In a recent blog post, Lead Multiplayer Designer Thomas “Tompen” Andersson shares new information on a new Battlefield 4 feature called Field Upgrades. A multiplayer component focused around squad performance.
The four playable kits/classes (Engineer, Recon, Support, and Assault) from Battlefield 3 will be returning to Battlefield 4, but with some tweaks to allow players to specialize their combat role as well as better flexibility in adapting to different play styles. In addition to that, they are keep the same class uniqueness and “feel” and encouraging more interactions between them.
Thomas Andersson explained, “We have this new concept called Field Upgrades. If you’re a long term fan that played Battlefield 2142, you will already have an idea what these are, but we have tweaked them for Battlefield 4. In short, Field Upgrades are chained boosts that can affect a number of gameplay mechanics for your player. Similar to the specializations in Battlefield 3, these can for example provide you with faster sprint speed, stronger personal armor, or expanded ammo capacity.
The idea behind Field Upgrades is to give individual rewards for squad based team play performance. You earn them through squad scoring such as squad healing, completing objectives with your squad members, squad resupplies, squad repairs, and other squad actions. Instead of one single specialization like in Battlefield 3, you can now pick from different upgrades paths, each containing four specializations. Keep the squad alive, and you will move through the accumulative upgrade path. But watch out! If your entire squad is eliminated, you will lose some of your progress.
Showing you how team play gives you the edge in the bigger battle is paramount for us, and it involves all elements of the game: audiovisual feedback, user interface, gameplay mechanics, and the way the entire persistence system is designed. When we tie all of these elements together with the tweaked team-based scoring, we have a game where I think everyone will find it satisfying and deeply engrossing to truly be part of a team.”
Field upgrades allow you to customize your class beyond just weapon attachments. There are three universal field upgrades that any class can equip: Defensive, Offensive, and Shadow. In addition, there are two specific field upgrades for each class making it so you always have five options to pick from (shown below).
Each field upgrade has four levels of progression. The first level is always unlocked by default but to unlock the other three levels, you have to complete squad based objectives or tasks such as reviving squad mates, dispensing ammo, or repairing a vehicle that a squad mate occupies. You will continue to progress through the field upgrade levels as long as your squad sticks together and is alive. If your entire squad gets wiped out you will lose your progress on that bar . It is thought that you lose one field upgrade progression if your squad wipes, more on that as details become available. DICE has made this a huge incentive to work together as a team and stay alive, revive your fallen teammates, and to seek shelter if you’re the last person in the squad so that you don’t lose your progress.