Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand Coming to U.S., North America Later Today

Today, Battlefield 3's first expansion, Back to Karkand, is releasing for PlayStation 3 worldwide, although it's only currently available for PS3 players in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

DICE updated fans via the Battlefield 3 Blog with the release timings of Back to Karkand for the various countries and continents.

North American PS3 users will get access to Back to Karkand today, between 2PM and 6PM PST according to the post.  For those on the east coast too lazy to do the conversion, that means between 5PM and 9PM today.  If you think that's a long time to wait, at least you're not in Japan.

It will be released in Japan/Asia tomorrow, December 7th, around 3PM JST.

Of course, the wait is even longer if you are a Xbox 360 or PC player.  The 360 and PC versions will receive the new expansion on December 13th.  Thanks to an agreement between Sony and EA, and a shipping mishap during the game's release, PS3 owners get the Battlefield 3 DLC exclusively one week earlier than the other platforms.

The patch is not without bugs however.  Users are reporting some minor issues with the patch, acknowledged by EA.

"Please use the Quick Match filter settings to pick the Back to Karkand map and mode you want to play. Going through the server browser right now will match you up with base game maps only. We are hard at work isolating and fixing this issue and will have an ETA on this later. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, using Quick Match will let you select and play on any map, from the base game or Back to Karkand."

Back to Karkand is FREE to all who purchased the Limited Edition of Battlefield 3.  The expansion contains four classic Battlefield maps remastered using the Frostbite 2 game engine.  These maps include:

  • Strike at Karkand – previously seen in Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142 and Battlefield Play4Free. This urban combat zone is one of the most popular Battlefield maps online, and is known for being the only map which includes no aircraft on any of its sizes. The map's notorious chokepoints and other narrow cramped areas make grenade tossing a regular activity.
  • Wake Island – known as the map included with the Battlefield 1942 demo, so technically the game's first real map. This u-shaped island requires heavy use of vehicles to get around.
  • Gulf of Oman – from Battlefield 2. This Persian Gulf based battlefield is known for the furious assault at the beginning of each round.
  • Sharqi Peninsula – seen in Battlefield 2 and Battlefield Play4Free, this assault on a propaganda television station features close-quarter combat, with snipers often assisting from each side's rear.

In addition to the new maps, this expansion pack includes five new dog tags, five new achievements/trophies, three new vehicles (DPV, BTR-90, F-35B STOVL jet fighter), 10 iconic Battlefield weapons and a new persistence system where players complete assignments to earn their rewards.