Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Succeeding at Titanfall 2: Intro

I’ve been playing Titanfall 2 around a year now. It’s been my go-to brainless activity when I need distraction from the rotten places life has been this last year. At the time of this writing I’m at Generation 48 working my way up to Gen 50. (Titanfall “Regeneration” is the same concept as Call of Duty’s “Prestige Up.”) I’ve played over 3,000 games, been top three around 2100 of those, and MVP 950-ish times. I’ve just passed 15,000 kills (other players) and am near having earned 30,000 credits “net worth.”
Overview stats for Titanfall 2
Along the way I’ve picked up a few opinions on how to play, and I thought I’d share them. First, please understand my “disclaimers”, as this series is completely aligned with how I play, and that totally may not match how you play. Moreover, this is not a detailed guide or walkthrough of Titanfall 2. You can find that stuff elsewhere. Still, I hope you’ll find this series useful. If for nothing else but to see how a 54 year old guy grinds through gameplay against kids who are a lot younger, quicker, and way more betterer. Or something.

Me and Titanfall

I have a long love/hate relationship with Titanfall 1 and 2. I’m not a great player, especially when having to play solely against other humans. Therefore, I avoid modes like Pilot vs. Pilot, Capture The Flag, etc.
Why am I not great? Let me list the ways…
  • I’m slow on the controller when trying to get a quick lock-on against opponents, which means I die a lot.
  • I have poor aim, especially when someone’s aiming at me, which means I die a lot.
  • I am awful when someone gets in melee range, which means I die a lot.
  • I don’t shoot well while wall-running or mid-air, which means I miss kill opportunities.
My play style is to work from mid-range, both as a pilot and a titan. I’m not great at close up (see points above). As a pilot I’ll spend a fair amount of time on top of various obstacles. Most of the folks playing aren’t thinking in 3D, so it’s a good tactic for me. On the downside, I also tend to go Leeroy Jenkins and run into battles likely best avoided. This is part of why my Kill-Death-Ratio (KDR) against other players is around 0.7 after 3,000+ games. (Note: I’ve been above 1.5 for the last few months, occasionally as high as a ten-game average of 2.5; however, it takes a LONG time to raise that particular statistic up—and frankly I just don’t care about KDR. I know others care a lot. I don’t.)

Some Things I Dislike

Quality and Clarity. Titanfall 2, like Titanfall 1, has some serious quality and “WTF?” problems. There are regular crashes, and lag can be awful at times—especially if you’re playing over wifi and not a hardwired connection. Some of the algorithms in TF2 are complete WTF issues: differences between stated minimums for rounds and what’s reflected on your progress. Eg several times I’ve not met minimums on the scoreboard, but have seen a checkmark for completion in the game stats. Additionally it’s unclear what’s meant in Attrition Mode by “Kill 3 pilots without dying.” Is that kill three pilots consecutively? Kill one pilot and then don’t die for amount of time? I’ve dug around various TF2 boards and FAQs, but can’t figure that one out. I’ve given up.
Graphics Don’t Match Algorithms. Particularly with titan melees. I’ll be working a rodeo on a titan, flying toward the titan’s head. The graphics will show me either inside the titan’s arm span or even starting to mount the head, and BAM! I’m dead from a big titan punch. It’s frustrating because according to the graphics it looks like I should have been successful. The same thing happens with through-the-wall shot glitches, where I thought I’m behind a wall and I get shot. Titans can also melee you even when you’re well inside a room. Whatevs.
Regeneration Grind. I badly miss the unique regeneration challenges from TF1. Those were well-thought out and fun. And a pain in the ass at times. With TF2 you’re in for nothing more than a long grind. More on leveling up and points later.

Some Things I Love

Movement. The movement in TF2 is freaking wonderful and fun. Skilled use of a grapple, bunny hop slides, and wall running make getting around the map just a crapload of fun. (It also makes it miserable when the other team is really good at those things and can shoot on the fly.)
The Campaign. One of the best campaigns in any game I’ve played. Ever. Loved the story, loved the chapters. I know others aren’t so enamored. That’s OK.
Regular Updates. I liked this about TF1 as well. The producers regularly roll out patches that fix issues, and they regularly roll out small and not-so-small new features. A whole new Titan (the Monarch) was rolled out. They added a third weapons slot so you could have anti-titan weapons and sidearms. New maps get added. Entire new game modes get added! I do software delivery for a living, and I love seeing a company that takes this approach of constantly adding new value.
It’s. Just. Fun. Even when I’m getting my face beat in by some of the pros I’m still having a fairly good time. Yes, I get frustrated, yes, I cuss. A lot. It’s still fun.
You Always Get A Titan. No matter how poor a player you are, or how bad a day you’re having, you’ll always get a titan to roll around in. Every. Single. Match. This means one of the funnest parts of the game is available to every player regardless of their skill or lack thereof.

This Series

I’m not sure how long this series will last. At a minimum I’m going to cover the following topics, either as separate posts or parts of others.
This series is pretty late to the game. Titanfall 2 has been out for quite some time. Regardless, I’ve enjoyed outlining and drafting some of the content, so it’s as much for me as it is for you. Hopefully someone finds it useful. :)

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