Following the EA Play Press Conference 2016, DICE gave us a closer look at Battlefield 1’s gameplay in the best way possible: three matches of full-scale, 64-player warfare. But if you weren’t watching the post-presser stream – or you were too distracted by the constant cutaways to Snoop Dogg literally puffing a blunt while playing – you might’ve missed some crucial info on what’s new in Battlefield 1’s WW1-era combat. Never fear, because we’ve got you covered. Here are seven tidbits you ought to know in preparation for Battlefield 1’s release later this year.
Flak cannons are back (in all but name)
In some ways, the new field gun – an anti-aircraft turret that any ground troop can man – feels like a throwback to the olden days of Battlefield 1942. The Flak 38 gun had a unique function in BF1942, and using it effectively was a challenge: its crosshairs were gigantic and unwieldy, and its rounds all had delayed explosions, meaning you had to lead airborne targets like a pro if you wanted to do some real damage. BF1’s stationary field guns work in much the same way, making flying a nightmare for enemy pilots if you’re able to get a bead on them and really nail those long-range shots.
The spawn screen displays the map’s action in real time
In previous Battlefield games, the spawn screen was fairly standard: a 2D representation of the fight with notation of your teammates’ locations and vehicles, as well as who controls the objectives spread around the map. But Battlefield 1 takes thing up a notch: the spawn screen is now a fully rendered overhead view of everything that’s actually happening at ground level, so you’re getting the entire picture of what’s happening where. In other words, if you notice a spawn location covered in orange plumes of fire from a barrage of explosives, you should probably deploy somewhere else. Once you do, your camera will actually swing down to the first-person perspective, which makes for a pretty ace transition into gameplay.
Airships are the great equalizer
When your team is getting crushed, it’s time to deploy the airship. This massive behemoth will blot out the sun, and creates a last-ditch opportunity for your team to make a comeback. The airships may have the turning speed of chilled molasses, but they are fully controllable by players, who can steer them to where their heavy artillery is most needed. They’re best used to rain down machine gun fire from the sky and mow down enemy infantry, but are balanced by the fact that they’re giant, largely vulnerable targets for passing biplanes and flak gunners on the ground. When an airship is finally taken out, it crash-lands with a colossal explosion, leaving a twisted metal skeleton that creates a new obstacle to deal with during skirmishes.
New methods of mobility include the high vault and bayonet charge
Maybe soldiers back in the day were made of tougher stuff than modern infantry, because these WW1 troops have mobility options that are a first for the Battlefield series. If you’ve ever been annoyed that you can’t leap over certain pieces of terrain, you’ll adore the new ‘high vault’ maneuver, which lets you quickly mantle objects in the environment even if they’re a little taller than you are. Then there’s the bayonet charge, which sends you into a dash that can potentially kill an unassuming enemy in one deadly skewering. It almost looks like the charge is even faster than sprinting, but that might be a trick of the steadied perspective, because a map full of constantly charging players wouldn’t make much sense from a balance perspective.
Tanks take locational damage
Tanks seem to be the bread and butter of your attacking forces in Battlefield 1. Being the earliest examples of mobile armored weaponry, the WW1 tanks aren’t invincible against the smaller, squishier enemy infantry. The tank’s functionality and mobility can be affected depending on where the tank takes damage, and whether you’re piloting a light, medium, or heavy tank. Firing rockets and chucking grenades won’t do much if aimed at a tank’s armor plating; instead, you should stick an explosive underneath the tank treads, destroy its mobility, and effectively turn the warmachine into a giant, metal sitting duck.
Ground deformation is the new levolution
There weren’t many skyscrapers to destroy among the trenches of the Western Front, but Battlefield 1 isn’t skimping on the map destructibility. Along with the aforementioned mass destruction caused by fallen airship, every explosion can create a giant crater in the loose soil of each map. If you need to dig into a position, you could use the hole from an obliterated tank to take cover, or blow out the ground from underneath an enemy. Speaking of tanks, they can plow through stone walls like they were air, letting you completely alter the maps cover points as you cruise around.
Each class has gadgets aplenty
Battlefield may take place at the dawn of modern warfare, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the necessary equipment to keep you alive and take out your enemies. Soldier classes are returning in BF1 and with them we’re getting familiar items like medic bags for healing friends, revive syringes to bring squadmates back from the dead, and anti-tank grenades to fight against armored vehicles. Then there’s items that aren’t as familiar, like gas masks that protect you from mustard gas deployments, bayonets that allow you to charge at enemies and run them through, and anti-armor rocket guns that must be fired from a prone position.