I love me a good night map, and DICE plans to deliver in June. For Premium Pass owners. The map is called Nivelle Nights and is set amidst a network of trenches. Here’s the official description from DICE:
Chemin des Dames, 1917.
As darkness falls over the muddy battlefields around Malmaison and Soupir, French and German batteries prepare to yet again support their troops on the contested ground.
The moon, the searchlights, and the artillery lights up the night skies, exposing the vast network of trenches. Bite and hold as your foe will fight for every inch of ground. Strategy and teamwork will overcome those who have neither.
This’ll be fun to watch play out. Night vision wasn’t invented until WWII. We will be stuck cranking up the brightness on our TVs.
The announcement does seem a little strange, though. Nivelle Nights doesn’t appear to be part of any announced expansion. Plus, the wording suggests the map will be exclusive to Premium Pass owners. Other DLC announcements made it a point to say Premium Pass owners received early access before becoming a standalone purchase.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem if DICE made the Premium Friends feature permanent. If you didn’t play Battlefield 1 last week, the feature lets a Premium Pass holder create a Premium lobby where folks who didn’t own Premium could play the new maps. There’s always a catch, though. You didn’t earn XP on the new DLC maps unless you owned them.
Battlefield remains one of the last holdouts of the traditional season pass model. The fact they are experimenting with Premium Friends shows their hold on the model is slipping. They should just do what Rainbow Six: Siege does. Premium owners get two weeks early access to the content. Better yet, make the maps free to everyone at the same time and find other ways to add value to Premium. Cosmetics, weapons (balanced, of course), things like that.
Premium maps only split the community. More and more games are vying for people’s attention. It’s best to keep the community you have together than split it apart. Premium Friends is a step in the right direction. Making the maps free would be better. Still, EA is in the business of making money – and creating maps isn’t cheap. I doubt we see Battlefield get rid of Premium. The Premium Friends feature seems like a decent compromise. Maybe bump the XP to 25/50% instead of 0%.
The Road Ahead
DICE is bringing faster updates to Battlefield 1. Instead of seasonal patches, the devs are shooting for monthly patches. Some of the features on the way include Platoons. “Finally, you’ll be able to organize and join forces with your friends, execute swift victories, and achieve goals as one unit,” reads the blog post. Sounds more like a ‘clan’ feature than increasing the number of friends you can play with in one game.
May’s update will be all about “revisions that will improve your quality of life in Battlefield 1.” This includes streamlining the flow into matches and ongoing balance tweaks.
And we also get a glimpse of the next series of DLC maps focusing on the Russian army. ‘In The Name of the Tsar’ takes us to the Eastern Front. You wanted snow maps? You’re getting them.