For the first time in the history of the franchise, Battlefield V is testing the live-service waters. Assuming DICE has learnt its lesson from the disastrous Star Wars Battlefront II not-so-‘FreeLC’ experiment, this will be a great thing for the Battlefield community which, up until Battlefield 1, has been fractured with each successive DLC drop. That all changes with the new BFV map, Panzerstorm.
If you’ve seen the Battlefield V – Official Launch Maps trailer, you’ll know the basic gist of Panzerstorm. Released as part of Tides of War: Chapter 1, Panzerstorm takes place in the Belgium countryside, which means lots of green.
In terms of the map layout, it also means lots of fields between capture points which, as infantry, translates to lots of open space you should absolutely avoid crossing.
Panzerstorm’s Deadly Open Fields
Thankfully, unlike the anti-infantry design logic of Battlefield 1’s Sinai Desert map, you aren’t forced to run long distances without any cover: solid or of the softer, visual variety. If you’ve seen or played Battlefield V’s Arras map, you’ll have an understanding of how DICE handles this, albeit in a slightly different way.
Instead of the long grass of Arras, DICE encourages infantry to move through the various streams that cut through Panzerstorm. This is the best way to avoid the numerous tanks battling out in the open, and Battlefield V’s crouch-sprint is put to good use to ensure you don’t attract their armoured attention as a squishy soldier.
These streams are also where infantry combat tends to happen between objective points and the more obvious cover of the structures sparsely scattered around Panzerstorm. Outside of that, you’re at the mercy of teammates running with smoke grenades to get you across these nerve-wracking open spaces and between cover without exposing yourself for an easy death.
Without smoke or easy cover, if you’re stuck as infantry in this new BFV map, you’re better off holding an objective. The smaller compounds quickly fall apart, particularly if tanks move in to clear the area, but construction lets you rebuild and reinforce to a certain degree of safety.
Unlike the risk/reward of construction in the other maps – where you have to weigh up whether reinforcing will be helping the enemy more than your team – you’re effectively forced to build in Panzerstorm to avoid the long-range optics of patrolling tanks (not to mention snipers).
The most hotly contested point is, understandably, the church. It’s in the bottom corner of the map, but long lines of sight and plenty of hard cover make it worth fighting for and, subsequently, defending. In the opposite corner of the map, there’s a farm that offers less peace of mind for defenders with its abundance of very destructible cover.
That said, holding it grants the high ground, which offers line of sight across the vast majority of the map, including down to some of the lower objective points.
A BFV Map For Tank Battles
Given that Panzerstorm is inspired by the first major tank battle of World War II, this is definitely a map designed with tankers and Assault players in mind. Compared to the other maps, DICE is generous with the tank spawns, which will either excite or terrify you, depending on whether you prefer to play inside or outside of tanks. Still, the wide-open spaces make it harder for tanks to hide, which means tankers must contend with the constant threat of taking fire or being flanked.
Mines will likely be effective around the objective points, but scoring off-objective mine kills seems as though it will be more attributed to luck than logical placement. This is because, given the ease of armoured traversal across fields, the most logical place for minefields (being roads) are easily avoided by savvy tank drivers. Dynamite (Assault) and Sticky Grenades (Support) are also best kept for reactive situations when caught unawares by an incoming enemy tank.
As infantry, you’re highly reliant on launchers, which means you can expect a disproportionate number of Assault players or, as a silver medal, Support players wielding the AT Grenade Pistol. Really, though, you’ll be at the mercy of the angels on your shoulders: namely, your team’s air superiority.
Pilots will have other planes to contend with, which should make for an interesting mix of fighters and bombers but, ultimately, as an on-foot blood bag, you want bombs to be raining down on armour to keep their attention far away from your infantry movements.
Flipping Everyone’s Roles
When announced, we had concerns about Panzerstorm. After the bizarre ‘planes vs infantry’ design logic of Fjell 652 – which is already proving to be the most hated Battlefield V map (if only for the inherent air superiority) – the idea of a ‘tanks vs infantry’ map reeked of foundational imbalance. The planes help balance out the abundance of open spaces, though, and as long as infantry stick to the streams when attacking or defending points, there are exciting pockets of action to be found.
We’ll need more post-release time to accurately discuss the overall balance of Panzerstorm, but it seems as though DICE is treating the new BFV map as an education space. Tankers will have to learn to mitigate open spaces and the cat-and-mouse games of being hunter and hunted.
Pilots will be likely be uncharacteristically praised for targeting armour over infantry. And outside of Assault, infantry will be incentivised to defend more than attack through risky open spaces.