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The Battlefield 5 balance patch is a big deal

A quick synopsis of the laundry list of changes that went live today

A British medium bomber flanked by Spitfires in concept art for Battlefield 5. EA DICE/Electronic Arts

The team at EA DICE dropped a massive update for Battlefield 5 this morning, totaling more than 17 GB on PC alone. Much of that code was thanks to a new, single-player mission and a new multiplayer level. But it also included a load of subtle changes intended to better balance the game.

You can download the entire list of changes as a PDF, but if you’re short on time here’s the most important bits.

  • Conquest mode, Battlefield 5’s iconic 64-player combined arms mode, has a catch-up mechanic that makes matches a little more exciting, especially when they turn into lopsided affairs. Think of it like the blue shell in Mario Kart that always tends to drop for the player in last place. EA DICE has tweaked catch-up slightly, ensuring that it “will now only be activated when the losing team is very far behind instead of rounds that are fairly close.”
  • Ammunition in the forward-firing guns and cannons of airplanes has been reduced, and the damage model on airplanes has been tweaked slightly to require more precise aiming to disable engines and control surfaces. This should limit the impact of high-level pilots somewhat. Additionally, developers have increased the amount of zoom given to pilots to 2.5x, with the intention to allow “superior scouting of the battlefield” and enable fighters to be “more connected to the ground combat.”
  • Individual aircraft have received some much-needed attention as well: The Stuka’s 37mm cannons will be more deadly against vehicles, less so against infantry. The BF109’s cannon has also been adjusted so that it’s less deadly against bombers. The Spitfire’s 8x machinegun upgrade now features an overheat indicator that will slow or stop the rate of fire over time.
  • Anti-aircraft tanks have received a buff to make them more survivable against infantry assault.
  • Exposed gunners on the top of ground vehicles will now have the opportunity to duck into cover within their turrets. While doing so, they’ll still be able to blind-fire their weapon.
  • In Airborne and Frontline modes, the bomb carrier will no longer have an icon over their head that is visible to the enemy. This should dramatically improve their survivability, and have a big impact on the back-and-forth nature of those game modes.
  • The Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon will do more damage against vehicles generally and will be less prone to glancing blows. Its damage against the rear of vehicles has been lowered slightly.
  • Small arms damage against aircraft has also been nerfed, which will make low-level strafing and bombing runs more survivable for pilots.

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