Atacama Desert: The epitome of poor design

 Ahh, DICE.

You could have had something great. Something brilliant. Woe... where did it go wrong?

Atacama Desert is indisputably the largest conquest map in Bad Company 2. It has 6 heavy tanks a few light vehicles, and a UAV. The flags are separated by large distances, but there are a lot of opportunities for mid-range combat near the flags.

I could picture large-scale firefights in one of the towns. One team desperately trying to defend their last capture point while the opposing team encroaches from all angles.

I could picture tanks firing at each other from across sand dunes, or shelling buildings around a flag.

I could picture a lot of things, but will I ever be able to experience them? Most likely not, and it is all because of the helicopters. 

I like... no... I love helicopters. I love flying them. Atacama Desert is really the only map with helicopters. (hey... buh' wat abt port valdez. No. Ridiculous, I like Port Valdez but I can't get a proper Heli fix from that map)

Everyone else who likes helicopters is going to play Atacama Desert. Because of people like me, Atacama Desert is no longer about long-range tank combat, or close-quarters infantry fighting, but instead a game that circles around obtaining the helicopters.

Each team has a helicopter. Now the only way for one helicopter to stay in the sky is to keep the enemy helicopter on the ground (by spawn camping the other base), or by stealing the enemy helicopter and getting air superiority. 

That is dumb on multiple levels. Firstly, it makes no sense to allow the opposite team to enter the other team's base. If the other base was placed into an off-limits zone like the bases are in Rulalalala would solve the problem of people camping or trying to steal helicopters. Also give no points for kills in the base, that will encourage helicopters to stop spawn raping the other base.

Next is the issue of the helicopter having to monitor the enemy base to prevent the other heli from taking off. What is the point in that? The helicopter should be helping the team by providing air support to infantry capture flags. If one helicopter spawned at the center flag then it would encourage capturing flags, and then once the heli was in the air, it could do something other than camp the other base.

What are the chances of DICE making any changes to this map? Pretty much none. We can still look forward to Map Pack 3, although DICE hasn't said anything about it.

My choices for Map Pack 3 are Port Valdez conquest and Atacama Desert rush.

Atacama Desert would be awesome if the entire map is used, and given intelligent helicopter placement.

Port Valdez is also something for us helicopter junkies to look forward to.

But in the meantime... I am off to play some conquest on Atacama Desert.

Also DICE: Please increase ticket bleed... by a lot.    

51 Comments
52 Comments
  • 52 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by Jayross

 Ahh, DICE.

You could have had something great. Something brilliant. Woe... where did it go wrong?

Atacama Desert is indisputably the largest conquest map in Bad Company 2. It has 6 heavy tanks a few light vehicles, and a UAV. The flags are separated by large distances, but there are a lot of opportunities for mid-range combat near the flags.

I could picture large-scale firefights in one of the towns. One team desperately trying to defend their last capture point while the opposing team encroaches from all angles.

I could picture tanks firing at each other from across sand dunes, or shelling buildings around a flag.

I could picture a lot of things, but will I ever be able to experience them? Most likely not, and it is all because of the helicopters. 

I like... no... I love helicopters. I love flying them. Atacama Desert is really the only map with helicopters. (hey... buh' wat abt port valdez. No. Ridiculous, I like Port Valdez but I can't get a proper Heli fix from that map)

Everyone else who likes helicopters is going to play Atacama Desert. Because of people like me, Atacama Desert is no longer about long-range tank combat, or close-quarters infantry fighting, but instead a game that circles around obtaining the helicopters.

Each team has a helicopter. Now the only way for one helicopter to stay in the sky is to keep the enemy helicopter on the ground (by spawn camping the other base), or by stealing the enemy helicopter and getting air superiority. 

That is dumb on multiple levels. Firstly, it makes no sense to allow the opposite team to enter the other team's base. If the other base was placed into an off-limits zone like the bases are in Rulalalala would solve the problem of people camping or trying to steal helicopters. Also give no points for kills in the base, that will encourage helicopters to stop spawn raping the other base.

Next is the issue of the helicopter having to monitor the enemy base to prevent the other heli from taking off. What is the point in that? The helicopter should be helping the team by providing air support to infantry capture flags. If one helicopter spawned at the center flag then it would encourage capturing flags, and then once the heli was in the air, it could do something other than camp the other base.

What are the chances of DICE making any changes to this map? Pretty much none. We can still look forward to Map Pack 3, although DICE hasn't said anything about it.

My choices for Map Pack 3 are Port Valdez conquest and Atacama Desert rush.

Atacama Desert would be awesome if the entire map is used, and given intelligent helicopter placement.

Port Valdez is also something for us helicopter junkies to look forward to.

But in the meantime... I am off to play some conquest on Atacama Desert.

Also DICE: Please increase ticket bleed... by a lot.    

Posted by Sh4ft3d

I think you meant epitome. But anyways, I kind of agree with you. I suck at flying choppers though, so it's kind of a moot point for me.

Posted by xMP44x

To be honest, I have never played on Atacama Desert. And to be honest this sounds very off-putting about this map. IIRC, this is the map with the Mi-28 Havoc at the Russian base and the Apache at the US base? I can't really remember because I'm only guessing from what else I have read. It's a shame that a map that has been so well designed (and this goes for all games..) can be reduced to one cheap tactic, over and over and over. The only real idea I have to improve this problem means that you'll need an Engineer who is good with his launcher. I find 'Uncle Carl' works wonders ;)

Edited by Meteora

I fucking hate Atacama Desert. Its off putting for most players; but there are players who love the map simply because they're good at raping from the skies in a helicopter. What pisses me off the most is whenever a enemy helicopter just keeps circling around in our base continue to spawn kill us. It doesn't matter if they don't hold any flags at all, if they keep on killing you the moment you spawn somewhere then they'll eventually win. They don't even have to leave your base because they can keep your tanks and helicopters at bay.
 
There are some oversights on map and gameplay design as a whole in Bad Company 2. I'm hoping that they fix these up with patches, or thoroughly polish the next Battlefield installment (BF3 or BC3). I have yet to see a developer make a decent game without any bugs, glitches or problems (as exampled with DICE, and other developers such as Infinity Ward. Not sure about Bungie).

Posted by Venatio

I like it.....the helicopters are awesome

Posted by AlwaysAngry

This is why we needed planes instead of choppers. 
 
 
BC1 to 1943 went from planes to choppers, and I think it worked alot better, but no, DICE wanted to bring back choppers. 
 
 
Why can't we fly awesome modern day fighter jets?

Posted by Meteora
@AlwaysAngry said:
" This is why we needed planes instead of choppers.   BC1 to 1943 went from planes to choppers, and I think it worked alot better, but no, DICE wanted to bring back choppers.   Why can't we fly awesome modern day fighter jets? "
Because the maps are cramped as hell and modern jets fly at several hundred of miles per an hour for low attitudes. Only certain planes might work a bit better in these map designs; such as a Harrier with its VTOL capabilities.
Posted by xMP44x
@AlwaysAngry said:
" This is why we needed planes instead of choppers.   BC1 to 1943 went from planes to choppers, and I think it worked alot better, but no, DICE wanted to bring back choppers.   Why can't we fly awesome modern day fighter jets? "
Fighter jets move extremely quickly. While the maps in Bad Company 2 are big, they are definitely not big enough to fly around in a Harrier or an F-22, as badass as it would be. It's the same reason that GTA IV did not have planes - the map is too small for them to be any real use.
Posted by AlwaysAngry
@xMP44x: @Meteora: I'm sure they could sacrifice realism for the sake of fun...it's a video game, you know.
Posted by xMP44x
@AlwaysAngry said:
" @xMP44x: @Meteora: I'm sure they could sacrifice realism for the sake of fun...it's a video game, you know. "
But the game is marketed as being realistic. If you want unrealistic, I suggest you play Modern Warfare 2, where a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies at literally a few hundred feet above the ground. Alright, but seriously: the Harrier would really be one of the only jets that could be plausible on the small maps, and you wouldn't even get to open the taps on it properly. I'd rather not have a messed up Harrier in the game. With Battlefield 2 there were massive maps so it stood to reason that jets would work.
Posted by AlwaysAngry
@xMP44x said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" @xMP44x: @Meteora: I'm sure they could sacrifice realism for the sake of fun...it's a video game, you know. "
But the game is marketed as being realistic. If you want unrealistic, I suggest you play Modern Warfare 2, where a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies at literally a few hundred feet above the ground. Alright, but seriously: the Harrier would really be one of the only jets that could be plausible on the small maps, and you wouldn't even get to open the taps on it properly. I'd rather not have a messed up Harrier in the game. With Battlefield 2 there were massive maps so it stood to reason that jets would work. "
Putting a red dot site on an M95 isn't realistic either...hell, moving with it isn't realistic. 
 
 
Should they remove that from the game?
Posted by xMP44x
@AlwaysAngry said:
Putting a red dot site on an M95 isn't realistic either...hell, moving with it isn't realistic.   Should they remove that from the game? "
I thought we were talking about adding stuff... not removing it. I was saying the game is marketed as a tactical shooter that is reasonably realistic. It might not be that realistic, but at the same time, adding fighter jets won't be much more beneficial. I can respect your opinion, and if I'm honest, I think the opportunity to fly a Harrier around would be badass, but it could hardly happen.
Posted by FydrusZA

I don't have any problems with the helicopters in  Atacama Desert. The map is balanced just fine with the inclusion of the AA guns. 
  
As for planes instead of helicopters, BF2 had jets on a couple of the bigger maps. They flew slower and turned tighter than was realistic, but they worked out pretty well. The maps on BC2 are smaller though, so the decision to leave them out is understandable.

Posted by Bucketdeth

I always take out the helicopter with the anti air gun in the base, there are always tons of way to get rid of the helicopters.

Posted by sodiumCyclops
@Bucketdeth said:
" I always take out the helicopter with the anti air gun in the base, there are always tons of way to get rid of the helicopters. "
I agree, people complain so much about choppers.
Posted by big_jon

It is a shame that that map is terrible
Edited by Phantom_Crash

Atacama is my favorite map in the whole game and Im not even a chopper whore. I like it cause its large and open with good Vehicle/anti-Vehicle combat. As for replacing Choppers with planes, I dont like it, to do well at it you need a joystick and not everyone these days has one. They go too fast and it is hard to bomb/shoot anything with accuracy. If they add Planes with choppers in the next real BF game that would be cool aslong as they add some sort of training simulator for the aircraft, so us wana-be pilots can have a shot at hitting somthing.
 
Edit: If I could I would play on a Atacama only server, I would be a happy chappy.

Posted by JiuJitsuka85

Atacama Desert can be great, but it's a shame the points are put in a straight line instead of a triangle.
 
Just imagine 3 v 3 tank battles fighting for 1 point, that would be amazing.

Posted by boj4ngles

I'm a big fan of Atacama.  In my experience, most players who jump in helicopters end up crashing it within 60 seconds, and even more don't have the skills to really mess up the tanks.  That being said, I have encountered some ace pilots and it's annoying as hell since the AA guns aren't really much of a counter.  Otherwise though, the map is awesome, by far the most fun for tanking it out.  Just work your way up to the optical zoom spec and then the fun really begins with long range engagements. 
 
To all the people who said include jets, I fully agree.  As a former BF2 fanatic, I think the BF:BC series should move back to its roots with bigger maps, more classes, more players and more vehicles.  Jets might not work too well on Atacama Desert as it exists now, but if you just doubled the map size it would work well enough.  Here's hoping BF:BC3 goes back to the good 'ol days!
Posted by Jayross
@boj4ngles: Yeah, the only reason BC2 is so limited is because DICE can't expand the maps and make them too big, especially for conquest, because then the action get's too slow and everyone is spread out. Battlefield 3 can do it because it will have a playercount higher than 32 (the max for bc2 on pcs).
Posted by boj4ngles
@Jayross:
This is what I thought as well: DICE can't have big maps without big playercounts, and big playercounts need better servers as well as better consoles.  In other words, nothing to gripe about, just the reality of what they're working with. 
 
But then I started reading about MAG and I went back to the mad-at-DICE mentality.  If they're console games with 46 players on each team, then why the heck is the Battlefield franchise playing with 24!?!?  Granted it may be that the PS3 is the only console capable of handling bigger games (in which case I'm glad they made a game that functions smoothly on my xbox), but I haven't seen any hardware analysis indicating the xbox couldn't handle it (haven't really looked either though).  Anyways, I'm still having a great time with BFBC2, I just hope they up the ante with the next installment!
Posted by Jayross
@boj4ngles: MAG doesn't have destruction or good graphics, and I am pretty sure the bullet physics are less advanced than in BC2.
Posted by Irish87

I love Atacama Desert, personally. It's probably my second favorite map. The fact that there are helicopters has never really justified my hatred of the map - just bring your engineer for a turn. I think I end up having more fun on that map with my engineer than any other, especially considering all of those delicious tanks and ATV's. Thank God for bad drivers.

Posted by boj4ngles
@Jayross:
Good point, that probably explains it.
Edited by Beiken

There is alot of people going for the choppers true but I always find alot of people duking it out in the middle flag area at the wrecked ship wich makes for some awesome skirmishes with tanks and even helicopters in the mix. And as several people allready pointed out is that the AA gun is really powerfull against the chopper and one skilled rocket launcher (I mean getting lucky as hell ofcourse).  But I agree that the rest of the map is really lackluster and frankly it might be way too big for 32players with way too many people sitting in vehicles, probably would have been a much better map if the player cap was higher.
 
First post here after a failed attempt at trying to make a blog for that website quest system and I accidently broadcasted it to the public forums. (wich was not my intentions I swear)  I got like 7replies in a matter of 2minutes telling me how stupid I was and I freaked because I kept hitting the delete button but the blog kept popping back up. After franticly trying to delete the embarrasment of a blog I finally figured it out and got it off the forums. So hi guys!

Posted by Skald

I love the level in question, and I almost never take the helicopter.

Posted by JiuJitsuka85

Jets, I don't know. The only real fun was dogfighting other jets ( or destroying helo's ). Yes there was Air to Surface bombing but that was either useless or highly overpowered.
Also it causes 90% of the team to just camp the jet spawn because they all want to fly that cool thing.

Posted by SeriouslyNow

I disagree with every point in the OP. Atacama Desert is a fine conquest map.

Posted by Phantom_Crash

I had a good match in it last night. I was gunning and the pilot was great, I did a lot better than a normally did too. I took out 3 choppers and a few ground soldiers. I also sniped the pilot in a chopper when i was on the ground.

Posted by JiuJitsuka85

BTW about the Helicopters: 
- Anti Air Turret at Deployment .
- Anti Air Turret at B.
- 50. Cal on Tanks and Humvees.
 
If you spot an enemy chopper, just have yourself and a teammate hop into the AA turrets and / or a tank and they'll go down pretty fast.
 

Posted by hicks91

AA is being buffed next patch so should even stuff out 
the player count is limited by microsoft, not dice 
an xbox could easily support more than 24 players

Posted by lilbigsupermario

Atacama Desert is actually a good map IMHO.  It's open, but it's balanced for both sides.  And for the fact that it has less hiding areas means you just need to be more tactical with your positions and make good use of the vehicles. :)

Posted by Grilledcheez

Yeah you fucked the game up, we played a team who managed to get both helicopters...if I said they were by leaps and bounds the best pilots in the game, that would be the understatement of my life.  WE couldn't move a STEP...they were practically doing flips in the things all the while slaughtering us.  That was not fun...

Posted by Jayross
@SeriouslyNow said:
" I disagree with every point in the OP. Atacama Desert is a fine conquest map.   
 
All that means is that you have been very, very lucky about which matches you join.
Posted by Veektarius
@xMP44x:  A-10, yo
Posted by yinstarrunner

I love Atacama desert.  The tank battles are awesome, and going around as an elite tank-killing engineer badass is even more fun.  Choppers don't really bug me too much.  I'm surprised how many people don't know about the AA gun on top of the wrecked ship at B.

Posted by lilbigsupermario

I don't get to use the AA gun that much, I thought everyone knew about it coz the several times I did use it in some matches, it seemed like the choppers are always targeting the AA gun.

Posted by natetodamax

Airplanes are much more balanced than helicopters in my opinion.

Posted by Lunarbunny

You're doing it wrong. 
 
There are three antiaircraft cannons on the map. Use the two that make sense (your base, center). 
 
Snipers on that map never seem to notice anybody in the middle anyway. I've sat in the middle the entire round just keeping the enemy helicopter down (obviously that was a more...shall we say "special..." team.)

Edited by Jayross

I just wanted to restate that I love flying helicopters, I am not complaining about them, more complaining about how they are forced to behave to be most effective.

Posted by SeriouslyNow
@Jayross said:
" @SeriouslyNow said:
" I disagree with every point in the OP. Atacama Desert is a fine conquest map.   
 All that means is that you have been very, very lucky about which matches you join. "
Does it?  Shit man I've consistently enjoyed the map regardless of the flow of the match.  The first time I played it, I shot down  6 Hinds with 4 Abrams, the second time I played it I kept capturing flags until the enemy got into our base and kept spawning there.  I dealt with that by shelling them froma tank repatedly until they stopped being able to spawn behind the barracks (from having a terminal case of shellshock) and in more recent plays it's been combinations of wins, losses and fights over flags - all of them fun, all of them enjoyable.  Maybe you just play with jerks?
Posted by xMP44x

Well, I decided to play a match on Atacama Desert yesterday. And it was amazing. Great fun. Maybe I was just lucky, but the match I was in was downright awesome. At the very start I went and grabbed a Havoc, even though I had no idea where I was going. I was thinking I'd use it to check around and learn the flow of the map quickly. But as I was doing this I got absolutely hammered by an Apache. It brought me down to 7 health, and I flew down extremely low to try and escape it. Either it lost me or it lost interest, because it disappeared. I found it a few minutes later and decided to open up on it. I finished my attack, unlike the Apache ;)
 
But surprisingly, the AT4 isn't bad against low / slow moving helicopters. If they move, you can too, so that is a nice thing.

Posted by Phantom_Crash

You can have bad games on the other maps besides Atacama,  Iv had plenty. Being spawn camped, bases raped, constand bombardment from Snipers Motars. 95% of the time when Im on Atacama Im having a good time regardless of wheather I win or loose.

Edited by JP_Russell
@Jayross said:

"If the other base was placed into an off-limits zone like the bases are in Rulalalala would solve the problem of people camping or trying to steal helicopters."



Ha, ha...  You copied and pasted this from the EA UK forums, didn't you?!  :P 
 
Yeah, map design in BC2 is disappointing pretty much all-around.  There are a few exceptions, but even the better maps are still design limited in ways that hold them back from their potential.
Posted by Phantom_Crash

To me it seems they just made Rush maps and then converted them to Conquest. They really need unique maps for both games modes instead of just copying maps and editing them in both modes.

Posted by Jayross
@JP_Russell said:
" @Jayross said:

"If the other base was placed into an off-limits zone like the bases are in Rulalalala would solve the problem of people camping or trying to steal helicopters."

Ha, ha...  You copied and pasted this from the EA UK forums, didn't you?!  :P  Yeah, map design in BC2 is disappointing pretty much all-around.  There are a few exceptions, but even the better maps are still design limited in ways that hold them back from their potential. "
Aw, you caught me!
Posted by JiuJitsuka85

This game needs a level editor. Or well lets say a random set of locations.
Let say map A ( conquest ) has 3 flags. They could make like 4 setups of where those flags are placed. That way the same map can be played in 4 different ways and thus adding diversity.

Posted by Xakura
@AlwaysAngry said:
" @xMP44x said:
" @AlwaysAngry said:
" @xMP44x:  @Meteora: I'm sure they could sacrifice realism for the sake of fun...it's a video game, you know. "
But the game is marketed as being realistic. If you want unrealistic, I suggest you play Modern Warfare 2, where a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies at literally a few hundred feet above the ground. Alright, but seriously: the Harrier would really be one of the only jets that could be plausible on the small maps, and you wouldn't even get to open the taps on it properly. I'd rather not have a messed up Harrier in the game. With Battlefield 2 there were massive maps so it stood to reason that jets would work. "
Putting a red dot site on an M95 isn't realistic either...hell, moving with it isn't realistic.   Should they remove that from the game? "

Putting a red dot sight on the M95 is absolutely possible, everything goes on a picticanny rail. It's up to the user.  
 
And it weighs the same as a M60, hell, there's a reason the M82 (US army used semi automatic) is called "light fifty".  
 
On the plane- issue, that is frakking stupid. One thing is that they won't be able to turn inside the map, but planes doesn't operate that way. Gunships circle a battlefield and provide fire support, fighter-bombers and ground attack planes come in for strafing/bombing runs, usually called in from  the ground, and then leave.
Edited by crazyleaves
Posted by PillClinton

Maybe it's just me, but I find vehicle control in BC2 to be completely unintuitive and just plain not fun.  Also, I just hit level 22 and have played for about 36 hours, and I still can't get over the clunkiness of the running-and-gunning controls.  I do like the game, however.

  • 52 results
  • 1
  • 2