The PC version of the Spring patch for Battlefield 3 has now been confirmed for release on March 29th at 9AM UTC / 11 AM CET.

The patch will be a hefty 1.6 GB download, so brace yourselves if you have less than high speed Internet access.

EA/DICE have highlighted a few more things that are changing the game dynamics in this update, which I have summed up in short as follows:

Horns on all jeeps:
Press SPACE to sound the horn.
Releasing Q will now activate callouts:
Supposed to make spotting a little snappier than before.
Orders are exclusive to the Commo Rose:
No more accidental orders when you were really trying to spot an enemy.
Global Commo Rose orders:
Request ammo, healing, repairs without having to aim at a support/medic/engineer.
Context Sensitive Commo Rose Orders:
Orders available will change depending on what you’re doing (e.g. infantry or in vehicle).
Team mates’ Commo Rose Orders show up as flashing icons on the map.
Three Minimap modes:
Pressing “B” (default button) will change minimap mode between the three alternatives as shown below:

IR Flares for all:
IR flares for all air vehicles are now available to everyone from day one “to give them a fair fighting chance”.
SOFLAM passive bonus points:
Planting a SOFLAM will now generate passive points to the player when it targets vehicles. Scoring errors have also been fixed, which is supposed to make it generate more points than before.
Suppression FTW:
To earn a suppression ribbon, you now only need three (3) suppressions, vs the previous seven (7). This will make it easier to score more points for the support class.
More points for heli pilots:
When passengers make kills from the helicopter, the pilot will now earn 50 points per kill.
Newbie Fast Forward:
In a rather speculative move, EA/DICE have opened up the option to pay your way up the ranks – sort of …

If you’re a new player who don’t want to feel left behind by the veterans who have spent time on the battlefield to acquire their fancy unlocks, 10 separate “shortcut” items and three shortcut item bundle packs that will let you buy all unlocks have been made available on Origin:

  • Kit Shortcut Bundle: Immediately unlocks all items unique to the four playable classes
  • Vehicle Shortcut Bundle: Immediately unlocks all items for all vehicles
  • The Ultimate Bundle: Immediately unlocks all items from all other available shortcut packs

Personally, I think this is nice for hackers who get caught and banned (as if that happens very often…), because if they get their accounts banned, they can simply buy all unlocks and start over without any real loss.