Battlefield Heroes is the first game in what EA claims to be part of a " Play 4 Free" series. The game went on general release June 25, 2009 after an extended beta period. The game client download is free, however there is some paid content in the form of microtransactions (i.e. alternative costumes and game tweaking widgets such as an XP boost). The game currently has 4 maps, but the developers stated in an interview that if the game proves itself to be successful more maps will be available.
Heroes will feature "famous battles" with modifications making them less violent. Some have speculated that this is so that the game receives an E/12 rating and therefore can have a potentially wider target audience. The developers stated that the game is laid back, with focus on fun rather than intense competition. Battlefield Heroes features 3 classes, which some skeptics find to be awfully similar to a handful of the classes that exist in Team Fortress 2.
Due to the great changes to the economy in the November 2009 update, EA has been widely criticized in the media as well as on their own forum for breaking their free-to-play formula, inflicting severe disadvantages upon the non-paying part of the community. According to Ben Cousins, EA, these changes are likely to be permanent.
The gameplay in the game is a mostly standard 3rd person shooter. There is no cover system and the game is rather fast paced in keeping with it's casual kitsch styling. Along with paid content, the game features a "valor point" system whereby players gain points through combat to spend on special weapons and attributes to improve their characters. As this is not paid content it attempts to alleviate balancing issues. Players start with 4 character slots, not enough to have a character of each type for both teams, however more can be purchased with 140 Battlefunds, which equates to $2.
Planes, tanks and Jeeps are controlled just as they are in other battlefield games in the franchise, DICE has stated that they simply "cut-out" the planes and vehicle control from the other games and pasted them at BF:Heroes.
Has medium health at 120 and speed, can heal allies and has the 'Grenade Spam' ability.
- Blasting Strike – Pushes enemies and vehicles away, objects knocked into walls or solid objects will take damage.
- 6th Sense – Enemy silhouettes are visible to you and your team through walls. Does not make stealthed commandos visible even if you are close enough to see them.
- Burning Bullets – Bullets are set on fire and inflict damage over time, with a large and very visible burning effect. The burning effect can be stopped by bandaging but negates the healing effect of bandages.
- Combat Medicine – Recovers health in an area for you and your team, you gain more health based on how many allies you heal.
- Grenade Spam – Throws multiple grenades, grenade spam grenades have greater blast radius than normal grenades but do less damage.
Highest health at 150 but lowest speed, uses high power miniguns and has the 'Frenzy Fire' ability. Also is the only class with access to RPG's.
- Frenzy Fire – Increases accuracy and damage, designed to make Gunners more useful at longer ranges. You also regain health while using Frenzy Fire.
- Hero Shield - Creates a shield around yourself and your allies that absorbs damage.
- Explosive Keg – Throws exploding barrels that burn and blast enemies away, barrels can be detonated with a shot, or explode automatically after a short timer. Barrels also slow enemies caught in the blast.
- Leg It – Increase movement speed for you and your team.
- I Eats Grenades – Explosives are consumed to regain health, also works on tank shells.
Has the lowest health at 80 but the highest speed, uses sniper rifles and stealth abilities that include becoming invisible and sometimes fully disappearing. The only class with a melee (knife) attack so far. The commando can also buy a pistol, making the class a bit more usable in close combat fights.
- Elixir - Increases movement speed and generates a shield to absorb a minimal amount of damage. Also emits a smoke screen.
- Mark Target – Outlines enemy bodies to be seen by your team through walls and brings enemy commandos out of stealth.
- Stealth – Turns you invisible, though people within a certain radius can still see you. Shooting will "break your stealth" but running, jumping, and operating a vehicle will not. Upgrading stealth lowers cooldown and the radius people can see you within.
- Poisoned Blade – Applies a lethal poison to your knife, deals damage over time to enemies.
- Troop Trap – Trap that explodes when triggered by enemies, or can be detonated with gunfire. Basically a mine.
- Piercing Shot – Increases sniper rifle damage for a short period.
There are currently 8 maps available in Battlefield Heroes, each of which varies in setting and gameplay style.
- Victory Village- A village styled map built specifically for infantry, but contains one jeep for each faction.
- Seaside Skirmish- A seaside based map with two farms, a lighthouse, and a small town. Built mainly for vehicles, the map features wide open fields and roads and multiple tanks per team.
- Buccaneer Bay- A map built mainly at the edge of a bay. Boasts a sunken ship on the shoreline and a town right ahead of it, along with 4 camps. Built for vehicles and infantry. (There is also a night version of this map called Buccaneer Bay Night)
- Coastal Clash- Designed closely like Seaside Skirmish, but is a map built mostly just for infantry, contains no tanks but jeeps do spawn at three out of the four flag locations.
- Riverside Rush- Infantry only map similar to Victory Village but more spread out with open some open areas and no Jeeps.
- Sunset Showdown- A large island map featuring vehicles such as planes.
- Midnight Mayhem- a newer addition to the map roster in Battlefield heroes with a unique objective to boot! A night time infantry map based in a small city, featuring small ruins in the middle of the map which surround a V2 rocket, of which the players must protect from the opposing team. Once one team controls it for five minutes, the rocket will launch and that team will be the victor.
- Alpine Assault- Currently, the only map that has tanks, but no planes. the battle takes place in a pine forest.
- Wicked Wake This is the battlefield heroes version of the famous battlefield map wake island
Vehicles and Turrets
Transports up to three players with one driver and two passengers, passengers can fire their own weapons (including snipers).
Fires a powerful mounted cannon and can transport one passenger in the machine gun turret on top of the tank and one driver. The passenger can fire their own weapons, and hide within the tank by ducking.
The only air unit so far, transports up to two passengers sitting on the wings of the plane and one driver. The driver can fire a machine gun while the passengers can fire their own weapons.
One man operated immobile turret, does heavy damage to planes and weak damage to anything else.
Weapons are listed first with the name of the National army version, then the name of the Royal army version followed by the optimum range and the rate of fire.
- Gerheart's Greatest/ Harry's Hand Cannon - Long range/ Slow rate of fire
- Ludwig's Loaded/ Carl's Cold Comfort - Medium range/ Moderate rate of fire
- Florenz' Flurry/ Garreth Custom - Short Range/ Fast rate of fire
- National Knife/ Royal Knife - Melee/ Fast (Standard for Commando)
- The Gourmet/ Oscar's Farshot - Long range/ Moderate rate of fire (Standard for Commando)
- Stefan's Sharpshooter/ Pipsqueak's Popper - Extremely Long range/ Slow rate of fire
- The Groundbreaker/ Roderick's Rifle - Medium range/ Fast rate of fire
- The Kommandant/ Charlie's Chopper - Medium range/ Moderate rate of fire (Standard for Soldier)
- The Wacky Machine Gun/ Greg's Greasy Gun - Long range/ Slow rate of fire
- Rudolf's Rescue/ Tommy's Typewriter - Short range/ Fast rate of fire
- Steiner's Shotgun/ Hubble's Double Trouble - Medium range/ Moderate rate of fire (Standard for Soldier and Gunner)
- Freidrich's Fly Swatter/ Stewart's Shotty - Short range/ Fast rate of fire
- Uwe's Overpowered/ The Slugger - Long range/ Slow rate of fire
- Rudi's Ridiculous/ Maxwell's Machine Gun - Medium range/ Moderate rate of fire (Standard for Gunner)
- Wolfgang's Wonderful/ Bernie's Bone Chewer - Medium Long range/ Slow rate of fire
- The Backscratcher/ The Cheeser - Short/ Fast rate of fire
- Sticky TNT/ Sticky TNT - Short range/ Medium radius (Standard for all classes, sticks to walls and vehicles)
- National Hand Grenade/ Bill's Bomb - Medium range/ Medium radius
Players can choose to try to take on an incomplete badge. The badges are in a mission style and can be picked in any order. When the player completes that task, they unlock the badge for that achievement. The more these achievements are completed, the players's level will increase. The players level will also increase by playing the game normally. Points earned by increasing your level can be spent in the game's store to buy better weapons and clothing.
The level cap is currently level 30.
When ever a player goes up 2 levels, a player gets a Hero Point, which can be used to get new abilities or improve on existing ones.. These abilities help players by increasing their health or making their weaponary more powerful. Known abilities as of this time include, Blasting Strike (Throws any nearby jeeps, tanks and infantry into the air), Grenade Spam (15 grenades can be thrown at once), Life-Boost (increases the player's health), I Eat Grenades (absorbs a grenade's damage and heals the player), and 6th sense (allows the player to see through walls). Every ability can be made more useful by means including lasting longer, inflicting more damage, or refreshing longer, by adding more Hero Points.
Every Hero in the game can be customized. The player selects the Hero's name, faction, class, skin colour, hair and facial hair. Ten parts of your Hero can be changed, face, head, neck, body, chest, accessory, hands, legs, feet and waist. Each character in the game will be unique, (unlike Team Fortress 2's set class design). Each class in the game differs what kind of clothes you can pick. The Commando class wears has short sleeved jackets and long sleeved with long slim trousers and berets. The Gunner class wears large bulky jackets, bulky trousers and large helmets. Finally, the Solider class has long jackets, semi long trousers and light helmets.
Default weapons for all three classes are low quality but have no timer attached. All the other weapon choices are varied with damage, rate of fire, and range stats so you can customize your style of play. However, everything from handguns to grenades to machine guns that you buy with the in-game valor points (won through missions, playing for a period of time, and leveling up) will have either a one month or seven day timer. Each class only has access to the specific types of weapons that they specialize in, and pistols, which no class has as standard equipment. Though they may look different and have different names, weapons are identical between factions. For example, the National "the Gourmet" sniper rifle is exactly the same as the Royal "Oscar's Farshot" sniper rifle. Furthermore, you can only bring two weapons and one explosive with you into the game, so you have to plan your purchases and load out accordingly.
After a long closed beta phase, which began May 6 2008, and the game being delayed until early 2009, DICE announced in January 2009 on Battlefield-Heroes.com that the first open beta sign ups were now open, operating on a "first come, first served" idea. On June 2009 the closed beta test ended, the game was then announced to be in open beta allowing anyone with an EA account to sign in and play.
Battlefield Heroes generates revenue in part through micro-transactions, with other revenue coming from ads. Most items in the game, including guns, clothing, and "widgets", can be purchased with either Valor Points, earned by playing online multiplayer matches or completing missions, or with Battle Funds. Battle Funds are purchased with major credit cards through the Battlefield Heroes website. $5.00 will get you 700 Battle Funds. Items purchased with Battle Funds are no different from those purchased with Valor Points, however certain items, mostly clothing, can only be purchased with Battle Funds. Additionally, items that are unlocked only after achieving a certain level cannot be unlocked early with Battle Funds