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Battleblog #9: Online vehicle warfare refined

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The Battlefield series has always been about the perfect mix of infantry and vehicle warfare. Battlefield 3 is no different. Read on for the full story on our deep vehicle customization and refined gameplay mechanics that will change how you play the game.


Caspian Border is the ultimate all-out vehicle warfare map.


As you can see in our

, the skies in Battlefield 3 will be filled not only with helicopters, but with roaring fighter and attack jets as well. No matter if you want to transport your troops quickly to the current hot spot on the battlefield, if you want to engage in high G dogfights, or take out enemy tanks with laser guided missiles – there’s a flying vehicle in Battlefield 3 that lets you do the job in style.


With over 20 drivable vehicles in multiplayer spread over 12 classes, you will find your personal favorite whether you prefer to fly above the battlefield or stay on solid ground. Some of the vehicle classes include armored transports, infantry fighting vehicles, main battle tanks, scout helicopters, attack helicopters, fighter jets, and attack jets. Whatever your choice, we let you fine tune almost every vehicle in Battlefield 3 to fit your play style, the current map, and the current situation.


Deeper, bigger, tactical vehicle customization
Vehicle customization is much bigger, deeper, and more tactical in nature than in previous Battlefield games. With over 80 unlockable specialization upgrades spread over the different vehicle classes, there is plenty of room for you to tailor your rides to fit your needs. Each customizable vehicle class has three unlock slots: one secondary weapon slot, one gadget slot, and one upgrade slot. By playing a vehicle class and getting kills with it, you gradually unlock more specializations for that particular vehicle class.


Vehicle customization in Battlefield 3 is just as deep and tactical as the weapon customization showcased here on the blog last week. For every choice you make in vehicle customization, you are effectively gearing up for a specific combat role and leaving something else out. In the Russian fighter jet, do you go with anti-air missiles to dogfight enemy air targets, or would you rather mount a handful of laser guided air to ground missiles as your secondary weapon to harass opposing tanks? Do you equip it with IR flares to avoid missiles, or would you rather take your chances with the fire extinguisher in case you get hit?


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Our most dynamic vehicle warfare ever
We are making sure vehicle warfare in Battlefield 3 is even more dynamic than before. That’s why we are introducing two new tactical gameplay concepts affecting how vehicle damage and repairs are handled.


Imagine that your tank is hit by an RPG in Battlefield 3. As the first warnings go off, this is your time as Commander of the tank to assess the danger of the situation – do you push on towards your goal regardless, or do you abort and take evasive action? If you back up and take cover, you give yourself a chance to let the vehicle armor recover, just like your soldier heals up when going into cover.


This is a new feature in Battlefield 3 where lightly damaged vehicles recover their armor after a set amount of time (if kept away from enemy fire). Instead of promoting a gung-ho attitude at all times, this means that the driver who keeps his cool and adapts to any given situation will also be able to keep his vehicle in working order for longer. It is basically our way of giving smart non-Engineers a fighting chance to keep his vehicle in the battle.


Past a certain damage threshold, vehicles will not recover armor. And with heavy damage comes the horrifying and adrenaline-inducing experience of having one’s vehicle disabled. In the case of the tank, it would slow to a crawl. Fire and smoke would signal that it is in dire need of manual repairs, and that it is only a matter of time before it explodes. But here’s the beauty of the new system: Its weapons will still be functioning, turning this into a high risk situation that can play out in a number of ways.


Patrick “Posh” O’Shaughnessy is Lead Vehicle Designer on Battlefield 3:
-- Battlefield 2 was the first game I worked on at DICE as a designer, so finally building the vehicles for the sequel is very exciting! I think the ability to kit out your favorite vehicle depending on the situation combined with the new dynamics we’ve added to vehicle damage and repairs makes for a lot of interesting choices for players.


In our daily playtests here at DICE, you will often find a disabled tank in the field with Engineers scrambling to repair it, while its crew is still operating the main cannon and auxiliary machine gun to keep enemy forces at bay. If repairs go well, the tank gets back to full working order and the crew has narrowly escaped a disaster. If not, at least they had a fighting chance, while the disabled vehicle itself made a tempting target leading to more intense multiplayer action.


There's plenty of open-ended vehicle warfare in the single player campaign as well. This shot is from the single player mission Thunder Run, shown at this year's E3.


Subtle game-changers
The powerful trio of vehicle disabling, armor recovery, and manual field repairs complement each other to refine the multiplayer game. Disabling means you no longer have to chase a vehicle that’s low on health to repair it. In a way, the repair tools are the new defibrillators, bringing a vehicle back into the fight from the brink of death. Also, regenerating armor means non-Engineers stand a greater chance at keeping their vehicle in the fight. Still, nothing will beat a well-trained squad of soldiers where Engineers help keep their vehicle in prime fighting condition.


The new vehicle customization and gameplay refinements in Battlefield 3 are subtle game-changers. Add them to our already proven rock/paper/scissors formula and you have the recipe for our most dynamic and exciting online warfare experience ever.


Stay tuned for Battleblog #10 soon
Did you miss the previous stories in the series?

Battleblog #1: Lars Gustavsson on DICE's new multiplayer philosophy in Battlefield 3

Battleblog #2: With a bit of class

Battleblog #3: With an army by your side

Battleblog #4: Up close and personal

Battleblog #5: Years' worth of unlocks and rewards in Battlefield 3

Battleblog #6: Building Battlefield 3 from the gun out

Battleblog #7: Battlefield 3 introduces themed co-op campaign

Battleblog #8: Build your weapon of choice

For more information on Battlefield 3, visit the Official Site.
To learn about the Frostbite 2 game engine, visit the
Frostbite 2 section on the Battlefield 3 site.
For the latest news on everything Battlefield, follow us on
Twitter and our Facebook page.


This game is not affiliated with weapon/vehicle manufacturers.


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