First off, let me address what I noticed about the game after a few months away from it. While the performance is much better than it was last year, the game is still a resource hog. But it's a gorgeous game, so that's a fair trade-off. One thing I'm really happy to see is the almost perfect division of the three factions across the board... still! This is reflected in the CMA vote last week, too, as it was a close vote.
In the past, I've always played this game with an element of stealth. My main is an Engineer filling a support role, and when he switches to an Infiltrator, he takes pride in hacking turrets and being a loner. But this Heavy Assault trooper is really opening my eyes to frontline combat.
I've been playing with no regard to continent choice and just clicking that "Instant Action" button to get me into the heat of battle more quickly. This really cuts down on that sneak time I've concentrated on with my other character, allowing me to level more quickly. I figured I'd be dying a whole lot more with this playstyle, but I'm actually not. My survivability is much higher with the Heavy Assault, and it's amazing how effective it is to just run in on an unsuspecting player when you have the more powerful weapon. Even before spending any cert points on gear, I'm able to do an impressive amount of damage to higher-level enemies.
I spent my first few hours with this new character rushing bases with no real regard for my own safety. Playing the infantry role is flexible, and I feel confident carrying this large weapon. I'm usually the guy fixing up the anti-air turrets to use against some poor sap flying solo through my territory. But being on the ground has its own advantages. I quickly got the hang of the ML-7 launcher, too, taking out a tank (500 points!) and a few turrets.
But this is where I have to admit a bit of a noob mistake on my part. See, your allies are depicted on the minimap as little blue arrows, while your enemies are red. That seems simple enough, but the three factions are separated by color: blue for the New Conglomerate, purple for the Vanu Sovereignty, and red for the Terran Republic. I've always played as the NC or Vanu, so I was really confused when I saw my TR-owned bases appear red on the minimap and my allies were still blue. Are those blue arrows representing the NC, or does that signify an ally regardless of faction? Is that blue tank my ally or an NC player?
Turns out, red arrows always mean enemy (even if you're playing as "the red team"), but red base icons always mean TR-controlled. I know, it takes some getting used to, but I felt like an idiot when I had to shoot a friendly tank to see what would happen. Oops! I'm only level 1, tee-hee!
At one point, I was rolling with a squad on Amerish that was moving from base to base like a well-oiled machine. Tired from all that running, I hopped into a Sunderer and manned a turret to keep the air clear. Soon enough, that deployed Sunderer became a last stand as the NC concentrated their forces and pushed back to my location. Since the Sundy is a spawn point, my TR comrades were popping up left and right, helping to defend the large vehicle as I was mowing down the enemy with the turret. Once that beast ran out of ammo, I jumped out but was quickly mowed down by a nearby Max. I do believe we lost that post, but that's the beauty of just respawning at another. You can't dwell on losses like that.
And it's the small victories that really make this game because every kill matters. But the large-scale battles that involve hundreds of players fighting for control over territory are what makes the game unique -- at least in execution.
can be played entirely solo, but it really is made to be played with a large squad. Despite the fact that the game can feel repetitive overall, there's still enough to keep it interesting with on-the-fly class changes, a variety of weapon types, vehicles, planes, tanks, and more. Everytime I come back to this game, I wonder why I stopped playing. Give me about 100 more deaths and I'll remember until next time I get the itch.
I reached level six this shortened week (with the polls on Friday), but I'll have a full week ahead before next write-up. I plan to explore more classes like the Light Assault and the Max, which could both still easily fit into the role you voted for me. I'm also going to start playing around with certs to get some better equipment. Any and all suggestions are welcome in the comments. And if you see MissElainEous running around on the Waterson server, just watch the face, please.
Shawn Schuster is now permanently at the helm of Massively's Choose My Adventure with you as the co-captain. It's going to be a rough ride, so put on your seat belt! Join him every Wednesday for a reader-guided deep-dive into a new MMO every month. Farcical puns about cars and farming sold separately.