5x5: The Titanfall Beta

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This is the first ever 5 by 5, and honestly I couldn’t be happier that I’m doing it for Titanfall. The basic premise of 5 by 5 is making 5 points about 5 topics in a game I play. This will usually hit for new games especially during betas considering just how many are cropping up these days. Now the 5 topics in general will change per game, but some will reoccur.

 

Stuff you probably did in the Titanfall Beta

1. Reached the level cap-Seems kind of obvious but it’s worth noting just how fast it is to get it. I reached the cap in about an hour and a half, and while not the cap of the retail game, bodes well for the leveling system.

2. Played with burn cards-In general Titanfall seems to love injected unique mechanics to the often regarded stale FPS genre. And burn cards add one hell of an element of risk/reward.

3. Cleaned your deck-At its beta cap of 26 cards players who didn’t die all to often found their deck maxed out. Oddly instead of asking you to sort what new cards you keep at the end of match, the cards on the left side of deck get the axe first. As a result you probably found yourself just ditching cards to keep some slots open so you don’t lose some of the more valuable cards. Personally I found myself ditching amped pistols, snipers, most anti-titan weapons as well as gain xp and build on pilot hits and the XP boost. (kinda useless at level cap)

4. Flub some wall runs-Most competitive FPS don’t focus on this level of raw mobility. Which resulted in many players face planting walls or hitting that second jump a little early. Of course this is going to change as we get more used to maps, but as the map pool grows the jumps will use are going to change on the fly.

5. Made your decision about Titanfall- Since the E3 reveal we’ve heard just how amazing the game is. That it’s going to blow minds and reshape multiplayer as we know it. Now that you’ve gotten your hands on it, how do you feel? Does it live up to the hype, does it fall short, or are you somewhere in between still? Some people flipped sides going from super excited to bummed out, others who had little to no interest initially now can’t wait to play again.

 

Stuff you probably DIDN’T do in the Titanfall Beta

1. Hack a Specter-Didn’t know you could do that huh? Well now you do. Remember that knife you used to open a door in the training missions? You can use it to get closer to specters than you think. Walk/Run/Wall Run/Eject towards an enemy specter and jab the knife into the thing with the given prompt and in a few seconds you have yourself one (or more) new robot guards. In addition to giving you some new anti-titan fodder, you also gain attrition points if in said mode. Granted you are completely exposed if you perform the action, but considering the role specters fill, you shouldn’t worry too much. Just take care when do start the hack.

2. Get a double Titanfall crush-So if you didn’t know when you call your titan, whatever (hostile) thing it lands on, it kills it instantly. No fuss, no auguring, just straight up kills it. And on the maps tight (at least by titan standards) roads and paths, players often stand next to each other, which honestly is a decent tactic. Until my Atlas flattens the both of. Best part they have no chance to eject, no nuclear explosions, nothing. Like Willy Coyote, flat as a pancake except they don’t get to waddle away.

3. Drop a Titan right out the gate-Several very Rare burn cards exist that allow you to call a Titan the second you hit the deck. And in the beta that included the other Titan frames Ogre and Stryder. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to nab one for my pilots, that didn’t stop me from starting the match with an Atlas once, or twice… And yes it is a stupid as it sounds. At the start of match enemy pilots are the thing your eyes are peeled for, not a

titan. While the pilot vs. titan match is stupidly well balanced you can still often nail the entire team once over before they actively respond. A little chaos 30 seconds into a match is always something worth praising.

4. Scored north of 100 points in attrition-If your team plays poor enough and the enemy is just as lost, you can really rack up the kills. From the grunts your squad misses, to the titans your foes flounder around with, the top player in a match often stands out. Normally that score is around 60 to 80. But sometimes you just get that match, where you time your burn cards right, sneak up on ALL the enemy pilots, and survive 3 on 1 titan fight like making toast. And that happened to me. Damn I do love Titanfall.

5. Analyzed player behavior-Aside from other developers I’d bet not many of you picked up on trends in how people played. Towards the end of the beta people tended to let the auto titans do the talking, preferring to stay as the mobile pilot. I’d gladly let them as I chewed through groups of auto titans. Typically the best performing members of a squad used electric smoke over vortex shield. Although fast on the draw you can take out the enemy pilot with a quick disembark. And clearly the 40mm cannon was the gun of choice for mostly custom loadouts. My Chaingun with accelerator beg to differ on the raw lethality of it all. The people that paid the most attention to these trends in the end had to have been Respawn. And with March 11th approaching quickly, we shall see the pay off.

 

For the Folks that missed the beta, a little head start

1. Look up-No I mean it, keep your crosshairs towards the upper parts of a building at like all times. Seriously if you aren’t controlling the rooftops someone else is. This means grenades, Titans, and other Pilots can lock you down. Always be willing to shoot towards the skies when on approach, because if you are where no one else is looking, it’ll already be too late.

2. Chose burn cards for the phase of the game- You get 3 burns cards per match and that’s it. Do you want to feel like a schmuck and bring an extra damage anti-titan weapon when you only have pilots and grunts to shoot at? HECK NO! Instead chose your burn cards to match the games phase. Maybe you bring an amped R-101C or R-97, right out the gate and tear through those pilots and grunts to earn your titan. Just died but your Titan is ready for you? If your have a pull rank card, use it to get your core ability faster when you drop in. Enemy titans litter the map? Now is time for that extra damage weapon. If your burn cards fit the games phase you’ll come out on top. Maybe

3. Cowboy Up-Rodeo is one the most efficient ways to take down a Titan. And by default you have a camouflage that works best against Titans. Leap on an enemy titan from a roof or jump onto it and go to town on the inner workings. Just watch out for electric smoke, that’ll make your boarding action come to a halt REAL quick.

4. Remember T3, Tackle Titans Together-If you see a friendly Titan soling a hostile Titan, try to lend a hand. If that means pulling your anti-titan weapon or pulling the opposing titan’s safety plug you’re doing that squaddie a service. Being attacked from on top and by a Titan makes your foe tackle a hard choice. Keep on fighting the titan while a pilot picks me apart clip by clip, or disembark to deal with the threat exposing both myself and my titan to the enemy. And forcing hard choices causes really stupid decisions.

5. Don’t Ignore Grunts!-The squads of 4 that appear throughout the match don’t pose much of a threat to you. And by design shouldn’t, take advantage of this fact. If you see 8 of 'em clustered together, mow them down. In all game modes this gets you closer to your titan, and in Attrition gets the team closer to victory. You don’t even have to devote much to them, just tossing a grenade often nails the whole squad and when in a titan, just go for a stroll through the reinforcements and what your core time shoot down.

 

Things I will NEVER get tired of

1. Titan Crushes-Allowing a game to change on the fly when the balance of power can shift in near moments is one of the many beautiful bits of design if enjoy in Titanfall. However being able to do it with 20 feet of metal AND by ruining some other fool’s day? What’s not to love, unless you’re the guy I crushed…sorry.

2. DAH BOOT-Duke Nukem is a freakn pussy next to Pilots. Your flying jump kicks can ruin the streak of a hot player without a second thought. Additionally taking down squads of grunts or specters without a sound is hugely advantageous for the stealth inclined player.

3. Saying Hello-Titanfall loves for you to get to know your enemy, and adding a kind hello makes the stinging impact feel just a bit better. Snap the neck of a pilot, give him/her a hearty hello as their eyes sink back and they die a horrid death. Or maybe you’d prefer the titan options? Doom an enemy titan, move your titan in front and offer to know them better. Granted the meeting is only for a few seconds as you yank the pilot from the cockpit and Hail Mary them into a wall. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but you do stop that titan from going nuclear so it’s fun for everyone! One last chance to greet your targets is saying hello with your own explosion. Navigate your butt as close as you can when doomed and punch out. As long you don’t find yourself staring a titan in the face, you can yell hello as you doom other titans and maybe snag a pilot or two.

4. The Start of the Match-As odd as it seems right out the gate Titanfall wants you to feel a part of this larger conflict. And jumping in with fellow pilots and watching a couple squads of grunts deploy around you does that feeling some proper justice.

5. The Spectacle of it all-Sometimes it’s worth it to just cool your heels and take in your surroundings. Watch a multi-titan fight with players trying to take each other and the titans down. Look at the sky and watch more drop ships come in to deploy troops, you can shoot those down by the way. Look at the skies as Militia and IMC ships warp in. Sometimes is pays to kickback and enjoy the chaos, just as long as you don’t get your neck broken, tends to ruin the serenity of it all.

 

Reasons I like Titanfall

1. Reliving Fever Dreams of Unreal Tournament-No game has taken more of my time than Unreal. And with the Arena shooter fading away, I’ve really had to play more Unreal 2004. But with the motion and speed that Titanfall moves I’ve found a new home. Unless Epic makes a new UT, then I’m gone.

2. I can play My Way-In general shooters have let you openly choose how to get from A to B. But Titanfall seems like so much more. I don’t know if it the sense of speed, the fact that flanking is encouraged from the get go, or the stupidly good map design. But something screams to just do it how you want.

3. The Z Axis is a thing-Most games leave motion to the X and Y planes, with going up and down a secondary design clause. Titanfall feels built from the ground up to encourage vertical motion. I warn you to look up for a very good reason.

4. I think it’s going to work-This is as much a reason I like the game as a reason I will support the game. Similar games like Brink just didn’t pull through, but after 5 days with Titanfall I can’t help but think it’ll have a good return. If even by reputation alone the game is a success, I’ll be glad for Respawn. But if both the player base and the developers are committed to supporting each other, this will be one hell of a symbiotically growing game.

5. Sometimes just plain fun is all you need-I enjoy playing Titanfall. At its core isn’t that what gaming is all about?

 

I hope you folks enjoyed reading the first 5 by 5! I can't wait to bring you more about games that I want to play and hopefully that you want me to cover. If you have any feedback or comments makes sure to post em here or let me know through twitter or email.