Furthering the Nanoweave Debate

https://forums.station.sony.com/ps2/index.php?threads/video-an-actual-discussion-on-nanoweave-vs-basrs-with-evidence-and-logic.137287/

I put together a video that is more coherent and included my thoughts on the nanoweave issue that is plaguing the infiltrator class, particularly those of us using bolt action rifles. It has been a good healthy debate. I have tweeted it and tried to draw attention to the developers, as we as raise awareness within the infiltrator community.

I think it is an important issue because it greatly affects the signature ability of primary weapon class – bolt action rifles. Getting headshots are not trivial, and when you land one, you rarely get a second chance. Surviving a headshot due to nanoweave armor has cause a great deal of misery for infiltrators who deal with other built-in downsides to balance the class – scope sway, 100 less hp, loud cloaking and the weapons themselves: long rechamber, long reload.

Just last night I had no less than 15 headshots get “nanoweaved”. It happens all the time, and renders me useless against entire groups of players. In particular, on Mattherson, I’ve noticed that NNG (no nonsense gamers, a great outfit) run almost all of their ground guys with nanoweave. I landed a ton of headshots on them last night, and over the last few weeks, with unsatisfying results.

I still love what I do, and the class is my favorite way to enjoy the game. I haven’t taken the route that some have, quitting or playing other classes until it gets fixed. I will keep adapting and playing my best, all while advocating for changes I believe will help the game stay fun, balanced and challenging.

Also, I saw the fury nerf on the PTS. It’s about what I expected… no surprises there. My only concern there is that they already nerfed flash fury ammo a LOT. I already use mine a lot less (in addition to the increased cost). So when it’s all said and done… triple nerf? Seems excessive. That and I really like how the fury feels on my sunderer. What does feel broken is slapping a fury on a harasser, because you can farm dozens and dozens of infantry kills with ease.

Thats all for now. Keep sniping, and stay frosty!

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BWC Server hop

Yesterday (23Jun) BWC did a 24 hr operation on a different server.  We went to Waterson, another US Eastern TZ server.  The purpose was to mix things up, get our name out there, and show people that teamwork can overcome certs and battlerank.  It was an absolute BLAST and I can’t wait until the next one we do!

I spent most of the day as an infiltrator, and did pretty decent.  I started at BR1 and ended at BR17 or so.  There were a few painful aspects of not having certs as an infiltrator:

1.  No suppressor for my SR-7.  I stayed a bit at range until I got the certs for it.  Man I really love my suppressor
2.  Low level cloak – SO PAINFUL!  After a while, you forget how valuable those extra seconds are, where you can recharge the cloak.
3.  No nanoweave or flak armor.  I died to so many mines… I’m used to using either NW 5 or some form of flak.
4.  Vehicle respawn timers – I also didn’t appreciate just how long it takes to pull vehicles when you don’t cert out the timers
5.  Wraith flash – It takes so many certs to use well, that I couldn’t even come close to getting one running.  High cert cap.

Overall it was a really fun visit.  There were some real funny moments where people were asking who we were and why there were so many low BR’s killing them!  I think the individual skill level on Waterson is similar, if not slightly less than what you see on Mattherson.  The big difference comes in the outfits you see – or don’t see.  On Waterson, we ran to defend Vanu Archives against a large VS force.  We secured the “A” point with maxes, engies, medics and a few HA’s.  The VS kept zerging into the room one at a time… all of us were waiting for a max crash.  And waiting… for a crash that never came.  We were so confused as to why the VS would keep throwing themselves into our guns without making a coordinated push, that would have happened on Mattherson within minutes.  

Now, that’s not to say you don’t have max crashes on Waterson, or that it is some unique tactic that only happens on the big M.  But the fact that it never happened, when it would have happened within minutes on our server, was eye opening.  The entire day was like that, as the BWC noobs stuck together, fighting off small and large groups alike.  Sure, there were some real big fights that we had to fall back from, and more than a few vehicle zergs that gave us trouble (what wouldn’t we have given for some C4!!!) but it was rare that we saw the kind of teamwork and coordination that has become second nature on Mattherson.

I am probably a bit biased, and bragging a little about my home server.  Mattherson really is a challenging environment to play PS2, and that has helped me both as a player and a member of an outfit, to thrive.  I can’t wait to visit more servers with BWC in the future, to take our brand of justice and apply it to more rebels and cultists!

One really funny moment from yesterday… we were rolling up along the northwestern edge of Indar when I looked on the map and saw multiple squads detected in a hex belonging to us, with no one contesting the base.  There were equal VS and NC there.  It was very strange, the base was completely empty.

After investigating a little, we stumbled upon some sort of VS/NC truce, where they were doing something with maxes.  I’m sure it was fun, something like a friendly competition or whatever.  But the second my outfit saw this, we were appalled at the lack of fighting and quickly overran their position with prowlers and infantry.  Within 10 minutes, the area was secure, tears were spilt and we moved north to take more territory.  I don’t know what they were up to, but that would never have stood on Mattherson.  I was happy to end the hand-holding 🙂

Till next time,

Mustarde

GU11 for Infiltrators

So, GU11 hit today and I had the chance to play for a few hours and get a feel for the changes.  These are pretty early impressions and may change after hotfixes and the passage of time.

1.  The Wraith

Overall the biggest definitive change in GU11 was changes to the vehicles, which for infiltrators specifically, affect the Wraith.  Resource cost went from 25 to 100.  This is much more reasonable than the 150 which initially was proposed.  I did not pull my wraith too often tonight, and even though I have max timer cooldown, I never ran out of resources.  I was pulling more sunderers than flashes tonight anyways.  But the bottom line is, I was able to maintain a reasonable pace of Flash use with a single tech plant throughout the night.

I used to use IRNV optics for the fury however, and these now are just HORRIBLE.  I had the hardest time using the IRNV optics and kept TK’ing my own guys, as well as not being able to see infantry beyond a certain range.  I didn’t test it extensively but I have to say that it simply was NOT FUN to use.  I was so frustrated that I decided to get thermal vision, which is now the superior choice for the flash.  It comes reasonably close to the function served by the old IRNV.  Once again, after tonights session, I see no reason to ever use IRNV optics on the wraith.

I don’t even understand why they made it work worse than before.  I get the reasoning behind changing IRNV for infantry weapons since there are alternatives that had been neglected in the past.  On a flash, however, there are no such options, only IRNV or Thermal.  SOE also added a “warm up” time for both IRNV and thermal.  That slight delay is annoying as hell, but still livable.  I’m not mad, but I am frustrated that they took these optics and simply made them work worse than before.  Quality of life my ass.

Lastly, for the wraith, they nerfed fury ammo capacity.  HARD.

Ammo capacity reduced from 75 to 30.
Ammo capacity certifications reduced from 15 to 5 grenades per rank

I used to spawn a flash with 9 rounds in the magazine and 126 on standby.  I had 50 in reserve today.  I dropped enough certs to get back up to 75, and I was too annoyed to bring myself to spend the last 1500 certs to max out ammo capacity.  I realize the Fury is imbalanced, but not because of being overpowered, but because of how awful the other weapons are at their task.  I tried the basalisk and cobalt, however they are simply inferior for killing infantry.

These changes combined will reduce the presence of wraith farming on the field, but not eliminate them.  I’ll still get out there, surprise people and kill them.  But I have to say, in terms of the wraith, SOE definitely made it less fun to use and less accessible for people who haven’t invested a great deal of certs to make it work well.

2.  ADAD

-This change helps everyone but will also benefit us as we try to snipe targets.  I landed several nice headshots today, on targets trying to dance around.  It’s not a huge change but one that will often benefit us more I think.

3.  Friendly cloak glowing

I don’t like this one.  It feels like dumbing down the game, and to my knowledge, is not something anyone was really asking for as infiltrators.  Now, when we are amongst the enemy and they see a blur of cloak, they know 100% that you are an enemy and can open up with impunity.  I can’t really say this got me killed yesterday, but I am not a huge fan of the change.

4.  Scope sway

“The scope sway pattern no longer resets each time you exit the scoped view.”  Listed under “Bug Fixes”.  This is annoying for me as well, since at mid ranges you can often land shots without needing to hold your breath, since there was a predictable movement to the scope sway (always would start up and to the left, in the figure of 8 pattern).  Now, without holding your breath, it’s very hard to quickly scope up and land reasonably accurate shots.  Another “quality of life” update that no one was asking for, and no one should be happy with.  And no, I don’t think infiltrators were abusing the scope sway predictability to the point it needed fixing.  It’s was still hard to land shots at range without holding your breath.

These were the main changes in GU11 that affect infiltrators and as you can guess, most of them were a downgrade or neutral.  I’m not that thrilled with the update in general and a read of twitter, forums and friendly chatting in-game shows that I’m not alone.   I’m especially miffed at how worthless the IR/NV optics are on vehicles.  This all falls under the “be careful what you wish for” type of thinking I have regarding the infiltrator class update.  For a while now, I’ve been afraid of what SOE will do as they tweak the class, and I hope that in the process of weeding through all the legitimate suggestions that have been made regarding the update, they don’t ruin gameplay further.

Sorry for the more negative than usual post.  I had a rough session tonight, and most of the changes that I got to experience were not fun, and in general made the game more annoying or punitive.  Now I have to spend certs to get thermal on everything.

New video Montage

Behind Enemy lines… although it ended up being more of a display of flash abuse.  Fun to edit and make.  I had something like 5 hours of pure wraith carnage to sort through before I could whittle down this footage into a 7 minute video.

Hope you guys enjoy!  Any suggestions/ideas for the next one?

 

BR100!

Obligatory celebration for hitting BR100.  It’s a nice time to reflect on my time playing the game, and skim the stats.

42 days of time in-game.  Wow.  It’s nice that I am at a particular point in life where I can spend so much free time playing the game.  For most, this is a very large investment of time and borders on too much.  For me, it is a haven from the insanity that composes the rest of my day-to-day job and home life, and I have been grateful for the leisure and enjoyment I’ve gotten out of Planetside.

48,000 kills, 25,000 headshots.  This stacks up pretty high compared to my overall XP and rank on the server.  It reflects my playstyle and class selection of infiltrator.  The headshot number is obvious – and only Torokokill has me beat (that guy is a beast, 33k headshots!).  I’m in the top 10 for overall kills on the server, which at first can be confusing, since I’m 43rd in XP overall.  This is quickly answered by looking at vehicle kills.  Simply, unless I’m constantly hacking AV turrets and killing vehicles, or using tanks/aircraft while still in an infiltrator suit, there is no real way to get vehicle kills as an infiltrator.  Many other players are out there blowing up tanks and sundies with C4, which gets reflected with a high score and lower kill count.  I also did not have alpha squad, and spent the first 4-5 months of the game without any active boosts, and only a partial membership, so there was less XP rewarded per kill.

Where to go from here?  It is funny how your goals change once you hit a milestone in a game.  Especially in PS2, where BR 100 is pretty much the top rung of the ladder.  When scanning the leaderboards, you can see that for some players, hitting BR 100 is the end game, and they stop playing.  I already have the auraxium medal for every TR infiltrator weapon in the game, and I currently have no interest in playing other factions (TR4Life!)

I haven’t yet figured what’s next, other than wrapping up the auraxium medal for both revolvers.  I certainly am not going away… I have too much fun playing the game.  Perhaps I will enjoy it even more, now that I do not have any pressure to cert-grind to the next level.  My outfit provides such a high level of enjoyment and meta-game that I barely notice all the things Sony does to change the game.  I will keep blogging and making videos, for sure.  I love leading the infiltrator detachment within BWC.  I am always switching up my gameplay, using various weapons and attachments to keep things different.  I rarely flirt with other classes, but might occasionally do so.  I’ve also thought about learning how to fly a mosquito, so I can use it for more than an ejection seat 🙂  Either way, the next phase of PS2 for me is definitely going to be an adventure.  Thanks for continuing to be part of my loyal reader base!

 

Stay Frosty,

Mustarde

Anti-infiltrator

No matter how important your mission is, be it disabling a base, eliminating lancer nests or farming the peasants at a base, the infiltrator must always prioritize his target.  Other classes will enter an area and try to kill everything they see – we infiltrators are often allowed choices, due to increased range and coverage of the battlefield.  I teach a class to my outfit members on how to be an effective sniper, and one of the first things we cover is target prioritization.  Guess what makes the top of the list?  Infiltrators.

Infiltrators are your own worst nightmare, able to quickly and effectively remove you from the battlefield, from a distance.  If you are sitting stationary as you take aim or try to line up a shot on a target, you become highly vulnerable to sniper fire.  I teach all my Reapers to aggressively and meticulously root out hostile infiltrators so you can have control over the area of operations (AO).  How do you effectively take out this threat?  And how do you remain a threat to your enemy?  There is no special formula for success as an infiltrator, however several key concepts can give you an edge over the others who are trying to hunt you down.

1.  Stay mobile.  A simple concept, and one that applies to all infantry with regards to infiltrators.  If you don’t learn how to shoot and scoot, you will get countersniped.  With practice, you can transition from running to stand-still, scope – breath hold – fire – and go back to running.  The time it takes for someone else to zero in on your head during that short transition is longer than you will stay still.  More broadly, staying mobile means that you rotate sniping perches and move from cover to cover.  My general rule is 3 kills or 5 shots.  Once you hit that point, get moving.  Exceptions are made all the time, but the bottom line is that good infantry (and especially infiltrators) will identify the source of hostile sniper fire and move in on your position.  You need to stay mobile

2.  Find and flank.  The best defense is a good offense, right?  Want to avoid getting counter-sniped?  Find the enemy infiltrators and sneak up on them.  All it takes is a decent flanking position and you can place your crosshairs right over some poor soul and eliminate the threat.  I do this all the time, both intentionally and inadvertently – part of this is due to my playstyle, running into firefights with a suppressed SR-7, I often end up behind the enemy line and staring at the backs of a bunch of infiltrators perched somewhere.

3.  Situational awareness.  Recon darts are your friend.  The best reason I can give you to drop the final 1000 certs into recon dart is for this sort of defensive use.  If you are in a hostile environment, use darts to keep an eye on your position as you advance, or hold ground.  Some good infiltrators will time out their cloak just right and sneak up on you, but for the vast majority of enemies, your recon dart will give you a clue to enemy presence.

In addition to darts, listening for enemy faction cloaking noises, watching for distorted cloak effects moving nearby and listening for enemy sniper fire are all great ways to detect enemy infiltrators.

4.  Finish the job:

Once you determine the enemy location and effectively position yourself for attack, the final step is finishing the job.  Sometimes this is extremely easy, walking up behind a clueless infiltrator standing still and putting a round through the back of the skull.  Sometimes all it takes is a well placed commissioner round to the head, or two to the chest.  Against a good infiltrator, you will have to earn that kill.  Expect to be noticed as you move in close and be prepared to chase your enemy.  Maintain visual contact as it is easy to become the prey if you can’t find the infiltrator anymore.  I personally use a pistol + knife combination to kill most infiltrators I come across unless they present themselves nicely for a bolt action.  If you end up going on a chase, remember the recon dart!

When you are purely countersniping, it’s often a matter of using the cloak well, and timing your decloaking and firing to minimize the opportunity the other sniper has to kill you.  When fighting a skilled infiltrator, you often need to move in close because they will not stand still long enough to give you a chance with the bolt action.  I recently had a wonderful duel with one of the best infiltrators in the game, Torokokill.  He had this ability to keep finding me and hunting me down near scarred mesa one night, and we had a great couple of engagements, which I narrowly edged him out on.  We chatted afterwards and both agreed it was some of the most fun we’ve had in a while.  Notice that neither of us was able to take each other down with the bolt action very easily and most of the kills were at close range using sidearms and knives.  I really wish I had been recording but alas…

 

Torokokill duel

 

This post isn’t going to make you immune to other infiltrators, or allow you to win all of those engagements.  I hope that it does raise your awareness of one of the more important threats on the battlefield, and allow you to take a systematic approach to eliminating hostile infiltrators from your area of operations.  When I pull down my stats on which classes I have killed the most, infiltrator edges out heavy assault by a narrow margin, even though most people consider infiltrator to be one of the least played classes.  Part of that is farming low skilled players standing still with sniper rifles, but part of that is a reflection of how important it is to remove them from the battlefield before continuing to function.

Sorry for the delay between posts.  I’ve had a lot going on in-game and in real life, and it took me about 3 attempts to sit down and finish this one.  I appreciate all the new readers I have gotten lately as a result of some videos I worked on, and I plan to do more to integrate this blog with some of my video work.  Feel free to comment, ask questions and discuss this post more with me, I try to be responsive!

 

Stay frosty,

Mustarde

Shedding the lone wolf

For the first 6 months of playing Planetside 2, I was your quintessential lone-wolf.  If you flick through older videos I have up on youtube, they all focus on solo infiltrator work, kill farming in towers, hiding in little rocks and bushes, racking up the certs all alone.  I prided myself on what I accomplished by myself.  I think many infiltrators do, and are proud of what they can do without depending on others.

Two months ago I decided I wanted more out of PS2, and out of myself.  My previous outfits had some great people in them, but we rarely used teamwork.  The most I had really used a squad for was as a convenient source of beacons and deploy options.  Then I joined the Black Widow Company [BWC].  They are on Mattherson and can be summarized as a military-styled, small to medium group tactical unit in PS2.  They excel in “combined arms”, meaning they have pilots, tankers, and various flavors of specialized infantry.  You will never see a call for all 120 people to pull mossies at once, or for everyone to drop on a single location at the same time.  BWC will send a platoon of infantry supported by vehicles to your position and win through superior training, skill and tactics.

When I joined, I was worried about what would happen to my playstyle, my stats, and my passion for the infiltrator class.  After all, I had spent 90% of my game time as a lone-wolf infiltrator… and I was quite good at it.  There were a few bumps in the road when I first joined as a private, but BWC has some amazing leadership, and they quickly saw that I specialized in a single class.  I was encouraged to continue playing to my strengths, and as I progressed up the internal ranks, I was quickly tapped to help organize and train other infiltrators.

Within 6 weeks, I was placed in charge of what is called, the “Reaper detachment”.  I began re-writing and running our training program, sitting down with other players to develop strategy and concepts.  It is not easy bringing the military style of BWC organization upon players who are used to running solo like I was.  Fortunately, most of them had been around longer than I and were top notch soldiers in-game.  I was afraid running a squad of reapers would be like herding cats towards the green beacon…

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  While infiltrator has a natural tendency to reward individual performance and thinking, Planetside is a game designed to take advantage of coordinated groups of players.  When you get a highly disciplined squad of 12 infiltrators together, the damage potential and effectiveness of the group is exponential.  We can deploy to the hottest firezones, hack the most well-defended turrets and terminals, and snipe full health maxes in a single volley.  It is unreal what kind of damage we inflict on the enemy.  Have you ever seen 12 wraith flashes decloak and pound a target with fury rounds?

I still lone wolf from time to time, in a way.  There are plenty of moments when it makes sense to flank the enemy, leave your squad and make something happen.  But I no longer consider myself a solo player.  I am a much better infiltrator when supported by my BWC outfit members, either in a regular squad or in a Reaper squad.  We are coming up with new ways to use the class, that no one else is doing in the game right now.  Planetside 2 has never been more exciting.