Battlefield 4: Ranks, progression, unlocks and Battlepacks revealed by DICE

In the latest “Road to Battlefield 4″ blog post by DICE, the studio goes in-depth on how ranks, progressions, unlocking items and even Battlepacks are earned in Battlefield 4.

Rather than just copying how Battlefield 3’s progression works, DICE made some tweaks and changes to the “carrot-on-a-stick” formula that’s used by almost every multiplayer shooter these days.

In BF4, the max rank will once again be Colonel 100. However, each rank has five sub-ranks denoted by Roman numerals, which as DICE states, is the same system used by the U.S. Marines. “So at Rank 16 you’ll hit “Sergeant”, with Rank 20 being “Sergeant V” and Rank 21 bringing a new title (“Staff Sergeant”).”

First off, there’s a Medal for every Ribbon in BF4.

Every Ribbon in the game has a clearly corresponding Medal, usually awarded when you’ve earned 50 ribbons of one kind. And now more than ever, these Ribbons and Medals are more tailored to the unique characteristics of the four playable classes. Some of the Ribbons are only earnable by Recon, Support, Assault, and some by Engineer. Players who gravitate heavily towards one of these classes will automatically have a trophy cabinet that differs wildly from that of a player that hones in on one of the other kits.

Scoring has also been changed in BF4. Beta players might have noticed some of these changes firsthand, but here’s a detailed explanation on how it will work — short answer is: gunning for objectives will net you points while you’re in the act of doing it.

One new way that we are using scoring to incentivize playing the objective relates to flag capturing and arming objectives. Now, as soon as you attempt to capture a flag or arm an objective, the points will start ticking into your account, even if the overall attempt might fail. So if you are trying to reclaim a base but get killed just one second away from completing the capture, you’ll still be handsomely rewarded for the great attempt, for the risk you put yourself in, and for playing the objective. By contrast, doing the same in Battlefield 3 would have netted you 0 points if the flag was not at least neutralized.

Similarly in Rush or the all-new Obliteration mode, simply starting to arm or disarm an objective will make the points roll in. While succeeding in the arm or disarm will naturally yield even greater sums, doing the right thing that actually drives the game mode forward will always be advantageous to your career progression. We’re also more greatly rewarding playing the objective this time around. So in Obliteration, you’ll be granted quite a large sum of points for doing pivotal actions like running with the bomb, arming it at an objective, or killing the enemy bomb carrier. It’s all part of an increased effort to drive each game mode to a distinctly different experience than the next one.

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Now, here’s where we get into the nitty-gritty. Unlocks are now tailored to how you play as opposed to having specific items unlocked at certain levels. So, if you’re someone who uses a shotgun, you’ll unlock more shotguns and its accessories as you play along.

We have more weapons and accessories in Battlefield 4 than ever before. With that, we thought it was time to change how you actually get new hardware to play with. Now, weapons, gadgets, and accessories are awarded to you for using items from the same family in multiplayer. So if you’re all about shotgun action, using shotguns (and scoring with them) will unlock more shotguns and shotgun accessories for you to play with. Similarly, if you use a lot of sniper rifles and amass respectable scores with them, you will unlock more varieties of sniper rifles, scopes, and barrels for them. While there is an implied connection between LMGs and Support class or sniper rifles and Recon class, playing a class itself will not bring you new weapons. Killing, assisting and suppressing with a weapon will give you more unlocks from the same weapon class.

Thankfully, DICE also mentions how each class comes to battle “better equipped from match one.” This means some “default weapons and vehicles will be starting with a few essential unlocks already from scratch to make sure the fight is balanced no matter when you join the game – right at launch or later.” One example is for jets. In BF3, you had to unlock flares, which meant that until you’ve unlocked it, you were getting shot out of the sky most of the time. This won’t be the case with BF4, where assault rifles will have applicable grips readily available, LMGs having bipods from the get go and so on.

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One thing announced by EA that made a lot of people worry (including me) was Battlepacks. Could it possibly let some people “buy” their way to victory? Read on how DICE explains it and judge for yourself.

Another exciting element to Battlefield 4 progression is the concept of Battlepacks. Battlepacks are randomized bundles of content that are awarded at certain Ranks. Think of them as a collection of items that are not hard-coded and will be granted at specific moments in your career. At certain ranks, you’ll get a handful of items, but you’ll never know exactly what you’ll get or in what order. If you played the Beta, you might have seen these in action already, since the first Battlepack is awarded to players at Rank 3 (and later at set intervals tied to your Rank.)

Depending on your actual Rank, you’ll be awarded a Battlepack of either Bronze, Silver or Gold Rank. The value of the Battlepack decides the number of items you receive in the pack, as well as the chance to get something really rare. Items in Battlepacks include things like weapon accessories, weapon paints, vehicle paints, soldier camos, dog tags, XP boosts, and unique knife designs.

The weapon accessories earnable in Battlepacks are not game-changing in any way, as they are simply cosmetic variants of accessories you can already unlock via the normal weapon progression. For example, if you use a specific rifle, you’ll eventually unlock the U.S. red dot sight for it. At the same time, you might earn a Battlepack with the Russian red dot sight for the same weapon. The special Weapon Battlepacks are awarded for each weapon after completing all its regular unlocks. Thus, a player faithful to a specific carbine will eventually obtain all its accessories by simply using it. You can learn more about Battlepacks at the official Battlefield 4 Battlepacks page.

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Finally, DICE will also allow players to track their progression in BF4 even via your mobile or tablets.

Battlefield 4 is our biggest game yet and that includes the behemoth that is our awards and unlocks system. Let’s put some numbers to that: there are 45 Ribbons in Battlefield 4 multiplayer, each tied to a corresponding Medal. You’ve got 45 Assignments in multiplayer and 5 multiplayer-specific Achievements/Trophies. There are over 600 dog tags to attempt to steal, 130 Service Stars that can be obtained 100 times over for a total of 13,000 earnable Service Stars. We also have 80+ weapons to unlock and a massive amount of weapon accessories.

With this amount of content, we wanted to help our players visualize what to go for next. Whether you’re longing for that new 40x sniper scope, the new Assault rifle ergo grip, or the Obliteration Mode Medal, we’ve added the option to track up to three unlocks and rewards to see how far you’ve come to earning them. Settable from Battlelog (including inside the iOS/Android app), tracking an item lets you see what you have to perform to receive it, as well as how far along that road you’ve already travelled. On PC and next-gen consoles, you can also follow the progression of your tracked unlocks and awards in-game by bringing up Battlelog. In multiplayer, you can even see in real-time how you’re progression towards these. You can also check your progression for every single unlock via the detailed stats and unlocks pages on Battlelog. The items you are officially tracking will simply be displayed more prominently for you.

Make sure to read up on the entire thing to catch up on how Service Stars are earned and so much more.

Do you like the changes DICE has made to unlocks and progression? How do you think Battlepacks will affect the core game? Let us know what you think in the comments below.