Battlefield 2042 introduces a tactical mode for 32 players called Hazard Zone. I described it as ‘Escape From Tarkov Lite” in my early impressions of BF2042. This is a squad-vs-squad race that aims to escape alive and acquire random data drives. In a game mode like this, communication is vital. It’s, therefore, somewhat surprising that there is no squad VOIP system for Battlefield 2042.

EA says voice chat will be available “ASAP,” but DICE believes that coordinated squads of people will communicate via Discord or other standalone chat apps for launch.

This assumption is reasonable for friends who play the game together, but players who join a four-player team in Hazard Zone solo will need to use text chat and a chat menu to request ammo, healing, or other items. The built-in ping system leaves much to be desired. It was easy to miss an enemy’s ping and accidentally highlight a location rather than warn my squad.

However, pinging can be effective to a certain extent. BF2042 makes it clear that pinging an enemy’s last known location is possible at any time. Tagging an enemy requires either the SOFLAM gadget or another tagging tool such as a remote-controlled drone carried by one of the specialists.

This distinction is generally what I like. In games, ‘Recon’ is often used to mean sniper or stealth assistant.’ This is because the game doesn’t include any meaningful reconnaissance tools or reconnaissance itself. However, Battlefield 2042’s Conquest Mode allowed me to collect assists. I was able to scan enemy troop movements using the SOFLAM and gave my team targets for their airborne guns. Conquest’s lack of voice chat is not a problem because it uses HUD-based recon, has no commanders, and requires less coordination than, say, Rising Storm. (I doubt I’ve ever used Battlefield’s built-in squad voice chat.

Squads forged in matchmaking will feel less able to compete against Discord four stacks due to Hazard Zone’s more calculated maneuvers. Voice chat will be added for those squads. (The gif below is an admittedly poor example for calculated maneuvering.

Although I don’t understand why voice chat was not included at launch, I can imagine it being a massive headache for developers and publishers. Bad voice chat behavior is often cited as a reason players leave multiplayer games. No one likes being told “just mute it,” which would mean they are excluded from tactical and fun discussion to make way for jackasses. Riot now records Valorant voice chat in-game so that it can investigate complaints.

It’s unclear how Battlefield 2042 voice chat moderation will function when implemented (though abuse of voice chat will be reportable), nor if leaving it out at launch was due to moderation concerns. It will be interesting to see how significant its absence is this weekend.

Battlefield 2042 is available for EA Play Pro subscribers who purchased the special editions. It will be released on Friday, November 12. For everyone else, it’s available on November 19. Although we don’t yet have a review, I could play it quite a bit earlier in the week. Although it’s not as smooth as I expected, I still like it. After more time blowing up helicopters and getting blown up in helicopters, I will publish a complete review.

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