Big update lands for Battlefield 3

The PC version of Battlefield 3 gets a huge update ahead of the consoles, offering more than 50 fixes, enhancements, and gameplay-balancing measures.

A new patch dropped down on the PC version of Battlefield 3 today.
Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

A half-gigabyte update has dropped for the PC version of Battlefield 3, adding many performance fixes and gameplay adjustments for a better experience. The same update will roll out soon for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.

On the short list of fixes, fraggers should see improvements with loading times and general performance. The dreaded "black screen" error--which would sometimes happen when loading a new map during multiplayer--should be resolved. Players who joined multiplayer and co-op games should also see fewer crashes.

With the new patch, multiple monitor setups should now run more smoothly. Visual corruption errors are now less of an issue on certain Nvidia graphics cards, but in my experience playing today with a GTX 560 I actually saw fewer graphical issues than I had ever seen before. I was using a set of beta drivers, so I need to do further testing with this before I can say anything definitive. There's also word that loading times for some textures have improved, but I doubt that you'll be able to notice it.

From left: the new squad selection menu for PC and Xbox 360 versions of Battlefield 3. DICE

The squad manager is much more intuitive than ever before. The "Find me a squad" button is gone, and players can now join empty squads alone. Several other visual and organizational changes have been implemented into the squad selection menu, as well.

The new update brings 33 balance and gameplay adjustments. That's a stunning number of changes, but then again, this is normal for the first patch of a Battlefield game. One of the most notable additions is that grenades will drop on the ground if you are killed trying to throw them. I cannot even begin to count how many times I've tried to throw a grenade, only to find myself killed by some random person coming around the corner. Now, the memory of me will live on in the form of a tiny metal ball that explodes in my dust.

This poor fellow got knifed in the back during the making of this news post. Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Spawn points have also been improved in many game modes to ensure that you won't spawn too close to enemies. This is good and bad. In the past, sometimes I would spawn behind enemies and get an easy kill. In other scenarios, it would be the other way around.

As for exploits, it's worth noting that cheaters cannot use EOD Bots maliciously anymore and multiplayer servers can no longer use stat-padding methods that players take advantage of to increase their score.

Diehard fans of the game should spend a few minutes reading the rest of the patch notes at the official Battlefield blog.