Much has been made lately of BF3 moving some key features that normally appear in game to a web interface. Things like friends lists and the server browser. PC gamers are a fickle bunch, and when they hear things they’ve been used to a certain way for 20 years are now changing, internet outrage ensues. Before you start to rage, listen to DICE developer Alan Kertz, who makes the argument on why it will be better that way:
Why Battlelog in a browser? Battlelog let’s you check your stats, your friends, your feed from Any Where. Work, the toilet, the pub…
Battlelog on the web also makes it easier for us to support you the players. We can build a better Server Browser on Battlelog.
Finally, you can use all the features of Battlelog while playing via alt-tab. So you can check stats or browse servers in play (unlike BC2).
In case you’re late to the party, Battlelog is the name for the all-in-one website that will serve not only as your server browser when you launch the game, but as a social media hub for all things BF3. Much like what CoD MW3 is doing and will be charging a subscription for, except Battlelog is free with your purchase of BF3.
While I’m part of the fickle PC gamer crowd, I don’t necessarily think the sky is falling with Battlelog. Let’s face it, previous BF games, and especially BC2 had notoriously bad server browsers, and terrible friends list support. Remember after a patch, your whole friends list disappeared, and then you had to re-friend everyone? Then remember when it happened again? Remember how horribly sluggish the server browser was the first 6 months BC2 was out, only to get marginally better later on? We’re not exactly losing the pinnacle of in-game multiplayer support.
It stands to reason that a web interface for all those things would be much easier to build, and then easier to maintain than building it in the BF3 codebase. Changes to the browser and other aspects of Battlelog can be done independent of gameplay changes and be completed more quickly — so I really do believe they can build a better server browser on Battlelog. Will it be a hassle to Alt-Tab to get to those things that we got to in game previously? Possibly, but usually to get to those things before, you had to quit a server (or whatever you were doing) to get to those menus. Now an Alt-Tab might be an improvement, since you can stay connected, browse for a different server and then have friends follow, without having to navigate clunky/non-responsive in game menus.
We’ll see how it plays out, but Battlelog has the potential to actually offer a better experience, assuming it’s done right. Keep your pitchforks and torches in the closet for now.