I posted this on the infiltrator boards earlier in the week and forgot to cross-post to my own blog! Oops. I think it’s important to summarize the development cycle for our game, and particularly our class as it undergoes many changes. It can be easy to forget where we have been, and take in the big picture. Also, while it is hard, we must remember that infiltrators are only 1 of 6 infantry classes and we cannot hog all the attention from our developers! Well, here’s my state of the class, where it has been, and where it needs to go from here. Enjoy 🙂
I’ve noticed a bit of a dip in the infiltrator subforum’s activity. Which I thought was odd in the face of a recent update, and some new weapons coming our way soon. But then I thought about it for a while. Many of the issues that absolutely plagued the class have been addressed since launch. Some still remain (maddeningly) yet are not game breaking. So I thought I’d quickly summarize what I find to be the state of the infiltrator. The TLR version is that we are very good at killing, decent at infiltrating, need a few bugs addressed, and could use some more stealth options/counterplay. The overall state is good.
Lets start with the positives. But first, we have to look at where the infiltrator was upon release. If you weren’t around then, some of this will not make sense, but I don’t want to take the time to explain every little item. We can elaborate in the responses to this post. Flinch. Scout rifles before they were buffed 3 separate times. No SMG’s. Low settings cloak visibility. Scout flashes without people in them. HE spam. Thermals able to see cloaked infils + liberators. We gained 1 second on breath holding (from 3 to 4). Scope sway on everything except scout rifles. There’s probably more I’m forgetting. Wow, we were so unfinished when this game came out.
Then, the game evolved some. A lot of the things I listed above were dealt with (low settings cloak visibility has made 2 or 3 changes, currently settling on almost invisible for low settings people now). But nanoweave became a big issue. I think ever since PU02 and the nanoweave nerf, I have slowly been able to appreciate just how big of an impact it had on not just sniper rifles but all of our weapons. Scout rifles have become so much more deadly for example. And it finally feels good to snipe again. We also picked up wraith cloak, buffs to nano-armor cloak. Some other bad things have crept in however, including recon darts making a ping on minimap, IFF glow (I still hate that), visibility on minimap to radar even while cloaked (although SOE has been playing with that lately).
The infil update has added some nice abilities, stalker cloak being the most notable. I do feel there were missed opportunities, including the lazy addition of adrenaline pump to our suit slots (a copy paste from the LA cert line) instead of a stealth suit or something more interesting (mechanics SOE looks to be holding onto for implants). Crossbow, MKV, and some coming weapons will keep our arsenal fresh and interesting. I’m glad the drone got shelved. Overall I’m pretty happy with the update.
Moving on to bugs – always in a state of flux, but I still die while hacking turrets to invisible people who pop out and can shoot me before they render. It certainly has to do with server load, blah blah blah, I just hate not knowing when it will happen. I still decloak while reloading quite often. Pretty sure that has to do with server load issues as well. I can’t cloak while a medic’s aura is impacting me, and I often will partially cloak everything but my gun and head if I try to do it soon after leaving a spawn tube or receive a heal. The IFF glow doesn’t always work on friendlies. I still have the occasional dud recon dart, as well as a dud motion sensor. Most of these are annoying at best, cost me a few deaths, but don’t ruin the game for me. It wasn’t nearly as riot-inducing as some of our earlier gripes.
Things currently lacking? I keep coming back to stealth play, and the need for counterplay. I actually really like that darklight flashlights were added, because otherwise stalker cloak has the potential to be impossible to deal with. I also really like that they promoted and reinforced the deep cloak level, making it easier to activate and more useful for us. I want ways to stay off of enemy radar, preferably with a suit slot. Something that makes my decloaking noise quiet, my feet softer, and my voice callouts silent. I’d give up ammo belt, 50% flak resistance or a faster shield regen for that (at least sometimes). We still need more to do in bases. I’m glad the devs are going to put infantry terminals back in bases, but that should have never been taken away in the first place. More things to hack, and more ways to affect the flow of battle without killing directly. Lastly, the crossbow explosive bolts were nerfed too hard to give us a meaningful way to interact with vehicles. Perhaps an antivehicle EMP grenade? Vehicle hacking? A recon dart that sticks to vehicles and permanently spots it so you can tag for friendly air to strike? We need more in this area too.
Overall, the class is now very good at killing, both at long range and short. I actually think this makes infiltrator the most versatile class in the game, able to snipe from the hills or hit the front line with an SMG. There is not a single fight you can’t grab a decent loadout for. We do not need any more improvements to killing potential imo. We now have some neat tools to add variety to gameplay… namely the stalker cloak, which completely changes how you approach the battlefield. Again, a wonderful mechanic. Our bugs are annoyances, and I do hope they get resolved, but it doesn’t ruin the game for me. We have a few areas that are lacking, namely stealth play and vehicle/base interaction. I fear it will be a long time before we see this touched as the devs have moved on to other classes (rightfully so). I hope we can get their attention at a later time for a little more love.
It is for all of these reasons that I think the infiltrator is the best class in the game (not imbalanced, just best). I don’t need to play other classes, and I think there are others who can agree. It is a ton of fun, and SOE has overall done a pretty good job getting us here, compared to the terrible state we were in upon release. I no longer feel like the rare infiltrator playing against countless lib teams, tank zergs and HA/medic balls (these things still exist, but I see plenty of infies around too). I think the lack of things to complain about has also made this board pretty tame and quiet too.
Thanks for reading.