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Is there any type of spectator/chase mode within Battlefield 3? And if there is, does it take up a slot on the server? If it matters any, I play on the PC.

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The previous version was known as "battlerecorder" in Battlefield 2, though a spectator mode is a bit different.

http://mp1st.com/2012/01/23/battlefield-3-possible-spectator-mode-announcement-usas-12-with-frag-rounds-update/

Community Manager, Daniel Matros, recently spoke of ClanBase’s Nations Cup which is beginning today. What he had to say, however, brought some attention to a possible upcoming Battlefield 3 announcement. Interestingly, he stated, “Nations Cup is exciting. It would even be more exciting with Spectator mode.” Of course, got many fans rather excited. Matros later followed up saying, “calm down now. It’s been a wish and an ambition of mine since way back to have spectator mode in our future games.” To be clear, he mentioned that there has been “nothing confirmed or said yet.” Nevertheless, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that a “Battlerecorder” will be making its way to Battlefield 3 soon. After all, Matros did mention earlier today, “new stuff happening. Good day today. Fans well be in for a treat later on.”

It's hoped that this will be added in later BF3 patches, but at the moment, no. If they add Battlerecorder, I suspect they will also add spectator mode in some form, but this is purely speculation on my part.

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No there is no spectator mode. BF3 Does feature a kill cam, depending on the server settings.

Also, server admins ( which do not take up space in the server, unless they are playing / in staging ) can perform targeted punk buster scans on players to assist in the fight against cheaters / hackers.

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