Console gamers are reporting that the official DICE servers for Battlefield 3 multiplayer have been completely withdrawn, with the game now largely playable only on private rented servers.
Publisher Electronic Arts and developer DICE recently made the bold move of introducing a server-rental scheme to console versions of Battlefield 3. At $30 for 30 days, these servers don’t come cheap, but this hasn’t stopped the Battlefield community from signing up in droves.
Initially there were plenty of official DICE and EA servers running concurrently with the new private servers. Over the past week, however, console players have noticed the official servers disappearing, to the point where DICE-managed servers are no longer visible on either PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.
Running a search on the PS3 version of Battlefield 3 this morning — by looking for the prefix P24 and the letters PRGM — I managed to track down just 17 EA-run servers. I could not find a single official DICE server. Compare this to the hundreds of private servers that were up and running, with names such as “Heaven & Hell,” “Guerilla_hilbily’S SERVER” [sic], and “Just 4 Fun 24/7” — most of which were completely empty. Anything with the word DICE in the title was simply a rented server with the official name dropped in by the host.
Of the 17 EA public servers that I did find, eight were running Rush mode, while the remainder were hosting Team Deathmatch, Squad Deathmatch, or Squad Rush games. I could not find any official servers hosting a round of Conquest, the traditional mainstay of the Battlefield franchise.
By implementing the rent-a-server scheme, then withdrawing nearly all official servers, it is looking very much like EA has handed control of Battlefield 3 over to the community. This comes at a price though, both financially and in terms of gameplay. While private servers are flexible, they are open to abuse, and reports abound of players being kicked, or banned, en masse for simply outplaying their hosts.
Some BF3 users now claim they are renting servers simply to recreate the kind of experience they were having previously on Battlefield 3, featuring regular length rounds and a balanced range of maps. With EA seemingly no longer providing such a service, the community is having to pay for this privilege from its own pocket.
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EA is fucking slime. They pull this just AFTER they had a sale on the first DLC, and now I have no way to play the maps that I paid for. I could not find a single official server located anywhere in the world running ANY of the DLC maps, and every damn one of the rented severs was running just one of the new maps with 1000 tickets (meaning that matches take over an hour to finish).
Perhaps I was playing at a peek time, and all the servers were full? Try 3:00 AM on a weeknight.
This is complete bullshit. I already loathe EA for their multiplayer practices of shutting down entire games after a year or so, but this is a new low. Unless they fix this, I will never again buy another primarily multiplayer game from EA.