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Fixing Shotguns – A Look at the “Overpowered” Shotguns – Battlefield 3 (BF3) and Battlefield 4 (BF4)


Hi YouTube, Darth Here: There has been a general feeling out there
in the community that shotguns, and more specifically semi-automatic shotguns, have been overly-effective
since the spring patch. Today I want to talk about shotguns in Battlefield 4, specifically
what people don’t like about them and how DICE LA is responding to the criticism. I’m
also going to outline how shotguns have changed from Battlefield 3 for the better or worse,
and what more could be done to improve shotguns. Obviously, this is all my own opinion, so
please comment below at the end. First, a quick overview of how shotguns work.
Shotguns can fire four types of projectiles: buckshot, doing the most overall damage, dart
aka flechette which is more accurate at range and pierces body armor, the slug round which
is the most accurate and delivers fatal damage under certain circumstances, and finally frag
rounds which do moderate amounts of splash damage. With buckshot and flechette rounds, the shotgun
fires a certain number of “pellets” which each do their own damage. The crosshair for
these rounds is a sphere, which doesn’t actually represent the spread of the pellets,
but merely where the center of the shot is going to be — this leads to some very strange
circumstances where you can be aiming directly at an enemy but miss with every pellet. Slugs, on the other hand, are pretty much
one giant bullet with a maximum of 100 damage. As long as you can deliver it on a target,
you’re going to get a kill under certain circumstances. That last bit I’ll get back
to later. Now let’s look at the changes that shotguns
have undergone. Let’s start with the recent changes. In the spring patch, DICE LA doubled
the number of pellets fired from shotguns while halving the damage per pellet. The effect
was that while shotguns maintained about the same damage as before, it was far more likely
to land on target because there were more pellets. Why is this? Well each shotgun in Battlefield
4 fires a specific number of pellets. Pump action shotguns typically fire around 50%
more pellets than an automatic shotgun. This is seemingly done for balancing reasons as
the semi-automatic shotguns are supposed to be about fire rate and output, while the pump
actions are supposed to be more about accuracy. The reason DICE LA increased the number of
pellets is because within that circular radius, your shot can land anywhere from there and
spread from that direction. The increase of pellets increases the likelihood that the
pellets will land where you mean them to go. The overall effect was that all the shotguns
became far more effective at delivering pellets on target. But DICE LA went a step further,
adding an additional ten meters to the shotgun pellets falloff distance. So the current live
values make the shotguns damage not fall off completely until fifty meters. But there was
one more change, where all the shotgun barrel attachments became much more effective. So
we currently have shotguns that are exceptionally effective out to medium range, and well within
the combat radius of most Battlefield 4 engagements. So shotguns end up not just a close-range
weapon, but they’re relatively effective at the range of engagement for most encounters.
Especially if the otherwise random spread of pellets lands completely on-target. But this is changing. Coming in the Fall Patch,
DICE LA has tweaked the falloff distances of the Shotgun from 50 meters to just 32 meters.
But in that Fall Patch, the buckshot and flechette damage doesn’t start falling off until 24
meters. So they still have quite a bit of reach. Additionally the semi-automatic shotguns
are each losing at least a pellet, or in some cases two, from the number of pellets fired. In close quarters, this is going to mean that
shotguns are still just as effective as they are in the live game, but semi-automatic weapons
will be slightly less capable at every range. As to whether this is enough is probably going
to depend on your perspective about whether you think shotguns should ever be a one-shot
kill. But let’s look even further back, to Battlefield
3. In Battlefield 3, shotguns had just as much variety as they do now, but they were
not nearly as effective, especially with poor aim. Let’s compare the 870MCS in the two
games. In Battlefield 3, the 870 started dropping off damage at ten meters, and it completely
fell off to its minimum value at 25 meters. In the live version of Battlefield 4, the
870MCS doesn’t start dropping off until 25 meters, and currently remains effective
out to 50 meters. Additionally, in Battlefield 4 the player can add attachments which enhance
its ability to effectively deliver pellets on target at those ranges. With more pellets
fired per shot, the Battlefield 4 shotgun is also far more likely to put damage on target. There’s one more change that is not easy
to see from these charts. Between Battlefield 3 and 4, the damage multipliers for soldiers
changed pretty drastically. In Battlefield 3, buckshot would do 2.35 times damage on
a headshot. In Battlefield 4, there is no such multiplier. Across the rest of the soldier, buckshot pretty
much looks the same. With one major exception. Battlefield 4 introduces the concept of the
Defensive Field Upgrade. This reduces the damage taken on a player’s chest from buckshot
by 7%, and to the arms by 15%. If the shotgun-wielding player is firing flechettes against their
target, this removes the chest bonus and reduces the arm protection to only a 7% damage reduction. But the one shotgun round that is completely
annihilated by the defensive field upgrade is the slug round. Because slugs are an all-or-nothing
damage model for shotguns, missing your shot generally means you die. Otherwise, you have
to accomplish two shots in quick succession — or roughly the same performance as a magnum
sidearm. Except with a pump action, you have a lower rate of fire. The way that the defensive field upgrade changes
the game for slugs is that players have to assume every player is running the field upgrade
and aim for the head. Yes it is possible to turn on a distinctive marker via options — but
that is not going to be viable information in a five-meter battle. Defensive field upgrade is an extreme departure
from the slug model in Battlefield 3, where every shot up to fifteen meters was a guaranteed
kill as long as it landed in the chest or head. In Battlefield 4, landing a chest-shot
only works on unarmored targets at less than 12.5 meters. Defensive field upgrade means
a follow-up shot. I should also mention that it is for this very same reason that the crossbow
was great in Battlefield 3 and why the Bow is terrible in Battlefield 4. This is also why the slug is a punishment
on pump action shotguns and it’s not so bad on semi-automatics. The slug is punished
on the guns that should be rewarded for accuracy, and thanks to the spring patch, it’s completely
obsolete on the semi-automatics. For the semi-automatics, buckshot and flechette are just as effective
at range. So what can we do to fix shotguns? First,
let’s figure out what shotguns are supposed to be. In my mind, shotguns are supposed to
be accurate, one-shot one-kill, close ranged weapons. Essentially you are the range-inverse
of the recon bolt-action. One-shot, one-kill at close range. You’re not effective at
medium or long range, and you have to take on the risk of actually getting that close
to your target. Everywhere else, you’re not very effective at all. That’s your major
trade-off: you have to get where your gun is good. Or at least that’s my opinion of
how it should work. For buckshot and flechette rounds, I’d adopt
more of the Battlefield 3 model, where the shotguns are the most effective at up to fifteen
meters, and quickly sputter out past that point. Hitting chest shots and headshots should
be a bonus afforded to trained players. The choice between semi-automatic and pump-action
should be high accuracy and little deviation with the pumps, and spray-n-pray damage with
the semi-automatics. For pump-action shotguns specifically, I’d
either fix the multiplier on slugs to ignore the defensive field upgrade, or I would give
them a multiplier to chest shots. It currently makes no sense to run slugs on pump actions,
whereas in Battlefield 3 it was a seriously rewarding challenge to hit players in the
chest or the head (at even longer ranges) for a rewarding kill. If you missed, you paid
for it pretty quick. In Battlefield 4, it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense
that the magnum pistols are functionally better than the pump action slugs, specifically so
on armored targets. Finally, I would completely remove the defensive
field upgrade from the game. This is a perk that makes players take nearly ten percent
less damage across the board and grossly perverts all kinds of game damage models. For an example
of how badly it can mess with core mechanics, Hardline’s 50% damage reduction armored
insert was a prime example. Now, I suspect the developers originally added
the defensive field upgrade to specifically stop one-shot kills. However, the net effect
is that entire class of weapons and ammo becomes pointless. Was this the intended effect? It
all comes down to your opinion of if there should be one-shot weapons in the game. I
think if we’re talking about close quarters battles, where the risk and skill required
is high, there definitely should be. But it shouldn’t extend beyond there, which it
does currently. But what can we do for Battlefield 4, or any
upcoming Battlefield title? Well, at the very least with the Fall Patch, shotguns will be
less effective at long range. That patch is done testing and should be in our hands in
short order. Ideally, I’d like to see the developers
dial the range back further, but increase the efficacy of aimed shots against players
— particularly for slug rounds. And for the future, let’s never again put
defensive-style perks in the game. That’s it for this video about fixing shotguns.
What do you think of the current and planned shotgun balance for the game? Is there something
else that you would do? Did you play Battlefield 3 and did you prefer shotguns in that game?
Let me know all the ways you’re feeling in the comments below. And as always, thanks
for watching, and I’ll see you next time, YouTube.

56 thoughts on “Fixing Shotguns – A Look at the “Overpowered” Shotguns – Battlefield 3 (BF3) and Battlefield 4 (BF4)

  1. Great video as always Darth! I feel like I agree with what basically all you've said in the video. Keep up the good work!

  2. will this game be finished some day? the change everything every 3 months. I went to play yesterday and they changed tv missile and vehicles sensitivity… right after I mastered the TV missiles to the point that I was hitting jets now I can't hit shit with them… I know they may be trying to make the game better but if feel like a drop 120 bucks for a "Beta Game" that will never be released

  3. When seeing the BF3 charts, immediately shouts "YES PLS"

    Seriously, BF3's shotgun was fun, runnin and gunnin to players upclose instead of being as effective in range as other weapons

  4. I don't mind the defensive upgrade to an extent, but I do agree that the BF3 damage model/range dropoff should be adopted. I used the 870 pump a lot at that time, and it felt good. Useless at medium & long range, deadly in close range. That's the way it should be. The attachments in BF4 only add to the ridiculous range capabilities brought on by the spring patch, since you see a ton of people using the full choke + buckshot exploit. Taking the increased pellet count and tightening the spread with the full choke, combined with bad damage model, gives it virtually no weakness in medium range on CQ maps like Pearl Market, Lockers, Metro, etc. Returning to the BF3 model would put shotguns right where they belong, and perhaps make attachments like the chokes more of a playstyle preference, and less of an exploit.

  5. I feel that the changes you mentioned were perfect for shotguns. not that I'm blindly saying 'nerf it and nerf it all' and 'any opinion is a good opinion' but shotguns right now are grossly overpowered; more so on maps that cater to close AND medium ranges. You once said that straying away from certain guns and attachments only make you the bad player as you're not adapting to the situation but from what I've seen and heard from fellow players, there's an unspoken ban in the more competitive community of battlefield where shotguns and the use of them are frowned upon. Obviously, from my comment, you can tell that I'm part of that mindset and wouldn't mind seeing shotguns nerfed into oblivion like the UCAV but it unfortunately still has to be viable somewhere and that somewhere is also unfortunately in close quarters where infantry centric games are player

  6. Defensive perk is really nasty..
    It also affects bolt action rifles if you go for that close quarter action, which I loved to do in BF3 but is so much more reliant on the sidearm now that your TTK is just too high and aggressive recon is not as rewarding.

  7. One Problem is that every class has access to them, they completely skip class balance.
    Give Shotguns to the Engineer only for example and you'd see a lot less people using them in non vehicle focused maps.
    In Hardline Shotguns have replaced (together with "Battle Rifles") the LMG of the Support Class and i can't say that shotguns are overused or as annoying in that game, they are still a low skill weapon but with the fast TTK of Hardline you still have a good chance to put down any shotgun user before he can one shot you.
    In BF4 the TTK of everything is simply too slow to outgun anyone with a one shot shotgun who isn't a complete pleb and any class can use it.
    Take for example the M4 or M16A4, burst fire weapons, 3 bullets, you need 2 bursts to kill anyone because it needs 4 or 5 bullets to do 100 damage. This is 2 mouseclicks vs. 1 mouseclick and your aim needs to be precise for the full burst to hit, there is clearly a balance issue there.
    The TTK in BF4 is pretty damn slow after they changed it to compensate for the 10Hz Netcode, it looks like we are going to keep this damage model and if we do then i would argue that Shotguns should indeed be a 2 shot kill at best to increase their TTK, automatic shotguns even 3 shot kills.
    Otherwise bring the overall TTK of the game back down…

  8. I'll be the odd-one out saying that I think shotguns should be extremely effective at even medium ranges. I have no issue with buckshot out-ranging most AR's :P. I just hate the infantry-focused maps and don't even think they should exist. Shotguns as they are right now seem perfectly balanced on maps like Rogue and Golmud. I think the effectiveness of shotguns on smaller maps are more of an exploitation of common player habits. Shotgun buckshot really is that effective in real life up to medium range. I mean, people use them to hunt birds. But many players don't cover up their entire bodies in the close quarters maps, and instead run around very exposed. The shotgun thrives on this, but has a difficult time killing players who are behind cover, prone, or crouch-leaning around corners. Those are realistic ways that shotguns can be overcome. I think this debate has more to do with how authentic vs. arcadey you want BF to play, vs. it simply being about one shot kills.

  9. I agree with you on almost everything here. I would like to see pump action shot guns be a one shot kill inside of 10 meters and a 2 shot up to 18 meters and after that damage should fall off a cliff. The semi auto shotguns just need to go away. Balancing around both types just about always effect the balance of shotguns in a negative way and semi shotguns degrade the risk reward factor of running a shotgun to near 0. Also just get rid of the slug or hear me out here before you rage….. Make it an equipment slot item on the shotgun that can be toggled on and off and keep it as a one shot kill only out to 35 meter as a head shot and or 2 to the chest out to 40. This would reward skill and accurate fire and make the shotgun viable at both short to mid rage but only in the hands of a skilled player. As far as the defensive perk goes, keep it. It adds to the risk reward factor. The defensive perk is fine the way it is. The problem is that there is nothing else worth picking other then maybe the anti tank perk. Boosting the value of the other kits would quickly take people out of the defensive perk auto equip mindset. But I love how it does add to the risk reward aspect to shotgun users.

  10. You know there's something wrong when it takes 6 bullets to kill with AEK in 50 meters but 3 with spas in the same range.

  11. I dont really understand why frag rounds r soooo weak u r shooting a fucking explosive rounds for god sake why wont the player die!!!!!???

  12. ?what is the loadout you were using on the Saiga12k
    .And i must say i learned a lot from this video and i can see the effort
    Good job mate

  13. The whole defensive upgrade issue reminds me of the Bad Company 2 days when it almost felt like you HAD to run Magnum Ammo to counter everyone because they were using the Ceramic Body Armor. They learned the lesson and left it out of BF3 but then regressed in BF4. It's a shame.

  14. If I am within 25 meters and shoot you with a 1 ounce slug, yes it should be a one shot kill. It's fuckin' absurd that people running defensive will live through that.

  15. 1. Take out defensive perk.
    2. Try to play BF4.
    3. Get shot with active radar across the map and die.
    4. Play BF3.
    5. Have fun playing a well balanced game.

  16. Here's the thing: The vast majority of people calling shotguns "overpowered" are using the word as a misnomer, as they usually get killed by a shotgun in situations where shotguns are king. There is an issue with the range, no doubt. But what frustrates people the most is when a shotgun can outgun an AR or carbine at mid-range. Take a map such as Pearl Market as showcased in your video, being able to outgun say an AK5C with an 870 down the corridor at C, should never be a thing. The damage drop off from BF3 was IMO an effective model as it forced players to get close with their shotguns, not use the peek-and-lean to abuse a broken range mechanic.

  17. in my opinion Pump actions should be effective up to 25m and have higher damage on buck and flechette where as semis should be effective til 15m and have lower damage on buck and fletch. That way pumps are dominant in Dam and semis are in DPS like they should be.

  18. i think the range makes sense because bf4 is just mostly range combat and the shotguns should be able to stand a chance at those mediumish ranges at least a little bit

  19. IMO Defensive perk should go. Semi-autos should only OHK at < 2 metres. Effective range should be dialed back on all shotguns by 20%.

  20. I hate semi autos with frag rounds and especially when they have thermal sights I always killed by someone on a roof on tdm like on langcang dam people just camp with ammo boxes and kill people off spawns

  21. shotguns should not be useless at medium ranges, just outclassed. In real life they can hit a target at 40 meters. Should it be a 1 hit KO? Probably not, unless using slugs. It would likely take a few shots to kill. Shotguns should be a 1 hit ko to around 25 meters or so assuming most of the projectile connect.

  22. I prefer almost every aspect of Battlefield 3 or 4. Except being able to move your head while climbing, and being able swim underwater.

  23. What if the defense upgrade made you slower, whether your running or aim down sight, it should effect the player with some negative, just like certain attachments on the weapons.

  24. I loved shotguns in BF3… The SPAS-12 with SLUGS were the way to go for me at least. You had to have a good aim for it. Now the shotguns in BF4 are way to OP. Everyone with bad aim is using it, so that they have the chance to kill someone and that is exactly what i mean with unfair. If i loose a fight close quarter against a shotgun i have no problem. I have problems to loose a gunfight against a shotgun, when my enemy is on the other side of the map and 2-3 pellets hit me to death.

  25. Shotguns should only be useful at very close range. Not just close, but very close… say within 10-15m. Anything after that should require 4 or 5 shots to kill. I see some of the shots you get and I shake my head because you are 2-shotting people who I would consider medium range. I think BF3 had the right formula of lethality up close but with limited range. I only used them on the Close Quarters DLC. Agreed, on the defensive perk, it has no place in this game and can disappear along with the UCAV as far as I'm concerned. DICE seem to be too worried about the "newcomer" and want to give them a boost instead of just letting them learn and get better on their own.

    Also, whats w/ the screen tearing on BF3? As a console player, that would drive me nuts. Was that a trade-off decision? I can't believe anyone would choose screen tearing for some extra frames or resolution, IMHO.

  26. The body armor needs to go to the last upgrade in the defensive field upgrade. If they aren't going to remove it, atleast make a player work for it as opposed to just giving them a free kill against shotgun users (and very rarely sniper users).

  27. They need to make the hip fire crosshair represent you actual pellet spread. Give shotguns a headshot multiplier. Keep pumps the way they are and change the semi autos back to the way they were before the shotgun patch. Then I agree slugs need to get buffed. I'd like to see flechette get buffed to be more viable. Right now it's only advantages are tightening pellet spread and increasing muzzle velocity. It lost its range and long range damage advantages in the patch.

  28. My pet-peeve is: Dice does not base their guns, ammo and affects thereof on reality, but base their criteria on the snivelers who complain about being killed in one shot – even if in reality, that is exactly what would happen. Another pet-peeve of mine are the You Tube commentators who do most of the sniveling and complaints,  constantly demanding a gun be nerfed. (Not meaning you in particular – but there are commentators I use to go to, which I was always complaining about them demanding a gun be nerfed.)

  29. Sniper Rifles should be the only 1 shot cqc weapons. They need it to have any sort of defense against other weapons. But they rely heavily on extreme accuracy. You have one shot and you have to make it count. I think PDWs should be the premiere cqc weapons and they should be all kit weapons. Carbines should go back to being Engineer specific and DMRs need to go back to Recon so they have a more balanced class will competitive weapons that rely on skill. Shotguns can go along with the defensive upgrade. With PDWs being the only all kit weapon (other than pistols) allows each class to be good at something and adds a little more usefulness to each one. It also makes things a little bit simpler. This game seems to want to be skill based but then it removes a good bit of skill with weapons like the shotguns. I shouldn't be able to outgun a Scar user at middle distances where the Scar should shine.

  30. multiple ways to fix it. 1 make the support class the only one that can use body armor 2 make the layer run 50% slower while using it (as its a defensive gadget) 3. make it the last upgrade you unlock.. i think it could have been a balanced upgrade if they did these 3 things..

  31. I think everybody can agree that shotguns were better/more useful prior to BF4. There was no such thing as the Armor/Defensive perk and none of that hip-fire weirdness until BF4. The 870 was my best gun in BF3, but now I pretty much forgotten about it preferring the Saiga over it. Pump shotguns just aren't good anymore.

  32. semi auto shotguns have unrealistic recoil. if anyone has ever fired a pump 12g they know the intense kick or recoil thats delivered. same goes for the G-18 full auto 9mm with 21 rounds, are you kidding me? good luck trying to fire that accruacte​ly even if your target is within 10m

  33. The defense perks are fine. However the order of the benefits is are not. The base boost to the character should not be more armour.

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