Is Battlefield 3 Premium worth it?
Last month saw the launch of Battlefield Premium, DICE and EA’s answer to Call Of Duty’s ELITE system for their seminal online shooter, Battlefield 3. So far, 800,000 people have signed up for Premium, launched on 4th June for PS3 and 12th June for Xbox 360 and PC. Operating using the ever more common “Season Pass” model, a single payment of 4000 Microsoft Points (roughly £34.27 in GBP or $50.00 USD) gets you all 5 announced DLC packs, extra assignments, camos and exclusive events.
Given that the price is essentially the same as buying the entire game itself again, the question many gamers are left asking is: is it worth it?
What’s in the digital, non-tangible box?
Purchasing Battlefield Premium and downloading the sizeable content pack attached gives access to the following items:
- Back To Karkand DLC (Out now) – 4 new maps, 10 new weapons (unlockable via new assignments), 4 new vehicles, 1 new game mode and 5 new dogtags. The maps, weapons and all but one of the vehicles are brought in from BF2.
- Close Quarters DLC (Out now) – 4 new maps, 10 new weapons (unlockable via new assignments), 2 new game modes and 5 new dogtags.
- Armored Kill DLC (September 2012) – 4 new (huge) maps, 5 new vehicles, 1 new game mode.
- Aftermath DLC – ?
- End Game DLC – ?
- New camo patterns for soldiers and selected weapons.
- 10 new assignments.
- New knife and dogtags.
- Multiple improvements to Battlelog and stats.
- Exclusive double XP events.
- Priority queueing for servers.
On the surface, that seems like quite a lot, however it’s only fair to consider that those who bought the BF3 Limited Edition on release already had access to Back To Karkand included. With each DLC pack weighing in at 1200 MS Points so far, that’s almost a fifth of the value of Premium already lost if you purchased the limited edition.
Of the 3 new game modes released so far, only one is completely new to BF as such, with Gun Master providing a variant on Call of Duty favourite, Gun Game, where players have to rack up kills with different weapons to win the game. The other 2 are both variations on the existing Conquest (read “Capture the Flag”) game type. In saying that, Armored Kill’s new game mode, “Tank Superiority” does sound intriguing.
The rest of the content is more cosmetic, with new dogtags, weapons and camo allowing people to update their soldier’s appearance, should they be getting bored with the same old.
Also, don’t forget another 240G worth of achievements (so far).
How does it compare?
With “Season Pass” style payments becoming more common, how does Battlefield Premium stand up against some other famous examples out there?
Gears Of War 3
Gears of War 3’s Season Pass provided gamers with 4 premium DLC packs for the one-off price of 2400 MS Points (around £20). These 4 packs cost a total of 3600 MS Points individually, and add:
- 13 maps (new and old).
- New character and weapon skins.
- A new single-player campaign (around 3 hours total).
- New achievements worth 1000G.
L.A. Noire’s Rockstar Pass (one of the first to go with the season-pass model) also gave gamers 7 DLC packs (5 of which were previously retailer specific pre-order bonuses), for a one-off fee of 800 MS Points (around £6.85, rising to 960 points a couple of weeks later). Individually, all 7 DLC packs would cost 1600 MS Points. This provided:
- 4 new cases.
- 2 new character skins.
- A new in-game collectible challenge.
- New achievements worth 400G.
Call Of Duty
The main competitor here though, is obviously Call of Duty’s ELITE service. As it stands currently, ELITE costs 4000 MS Points, (the same as BF3 Premium, coincidence?) and provides access to 9 monthly DLC releases for Modern Warfare 3, leading up to the launch of Black Ops 2 in October. ELITE provides:
- 20+ maps (new and old).
- 4 (so far) Special Ops missions for co-op play.
- New achievements worth 460G (to date).
It’s worth noting that Battlefield and Call of Duty both provide online focussed content, while L.A. Noire focusses on single player only and Gears sits somewhere in the middle. In terms of pricing though, there really isn’t too much to choose from when compared in terms of scale and long term playability.
In a straight shootout between Call of Duty and Battlefield, CoD provides the most maps, but BF3 offers a wider variety of content. Given that both cost the same price, there isn’t really any way to categorically state that one is better than the other, as it will come down to the preferences of the individual player.
Enough talk, should I buy Battlefield Premium?
It sounds like a complete cop out, but before purchasing Premium, each person should weigh up their BF3 gameplay against what the Premium content is worth to them. If you’re primarily a single-player fan, you’ve probably bought the wrong game in the first place, since BF3’s true strength is online, but it goes without saying that Premium is not worth the money for you.
Likewise, if you’re not someone who cares about having the most recent DLC right away, or isn’t sure if you’ll buy all the DLC packs, it’s probably not worth your while. All the DLC packs are bound to be available on offer at some point in the future, it’s just a case of how long you’re willing to wait for them.
However, if you’re a regular Battlefield player like myself, and know you’re definitely going to buy all the DLC (even if you already got Back to Karkand with the Limited Edition), you’re still going to be saving yourself money in the long run by paying for Premium up front. It’s 4000 MS Points now, versus 6000 MS Points if you buy each pack at full price (assuming 1200 each), or 4800 if you bought the Limited Edition. Add in the extra assignments, which provide a welcome distraction and it becomes a must have for Battlefield 3 regulars.
What are your thoughts on Premium? Did you buy it? Is it worth it? Let me know in the comments below.
Maybe now DICE and EA can look at investing some of that Premium money into some of the unfortunate bugs that still plague this otherwise excellent title, such as the BF3 no weapon glitch, which is still happening to a lot of players, nine months after the launch of the game.