Hey everyone, we can finally talk about the Medal of Honor: Warfighter PAX Community Event! About a month ago we were invited to take part in a 20 person community event that would feature an exclusive evening of information and game play on the new MOH:Warfighter game.
As most of you know Spartan117gw and I got hands on with Warfighter at E3 back in early June and were already very happy with the details. With only about six weeks left I had high hopes that what we would see would be a fair reflection of where things were going to be on October 23 when it formally releases and I am glad to report that it did not disappoint.
Sarajevo – The young guns out there may not remember but back in 1984 this was the location for the winter Olympics where some of us watched the US Hockey team do what most thought impossible and win. Unfortunately this isn’t 1984 and the Olympic area is no longer the shining jewel it once was.
We run through the map in darkness under artificial lights, through blown out, graffiti filled bobsled runs in what is hard to navigate uneven terrain. Tactical players will enjoy that Danger Close has built in ways to create multiple angles and levels without resorting to the same old stair and ladder mechanic. A slow sloping bobsled run offers a gradual increase in level offering height advantage and over-watch opportunities while damage both built in and created through impacts of the Frostbite 2 engine provide places to watch, snipe or drop the occasional grenade.
The interesting part of the map layout is that like Battlefield 3, Danger Close provides you with one map which hosts all modes by restricting what portion of the map is open and what size the overall area you have to work with.
This is the mode we saw released for the E3 show and consists of players taking flag points and holding them in order to win points and drive the enemy back. The mechanic is simple, known and leaves the hard work to those defending or attacking in using your skills to get in and get the job done.
You’re either defending or attacking and that means either planting a bomb or setting one while your opposition tries to undo it in time. While many people might think this gets old as you memorize the locations for planting and the routes/times to get there you’ll be interested to know that you will be faced with ‘potential locations’ which the enemy can plant at, keeping you guessing until the plant is done. After the initial plant the location is randomly generated and the defending forces get a few seconds notice before the attacking team learns the location in order to get setup. This really created a great scenario as the attacking team could do little more than either hang out or make a wild guess at which way to run in hopes they’d be right and find themselves closer to the impact point.
Modeled on the E-Sports concept, this is capture the flag at it’s best. The attendees really loved this mode and got a lot of enjoyment out of it. For those of us who have been playing tactical shooters and appreciate paying the price for being stupid or unlucky it always makes us nervous when they give you a ‘dead and you’re out for the round’ setup. We are happy to report that this mode employs that system giving you 10 rounds of play in close quarters. In this scenario it is not setup for each team to attack/defend but only one. The fun comes as players get eliminated and are sitting in spectator mode (able to flip between your still alive buddies) until the round ends. Our group quickly realized that getting dead because you’re not careful means you are no longer there to hold up you’re end of the job and you actively contribute to the teams likely failure or at least not enjoy the full success.
Back during E3 we noticed that you could use a perk called Spec Ops mode. This mode turned the screen blue and gave you the ultimate wall hack, allowing the user to see where all players were across the entire map. The effect was short lived but the impact was huge which led to concern that it could have been abused or create a class that most players would gravitate to and abuse.
Here at PAX we were pleasantly surprised that the mode had been significantly turned down. You are now provided with a pixelated grey scale rough visual that shows the silhouettes of personnel around but only in a limited radius and only for a scant few seconds (I believe it was about 3 seconds). At first the mode almost felt completely disabled and unusable but after a bit we realized that in those moments where you ‘think’ you might be near the bad guys this was a great way to find out for sure.
In one example (employed a few times) Sergeant Merrell had the class with Spec Ops mode and when he and I hit contact I would do my best to create an engagement and fix the enemy in place. Merrell would then quickly move to flank or sneak up from behind using the Spec Ops mode to see at the last second if they were fixed on me or had moved. This usually was a great time for Merrell to see the new sneak melee animation with his tomahawk on a very stunned enemy.
There is something amazing about watching a SMAW round fly through the air and impact a concrete bobsled run killing the man hidden behind. Well it would have been MORE amazing if I hadn’t been watching it happen as the round flew TO me. What was once a small hole able to work with to harass the enemy became enough concrete fragments to completely crush me as the missile impacted and blew out the section. Yes, I have a strong policy for not using AT weapons on human targets but in this case I had to agree that the best way to cease my attack was a little overkill.
As previously advertised, Peek and Lean is available and while it didn’t come up until later in the Q & A process we found out that it was there for us in our build. With what I felt was a better hit box accuracy in this build I have high expectations that peek and lean will drive up the intensity and difficulty as players master its tactical usage.
Melee animations offer a little extra satisfaction when you take the time to surprise your target with a more rewarding sneak kill animation vs the head on direct attack they see coming.
Warfighter will use the Battlelog system providing a much better online system for managing your buddies and watching peoples progress. Since the system is the essentially the same as the current BF3 Battlelog those Battlefield 3 players will be familiar and able to quickly acclimate.
We asked the question about offering a spectator mode in order to foster competition and hopefully streaming the coverage from an independent vantage point. The answer wasn’t a NO as much as a NOT YET. Brand manager Kevin O’Leary seemed to indicate that they are well aware of the feature request and how it would foster the community but at the moment the teams focus was on the game as it ships on day 1.
As we previously reported the two man fireteam mechanic is a subtle but amazing piece of work by Danger Close. The way that the system is structured really supports those who work with their fireteam buddy without requiring you to be tied to them. When you work together you are so much more likely to make kills, take objectives and efficiently ramp up than you will playing solo but IF you end up with a partner who doesn’t play well with others then know that you are not penalized and you can still capitalize on knowing what he/she knows on the battlefield.
I had a great time, enjoyed playing the new map and new modes and am completely fired up to play this title when it hits October 23rd. Whatever reservations you may have based on the previous incarnation, you should set them aside and see what Danger Close has come up with after learning a lot of lessons, augmenting what people already love in many other games and then getting a little more inventive on it’s own. Stay tuned… there is more to this Warfighter story and we’ll be anxious to report it.
We just wanted to take a moment and call out the other community players that attended this event. All too often you hear about these and wonder who gets these invites so a big thanks to Electronic Arts for hosting and here’s the list. Match up the names and faces with the image at the top of this article.
@ShanghaiSix from http://www.fronttowardsgamer.com
@TacticalPelican from http://www.fpsnation.com
@CurseNetwork from http://www.curse.com
@_pwnisher_ from www.youtube.com/pwnisher
@PatrickCGross from http://www.youtube.com/nuketownhooligans
@theZeffirelli from http://digitalwarfare247.com
@SergeantMerrell from http://www.sergeantmerrell.com
@VivalaJmax from http://www.ripten.com
@peterocc from http://www.gamertagradio.com
@DeaconBlade from http://www.unscripted360.com
@ESG from http://www.evilsourcegaming.com
@Shibby2142 from http://www.youtube.com/user/Shibby2142
@SquidSticks from http://www.fraggednation.com