When DICE announced that a major patch was coming to Battlefield 3, they also revealed that the game would now have support for custom servers, giving players the opportunity to rent a server for a monthly fee and customize the game to their liking.
However, not everyone is happy with the service. It appears that in allowing gamers to rent servers, EA has started to cut down on their own official servers, presumably to lower costs on their end even further, while at the same time providing even more servers available for paid customers.
This hasn’t gone down too well with those who are not looking to pay an extra fee to play Battlefield 3 and we can already see numerous problems with the game following on from the Rent a Servers program. For starters, DICE has not made it easy to separate official and custom servers in the server browser. On console, we can see that there are just endless pages of servers, with no way to just select official ones if you don’t want to play on a custom server.
If EA’s cut down of official servers was worrying enough, we’ve also noticed that they have merged servers together with the various game modes. For example, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find an official server with Conquest maps only, as you’ll find that for the limited number of official servers still available, DICE has merged Rush with Conquest.
More frustrating from our point of view, is that DICE seems to have removed their official Back to Karkand only servers as well. Before the patch, we were very happy with the ‘SERVER6078′ type servers which offered a full rotation of Conquest maps including the Back to Karkand maps as well. Now though, these servers have disappeared, as well as the B2K only servers – all because EA are looking to maximize profits with custom servers?
As for custom servers, playing a 24/7 Metro server can be fun for a while, but playing 1750 ticket maps can get boring real quick. Also, there are plenty of servers where admins are just kicking the top players for no reason. On console there doesn’t appear to be any easy way to report this to DICE either – it’s just turning into a bit of a mess.
Rent a Server is a great idea for Battlefield 3, but DICE has implemented this in the completely wrong way in our opinion. If they want to improve this they need to 1) Separate official and custom servers more easily 2) Offer a LOT more official maps to show that EA are not just after our money and 3) Bring back a full rotation of Conquest-only maps with B2K maps included.
After having a chance to play the game after the patch update and Rent a Server changes, what are your thoughts on the game now. Is it ruined or is it the best it has ever been? Have you noticed a decline in official servers as well?