Following Call of Duty Elite, Activision's paid service that offers players access to exclusive in-game content, EA has launched its own paid service for Battlefield 3 - Battlefield Premium. This service offers players exclusive in-game content, certain perks, as well as all the DLC (Downloadable Content) DICE are about to churn out for Battlefield 3. This DLC will set you back by Rs.2,700, which is ironically far more than what you pay for the base game (at least for the PC version). The price was nearly half at launch (roughly Rs.1,500, if my memory serves me correctly), but EA have bumped it up after certain enterprising people the world over started using loopholes to grab it at that price. With the new price, Premium has quickly gone from being a must-buy to ‘buy-only-if-hardcore-Battlefield 3-player’.
Your new content
The meat of Battlefield 3 Premium lies in the actual playable content which comprises of five map packs and a slew of new weapons. These five map packs include Back to Karkand; so even if you own it (when you purchased the limited edition of Battlefield 3), it’s still shoved down your throat with Premium. And you’re paying for it, which kind of sucks. The other map packs included in Premium such as Close Quarters, Armored Kill, Aftermath and End Game will be released at regular intervals across the year. Purchasing Premium will grant you early access to these packs across all platforms.
New weapons will be included in every map pack but you have to complete certain Assignments to unlock them. These could include anything from racking up 10 knife kills to blowing 20 enemies up with an underslung grenade launcher. I personally feel working towards unlocking these weapons is far better than just handing them to players on a platter. Of course, if you’re paying for it, certain players may not like the fact that they have to jump through loopholes to procure them.
Besides map packs and weapons, Premium' contents are really not going to change your life. As of now, their Video section features one video with Close Quarters’ lead designer, Niklas Fegraeus talking about the four new maps - Ziba Tower, Operation 925, Donya Fortress and Scrap Metal. He lays down a few tips along the way, but trust me, nothing can prepare you for the chaos and confusion that ensues. It’s something you just have to dive right into and experience first-hand. Premium members are awarded Queue Priority, which means they’re given preference over non-Premium members when it comes to joining servers. I personally find this rather obnoxious on DICE’s part because non-Premium members have bought the game too; why penalize them like this?
As a premium member, you can also partake in certain Double XP events that allow you to rack up points a bit faster than normal. This is good news for newcomers who wish to rank up faster so they can quickly experience newer weapons, but for vets who’ve unlocked everything, it’s pretty redundant. Other than that, there’s also a bunch of superficial stuff in there like carbon fiber dogtags, a carbon fiber print for your profile page, new camouflage for certain weapons, and the ability to reset your statistics. Like I said, not really earth-shattering material.
Your very own BF3 calendar
As of now, Battlefield 3 Premium is kind of a gamble because no one really knows how the map packs will turn out to be. Plus, if Back to Karkand is any indication, people have the tendency to stick to base maps, and shelling out Rs. 2,700 on maps that may soon be deserted may not seem like a viable option. What's more, as of today, Premium doesn’t really offer anything that that warrants an immediate purchase. Still, if you have absolute faith in DICE and are planning on playing Battlefield 3 for a long time, Premium makes sense because you’ll end paying nearly the same if you decide to buy all map packs individually. On the other hand, if you’re on the fence, I suggest holding off till the price drops.