The server browser for Battlefield 3 on consoles is a godsend. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination – but as a means to customise your online experience it is invaluable.
Using the server browser allows you to:
- see all of the servers that your friends are playing on
- favourite a server (which makes it more likely to be chosen via quick match, you can also select it manually)
- see a list of servers that you have played on in the past
- search for a server based on its name
The most important aspect,however, is the filter option. This can be accessed with the right thumb-stick button on Xbox or R3 on Playstation. This allows you to customise what is listed on the ‘Browse’ screen of the server browser and influence what will be chosen when you use the ‘quick play’ setting.
Setting the region correctly to the region you are in is highly recommended. You are much more likely to have a high ping and more latency if you play in a distant region.
If you always want to get in a full game then set the player setting to 20+. However, if you want to squad up with friends, you should set it to 5+ and make sure you go from the end of the list. This will give you the best chance of all being on the same team.
The map settings are fairly unreliable for actually getting you into the map you want. At the moment I find it most useful for finding Back to Karkand Only servers or those that exclude the expansion completely.
My favourite setting, though, is “Show running games from Official EA servers”. This is enabled by default, but if you disable it you will only get servers provided by DICE. I prefer these for the simple fact that you can get into a queue for a full server. You don’t seem to be able to do this with the EA servers.
The rest of the options are, hopefully, self-explanatory.
What you don’t get though is any indication of how much of the round is left. It is still very easy to join a game just as it ends – and often the map you chose has already been cycled to the next one.
There is also a lack of custom map rotations. I would have like to happen across servers that run the big maps only. Apart from whether the B2K maps are included there is little variation. Although, DICE servers are called PGM02, PGM07 etc so I will investigate a little further in to this.
So, set up your filter setting and improve both the server browser and your quick play experiences. Get it right once and you may never have to touch it again.
See you on the battlefield!