Considering all of the different modes, play styles, and mod sets, a comprehensive server browser for Arma 3's multiplayer is essential. Thus, even though we'll continue to support the traditional in-game server browser, we're also introducing a brand-new, Launcher-based Server Browser. Here are 10 of its most significant features and improvements.
1. Skip Main Menu
One of the most obvious benefits of having the Server Browser as part of the Launcher is that you can now launch directly into the multiplayer server of your choice. In other words, you can bypass the Arma 3 main menu, getting you into the game quicker = more time to play!
2. Basic Filters
By integrating the Server Browser into the Launcher, we have fewer engine limitations to consider regarding the Server Browser's user interface. This allows us to present more and better-presented basic filter options. Quickly search for a server by selecting the desired game mode, terrain, player numbers and more – and use the tick boxes to hide full, empty, or monetized servers.
3. Advanced Filters
With so many different ways to play the game, many Arma 3 users require more filtering options. Therefore, the new Server Browser's advanced filter options allow you to filter on difficulty, AI level, whether the weapon crosshair should be visible, 3rd person camera being allowed or not, and more. Of course we'll be looking out for community feedback to see if any other advanced filtering options should be added.
4. Steam Workshop Support
Some servers require players to have certain Steam Workshop items installed. While before you had to subscribe to these items manually, the game will now do most of the necessary work for you. It checks the mods running on the server, recognizes the missing mods and offers you an automatic download of these missing mods.
5. Mod Management
In continuation of number 5 on this list; server browsing and basic mod management for Arma 3 go hand in hand. By bringing the Server Browser into the Launcher, you can now do all of this in one single place. Find the multiplayer server you'd like to join, define your mod mix / starting parameters, and launch the game. It's more efficient than ever before, and enables everyone to enjoy Arma 3's wonderful ecosystem of user-created content and mods.
6. Display Server Status
Until now, servers that require a password were indicated via the 'status icon'. However, this same icon was used to tell users if they can join a server based on the mods they're running. This made it very unclear for most users. Thus, in the new Server Browser, these are now separated into two icons, making it possible to instantly recognize whether you can join a server. Although it might seem like a small improvement, as is often the case, the devil is in the details.
7. Server Difficulty Details
The server details now display more information about difficulty (e.g. helicopter flight model, weapon crosshair and 3rd person camera).
8. Official Servers
Want to play a quick round of End Game or Zeus multiplayer? You can host your own server, search for community-hosted servers, or join one of the official Arma 3 servers. The latter are now much more easy to find thanks to the "Official servers only' tick box in the basic filtering options.
9. Responsive Design
The Server Browser layout is 'adaptable'. This means that, even when the window is at its minimum size, all of the info is still visible. The flag icon, game type, scenario and players columns are simply moved to the second row.
10. Various UX Improvements
As we briefly touch upon in other items on this list, by bringing the Server Browser into the game's Launcher, we have far more options and flexibility to design and iterate on the Server Browser's design. You can see this in the many usability improvements, which make interacting with the Launcher-based Server Browser a far more pleasant experience.
Of course, the best way to experience the new Server Browser is by using it yourself. You can so with the release of the upcoming Arma 3 Eden Update, which is a free platform update for all owners of Arma 3, and is scheduled for release this month (February 2016). We look forward to seeing you online!
Besides the new Server Browser, the Eden Update also features major improvements to audio, and a brand-new 3D Scenario Editor. Want to know more? Check out the 'Top 10 – Eden Update: Eden 3D Editor'.