Battlefield 6 Part 2: The Arsenal
Welcome to the second installment of my Battlefield 6 ramblings. In this installment I'll talk about the semi fluid loadout design I have envisioned for the newest battlefield. I'll discuss Primary and Secondary weapon classes, equipment, and the weight system that could possibly help balance it all. I'll try to be a little more concise with this one but truthfully I don't have a game plan for this and I'm really just winging it.
Weight and Movement Speed
Many realism based shooters have a sort of weight system that affects the players movement speed, and implement things on various levels of complexity. What I wish to do is create a system that allows players to optimize, balance, or radically alter how they play. Everyone starts with 100% weight capacity, a theoretical maximum movement speed. It is impossible to achieve this speed in traditional modes, as any weapons and gear you equip will take away from this total. The idea is to keep the majority of players in a general range of weights, and a general movement speed that is average for most players and engagements. It allows some optimization and choice in building your class, to play how you like; for example, a PDW will weigh considerably less than an Assault rifle, let alone an LMG.
However, PDWs are an Engineer primary, so they are frequently paired with heavy equipment like a rocket launcher. In contrast an engineer could opt for a lighter, weaker launcher that may not be as effective toward tanks, but allows them to move much faster throughout the map. To be clear, I think all classes should have the general ability to move at about the same speeds when equipped with considerably balanced gear. Those who want to move fast can sacrifice firepower, armor, and versatility to move quicker around the map. Meanwhile those who are willing to take it slow can carry more powerful gear, and become an easier target for snipers. In addition to their movement speed, weight affects your fall damage when jumping from higher altitudes, but only slightly. Imagine a support player with an MMG, their jump from 10m might feel closer to 12m, and so on.
Really the weight system should be the most punishing thing in the world. I just want to see some variation in what you can equip, and how it can affect your combat experience. Trade-offs make for the best multiplayer games, and battlefield has always been a good example of this.
Primary Weapon Classes
Assault Rifles are the meat of the battlefield. Their versatility in combat means they can reach out to medium and even longer ranges in the hands of a skilled rifleman. Their full length barrels provide optimum bullet velocity allowing users to reach out and touch their enemies, while retaining the ability to move relatively quickly. While these rifles vary between themselves, they all generally excel at medium range combat, and can be used in close or long ranges with some effort and skill. While Battle Rifles and Carbines excel on the fringes of what an assault rifle can do, the Assault Rifle class of weapons remains more versatile, a jack of all trades but master of none sort of class. In this class users can find M16s, AK-47s, AK-74s, SCAR L MK16s, and other full length rifles. I don't have a particular list and realize the licensing for more interesting variations like a Sig MCX can be tricky, so I won't bother to make a full list for any of these, you generally get the idea.
These weapons are only available to Riflemen, and generally take about 6-8 percent of your available carry capacity. They generally take 4 body shots to kill, or 3 with a headshot. I will elaborate more later on the state of time to kill, I'm adding this sentence retroactively lol. They also have the option to mount the Rifleman's grenade launcher to the bottom of the barrel, for a pure bonus of swap time between the two, unlike other underbarrel attachments that have positives and negatives. These weapon's lighter ammo type allows users to carry more ammunition on their armor than battle rifles, starting with 3 and optionally upgrading to 5.
Battle Rifles are the big brother to Assault Rifles. Frequently semi automatic, they provide the punchier full rifle experience that excels at medium-long range combat. Weapons like the M14, SKS, SCAR H MK17, and the FAL populate this list. They fire full sized rifle cartridges and feature longer barrels more suited for longer ranges. However, this doesn't mean they can't be used in closer ranges. Their fast time to kill makes them a force to be reckoned with at any range, but their more unruly weight makes them slower to use in closer ranges, and maneuver the map in general. They generally weigh 7-9 percent, making them noticeably slower than carbine users but comparable to assault rifle users.
I suppose now is as good of a time as any to mention time to kill in my ideal Battlefield. Truthfully I think BFV gets it right, when DICE decides to keep from messing with it anyway. True, weapons like the Thompson are almost no brainer picks in BFV, I think it gets a good balance of snappy gunfights but fair deaths when you understand how to heal, which will be easier in this title. Battle rifles should generally take about 3 body shots to kill, or two shots to kill with a headshot. These are also only available to Riflemen, but but many weapons lack the ability to mount a grenade launcher, unlike assault rifles. Their heavier ammo means users can only carry 2 magazines by default, and upgrade to 4.
Carbines are my favorite unofficial type of firearm in real life, and in my concept. Their lighter weight with rifle quality stopping power makes them excellent in close range combat. That being said, they feature the same shots to kill as their assault rifle counterparts, at least at closer ranges. Their shorter barrels sacrifice bullet velocity and damage range fall-off, but make up for it in a lighter package that maneuvers and handles faster. While Assault Rifles weigh 6-8 percent, Carbines only weigh 4-6 percent. In this class of weapons we see things like the M4A1, AKS-74u, AS VAL, MK18, and the Honey Badger.
This is one of the few weapon types to be seen in multiple classes. It is used primarily by Medics, who use it to defend themselves while pushing for revives, and getting into the thick of the battle with smoke grenades. While Recon players can equip Carbines as well, they won't have the full ammo capacity Medic players will enjoy. Recon players will be able to carry 2 by default, with an optional upgrade to 4 in their armor. Medics will have 3 by default and can optionally upgrade to 5.
I don't know which I prefer to call these, they're essentially the same. I'll probably call them SMGs for the remainder of this series but I have called them PDWs before and figured I'd include both in the title of this section.
Time for the good old engineer. These weapons are exclusive to the engineer, and are the second lightest type of weapon, only behind handguns. Their small size allows for easy access in and out of vehicles, and in close range engagements where they defend themselves from attackers trying to stop their repairs or construction. Pistol caliber weapons suffer the most from bullet velocity, losing both stopping power and accuracy past a close to slightly medium range. This is not to say they are inaccurate spray machines, as weapons like the MP5 can maintain their accuracy at range, they just require a considerable eye for leading targets and maintaining accuracy for their longer time to kill past roughly 20m. Their faster rate of fire compensates for their lack of stopping power, requiring 5 shots to kill or 4 with a headshot, and dropping all the way to 7 shots to kill past a 20-30m range. Their weight is their best strong suit however, only taking 2-4 percent of your total weight.
Now we move to Support. LMGs are what most players will have the most success using. As you may expect, they are slow moving, heavy weight, and spew a whole lot of hate. A considerably higher weight than almost every weapon class, they take 8-12 percent of your overall carry capacity. They are slow to aim as well, but retain the ability to aim while moving around, unlike their heavier counterparts. They make up for their weight in firepower, with some weapons having 100 round belts, with options to upgrade this even further at the cost of extra weight. All LMGs kill in 3-5 shots with varying headshot bonuses. However there are a few options with magazines that weigh less than their belt fed brothers. Examples like the M27 IAR or the RPK operate like chunkier battle rifles or assault rifles that offer better recoil mitigation, in addition to a Support exclusive bipod attachment. These lighter LMGs are also the only suppressable primary Support players have. The heavier subclass of LMGs are found in systems like the M249, RPD, and MG4. These are still shoulder fired and mobile weapons, but greatly benefit from mounting a bipod. Both types can carry about 100 extra rounds, plus another 100 with an optional armor mod that significantly impacts weight.
I know the BFV players are cringing to hear this word, and I understand why. I understand the issues with players laying on their back in a corner with an MG42 was a severe balance problem that slowed down gameplay and favored a silly playstyle.
My solution to this comes in an even bigger penalty to the weight of the weapon, a whopping 14-16 percent weight, the heaviest thing a soldier can equip aside from some launchers. This means these players cannot move quickly, and even have their own prone and exit prone animations that take more time, providing enemies with the ability to shoot you while you lift up the massive weapons. Similar to BFV, they can only aim in a prone position or mounted on a wall with its bipod. Without a mounting option, these weapons can only be fired from the hip but suffer extreme recoil and hip fire spread, denying even the slight zoom in BFV offered. MMGs also have a quirk that allows players to actually abandon their weapon in a pinch. While an MMG is mounted, a player can leave it mounted where it is when they switch to their sidearm. If mounted on a wall or window that can't reasonably balance the gun, it falls to the floor but otherwise it will stay on its bipod on the ground, while a machine gunner can get up to fight a breaching enemy with their handgun, then move back to their heavy weapon. If the player forgets their weapon, they will be stuck with a sidearm until they pick up another players weapon. This type of weapon is high risk high reward, allowing players with good map knowledge to build defenses in areas that allow a good machine gunner to lock down a lane and provide long range automatic fire to cover their team. However their extreme weight makes them slow to move, and even slower to transition. The weapon abandoning system acts as a slight realism boost but also runs the risk of players losing their primary during the heat of battle, as explosions and destruction may make the weapon hard to recover. Meanwhile without abandoning the gun players risk being shot during their lengthy transition animation. Weapons in this type are generally high damage low rate of fire workhorses, and include weapons like the M60, M240B, PKP, and PKM.
Marksman Rifles are the semi auto snipers of my theoretical BF6. They are self explanatory, and really just precision versions of semi auto Battle Rifles. They take 2-3 shots to kill, with headshots taking the higher damage weapons of this class to a one shot head shot. Examples of heavier weapons in this type are things like the Dragunov, while lighter options include things like the M110, M14 EBR, and a Modernized SKS. They take 8-10 percent of your carry weight, thanks to their included scope and heavier barrels than Battle Rifles. These are exclusively available to the Recon Class.
Bolt Action Rifles
Bolt action rifles are for the snipers in BF6. They are long rifles that are relatively heavy weights, sitting around 10-12 percent of your carry weight. Unlike previous battlefield games though, I feel they should be able to achieve a one shot kill to the upper chest, on players without heavy armor. This allows snipers to take more reliable shots, given their slower nature in this game compared to other Battlefield titles. The weight of their ammunition means most of these rifles can only have 2 extra magazines, in addition to an optional 2 magazine upgrade. Weapons in this class include the M24, M40, SV98, and the T-5000. These are also Exclusive to the Recon Class.
Scout rifles are the faster, lighter version of Bolt Action Rifles. They use long eye relief scopes preventing them from truly competing at a long range, and their barrel length means they are only lethal to the head, unlike Bolt Actions. They take roughly 8-10 percent of your weight, and can only be magnified 3x, as compared to the 8x seen by default on Bolt Action Rifles. These are also available to Medics, similar to the M28 con Tromboncino in BFV.
Shotguns are special secondary weapons, only available to Assault and Medic Players. They feature a 4-6 percent weight, and behave like shotguns. There's not a whole lot to say about them, pump shotguns should retain pellet accuracy at a longer range than semi shotguns, they can only carry two extra magazines worth of ammo.
Pistols are exactly what you'd expect. They weigh 1-2 percent, they kill in 3-5 shots depending on caliber, and are pretty simple in their customization. Classes like Support and Recon have access to auto pistols like the G18, but otherwise these are the same for every class.
The rifleman class focuses on grenade launchers, both standalone and underslung. The underslung options are lighter and can obviously be used very quickly when attached to the barrel of your rifle. Standalone options feature some better range performance and even some bigger magazine options, but weigh more. Underslung grenade launchers only add 4 percent carry capacity, and the heavier more lethal options weigh 6 percent. Ammo is limited but enough to make an impact.
The other equipment option are breaching grenades. There are both stun and flash options, as well as a smoke grenade for bigger maps. These weigh 1 percent and are negligible.
The medic has both a bandage or box healing item, and a smoke grenade option. The bandage and box function similarly to how they do in BFV, I really like its system for healing and think the actual issue was the quantity and extreme nature of attrition, rather than the mechanics themselves. Their smoke grenades are typically thrown, but there are launcher options as well for more offensive smoke placement. Both healing equipment items feature a weight of 2, and the grenades are 1 by default.
Engineers will wield their classic rocket launchers, but with a slight twist. Weight greatly affects the launchers, with very light options and with heavier anti tank options. While all are affective against armor, only an engineer with a anti tank launcher will be able to disable a tank on their own. Lighter launchers are more prone to ricochet from armor, but weigh significantly less. They will require multiple people firing or an ammo crate to be able to disable a tank. Light options include things like the RPG-32 and M72 LAW, while heavier options include things like the AT4 and RPG-7. Lighter options will weigh about 8-9 percent, heavier options will weigh 10-12 percent, and lock on launchers like a Javelin or a stinger weigh into the 15 percent option. This allows engineers some flexibility, making their close range prowess even more aggressive for close quarters maps where tanks are less common. Their other piece of equipment is a selection of defensive options like anti vehicle mines, an active defense system to stop incoming enemy explosives on both vehicles and ground uses. Their weights are all 1, with the focus lying on the tradeoffs of the launcher.
Support also features some interesting dynamics, where their tactical equipment comes into play. One piece of equipment I think could be very rewarding is a mini mortar. It can be mounted on the ground similar to how they functioned in BF3, and feature a rudimentary aiming system similar to BF3 as well. The biggest difference I'd like to see in this rendition is the mobility of these systems. I feel they can be something relatively mobile and fast to deploy, with a variety of grenade options available like airburst, HE, AP, and smoke which is always available. They are also relatively heavy, weighing in at about 10 percent. This means we likely wont see players with MMGs and a mortar, as their movement speed would be significantly penalized and their ability to strafe would be reduced. However those using the lighter primary options might opt to have something with some indirect fire in order to cover their more speed focused advance.
This slot would also contain things like claymores and c4, which allow machine gunners to make some defenses for their machine gun nest. Their other equipment slot is dedicated to their ammo ability, the ammo box. While I like bandages as an option for medics, I think having a primary only ammo solution is antithetical to the nature of Battlefield. Therefore I think having a static box that refills both equipment and ammo, not just the one.
Recon has some of the simpler equipment of all the classes. Their first slot features things like a deployable sensor to detect enemies within a certain radius. This gadget will last indefinitely until someone destroys it, so a well hidden sensor can be quite advantageous. Alternatively you can equip the recon drone, a small UAV that the player launches by throwing into the sky. This drone requires the outdoors to be effective as it needs the space to actually fly, so maps like operation metro won't have a swarm of busing bees chasing you around the map. These have a limited flight time but cover a much wider radius, and are also easier to be spotted and shot down. The other slot recons have access to is their ordinance, a choice between claymores and c4. Their equipment all weighs 1 each making the recon classes one of the fastest in the game.
The weapons of Battlefield 6 are plentiful and diverse, and I hope that with the introduction of a stat like weight to consider could make choices even more impactful. Players with an MMG will move noticeably slower than a recon with a light carbine. The actual impact this has on speed would have to be balanced in a fair way of course, we want these more fringe playstyles to be possible, just challenging and specific. The weight system could likely be removed, and simply only apply to the actual ADS performance seen in most other games. However I think the concept of considering your whole kit before going into battle allows experienced players to tailor what they deem important to them and build their loadout accordingly. If things got a little too complex I think a warning should appear when creating a particularly heavy class, just as there will be warnings about lighter items being less effective than their heavier counterparts. That wraps things up for today's post however, next I plan to discuss player counts and game modes, and there might be a couple more after that, we'll see if I run into any issues coming up with even more to say about a game I have no influence on.