The world of Battlefield once had two mighty titans. These titans were friends rather than enemies, because they knew that the world of Battlefield was a better place when they are together and when they work in tandem. Plus they never had any great rivalry in the first place. Every field and plane in this world has this whole “rivalry” fantasy between the biggest and best two of their field. Whether it be sport, entertainment, politics, you name it. Similarly, Battlefield has such two giants, or more like “had” after the latest installment of the Battlefield franchise, Battlefield 3. Conquest was made to feel quite lonely as Rush was stripped of its “giant” status in Battlefield 3, like how Pluto was stripped from its status of a planet. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating topic to analyze: Just how did Rush go from the, arguably, best game mode in Battlefield: Bad Company 2, to one of the lesser liked game-modes.
The answer to that one is surely not concise, since many factors influence its downfall. Sure, the use of the word “downfall” is quite exaggerating because still many people play it today. Yet, quantitative factors never really tell us the true story. They don’t draw the line between black and white, they don’t help us players in running the rule over the judgment of the game-mode’s quality. Therefore, for this reason, quantitative factors should not be considered.
It is necessary to draw a comparison between the two games and see what was done right and what wasn’t. So, without much further ado, what makes Rush in Battlefield 3 a shadow of the great, glorious and reputable game-mode it once was in Battlefield: Bad Company 2?
1) LINEAR ASPECT: The first reason, which I can think of, is that the bases had a linear aspect to them. The best example for this was Operation Firestorm. The bases were, literally, in a straight line. Rush is a different sort of game-mode to Conquest. Rush needs a level of improvisation and dexterity in every base, it needs a certain flair to design. When playing maps like these, it became boring quite fast. There were no changes in conditions nor in terrain which led to a one-track minded experience. For example, the first base has an MCOM in the open and has one in the oil refinery. The next base has one in a building and the other one likewise. The third base mirrors the first, one in the open and the other in the building. Personally, playing through these bases was not as much fun since it felt repetitive. Lets compare this map to Arica Harbour.
Here’s Operation Firestorm’s Rush overview:
And here is Arica Harbour’s (just the first 3 bases):
Notice the different paths the attacker takes to get to the bases? Those made the map feel different every time it was played. A non-linear design doesn’t bore, or doesn’t bore as fast, at least when compared to linear designs because the possibilities the attacker faces are more, this leads to a different taste every time when the map was played. Personally, that made me feel like Bad Company 2 was a new game every time I played it because it was a lot of fun. Operation Metro has linear designs too, although that has problems of its own (touched on a bit later).
2) Too few bases: Some Rush maps in Battlefield 3 were amazing. They should be up there with the greats from Bad Company 2. However, where it lets people down is the number of bases. Caspian Border is a great example of this. Caspian has an abstract structure which gives it a fun element. It almost reminds me of Harvest Day and how big and well designed that map was. However, where it completely destroys the appetite is when it shows up with only 3 bases, which is far too less from the number of bases it should have. A map well designed like that, should have at least 4 bases. Back to Karkand maps were the best for Rush (in BF3). However, again, they fall flat when their lengths are only 3 bases. Wake Island, Sharqi Peninsula, Gulf of Oman all suffer from these problems. Whereas when you look at the good Rush maps, they tend to be at least 4 bases long (Strike at Karkand, Arica Harbour, Noshar Canals, Valparaiso, Kharg Island, Oasis, etc).
3) Chokepoints, death alleys: Anybody who has played Seine Crossing Rush would have been frustrated with the individual base design of that map. Seine Crossing is an excellent example of how “not” to design a Rush map. It has so many chokepoints that attackers bleed tickets at the speed of light. Defenders are able to effectively shut down the first base if they are half-competent and know what they are doing. Even IF (that’s a big if) the attackers get past the first base, the second base is unforgiving. IF (bigger one) they get past that, the third base is where, usually, luck runs out. There is simply no space for attackers to operate or flank from, which leads to many chokepoints that will clearly aid the defenders since their job is to sit and hold a spot. The attackers will suffer because they have to be the ones who take the initiative, this results in them being dropped like flies. Operation Metro is a sound example, the second base is terrifying and you might as well give up at the third base (unless the opposing team don’t have a clue of what they’re doing). The third base, Bravo MCOM, is the tightest MCOM I have ever played. There is no flanking route. They all lead to the center where the defenders can set up LMG+Bipods and just graze through the attackers. The corridors of the third base, that is just hell to go through as an attacker. Another example is Grand Bazaar, that map has a chokepoint at EVERY MCom. Lack of flanking routes in these maps make it impossible to like Rush.
4) Gun game?: The maps can be blamed to a certain extent, but does the gun gameplay have a part to play as well in Rush being a less of a fun game-mode? The beginning of Battlefield 3 was marred by the use of the USAS Frags combination, which was overpowering to say the least. The infamous “Metro edition” of the USAS was a popular joke to underline how powerful the gun was at, basically, everything.
Certainly, Operation Metro would have been a little bit more of a playable map if this gun wasn’t overpowered. Grand Bazaar too would have been a more tolerable map if the overpowering guns weren’t being exploited. These tend to result in better (or at least, less frustrating) experiences than usual. The use of such guns would have ruined the fun of Rush since defenders would use these excessively powerful weapons and kill attackers easily, resulting in attackers being more livid and hating the game-mode. This is not really the case in other game-modes like Conquest where the action is not as concentrated at precise points (since Conquest maps are bigger and action is well-spread). Bad Company 2 also had some over-powered guns (USAS and the SAIGA) which would act as the “spanner in the works” for most players who dislike the use of such weapons. However, the influence of this negative was less since the map design was good from the outset. DICE can avoid this problem from the start if they can balance the guns right and play-test the game well enough to see which element of the guns are excessively powerful.
5) People’s fault?: Ah, the good old “idiot blueberry”. To be a good Rush team, there must be good communication, along with team-work at every level to ensure the whole team functions as a single, solid unit. Maps and over-powering guns can only do so much damage to the game-mode’s accessibility. However, another valid reason why Battlefield 3’s Rush was poor in comparison to Bad Company 2’s Rush was because of the blueberry problem. The reason of this could be the number of migrants from the Call of Duty franchise. Nobody blames the new players, and rightly so, since many of us were in the same position and we can relate to what they are experiencing. It’s the players which simply do not co-operate at whatever cost which gives Rush a bad rating. I have heard many people saying: “I just play Rush with friends since I cant stand blueberries doing nothing/I dislike playing with randoms”. Coming across to personally witness this too time and again, it is lamentable to see players just not playing the objective. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth for those players who avidly strive and struggle to play the objective, only to turn around and notice half the team just sitting back and comfortable sniping, not even bothered of the target they have to get. Therefore, team-mates that do not co-operate have to be a reason why Battlefield 3’s Rush was poorer compared to Bad Company 2’s. In Bad Company 2, at least the teammates gave it a shot and tried. Even if they fail, it doesn’t matter, at least they tried. That gives me, and surely other players, a sense of satisfaction that their team-mates are putting in an effort. However, in Battlefield 3, it seemed like the game taught them to throw out the logic of playing the objective and personalizing the game to an individualistic level where they only care about their k/d and other such stats rather than the collective team.
We’ve seen why Rush was below-par (polite euphemism) in Battlefield 3. How can DICE improve it in BF4?
1) Change the design: DICE needs to change the design of the Rush maps. Rush maps make good Conquest maps, but Conquest maps don’t make good Rush maps. This is a point DICE needs to note before designing any sort of map. Frankly, it is easy to make a Conquest map since they need to follow patterns, geometrical mostly. For eg: Straight lines, “Z” shaped, “O” shaped, square shaped, triangular shaped, etc. However, for a Rush map, every base needs to be designed differently in order to make it perfect. Looking at Bad Company 2’s maps, it’s somewhat clear they made Conquest maps from Rush maps and it worked. Arica Harbour is a Rush map primarily and the second base was turned in a Conquest map by sticking 3 linear flags in the second base. The result? A perfect map for both Rush and Conquest. Laguna Presa was the same, so was White Pass.
Compare this to Battlefield 3. Operation Metro is a Conquest map, turned into a Rush map. The result? Poor map for Rush but pretty popular for Conquest. Not convinced? Operation Firestorm, primarily a Conquest map, turned into a Rush map. Good Conquest map, boring Rush map. Kharg Island, primarily a Rush map but turned into a Conquest map and it’s a brilliant for both game-modes. Therefore, if DICE want to make a map fitting for both game-modes, then it needs to first make a Rush map then take one, or two, bases and stick some flags in them. Voila, they have a good Conquest map too. If they carry out the same design structure from Battlefield 3, then Rush fans wont have much to get excited about.
2) Space: DICE need to incorporate flanking routes and space for attackers to utilize. It takes the advantage away from the defenders and gives it to the attackers and makes it more balanced. Therefore, attackers actually have a chance to win rather than just throwing themselves against a wall of defenders in vain.
3) Good blend of vehicles and infantry: A good Rush game incorporates vehicles and infantry properly to give a well-rounded experience. Harvest Day was an epic example of that. There were large spaces for vehicles to use and tighter spaces where infantry is handy. Satisfying both sets of players (infantry-based and vehicle lovers), it was a treat to play that map. They should follow in that setup to capture the excitement once again. Some Battlefield 3 maps had this, which is nice to experience (Firestorm, Tehran Highway, Noshar, Kharg). The latter 3 are good maps which would be a good example to follow on how giving large and tight spaces.
4) Different conditions: Battlefield 3 felt a little drab with the “urban, desert” environment almost all the time. It felt repetitive. If they change up the locale and the environments then it can go a long way to making Rush a good game-mode. In fact, not just Rush, but it will also help the game feel more fresh. Different environments need to be put in the game, like snow maps, desert, jungle, coastal maps. Not only that, a map where scenarios differ can be a big positive. For example: Giving the attackers the high ground in Base 1, then giving the defenders the higher ground in Base 3. Dynamic weather is a welcome feature in Battlefield 4 which makes me look forward to Rush since its alters the conditions from the norm.
5) Right number of bases: Good Rush maps need at least 4 bases. After the good maps were given only 3 bases in Battlefield 3, Rush-fans would expect DICE to notice that error and give us 4 bases minimum per Rush map.
So these were the problems with Rush in Battlefield 3. These are some of the solutions to making this once-great gamemode back up there.
However, let me know what you think. What should DICE do to make Rush a better game-mode in Battlefield 4? What is your opinion?