What You Need To Know About Battlefield 1’s Multiplayer

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After a week or so of playing Battlefield 1I’m continually surprised with what developer DICE has to offer players. Longtime fans of the series might do a double take at the game’s campaign, which is (to be frank) leagues ahead of the franchise’s previous single-player offerings (check out our hands-on preview here, which covers the first two War Stories). When it comes to the robust suite of multiplayer modes though, I honestly didn’t expect much innovation.

For the past decade or so, DICE has done well by the series by refining and tweaking the core set of gameplay mechanics and multiplayer modes that have become synonymous with the series during its lifetime. Much to my surprise though, Battlefield 1 features a handful of new modes, gadgets, and tweaks that lend a level of depth and longevity to the multiplayer that will keep players coming back for months on end.

I’ll be digging into specific mechanics and refinements in our full, scored review of the game, but for now, I wanted to highlight the different multiplayer modes that you’ll find here, which offer up something for all different types of players and play-styles. At launch, Battlefield 1 will feature 6 multiplayer modes that are playable across a variety of maps, though it has been hinted that new modes will be available post-launch.

Conquest

Battlefield veterans can rest-easy; the series’ flagship mode is back and better than ever, with a whole new set of vehicles to pilot and maps to traverse. For the uninitiated, Conquest tasks players with capturing key points across the map, while simultaneously defending these points from enemy soldiers. Holding onto points nets more points for your team, which means that its imperative that you try to hold down a majority of them. Following the game’s open beta, a few tweaks have been made; the most notable one now awards points for kills, which lends weight to both taking out enemy players while keeping yourself alive (or reviving downed allies, should you be playing as a medic).

Domination

Domination (which was first introduced in Battlefield 3) is a variant of Conquest. For the most part, Domination matches tend to play out on smaller versions of maps, as opposed to the sprawling landscapes upon which Conquest matches unfold. With a smaller area of play and an absence of vehicles, Domination puts more of an emphasis on infantry combat and quickly moving around the map, as it’s much easier to quickly capture points for your team. If you’re looking for a shorter, more fast-paced multiplayer mode, you’d do best to give Domination a try, as matches tend to run much shorter compared to modes such as Conquest.

Operations

Operations is a brand new mode for the Battlefield series as whole, though it’s quickly become one of my favorites, and I imagine it will resonate well with both longtime fans and series newcomers.

Operations splits players up into two sides: Attackers and Defenders. As an attacker, your team is tasked with capturing three (give or take one in either direction) flags in a specific section of a map. Unlike Conquest however, the goal here is to capture these three flags/control points simultaneously, so that your team is in control of all three of them. The moment you manage to do this, you’ll unlock a new section of the map, where you must press forward and capture a whole new set of control points.

The concept is fairly simple, but a lot of the fun comes down to the sense of tension that comes with trying to hold down multiple control points at once, as your number of respawns slowly dwindles. As a defender, it’s similarly quite exhilarating when you manage to successfully hold off a wave of attackers. As a means of balancing this mode, attackers have three attempts to capture each section of the map, and on their second and third attempts, the attacking team is provided with a heavily armored vehicle (the ones I saw included an armored train, an attack zeppelin, and a battleship), which can help turn the tides of battle.

Rush

Another returning mode from previous games, Rush tasks ‘attacking’ players with destroying the telegraph posts that are under the defending team’s control. Taking out a pair of telegraph posts unlock another set of posts for the attacking team to destroy, while also replenishing their supply of ‘respawns.’ This mode hasn’t seen much change over the years, but with the renewed emphasis on environmental destruction, the tug-of-war between attackers and defenders should make for some interesting gameplay moments.

War Pigeons

Making its debut in Battlefield 1, War Pigeons is a unique take on capture the flag, though it has more in common with the Oddball mode from the Halo series. Two opposing teams are spawned in on smaller maps, with the goal being to grab hold of a pigeon, which appears at a random location.

When you or a teammate managed to get hold of one, a meter starts filling up, which measures how much of a ‘message’ to your team’s HQ has been written. If you manage to hold onto a pigeon long enough to write out a message, you can release it, which secures a point for you and your team.

Of course, there are a few tweaks to this mode which keep things interesting. For example, writing a message takes less time if you stand still as opposed to running around the map. However, all players are constantly informed of the location of the pigeon, meaning you won’t be able to hole up somewhere without being on the enemy’s radar.

The pigeon itself also has some interesting properties. As expected, you can’t release a pigeon unless you’re in an outdoor area, but once you do set a pigeon free, enemy players have a small window of opportunity to shoot the pigeon down, denying you and your team a point at the last second.

Team Deathmatch

For the most part, this mode is self-explanatory, as Team Deathmatch is a common staple across all types of online shooters. In Battlefield 1, it takes place on small maps with no vehicles, which allows for players to ‘lone-wolf’ it should they desire. It’s a pretty straightforward affair, though Team Deatchmatch does have its own appeal, especially if you don’t feel like squadding up with a group of friends for a night of online play.

It’s certainly different from more traditional, twitch based shooters such as Call of Duty, but Battlefield 1 has plenty of multiplayer modes at launch which are bound to appeal to a wide range of gamers. If you’re looking for an online shoooter to keep you busy during this holiday season, you should certainly keep Battlefield 1 in your sights.