Battlefield 3’s Oddly Browser-Based PC Beta

Battlefield 3’s Oddly Browser-Based PC Beta

Perhaps I hadn’t been keeping close enough watch on the chatter surrounding the PC beta test for Battlefield 3, but the last thing I expected upon launching the game through EA’s Origin was to wind up on a web page.

But that’s where I wound up. EA’s Battlelog web page is what pops up once you launch Battlefield 3 from either Origin or directly from your Windows games menu, all bright and friendly and requesting you install plug-ins that may or may not work with whatever browser you’re using.

More fortunate than some players I read about in the Battlefield 3 forums, my plugins installed for Firefox without fault, and I was able to watch it work its magic as it automatically selected my server, attempted to join, and then disconnected several times before finally placing me in a match.

Once in a match I tried in vain to find the options menu in order to tweak my graphics. Later I discovered that the options menu can only be accessed when you’re in-game and alive. That means in order to change your audio, control, or graphics settings, you have to find a safe place to hide first.

More option menus should work like this. Hell, more drive through menus should work like this, bullets whizzing over your head as you super size your Big Mac meal, just like downtown Atlanta.

Many PC gamers are upset by the web-based interface, especially when it comes to server switching. Once you’re in the game proper, you’re stuck on a server until you exit out, hit up the web page and reselect. It seems like we’re taking several extra steps to do something that could have just as well been handled in-game.

Though now that I recall the menu systems from previous Battlefield titles, perhaps that’s not the case here.

Either way, we’re only in beta test. They haven’t even gotten all the people they promised to let into the beta test in yet, so there’s plenty of time to dry those tears and help us move on.

Oh yeah, and I totally shot that guy.


  • Wait what?

    Is this just a temporary thing or are they actually going to have a web page server browser? And having to be in-game and alive to access options? I’m confused.

        • It actually works quite well, in the beta that is anyway. Very fast getting into games and refresh servers. So much better than the BFBC2 setup. Really surprised, no issues with the beta so far, pretty good for EA lol

          • But doesn’t that mean you’re exiting the game completely and reloading it each time you want to change server?

          • Better than waiting 10 minutes for your stats to be updated after exiting a game… (BFBC2) Plus rejoining a game is easy… I’m a n00b and it was simple.

          • I was no fan of BC2 but if you were waiting 10 minutes for stats to update then that sounds like a connection problem. I could exit a game, stats would update instantly and join another server and be playing in under 30 seconds.

          • If it’s not loading the game and just going straight to the map then you what? Alt+tab to get to the browser?

          • Actually you just click on the BF3 window in the ‘Start Bar’ in Windows and ‘Alt+Enter’ then BAM straight in the game again.

          • I must be missing something here because this sounds like such a roundabout way of doing things. I fail to see how this is better than an in-game browser, with a main menu where you can access game settings at ANY time.

          • It’s something different, I’ll give it that, just try it out on Thursday night for the open beta and see what you think, free for everyone then anyways.

    • I got an email this morning about the xbox beta, but I had MoH on xbox… if you had it on PC it may be the same, and if you pre-ordered on Origin I think.

  • it seems that we are moving more and more less accessibility in modern AAA titles. Why would any gamer bother with a AAA title on PC where you first must sign up to some company sign and keep a password and username, to buy a game to download the game that has 10 layers of DRM there to make doubly sure you aren’t pirates when they pirated would of removed this crap, only then set up a another user name and password account for the online servers to Finally get to the part you get to play the game only to discover that the publisher rushed out the product so its broken until they fix it over the next 3 months.

    Crap like this is unnecessary clutter between the player and the gamer that isn’t going to grow the consumer base, but more go the other way. Facebook, mobile and browser games aren’t popular on a huge scale because they are simple, its because the point of finding and playing is as simple as a few clicks and less than 1-2 minutes. Consoles can take up to 30 minutes to get started, and PC almost same with the amount of logins required.

    • Yeah, I hate having to wind up my consoles like some old timey automobile, “crank on the bellows missus” I yell, ” more coals in the furnace, we’ve almost got to the buggering load up screen!” by the time we actually get the confounded contraption to work I’m too tired to play, and missus has coal dust all over her gingham!

    • What the hell are you talking about, re: Consoles take 30 mins to get going? You crazy, son?

      Also, “more and more less accessibility in modern AAA titles”

      Can’t tell if troll or serious.

  • Mmmm if you can browse the web etc searching for a good server to connect to or waiting for a spot to become available yeah maybe there is a point. But must admit it’s a bit odd and looks cheap.

  • @modraef (no reply option)

    Oh it’s different, I get that and I will give it a whirl when I can but all I’m seeing and reading is that they’ve taken the wheel and made it square.

  • I played this a LOT last night and i have to say i like the browser system. It worked flawlessly on my machine and i found it very easy to use, ALT+TAB works really well it never crashes the game or gives you a black screen. You can swap between the game and the web browser anytime (without having to exit). The game itself runs flawlessly on a 5870 even on Ultra settings and there is zero in game lag. The BETA is more polished than most games that are released at the moment and I could quite happily play the same map over and over and over until they release the full game without getting bored.

    • Can you give us a bit of a review? Are there vehicles in the beta level, if so what ones, what two forces are you playing as, how do the new classes shape up, etc

  • TL;DR. I was finding it really hard to re-bind keys last night in the menu as well, whenever I was trying to re-map a mouse key or the zoom key or whatever, wasn’t allowing it and every time I hit ESC, it would take me completely out of the menu, not just cancel what I was doing. What little of the game I DID play last night, was truely fucking awesome though. I thought I was going to have to upgrade my video card however not the case. Everything runs stable maxed out.

  • I don’t get why people are up in arms about it… I mean when you exit a game to change servers you would drop to the main menu in a different game, here you are simply doing the same except it is web based… What is the big deal?

    • Except it’s a browser running in a seperate window and it means either exiting BF3 completely or alt+tabbing (which as we all know can be troublesome at the best of times, especially if the game doesn’t offer windowed+noborder)

      • DICE have been saying that they’ve worked specifically on alt-tabbing and exit performance because battlelog is essentially the main menu.

        And it’s pretty fast, I feel. I reckon it’s a similar speed to jumping into a regular server, but you can do other stuff in the background while it’s loading. It is a bit odd pulling you straight out at first, but with the ability to see what servers your friends are currently in, and how easy it is to invite them to a server, it makes a bit more sense.

      • Chazz, you seem to nit/pick every game for any little flaws, play the game then talk or just stfu! No one wants to hear your whinging… Serious you cry about anything and everything, I’d hate to see what games you actually do play. Then even when you do manage to find something half decent you’d whinge and moan how it takes seconds to move between menus…. Good luck ever finding a game up to your expectations.

        • I pick at things that I find unnecessary or things that seem like they came about due to the developers being lazy. This is a good example of that. What was wrong with an overlay? Valve are a perfect example of a clean, simple and flawless overlay that includes game menu and server browser. As for me enjoying games? I enjoy plenty of games. I finished Gears 3 on the weekend and loved it, it had flaws but it was still great fun. Same goes for plenty of other games.

          • Developers? Or EA pushing to get the get it published, hardly DICE’s fault for that crap. Lol Gears of War series biggest waste of time, I can see why you are so retarded now, you’re a console gamer, explains a SH*T ton.

          • Actually I’m mainly a PC gamer, Gears just happens to be a console exclusive. But thanks for sharing your lovely and mature opinions on Gears of War and console gamers.

    • I second this notion.

      Also, Valve’s game browser (excellent btw) is identical to this setup, it just looks slightly different and is obviously in-game.

  • I actually think the system works quite well. Sure, there is that issue of not being able to hotswitch between servers within the game itself, but in terms of the interface, and usability, I really can’t fault it.

    Server browsing/filtering has swift and painless. The fact that it is all in a browser-based environment, means there is a lot of flexibility as to what you can show. Especially when it comes to stats and progression. And just being able to use hyperlinks to quickly go from one player to another to see ppls clans and click on weapons. Just makes it so much faster when trying to navigate to information you want.

    You can form parties, join games that your friends are currently playing, accurate queuing system for servers that are full, notification system that ties in seamlessly to the embedded in-game origin system. All from this browser interface.

    Sure I had some niggles getting started initially, getting the “Connecting…” issue that so many others had. But the workaround was found and it was all smooth sailing from there on.

    I just think people need to give it a go for themselves before they pass judgement on it. I thought it was weird at first, but ended up really liking it. I think people just need to break in their whole mindset of what they expect it to be and be open to change.

    Also note that the ingame embedded Origin system (much like what steam does) has an internal browser. So you may very well – at some stage – be able to bring up BattleLog system from within that browser to change servers etc.

    • Well it is possible. There is a screenshot floating around with the options screen open and working while in Beta mode.

      I have still yet to find the blessed thing because all of the usual menu options on the press of the tab button, that you’re used to seeing on BC2 is missing.

      I will endeavour to seek out the mythical options menu because the default res was not giving me enough detail.

  • This will be an awesome feature for anyone that has a multiple monitor setup and doesn’t use eyefinity… It essentially means you can have the battlelog ‘menu’ open on your second screen to monitor stuff while playing…

    Can’t wait 🙂

  • Stats/Server loading is very fast, another good thing is i can log into battlelog from work and see everything that is happening, chat to clanies etc without having to have the game insttaled/running.

  • Ea and dice better listen to the negative feedback from the lack of in game menu, though the chances of it getting replaced now are slim.

  • what I’d like to know is where the page resides?

    ie. is the battlelog and server browser page on an ea server somewhere that can and will go down multiple times over the life of the game, or is it on your machine and it simply retrieves server and stats data from their database.

    i’ve not played it yet, and given what i’ve read so far there are other issues i hope they resolve before/upon release, but this is the one that really jumps out at me.

  • I get the feeling this is the future of gaming, cause the launcher and stats are very very slick and has worked well so far. On a side note, this is actually quite brilliant DRM on dice’s part, you can’t even start the game unless you have an origin account showing that you own BF3.

  • I’ve been playing it, and for the most part, it works well. However, having a hell of a time trying to get it to work in full screen… tried the Alt – Enter thing (along with Alt Ctrl F and Alt Ctrl Break) – no luck… I’ve got Logmein and a VNC server running on this machine, and heard that that can cause issues with the full screen, but even turning that off doesn’t seem to work… Annoying as hell!

  • This is frustrating! If I want to play a game, I don’t want a browser hanging in the background. My Firefox has around 80 tabs open at the same time, hits about 1.2GB of RAM and one of the add-ons will occasionally hog one of the cores to 100%. Imagine my surprise, when, after I carefully closed FF to play BF3, Origin popped it back up again?!
    I am not even going into the requirement to download beta video drivers from nVidia or that fact that the only way to exit BF3 game seemed to be Ctrl-Alt-Del->Task Manager->Terminate bf3.exe

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!