Around Monday we'll have our hands-on coverage of Battlefield 3 and its multiplayer from E3, but in the meantime, a few early details have poured in, which won't be shown at the event.
One of the major topics of speculation has been how team organization: would Commander mode make a return or would we see a similar setup to Bad Company 2? There's still no official confirmation on Commander one way or the other, but we can confirm platoons. In the real world, these are groups of 16 to 50 soliders, divided into two, three, or four sections or squads. It will certainly be interesting to see how exactly BF3 adapts them.
Platoons and a variety of other social features -- feeds, real-time player stats, friends list, squad management, voice chat -- are handled by Battlelog. We'll assume it's Battlefield-version of EA's Autolog network that's made it's way into a lot of its titles recently. DICE says the service will cost you a "monthly fee of (drum roll)... zero dollars." Cough.
Besides that, Team Deathmatch mode is confirmed -- definitely great news for those who enjoyed Squad Deathmatch in Bad Company 2, but found the squad framework a bit useless for it. Player count isn't confirmed for this mode, but we'll fantasize about a 64-player version anyway.