ISKT S2. The Russians’ debut
Hello, I’m Duck&Cover from the FULLproG team and I want to tell you a bit about us and about the Russian team in ISKT – or at least, how it’s perceived by a large part of the team.
ProG and FULL were formed around two people – FullRussianMachine and Digris. A typical story for team-based games: two guys, separately, come into idea that they want to play by pushing the game mechanics to its limits, adopting this knowledge to make a tactical teamplay focused on performance and victories.
This may sound trivial, but you probably have noticed how repressed people can be while playing on pub servers: they seem to dread building fobs or run one after another from the hab. The guys quickly attracted a bunch of a regular players who shared same ideas and enjoyed the results of more advanced cooperation. After some time, the teams started to feel contained on publics. On one hand, we already had two full squads who cooperated actively and could quickly change the round balance. On the other hand, a lot of Russian blueberries came from CS/CoD/BF3-4: they didn’t want to get into the principles of team play – why to carry the supplies, return the transportation or going with the squad when one could just take a solo marksman. As a result FULL started to play more and more often on English-speaking servers (cheers, HSR and FSQ), while practically losing the opportunity to recruit “fresh blood” and ProG stayed in the Russian zone. A bit later, we came across an announcement about the ISKT new season and decided to give it a try.
We decided to participate in the competition for fun and new experience, we had no expectation about the results and, even less, about getting into the premier league. We got lucky with the group we landed in – only Fortis could be considered one of the top veteran teams.
The first two games against the Turkish and European teams went smooth. Third time we played against Fortis – their win came as no surprise, although we were amazed by the way it happened – by their control over the map, the high game pace + every time we’d start shooting, they would respond from at least 2 directions. This loss made us hungry: we felt that we wanted to qualify from the group and we’re ready to really fight for it. The last two group games went uneventfully, although I’d like to mention ZXD on the Firstlight – couple of times the guys made really us work for the defense of Storage Site. Ahead of us were the fights in the premier league, but already during trainings the minor issues that we’d notice and neglect earlier evolved into a serious matter.
Let me digress for a second. In Russia, summer in considered low-season; the students are on their breaks, the business – on vacation, even the Moscow metro becomes almost bearable. People have tons of free time. In September everything goes back to normal, at work a grind starts which’ll last until the New Year’s, and then summer. Also, the time difference between the most western and eastern FULLproG player was 10 h, so some were playing very early in the morning. All things considered, after 6 months of play, people got burnt out and sheer fatigue started to appear.
Our first game in the Pro league was against Indies, before that we played scrim against wF. Remember about summer in Russia? 10 minutes before start we don’t have enough players, we’re urgently trying to find replacement, and that’s already while the core lineup has lost 50% of its experienced, well-knit players. scrim let painfully obvious how we lacked an organized training system, how chaotic all we did was. We’d gather the full squad in the evening to practice the starting phase, but in the end it would take up to 3-4 hours. That was because a some of us, instead of executing the pre-agreed plan, would discuss some points to no end (while most of the team were passing their time on 9gag, awaiting).
This system could work for small teams, but if you’re gathering 24 people, if you’re playing not only for fun but aiming for concrete results – you need to proceed with maximum effectiveness, with respect for each other and people’s time. Urgently, we wrote a small guide with a checklist, nominated moderators and the problem seemed to be under control. In my opinion, this is a milestone when sports amateurs transfer into pros. We lost the game against Indies and our B plan – a loss with minimal point difference – didn’t pan out due to a large number of new players, urgent fill-ins and lack of members who used to be in charge of coordination.
We started preparations by scrim with M. Our problems with the team members kept accumulating and we’re playing scrim 21vs24, including the newbies. At the start, due to the technical reasons, we’re short of the leader. The team players lacked the enthusiasm, they’re coming to the games like to work you don’t like. One ray of hope – we were able to win against M the first round for the USA. The game against FSQ unfolded by the same scenario – we lacked the cold blood, calm and composure of our opponents – strictly speaking, their experience. This loss wasn’t a huge tragedy for us – we were fatigued from months in the Squad, yet we had to finish what we started. The game lasted 3 hours + 2 hours beforehand – that turned out to be way too much Kohat for a Sunday.
That was our last game that season, yet we couldn’t even get a proper training as the online critically dropped. Again,at the last moment we were short of 3 players and once again, had we had to ask to postpone the game. We’re all like at a relatives visit – wanting to get out of it as soon as possible. The mood slightly lightened once one of the players said that it was 5 am in his time zone and during briefing his grandma entered and witnessed how he was told to disembark and capture the mosque.
Nobody could image that this would turn out to be the most dramatic and intense game of all: first round – 29 tickets in our favour, the second – lost by 17 tickets. Last time I got so invested in a game was 10 years ago during the bf2 competitions on ESL. Thanks guys, this is what makes it worth playing a team-based competition.
We want to say thanks to all for now we have a strong post-competitive public disorder – after ISKT a game on a public is seldom enjoyable. The idea of 24 players who know and understand what they are doing and what needs to be done, who know when to spawn and where to run, understand one another almost without words – gets us almost aroused. Thanks to all the staff members and ISKT streamers, thanks to the adversaries, thanks Fortis for the hardest loss and thanks TA for the exciting clash. And it goes without saying – thanks to proG and FULL.
People got fatigued with squad with its 3h+ rounds. The online’s dropped hard, FULL even on weekends gathers 3-5 people tops for public runs. The recruitment of new players goes slowly as attracting smart players having only three Russian speaking servers is not a piece of cake. Maybe after the v10 the situation changes, if the veterans from PR, scared off by arcade fast paced inf. gameplay, will give the Squad a try. Regardless of losing a number of experienced players, the core of the FULLproG stays intact. At this point, we’re conducting a reorganization, processing all gained experience, recruiting new players. Having completed our first season we’re aware what our goals are and what to expect from the next season; we’re ready to go all the way from ISKT open to the top spots of the pro league.
As this text is getting published, we’d like to pass the message to ISKT and maybe even OWI.
- If you consider the tournament as a fun-oriented project, it would make sense to get the rounds shorter. Like with any project based on volunteers, burning out is to be expected, leading to a lack of interest in the tournament, if there’s no improvements and compromises.
- If the staff considers the tournament as a balance between a fun project and a commercial project, it’s worth remembering that viewers are crucial. Shortening the rounds will not be enough. While the hype lasts, it’s time to think of developing competitive maps and mod (the game itself is developing more in a way of events/experience and less in a sports way). In squad there’s a lot of cool and spectacular moments, but it’s imperative to make the rounds more concentrated – as well in terms of round time, season (6 months is extremely a lot), as the team sizes and flag distances. Don’t neglect the competition bf2 conquest 8×8 experience (the one from 2005), where we had the dynamic, the spectacular and extreme importance of the coordination skills – where proper tactics and timing could mean a victory even for a less shooting-skilled team.
- It seems to us that one element could significantly help the newcomers (and the veterans to tolerate the newbies). A window the size of the main menu screen with 3-5 vids about the game basics, 3-5 minutes tops. Ideally, it would open automatically every time launching the game, with an option to close the window and a checkbox in the options to deactivate this window. We think that the ISKT community, after examining v10, would willingly prepare scenarios and texts as well as shoot and edit those vids, simply for letting the newbies the chance to familiarize themselves with the game. ARMA had a similar experience with one player’s videoguide becoming an official one for the game.
- We have a feeling that not all the icons for marking the enemy infantry are being used – as a rule, one marker is enough. And there is a lack of an icon for the opponent’s rally points. Also, a squad icon, for marking for the team where this or that squad is heading and what vehicle it needs, would be much appreciated.