Frequently Asked Questions

Each answer includes a straightforward response, and questions with a continued explanation are linked to FURTHER INFORMATION in an appendix. The “(rev. m/y)” next to each question indicates the last time that question was edited.

1. Introduction to PURE Battlefield

2. Game experience with PURE

3. PURE rules and server administration

4. Other Information

1. Introduction to PURE Battlefield:

What is PURE Battlefield? (added 15/04/2014)

PURE Battlefield is an open gaming community whose aim concisely is to provide a fun and social gaming environment to anyone who wants to be a part of it. We explain in more detail in the About PURE Battlefield document, so please do check that out.

Is PURE Battlefield a clan? (rev. 3/14)

PURE Battlefield is not a clan, but rather a community of Battlefield players sharing the ideals outlined in our vision.  Unlike most clans, our community is open, with anybody welcome to join.

What are the requirements for joining PURE? (added 15/04/2014)

There are no membership requirements, application processes, or approvals required for joining PURE. Anyone who wishes to play and socialize with PURE on PURE’s servers, teamspeak and subreddit is free to do so at any time! If you want to be part of PURE, then you’re already a part of PURE.

The only requirement asked for playing with PURE is that you follow the Community Rules when you’re playing on PURE, representing the community by wearing [PURE] tags, or are using PURE teamspeak. The rules are short and simple, and essentially ask members to treat others with respect and have a good and fair time, and can be found via our reddit at all times, as well as by following this link.

What is the [PURE] tag? (rev. 3/14)

Adopting the [PURE] tag is simply a way to highlight your participation in the PURE BATTLEFIELD community. Anybody may use—or not use—the [PURE] tag if they so desire. Players who do decide to wear the [PURE] tag are asked to uphold our community rules at all times, even when on other servers, as players who see the tag will often assume the wearer is representative of the PURE BATTLEFIELD community.

Will the PURE community expand? (rev. 2/14)

PURE is expanding. We have a number of major areas of growth we are currently pursuing, for a detailed outline please see our Community Strategy. We’ve already grown from an idea into a 4,000+ member community, and a single server to four. We’ve gone from a small group of volunteers to over 40 people. We’d all like nothing more than to expand quicker, but we recognize that the key to our success has been the care and time we’ve taken in every step of our expansion, in order to ensure the highest quality and consistency in everything we do.

The success of our previous expansion projects have also been dependent on strong community support. We are a community of gamers, for gamers, and in terms of expansion we wouldn’t want to deploy any major project without first being absolutely sure that we have the best interests of the community in mind, or that the majority of the community would get a lot of use use or benefit from such an expansion.

FURTHER INFORMATION

How, and by whom, is your community run? (rev. 2/14)

For in-depth detail of how our community is governed, including our leadership philosophy, decision-making process, and volunteer organization, please see our community governance page.

Oversight of Team Leads and the community as a whole is the duty of our Community Lead, James Hogan (jhogan@purebattlefield.org).

Many community members of PURE BATTLEFIELD volunteer on one or several of our volunteer teams: the Administrator Team, Communications Team, Operations Team, Software Development Team, Seeding Team, Records and Accounts Team, Special Projects, and our Events Organizers. Most of these teams are managed by a Team Lead, who oversees the duties and responsibilities of their team. Our teams’ task queues can be viewed here. More information on serving as a volunteer is available here. FURTHER INFORMATION

2. Game Experience with PURE:

How does PURE BATTLEFIELD use TeamSpeak? (rev. 2/14)

Teamspeak is integral to the PURE BATTLEFIELD experience. When a player joins our Teamspeak server, and then joins one of our battlefield servers, our “TS3Sync” plugin will automatically put them in a private teamspeak channel along with any members of their in-game squad who are also on Teamspeak. Teamspeak is far superior to BF4′s current in-game voip, and fosters active communication and tactical, squad-based teamplay in-game, as well as a friendly and social experience online. More info can be found in our Quick-Start Guide, and our TeamSpeak Guide. FURTHER INFORMATION

What are your map rotations? How are they determined? (rev. 3/14)

Detailed map rotations and info can be found right here. Every few months or so we do a big community poll (usually around when a DLC gets released) to determine what the map rotation will be. Then we have volunteers that analyze the data and figure out, based on popularity, which maps should show up and how often. It’s all very democratic and it’s the way most people like it to be done. It’s also part of the PURE philosophy to give every map a place in the rotation in order to maintain that vanilla, default gameplay goodness. FURTHER INFORMATION

Do you have default vehicle spawn timers? What about tickets? (rev. 2/14)

Yes—our servers all use default (100%) vehicle spawn timers, as well as 100% defaults for all other adjustable options (like player spawn timers, ticket count, player health and weapon damage, etc.).

Why don’t you have policies against attacking enemy uncaps? (rev. 3/14)

We believe that using standard gameplay rules, objectively enforced by the game software, is most conducive to a fair, competitive gameplay experience. The integration of custom rules creates room for discrepancies and inconsistency in the enforcement of such rules. Rules against attacking enemy uncaps are simply one example of this, as they run into a lot of problems when it comes to objectively and fairly applying them. How do we define “attacking an enemy uncap?” Is it the position of the attacker? The target? We believe that this cannot be measured, in practice, in a way that’s intuitively clear to everyone involved. FURTHER INFORMATION

How do you balance teams? (rev. 2/14)

Carefully.  At the end of every round, our balancer looks at the scoreboard and takes into account the number of players, and SPM (score per minute) for each, it will then attempt to keep squads together while it moves players accordingly for the next round.

While a round is going on, it will only switch players to even the team sizes, preferring unsquadded players whenever possible, and it will stop all balancing as well as preventing players from switching teams near the end of a round.

Community members with a rank of captain or above are immune only to mid-round balance as a donor perk.  PURE tags are not a factor in any way, there is no human input, and thus our balancer remains completely objective. FURTHER INFORMATION

3. PURE Rules and Server Administration:

How do you enforce server rules? (rev. 2/14)

We maintain a large Server Administrator Teams of active, responsible, and fair volunteers, who quickly handle situations in which cheaters or jerks are disrupting the server environments. There is always an admin on each server, or on-call for that server, who are available to respond immediately upon an incident occurring. We also use Metabans, and all of our servers stream toPBBans,GGC-Stream andAnti-Cheat Inc. Anyone caught cheating through these services is automatically banned on our server, as well as anyone who achieves over 20 kills per minute (which is virtually impossible without a third party hack tool).

To reach an admin at any time, use the in-game chat box command !pageadmin <reason>. For less time-sensitive inquiries about rule violations or suspected cheaters, you can also email admins@purebattlefield.org if you would like to speak to an admin at length. FURTHER INFORMATION

How do your Anti-Cheat Investigations work? (rev. 2/14)

More information on our enforcement strategies is available here: PURE BATTLEFIELD Anti-Cheat Measures.

When someone is accused of cheating, we always take a careful look before making any action. We make sure to be responsive to players on our server using the !pageadmin command to report cheaters, and we also regularly check server logs in order to spot player statistics which may indicate cheating.

We align ourselves with the standard of innocence until proven guilty. If there is reasonable doubt of a players performance being achieved illegitimately, then no enforcement action is taken.

The purpose of our Anti-Cheat Investigations is to objectively determine that a player’s performance—using round-specific statistical metrics including accuracy, time between kills, average damage, headshot-kill ratio, hit-kill ratio, etc.—could not have been achieved through any means besides a third-party hack tool.

FURTHER INFORMATION

What are the consequences for breaking PURE Battlefield’s Server Rules? (rev. 3/14)

Exact enforcement actions will always depend on the severity of the offence. Our philosophy at PURE is to use enforcement actions as a way to protect the community by stopping or deterring harmful behavior, rather than simply to punish individuals. Enforcement actions typically start with a warning, then a kick, followed by a temporary ban (the length of which depends on the offence), and finally a permanent ban.

Bigoted and hateful language of any kind is against PURE rules and can result in an automated kickwithout warning, a repeated offence WILL result in a kick, then progress to a temporary ban and so forth upon repeated offences. FURTHER INFORMATION

Do you kick high pingers? Why not? (rev. 2/14)

No—we have no kick policy against high-ping players, and we will not enforce any such policy in the future.

There are many European players in the PURE BATTLEFIELD community – especially from the UK and Germany – and neither these players nor our American regulars report any negative effects on gameplay from their presence. High ping does not bog down the server, nor does it give it the player an advantage in a firefight. The high-ping player experiences the same annoying gameplay quirks (like getting shot behind cover) that others do, and will usually leave if their ping becomes far too high anyway. FURTHER INFORMATION

4. Other Information:

Where are PURE servers located? (rev. 3/14)

In order to achieve the best latency middle ground for players located throughout the United States and on both the east and west coasts, we opted to host our servers in the centrally located city of Chicago.

More information can be found on our PURE BATTLEFIELD Servers page.

What PURE servers are there? (added 15/04/2014)

There was originally only one PURE Battlefield server, but the number has grown significantly, and continues to grow thanks to the help of our generous donors and volunteers. At time of writing, PURE runs 4 full-time Battlefield 4 servers and 1 additional sandbox/community events server used for special community events and plugin testing, but this is subject to change over time, so up-to-date information and links to all our servers can be found on our PURE Battlefield Server List page.

APPENDIX

Why don’t you have policies against attacking enemy uncaps?

PURE BATTLEFIELD’s vision for our servers includes an environment in which Battlefield may be played as  intended by its developers. Imposing rules restricting gameplay is a means by which server admins attempt to solve so-called “problems” by attempting to restrict tactics that they view as being “cheap.”

We do not have any rules regarding tactics, weapons, or anything allowed by the game software. In this way, there is no gray area for preferential treatment or inconsistency in rule enforcement: either the game allows an action, or it does not (aside from exploitation of bugs, of course, which we do police).

Server Gameplay-Rules Philosophy In More Detail

We reference the oft-quoted article “Playing To Win” in consideration of this philosophy, in which its author Sirlin describes that:

[A player who does not play to win] is bound up by an intricate construct of fictitious rules that prevent him from ever truly competing. These made-up rules vary from game to game, of course, but their character remains constant. The good players will find incredibly overpowering tactics and patterns [and will have] found the “cheap stuff” and abused it. The vast majority of tactics that at first appear unbeatable end up having counters, though they are often quite esoteric and difficult to discover. [The good players] know how to stop the cheap stuff. They know how to stop the other guy from stopping it so they can keep doing it. And as is quite common in competitive games, many new tactics will later be discovered that make the original cheap tactic look wholesome and fair. I’ve talked about how the expert player is not bound by rules of “honor” or “cheapness” and simply plays to maximize his chances of winning. When he plays against other such players, “game theory” emerges.

Our policy towards allowing attacks on enemy uncaps is a particularly accurate reflection of these ideals: in many conquest games where one team succeeds in capturing a majority of the objectives, many players tend to migrate beyond the flags closest to the turtled enemy’s base, in search of points and more opponents to eliminate. The pressure that they levy on their opponents’ uncapturable base is known colloquially as “base raping,” since these opponents suddenly find themselves vulnerable to enemy fire in their “safe zone.”

However, such a push by a dominating team results in poor defensive positions on flags towards the rear and periphery of the map, allowing members of the turtled team to exploit this weakness and more easily perform back-flag captures on their previously dominating enemy. The caught-off-guard team scampers back to recapture these objectives, thus leaving those closest to the enemy base with less protection and allowing the tides to turn in favor of the “underdogs.” Remember: shifting attention to a team’s base involves allocating assets to an assault on an uncapturable objective, and the team thereby spreads thin their coverage of the actual objectives spanning the remainder of the map—sometimes so thin that an enemy can succeed in capturing one or more such flags single-handedly in the face of no resistance.

Had base raping been forbidden in this scenario, the dominating team would have been unable to act on their greed and expose this weakness; they would be limited instead to holding well-defended positions at their flags, making them nearly impervious to capture by the losing team. In response, many losing-team players would begin sniping or mortar-firing from base (in an effort to at least earn some points before the conclusion of the round), leading to a frustrating scenario from both teams’ perspectives: the losing team lacks the front-lines manpower to push flags as more players defect to ranged tactics, and the dominating team has to dodge mortar explosions and sniper bullets while being disallowed to fire back so as not to “base rape.” Both teams sit annoyed, caught in the stalemate imposed by the arbitrary rule, and are reduced to staring at the ticket counter as they wait for the round to end.

What are your map rotations? How are they determined?

The link above also explains in great detail the methods through which the map rotations are generated, as well as the sub-rotations utilized by the servers when they are not quite at their near-full capacities.

Part of our vision for the PURE BATTLEFIELD servers is the inclusion of all available maps into the map rotations—even those slightly less popular than others. For example, even the least popular map in BF3, Alborz Mountains, still had 32% of players indicate in our map poll that they liked or loved it. Popularity of maps, then, serves to dictate the frequency at which maps appear in the rotation: we have five categories for popularity based on votes, wherein maps in the most popular category appear five times, those in the second-most-popular category appear four times, and so forth to the lowest-popularity category, whose maps appear only once.

Instead of implementing a map vote via in-game chat, in order to have players in the server at the time vote for the next map, we prefer a poll-based system which ensures unpopular maps aren’t cut completely from the rotation.

Will the PURE community expand?

To elaborate, there are lots of really hard things about opening, for example, an EU server, just some include:

  • Starting a new community mostly from scratch (much less overlap with the current community)
  • Time zone barriers for “PURE HQ” training / overseeing local community leads
  • Language barriers will make it harder to recruit
  • Adaptation of policies to local culture (e.g. I bet “Nazi” is a much worse word in Germany than it is here, and might reasonably trigger a PURE bigoted language policy on a German/EU server, but… I don’t know, and more to the point, there are probably 100 issues like this I don’t understand because I’m American)
  • Back-end payment processing in different currencies & jurisdictions
  • What language should server content be in? English? German? (I think Germany has the largest percentage of BF4 players by far.) Multiple? What does the UI for that look like?
  • Need for multilingual admin team (which is not a big issue here in practice, but probably would be in Europe)

We would love to do it someday but we’ll need to get the hang of U.S. expansion first.

How do you defend against cheaters (and how do you enforce your basic server rules, like those against bigoted language or bug exploitation)?

When the !pageadmin <reason> command is entered, any admins currently in the server receive on their screens a large blue-banner “yell” with the contents of the admin page, and if admins are not present in the server, both text messages and emails are automatically dispatched to the admin teams. These notifications are delivered as soon as the pageadmin command is entered, and members of our admin team respond within seconds of receiving the notification, no matter the time of day (or night).

In line with our commitment to transparency, we publish a public Kick/Ban log that provides reasoning for every single kick or ban our Administrator Team enforces, updated at least every 24 hours (and often within minutes of the enforcement action).

Lastly, we offer an appeals process for players who would like more information concerning their ban, as well as those who feel that they may have been wrongly banned and would like to offer evidence to the contrary. Despite conducting meticulous investigations into suspected cheaters before enforcing any permanent action, we take the appeals process very seriously, and have no reservations about reversing any decision we have made in light of evidence suggesting a mistake on our part. Start an appeal by emailing appeals@purebattlefield.org.

How do your anti-cheat investigations work?

We value the thoroughness of our administrators in their investigations of cheating accusations just as much as we do our rapid response time to such notifications. PURE BATTLEFIELD operates not only our Server Administrator Team, but also Anti-Cheat Investigations, which ensure that only actual cheaters—and not the very skilled players that our servers often attract—are punished for their unpermitted conduct.

Our Anti-Cheat Investigations are carried out by many veteran members of the Server Administrator Team who possess experience in analyzing statistical data of players’ performance in games, and the team also consults with several long-time participants in the Metabans community.

Since our credibility has lended itself to many other servers using our ban lists in their anti-cheat enforcement, we do not take our decisions lightly given the extent of their propagation, and go to very large lengths to prevent any false-positives (non-hackers being labeled as hackers). And even if our actions were viewed exclusively from a “self-serving” perspective in which we do only what matters for maximizing our credibility, being absolutely certain before reaching any verdicts in cases of suspected hacking would still be the only viable way to further this supposed “credibility-boosting agenda.”

To discuss some more specifics, our Anti-Cheat Investigations do not use popular “Cheat-O-Meter” tools to derive any final verdicts on cheating behavior, although they are occasionally used in the investigations process as a possible means to slightly narrow down which suspected-cheater’s statistics should be investigated in more depth (e.g., by narrowing down a suspected hacker’s particular weapons of choice). Final verdicts are based on extensive review of round-specific performance, derived from both our own server logs as well as third-party stats services such as those from Battlefield 4 Stats (BF4stats), and from the P-Stats Network.

What are the consequences for breaking PURE BATTLEFIELD’s server rules?

At PURE BATTLEFIELD, we hate “badmins”—the type of administrators many of us have run into at other servers, who arbitrarily kill/kick/ban players on a whim in the absence of any justifiable reason—as much as everyone else, and our public Kick/Ban Log is a testament the level of public accountability to which we hold our Administrator Team. Our Administrators are permitted to utilize admin-level commands only in their enforcement of our Server Rules (the reason for which is then documented in our public log), and with the exception of cheating and bigoted language, will always provide warnings before escalating to more strict levels of enforcement.

Besides instances of bigoted language and cheating, consequences of all enforcement actions taken by our Administration Team occur in the following order: a warning, then a kick, then a three-day temporary ban, and finally a permanent ban. Instances of bigoted language bypass a warning and are handled directly with kicks (and, if they occur a second time, they progress to a temporary ban, and so forth), and instances of cheating result directly in permanent bans (more specifically, a temporary ban initially served by the Server Administrator if there is no reasonable doubt of cheating, and upped to permanent ban soon after by an Administration Team Lead at the conclusion of thorough documentation by the Anti-Cheat Investigations Team).

Kicked players are kicked from only our game servers, and not our TeamSpeak server, and may immediately rejoin our servers so long as they do not continue to behave in violation of our rules. Banned players are automatically restricted from joining any of our game servers or our TeamSpeak Server for the duration of their ban.

How does PURE BATTLEFIELD use TeamSpeak?

TeamSpeak is a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) program that, in conjunction with our server-side “TS3Sync” plugin, allows players who are connected to our Battlefield servers to be automatically grouped into private squad voice channels, allowing real-time squad communication with squadmates. At the end of each round as the score results and loading screens are displayed, players are temporarily placed back into the common server lobby to talk amongst each other about the game, and are then automatically regrouped into their squad channels once the next round begins.

This feature has become a favorite of many PURE BATTLEFIELD regulars, as it allows for on-the-fly communication among squad members and promotes the extensive objective-oriented coordination that makes gameplay on our servers so enjoyable and rewarding.

For more information, please see our TeamSpeak Guide, which covers everything from installing TeamSpeak and connecting to our TS server, to optimizing microphone and volume-controlling plugin settings.

Do you kick high pingers? Why not?

Low-ping players often irrationally despise high-ping players, because they see having high ping as some sort of advantage; in reality, this is not the case, because the high-ping player is at a disadvantage. More specifically, high ping grants a much greater net disadvantage to a high-ping player’s abilities than it does to the enemies by whom they are engaged in firefights. A high ping does not confer either player an overall advantage — otherwise competitive teams would want to play on international servers all the time!

When being fired at and killed by a high-ping player, it occasionally appears as if you were shot “around a corner,” especially if you were peeking from cover. And this can be frustrating when considered from the perspective of literally being shot through a wall. But a consideration of what the high-latency player sees from their frame of reference clears up this issue: he sees you exposed from cover, and shoots your character, and kills you on his screen before you retreated to cover, so there were no bullet-curving shenanigans on his end. Had a lower-ping player instead shot and killed you, you simply would have been killed while exposed. But because the same action was performed by a high-ping player,  it takes a few fractions of a second longer for this you-were-killed message to travel to your client, and thus gives you time to briefly duck behind cover before having your soldier die. That is, you were fairly targeted and shot in this scenario whether or not your enemy had high ping; the only difference is that it takes slightly longer for the high-ping player to tell your client that they killed you than it takes the same information to reach you from a lower-ping opponent.

The higher-ping player is “living in the past” of the server, so to speak, meaning that they see things not as they are to a very low-ping player, but as they were for that player some few hundredths or tenths of a second prior. This means that if both a low-ping player and a high-ping player pop out from behind a corner at the same absolute time in reality, the low-ping player will see the high-ping player appear first, before the high-ping player sees the low-ping player. This gives the low-ping player a non-negligible advantage, since they can shoot and deal damage first. Also consider this: when choosing a server, you would always rather join a low-ping server than a high-ping server, specifically because of the relative advantage you are granted.

As a result, because the PURE BATTLEFIELD community is centered on universal inclusion and on everyone being welcome, and because players with high latency are at a relative disadvantage relative to low-ping players (and thus are not being “unfair” in any way relative to low-ping players), we stand behind the decision to avoid enforcement of any kind of ping-based policy.

With this in mind, however, we do reserve the ability to manually kick players who we suspect are artificially inflating their latency (and attaining ridiculous pings above 500-1000 ms) with the intent of somehow disrupting the server or performing some exploit.

How do you balance teams?

Note that no balancer is perfect, and even perfectly balanced teams are no guarantee of a balanced game.  As in any competitive game, even well-balanced teams may perform wildly different from one game to another.

Many servers achieve balanced games by constantly doing mid-round swapping of skilled players from the winning team with less skilled players on the losing team.  While this can result in lower ticket spreads, it undermines the integrity of the competition, since teams become “things to be manipulated to achieve a low ticket spread” rather than “two static entities engaged in a fair fight.”   In this scenario, whether you are on the winning team is not determined by your team’s skill or coordination, but by which team the balancer happens to have you in when the round ends.  PURE does not use this method of balancing.

Because we prefer to run ALL maps, and skill in Battlefield is highly varied (tankers, pilots, soldiers etc.)  we can run into balance “problems” that we choose to do nothing about.  Taking action in these circumstances would break our server rules, our vision for a PURE battlefield, as well as the objectivity we gain in using a software-based balancer.

That said, maps that cater to different skill sets can sometimes throw off our (or any servers’) balancer. If, for example, an exceptional tank driver joins during an infantry-only map round, that players’ skill can’t be considered when balancing for the next round, which could then take place on a tank-friendly map. Other examples include skilled players that leave (or crash) mid-round, or simply a highly effective and coordinated trio of squads, are all things our balancer cannot, and does not  account for. In order to account for this our balancer would have to break up teamspeak squads extremely often, hampering the social experience we are trying to provide.

How, and by whom, is your community run?

At PURE, one of the core tenets of our community values is to maintain clear transparency in our operations, in order to garner support and trust from our members. We achieve this goal through a wide variety of avenues. During periods of recruitment, applications to volunteer positions are publicly announced and made available to everyone; we post frequent updates on the state of the community and upcoming projects, operate a public kick/ban log, and post in-depth information about our finances for everyone to see.