Friday, July 08, 2005

Byte: TANKS! DIRTBIKES! What could *possibly* go wrong? Why are you looking at me like that?

I spent a couple of hours last night on a Joint Ops: Escalation server, playing on Advance And Secure maps, and to be honest, it was a pretty painful experience.

As online shooters go, it's almost spectacularly badly broken. What's the point of having a whole multitude of pistols, rifles, SMGs, machine guns and ammunition types when the most potent weapon in the game is A FUCKING KNIFE? I swear, at ranges of less than 10 metres, there's no point using guns at all, because the server side movement renders your aiming cursor useless. The reticule is dynamic to boot, so if you're moving AT ALL, your accuracy is so low you'd have trouble hitting a barn at ten paces. I've had AK-74's pointing into people's chests at point blank ranges, unloaded a whole magazine, and not killed them - at which point they sidle up to you and shank you through the face with a combat knife.

This isn't an aiming lag thing - I've got 1MB broadband, and I only play on servers with pings in double figures. The damn weapons DON'T SHOOT STRAIGHT. Either that, or people are cheating their ass off. It's more noticable with Rebel weaponry than Joint Ops weaponry, too. Okay, Joint Ops kit is meant to be the best money can buy, but in the interests of balancing, the disparity shouldn't be so glaring. Even common weaponry available to both sides seems to be more effective if you're playing Joint Ops. And don't get me started on the Spawn Point Rape.

The Engineer class is able to carry a mortar. These can either be fired manually, or a friendly sniper can help you out with the target designator so that you can fire blind without seeing the target. Well, on the server last night it was constant. A hard rain was falling, and I'm not talking about jungle squalls. It was a neverending whistle-crump of mortar shells ripping up the spawn points. You could be killed within seconds of respawning, without ever seeing who killed you, or having a chance to prevent it. It's goddamn infuriating, and so disappointing, because the game should be so much better.

As always, it comes down to the people playing it. AAS is meant to be a team game, but because of the server stats, everyone's out for themselves, and there's no co-ordination at all. Public servers are a complete waste of time, and I don't have the time to join a clan, where the quality of play (and players) would be better.

The jungle setting doesn't help either, because the foilage makes enemies five times harder to spot. Meaning that you have to scan the horizon super-carefully before you break cover. By which point, you've already been headshot a dozen times by the sniper hiding in a bush... There's nothing worse than being killed without knowing the who, how and where.

I'm going to avoid AAS secure servers from now on and stick to Co-op, Deathmatch or King Of The Hill servers, because at least the maps are tighter, and you're that much more likely to leave a spawn point with all your parts in the right place...
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