Dear battlefield,

this is not going to be easy, so I’ll be as honest as I can. You and I, we have been through a lot, so I think honesty is the least you can expect from me.

Our relationship was never easy. Back when we met in 2004, around the times of Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield Vietnam, I didn’t like you very much. You were the game that many seemed to play and that seemed to sell decently but I just couldn’t warm up to you. Things changed however in June of 2005 when Battlefield 2 saw the light of day. Don’t get me wrong, my mind isn’t clouded by nostalgia, I do remember very well that you had a lot of problems from the start and some that persisted on to patch 1.5. Still, you were an amazing experience. Classes that complemented each other, depended on each other and formed cohesive units together. There was a command structure from a battlefield commander through squad leaders down to squad members, an easy to use interface for giving orders and communicate with other players and of course an easy way to communicate with others by voice. You were an immersive all out combined arms warfare experience that was unrivaled back then. Together with little men and their boom sticks, there were various armored vehicles and even things that could fly. You allowed us to fight in the desert, in the jungle, in swamps, and even in urban environments. Some would hate the chaos that came with 64 players, others would see the true challenge in keeping cool in that kind of situation. The size of the maps guaranteed that at some point not all 64 players would be in the same spot, and things paced up from there on out.

I met some of the most amazing people I know back in those days and only thanks to you, many of which I consider friends still today, more than five or even six years later. That is the one thing I will never take away from you. I remember spending countless hours on teamspeak with those people often until or even beyond the sun would rise outside my window. I missed a lot of sleep back then and still would not change a thing, because this also stands for some of my fondest memories.

Patch 1.3 really put our relationship to a test though. It was a time when many of us could barely play an entire round without crashing or having the server crash. I and many of my gaming friends stayed with you nonetheless. When patch 1.4 solved those very serious issues, you were still far from perfect but at least our faith in you and your creators had not been entirely disappointed. Along the way we had been giving Battlefield 2142 a try, and in many ways it was the better game without a doubt. Public acceptance of it wasn’t overwhelming though and many had drifted back to the familiar battlegrounds of Battlefield 2. Naturally people fell apart along the wayside, stopped playing or moved on to other games. Despite your efforts to remain interesting by releasing new content unavoidably things got a bit stale at some point and we were all waiting for a true and worthy successor. The consoles had seen Battlefield Bad Company, and in 2010 the PC would at least receive Battlefield Bad Company 2. That game however left true Battlefield fans disappointed. It was a blatant, shameless and obvious attempt at pandering to players of the rival franchise. It lacked map size, player numbers per map and not least tactical depth because of its downright lackluster map design. By no means was this a worthy sequel in our beloved franchise, and once your makers and their bosses started realizing we were reluctant to believe you they did not get tired of repeating it was never meant to be.

When Battlefield 3 started being more than just rumors, the past years had left their mark on us. What should have been met with excitement and anticipation was actually met with apathy and sarcasm. Too often had your creators disappointed us already, created a free to play cartoon version, several console only versions or games that were so clearly designed for the limits that exist on those platforms, that they felt horribly lacking in every regard on the PC. We were given an alpha version that, despite several fairly severe technical issues sparked some interest.

From that moment on, the group started to assemble again and came the beta, we were almost back at full strength already. The beta was a mixed blessing. Rush mode was not what fans of the actual Battlefield expected and even worse the beta was riddled with a wide variety of technical issues of which some had not even existed in alpha. The following public uproar caused some discomfort at DICE and EA. At least for the last couple of days in the beta we were given a chance to test one of the so-called larger maps in conquest mode. Compared to Battlefield 2 and 2142 the maps were still actually small and subsequently felt… different while playing.

The beta ended and for myself and many others it became a matter of conscience whether or not to buy Battlefield 3. Since Battlefield 2 all Battlefield games had had bumpy launches at best, often troubled by capacity shortages and a number of minor and major bugs. Often the games saw bugs that existed for several months or even years. Seeing that I personally basically had encountered more or less all game-breaking bugs and issues that had become known throughout the beta, there was little to uphold my interest in the game, especially considering the horrible track record DICE had bug fixing. I had had pre-ordered the game several months before though and decided to stick to the pre-order despite my gut telling me to get my money and just turn the other way. On October 24 it became apparent that a simple trick would allow to play the game before its actual launch which would not happen for another three days. I fought with myself quite a bit, but then decided to pick up the order from Origin, despite it being no less than €15 more expensive than my Amazon pre-order with no additional value granted, but in fact lacking any physical items.

I was pleased to see that the game was performing significantly better than it had in the beta. It ran smoother and many of the bugs and issues were gone. Soon the DICE curse re-surfaced, and showed its ugly face. Fix one bug, create three new ones. While I personally did not see many of the problems from the beta reappear the battlelog forums clearly showed that others were not so lucky. My luck however was only shortlived: soon, like so many others, I would find myself stuck on the „connecting…“ screen, which as it is does not allow me to play the same server twice a day. In the last couple of days the rate of game disconnects and crashes has increased by at least 300% for me from out of nowhere because I have not changed anything about my machine or software configuration. At this point, I am uncertain, whether or not the situation is worse than it was in Battlefield 2 at the time of the infamous patch 1.3. What I know for sure though is that Battlefield 3 is not remotely as immersive, addictive or entertaining as BF2 and BF 2142 were.

I will certainly be trying out the “Back to Karkand” expansion pack, but as it is I have lost interest in the franchise, faith in its developer and patience and enthusiasm to remain around and see the legacy of this amazing game being spit on and destroyed.

Dear Battlefield, when we first met we were lovers, our relationship was hot and exciting and I was very happy to be with you. Over the course of the past years, we both changed. I gladly welcomed you back time and time again but you just kept making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. To stick to the lovers analogy, you were the spouse that kept making mistakes that for themselves would have been forgivable but because at the same time you started gaining immense amounts of weight or stopped being an intellectual equal, those mistakes became more apparent and annoying and less forgivable every time.

As it is right now, and it hurts me deep inside to have to say this, you and I will probably never even be friends again, let alone lovers. You have degraded from being one of my favorites sources of enjoyment into being a constant disappointment and source of anger.