Sunday, May 02, 2010

Bad Company 2 Multiplayer: Noob Friendly

Despite the glaring omission of a multi-player tutorial Battlefield bad company 2 does take a number of steps to make less experienced players feel welcome in multi-player. The almost automatic squad system is one example as is the generous allocation of points for support activities. Perhaps my favourite little touch however is that the game does not display the number of times you get killed in squad death-match games.

Let me say that again. Battlefield Bad Company 2 DOES NOT DISPLAY THE NUMBER OF DEATHS in squad death-match games. This is sheer brilliance. In most multi-player shooters kill to death ratio is the statistic which separates experienced players from noobs. It is also the statistic that causes most angst for new players particularly in team death-match games. You see if like most new players you have a kill to death ratio of less than one then everybody knows that you are contributing more to the enemy team through dying than you are to your own team through your few meagre kills. In other words your net contribution is negative and your team would be better off without you.

In squad death-match BBC2 only displays a players kill count on the scoring table not their deaths. It is amazing the difference that makes to the culture of the game. Instead of everybody trying to hide for fear that they will be shamed by their death count players are motivated to maximise their kills. Even new players get the satisfaction of their few kills being added to the scoreboard without the mortification of a high death count.

This is not a simple oversight. It has to be deliberate because the game displays kill to death ratios in other game modes. The other game modes are objective based and kill to death ratio loses it significance in them. For example a player who gets killed defending a base may have bought vital seconds for their team. It is only in death-match that deaths directly contribute to the enemies score and it is only in death-match that BBC2 hides the damning statistic.

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