Battlefield 1’s new TTK update breaks more than it fixes

After taking one step forward, Battlefield 1 takes two steps back. Bring on Apocalypse, please.

Battlefield 1’s new TTK update breaks more than it fixes
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It’s a recurring theme that punishes the infantry player which, as far as I’m concerned, is illogical in map design for a Battlefield game because not only are the majority of players infantry, they’re also usually the flag cappers. Seemingly in an effort to address this, these two maps also have some huge capture radiuses, which means you can cap from the sea, but that comes at the risk of being taken out by sea or air (and losing your precious boat).

When the attacking team does take some points, it’s a hike for defenders to shift across to defend. There are some great chokepoints on Heligoland Bight, which make for intense battles, but you can also game your way past any enemy defences with a solid grouping of Medics. That’s exactly how we stopped the attacking team from holding any of their capped points for longer than a few minutes.

You can see the intention in design for these maps: infantry combat over the main points, sea battles around it, aerial combat above, and the occasional bombardment/strafing run from sea or air. That sounds great on paper, but in execution on public servers it quickly falls apart. Taking out fighters is already tricky enough, and it doesn’t take dedicated pilots long to memories the AA flak points, and either avoid them, or bomb them into pieces before they’re used.

Not that it’s exclusive to post-patch BF1, but there’s little fun to be had when every other death is from above. Especially after a bad respawn, which is, unfortunately, a recurring theme that hasn’t been fixed in 1.18. In fact, I’ve died to some of the worst spawns I’ve ever had in the game, most notably on Zeebrugge. Then there’s the unshakeable feeling that the TTK parts of the patch have actually broken crucial things like hit registration.

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I’ve been on the sending and receiving end of it, with hit markers that are dusted for no damage, bullets that fly through enemies without even registering a hit marker let alone damage, and inconsistent damage relative to where the enemy is being hit (combined with the range of the weapon and damage drop-off). The best example I can give is a head-glitching Assault player who I had to shoot three times in the head to kill, except each hit marker wasn’t my customised colour for a headshot. I could only see this player’s head, so it stands to reason the only thing I could have been hitting was their head. Yet that wasn’t the case. I was also shooting with an SLR, which should kill in two shots if one of them is a headshot), let alone three unregistered shots to the head.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve died to super bullets. This is a netcode phenomenon where it appears you die instantly from a single shot that shouldn’t have been able to kill you. The player who’s killed me has a weapon that’s incapable of doing it, and either the firing sounds/animations were busted, or the netcode stuffed up and I received damage from multiple shots that had not been transmitted to my client. That’s odd, because I only play on 60Hz tick-rate servers. It’s important to note that I haven’t had any of the UI indicators on screen that suggest I’m suffering lag or packet loss, so I’m at a loss (outside of blaming the patch) for what could have changed things so drastically.

It doesn’t help that the maps have bugs, like floating objects, or a myriad of sticky corners and/or foot-high objects that apparently require mantling to get over. Then there’s the killcam which, more than ever, seems to highlight evidence of a death from a player who couldn’t have possibly had an angle on me. Either Battlefield 1 has some hardcore bullet-penetration mechanic that I don’t know about (and one that seemingly wasn’t used by hackers who would be trying to shoot me through walls in the past), or something isn’t right. Then there was the time I unloaded into a guy behind a door, only for no hits to register and my death from them; later on, I was killed through a similar door. Go figure.

A recurring gripe that’s only been hammered home since 1.18 is the apparent client-side smoke, gas, and fire propagation. DICE changed the weather effects to server side after launch, but this logic apparently hasn’t carried through to smoke, gas, and fire, which are arguably more important because they’re way more common. This means I’ve been killed a bunch through smoke, gas, and fire from enemies I couldn’t see because I was screwed by client-side propagation that wasn’t favourable for my line of sight.

I’ve also been killed on more than one occasion by players who are head-glitching to the point where there’s apparently no visible muzzle flash or smoke to help identify their positions. I’ve killed my fair share of head-glitching players, but to see the dodgy tactic rewarded without position-identifying visual clues is disappointing. In fairness, I can’t say for sure whether that’s been introduced with 1.18 or it’s been there all along. It takes a particularly inaccurate head-glitcher to notice this.

Additionally, the menu lags again (it started like that, then was seemingly fixed, now it’s back) whenever I hit escape. Taking the above into account, I’ve not had a great time with Battlefield 1 1.18. Part of that is definitely disappointment created by high expectations for the long-gestating TTK patch. Now that it’s finally here and isn’t working as intended, I’m enjoying the game less. I’m happy to adjust tactics to match gun tuning between patches—I’ve done this a lot in the past across shooters—but when my tactics have to devolve to the opposite direction of what is being suggested in the update notes, just to consistently score kills (when the hits actually register), well, that’s a bad thing.

Worse still, I can already see both of these new maps being voted out of rotation, which has already started to happen with the first two maps from Turning Tides (which are both better that these latest two, in my opinion). But considering that the final Apocalypse DLC drop is scheduled for later this month (which is just odd), I’m hoping DICE can fix what’s broken with 1.18 to, at the very least, ensure this particular Battlefield fan keeps coming back for more. I’ll add an update to this article if I do, as DICE has suggested in the patch notes disclaimer, discover that they “become apparent with time”.

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