Battlefield 3 fans have been facing a nasty surprise lately, as EA and DICE-operated servers have slowly, but surely, been disappearing… or so it seemed.

Back in March, we told you about the “Rent a Server” program that allows console players to host their own matches and customize to their hearts’ desire. Based on what we heard from EA after asking for clarification, the “disappearing” DICE servers are really due to the popularity of the rental program. Here’s what the publisher had to say:

DICE is not shutting down servers. If DICE-managed servers appear unavailable, it is because they have been rented and customized by players. DICE will continue to add servers and will reserve a percentage of servers for players who prefer to connect through DICE-hosted servers.

Custom Servers have always been extremely popular with Battlefield PC players. With Battlefield 3, we’ve introduced a Custom Servers program to console gamers. Response has been overwhelmingly positive. Custom Servers gives players the ability to tailor the settings and parameters of a given server, which directly affects gameplay. It also gives players more choice as they select which server and gameplay style they like best.

As with any new innovation, there may be some confusion among players who are experiencing Custom Servers for the first time.  We encourage players to use server filters and “favorite” options to find the servers that best suit their play style. We have enormous respect for the Battlefield community and are listening to the feedback.  It is our #1 priority to ensure all players are having the best possible play experience.

The reservation of servers for public use should help alleviate the appearance that DICE has made them do a disappearing act. In the meantime, the filters and favorite options in the menus should help you get into the game. Carry on, soldier.