problem with that, but reducing the damage against heavy armour? Now there’s an excuse for a whole squad of wookies:- “we’re providing mortar support….”

Decreasing slug range….. okay, fair enough on that one. Realistically slug rounds are heavier so shouldn’t go as far. But increasing health in hardcore – seriously!?

Increased the benefit from the Medkit Heal+ specialization to make it more desirable as a Specialization.
Decreased the benefit from Vehicle Reload Speed to balance it against other Vehicle Specializations.
Slightly decreased the benefit from accuracy specializations to balance the changes to range and accuracy tweaks.

Fixed a bug where the BMD3 would take extra damage to the front armor.
Reduced the explosive damage from Attack Helicopter cannons.
Increased the damage of AA guns against all targets. The AA gun should be much more effective against infantry on Port Valdez.

Medkit Heal+ isn’t used in preference to other specialisations because you get more points for kills. If they want people to more interested in objectives and using kits as they are intended then they should change the scoring.
Why reduce the vehicle reload speed spec? It is offset by an enemy running armour…..or did they forget?
Reducing the accuracy spec because the weapons have been equalised…… oh come on! What’s the point of using it then?
And the last couple…. talk about schizophrenic. Too much Boomy, not enough Boomy, all go Boomy Boomy. It just doesn’t make sense to me.


But I’m not complaining. I couldn’t care less what they change. If you have a decent squad then it doesn’t really matter what the other side are using. Getting M60’d is annoying, but not as annoying as an M60’er being blown away from across the map by an M870 magnum/slug combo (muahahaha!).

There’s always a counter to something that is being used in game. Whining is not a valid tactic. (but winning is)

Peas and loaves.

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Surviving BFBC2 Multiplayer – Part 4

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Read Part 3 here

In this part we’ll look at the in-game voice/mic communication and how to use them. This is aimed at effective communication with randoms, although it’s a good idea to utilise the principles when playing with your team.

Mic Comms

If you’re playing with friends speaking will probably be the communication method of choice (unless you don’t like your friends….) but most people will find themselves in a squad with random peeps from all over the world. Sometimes the people on your team may not be able to understand you, or your language. One thing that is very important to remember is that voice comms should come second to using the Spot function. An onscreen visual cue is much more helpful than babbling into the mic.

There are three things that are critical to effective voice communication:

– Keep the chat to a minimum
– Make sure your mic is only picking up YOUR voice
– Be concise and precise with the information

In the pre/post game lobby you can shoot the breeze as much as you like, but in game you need to be more picky about what you communicate – your funny cat story must take a back seat to what’s going on in game.

Due to the size and nature of the maps in BFBC2 it’s not always possible to have call outs for areas or locations. As such, unless there’s a very a prominent landmark it’s not going to benefit your squad if you report a sniper… some bushes…..somewhere. But if you can report a sniper, second floor, building overlooking bravo – then your squad have more to go on.

When playing with random people you need to use very obvious landmarks as most random players do not know callouts. In objective games the objectives are generally a good start followed by easily recognisable structures (for example, the lighthouse). In Squad Death Match games you’ll have to use terrain, or landmarks. Use the spot function whenever you can to ensure that if your voice alert doesn’t get noticed your team will have visual clues.

You should also get in the habit of calling out what you intend to do (but NOT a running commentary): “Flanking Bravo Left” or similar is all that’s necessary so that squad mates know where you’re going, can join you, or even advise you of any enemy they see in that area.

One thing that many people do not consider is letting someone know you are about to spawn on them. It has nothing to do with courtesy, but it does give fore-warning to the other player that there are suddenly going to be footsteps behind them. Notifying them also allows the other player to let you know if spawning on them is a good idea. If their position is being overrun then it’s probably not a good idea to appear in the middle of a hail of enemy M60 rounds…..

Vehicle comms are a very important aspect of squad communication. If your whole squad is in a vehicle then it’s a big juicy target for the other team. As such if you’re a gunner you need to tell the driver/pilot where you want him to go and also call out any threats – nothing fancy: Contact left, Contact Right will do – maybe a bit more info if there are multiple enemies or if they have RPGs or C4 or what not. If you’re the driver you should be listening to the gunners and either make their job easier, or take evasive action – either way communicate with the gunners what you’re going to do so they can adjust their fire accordingly.

And finally for this part….

Mic Abuse
Not necessarily people being abusive over the mic. Inappropriate mic use is what we’re about here. It’s important that your mic is set up properly so that it only picks up your voice and not the sound coming out of your speakers, the domestic abuse in the background, what you want on your sammich, or the baby on your lap (yeah, yeah, I know!). If your mic has a mute switch then use it when you are not speaking – although try to make sure that you use it the right way around so that your team hear your game specific chatter and not the bit that should be muted: “Sheesh this team are a bunch of dumbasses, they never get my callouts….*presses mute* =(okay guys contact bravo left…)= *unmute* Oh for the love of god! What a bunch of donkeys!….”

If you come across someone whose mic is causing you a headache ask them to sort it first (politely!) – but if they continue, don’t respond, or take a huff, press Start, go to the squad menu, select the player you want to mute and press the relevant button (Square on PS3, X on Xbox360). They will then have a little crossed out speaker icon next to their name.You can always unmute them later if you like.

Don’t forget, other players can mute you too. So if you are using the mic and no one appears to be listening then that may be the reason. That is why you should ALWAYS use the spot function.

That’s Part Four over. In Part Five we’ll be looking at levelling up.

Have I missed, misrepresented, or got something plain wrong? Let me know – use the comments.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

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System Update – No JTag for PS3….yet

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I’d seen information about an upcoming update to the old fat PS3 (such as I have) on the BBC News site the other day. For those who don’t know what it’s about then here it is in a nutshell: The original fat PS3s had the option to add another Operating System on to a partitioned section of the inbuilt hard drive. So some home brewers and general fiddlers have been doing that pretty much from launch.

But the new update, if they want to use their PS3 online, will prevent the use of the alternative OS feature:

PS3 Update Terms

For people like me it’s no big deal. I’ve never used the feature, never intended to, and so will never miss it. But there are people who did utilise the processing power of the PS3 for other uses, and this effectively stops that.

The reason for the update is to counter the crack that I previously touched on when George Hotz, AKA Geohot the iPhone cracker unlocked the PS3. Although his method(s) are not widely known (or practical) at the moment it would only be a matter of time until the issues that Xbox users face because of JTagged machines hit the PS3 network.

Although this update will annoy a minority of users and, despite the knowledge that it will not stop the PS3 from being cracked at some point in the future, I am glad it has been done. It may be delaying the inevitable, but in that respite other tactics to counter the donkey orgy that JTagging on Xbox has caused can be developed by Sony (hopefully).

I for one do not want to see the level of cheating on PSN that is a regular occurence on XBL. Playing cheat free was one of the reasons why I switched from PC to console gaming.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

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Let’s Talk About Mics….

Historically I don’t do voice comms in game. The exception to this was Ghost Recon six or seven years ago on the PC using Roger Wilco when I was playing with a couple of good online friends from a forum I was involved with. Then more recently on the Xbox360 with a friend of mine playing Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – but that was it.

However, that’s all set to change with the gameplay of BFBC2.

Up until now I’ve been using a Motorola HS820 bluetooth earpiece thingy. I started using it when I began playing Modern Warfare 2 to negate the need to mute every player. All game chat audio went to the earpiece which sat in exile next to the TV…..bliss.

Motorola HS820

But after playing BFBC2 in a proper squad I decided that a mic was a necessity rather than a luxury, especially for this game. So I tried using the mic on the Motorola. Kudos to Motorola. The mic is really sensitive. Even at mic volume 1 it was almost red lining. Which is a problem. There’s no mute function on the mic, and being so sensitive means that EVERYTHING happening at my end would be broadcast to my squad – the sound from my speakers (hooray, gameplay with a delay…), the sound of me uttering words of encouragement at the other team, and other household nuances that I’m fairly sure others wouldn’t want to hear.

Donncha suggested that I dip into the Hauppage Fund and get myself a pair of PX21s. That would be awesome, but impractical – not just because it would cripple the fund more than it has been already, but also because they are wired. Great headset, but in my situation not ideal.

So I was looking for ways to bodge stuff together, checked out jack to usb adapters, looked at the price of headsets, even considered hooking up my guitar/mic mixer to the PS3 – but that would have been overkill. The compromise in the end was a fairly inexpensive PS3 bluetooth headset thingy from Geo-Tech.

GeoTech EX-01

So that’s another twenty quid hit to the Hauppage Fund. But it should be worth it. I had a quick test of the mic and unlike the Motorola this one only picks up what it’s supposed – my voice and nothing else. It even has a mute button for those times when I need to yell abuse at the screen cough.

I look forward to testing it out in a proper game.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

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