When DICE told us last week that it had a big Battlefield 2042 update planned for December, I didn’t think it meant the second day of December. It’s a nice surprise to start the month with: The game’s first really big patch, which contains hundreds of fixes and tuning adjustments according to DICE’s patch notes. It will be pushed out at midnight PST Thursday morning, which is 3 am on the US east coast and 8 am in the UK.
Along with fixing a long list of bugs and making “over 150” map improvements that aren’t itemized in the notes, DICE says the patch will make balance adjustments, improve the UI (making loadout and attachment customization easier, for example), and introduce weekly missions which can be completed for XP.
What I’m most excited about are the additions to Battlefield Portal, the make-your-own-Battlefield tool that someone has already used to jury rig together a battle royale mode (the circle is somewhat horrifyingly made out of bots). With the patch, Portal is getting a vehicle team deathmatch template, which is exciting because previously vehicles could only spawn in Conquest and Rush modes, which can’t be used with Portal’s logic editor for truly custom-designed modes. I want to see if I can put together a Spitfire dogfighting mode, for example.
Portal will also get an official Gun Game template (called Gun Master, but everyone calls it Gun Game from the Counter-Strike mod in which you get a new gun when you score a kill), an Infection mode template, a couple of new rules editor functions, and its own list of bug fixes and weapon tweaks.
The scope of the update is so broad that it’s hard to guess what the most significant changes will be, or how the game will play after it goes out. Last week, bullet spread was tuned to make assault rifles in particular more accurate, and the obviously OP hovercraft got a nerf (I will miss the hovering fortresses). We’re still processing those changes, and now broad adjustments like “tuned capture times for Breakthrough” are coming in a list of over 400 other bullet points. Among the changes are some much requested additions, such as a way for medics to indicate to downed allies that they’re on the way, which I’m thankful for.
Last week, DICE said that it is considering reintroducing what it called “legacy features,” such as a traditional scoreboard, and that it’s looking into reports of disappointing framerates on some PC configurations. I wouldn’t expect to hear more about those topics until January. Another small update is coming in “early December” with more balance changes and bug fixes, says DICE, but it hasn’t said when to expect the next patch of this size.
As of this update, we’re officially in Battlefield 2042’s “preseason.” The four upcoming seasons (starting in January, presumably) will each add a new specialist and come with a premium battle pass. At the moment, the only extra available for purchase in Battlefield 2042 is a $40 “Year 1 pass” (included with the special editions) that gets players each of those four specialists and battle passes, but we’ll see what the in-game store looks like once that first season begins.