Welcome to Rylee's Game Rants! (Battlefield 6 Part 1)
Howdy! It's been a long time since I've written anything seriously so apologies in advance for whatever you're about to experience. In this unscheduled series I'd like to start, I plan to have feature dense discussions on game design, and elements I find particularly interesting and potentially rewarding. I regularly appear on our show Game Forge, where we discuss the same topics in podcast form! However I enjoy making graphics and having some more visual aids and specific details I likely would forget or not illustrate perfectly purely over audio.
In the first episode I appear on, we discuss Battlefield 2021, whatever it may be called. We discuss many cool features and possible solutions to problems seen in recent games, as well as some totally new features never seen in Battlefield before. Today I'd like to focus on the create-a-class system I've invented, and how that may look for a Battlefield game!
For years Battlefield has had 4 classes, Assault, Engineer, Support and Recon. In recent games this has changed slightly, eliminating the engineer role and dividing its vehicular elements to other classes; repairs to support and offensive attacks to assault, who lost their medic abilities in the trade to create a new medic class that focuses exclusively on healing friendly players. This is all fine and dandy, however I think we should re evaluate just what the purpose of these classes is, and how we can improve the overall flow of a match, and streamline what each class does in order to make things a little clearer for new players.
However in days of old, Battlefield wasn't satisfied with merely 4 however. Battlefield 2 had a whopping 7! This was before the series had made it to console, and had more of a dedicated cult following on PC, which didn't mind a more complex system. I don't necessarily think 7 is a good number, however I think the classes available in Battlefield 2 can inspire a direction for a newer title. Our goal is to create something that is complex enough to engage long time players but to make things accessible for new ones as well, so I feel landing on 5 available classes is the ultimate move for the next Battlefield title. These classes will be Rifleman, Engineer, Medic, Support, and Recon.
The rifleman class is the newest addition to the lineup, and I think it has the most potential to shake up the battlefield formula. As one might imagine, the rifleman is a solely anti infantry class that primarily features Assault Rifles, and Battle Rifles. I'll get into weapon types later, but for now imagine a battle rifle as a heavier assault rifle such as a MK17 Scar-H or an FAL. In addition, Assault can equip the special secondary type: shotguns. Their role lies in a mixed range of combat, being a point man in many scenarios to breach a building and clear it, then fortify it to keep its strategic advantage. The primary piece of gear available for Riflemen is a grenade launcher, either slung under the barrel or as an extra piece of equipment on your back.
Another benefit of the rifleman class is their passive abilities. The most prominent is explosives resistance, which makes hand grenades and most explosives in the game non lethal to a full health player. This can be augmented in the armor system I will also discuss later. The other passive is a faster build time for structures like sandbags in the fortification system, which will feature 3 types of structures, defensive, offensive, and structural. Assault however will only be able to construct defensive fortifications.
This class doesn't have too many teamplay elements which could be a deal breaker for some, however I feel it will decongest a lot of the other classes, and streamline the classes into more definable roles.
The engineer makes a prominent return in my creation, back to its Battlefield 3 and 4 sensibilities. Its whole focus lies in vehicular gameplay, both offensive and defensive. Rocket launchers, anti tank mines, a repair torch and their toolbox are their best friends. In addition to vehicular combat, engineers excel in structural fortifications. Things like bridge repairs, ladders to normally unreachable areas, and larger defensive structures are accessible to engineers. This promotes the idea of a combat engineer that "fixes problems" on the battlefield, even if the problem is an enemy vehicle and the solution is a well aimed rocket.
Their available weapons include carbines and PDWs, fitting for their in and out of vehicle nature, and keeping them limited to support roles in longer range fighting to keep them balanced. Engineers also can only access the pistol secondary weapons, as another full sized weapon would make the class too heavy. Their passives include their fortification abilities, and the ability to detect enemy equipment through walls, and communicate to recon players who can disarm and sabotage them.
Everyone loves medics, especially while they lie on the floor waiting for a revive. I personally love the direction Battlefield V went with medics, and reviving as a whole. For those unware anyone in your squad can revive you, but medics can significantly faster and can also revive other teammates outside your squad. I also like that this feature is no longer tied to a piece of equipment like defibrillator. This is one of the biggest issues with the Battlefield 4 system, as some players would equip a grenade launcher and a medic bag so they can keep themselves alive and not much else. This is partially why I've created the rifleman class, and why I think BFV did it right.
The primary equipment is obviously a medic bag, and a medic pouch similar to systems seen in BF4 onward, and a smoke grenade. Passives include a faster movement speed when marking players you wish to revive in order to get into combat quicker, and unlimited healing bandages similar to BFV. While Medic has had somewhat of an identity crisis in recent years as to what weapons are available, and what range they should be proficient in, and truthfully I think a Carbine class is the ideal here. BF4 featured carbines as an all class weapon type, and they served as closer range variants of assault rifles for the most part. I think this is ultimately the best route as I feel medics should be able to hold their own at a variety of ranges, but not defeat the purpose of other classes like rifleman. This choice keeps them versatile but focused on healing friendlies, which I feel is a perfect solution for the Medic.
Support is a tried and true class, which has had some confusing complications but ultimately holds the same role it has for years, a support gunner. While games like BF1 and BFV tried to divide the engineer class into it, I feel it should focus on being a support gunner with some light indirect fire abilities. This class has some of the least changes of all of these, as I really only want to change a few things from recent games. Obviously they no longer need to worry about repairing vehicles, and they can now focus solely on defensive strategy and offensive covering fire. Their weapons include Light Machine Guns and Medium machine guns, which will differ slightly from their BFV equivalents, however essentially fill the same roles. Support also gets access to shotguns, as a sort of deterrent for close range raiders. This will play an important part in the balance for weapons like the medium machine gun, which I will elaborate on eventually. Their equipment lies in an ammo box, and indirect fire options like a light mortar, or C4 aka Jeep Stuff. Lastly, support can make offensive fortifications such as mounted machine guns, heavier anti vehicle mortars, and possibly even specialized bomb traps similar to BF4's IED system, but slightly more dynamic. Their passives include a suppression effect which blurs the screen of enemies standing near their gunfire, and the ability to mount weapons for more stability, but more risk in less mobility.
Recon is the most unchanged class in this system. Recon serves as a sniper role for the most part, with a light focus on information and sabotage. I personally love the concept of an aggressive recon role, and games like BF4 even allow recon players to access carbines. I really like this concept, and think it should continue in my concept. Their available weapons are Sniper Rifles, both Semi and Bolt Action, and carbines. Equipment comes in the form of informational warfare, like an automatic recon drone that essentially functions like the flares do in BF1 and BFV, but with a modern aesthetic. Another is actually an idea found in Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, and is represented as a field mic that a spy might use. The Battlefield version could be represented differently and truthfully I can't think of anything better other than a heartbeat sensor, which is even more of COD thing so for now I'll leave it as a field mic. Instead of a feature copy from COD though I think it should simply provide a radius that spots enemies on the mini map, and serves as a more permanent solution than the recon drone, but doesn't cover as big of a section of the map. Lastly I think their passives can be quite interesting. Resistance to spotting from other recons, and an ability sabotage enemy fortifications like placed guns that detonate when enemies use them, and an ability to turn enemy mines and claymores friendly. Again this class is relatively unchanged, just with a few twists that can keep things interesting.
The last class is very brief, and will combine two simple and mostly similar classes together in this section. These classes are only accessible when you deploy in a vehicle, and are extremely barebones. BF1 and BFV both did this to mild success as a deterrent from using vehicles to get to a vantage point and abandoning them, an issue frequently seen in BF3 and BF4 where players would abandon jets to get to sniper positions. In my build however, they won't even get pistol caliber carbines like BF1 or SMGs like BFV, I feel they should only have access to their faction's default pistol. These players can still pick up weapons from fallen players and play like normal but with no passive abilities, and the only equipment being available a repair torch. Pilots will have access to parachutes, but not repair tools. These classes exist solely as a deterrent from wasting vehicles, and slightly as an immersion tool as no jet pilot would be able to fit a rifle into their cockpit, let alone an RPG and the extra rockets they frequently carry.
The class system in Battlefield has always been an important element of the series and is one of the most defining features. Obviously I have no connection to DICE or EA, so these posts will likely go unheard to the people with the actual talent and ability to implement these design concepts. However I think the system I have laid out is an excellent framework that could especially excel in a modern game with higher player counts. I will likely discuss things like team composition and player count solutions in a later post so I won't dwell here but I should add that I am concepting this system around a 5 person squad instead of 4. BF4 did this despite only having 4 classes, forcing people to double up on a class even in a completely balanced squad composition.
Ultimately I know nothing about game design, and that should be noted immediately. That being said, I have played shooters for years, particularly the Battlefield franchise. When I went into writing this I wasn't exactly sure how it'd go or how much I would write, and now that I am 1600 words into a blog post I feel I need multiple posts to elaborate. So in the future I will be detailing weapon types and their assignment to classes, equipment, and a armor system that unifies the create a class in a new and interesting way. I have some graphics made for these, mostly based around the armor system and I may make more depending on how I feel it will help the overall value of the post.