Battlefield 2042 has not been in a good state since it launched late last year. Among a host of technical bugs and game-spoiling glitches, players have fled from DICE’s competitive multiplayer shooter, which at one point dipped below the player count of its nine-year-old predecessor Battlefield 4. But it won’t just be series fans leaving the game any longer, as content has started to be rolled back, too.
Announced in a tweet, the game’s Featured Experiences – a selection of rotating game modes created using Battlefield 2042’s mechanic-tweaking Portal feature – have been changed. The number of Featured Experiences active at any time has been reduced from five to three, meaning players will have fewer of the special game modes to pick from.
As players were quick to point out on Twitter and Reddit, that reduction in the number of active game modes looks to accommodate the game’s ailing player count. With fewer players booting up the game, matches are slow to fill and queue times are noticeably long. By reducing the number of available game modes, DICE can concentrate the game’s smaller playerbase into a handful of matches, ensuring servers are kept close, or closer, to full capacity.
On Thursday, March 24, we’re changing how we’re rotating Featured Experiences within #BattlefieldPortalHere's a 🧵on what's changing 👀 pic.twitter.com/6PHL0OmYmcMarch 22, 2022
Empty servers have been a sticking point for many BF2042 players over the past couple of months, with those in less populated server regions, such as Australia and South Africa, struggling to find multiplayer matches.
But these changes are not a good look for DICE. Rolling back content for any game is rarely met well by fans, but to do so among an exodus of players only leaves Battlefield 2042 looking even frailer. The perception that DICE has had to reduce active content in response to the game’s poor playerbase doesn’t inspire confidence in the longevity of the title.
Additional changes are also being introduced. Featured Experiences will now rotate twice a week, each Monday and Thursday, rather than only once. That should give players a variety of game modes to play across a week, even if the number of active modes has been reduced.
On top of that, a dedicated Friday Night Battlefield event will be held at the end of each week. Again, holding an additional, but temporary, event allows DICE to concentrate players into a few full matches.
Analysis: how much longer can Battlefield 2042 last?
This shake-up of Battlefield 2042’s content shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The game has been struggling for months and if DICE wants to preserve the minimal playerbase left in the game it’ll have to rework its multiplayer structure to cater to a lower player count. With maps designed for 128 vs 128 player matches, which DICE has already admitted are too large, extra work will need to be done to tailor the game to its current state.
Fans are particularly disappointed, however, by DICE’s continued inability to properly acknowledge Battlefield 2042’s position. Take a glance at the game’s official social media channels or sparse blog page, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that suggests the game is in dire straits.
The rollout of updates like this one, which many suspect has more to do with addressing the game’s ailing player count than improving the core Battlefield experience, do nothing to repair the lost goodwill between DICE and its community. It’s likely Battlefield 2042 will be remembered as the flop of the Battlefield series, but whether DICE can repair the lost faith in time for its next installment is still up in the air.
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Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.