A Two and a Half Hour Beta Session With Battlefield 3.

The best way to describe my first 2 1/2 hours with the Battlefield 3 [BF3] beta is through a time line. An up and down ride, mostly down, that ends with bliss and wide eyes of hope for a great beta experience that will lead to an even better full game release. The beta is running from September 27th to October 10th so there is plenty of time for them to tweak the problems I ran into with my initial experience and those that will present themselves later in the week.

9:45 AM – Received BF3 beta key via email.

9:46 AM – Logged into EA’s Origin (that is in beta as well) and imputed beta key and started download.

10:30 AM – Download complete. Start BF3 beta and automatically launches Battlelog; EA’s website dedicated to the BF 3 community.

10:32 AM – Install “Game Manager” who I will soon learn to hate.

10:32 AM – Use server browser headquartered within Battlelog to navigate potential servers to join, all RUSH* style maps are full.

10:33 AM Find a server with spots open for the Operation Metro rush map. I attempt to connect.

10:35 AM – After waiting on Game Manager for 5 minutes in queue I abandon my attempt. I just want to play.

10:38 AM – I find another server with a low ping. Attempt to connect.

10:39 AM – Game Manager informs me that the, “Server is changing maps and I should try again soon.” I withdrawal my attempt and search anew.

10:40 AM – Click the Quick Match button and watch Game Manager inform me that it is “Matchmaking…”

10:45 AM – Game Manager still showing “Matchmaking…”

10:55 AM – Game Manager still showing “Matchmaking…”

11:00 AM – Game Manager still showing “Matchmaking…”

Game Manager (lower left) showing "Matchmaking..." message after clicking on the Quick Match button (upper left).

11:05 AM – Game Manager informs me that it, “Could not join server because server could not be found.”

11:06 AM – Take a break from the screen and grab a cup of coffee. Try to calm frustration by repeating, “It’s in beta. It’s in beta. It’s in beta.”

11:07 AM – Browse running servers and find a hopeful listing; US Multiplay # 079 TX 0/32 Players Rush Operation Metro Ping 61.

11:08 AM – With fingers crossed, I attempt to connect to the Texas based server.

11:10 AM – Game Manager shows “Server queue…” message.

11:11 AM – Game Manager shows “Server queue…” message.

11:12 AM – Game Manager shows “Server queue…” message.

11:13 AM – Game Manager shows “Server queue…” message.

11:14 AM – Game Manager shows “Server queue…” message.

11:15 AM – Game Manager still shows “Server queue” message… and I have to poop. Not just any poop, but post workout protein and morning coffee poop.

11:17 AM – I “RUSH” to the bathroom.

11:19 AM – I return victorious from my real world “RUSH” map, sufficiently wiped. Game Manager still shows “Server queue…” message.

My, at one time, hopeful listing; US Multiplay # 079 TX 0/32 Players Rush Operation Metro Ping 61.

11:21 AM – I start reading EA’s FIFA 12 Manual for the PS3. Game Manager still shows “Server queue…” message.

11:22 AM – See section in black and white manual entitled “Accessing The In-Game Manual” and realize what I am holding amounts to a book mark. Game Manager still shows “Server queue…” message.

11:24 AM – Game Manager still shows “Server queue…” message.

11:28 AM – Message Sp0d (AKA my friend Wyatt) through Origin chat that I am still haven’t actually played the beta.

11:29 AM – Game Manager, more like Game Missmanager! Game Manager still shows “Server queue…” message.

11:30 AM – Remind myself this is a beta. I relax. Wait. Game Manager still shows “Server queue…” message. I wonder to myself if people listed in the server browser as being in game are actually in game or are just waiting in the server queue like me.

11:32 AM – Debate closing Game Manager and starting over.

11:33 AM – Close Game Manager… Realize I am unable to close Game Manager!

11:34 AM – Close Battlelog website, restart beta, click “Quick Match” button – note that is doesn’t false advertise and say “Quick Play.”

11:38 AM – I am manic. I close the Game Manager and return to the server browser.

11:39 AM – I try my luck with a UK server. I immediately receive a NVIDIA driver error. Close down everything and search for a driver update.

11:48 AM – Driver installed along with four Windows 7 updates. Restart CPU.

11:50 AM – Warm up a light lunch, Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable – I laugh to myself as I realize how redundant the name is.

11:57 AM – I launch the beta again.

11:58 AM – Receive “Generic game error” message from Game Manager upon an attempt to enter a server.

11:59 AM – Try another server. “Server queue..”

12:00 PM – Receive Game Manager message “Changing Maps, Try Again Soon…”

12:01 PM – I threaten the lives of my cats. They scatter.

12:02 PM – Receive most hopeful message yet from Game Manager, “Joining Server…” This is immediately followed by and NVIDIA driver error “Current driver 280.26 min req 285.27.”

12:03 PM – Quit beta.

12:14 PM – NVIDIA does not list driver version 285.27 as an available driver.

12:19 PM – Search NVIDIA website and locate dirver version 285.27…beta. Yeah, the driver I need is in beta as well. Here goes nothing.

12:25 PM – NVIDIA driver 285.27 beta installed. Launch BF 3 beta again…

12:27 PM – Click to join a UK server. Gamer Manager message reads “Joining Server” followed by “Logging In”! Game Manager updates again and reads Loading Level then Game Ready and finally Go to Game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12:28 PM – I click on Go to Game.

12:29 PM – I’m in. I die. I get a kill. Another kill and another!

12:36 PM – I am promoted!

12:39 PM – I am feeling okay with my 5 to 7 kill to death ratio.

12:40 PM – Promoted! Our team loses but I lose as a Private 1st Class.

12:53 PM – Burst fire is effective. Placement seems to matter more than in Battlefield Bad Company 2 [BFBC 2]. Yes, it is beautiful, even in its beta form. Guns, when fired, have a satisfying feel to them and they appear to be a more accurate then BFBC 2.

12:57 PM – Your Team Won! I’m hooked.

1:00 PM – I log out, with 2 hours of frustration wiped away by just 30 minutes of game play – that is a pretty good sign of things to come.

*Rush maps involve an attacking force trying to destroy MCOM stations and a defending force trying to, well, defend the MCOM stations from the attackers.

If You Build It, Kills Will Come.

I’ve been holding on to my Windows XP rig for about 4 years. It is still a fine machine with an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz (overclocked to 3.2GHz) processor, a GeForce GTS 250 video card and a XFX NVIDIA 750i SLI Motherboard but it was showing the signs of becoming elderly in online play and while running multiple programs while researching online. It will continue to be a fine machine for my girlfriend who will now be able to write her English papers in lighting speed and, when she plays, game on a rig far superior to her Deckard-Cain-ancient laptop. For me though, it was time for me to move on – to say goodbye to a great companion and allow her to benefit someone else. After shedding a few tears and deciding to use a piece of my severance pay, I started scouting out potential parts like Dr. Frankenstein and make an investment in to a rig that will outlive my last one.

I first perused my last couple of issues of PC Gamer magazine looking at the companies advertising their custom built PCs. Many spend a lot of time deciding on AMD or Intel and I will admit for my first self built rig, this was an intense debate in which AMD won out due to my budget at the time. After spending the last 4 years with an Intel processor I was hooked and admittedly, am now a brand loyal “Intel-lite”. With the processor brand in mind I took to the internet and to the custom built PCs company websites. I took a brief look at the current rigs Alien Ware were producing and then ended up on www.ibuypower.com were I built a couple of rigs within my budget and with all the goodies I required. Once I had an idea of my specs I passed on the info to a friend who did a similar build on Micro Center’s website. At this point I had the itch and only a new rig would be able to scratch it. So after determining on Wednesday that my friend and I would start the build on Saturday, I called him Thursday to start early.

At Micro Center, with parts and DirectX 11 graphics in my head, we went about bargain hunting without cutting quality and below are the final results:

Diabotek EVO ATX Mid Tower (w/4 x 12cm Fans & LED Lighting)

GeForce GTX 570 HD (1280MB GDDR5) Video Card

Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4/3.7GHz Processor

GIGABYTE Z68XP-UD3 Motherboard (SLI capable)

Patriot PC3-12800 1600MHz 8GB Kit (DDR3 Memory)

Seagate Barracuda 1TB 32MB CACHE 7200RPM Hard Drive

Antec 650 Watt ATX 12V V2.3 Power Supply

Sony 24x DVD RW AD-7260S

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus Fan+Heatsink

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010

Wyatt Kovich 2011 Edition (Friend with superior CPU building knowledge) – P.S. Thanks again.

Below is a summary of the build:

Mother fu... I mean board.

Motherboard (in tower) awaiting to be impregnated by processor.

Motherboard/processor sex is hot so you need to cool it.

A very hard drive (lower) and DVD RW disk spinner in place.

Motherboard tag team: GeForce GTX 570HD inserted to board.

Patriot PC3-12800 1600MHz 8GB Kit DDR3 Memory inserted into motherboard (right of cooler fan,background) and Wyatt Kovich 2011 Edition (foreground).

Final steps: installation of the Windows monopoly.

Running bright and ready for the online fight.