The best parts of the infiltrator update are actually coming in April with implants

Infiltrators were in many ways, an unfinished class when this game was released. But after SMG’s, scout rifle buffs, tweaks to our bolt actions, the nanoweave nerf, wraith cloak, adjustments to cloak visibility and numerous other small tweaks to the game, I think most of us would agree that with respect to killing enemies, the infiltrator is mostly in a good place. The biggest deficit the class faces is in its namesake – Infiltrating.

And the devs see this too, most of the update focuses on intelligence and infiltrator related items with the obligatory new weapon. Yet, while the stalker cloak will be fun, I have serious doubts about the utility of the recon drone and the motion sensor is mostly a duplication of the functionality of the recon dart with some more frequent pinging.

What am I really excited about? Well as I was skimming the roadmap, I spotted the implant post for April and saw more items there that BELONG in an infiltrator related update.
I’ve always wanted infiltrators to have an ability to evade detection better. Sure we have the cloak, but it is severely limited – partially visible, audible out to 290m (an outcome from the last audio tweak to the game), and UNABLE to evade radar. I would give up a suit slot to be able to stay hidden, yet SOE is planning to let anyone do this as an implant (sensor shield).

 

Then we have the stealth implant. Another ability that I believe belongs in the infiltrator toolkit, not as a general implant.

  • Halves spotted duration.
  • Reduces the audio range of your footsteps.
  • (I’d like to add reduction of cloak volume)

 

Thermal Reduction – Doesn’t this seem like a natural ability for infiltrators? We’re always being spotted with thermal and shelled by some random vehicle.

  • Prevents the wearer from being highlighted by night and thermal vision. Infantry only.

 

And lastly, Range Finder

  • Shows distance to target.

 

In summary, SOE is planning for some really great abilities to be accessible in the form of implants. Some of them I’ve been asking for from the devs for over a year. I’m ok with the concept of implants and I don’t want this conversation to be detracted by whether or not you like implants. My problem is that these abilities are what should be the crowning feature of an *infiltrator update*. And they shouldn’t be granted to all classes, in my opinion. Staying off the radar, being silent, and having a rangefinder are all things that should be unique to infiltrators.
They shouldn’t be implants at all – We should have a stealth suit that makes your feet quiet and evade the radar while not sprinting. Drop the recon dart ability (or the AP mine/medkit) for a rangefinder if you are sniping. Another suit could be the thermal plating suit that prevents being seen by thermal optics. These are things that many dedicated infils are yearning for… yet here we are, on the brink of the so-called infiltrator update. I say the true infil update is coming in April.
Also, where did the EOD suit/implant idea go? I liked that idea, although it would actually make more sense for the engineer to be the explosive detector/disarmer.
TL:DR – The implants are better for infiltrators than what SOE is planning for our own class update. And granting those abilities to anyone who equips the implant is a missed opportunity to make the class more unique.

 

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Farming, Metagame, Outfits and Guilt

This is a deviation from the usual infiltrator-specific discussion I post on the blog, but has been on my mind a lot lately.  I hope you don’t mind.

While I love playing infiltrator, by most metrics, the class I play most often in Planetside 2 is the Farmer. As someone who has been a devoted fan and player since launch day, hitting Battle Rank 100 sometime in June 2013, I have evolved into what most players like me have become.

What is a “farmer” in Planetside 2? There are several ways to define this term, mine is just an opinion. It is using a combination of skill, ability to chose good fights (which are not in-fact “good” fights), and the use of high-efficiency/low-risk equipment to maximize your score/min and KDR. On the surface, this sounds like a terrible way to play the game, and contrary to everything Planetside stands for. I know. But stay with me here.

Most of us don’t start out as farmers. We may be “good players”, but we spent time in organized outfits, trying to win fights and warpgate the enemy or win alerts. For me, that was a big deal 9 months ago. Then, at some point, you log in and find yourself fighting at the same base you were at yesterday. Or that you randomly have the lock on an empty continent and someone else has indar locked but doesn’t care. At this point, many dedicated PS2 players left the game, waiting for new updates, metagame, or continents to bring them back. Those of us left behind needed a new way to enjoy logging in, to feel a sense of accomplishment in a game shockingly devoid of lasting achievement. Enter the Farm.

Who cares if you got pushed back to your warpgate when the entire time your allies got crushed you were rocking a 7.0 session KDR with a sniper rifle? Conversely, it sucks winning a fight that required you to hurl your body at a pile of scatmaxes and walk away with 1 kill and 10 deaths. When winning and losing stop mattering, dedicated and talented players naturally look towards their own performance as a measurement of success in-game, and this success breeds enjoyment and fun. I have a hard time logging out when my KDR is floating above 4-5 and I’m averaging 80-100 kills per hour. It’s FUN, and has remained fun even as I approach 45 million XP and 107,000 kills. It’s why guys like Future Crew, DA and EXOC are still playing. And when there is little else to keep players engaged in the actual outcomes of a fight, who can blame those BR100 farmers in their OP weapon killing squads of pubs at a time?

This becomes a real problem for me, as I am a member of a highly organized and objective-based outfit, the Black Widow Company. While I love the guys and the foundation that the outfit is built upon, it can be down-right frustrating to join a squad and be ordered into fights where there are low chances for a lot of kills or even worse, a fight where you are likely to get farmed.  I cringe when we are being sent to a random base while 48+ vanu are throwing their faces at regent rock, waiting for me to tear through them.

 

And thus, the guilt.  PS2 is not a solo players game.  It isn’t designed to reward lone wolf play, and there are countless times when even the best player could use some help, such as a pocket engineer, a secondary gunner or a friendly medic.  At the same time, we are in a holding pattern, waiting for the game to bring us a reason to be organized again.  Alerts… they help.  They give outfits a set of goals and reasons to achieve them.  But the best thing alerts do is concentrate the enemy into a single hex so I can farm them more efficiently.

 

I want the old school continent lock, where your KDR didn’t matter, if the Vanu had indar locked it MATTERED.  And the only goal when logging in was to try and take that away.  This intercontinental lattice is promising, but looks so far away.  We need more, and I hope SOE comes up with a way to make that happen.  Because right now I’m feeling the dichotomy – I’m playing a great game and having a blast while bouncing around to the largest fights to maximize my kills, and minimize my deaths.  It stands in sharp contrast to the (usual) goals of the outfit, who is trying to push a lane and gain territory, with the ultimate goal of warpgating the enemy.  Sometimes we get a PL who says fuck it, and sends us to the best farm and lets us camp there until it dries up.  But that isn’t really healthy either is it?

 

Farmer’s guilt.  Man, I didn’t see that one coming.

Hotfix returns sniping to awesome

These last few weeks have been a very dark time for me, infiltrator-wise (don’t worry, everything is going great for me in real life – I’m just focusing on in-game stuff).  PU02 introduced a bug that had sensitivity hitching during scoping, and while some infiltrators compensated, I could hardly snipe during this time.  I spent most of the holiday time-period using scout rifles, carbines and LMG’s, or rolling a MAX.  It felt wrong, as the very thing I was most practiced and skilled in I couldn’t use.

I made a few posts discussing this problem and tweeted the SOE devs.  Much to my surprise, within 3-4 days of the SOE team returning from their holiday break, a hot fix came out.

  • Fixed moused sensitivity changing when immediately entering ADS (fixes “hitch” when entering iron sights)

It completely fixed the issue I was having, and returned sniping to the feel it has had for me ever since installing Planetside for the first time.  Essentially this was my first chance to really snipe with the RAMS.50 and SR-7 since nanoweave has been nerfed.  It was wonderful, and I am really happy with where infiltrators are right now.  There are bug issues related to our cloak, but otherwise the weapons are balanced and performing well.  Between the SMG’s, scout rifles and bolt actions, I find good use for all of them depending on the fight.

So I’m finally back to sniping.  It feels great, and I’m really enjoying the game again.  I didn’t mind using other weapons during this time period, but it was depressing every time I’d pick up the SR-7 and fan on an easy shot from 50m.

Working on a new video, probably in the next week or two.  Not sure which clips to use, or which soundtrack to pick.  So… maybe in 2 weeks 🙂

BWC is going strong as always.  Last night we had over 12 infiltrators in the Reaper channel, during our friday ops.  Some new faces mixed with the old, and new squad leaders to help run things.  It was a lot of fun, and we were a force to be reckoned with on the field.

That’s about all for now.  If you have any guides or material  you want me to work on or comment on, just leave a message below!  That’s how I came up with the infil cert guide a month ago or so.

Stay Frosty,

Mustarde