Battlefield 1

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Battlefield 1

BF1 Dog2g.png

The Battlefield 1 ARG -
Headphones and Morse Code led to mysterious unlockable dogtags.
Creator EA Dice
Type Official
Status Active
Discovered 2017-02-14

Main Page > List of Investigations > Battlefield 1

This wiki page documents the ARG that is hidden in Battlefield 1. This page includes step-by-step instructions to unlock the secret "A Beginning" and "A Conflict" dogtags. Currently, the primary solving hub for this ARG is the Battlefield Easter Egg community, who have a wiki here and a YouTube channel here.

In addition to the main ARG/Easter egg which unlocks the secret dogtags, there are several other prominent Easter eggs which have been discovered in the game:

Other BF1 Easter Eggs
Balloon House A house kept aloft by balloons, referencing the movie 'Up'
Megalodon A giant shark hidden on Fort de Vaux

(Note: All Easter Eggs & ARGs are disabled in password-protected servers!)

Headphones and Morse

1 pair of headphones is hidden on each map. The headphones are indestructible and can be located on every server, as long as they have not already been picked up. It appears that there are 5 spawn locations per map, although some of them remain undiscovered. The headphones can be picked up by any player by walking over them. Upon approaching a hidden MCOM station after having retrieved a pair of headphones, the player will hear some Morse code being tapped out. A player can carry only one pair of headphones at a time, and only the player wearing the headphones will be able to hear the Morse code when near enough to a hidden MCOM.

Headphone Locations

Here is is a series of images, made by RenegadeX5, which display headphone and MCOM locations on each map. In order to hear the Morse code, you need to pick up the headphones from one of the 5 locations on each map (you might need to check all 5 before finding them!) and bring them to the MCOM station.

(Note: you can click each image to get a larger version.)

When the headphones and MCOM stations were first discovered, the Morse code was meaningless gibberish. However, the contents of the Morse code changed in future patches.

November 15, 2016

On November 15th, Battlefield 1 received an update which changed the Morse code heard on all maps' hidden MCOM stations to the following:

.--. .-. . ...- .. --- ..- ... | -- . ... ... .- --. . | -.-. --- .-. .-. ..- .--. - . -..
.- .-- .- .. - | ..-. ..- .-. - .... . .-. | .. -. ... - .-. ..- -.-. - .. --- -. ...
PREVIOUS MESSAGE CORRUPTED
AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS

Additionally, the patch changed the following things:

  • Ballroom Blitz had an MCOM station and headphones added to it, whereas pre-patch it was the only map with neither
  • The spawn locations of many headphones on most maps were changed
  • The above Morse message now plays on loop until the MCOM station eventually explodes, although this appears to be buggy
  • Once the MCOM station explodes, headphones stop spawning on the map
  • Dying after having retrieved a headphone will no longer cause a new headphone to spawn
  • Only one pair of headphones will spawn upon the initiation of a round on each map

Winter Update

On February 14, the Winter Update was released. The Morse code changed again, to the following message:

GO STRAIGHT TO <location_name>.  OLD METHODS COMPROMISED.  MUST ACQUIRE NEW KEY.  WILL MISS DROPOFF IF DELAY OR INCORRECT LOCATION.

Each user hears a different location name; locations are randomly assigned to players. There are 27 locations total: 3 locations on each of the 9 maps. In order to advance through the Easter egg, you need to know which location you are assigned; here is a tutorial (courtesy of Dunem) to help you read your Morse code. This is the list of locations, along with their respective maps, in alphabetical order:

  • AMIENS NEUF FURNITURE: Amiens
  • BALLROOM MAP VARENNES: Ballroom Blitz (Formerly ABBEY MAP VARENNES)
  • BUCKET MARSHLANDS FAW: FAO Fortress
  • CANAL KANTARA VASES: Suez Canal
  • CASTELLO ISLE ADRIATIC: Empire Edge
  • CHURCH RUINS AMIENS: Amiens
  • COASTAL FORTRESS ADRIATIC: Empire Edge
  • CRATE JABAL JIFAR: Sinai Desert
  • CRATE SEREN VENETIAN: Monte Grappa
  • CRATE TRENCH CANAL: Suez Canal
  • FERRO FIRE VENETIAN: Monte Grappa
  • HILL BARN ADRIATIC: Empire Edge
  • HILL TOWER CANAL: Suez Canal
  • HOTEL CHECK PERONNE: St. Quentin Scar
  • LONGUEVILLE STATUE AMIENS: Amiens
  • LUGGAGE BASEMENT APREMONT: Argonne Forest (Formerly LUGGAGE BASEMENT VARENNES)
  • OUTPOST BARREL FAW: FAO Fortress
  • PANEL WATER APREMONT: Argonne Forest (Formerly PANEL WATER VARENNES)
  • PILLAR OUTSKIRTS JIFAR: Sinai Desert
  • PILLOW MAZAR JIFAR: Sinai Desert
  • RUIN VENTURE PERONNE: St. Quentin Scar
  • STATUES GARDEN VARENNES: Ballroom Blitz (Formerly STATUES GARDEN APREMONT)
  • STOVE TURRET VENETIAN: Monte Grappa
  • TRAVECY ATTIC PERONNE: St. Quentin Scar
  • TREE FORTRESS FAW: FAO Fortress
  • TREE TRAIN APREMONT: Argonne Forest (Formerly TREE TRAIN VARENNES)
  • VARENNES SERVANT BED: Ballroom Blitz (Formerly APREMONT RITZ BED)

The message will repeat until you move away from the MCOM station, at which point the MCOM will explode. Each of the locations mentioned above has a symbol near it.

Symbols

The first symbols discovered at each location are difficult to find; they are small double arrows pointing to the left and right, and only appear when the player comes within 0.4 meters. A player will typically need to crouch or go prone in order to be able to see their symbol. Additionally, players can only see the symbol at the location they've been "assigned" to. When examining a symbol up close, a distinct sound is played (video). Pictured below are all 27 symbol locations, sorted by the map they appear on (maps made by Darrel).

NOTE: If you're having trouble finding your location with the images below, Jambajeww has made a video guide for all 27 locations, with timestamps for each location in the description of the video.

Second Message

A triangle symbol discovered at the VARENNES SERVANT BED location

After a player discovers their symbol, returning to an MCOM station with headphones yields another message in Morse code. Additionally, the MCOM's lights glow yellow instead of their usual white when broadcasting this message. The message starts with one of the above location names, but reversed:

<reversed_location_name> REMEMBER FIRST RULE. IF COMPROMISED L PILL.

An L PILL is short for lethal pill, a pill intended to be taken by soldiers to commit suicide rather than be tortured. Visiting the specified reversed location, the second location, yields a triangle symbol in place of the normal double-arrow symbol. The second symbol appears in the exact same spot that the first symbol may appear for other players.

Third Message

The third symbol that can be discovered (credit to Noizex)

After a player discovers the triangle symbol at their second location, returning to an MCOM station with headphones yields another message. This time, the MCOM lights glow purple. Here's the text of the message:

<atbash_cipher> SECOND RULE. SIGHTING. REPORT AND WAIT. INVESTIGATING ALONE COULD LEAD TO DEATH

Solving the Atbash cipher in the message yields another location from the list above. Visiting the third location leads to an arrow symbol pointing right.

Fourth Message

The fourth symbol (credit to Noizex)

Returning to an MCOM station after discovering the third symbol yields yet another message. This time, the MCOM lights glow green (previously, they glowed white, yellow, and purple for the first, second, and third messages respectively). Here's the text of the message:

<rot_cipher> THIRD RULE. IF TAKEN BY THE OTHERS DISCOVER MEANS TO COMMUNICATE TO HOUSE

Solving the ROT cipher with a key of 7 (N = 19) yields another location from the list of locations, leading to a fourth symbol, which is shown on the right.

Fifth Message

The fifth symbol (credit to Dexx)

After finding the fourth symbol, the MCOM's light colour turns transparent. This message begins with an location from the list of locations, reversed and encoded with the Railfence cipher, with 5 rails, and 0 offset. (Note: Some players report rails 5 offset 0 does not yield plaintext. The ciphertext must be reversed before it is input into the railfence cipher to get plaintext with rails 5 offset 0. Otherwise, the player will need to use rails 5 offset 6. Try each method until you get something legible.) Note that the previous symbol, the fourth symbol, is in the shape of a fence, which may be interpreted as a hint for the correct decryption method for this cipher (railfence cipher). Here's the format of the message:

<rail_fence> FOURTH RULE. KILL ALL ON SAME TRAIL. REMOVE DOG TAGS AND REPORT TO HOUSE

The fifth symbol is a pattern of broken and unbroken dashes.

Note: the cipher on this stage can also be solved as an anagram.

Sixth Message

The sixth symbol, "Edward" (credit to Noizex)

After finding the fifth symbol, the MCOM's lights turn to an orange colour. Here's the content of the sixth message:

<double_cipher> MORSE MESSAGES BEING INTERCEPTED. BEGINNING FULL ENCRYPTION SOON

The "double_cipher" is comprised only of single dots and single dashes: E's and T's in Morse code. The cipher can be solved by converting the transmission into A's and B's, where A is a dot and B is a dash. Then decode the ciphertext (AABBABABBAA etc) using a Baconian cipher, then decode the output of the Baconian cipher with an Atbash cipher to obtain another location from the list.

Visiting the sixth location yields the sixth symbol: a series of horizontal and vertical lines with the name "EDWARD" prominently featured between them.

Seventh Message

The seventh symbol, "George" (credit to Noizex)

After finding the sixth symbol, the MCOM's lights turn to a pink colour. Here's an example seventh message, which is a Vigenere cipher:

PXCGRJIEWSVPIQPVRUIQJEJDPOEEJFEQXETOSWDEUDWHJEDLIVANVPMHOCRQFHYLFWLHZAJDPOEEJDPZWOJXWHED

This transmission is encoded via Vigenere Cipher with the key "Edward". It decodes to:

LUGGAGEBASEMENTVARENNESALLIESCANBECLOTHEDASENEMIESENEMIESCANBECLOTHEDASALLIESALWAOSUSEID
LUGGAGE BASEMENT VARENNES ALLIES CAN BE CLOTHED AS ENEMIES. ENEMIES CAN BE CLOTHED AS ALLIES. ALWAYS USE ID

In the example above, LUGGAGE BASEMENT VARENNES may be replaced with any of the locations from the complete list. Going to the specified location reveals the seventh symbol, which prominently displays the word "George" above a crude drawing.

Eighth Message

The eighth symbol (credit to Noizex)

After finding the seventh symbol, the MCOM's lights turn to a lime colour. Here's an example eighth message, which is an Autokey cipher:

ONADIFZWMPTJSHJGXROUUEKUWFHGJHNWUYMESYQYXXFAWAUGQNMESY

This message decodes to the following, by using an Autokey cipher with passphrase of "George" and alphabet key of ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY:

HILLBARNADRIATICFINALBELIEVEEVERYTHINGREPORTEVERYTHING
HILL BARN ADRIATIC FINAL BELIEVE EVERYTHING REPORT EVERYTHING

In the example above, HILL BARN ADRIATIC may be replaced with any of the locations from the complete list. The eighth symbol, which is just the word "LONDON", will be at the specified location.

Ninth Message

After discovering the eighth "LONDON" symbol, the MCOM's lights turn cyan. In a deviation from the normal structure of the Morse code, this cipher is identical for everyone:

ZQBRIPPQOHBFIUPEYLAZAMARZIOZDSYJB

After a long search, it was finally discovered that reversing the above ciphertext and using the reverse as input for an autokey cipher with key "LONDON" and custom alphabet ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY yields:

PUKOOLYNOCLABLLIMDNIWWODAHSSTNAIG

If you reverse this output, it reads:

GIANTSSHADOWWINDMILLBALCONYLOOKUP

GIANTS SHADOW WINDMILL BALCONY LOOK UP

A Beginning

The final Morse code, once deciphered, directs the player to the balcony of a windmill on the map Giant's Shadow; specifically, the windmill nearest to the German spawn point. Standing on the balcony of the windmill and looking outward/slightly upwards (video) while waiting for exactly two minutes will trigger a courier pigeon to swoop past the player. The same dramatic sound effect heard when viewing the symbols will play, and it is a this point that a new dogtag becomes available to the player. The tag is named "A Beginning", and has the description "You've found something that does not belong to you". It should be noted that a player will only be able to trigger the pigeon if their MCOM is on the cyan lights stage (stage 9) - you cannot skip the previous stages. If the dramatic sound does not trigger when the pigeon passes, the process must be repeated until the sound is triggered. Some reports indicate that the sound will not trigger unless the pigeon passes through the player, touching them. Nonetheless, if the pigeon is flying past you, you are at the right stage and have completed the necessary prerequisites.

In addition to the dogtag, the player's MCOM lights will change to a red color. Another Morse code message can be heard with headphones, but at a lower pitch than before, and accompanied by eerie background noise and apparent screaming (video). The message decodes to:

MASTER MAN

The code repeats indefinitely. The meaning of MASTER MAN has yet to be determined, and the whispering/screaming noises in the background have yet to be clearly transcribed. It has been noted that the Morse code definitely has a space between "Master" and "Man".

One popular but unproven interpretation of the MASTER MAN code is that it refers to Charles Masterman, a prominent British politician who worked in the propaganda department during WWI. Reinforcing this theory is the presence of the letters CM found on the dogtag, which are Charles Masterman's initials.

Another theory is that MASTER MAN refers to a radio operator, as shown below. As shown, he has access to telegraphs and colored light signals on a master control board. Through an in-game message by a DICE employee, we were told that "Red is a signal color", in response to queries about the red MCOM light.

The Master Man.png

Additional Resources

All the MCOM station light colours:

The following image was datamined after the release of the Winter Update patch on February 14, 2017:

Bf1 Symbols.jpg

Between its colour channels, this image contains all of the symbols mentioned above.

Prise de Tahure Update

On July 20, 2017, another map was added to the game called Prise de Tahure. Located on the map were several records, along with a gramophone, much like in the Megalodon easter egg. Bringing a record to the gramophone makes it play the Battlefield theme. At this time it is unknown if the records and gramophone have another purpose.

Four Square Cipher

The code that appeared on Soissons, along with the hints above it

Also on July 20, a cipher was added to a pillar near the lake north-east of the Château on Soissons. Above it were several graphical hints, including the icon of the A Beginning dogtag that was unlocked earlier in the ARG. The text of the cipher is as follows:

YPIVEZKUSYRNHZELDWSOMSPXINALXGWNHACPLTVZPNCPLBRPVXYPTHWNHQALYG

When solved as a four-square cipher using the keywords of MASTER and MAN, and reversing the remainder of the alphabet, the cipher was decoded:

INSIDE THE CHATEAU WHEN ALL IS DARK THERE YOU GO AND YOU WILL FIND THE SPARKS

Lights Out

It was discovered that snuffing out every light source in the castle on the Soisson map causes a mechanical sound effect to play. These light sources include candles, chandeliers, and lanterns. After doing this, the bases of the candle stands become interactable - players can switch them on or off. Interacting with candles causes the states of surrounding candles to switch, along with the position in that candle's cycle. There are a total of 7 candles in the castle. Once all the candles have been illuminated, another mechanical noise is heard, which allows us to advance to the next stage.

The seven candles each switch the state of one or two others. When any candle is activated, the candles that are switched all rotate one position anticlockwise around the activated candle. By activating a single candle seven times and recording the results, you can learn all of the switch patterns and know they are back where they started. With this knowledge it is possible (with some brain bending) to work out how to illuminate all the candles. This could of course be done with pen-and-paper, but there is an Excel spreadsheet (made by Disposalist) as well as an app that may also prove useful.

Also, after pressing a candle seven times, only one candle's state will be changed. All candles go back to their original states after a candle has been pressed fourteen times.

Note: If you don't press anything for 4 minutes the candles will reset and the switch patterns will change!

Tile Puzzle

A map of the castle, pillars, and statue, courtesy of TheRadGamerDan
One pattern of lit-up tiles in the floor of the castle
The orientation of the sandbag pattern relative to the grid, courtesy of MozzyFX

After lighting up all the candles in the castle and hearing the second mechanical noise, some wall panels on pillars on the outside of the castle become interactable. There are 8 pillars on the north side of the castle, and 8 on the south side.

To the north-east of the castle, there is a statue sunk into the ground, along with 8 concentric square steps leading down towards it. After the second mechanical noise is heard, a randomly-generated pattern of sandbags appear on 4 of these steps. They only appear while no one is looking at the steps. The goal here is to manipulate the floor lights inside the castle so their pattern matches the pattern of sandbags around the statue.

The pattern of tiles inside the castle consists of an 8 by 8 grid. At the beginning all tiles are turned off. Each individual tile can be manipulated using a pair of wall panels. There are 8 panels on the north side of the castle, and 8 panels on the south side - each panel corresponds to either a row or a column on the grid. Pressing the pair of panels corresponding to a specific row and column cause the appropriate light to toggle on or off. For example, if you were to press the "2nd column" panel and the "4th row" panel, then the light in position (2, 4) on the board would be toggled.

However, there is a twist: the rows and columns the panels correspond to are completely randomized in each server. There is no grouping to the panels; for example, not all panels on the north side are the row-controlling panels. This randomization means that players need to use trial and error in each game in order to determine which panels activate which rows and columns.

One method for accomplishing this is as follows:

  1. Press any 2 panels outside the castle to activate the a tile light. Note the initial configuration of lights, either by taking a screenshot or by marking it down.
  2. Choose an arbitrary panel from one of the 16 panels outside the castle. (You could start with the panel labelled '1' on the map shown above.)
  3. Try pressing your chosen panel followed by another arbitrary panel. (Again, you could use the panel labelled '2' on the map.)
  4. Check the light grid. If no lights have changed, pick a new panel as your second panel, and try pressing it along with your first one. Repeat this until a light changes on your grid.
  5. Once a light on your grid has changed, note its position in the grid along with the panels you used to activate it.
  6. Pick a different panel that you haven't tried yet as your second panel, keeping the first panel the same. Continue to try new combinations that include the first panel until another light is toggled.
  7. By this point, you should have toggled 2 different lights, and you should have had 1 panel (the first panel) in common with both of those lights. The two lights you toggled will share either a row or a column on the grid.
  8. The panel the lights had in common (the first panel) can now be associated with the row or column that contained the toggled lights. The other 2 panels you pressed can be associated with the intersecting rows or columns.
  9. Repeat the whole process, starting with a different panel. Continue until every panel's row or column is identified.

Example:

  • Let's say we start out trying to identify Panel 1.
  • We try pressing Panel 1 and Panel 2, but nothing changes, so we move on.
  • We try pressing Panel 1 and Panel 3, and a light changes at position (1, 5) (first column, fifth row). We note this down and move on.
  • We try pressing Panel 1 and Panel 4, but nothing changes.
  • We try pressing Panel 1 and Panel 5, but nothing changes.
  • We try pressing Panel 1 and Panel 6, and a light changes at position (6, 5) (sixth column, fifth row). We note this down.
  • The two lights that changed were both part of the 5th row, and we pressed Panel 1 in both cases. Therefore, Panel 1 must be the button for the fifth row.
  • In addition, from the first light that changed, since we know that Panel 1 is the button for the fifth row, Panel 3 must be the button for the first column.
  • Similarly, from the second light, since we know that Panel 1 is the button for the fifth row, Panel 6 must be the button for the sixth column.

From here, determining the rest of the panels' functions by trying unknown panels with known ones is easy.

Note: If a given pair of buttons causes no change in the light grid, they must both either be for rows or columns, since they do not intersect.

Once each panel's functionality has been determined, matching the lights up with the sandbags is a fairly simple (if tedious) task. The sandbags appear on only 4 of the 8 concentric steps, which correspond to square "rings" on the light grid. The position of the sandbags along each step indicates that the light in the corresponding location on the grid needs to be turned on. All other lights need to be turned off.

An example sandbag pattern is shown below:

A Conflict

The "A Conflict" dogtag, awarded to the player that completes the tile puzzle

Once the tile/sandbag puzzle has been completed, a plume of black smoke appears, and the A Conflict dogtag is awarded to the player who activated the final panel - the dogtag is NOT awarded to all players on the server, only the person who completes the Easter egg! The dogtag has the same skull icon as the A Beginning dogtag, but is silver instead of bronze.

Note: The A Beginning dogtag is not required to unlock the A Conflict dogtag!

The dogtag's description is as follows:

The voices have been silent far too long.

Prominently featured on the dogtag are the stylized initials WH. It is suspected that WH is an abbreviation for Wellington House, which was Britain's War Propaganda bureau during World War 1. The organization was led by Charles Masterman, whose initials were seen on the A Beginning dogtag, further confirming the connection.