Update (2023-03-01)

DICE has forwarded the petition and our request internally. Let's hope they are willing to work on the issue. Thanks everyone for participating!

#saveBF4 / BF3 - Stop Server Crashers!

Ever since Battlefield 4 came out in 2013, malicious people found more and more ways to crash dedicated community game servers, causing single servers (and in some cases multiple servers at once) to lose all active players. [1] [2] [3] [4,DE] [5] [6] [7] [8]

These attacks are becoming more and more common, to the point where many communities have no choice left but to close their servers. Obviously, these attacks are a major factor behind the dwindling player numbers in BF4 (and BF3).

These attacks usually do not attack the game servers directly, but instead attack the EA/DICE-developed "Blaze" Master Servers; neither providers nor server admins thus have any chance of preventing them (at least this is our current understanding). You can read more below in our FAQ section.

In our case, they are fully automated, causing the server to lose all players 24/7, multiple times each hour at exactly fixed time intervals.

This is NOT only a problem with BF4 or specifically our servers though - Quite some famous BF3 Servers had to shut down recently due to these attacks as well.

EA/DICE: You got everyone hyped up with your marketing for #BF2042 and talks of "the next era"; but maybe the last era also deserve some much needed-love?

We hereby appeal to EA & the Battlefield Devs at DICE to reach out to us and/or the providers and attempt to deal with these server crashers.

Help established communities and servers NOT to be held hostage by a small handful of awful people anymore!

Help saving the Battlefield 4 community!

- The Battlefield 4 Community

@EA/DICE: If you read this, please contact us at thenexteracommunity@gmail.com or via Discord so we can work together with server providers as well as all other affected server owners to identify and fix the issue(s).

Thank you!

Sign the Petition

Are you a BF veteran or server admin, and have suffered from crashers as well? Co-sign below to help make EA/DICE aware of the severity of this issue. Please enter a valid battlelog user name or full URL, as we will verify it! If you want to provide further information, please also contact us so we can include it here.

A total of players have signed.

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A total of servers have been affected.

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How may I help?

For a starter, please make sure that you register your server and/or soldier name above if you have witnessed these attacks already. This will help to demonstrate that these are NOT sporadic occurrences, but it is a huge problem impacting the majority of the BF3 and BF4 community that urgently needs to be addressed.

Secondly, please share this petition via all social channels to spread awareness. Post it on your battlelog feed or platoon feed, share it on your battlefield-related discord servers, share it on the r/battlefield_4 and r/battlefield communities. Reach out to EA and DICE via their Answers HQ. Contact gaming related communities and newspapers. The more people see and spread this petition, the higher the chance that EA/DICE will be willing to finally fix this issue. Share this petition via twitter and use the hashtag #saveBF4, and make sure to tag @EA_DICE, @Battlefield or some public DICE employees, @tiggr_ or @niklasastrand. You can use some of our pre-written statements below!

Hey @EA_DICE @EAHelp @tiggr_, the @Battlefield 4 community urgently needs your help to stop rampant server crashers #saveBF4 - Sign the petition in https://petition.tne.ovh if you're also suffering!
Dear @Battlefield 4 community, have your favorite servers also crashed multiple times recently? If so, help us by signing our petition to get @EA_DICE @EA @tiggr_ to finally put a stop to this unplayable madness! #saveBF4 https://petition.tne.ovh
@Battlefield 4 is currently unplayable, as a handful of malicious people are crashing most of the favorite community servers multiple times an hour. Let's get @EA_DICE and @EA to finally fix this issue, and allow us to play again! #saveBF4 Sign here: https://petition.tne.ovh

Who started this petition?

We are "The Next Era", a well-established community centered around our 24/7 Siege of Shanghai BF4 Server. Ever since we founded the community in 2018, we have been attacked from many different people, usually because they did not agree with our rules, wanted to force players to join alternative servers, we even got offers to pay ransom money to not be attacked. Since a week, our server is again under attack, being crashed up to four times - per hour. This will lead to the slow death of our community, and one of the last Shanghai servers with proper moderation. You may also join us on our Discord to ask questions.

7pm 5pm 3pm 1pm 11am 9am 7am 5am 3am Thursday Wednesday 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65

Server population while under attack every hour - thanks BF4 Agency

What types of crashes/attacks are there?

Obviously, if we had the full knowledge on how people crash servers, we wouldn't share it. The following however summarizes the types we have witnessed, and how we currently assume they are working.

The "Exploited Client"

People have a modified BF3 / BF4 game which is able to send unexpected information to the server (such as a negative movement speed, ammo, ...). Due to poor coding on the server, this causes overflows, leading to a more or less direct crash. DICE fixed some of these exploits in their initial server patches, but we still think there are plenty of them around. You can tell you're a victim if the server dies completely, kick all players and restarts afterwards. This needs to be fixed by EA/DICE, and usually the providers are able to provide crash dumps to EA as a starting point.

The "Game Server DDoS"

People simply attack the game server directly, bombarding it with thousands of invalid requests each second. This causes a large load on the server, forcing it to drop connections and eventually crash. You can tell your server is attacked when it starts lagging, more or less turning to a complete standstill and you get disconnected a few seconds later. Some server providers allegedly provide DDoS protection, but they are sometimes not enough to prevent a crash. We had instances where our provider told us that they manually had to disconnect our server from their data center, as they got hit by such a huge DDoS attack that also all their other resources were in danger of being overloaded. There is no easy fix here, except for a better DDoS protection on provider side.

The "Blaze Disconnect" - Current One

"Blaze" is the name of the EA/DICE master server. They keep track of available BF3 and BF4 Servers, providing information to your in-game or battlelog browsers on available servers and their population. Upon each start, a game server will contact these master servers and announce itself. However, if a game server somehow get's disconnected from the master server, most of the playerbase will also be dropped. Read here for a more in-depth analysis, too. Sadly, we do not have too much concrete information how these attacks here work, but we can currently think of some scenarios: One approach may be if a master server IP is known to DDoS this one directly, which may cause all announced servers to drop their players. The second may be to register a fake server with the same GUID as the server to be crashed, forcing the old server to erroneously drop all players. The third is that the DDoS on a game server (see above) forces it to drop the connection with the master server. Most of these require EA/DICE to provide a fix, i.e by putting the attacked servers behind a DDoS protection and/or firewall, or by requiring the game server to announce itself with an additional checksum whose calculation is shared between the game servers and master servers.