September Wrapup

Since having a new baby at home, I’ve definitely felt the video game crunch that all new fathers have in this modern age.  It’s quite the transition and while I am loving it, I have dropped my game time and extra-curricular game related efforts (youtube/blog/form whoring) significantly.  That being said, I have had a few little projects going that will start showing fruits soon.  One is a comprehensive TR sidearm guide – I am about 200 kills away from auraxium with the Underboss, the last remaining pistol for me to aurax.  I wanted to celebrate with a guide similar to the TR Infiltrator weapons guide I wrote in February.  Speaking of that guide, I was planning to update that too, although I kind of wanted to wait for the infil update (back when it was supposed to happen in July!)  As it stands, that update may not happen until Nov/Dec or later, so I may just redo the guide sooner.

 

I haven’t made any videos in a while, and am starting to gather material for a montage.  I have always tried to make them themed a little differently from the other infil montages out there, by highlighting squad infil play, unconventional styles such as pistol/knife or aggressive close-range sniping.  I am a little short on ideas so if anyone can think of an entertaining and unique approach to an infil montage I’d love to hear it!

 

BWC is going strong as always.  I’ve been in the outfit for over 5 months now – it was such a good decision to make the move over to a stable and thriving outfit.  The level of teamwork and camaraderie is exactly what had been missing from my previous outfits and lone wolf style of play prior to joining.  We do operations twice a week and I spend as much time as I can joining our squads to go kill things.  I love how we are constantly trying to improve as an outfit and remain competitive on the server (where many other innovative outfits are constantly pushing the meta game).

 

PS2 as a whole is in a bit of a lull – I think many of us agree that optimization is the bitter pill required to cure the illness that is poor player retention and suboptimal experience in big fights.  That doesn’t mean it is pleasant to see the ESF and infil updates just around the corner, yet so far away.  As always, I stay focused on the positives and keep trying to improve my gameplay.

 

After getting auraxium on the 3 SMG’s (finished the hailstorm 6 weeks ago or so), I have finally been able to settle into using the Armistice full-time.  Oh do I love it so much.  I am one of those players who doesn’t often SMG infil as I love sniping and am much better at it than other shooting styles.  However, the high DPS of this weapon allows me to rack up high kill counts in short order.  I have probably gotten over 1200 kills with it this month alone!  The Hailstorm was just too weak to justify the large magazine, and the PDW is a niche weapon that got me killed too often by engaging HA’s at close range.

 

While I still love the improved Nano-Armor cloak, I definitely believe it is not a one-size fits all cloak.  I use it with the SMG to run and gun, and escape from nasty situations, and it works great in that role.  However, more than a few times I have gotten stuck in an open space or in a prolonged fight with a dry cloak – I am pretty sure it has saved my life more than cost me one, but I still have to get used to the timings.  The hunter cloak is just much more forgiving with the quicker recharge.

 

After watching a few videos showing impressive use of grenade bandolier + frags, I have started trying it out.  I’ve yet to clear entire squads with my ‘nades but I am hoping to one of these days 🙂  Not sure if I want to run this more often or not though – nanoweave is still my go-to for my short-mid range sniper build and it’s hard to put down.

 

That’s all for today.  I look forward to posting the sidearm guide in a week or two, once I get those last 200 underboss kills!  Until then,

 

Stay Frosty!

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The TS2 Inquisitor (my Auraxium quest)

First off, the screenshot. I could be mistaken (please correct if so) but I may be the first to aurax this pistol

Two months ago, SOE released a round of empire specific pistols. The TR were given the inquisitor, a pistol with a default extended magazine of 30, damage of 143@10m to 91@60m and a ROF of 531rpm. Personally I was disappointed as I was hoping for a higher damage weapon like the cerberus or rebel that could fit a suppressor (I play infiltrator and have always been jealous of the Rebel). However, being the medal junkie I am, I had to get it, try it out and use it until I finally achieved auraxium. It was by far, the most painful chore of a pistol I have used.

The stats sound great on paper. Afterall, 30 rounds for a pistol? High rate of fire with pretty solid damage and muzzle velocity? As always, what looks good on paper often doesn’t translate into good live performance.

My critiques and impression:
1. There is a difference between the actual and theoretical damage output. In order to reach 531 rounds per minute, you literally have to spam the LMB until your fingers go numb. This rapid clicking, while some people may be able to do it well, had a negative affect on my accuracy, especially on targets running away or moving. By the end I had gotten used to it, but it was still a constant frustration.

2. Very weak in close range encounters. Compared to the repeater which is a bullet hose of a pistol, or the revolvers, the inquisitor simply falls short. Very short. If I want to pistol+knife someone, I need about 4-5 shots before I can get the kill. As you can imagine, it takes someone with poor reflexes to actually succumb to that combo with the Inquisitor. The repeater only requires two relatively accurate bursts, and the emperor only needs 3-4 shots. The revolvers vary between 1-2 depending on nanoweave.

3. The supposed benefit of having 30 rounds in the magazine is sustained fire and engagement. There are two issues here. The first, is that sustained fire WITH A PISTOL is a very bad idea. You should pull out the sidearm to quickly finish wounded targets, or for sneaking up to pistol+knife them. The longer you are exposed and vulnerable, with a dinky pea shooter, the more likely you are to be flanked and easily killed. Furthermore, I rarely emptied the massive magazine, either killing the target or reloading behind cover. I could achieve the same style of combat with the TX2 Emperor, rarely saying to myself “Gee I wish I had 9 more bullets before I had to reload over 2 seconds!”.

4. Positives: I like the iron sights with the TS2 a lot, and wish they would use the same irons on the TX1 and TX2. It allowed me to ADS and get a few decent mid-range kills. Over time, you become used to the LMB spam and the # of shots needed to kill a target which makes it less frustrating. Otherwise, I think this pistol is inferior to the TX2, while attempting to use the same style of pistol gameplay (single shot with relatively high ROF).

So how did I manage to get the auraxium medal in-spite of all these shortcomings? Well, for starters, I am a sniper. When someone gets close, the sidearm comes out naturally and it gets more use from me than people who use other classes. As I started to get close to the medal, I began to use the pistol more often, getting body shots with the sniper rifle (intentionally) and then finishing with the pistol. I would occasionally knife the oblivious target first, then pistol him down (a bad practice generally). Basically, I changed my playstyle to increase the times I landed the final shot with the pistol. Rarely, did I take a target down from 100% to dead with this gun.

My recommendation: This pistol is not necessarily “imbalanced” and I’m not asking for a buff. I would suggest that the TX2 Emperor is a better choice for the TR who want this style of pistol. Overall, the sidearms are pretty well balanced, and offer a nice variety of choices, from the repeater to the revolvers. Now that I have aurax’d this thing, it will go on the shelf and never be used again. I would discourage new players from investing in this weapon with the false hope that 30 round mags and 531 rpm would translate into better performance.

TLDR: do not buy

Thank you for reading, and I welcome any comments from other inquisitor users.

Here’s a link from the DA stats page. It only covers connery, waterson and mattherson, which is why I am not sure if I am the first to aurax this weapon or not.

Competitive PS2

I am a member of the Black Widow Company [BWC] competitive team. Our outfit boasts a healthy membership of about 600 players, some of whom are very dedicated to the game and outfit, others who are more casual. We are known on our server for teamwork, utilizing all aspects of PS2 (air, armor and infantry), and going up against bad odds and (hopefully) coming out ahead. Our leadership created the competitive team with the goal of participating in outfit vs. outfit scrims, as well as potentially MLG once that gets going.

I wanted to write this post to discuss my early impressions of scrimmage style PS2, and what I have learned as an infiltrator on this team.

We have had 4 scrims so far. The first was against DasAnFall, a VS Mattherson outfit who is well known for their high level of squad play. We got whooped by them very publicly in the second ReachCast Community Clash in a 12v12 format . We took that loss and tried to learn as much as we could. Our next three matches, vs. NNG (VS Mattherson), SG (NC Mattherson) and GOTR (VS Mattherson) were narrow victories that have given me a lot to reflect upon.

An outfit like BWC has to completely change the way it operates in order to play smaller level scrims against a single opponent. There is no “backup” coming, and you can’t just pull a bunch of armor or air to overcome an obstacle (at least, not under the rules we used). Competitive PS2 requires teamwork, communication, good individual skill and what I will call “initiative”. There is too much going on and not enough time to sit back and wait for orders from your SL or PL. If you see an opportunity, you need to take it. This must be balanced against 12 or 24 players just doing their own little missions and not working together. It showed when you watch our fight vs DA – we either got mopped up solo or very slowly acted together and couldn’t respond to the enemy movements.

So, that is broadly what I have learned on an organizational level about competitive PS2 – but what about the infiltrator? To me, this has been a much more interesting aspect, as I have a great deal of experience playing infil on the live server. I will try to break down the differences between live and competitive play into a few distinct points.

1. Darts. They are “useful” on the live server. They help me greatly, and sometimes my team. In competitive play, they are ESSENTIAL. Your team is blind without them, and during our practices and matches, my primary job is not killing, but maintaining recon dart coverage for my squad. This took some practice, because you need to be careful not to run out of darts too early, unless you are near an engineer.  On the live server, it’s easy to predict where the enemy is.  Against another squad or two, they could be anywhere, flanking, holding up in a room or in a place you wouldn’t expect.  Recon darts are more important than any other utility for your team – I would say even more than a medic gun.

2.  Suppressor?  On live server, I often equip a suppressor – many of your enemies are not actively communicating with one another and it can be easy to flank and get 10-20 kills before someone sees the tracers and figures it out.  This is most definitely not the case in competitive PS2.  Even the suppressed sound is enough to give you away.  Instead of pretending that I am hidden, I assume the enemy knows exactly where I am at.  That means I snipe unsuppressed and never hide in the little nooks and perches that I get away with on live.  In general, I throw the entire notion of stealth out the window.  It’s too easy for the enemy to find you and call out your location.

3.  Disruption.  Beyond darts, what is the role of an infiltrator?  We can’t interact with vehicles – and we are very vulnerable to maxes (which carry an increased significance in smaller fights),  Used properly, the infiltrator can be considered an anti-infantry class.  The tools we have to do this are very precise, and require high aim and little room for error.  Just like the live server, competitive PS2 is not about KDR or frags – it is about taking the objectives.  I could sit on a hill and pick off a few infantry here and there and come out with pretty decent numbers… but it would not be enough for my team.  So what can I do in a scrimmage to help my team?

Just like the live server, the enemy has to come from a spawn point to their objective.  Oftentimes, the distance from the spawn to the objective will determine the victor.  I personally have found my niche on the team to be harassing the stream of reinforcements from the enemy spawn to the rest of their team.  Inevitably, my guys will clean out a room or kill the medics and force them to move on foot to rejoin the group.  That is where I come in, harassing and eliminating these reinforcements.  If they have to deal with an infiltrator who keeps picking them off, they are not joining the rest of the squad.  This is a different approach from the live server, where you often don’t worry about intercepting troops but simply holding the point and progressing to spawn suppression.  Combat is too fluid, and numbers are too little to both hold the point and camp the spawn against a competent force.

So I spend most of my time in these matches running around, thinning out and distracting the reinforcements, while maintaining dart coverage over my squad.  I’m a bit of a lone wolf, working with my team but often separated from them.  I try not to get too far away from a medic or backup however, as I don’t pretend to be able to solo-kill every reinforcement – especially among highly competent players.  Just like the rest of the team, we have to adapt and respond to enemy movement, including collapsing on an objective, or coming together to breach.

Competitive PS2 takes aspects of the game we all love and adds a lot more individualism to the equation.  With smaller scale than the live server, every decision and encounter will help lead to victory or defeat.  I have found that different styles of gameplay are required to succeed in a scrimmage environment as an infiltrator, and as an outfit, we have to adapt our approach to combat as well.  One thing is certain – these matches have been a lot of FUN, and have reinvigorated many of our members who were growing tired of the same old laggy biolab grind on the same continent against mostly nameless enemies, with the occasional “elite” group running around farming our guys.  I think that competitive PS2 is a good thing for the game, and the community.  When MLG comes around, I believe it will have a positive impact on our playerbase, and I hope to be able to participate – if only to say that I did something “pro” once in my life.  I can say that after scrimmaging with each outfit we have faced, it has strengthened the relationship between those outfits, and the leaders within them.  SG, NNG, DA and GOTR are all very respected and I feel these matches have allowed us to learn from each other and keep PS2 exciting.

Here is some footage from our match vs. SturmGrenadier.  I have more but it is uncut and not very interesting.  You see me constantly focusing on darts and harassment, just as I describe above.