Battlefield 3: Now the console server browser has far more power!

As a follow up to my previous article on the Server Browser for consoles, I’d like to take you through the further customisation options available to us. These come in the form of new playlists available from DICE and the ability to rent your own server.

Battlefield 3 - Xbox 360 Server Browser Filter (inc CQA)

Conquest Assault and Custom game types can now be toggled in the filter options

There are a few additional options in the Filter Options screen. You can now choose custom matches and the Conquest Assault game type that you couldn’t previously.

Renting a server allows you to modify all of the available options and is a great way to play a private match with friends or show of to the world what you think is the definitive Battlefield 3 experience.

Battlefield 3 - Rent a Server for a day on Xbox 360

You can rent from as little as a day - to 90 days at a time.

You don’t have to spend money to take advantage of all these new options: There are already hundreds of custom servers set up for you to choose from.

Knife only matches are great… until someone eventually starts firing. It is very rewarding to carry on with your knife only at this point – however you will of course get shot in the face a lot.

Extended ticket matches on Operation Metro are a great way to practice you aim, or to learn a new gun. My tip is to avoid anything more than 200% matches though, as any higher tends to freeze your Xbox after a while.

The 5-flag Wake Island variant is great with extended tickets. A slow paced one, and one with next to no mayhem. The enjoyment for me comes from the stealthy land based play, where there is always an undefended base to sneak into – balanced with the battle for air superiority and denial from the separate airbase and anti-air spawn.

The playlists from DICE are, for the most part, an interesting new slant on how you play through a rotation of maps. Catering for everyone but Squad Rush fans they allow you to choose the flavour of Battlefield 3 that you want to play. Regular rotations are still available, but they are now only readily available on the EA servers.

Battlefield 3 - Console Playlists from DICE

Console Playlists from DICE - Each provide an interesting mix of game modes and maps.

There are seven different playlists and their map rotations are as follows:

-[DICE]- BF3 CLASSIC ONLY (No B2K Maps – Rush & Conquest)

  •     Caspian Boarder – CQ
  •     Operation Metro – RUSH
  •     Operation Firestorm – CQ
  •     Kharg Island – RUSH
  •     Grand Bazaar – RUSH
  •     Seine Crossing – RUSH
  •     Noshahr Canals – CQ
  •     Damavand Peak – RUSH
  •     Tehran Highway – CQ

-[DICE]- BACK TO KARKAND ONLY (No vanilla BF3 Maps – Rush & Conquest)

  •     Wake Island – CQ
  •     Strike at Karkand – RUSH
  •     Gulf of Oman – CQ
  •     Sharqi Peninsula – RUSH
  •     Wake Island – RUSH
  •     Strike at Karkand – CQ
  •     Gulf of Oman – RUSH
  •     Sharqi Peninsula – CQ

-[DICE]- MOST POPULAR (Rush, Conquest, & Team Deathmatch)

  •     Noshahr Canals – TDM
  •     Operation Metro – RUSH
  •     Caspian Boarder – CQ
  •     Operation Firestorm – CQ
  •     Damavand Peak – RUSH
  •     Kharg Island – TDM

-[DICE]- EPIC BATTLES (Vehicle-based large Conquest maps)

  •     Wake Island – CQ
  •     Caspian Boarder – CQ
  •     Operation Firestorm – CQ
  •     Kharg Island – CQ
  •     Gulf of Oman – CQ
  •     Sharqi Peninsula – CQ

-[DICE]- URBAN WARFARE (Urban Maps with vehicles – Rush & Conquest)

  •     Grand Bazaar – CQ
  •     Seine Crossing – RUSH
  •     Sharqi Peninsula – CQ
  •     Damavand Peak – RUSH
  •     Tehran Highway – RUSH
  •     Strike at Karkand – CQ
  •     Grand Bazaar – RUSH
  •     Seine Crossing – CQ
  •     Sharqi Peninsula– RUSH
  •     Damavand Peak – CQ
  •     Tehran Highway – CQ
  •     Strike at Karkand – RUSH

-[DICE]- SOLDIER SKIRMISHES (Urban Maps focused on infantry – Team Deathmatch, Rush, Conquest)

  •     Operation Metro – TDM
  •     Seine Crossing – CQ
  •     Grand Bazaar – TDM
  •     Noshahr Canals – TDM
  •     Strike at Karkand – RUSH
  •     Damavand Peak – CQ
  •     Operation Metro – RUSH
  •     Seine Crossing – TDM
  •     Grand Bazaar – CQ
  •     Strike at Karkand – CQ
  •     Damavand Peak – TDM

-[DICE]- DEATHMATCH ACTION (Team Deathmatch & Squad Deathmatch – Only 16 players)

  •     Operation Metro – TDM
  •     Grand Bazaar – SQDM
  •     Strike at Karkand – TDM
  •     Sharqi Peninsula – SQDM
  •     Seine Crossing – SQDM
  •     Tehran Highway – TDM
  •     Noshahr Canals – SQDM
  •     Kharg Island – TDM
  •     Operation Firestorm – SQDM
  •     Seine Crossing – TDM
  •     Tehran Highway – SQDM
  •     Operation Metro – SQDM

Unfortunately, it seems that official servers are now really hard to come by, at least here in Europe. They don’t seem to have added any new servers, merely allowed any of the official servers to be rented out to players – currently demand is high. Hopefully, this will balance out in the near future – but at the moment it is very difficult to find any games that don’t have at least 200% tickets.

This dilemma reveals the biggest flaw in this huge wave of player-controlled servers – the search function can’t cut the mustard. You can search only by the title of the server and it doesn’t obey the rules of any of your filter options! Almost any broad search returns over the limit of 1000 servers – but when they are empty, from a different region and not even ranked – what use are they? We need the Search function to obey the filter settings too.

Battlefield 3 - Console Server Browser Search

The search tab is just woefully useless. Pointless before the latest patch - a necessity after.

We also need to be able to filter official DICE and EA servers only – and the “Normal” preset should not allow for altered ticket counts, it should be labelled as custom.

In the meantime, make sure you add servers that you enjoy to your favourites. You can browse through the history tab to do this retrospectively, and you can do it from the Start menu during a match. Unfortunately, these can disappear if the owner doesn’t intend to keep the server going long term.

As a final hurrah for those who need to practice their multiplayer skills…

You can now start playing on a map straight away – without having to wait for at least 8 players to join. The round still won’t start until the required number of people are in – but you can mess about to your heart’s content. It is extremely easy to find an empty game and start practising with the helicopter and to try out a new gun and attachment combo. If other people join you and start attacking you, you can always quit out and join another empty server. I’m improving with the jet but I still can’t hit stuff with my main cannons, and you still don’t want me piloting your chopper.

Let’s hope the next patch brings us that little bit closer to perfection.

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