A developer has confirmed the Battlefield 5 tick rate for multiplayer in the upcoming first-person shooter. Someone from the DICE team laid out their plans for multiplayer tick rates, at least for launch. The details come amid backlash for Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 which had its server tick rate allegedly cut by more than half.
DICE multiplayer producer David Sirland responded to a tweet asking for information about the Battlefield 5 tick rate. Sirland said, “We will start out with the same settings at BF1 [Battlefield 1]. 30Hz on console, 60Hz on PC. But that’s a start, and we’ll invest in improving that too.”
A server tick rate is, essentially, the number of times the game simulation will update in a given second. A 60Hz tick rate would update the game simulation 60 times in one second. For many first-person shooters, including Call of Duty and Battlefield, that tick rate was parallel to the 60 frames per second target on consoles. In comparison, the 30Hz tick rate that Battlefield 1 uses on console updates the server for every other frame. The higher a server tick rate, the more responsive it will be to player inputs.
Battlefield games in the past have experimented with a variety of other tick rates, and it would seem that Battlefield 5 will likely do the same. Batttlefield 4 had test servers running at 45Hz up to 120Hz for various game modes. The higher tick rates brought many glitches and bugs to the game—and were never rolled out for most game modes.
The tick rate split between consoles and PC is largely a performance problem. The PS4 and Xbox One processors would be unable to handle the large amount of data streaming from multiplayer servers. Call of Duty has been able to use 60Hz servers because of its smaller player counts for individual matches. Black Ops 4 hasn’t held as closely to that optimal tick rate.
Fans of Black Ops 4 noticed that the game was not running as well as it had during the beta. Server tick rates were cut drastically, from 60Hz to 20Hz according to some users. Black Ops 4‘s Blackout battle royale mode had been running at 20Hz during the beta, and is still far below a 60Hz tick rate in the final release. Many have said the game feels worse, and Treyarch said it is still working on a fix.
Server tick rates aren’t an end-all-be-all though. Battlefield developer DICE is often lauded for the netcode implementation in their multiplayer experiences. Battlefield 5 has a high probability of being responsive and well tuned, thanks in part to DICE’s experience and years-long utilization of similar tick rates.