|The Battlefield 1 ARG - an ARG that began with headphones and Morse Code.|
This wiki page documents the easter egg/ARG that is hidden in Battlefield 1. This page includes step-by-step instructions to unlock the secret "A Beginning" dogtag. A full video explanation of the easter egg can be found here. Currently, the primary solving hub for this ARG is the Battlefield Easter Egg community, who have a wiki here and a YouTube channel here.
- 1 Headphones and Morse
- 2 February 14, 2017
- 3 They Shall Not Pass
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.
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
February 14, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 cleartext. The ciphertext must be reversed before it is input into the railfence ciper to get cleartext 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.
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.
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:
This transmission is encoded via Vigenere Cipher with the key "Edward". It decodes to:
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.
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:
This message decodes to the following, by using an Autokey cipher with passphrase of "George" and alphabet key of
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.
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:
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
If you reverse this output, it reads:
GIANTS SHADOW WINDMILL BALCONY LOOK UP
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:
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 referse 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 could be Charles Masterman's initials. However, the presence of a space in the Morse code detracts from this theory.
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.
All the MCOM station light colours:
The following image was datamined after the release of the February 14, 2017 patch:
Between its colour channels, this image contains all of the symbols mentioned above.
They Shall Not Pass
On March 14, the "They Shall Not Pass" DLC became accessible for Premium Pass owners. There were no further developments until April 27.
Records and Gramophones
On Fort de Vaux, a vinyl record can be found hidden in different places, pictured right. Much like the headphones, the records are indestructible and can be found on every server - only one record spawns at a time, in one of the 5 discovered spawn locations. These records were stationary physics objects until April 27, when the game was updated to allow the player to pick them up.
There is also a gramophone hidden on Fort de Vaux. Bringing a record to the gramophones and pressing the interact button, it plays a muffled piano sound that can be viewed here. The song plays at 80bpm, with all natural notes. The song spans 4 octaves. Every note is repeated at least once. Using the French musical cryptogram, the message can be decoded as follows:
SO YOU ARE HERE FOR THE SECRET THAT LIES BELOW VAUX MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY FOR THIS JOURNEY. DO NOT THINK IT WILL BE EASY AND DO NOT EXPECT ANY REWARD. ALL YOU WILL FIND IS DEATH. A HINT THAT IS ALL I HAVE FOR YOU, SO LISTEN CLOSELY: THE MEN THAT LIVED HERE KNEW ITS SECRETS. SEARCH WHERE THEY RESTED WHEN THEY DID NOT WORK
4 valves are scattered throughout Fort de Vaux as well. They can be individually activated, but their purpose is currently unknown.
This investigation is still developing, and this page will be updated accordingly as new leads emerge.