With 9.6 here we see many changes, some expected and some unexpected. One of the biggest changes, was the destruction of deployable objects or as JohnnyOmaha hilariously coined it, ‘Destroyaployables!’
The above is great news for competitive Squad. It was tedious having to shovel sandbags out of the way under a barrage of grenades when an RPG should be much more apt at doing the trick. What is quite mixed news for the competitive scene is the destruction of FOBs and HABs. For the uninitiated in 9.6 a FOB can now be destroyed by about 15 mortars and a HAB can be taken half down at 20-22 mortars. In previous Alpha v9 versions, FOBs were being placed in large open areas that made it difficult to dig up due to lack of cover and concealment for opponents. Dubbed ‘Trap FOBs’ the community largely agreed that it was problematic, but often the best way to place them given the ruleset that existed at that time. HABs were much less of a pain point to the community, since in reality a HESCO barrier standing up to explosives and small arms is exactly what they were designed to do.
In addition to mortars, any AT weapon (RKG-3 needs to be confirmed still) can also kill a FOB and a single IED strike can take a HAB half down. While mortars can continually be fired from range, IEDs generally require a bold attack or stealth to successfully hit a HAB. It is a high risk, high reward activity, which requires coordination of follow-on actions at the HAB, with other forces or an immediate push onto a nearby point to benefit (unlike mortar spam at range). Often you will sacrifice a vehicle and a person’s life to score destruction with an IED. Of course, unlike mortars, IEDs can only be used by INS and MIL which are the two factions most in need of a little bit of help at the moment.
Some have suggested the counter-play to mortars outside of the enemy main is simple, send a small force to go kill them. This is definitely not wrong and I totally agree, in most circumstances that is the best course of action. What seems absurd though is that to counter one very uninteresting meta in public or competitive play, mortar spam, you have another uninteresting game-play choice, camp enemy main. On the bright side, we’ve seen it before where OWI makes a change that has little logical value to the broader community but is actually quite reasonable overall given the long term plan which we aren’t always privy to. A good example of this is the initial v6 release when fortifications could not be stacked anymore and the build points accrued much more slowly, even though logistics trucks weren’t in game. For a period of time the game was literally just run and shoot because it took too long for points to accrue to build proper defenses and you couldn’t stack those defenses anyways. Eventually the regen point change was reverted until vehicles were implemented and it’s return made the most sense.
On the topic of competitive support, last season of ISKT, OWI came out and officially supported the tournament on social media and provided prizes. Tournament mode has been implemented for a long period of time now and allows a server to force settings on connecting players to create a more level playing field. SgtRoss also took the time to co-cast the ISKT Season 1 Grand Finals between FFO and Fortis. These facts show forethought and consideration for the tournament scene by the devs. So what is the concern? It was mentioned by Z-Trooper (OWI Designer/Artist) that Squad is designed to be an experience, not a competitive shooter and if you want to play a competitive shooter, Squad is the wrong tool for the job.
Picture left is the exchange between General_Tosspot and Z-Trooper on Running_Duck’s Twitch stream during the Army of Nine vs Mumblerines match yesterday.
This seems to come from left field honestly and I think maybe the actual comment was meant to be more along the lines of ‘Squad isn’t a competitive shooter first and foremost,’ which is a pretty reasonable position. It is the last comment in that picture which seems odd since no one has expectations in the first place that Squad is going after the CS:GO crowd or game-play style. Right now we can all agree that OWI has been fostering a competitive scene extremely early in the games development. As we see the game mature and move through the upcoming content sprint sometime this fall/winter surely more and more controversial mechanics will be introduced. Let’s ensure we as a competitive community provide appropriate, respectful, and constructive feedback through the right channels. We must take the initiative to be our own advocates.
Happy hunting and good luck on the battlefield ladies and gentlemen.