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On June 13th, 2011 in News

BF3 physical warfare pack
Over the past day or so, a storm of users on popular news site Reddit have called out for a boycott of Battlefield 3 and a cancellation of pre-orders because of EA’s BF3 DLC and Physical Warfare pack DLC. The Physical Warfare pack, which includes a few exclusive items, is available only to those who pre-order the game at select retailers. So far it is only available in the UK, but US retailers like GameStop are expected to get their own pre-order bonus.

There are discussions on Reddit which number in the thousands of comments, where fans voice their disappointment of EA’s DLC policy. A few years ago, EA attempted something similar with Bad Company, but a successful community boycott made EA change their minds.

We’ve gone through hundreds of comments on Reddit, and there seems to be a few misunderstandings regarding the DLC and the pre-order bonuses.


The main discussions on Reddit seems to have misunderstood EA’s whole Back to Karkand DLC policy — which is no surprise, since it’s quite confusing. Since we’ve been covering this for a while here on BF3blog, we’ll try to explain:

Back to Karkand is offered for free to those who pre-order the game. You can only pre-order the Limited Edition now, which retails at the same price as the regular edition — $60. Regardless of what retailer you pre-order the game at, you’ll get a free copy of Back to Karkand. It’s as simple as that: pre-order and you get Back to Karkand free. There have been countless pre-order bonuses on video games before, and Back to Karkand is just that: a pre-order bonus.

The Physical Warfare pack is where it gets a bit tricky, and which we believe the boycott is targeting. The Physical Warfare pack is only available to those who pre-order the game at select physical retailers, and is not available to those who pre-order or buy a digital copy of Battlefield 3. Unlike the Back To Karkand DLC, you cannot buy the Physical Warfare pack later on.

While the Physical Warfare pack in an of itself isn’t a huge deal — the items included don’t seem to be items that can unbalance the gameplay — it is disappointing that the only way one might get them is to buy the game at a brick and mortar retail store. PC gamers who will buy the game as a digital copy (us included), won’t get a chance to get the new items and weapons.

Back To Karkand wasn’t part of BF3

There have been accusations of DICE and EA taking the Back to Karkand content out of Battlefield 3 and selling it as DLC. Many publishers have been accused of this before, but in this case, it actually doesn’t hold up for one reason: Back to Karkand is a remake of Battlefield 2 maps, weapons and vehicles. It’s not supposed to be a part of Battlefield 3 to begin with, which makes it a real DLC, as opposed to something that was removed from the game. Many games have remade maps and sold them as DLC, including Activision’s popular Call of Duty franchise. However, we can certainly understand why gamers think it’s been removed from the game, since the DLC is offered on day one.

Still, the community boycott is understandable for several reasons:

  1. EA’s has made the whole DLC/Back to Karkand/Limited Edition/Physical Warfare thing very confusing where even EA isn’t sure what’s what.
  2. EA announced the first DLC, Back To Karkand, way too early. There hasn’t been enough time for BF3 to establish itself before announcing map remakes.
  3. The “Physical Warfare” offering at select retailers feels unfair, especially since it’s not available to buy elsewhere.
  4. By offering DLC from day one, gamers get the impression that the content has been taken out of the game (which we don’t believe is true), and that EA is nickle and diming people.

So far EA’s only response has been issuing a FAQ on the official Battlefield 3 page, which oddly enough, doesn’t address much of the criticism.

Active discussions on Reddit:
Battlefield 3 pre-order DLC boycott coordination
Funny note on EA’s reply to a pre-order cancellation due to the DLC
Whom to contact at EA to complain regarding the DLC


  1. Alelo
    June 13th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    hmm sorry but Physical Warfare is not UK only, i have mine @amazon at(austria)/de(germany) too its automaticly added (google translated: ger->en)

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    • steve
      September 17th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      anybody who boycotts a game for free dlc are FUCKING RETARDs……
      what about all those other games at gamestop etc… that give out free skins that half the other people dont get…. go suck on a knob u dumbasses at least its not like cod with 50 dolla bs elite service at least u get something for free
      quit complaining at least its not costing u an extra 20 bucks u pussys

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      • Matt
        October 15th, 2011 at 9:14 am

        I don’t beileve so, even after DICE talked so much about PC being it’s lead platform, they turn around and screw them by going the “PS3 Gets Back to Karkand before anyone else” Card. I’d boycott a game if it’s developers and publishers kept doing asshole moves

        I fail to see what the advantage of giving early access to one platform gets you. Other than pissing a lot of people off

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  2. stardidi
    June 13th, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    then you didn’t read good enough:
    it says something about not being included in the marketplace.

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  3. Alelo
    June 13th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    it is included :)
    Ger: “Versand der Codes: verschickt die Codes zum Herunterladen des “Physical Warfare Packs” per E-Mail an alle Kunden, die Battlefield 3 – Limited Edition für PC, PS3 oder Xbox 360 bis einschließlich 26. Oktober 2011 vorbestellt haben. Um die Codes einzulösen ist eine Internetverbindung erforderlich. Der Versand der Codes erfolgt nach Veröffentlichung des Spiels, spätestens am 04.11.2011. Für jedes vorbestellte Spiel erhalten Sie einen Code.”
    en(short) Codes for PWP will be sent till 26. oct for pre order. so you get it, and i dont think, would post this if they dont have the peremision to do so.

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  4. Zip
    June 13th, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    people are just so damn plain stupid …. !!

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  5. Askur
    June 13th, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    What if you live in Iceland ?

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  6. Kallum
    June 13th, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Even you have this wrong :S
    You don’t even get the Back To Karkand Expansion on Day One.
    It’s an expansion that is going to be released after the game, the release date has not been announced.

    I don’t even know what people are complaining about, they get an expansion and some more DLC if they so choose to pre-order at certain shops.

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    • PaulC2K
      June 15th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Yeah, i’d expect it somewhere around 6wk after BF3 is released, but it certainly isnt going to *released* on ‘Day 1′ as this story suggests (or doesnt make the reality clear), but its being offered ‘Day 1′ to be downloaded free at a later date.

      Looking on forums like the EA one, its full of people coming out with outragious claims and anger based on false statements and them being so eager to believe the worst possible outcome is true, its a rampant petri dish breeding idiocy!

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  7. David Bellerose
    June 13th, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Nobody is angry over Back To Karkand – it’s an expansion pack that will be available for purchase post-release, and will not be available at all until that date. People are angry over EA bifurcating the playerbase through giving one group of players an expanded weaponset, thereby granting them a broader set of tactical options. This is unfair no matter which way you slice it.

    EA/DICE must release quantified in-game weapon data to mathematically and empirically show that such a pre-order bonus does not produce imbalance of any form. Until then, given EA’s history of creating financial barriers to experiencing the full depth of gameplay available in a title, the community can only conclude that these bonuses will produce a game that is not fair.

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    • Matt
      October 15th, 2011 at 9:18 am

      It’s not like it’s the first time this has happened. “Pre order now! and get a free buttplug day one unlock for in game!”

      It’s a fad that’s taken over games. enticing people to walk into a store, shell out all their money, and walk out with nothing but a peice of paper. just so they can get some kind of advantage or more guns, just because people are F***Ing greedy.

      When I was playing the Beta, I unlocked about 7 weapons. I never used any of them. I stuck with the starting weaponry. Most people are so gullable that their buy depends on how many guns and attachments are in the game. *Cough, COD*

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  8. Fritiof
    June 14th, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Let the UK have more weapons and exclusive ones at that, me and my buddies will still r*pe them on the battlefield. :)

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  9. Freeman
    June 14th, 2011 at 12:09 am

    They should have removed the Limited Edition and just called the Back To Karkand DLC as a pre order bonus, which it is. It would’ve eased up on a lot of the confusion there is today.

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  10. Mike D
    June 14th, 2011 at 1:15 am

    As mentioned in the article, no one is mad at Karkand. It’s the exclusive weapons (Physical Warfare pack). Even if they aren’t meant to be overpowered or offer an unfair advantage, they probably do. If anything, those players with these weapon will have more tactical options than those who don’t. THAT is why players are mad. Map packs are fine; they’re available to everyone and they aren’t required to play the game effectively. The exclusive weapons, however, will be available only if:

    A. you pre-order
    B. you pre-order from a specific retailer
    C. you don’t pre-order a digital copy (physical only)

    That’s rather limiting considering core gameplay will be affected by this “bonus.” (which IS most likely content removed from the game unlike the Karkand DLC)

    In any event, EA’s handling of this situation has dissuaded me from purchasing this game. When literally thousands of your customers speak out and NO action is taken, you’ve lost me as a buyer. I’ll vote with my wallet and take my business elsewhere.

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  11. Ostideninja
    June 14th, 2011 at 1:16 am

    People asked for more weapon customisation and the complaining that there’s a pack for it… wow so genius

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    • Matt
      October 15th, 2011 at 9:20 am

      They’re complaining because some people are given special items, and others don’t. Solely based on where they live or where they ordered the game.

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    June 14th, 2011 at 1:18 am

    I honestly don’t know what all the fuss is about. Look at CoD, every DLC they have come out with came with a little price tag. Don’t get all pissy because bf3 may charge extra for future DLC. Its a part of the industry. Look at it this way, would you rather be paying $15 monthly to get shitty updates playing WoW. Or would you rather pay $15 every so often to unlock new content. The people that make these games need to get paid. You can pay $15 to go to the zoo for one day, or pay $15 to get the DLC forever.

    If you have a problem with the way they are marketing, get your ass off the couch and get a damn job.

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      June 14th, 2011 at 1:23 am

      BTW, has EA even put a price tag on how much the DLC would be? I haven’t paid a dime on BFBC2 DLC.

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      • plumokin
        June 14th, 2011 at 2:12 am

        im not sure if this is just a rumor, but i heard somewhere this first pack will be $10. and by the time the game is close to releasing, ea will make it availible to everyone, so i say just help the boycott and wait

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  13. jose
    June 14th, 2011 at 1:26 am

    The whole “Physical Warfare Pack” is like:
    “When I make a movie, it will have different exclusive scenes added to it depending on what cinema you go to. ”

    I’ll vote with my wallet in this one. Thanks for ruining the game.

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    • Turbo7
      June 14th, 2011 at 5:42 am

      more like the physical warfare pack are the “deleted scenes” of a movie that no one cares about and really makes no difference to the outcome.

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  14. plumokin
    June 14th, 2011 at 2:15 am

    i have a question. why doesnt everyone just cancel their digital pre order and just pre order the game at gamestop? this way there is nothing to worry about. or am i missing something?

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    • ThexDLolNoob
      June 14th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Every country doesn’t have Gamestop…

      I guess I’ll just wait a couple of months for things to clear up.

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    • angryengy
      June 14th, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      And give my business to GameStop? I’d rather shoot myself.

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      • plumokin
        June 14th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

        @ThexDLolNoob i see what you mean if there isnt a gamestop, btw i guess if other stores were supported u cud order there… but yea that could be a problem

        @angryengy maybe if ur gonna be that stubborn u shouldnt get anything at all. btw what has gamestop done to u?

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    • Matt
      October 15th, 2011 at 9:22 am

      Given how buggy and poorly optimised Origin is, I don’t think I’d even expect to get my money back if I ordered it on Origin.

      Also, Gamestop is still called EB Games here in Canada. Lol

      I preordered BF3 and Mass Effect 3 on the same day back in July, just because I refuse to use EA’s little Steam Knockoff

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  15. blah
    June 14th, 2011 at 2:17 am

    I don’t see what the fuss is about. I understand the physical warfare stuff but this is just a reward for the pre-orders, they’re rewarding loyal customers. Just like they rewarded players in BC2. I think this is just a bunch of whiny nerds getting their spidey panties in a twist just for a reason to complain.

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    June 14th, 2011 at 2:29 am

    @plumokin, It is only available in the UK. For now… But seriously, not going to buy the game at all?

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    • plumokin
      June 14th, 2011 at 5:55 am

      im gonna buy the game, its just that if the PW pack comes to the US, im gonna cancel my digital preorder and go to gamestop and preorder there. its not too big a deal for me. im just wondering why everyone else isnt doing that or if im missing something

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  17. CookiesPLZ
    June 14th, 2011 at 2:41 am

    it would be safe to assume that this boycott was initiated by call of duty fanboys. (no laughs?) well i think that ea should simply pay attention to the boycott and use it as a chance to show that it cares for its fans by clearing up the mess by either giving in to the demands of the boycott or simply making it more understandable so people wont bitch about it. I really don’t care about the bonus weapons. it wont make much difference and perhaps you unlock them later in the game at a higher level. either ways im happy with my limited edition thing… for bf3… yea.

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  18. Moose
    June 14th, 2011 at 4:16 am

    I hope these guys protest x4 harder every time COD comes out with their over priced map packs.

    How much is it going to cost anyway? 15$ like COD(not likely) or will it turn out to be like 5$ or even lol 2$ OMG A WHOLE 2$ omg the outrage!!!@#$

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  19. DuHasst
    June 14th, 2011 at 4:26 am

    These boycotts are retarded. Back to Karkand will most likely be day one download. Quit complaining, leave your cave and go preorder a physical copy to get the DLC. And, for the Physical Warfare Pack, its a Dao-12 shotgun, weak flechettammo (DICE commented the special ammo and said it will have lesser initial damage as a trade off), T88 LMG which blew in BC2, and a flash suppressor for the SKS rifle ( lets be honest you will probably only use it to fill the slot when your not using a suppressor).

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    • ThexDLolNoob
      June 14th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      You can pre-order physical copies of games from the internet…

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  20. DuHasst
    June 14th, 2011 at 4:36 am

    Ohh yeah! All of the guns and attachments unlock able in just a few short days of gameplay. You PC players wonder why most of the original PC developers have moved to he console market. You whine and complain why they offer free DLC at a slight inconvenience to people who want to buy it digitally. Its no big deal. All of this fuss for free DLC. Seriously just chill out drive up to Gamestop, Best Buy, or where every and put 5 bucks down, pay it off over 5 months. Drive a few miles and pick it up the day it comes out, install.

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    • ThexDLolNoob
      June 14th, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      Um, PWP is only available trough pre-order.

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    • Matt
      October 15th, 2011 at 9:31 am

      I think we would have all been better off if they stopped nickle and diming us with all this Shit DLC in the first place.

      Also, if you actually played a BF Game prior to BC1. You’d know that Battlefield wasn’t filled with DLCs and Map packs. the base game had a fair selection of weapons, maps, vehicles, etc. 3 Factions. and occasionally with updates new maps would be added.

      They made a full expansion pack that added more of that all in one go. and later, two “booster packs” that could classify as DLC. they both added new vehicles and maps, and one added a 4th faction with it’s own arsenal.

      Long story short. The PC Players wouldn’t be “whining” so much if the game wasnt flooded with a bunch of useless shit. This Back to Karkand thing seems like a good idea IMHO. But the PWP is just a needless addition to anger people.

      Lastly, on the topic of B2K, I don’t think many of the current BF Fans even understand or appreciate the history of some of these maps. Wake Island has been around since the Battlefield 1942 Demo, Gulf of Oman was the map featured on the BF2 Demo. Karkand was a popular urban map, and Sharqui was similar aswell, except for the MEC Side being the attackers on the latter. Karkand was overrated in my opinion, I never liked those servers

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      • Matt
        October 15th, 2011 at 9:33 am

        Also, forgot to mention, the two booster packs were added as part of an update for free, like 3-4 years later. Around the same time BC2 was out. A gift for those who still played it

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  21. DuHasst
    June 14th, 2011 at 4:45 am

    For those of you not buying over free DLC that will most likely be unlockable after release, what other GPS offers the a better FPS experience than Battlefield…HUH? Not one. You already boycotted cod and that got you nowhere fast. Don’t piss off the last decent PC FPS developer you have left.

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  22. DuHasst
    June 14th, 2011 at 4:48 am

    90% piracy…tisk tisk…you PC players ought to be ashamed of yourselves .

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    • Kossy
      June 15th, 2011 at 1:16 am

      Troll off, will you.

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  23. plumokin
    June 14th, 2011 at 5:59 am


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  24. syntax
    June 14th, 2011 at 6:08 am

    “However, we can certainly understand why gamers think it’s been removed from the game, since the DLC is offered on day one.”

    Except it isn’t. From the official FAQ:
    Q: When will the Back to Karkand expansion pack be released?
    A: We have not yet announced the Back to Karkand expansion pack release date.
    Back to Karkand will be available the exact same date after the launch of Battlefield 3

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  25. Zetarn
    June 14th, 2011 at 6:16 am

    It’s Simple!
    Back to Karkand are already include in all package of Battlefield 3
    but the one who pre-order the game will have right to play this mappack a week before the others

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