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When this service was announced, along with information about how the server browser would work, everyone was completely rightfully worried. "Shit, there goes DICE fucking up the server browser again!"
Turns out we were all totally wrong.
It's quicker than any other server browser out there
Yes - any other server browser, including the Steam server browser which has obviously been the clear winner for years. It refreshes instantly. It gets you into games quicker. You don't need to load the game ahead of time.
It's buggy, but it's fast. Outside of the existing problem of not enough servers, servers filling up quickly, and the browser mis-reporting the number of people currently in them, the time from deciding I want to play to getting into a server is quicker in Battlefield 3 than Team Fortress 2, Bad Company 2, or any other multiplayer game I've played.
Once they fix those bugs, there won't even be any caveats anymore - the Battlelog server browser will simply be the quickest with absolutely no qualifications.
It handles reserved slots well
The comparisons to All Seeing Eye and other historical browser/external application-based server browsers were apt, but the thing here is that it actually connects you to the game before you start loading any data. You connect to a server and reserve your slot on the server, then it starts loading everything.
This is compared to the old All Seeing Eye, or even the Steam server browser where you can pick a server through Steam before going into a game - both of those functionally work, but the problem is that by the time the game actually gets loaded, someone probably took those open slots, so you're stuck at a "server full" message.
Then you need to exit the game (or go to the in-game server browser) and try all over again, sometimes needing to wait for all that data to re-load in seconds/minutes too.
What's the point of having all that stuff in-game anyway?
I was thinking about this today, and really, having all this connectivity bullshit right in the game just bloats it up and slows it down. All the server connectivity, community stuff, clan stuff - why not put it on the web where it belongs? Why not let the game be the game, and put all that other stuff on the web where it's far more accessible, no matter where you are, or what device you're using it on?
The game loads quickly, and loads in the background, so you can do other stuff while that's happening - including Battlelog stuff. If all that was in-game, then you'd be stuck unable to do anything until you're actually in the game.
In fact, having it all on the web brings me to the next point:
It's buggy as hell - but they can fix it quickly
I was reading one of the DICE guy's twitter feeds - turns out they've already rolled out 4 patches to Battlelog, with doubtlessly more to come.
The fact that all of this networking, communication, and social stuff is outside of the game means they can update it extremely quickly, without pushing down a patch to every single Client. As long as they exploit this potential, Battlelog can improve substantially and quickly.
Hopefully they do
The friends implementation and even voice chat already work
It's buggy, but it's working. I think the main problem people are having is that they don't realize voice chat is push-to-talk. It's a problem right now - they hid that fact somewhere in the Communications interface. Defaults to left-shift, but you can change it to whatever you want, and through the web interface, you can even choose what recording and playback device to use for voice communication.
Joining groups, then joining a server all together as a group, works pretty well. You don't join the same squad right now, which is an issue, but the potential is there.
It minimizes, restores, and goes to windowed mode fast too
Whether you want to go back to Battlelog while in-game, or something similar, the game (for the most part) doesn't crash, flickers very little, and is obviously built with this idea in mind.
But obviously, it has some other problems. Most notably, of course, that you can't change your graphics or key settings until you're actually alive in a game. However, IMO as long as they simply allow you to do that when you're dead, that should be more than enough.
I've seen some people suggest that the server browser is proof that DICE doesn't know what they're doing, that it's a shitty console port with the server browser as an afterthought, or something similar.
But this system was not easy to implement. This isn't something that's done as an afterthought - this is something done completely as intentional, thoughtful, very risky, but incredibly bold design. If they implemented it poorly, it could have completely crashed and burned, but in my very humble opinion, I couldn't be happier.