Lack of transparency by BE
Let's be clear about one thing, we were hit by a perfect storm of circumstances:
- Everyone across the globe are still stumbling onto their feet after a 2+ year pandemic, which might not even be completely over yet (fingers crossed though!).
- Gas, energy, food prices etc. etc. has gone through the roof lately. I am sure many could not afford the expenses anymore, much less the gas expenses for the trip to Sollefteå and back again.
- There's a war currently being fought in Europe, and in the light of this I am sure not everybody felt like attending a milsim event. We most probably lost many community members on both sides in that war too.
- There might be airsofters who lost their health or even their lives during the pandemic and many might have had a massive change of focus in their lives by having their first borns etc.
- We also had extreme heat during all four game days, which certainly put it's toll on people and might have convinced some to stay at home.
I'm not gonna get conspiratorial, I'm not even gonna draw a conclusion from this. I believe anyone can draw reasonable conclusions from this info by themselves.
Lack of contingency plans by BE
When it turned out that we were significantly less than half of the normal attendance, BE appeared to do nothing to counter this. The entire game area, which is intended for +-2000 players remained unchanged. The distances to every single POI remained the same regardless of missing many players and mechanized units this year.
"How could this have been countered?" you might ask.
- Berget-provided in-game shuttles (Didn't we use to have this in the old days?). Mechanized units that are operated by BE in service of the different factions. This could be a perk that you earn by completing objectives throughout the campaign (supply of such objectives provided on-the-fly by GMs for balancing purposes). I acknowledge that this might have been too costly for BE this year, which is why I have an alternative:
- Sticky forward spawning points which can be earned through completing objectives the first 24-30 hours. By sticky I mean that this spawn point cannot be captured by opposing forces, just like the main base. This will effectively reduce the size of the main area for infantry units to regain a balance vs. the number of participants (hardcore milsim players will still have objectives far away and can also adjust themselves by not using these spawn points, or be downright refused to use them). This is both to counter extreme weather conditions and extremely low participation numbers, both of which we saw this year. Obviously this needs to be planned well ahead of time as proper contingency plan. It will probably not work by just throwing something together at the last moment. You will have to think of something similar for next year in case it turns out that we'll end up 640ish players again.
The capture points are seemingly only for respawning and not for completing objectives. There appears to be a lack of insentive to actually capture and hold CPs unless you have a mission in the area and need a spawn point for that. You get points, but no one can actually explain what they mean as they bear no significance in-game or after. Does the points indicate a "winner?" No one knows, and yet they are still displayed on the live-map as if being some kinda leftover parasitic game design.
Placements of CPs
Positioning of capture points was completely FUBAR this year. They were hidden so well that any attacking party would have little to no chance of identifying and capturing it. Defenders would easily hold it since we did not know what and where we were attacking. Many people never even found some of the CPs, and those that did spent hours looking for it while getting shot out by defenders. Normally a POI would be visually identifiable, which was not the case since BE had chosen to not use the boards/boxes that normally indicates the capture point. They were hidden so well and sometimes in such a rough terrain that I suspect it was done by a sadistic gym teacher in love with orienteering. In the end I fear this was due to economical and/or time restrictions, but this should not be acceptable when you pay to attend the event. While being a proper challenge it worked to the detriment of the game balance and enjoyment of the game.
Game balance and rule enforcement
From what I heard the reds were approx 230, the blues some 120 more aka 350 and the yellows approx. 60. I also heard that yellows were used once again as a balancing tool, just like during B15. This time to throw the game balance completely off whack as we were now 230 vs 410 at game-on. Do the GMs and BE crew have absolutely no respect for their paying customers?! Please stop using entire factions as a crowbar to steer the game development in the direction you want things to move. Instead give players the respect and freedom they deserve and use proper game mechanics if you want to continue to micromanage and script your games.
Before I continue I want to spend a moment to define what a game is: A game is a set of rules acting as a framework for how play is conducted. You could compare it to the automatic triggers in any computer game only it's not automatic. Hence you need rules to tell all the players what happens and how to react if certain criteria is met.
This framework has to be rigid so people can know what to expect. If it's not Eg. constantly changing rules and/or mechanics, this will cause uncertainty and over time players will refuse to parttake in the game anymore. Why did I need to specify this? There are a few points to it:
- At our first encounter with the Crows, I saw their dead moving around (wearing death rags) after being shot out. It was not clear if this was by the book or cheating, althought I suspected the aforementioned and let it go without discussion. This was based on my previous experience with BE & Jimmi during B15, when us yellows got thrown special rules left and right throughout the game. Without this experience I could only have assumed that they were cheating, and unnecessary discussions could have ensued and grinded the game to a halt for everyone in that encounter. These are game-breaking moments that no one wants to experience!
- The previous point could have easily been clarified both in the official rules and in a live-feed from BE. The latter would be to confirm new or unique game mechanics, on-the-go changes to ROE etc. without much hassle and give little room for misunderstandings. It's actually something I suggested and campaigned for after that fateful B15 game. Yet nothing happened on BE's side of things and continues to cause confusion and give room for in-game fights and discussions over cheating. Ironically Ehasa had such a live feed at TSTOS when we attended the year after in 2018 and it worked perfectly.
- When a special faction obeys by other basic rules, confusion ensues and it becomes hard for the rest of the community to regulate these players. The most practical thing is to have a core set of rules and mechanics that everyone abides by, a fundament so to speak. This is to streamline the experience as everyone does a recognizeable routine, which can be observed by everyone else and deemed within the rules or cheating. After all this is not a pc game where things are automatically enforced by triggers. Instead the community as a whole acts as a self-regulating unit through observation and accusations of cheating if necessary.
Ironically the self-heal game mechanics worked to the detriment for the Crows, and we did not suffer as a consequence. I am however really sorry for the yellow players who had to suffer through this half-developed idea of a game mechanic.
- IF BE still insists on having a faction with continiously changing rules of engagement, then you absolutely MUST have an official live-feed where these rules can be laid out explicitly for everyone to see. This is so that we can cross-reference players behaviour with what's being told by BE themselves. This could have saved us yellow players at B15 so much grief when we were accused of cheating when insta-planting mines etc.etc. All of these special rules/perks were provided to us by Jimmy but collided with the afforementioned framework provided in the game rules. The implications of this cannot be understated. My best suggestion is to have a rigid framework of main mechanics which remains firm regardless of faction. Then you can have secondary rules/systems where there's more freedom to tweak and tune during the game, because these are less important to the fundamentals of the game.
- Too few water tanks in the field, especially considering the extreme temperatures. HQ had to have water freighted out mid-game.
- A guy above here had the wonderful idea of displaying all water tanks on the game map. I highly suggest you have a button to display offgame infrastructure like this, toilets etc. with a click of a button. Possibly auto-toggle off all in-game POIs
Love and respect,