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.