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Why a Battlefield 4 commander feature is important

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A commander feature adds a layer of strategy to the multiplayer like nothing else.

In last week’s article, “Top 5 much needed Battlefield 4 features“, our number one spot went to the Commander mode, which has been missing in the series since 2006. We thought it would be a good idea to have a more in-depth article about the much talked about (and rumored) Battlefield 4 Commander feature.

What is a Battlefield 4 Commander?

For those who joined the Battlefield series with Bad Company and BF3, Commander probably sounds very foreign. The feature was included in BF2 and BF2142, and offered one player per team to “Command” and manage his team.



Battlefield 4 commander optionsThis included giving orders to attack/defend, dropping supplies, even calling in artillery strikes. A good Commander could rake in a lot of kills and points and help his team achieve victory.

Any player could apply to become Commander at the beginning of the map, and usually the player with the highest rank was offered the role first. The Commander had access to a “battle screen”, which resembled a real time strategy game. However, the Commander could still play in the regular game like all other players. If a Commander didn’t do his job well, the other team members could vote to kick him out.

Check out a video of the Commander in action in BF2:

While BF2 and BF2142 included a Commander mode, the feature was removed with the Bad Company series and replaced with a pathetic excuse for commander: a mobile UAV station where a player controller a small helicopter that spotted enemies. And occasionally shot BB gun pellets at them.

DICE’s reasoning for this was that it allowed more players to have a “commander” role, which was nonsense: there was one UAV station where as BF2 had two commanders.

Adding a commander mode adds a lot of strategy to the game, and generally adds a whole new layer of tactical gameplay. This is how the Commander screen looked like in BF2 (on Strike At Karkand):

Battlefield 4 commander screen

A Battlefield 4 commander will improve teamwork

Given two equal teams in BF2, the team with the better Commander usually won. A Battlefield 4 Commander is much more than just dropping supplies and giving orders.

Calling in artillery at the right time can force an enemy attack to a complete halt, giving out supplies to those who need it (like vehicles in the battlefield as opposed to a lone sniper), and providing radar and spotting enemies can help your team in general.

The Commander can improve teamwork by giving orders to squads. The Commander can also spot enemies — in previous versions, a “Scan” feature would scan the whole map for the commander and reveal enemies, where after he could spot them for his team.

More gameplay variety

Overall, a Commander in Battlefield 4 would add more depth to the already stellar multiplayer gameplay. Better yet, it would make Battlefield 4 stand out even more from the competition.

Finally, we do need some extra features added to BF4 compared to what we had in BF3, and a Commander should be at the top of that list. Hopefully DICE will implement the feature in Battlefield 4.

35 COMMENTS & TRACKBACKS

  1. aeonlinux
    May 5th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I’m sorry but Commander Mode looks like shit. (And even though I started BF with the BC series, I later did get BF2 and still play it today.)

    I get the overall concept though, I do. But I also understand the reasoning why DICE decided to remove it and give more actual roles to players. Looking at that video above, being Commander sounds incredibly dull. This is not even “RTS-style”, because or RTS games you control the units and see the action. This, on the other hand, is so detached from the gameplay, it might as well be a game of its own and be sold for $15.99. It’s basically a 2D screen with little dots and icons popping on every so often, and some dude constantly spamming “Spotted” and other options.

    I mean, my point is, while some people do enjoy the level of tacticality Commando Mode provides, it is merely a pseudo-RTS interface that provides no physicality WITH the game. While you could always play the game, that would in turn diminish your ability to be a good Commander, which, damn, for a First Person SHOOTER sure as hell sounds as counter-productive as it can be.

    With that said, I do want this to return in some form but where there’s no a single Commander, but Generals of sorts. Like, a general for artillery, another for reconnaissance, another for directing infantry assaults, etc. Just like the regular four classes, but dividing the commander role among 3-4 individuals. Offsetting responsibilities means higher time PLAYING the game, knowing where order are coming from, and why.

    Just my 2 cents though.

    • Jimykx
      May 5th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      It’s clearly just your 2 cents. From your opinion it’s pretty easy to see how much little you understand of the commander role. It’s just a 2d screen? Wrong, if you zoom in enough you could see the whole 3d map from the top like nobody else could and spot enemies trying to flank your team. It’s just a guy spamming “spotted and other options”. Yeah, If you DO or DID actually play bf2 competitively you would know how much this “spam” is useful and how it could change the tide of battle.
      Let me tell you what this “Pseudo-RTS interface ” provides:
      It provides freshness to the gameplay. You don’t know how good it feels to switch from the pace of combat to the commander role, it’s like a totally different game.
      It provides a fantastic gratification. The feeling you get when you know you where a crucial help to lead your team to victory.
      It provides a whole new dimension of tactics and of competition to the game.

      Dividing the commander through different people!??! This is what DICE said they did when they wiped out commander in the BC series. And quite honestly, you saying this just shows of how little you understand about what a commander is, and is the reflection of you having started to play the game on BC. It actually just feels like an insult to anyone who actually understands the value of a good commander in the game. A good commander foresees what he must do to in the battle and plans accordingly. Why would you spread his abilities through different people when different people can hardly be in each others minds to actually connect and effectively use these different elements? Specially without someone watching over them and telling them what’s going on in the battle?
      You say “I also understand the reasoning why DICE decided to remove it and give more actual roles to players.” but you clearly don’t. Your words clearly show you started playing a game that was dumbed down to appeal to the, Yes I’m going to say this, COD community, and the expressions you choose clearly and undeniably reflect that.

      • aeonlinux
        May 5th, 2013 at 7:21 pm

        @Jimykx

        “It’s clearly just your 2 cents. From your opinion it’s pretty easy to see how much little you understand of the commander role. It’s just a 2d screen? Wrong, if you zoom in enough you could see the whole 3d map from the top like nobody else could and spot enemies trying to flank your team.”

        No, it’s just a 2D screen. You can zoom in to certain areas of the map and the assets will turn 3D, but you’re still hovering over them. There’s no depth to it (no view of the Y vertical axis), so still 2D.

        “It’s just a guy spamming “spotted and other options”. Yeah, If you DO or DID actually play bf2 competitively you would know how much this “spam” is useful and how it could change the tide of battle.”

        I do. The fact I might have started later doesn’t really make you any more of an expert. And this “spamming” is where the disconnect from the game starts. But I’ll get to it later…

        “It provides freshness to the gameplay. You don’t know how good it feels to switch from the pace of combat to the commander role, it’s like a totally different game.”

        First of all, there’s no “pace of combat.” Being commander is literally your sole job in the round. Like I said earlier, sure you could actually play (this subtlety implies being commander is not actually playing), but there’s no first person consequences to them. Like I said, and like you just corroborated, being commander feels and is a different game. You’re not playing an FPS, you’re playing a pseudo-RTS. Pseudo here being appropriate because you don’t really control the units and the actions are unpredictable.

        But here’s the kicker: it IS fun playing as commander. I’ve played it, though it never was my main strength (not that it was hard, just not a FPS). I’d rather actually play the game. But that’s what I meant when I said I got why people liked it. I see the purpose of it, but I think what DICE was trying to do was something else, and that was having the game be more physical. More you. In there. Getting blown. Driving. Shooting.

        And, surprise, most people like this better.

        “It provides a fantastic gratification. The feeling you get when you know you where a crucial help to lead your team to victory.”

        That is nice and all, but the feeling is rather hollow. When you win a match you feel you won a round of Commander mode, not a round of Conquest. The latter is more identifiable to players.

        “It provides a whole new dimension of tactics and of competition to the game.”

        I can’t disagree with that.

        “Dividing the commander through different people!??! This is what DICE said they did when they wiped out commander in the BC series. And quite honestly, you saying this just shows of how little you understand about what a commander is, and is the reflection of you having started to play the game on BC”

        Like I said earlier, I don’t suddenly know less of Commander Mode and its uses in-game just because I might have started a year or two after you. A new president doesn’t suddenly know less of the Constitution just because he just got into office. So get off that high horse.

        Second, DICE never said such things. Commander Mode was lost simply because one end of the spectrum was more focal to the vision they had with the game: physicality. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Oh, we need an airstrike? Well, what are you waiting for, get on that jet. With need some recon on a location, well get that UAV going. We need artillery support? There’s a mobile artillery right there, get on it.

        It’s less button spamming and self-indulgence and more doing and being there with those “dots” on the map.

        “It actually just feels like an insult to anyone who actually understands the value of a good commander in the game. A good commander foresees what he must do to in the battle and plans accordingly.”

        No. Just you.

        “Why would you spread his abilities through different people when different people can hardly be in each others minds to actually connect and effectively use these different elements? Specially without someone watching over them and telling them what’s going on in the battle?”

        Yeah, you’re right. I mean how can a SQUAD overcome the enemy if they, each with different abilities and tools, can’t possibly “connect”, or whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. What do you need to connect for? Where in any round of Commander Mode, or the video above for that matter, did you see the Commander “connecting” with the Squads? Truth is, one Commander or General or what have you, can specialize in one specific area just like in Squads. This “General”, say, specializes in airstrikes and can call in NON-CONTROLLED airstrikes to support the team, OR it can specifically direct player-controlled aircrafts to attack a HTV or area. This allows for requests of SquadLeader to be directed at a specialized General who can ALSO play the damn game without being engulfed in this “other game.” Responsibilities are spread, and more people have a role both in game and out of it.

        “You say “I also understand the reasoning why DICE decided to remove it and give more actual roles to players.” but you clearly don’t. Your words clearly show you started playing a game that was dumbed down to appeal to the, Yes I’m going to say this, COD community, and the expressions you choose clearly and undeniably reflect that.”

        I don’t play COD, I actually loathe it. But I must definitely be a newly BF-converted COD fanboy who just loves Deathmatch, right? I mean, I can’t possibly, quite possibly, be a better Battlefield player than you? The removal of Commando isn’t dumbing down the game, it’s focusing on what’s “fun.” Laws don’t get passed based on the date, they get passed based on votes. No one cried foul when no Commander Mode was found in BC2. Instead they complained about the interface and the uninspired maps (which I agree). Now that BF3 is here is the same thing (which I agree on). Just a select hardcore but very vocal minorities still cares about Commander Mode.

        And for a community supposedly more mature than COD, we sure as hell are divided, with 1942 and BF2 players claiming BC players are COD-converters. And you wanna know why? Because they can’t accept (and yet continue to play, hmm) that BC had things BF2 will never have, just like BF2 had things BF4 won’t have and vice-versa. Some dislike people like certain products for different reasons.

        They are not making the same game with better graphics, they’re making sacrifices to make it more fun for the the right reason, and that is: actually playing ON the Battlefield. If it turns out that perhaps certain sacrifices should’t have been made, don’t be surprised if certain features are brought back with a certain twist.

        • IVanSpinal
          May 7th, 2013 at 4:46 pm

          Thats right

      • Jacob Glosup
        May 10th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

        Well said. I realy like your General idea, sounds very interesting…

    • fred
      May 5th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      I agree. Commander looks dumb as shit.

    • IVanSpinal
      May 5th, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      true

      • Macrarodie
        May 5th, 2013 at 7:54 pm

        Haters gonna hate~

        • 0r1nj
          January 29th, 2014 at 6:50 am

          truth

    • Cheeseburger
      May 6th, 2013 at 3:47 am

      Wow, you don’t know crap about Battlefield :D

      A BF2-team that had a good commander dominated the battlefield.
      And the team will notice if you are and start to work together and follow your orders.
      A unique deep and fun gameplay experience. Only problem: It’s a highly social feature, so the casual BC/BF4-players are scared to loose their Point and shoot-gameplay.

      Don’t like it? Play CoD \o/
      I’m not sure if DICE will try to stop following CoD, but I like seeing them freakin’ try ;)

      • JDBernal
        December 4th, 2013 at 2:06 pm

        Commander mode is retarded. I was destroyed in a tank by a cruise missile and had no idea it was even coming. I only started playing BFBC2 a few years ago and I thought BF3 sucked balls but I thought BF4 was going to be better, except it’s not. BFBC3 is going to be so much better than this piece of crap game.

        • 0r1nj
          January 29th, 2014 at 6:52 am

          look up ..or haven’t you master’d the W key from joypad yet! ^^

    • Rainbow
      May 6th, 2013 at 3:47 am

      You know nothing about Battlefield, go home, kid ;)

  2. Methodoc
    May 5th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    People, if BF1942 was not your first BF experience then you wont understand how important the commander feature was to the main series (that means no BC). The commander along with the full featured squad leaders (not just attack here BS) added so much to the team play. I enjoyed playing commander or squad leader, so many great features.

    The commander can communicate through VOIP with all the squad leaders, so there was no mic spamming.

    Aerial scan spotted enemies on the mini map, not in 3d like BC/BF3 so it wasn’t as game breaking.

    UAV, similar to the scan, but in a smaller area with a longer effect.

    Supply drop, gave you ammo, health and repairs. Many times I played on Strike at Karkand at the bridge where the commander dropped a supply drop at the right time.

    Vehicle drop, yes BF2 maps were huge and plenty of times you found yourself jumping out of a chopper and found your self (or squad) stranded in the middle of nowhere. Just ask the commander for a vehicle drop.

    Artillery, best thing to use to clear an area of enemy players before you go and take a base or to push the enemy back.

    Trust me, Commander IS needed the main BF series.

    • Mac
      May 5th, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      I’ve played BF since BF1943 commander wasn’t in it. It wasn’t in BF:V. It was only in BF2 & 2142. Here’s the thing about commander, in a public match it’s novel at best. No one is going to listen to the commander, especially a ‘defend’ command. Just doesn’t happen, as it didn’t happened in BF2. Competitively? Sure. Random public? Nope. People just go to where the action is. With private VoIP like Xbox parties & TS, the commanders ability to speak in a public VoIP becomes nothing but a guy talking to himself. Putting the UAV back in the hands of the commander and out of the hands of recon only makes recon players even less useful. Artillery strikes sound awesome… Until you’re killed by one. Then it’s the most annoying thing ever. Some guy, barely playing, pointed a mouse at you and you died. Talk about dumbing down the skill required to get kills. Supply drops take away from support and assault. I can see the argument both ways but people will see it as a step back if you take away the ammo box or medkit. Vehicle drop could be useful, until the commander only drops IFV for his friends. The C130 system now in EG is better IMO. The commander position requires a commander who wants the whole team to do well. Having a high rank doesn’t guaruntee that. You may get a platoon player dropping all the vehicles, UAVs, artillery strikes and supplies to support his 5 friends only. Mutanity and you may get a large group of friends to rage quit. You may also get troll making troll videos. Dropping artillery on his own guys, giving the other team vehicles… you see where I’m going. It has the possibility to really suck. Overall, playing commander was a lot of fun at first, then it got boring. I would normally decline. It becomes downright frustrating when squads just ignore your commands as they do more than half the time. It has it uses in competitive matches though and is a real asset there. In public random matches? It’s just some random camper racking up easy artillery kills and spotting points and annoying you will endless ‘enemy spotted!’ and ‘attack this position.’ The artillery strikes alone are going to see countless rage threads on the forums and will eventually be nerfed to useless. But who knows, maybe they’ll find a way to revamp it,balance it and make it fun. I just think people are looking at the old commander system through rose tinted glasses.

      • Mac
        May 5th, 2013 at 10:15 pm

        correction- ‘since BF1942′

        • Methodoc
          May 6th, 2013 at 7:18 am

          The reason I mentioned BF1942 is because there was no real tactical gameplay, BF: Vietnam didn’t have it either. DICE saw this and introduced commander. You see the problem is that all the tactical gameplay was removed in BF3 and is now just a cluster fuck of people not playing together, even though they’re in squads they play like lone wolfs. BF is a large scale MP game, it needs someone to watch over the map to know where the enemy is headed.

          Now you say that Commander will take away from other classes, nope. Look at how many medics and support guys got medals for reviving and providing ammo. The supply box gave you both but very slowly, hence, it did not take away from classes. Engineers could still repair faster than the supply box. I do agree with some of the things you mentioned, specially the spot spamming. The public servers, true, but you always found a loyal unknown squad leader in the game that followed your orders. The VOIP, I’m on PC and could care less for XBOX, it broke the game for us when we found no in game VOIP, Battlelog voip? Please. Yes there are other means like Skype/TS/Mumble, but I met a lot of my friends through BF2’s VOIP system, friends I’ve come to meet in person. Remember that commander also had his/her own scoring system, so getting multiple kills didn’t put you at the top of the score board.

          Like you said though, I do hope the revamp the old commander with more features and not something that can be spammed, like not letting you out of a main cap with multiple artillery strikes.

  3. Carlos
    May 5th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    After looking at the video this commander stuff is a turn off.
    It’s a spamming machine.

  4. Carlos
    May 5th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    This commander feature is a spamming machine and it will not be fair
    for teams with not so good player. It looks cheap.

  5. Add some opposing views
    May 5th, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    What about the part where the commander would spam enemy spotted everywhere, even in the outterboundaries? Or the commander who decides to call artillery on their team? Or the commander who can’t get kicked because people don’t even vote, but still listen to ENEMY SPOTTED ENEMY SPOTTED. Or even the ones who just tell the squads their grandmas can do better than them. Or even the commander who gives himself a UAV. To be completely honest, not many people played BF2 competitively. It was a public multiplayer game. Server names like Karkand Boobies and =E= ring a bell? Hahaha. Most commanders I had were decent at calling in UAV’s and the such, but otherwise they weren’t so good.
    What also needs to be addressed is capable squad leaders that ask the commander where to go, and what they need(car, UAV overflight, or supply drop). I think commanders had no idea what to do because squad leaders lacked the brains to press t and ask for things.

  6. Graham
    May 6th, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Im not nterested in commander mode, all I want to do is play a game for fun. Im not in the forces in real life so why would I be bothered about this mode. To me the suad leader function is good enough that we currently have in game, or maybe they could expand this a little bit. Most players dont give out suad commands now so I cannot see a full command mode working at all.Things have moved on from the battlefield games of old and ppl need to let go and bring new ideas to the game and not try to re-invent old one’s.

    • SomeGun
      May 6th, 2013 at 3:55 am

      “Squad leader function is good enough”?
      You don’t give a crap about teamwork, do you? You must be, because the squad leader in BF4 has NO functions at all.

      He’s not your only squad spawnpoint, he can’t give effective orders but only simplified, pre-placed attack/defend. He can’t kick players out of his squad, he can’t name his squad to attract certain players, he can ONLY lock his squad and give supersimplified orders.

      Compare that sh*t with BF2’s functions and features.
      Play as a lone wulf if you don’t want teamplay, but don’t pretend to know how it works.

      • Graham
        May 12th, 2013 at 12:59 am

        I know full well how team work goes prob more than you since Ive been playing these games a lot longer than you I imagine since Im nearly 50 years old. Like I said squad function could be expanded but I don’t want a commander because its an old idea just re-born. We need new ideas to bring new life to the game not just re-invented maps etc, stop living in the past. If you could make bigger squads maybe that would help but like I said most players don’t use squad commands now and thats just telling them to attack or defend can you so how do you think commander will work, poorly that’s the answer.

  7. Chaos
    May 6th, 2013 at 3:16 am

    I loved commander mode back in the day. Should they bring it back? Undoubtedly. Here’s why. If you don’t want to play as commander, opt out of being the commander. Now, I honestly cannot remember if you could do that before, but make it available in BF4. Why not have it in there? There should, however, be a better balance. Make bigger squads with more abilities for a squad leader and scale back a bit on the commander part. Just a thought. Either way, I think it should be in there in some way. Honestly, I think BF is in danger of getting old like COD. They should have something “new”. Tweak it a bit or something – link it up with Battlelog somehow. It could be nice.

  8. plakman
    May 6th, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Commander mode should come back indeed.

    While ppl cry about it not having as much action,
    True,
    BUT it’s still fun to play as a commander even though you don’t shoot ppl.

    If your point is to just shoot and run than go friggin play cod or cs:go.

    I actually loved the tactical gameplay bf2 had to offer.
    Wich is gone in bf3 but still…

  9. renesweb74
    May 6th, 2013 at 4:06 am

    The commander mode is good way back to the roots! Many players have forgotten that BF its a teamplay shooter not an ego shooter. If you wanne be an ego game play COD. But when the commander come back DICE should activate the ingame VOIP.

  10. fireprism
    May 6th, 2013 at 4:48 am

    How about if all classes can spot but when they do its only revealed to their squad.
    However when recon players spot, the enemies they spot are revealed to their squad AND the commander who then has to reveal them to the entire team.
    This would give recon players that extra importance and not making them useless against the commander.
    I also think the scan should be cut to make use of this and just leave the UAV.

  11. bfplayer
    May 6th, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I support the idea of having someone to apply some strategy into the game play, but in my experience that rarely happens. For the most part the super powers of artillery and radars, are just used to degrade the experience for everyone else. Each time someone tries to cap a base, an artillery attack is applied, what is the fun in that?

  12. Ryan
    May 6th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    i like to have an open mind, but my biggest issue is… seems a little cheap. Say i spend 10 minutes trying to flank someone’s position by going wayyy out of the way, their commander scans the map and my location is revealed just like that? Or even sniping.. if you find a great spot and tactically set yourself in, they scan your location and it’s all wasted?

    Like i said, i like to keep an open mind, but i’m not too excited for it

  13. Plumokin
    May 9th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Well i definitely think the commander mode is very creative, but the flaws are in pub matches. If one team has a extremely good commander and the other team doesnt, this is a problem that will imbalance the teams to death. I feel like this is great for competitive games, but for pub matches it will cause nothing but anger

  14. MicharlFox
    May 14th, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I knew that Lonewolves gonna hate. If you don’t like teamwork then go and play Canals TDM 24/7. BF2 was and still is the best battlefield for me. It sold 11 million copies on PC compared to BF3 18 across all platforms and also got the highest scores among all Battlefield games.

    • 0r1nj
      January 29th, 2014 at 7:05 am

      agreed dude.
      we can but say how it was as we were there for the duration.
      and hope some of the idea’s we have and have had go towards a rounder team based game in the future. i liked comm and 6man squad of BF2
      ..it was well balanced ..time and again friends can’t all get into squads ..and its @ 5. maybe 8 would have pushed the boundary to test it out. after all an army is made of regiments of many men/women not small black-op groups.

  15. name
    May 16th, 2013 at 4:15 am

    A good Commander made all the difference in the world and if you think it looks dull and dumb thats great because we need you on the ground doing the battle.

    Theres a voite at the start of every game for people to apply for commander role so you don’t get stuck with someone thats not good if you do your job and vote and then fight the battle that is given to you.

  16. Arta
    May 18th, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    bf2 is a better game for tactical players. for one obvious reason. its on pc where the majority of fps gamers are more mature and intelligent as professional player. now if you ask me why bf3 turned into a game full of people playing 24/7, camping, tea bagging, trolling and so on.. its because it aimed at the cod audience (kids with crazy load of free time) by releasing close quarters dlc. battlefield is no longer sticking to its main roots which was to stand out from other fps’s that didnt offer large scale multiplayer with vehicles. i know its all about money these days so im not blaming dice for changing their game to gain more audience who enjoys small maps fps’s too. i just feel let down that one of my favorite franchises turned into something ordinary. its all just my view on it so no hard feelings.

  17. David
    June 18th, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Why is thus even an argument, if you dont want commander mode, dont play it. End of. It doesn’t take away from anything in the game if you ignore it. Who knows, maybe that extra box of ammo will be your saviour on day. Or that tomohawk missile/C 130 strike

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