So I’ve been trying to play as much R6 as possible… We’ve got Scott, Ryan, Mick, Oly, and a VDD guy called Chappie playing at the moment. We’ve had our worst runs when we get all five 🙂 But lately I’ve been getting better, and had some pretty decent runs with 3 of us (or by myself.)
At the basic level, the gameplay is like, say, Counter Strike. Spawn in, 5v5, CT’s disarm a bomb and T’s defend it. Most games end in all of one side being wiped out, rather than the bomb being disarmed or the hostage being freed. It’s really just there so the T’s don’t roam aimlessly. If they were to totally abandon the objective, the CT’s would capture it. So that’s all the depth there is to the objectives. That also gives you a pretty good idea on how the game plays out too. You know: You have lone wolves and the like, but generally the better FPS players win, regardless of tactics. Having said that you can make up for poor shooting to some degree with tactics. And when I’m referring to tactics, there is things like simultaneous breaching that works surprisingly well – I’ve coordinated and been on the receiving end of several of those, but it’s ultimately more important to have *other* tactical knowledge – knowing where the objectives could potentially be. Knowing where common ambush points are. Knowing good ways to navigate from the top floor to the basement, etc.
But! Having said that, it really does feel different enough from the likes of CS and that comes down to two main factors: The destruct-a-bility of the environments, and the classes.
The classes have clearly taken a leaf out of the MOBA hand-book. Everyone tends to have 1 special ability and it also influences your choice of primary weapon, secondary weapon, and gadgets. For example!:
“Castle” can put up tougher-than-usual barricades. That’s his special ability. His primary weapon can be a shotgun or a sub-machine gun (a UMP 45), his secondary can be a 9mm or .45, and his gadgets he can choose either barbed wire or a deployable shield.
Meanwhile “Ash” has a 2-shot breaching launcher that lets her blast through walls and barricades from a range (her special ability), and a choice of primary weapons: g36 or remington (auto shotty I think), a .45 or 57USG for secondary, and breach charge or smoke grenade for gadgets.
And so it goes for all “operatives.” They also have a 1-3 rating system for armour and speed. Ash, for example, has 1 armour and 3 speed.
So you unlock these operatives with Renown, but that’s easy to come by. For example, you get enough renown to unlock your first operative by opening the tutorial videos one by one, and immediately closing them 🙂 The rest you get from just playing – whether that’s coop terrorist hunts, single-player tutorial-style “situations” or (probably the slowest way to do it) straight up multiplayer. There’s challenges and so forth to unlock Renown faster. No doubt there’ll be (a lot) more stuff to spend renown on later.
I’ve probably got half the operatives already, so it’s certainly not a grind. It’s more of a little reward.
So, basically, a game starts by telling you whether you’re on attack or defense. Everyone picks a class (and with about 10 options for attack and 10 options for defense, you start seeing the MOBA influences.)
Everything about the game is short and sharp. The team picking phase is like 30 seconds, then you go into the prep phase. This is about 40 seconds of a mini-game. The attackers all control a little drone each. They’re trying to scope out the defenses, and most importantly spot the objective so it’s marked on the map when the real game starts. Meanwhile, the defenders use those 40 secs to set up traps, barbed wire, fortify walls, that sort of thing while ALSO trying to stop the drones from spotting the objective. It’s frantic for both sides.
Then, bam. You’re in the game. Well, the defenders have been in the game for 40 seconds, but now the attackers are in too. They could actually switch back to their drone (or deploy a new one) if they wanted, but usually everyone bolts to the building the defenders are in. Perhaps they head to where they know where the objective is, or they just seek to enter quickly and start searching for the objective.
Thing is, they only have… hmm… 4? minutes. It’s not much in any case. If you didn’t find the objective with the drones, there is a real danger you’ll run out of time. Not because you’ll NEVER find it – you will, but by the time you find it, THEN fight the defenders it’s well balanced so time starts to become a real pressure.
A great map is a two-story suburb house. Perhaps the drones found the objective in the master bedroom. So, one thing you might try (I did…) is to rappel up the side of the house opposite the main bedroom. The idea is to bust into the kid’s neighbouring bedroom, blast open their wall into the parent’s closet, and attack from there.
So I rappelled up (btw, you can practically rapple any wall and scale it vertically, horizontally right-way up, or upside-down… lots of flexibility) and smashed out a single plank from the barricaded window and peeked through. The bedroom was empty, so I swung in smashing out the rest of the barricade. If they’d had Castle he might have barricaded it with his special armoured barricade. If I had have been sledge (or if he’d hung off the wall with me) he could have smashed out a piece of wall for us instead… or perhaps one of the many operatives with breaching gear could have blown Castle’s barricade out … but then it’s a bit obvious where we are.
So I swung in, and took cover behind the bed. I was starting to hear gunfire in the hallway, so I was afraid some snap-shotting-head-targeting machine would walk past the doorway and snap me.
I came around the bed to put a breach on the wall I knew led to the closet… but the enemy had planned for it. Someone had set themselves up in the closet with a shotfun (originally typo, but I’m keeping it) and used it to blast a small hole to peek through into the kid’s bedroom… so he lit me up. I saw where the fire was coming from, so I returned fire just riddling the wall with bullets. We had a fully-fledged gun fight THROUGH a wall, with only a shotfunned-sized hole to see through… welllll… after a few rounds, we have a many more holes to play with.
Anyway, I lost the fun-fight, and was dead. Had I had won, I would have breached that wall to put pressure on the defenders from a different angle.
And, mate, this is where the game starts to shine – the variations, variety, counters and counter-counters. I’ve seen, or done:
– In a gun fight someone goes down. The attacker wasn’t sure though because they were firing through broken wall, so took he took cover. Suspecting that he’d won, he crept up to the breach point and found… a trail of blood leading down the hall and around the corner. Following the trail, he found the person he’d been fighting with crawling along the ground, wounded, trying to find an ally to help them up … leaving a trail of blood the whole way. The attacker executed them and secured the kill.
– Found a wall that defenders had fortified, so cannot be breached… except by the attacker “Thermite”. Got Thermite to set up a thermite charge on that wall while another sub-team (actually in this case Thermite did both) to set up a breach charge on a different wall. Set off the termite charge, drawing the defender’s attention as it starts to slowly burn through… then when it detonates, detonate the second charge at the same time and actually attack from a different angle.
– Hear someone setting up a fortification on the opposite side of the wall I’m on. The wall is destructable (well, until they finish the fortification), but not thin enough to shoot through. So, as Fuse, set my device on the wall that burrows through the wall and deposits 3 frag grenades, killing the dude setting up the fortification.
– Blow a hole in the floor, lob through a series of flash grenades, and drop down to find a completely blind defender who I can happily kill.
– Team up with a guy with a bulletproof shield (Montagne) and crack a hole in a barricaded door. Determine it’s all clear, and so bash through the door… setting off a trap that Kapkan (one of the russian operatives) has set on the door killing us both.
– Try to use Thermite to burn through a barricaded wall, only to find that the enemy team has Mute who has put up a signal jammer near that wall that prevents Thermite from setting off his charge… so use Fuse to pop some grenades into that room from a different angle, and those grenades destroy the jammer, allowing Thermite to blow through afterall.
– Seal off an area well enough that the enemy could really only attack from one angle, and proceed to have a long gun fight around the one blown wall… only to lose because they had a lot of damn shields 😦
– Use a drone near the hostage to bait the defenders into accidentally killing the hostage.
– Die, then use the camera systems to highlight and call out enemies to those still alive.
– Die, then use a well-placed drone (you can’t drive it, but you can still view through its camera) to give your allies an advantage.
Now for the bad stuff! None of it is a game breaker for me… yet. If things don’t improve though, they will be:
The servers are dodgy. Things are fine more often than not, but it’s not all that uncommon for people – either individually, or as a whole group – to drop out mid-game. In casual games new players can drop in, but you gotta be lucky to be able to join back into the game you just dropped from… so the rest of your party continues to play, and you can’t just drop back in on them.
Everything is FAST, but slowed down by two factors:
First there is a LOT of things that happen fast. What I mean is… matching goes through:
1. Finding teammates
2. Finding opposing team
3. Joining game
4. Then a loading screen…
5. Then the picking phase, which is a mere 30 seconds.
6. THEN everyone loads the assets, which due to either potato-level computers or server issues, usually takes more than 30 seconds, and sometimes takes AAAGES, and sometimes even completely drops the game. It’s really not uncommon to have people from either team drop out at this point… JUST as the game is starting (fortunately in casual new people drop in… (sometimes delaying the start even further) and in ranked you get punished with a 15-minute ban for dropping.)
7. THEN you’re finally in a game! A round is generally fast and furious. No problems there. But each match is a best of 4 rounds (2 goes as attacker and 2 goes as defender) – complete with overtime rounds in case of a tie (golden point in casual, and you have to win by 2 in ranked.)
Casual doesn’t use matchmaking. That is – it calls it “match making” but it just jams people together. So usually queue times are less than 30 seconds, but it doesn’t take into account skill at all. The last couple nights I’ve had pretty decent games, but the first couple nights it was a game of “bend over” rather than “r6.” Then we got matched with the same damn group 3 times in a row – possibly because we were both 5-stacks… but without ELO matching taking place, I’ll be damned if I know why it would prioritise that.
There is a ranked matchmaking that DOES use ELO… but you can’t use it until level 20. I’m level 12 atm, so it’s for “fairly experienced players only.” I’m very, very, VERY afraid that the population there will never be high enough for DotA-quality matchmaking. When I argue the point on forums, people seem to think the likes of CS;GO has a casual mode, but most people use ranked. If casual gets known as the “only for learning the game” area, and ranked is where you really play, then it could be OK. And the fact it’s something you have to “earn” at level 20 might encourage that. But it also may not, as people get used to just playing casual and think “oh, I’m not good enough for ranked!”
I can see I’ll have bought everything pretty quickly. I think I may just have all the available operatives by the time I can get into ranked matchmaking. There are other things to spend it on (e.g. silencer for your gun), but none of it is terribly significant. Also, there will definitely be new operatives. They’re broken into nationality / organisation atm. e.g. “FBI” “GIGN” “SPETNAZ” and each organisation has (about) 2 attackers and 2 defenders to pick from. They’ve already revealed a couple more organisations they’ll add. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Australian organisations in the future either, like SASR or TAG.
That’s all I can think of for now. I know I was pretty annoyed with the (lack of) matchmaking at first, but the servers were only slightly iffy (lots of complaining on the forums, but I wasn’t feeling it) and the more I play, the less concerned I am with the matchmaking and the more annoying the server issues are becoming. I can’t help but think both these things could be fixed by UBI… who knows, though? It’s early days for battlefront, I know, but they still haven’t fixed dropping in on partner’s and other nice things like that and we just work around them.