From the moment it was first released to the public, Squad’s community has evolved at a rapid pace. The game was embraced by previously existing clans and communities from other games (especially Project Reality) and new, Squad-centric groups began to emerge as like-minded players banded together. It was during this timeframe that FFO’s original leaders I Love Your Backpack, BillNye, Lacey, Wired 24/7, and Endy found each other playing in American based servers on a nightly basis. As friendships grew, so did the number of hours this group would put into Squad. As hordes of new players joined the fray, this group found themselves using local chat to shout “Fight on the fucking objective!” a common-sense mantra to shepherd inexperienced players towards the critical areas of a map. Shortly after, this group formed what would become one of North America’s flagship clans: Fight on the Fucking Objective [FFO].
It was FFO that would embody the epitome of what is most commonly viewed as the “American” Meta (style of play). Because of our cockiness, talent, blitzkrieg speed and dispassion, FFO would constantly push Squad’s gameplay to the limit, patch after patch. Boundaries are made to be broken, and many outsiders would chafe at our immersion-shattering strategies, whether they took the time to understand the brotherhood that is FFO or not.
As I myself found my way into the Squad community in early 2016, FFO was very swiftly gaining momentum and becoming a skilled group of players spread across Canada and the United States. This was a group that would master the META of the latest released version and cram it down your throat. One could even call [FFO] the ‘big brother’ in the family that is the Squad Community. If you are the younger sibling they will bug you, point their finger into your face, trip you, and mock you. But as time goes by, the nature of that relationship begins to evolve and, if you’re clever, you might begin to understand the reasons behind big brother’s behavior. Behind every noogie is a lesson. Behind every wedgie, a round-winning, game-enhancing philosophy.
By the middle of 2016, FFO had easily become one of Squad’s largest and most talented North American clan. On a normal night, nearly 30-40 members would be on Discord. All of these members were brought together for one reason: to win. Outside parties have often viewed this drive to win as arrogance or cockiness. I suppose playing each pick-up-game as if it was the final match in a tournament would generally upset those who were not at the same level. As gameplay elements like spawn point protective barriers entered the game, FFO members would find themselves employing strategies like using their vehicles to sit outside this protective barrier to engage enemy vehicles as they left their main base. Instead of these parties using the protective barrier to shoot out of it to destroy these FFO vehicles, they would resort to banning/kicking FFO members for abuse. Then came the rush META of using vehicles to push the 1st or 2nd flags to engage the enemy so that they are unable to capture those points. Again, those who were not seeking this style of gameplay or able to address their own team’s shortcomings would resort to kicking/banning instead of realizing this is all part of the current state of the game.
Squad’s community is diverse, with players from many different backgrounds. We all want the game to be fun. However, the definition of “fun” in the context of Squad may differ from group to group. To some, fun is using military specific language and formations to immerse themselves in fetishistic pseudo-realistic “milsim” experience. To FFO, it is just about winning (anything goes) and playing with friends who are like-minded. On a daily evening, the FFO TeamSpeak server has about 30 members playing games and communicating with one another. As servers began to fill up, team balance would always be an issue as friends would squad lead and coordinate more so than a normal public squad lead would with others.
THROUGH THE SMOKE
Beyond all the waterfall FOBs, flipping of enemy vehicles and other game-shaping METAs, FFO began to crave a North-American community that was more engaged, connected and competitive. The European region easily had the larger share of highly skilled clans, and they would rarely stray from their own servers. As the focus became more on the development of top tier outfits in the North American region, several members of FFO left to create their own clan: [T//A]. After this shakeup, many long-standing FFO members had left, or had simply stopped playing the game. But through the smoke, many new members joined and more changes were in store for a group of individuals that always held onto the fact that their leadership was strong and able to overcome.
Tired of the lack of focus on North American based competition, FFO led the creation of NAS (North American Squad) to encourage the growth of clans, skill and competition ‘locally’. As NAS approaches its 20th week of existence, it has grown from a competition with only 2-3 clans able to field 9 members regularly, to 8-12 full clans being able to consistently provide enough members to run an event. A newer member, Koodoo, used his own drive to lead the creation of ISKT (International Squad Knockout Tournament) to even further develop a global basis for Squad to continue to grow and compete. The level of play, amount of viewers and videos coming from these events have led to a faster, stronger growth of Squad, not only in North America, but also around the world.
A FAMILY UNITED
A family is a unit that will always be with you through thick and thin. FFO is a family, despite what it looks like to any outsider looking in. Many of its members have gone through changes, loss and anguish through the nearly 1 ½ years of FFO’s existence. The age range of FFO members ranges from 17 to 40s. We have Canadians, Americans and even some European members. All walks of life are involved in the melting pot that is FFO. The bedrock of the clan is our strong leadership. Wired 24/7 developed a superior webpage for FFO when they first came into existence. Wired and Lacey coordinate the TeamSpeak along with the purchasing of server boxes for hosting all of the numerous games FFO plays. FFO pays for all of these devices by member donations, whether it’s just $10 or $250. The competitive aspect of FFO is led from I Love Your Backpack and BillNye who may have more hours spent actually in-game than anyone else. An extra shout-out must go out to newcomer Koodoo who has outdone himself in with community outreach and organizational efforts. The coordination of strategies, organizing teams, understanding the changes to the game and how a META might shift, fall mainly into their laps.
Although FFO’s usual language is sarcasm, or in BillNye’s case, straight Star Trek level nerd talk, FFO will always put their family first regardless of what the outside community thinks of them. As the great alcoholic, former professional wrestler Scott Hall once said, “Don’t sing it, bring it.” Whether it’s your lack of understanding of why we are rushing your first flag, why we’re blowing up our own logistics truck in a path way, flipping your BTR or having six of us in the same squad on your server, we’ll continue to put family first and roll your server. Whether you choose to understand us our not, we’re out there.