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Ok, so in their... er... eighth? ninth? tenth - no, ninth Battleblog, DICE have shed some more info on vehicles, both land, air, and presumably naval as well.
The first thing DICE reveals is that Battlefield 3 will have over 20 driveable vehicles split up into 12 different classes of vehicles - not kit classes such as the Support Kit, the Assault Kit, etc. Some of the vehicle classes include armored transports, infantry fighting vehicles, main battle tanks, scout helicopters, attack helicopters, fighter jets, and attack jets, leaving 5 classes to be confirmed, but from the Caspian Border gameplay we can guess that there will be light ATVs similar to the Quad Bike from Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
As well as a huge stack of vehicles, Battlefield 3 will include much more in-depth, tactical vehicle customisation, on a scale far beyond the seven vehicle specialisations from Bad Company 2. With over eighty unlocks for vehicles alone, and three slots for each vehicle to be customised - secondary armament, gadget, and an upgrade slot - and unlocks unlocked from using each class of vehicle. To use the words of the Battleblog, "Vehicle customization in Battlefield 3 is just as deep and tactical as the weapon customization" - and we all know how good that looks...
The unlocks available, and the way they are structured, makes vehicular warfare more focused, rather than making a "super vehicle" that can do everything - for instance, a fighter jet like the MiG-29 can be either set up for air-to-air dogfights, or set up for air-to-ground with laser-guided munitions. Stuff like choosing between flares/chaff or an on-board fire extinguisher are also mentioned within the blog.
Other decisions that could affect the outcome of a battle are also mentioned in the Battleblog - subtle game-changers that could affect both the player's game, and that of his/her team as well.
- "Imagine that your tank is hit by an RPG in Battlefield 3. As the first warnings go off, this is your time as Commander of the tank to assess the danger of the situation – do you push on towards your goal regardless, or do you abort and take evasive action? If you back up and take cover, you give yourself a chance to let the vehicle armor recover, just like your soldier heals up when going into cover."
On the subject of damage, it was revealed that, for the new health regeneration for vehicles, after a certain threshold of damage has been attained, a vehicle will not automatically repair itself. Disabled vehicles will also explode after a short period of time, if the vehicle is not repaired by an Engineer. According to the Battleblog, the health regeneration system "is basically our [DICE's] way of giving smart non-Engineers a fighting chance to keep his vehicle in the battle."
So, the staple part of Battlefield gameplay is unravelling even further, and with only a few weeks, or even days until the Open Beta is announced, and less than two months until the release of Battlefield 3, things are looking very, very exciting.
Also, on a side note, in the UK, GAMEFest 2011 is happening on 16-18th September in Birmingham, and Battlefield 3 is going to be showcased at the event. I myself will be there, and will definately see whether I can grab one or two of the booth attendants to ask them about Battlefield 3. Until the next time, safe commenting!
Source - Battleblog #9
On the subject of the Battlefield 3 Open Beta, I'd like to throw this one out there. The Assassin's Creed: Revelations beta begins tomorrow (well, today for yours truly...) Now, with that game coming out in November, after BF3 and fishface, I'd hazard a guess that the BF3 beta will be upon us very soon. Any other thoughts?