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RLM – Real Life Matters

December 23, 2013

After having a kid (and already being a step-dad to two more), I’ve had to adjust my priorities and to reassess my hobbies. Particular genres and video games aren’t compatible with a busy family life. In particular, any multiplayer game that someone can’t simply drop at a moment’s notice is out. Thankfully most of those games aren’t my flavor anyway – such as MOBAs, MMO raiding of any kind, and coordinated multiplayer shooters (at least to the point of being in a “squad”, “clan“, “outfit“, or whatever the hell else they want to name their GUILD). On the other hand, some games work just fine – such as pausable single player games and multiplayer games that feature hot-join – preferably with large enough numbers that the game won’t be lost if one player drops.

I wonder if there are “guilds” out there that prioritize real life issues over game matters. Whenever someone uses the term “family friendly” to describe a guild, they are almost always trying to say that little kids play the game and/or they don’t allow cussing. It does NOT mean that they are understanding if you have to drop a match for real life priorities.

I figured that such a guild would be explicit about their intent. I figure I’d name a guild like that Real Life Matters (RLM). A clear indication that the premise of the guild is a group of like-minded /ADULTS/ that have real lives to lead, lives that take priority over this hobby.

This is a good transition into Planetside 2, since it’s one of the few “MMO-ish” games that is completely conducive to dropping in and out, yet is still wildly addictive (once you have a feel for the rhythm of combat). I’ve had a chance to try out the Planetside 2 patch. I was right about both the Annihilator stinger and the Harasser. My KDR with the Annihilator changes is about the exact same (roughly an average of 5:1 – not counting assists). I LOVE the lock-on time reduction, it DEFINITELY helps when I have a short window to fire at a target, and I believe it cuts into the cooldown of flares, which is another benefit. On the other hand, I can definitely feel the reduced range. I had been using the Annihilator enough to get an instinctive feel for when aircraft would be in range, and now I’m about 100 m off – which hurts.

The Harasser nerf was modest, as I predicted. They are still roaming death dealers, but they aren’t as plentiful – probably because players stopped believing that they were God-mode. <shrug>

I found a bunch of videos from Wrel, of which the one I’d like to highlight is “5 Quick Tips“. He is concise and to the point. I couldn’t agree more with the advice he gives, in particular about using cover and selecting the right weapon for the right situation. I’d even add to that – you should also select the right weapon modifications. Switching from a 4x zoom scope to a 2x Reflex as the engagement distances start to narrow up is critical in staying alive, and visa versa when the battle is stretched out. Likewise, switching from a burster MAX to anti-infantry MAX can easily mean the difference between holding a base and losing it.

Along with those tips I’d highly recommend checking out LevelCap’s Pro Tips. These are Battlefield 3 tips, however I can’t overemphasize how useful these tips are for Planetside players, perhaps because of the similarities between Battlefield and Planetside.

 Another “tip” is camo selection. This is something of a love-it or hate-it topic on the forums, and there are three schools of thought. The first is that the camo has no defensive value, that it is purely flavor to spice up your little action figure. The second is that camo has positive defensive value, when matched to the right environment. The third is that camo can have a /negative/ defensive value, because having it means a player has invested more into the game and probably has more certs, and is a higher priority threat – so it’s better to use default camo to “blend in” with same-faction soldiers. In my experience, the second and third schools of thought are true. If someone is using Loyalty armor (VERY high contrast color scheme, very visible) it usually means the player has been around and can fuck you up. On the other hand, here is an example of camo working positively:

Magriders at close range – even the closest one blends in far better than the distant two.

And this thread is FULL of examples of camo working very well. When moving as part of a convoy, tank rush, or any other large group, having camo can mean the difference between someone completely ignoring you or picking you /first/. In particular I’ve noticed that camo is very effective for infantry. Camo not only helps conceal the player model in the background, it can often force newer players to hesitate before shooting. Camo in a vehicle is useful because if you partially hide behind something, such as a large rock, a tree, or a structure – the “little bit” that sticks out will not be noticed if it is the same color as the background behind it. This means it is much more likely to be effective at hiding the vehicle against long range weapons such as the NC15 (camera guided, TOW style missile), Lancer VS22 (“rail gun” anti-vehicle weapon), and engineer anti-vehicle turrets.

Camo seems particularly useful when fighting as an infantry. About 30% of players will stop dead in their tracks and stare, attempting to determine if you are a threat or not. The average TTK in this game is somewhere around 0.6 seconds, that moment of pause is more than enough to get the upper hand on an unwary opponent. My favorite demonstration of this effect is the fairly famous Giraffe Camo video. Notice that very few of the players even take notice that he’s not a friendly, and the few that do notice hesitate quite a bit before firing. I attribute some of my fairly recent jump in my KDR to intelligent camo selection.

Lastly, I leave you with this thread which has some good input about camo selection. Kupkake’s intput is particularly insightful.

Another mag rider from side view, VERY close range. Also the first person player has appropriate camo.
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