Squad - Midway Between Battlefield and ARMA

I just got into Squad the other day. It’s currently on Early Access on Steam, and it’s a free play weekend (ending soon) with 50% off.

OMG, this is one of those games I’ve been dreaming of. Essentially ARMA meets Battlefield, but much more focused on modern infantry. It’s got the realistic feel, but it’s not crazy hardcore realistic. If you’re “killed”, you can be revived if a medic can get to you, otherwise you can “give up” and respawn at a spawn point.

At the same time, it’s not crazy full-on-action like BF is. It’s very much centered on squad tactics. You run solo in this game, you will get killed easily.

To facilitate the squad work, there are three built-in, dedicated voice channels. One for your squad, one for everyone in your vicinity, and one for squad leaders to communicate.

Squads have limited slots, so you can have up to 2 medics, 1 sniper, 1 automatic rifleman, etc. Very nice, as it prevents the sniper-fest seen in BF.

Vehicles appeared limited to stuff like BTRs, technicals. humvees, and the like.

The maps are gigantic. ARMA-scale easily. Quite detailed.

I’ve been having a blast in it. It’s everything I ever wanted in a shooter. It’s not a game where you’re going to have a 50-1 KDR. Nor are you going to be shooting a lot. But it’s all about the tension and the bursts of combat.

Did more research on Squad once I peeled myself away from it.

This is essentially the team responsible for the Project Reality mod for Battlefield.

It’s 50 on 50 multiplayer.

They do plan on adding more vehicles as it matures, but it’s safe to say that they’re going for much more realistic application of vehicles. You can’t even jump into a vehicle without permission from your squad leader.

Third best seller on steam right now. Very tempted.

Oh, man, I played the hell out of this today.

I got to be Squad Leader quite a bit, which is challenging. It’s like playing chess while getting shot at. I’m having to juggle communications between my squad and between the other squad leaders. I’m constantly looking at the map and trying to figure out what’s going on. I’m laying down rally points for the squad to spawn on. I’m dealing with requests to grant approval for vehicles. It’s a handful.

This is the kind of game that absolutely lives and dies on the quality of the teamwork. Since it was a free play weekend, lots of newcomers and curious folk, so you could obviously tell who was trying to play it like Battlefield or COD and who wasn’t. But when you’ve got a bunch of 9-man squads working together, it’s so cool. It feels like a movie.

I will say that I ended up on some squads with some obvious ex-military guys. That was a bit fun because they were yelling at others about not keeping proper intervals and not providing proper overwatch when crossing a road.

Where do people respawn? I always find that such games try and market themselves as being squad-level games that rely heavily on teamwork etc, yet when you die you respawn miles away back at base with like, 1 other guy. No one’s going to sit there and regroup, so they run off alone, and thus the game’s main idea no longer works.

Is this game with it for someone like me that mostly plays solo?

Or do you need a regular reliable group of friends to play with?

Respawn locations are very limited.

You can respawn at your main base, but that’s waaaay in the rear.

Squad leaders have the ability to lay down rally points, but they have limitations. For one, rally points have a limited number of respawns (9). There’s also a timer on being able to place rally points. You also cannot place them if the enemy is within 50 meters. Rally points will disappear if the enemy overruns their position. And the squad leader needs to have 2 squadmates within 8 meters to put one down.

Those mechanisms really encourage the squad to stick together.

Squads can also build forward operating bases, which have unlimited number of spawns for the entire team, not just the squad. But they have a bunch of caveats, too. They take a while to build (squad members need to use their entrenching tools, which means you better have some security on the perimeter). If the enemy locates a FOB, it becomes a prime target. Not just because it’s such a strategic advantage with the unlimited respawns, but destroying a FOB is a huge hit on the enemy’s tickets.

If you “die”, you lay on the ground and bleed out very slowly. We’re talking minutes, if you’re willing to wait for a friendly medic. You can also give up, at which point the respawn timer kicks in.

Sometimes the squad gets wiped and, yeah, you do have to spawn back in the rear or the nearest FOB. Usually when that happens, we’ll wait around for everyone to respawn back in, and then we’ll move back toward the front as a unit.

Also, objectives are chained together. So let’s say A>B>C>D>E>F>G. You need to take and control B before you can take and control C. If you take and control C, you can move on to D. If you’re assaulting E, and the enemy attacks and takes D, you cannot take E. This prevents the random roaming and seizing of objectives and focuses the action on certain objectives at all times.

The game mechanics are set up to reward squad cohesion and to punish lone wolves.

I don’t think you would like this. The core of the game really is built around squad communication and action. Lone wolf players die a lot.

Thanks, this is helpful. I didn’t really have a chance to play any MP during the free weekend but I was getting the sense that this game may require more commitment than I can give at the moment.

I did try the shooting range solo. Yeas ago I would have loved what this title was offering but I just don’t have the time presently.

I think he was also asking if you need to be a member of a regular group. While that would certainly help, it’s not an issue. All the squads I joined had people talking and cooperating for the most part. It was a free play weekend, so every now and then you got the squad leader who doesn’t have a mic, but they were usually good enough to promote someone else to squad leader after we told them that they were hurting the squad.

Yeah, just keep in mind that free weekend experience is not representative of the core community. Once the newbie tryout dust settles, most new players will end up with a formal or semi-formal group of players if they want to stick with this game.

It’s like the milsim Arma 3 (non-Altis Life) servers. You can pop in as a lone wolf with no affiliation, but you’re either going to be kicked to make room for a core member, or you’ll just flail around with little support.

This game has been on my Wishlist since it released in EA, so I picked it up. I don’t know if I can get into online FPS games anymore, but “A FPS a little less hardcore than ARMA” has pretty much what I’ve been looking for. Seeing it on sale on a few positive comments here made me pull the trigger.

Any tips for a n00b starting out?

Make sure to join a squad. Find one that’s almost full. Once you’re in the squad, you should hear a lot of chatter. That should be a good squad.

You need a microphone. This is not a game that you can get away with text chat. Hold B to talk to your squad. Hold V to talk to all teammates around you. (The enemy cannot hear you; that’s a design decision, otherwise a lot of groups would set up their own dedicated teamspeak servers.)

Run around the firing range mode and get used to the various controls.

If wounded, you will start to bleed out. If you bleed out, you die. Hit 4 to bring up your bandage, then right-click to apply bandage to yourself.

Hit M to toggle the map, and N to toggle map scale.

Make sure to choose a kit when you join a squad. You default as a rifleman, but if the 2 medic slots are not filled up, then grab a medic slot.

From your description it makes it sound like it’s set up for lone wolves to continually die and waste tickets, as they don’t spawn near anyone :P At least Team Fortress 2 had wave timers…

This game is fun. The community is good. Its rewarding when you stick together and take points and defend FOB’s. There is nothing else out there like it…except maybe old BF2 Project Reality, Arma and America’s AA. If you’re into those games, this game makes it more playable. Alot of the issues casual people had with Arma (sometimes needless complex menus and player control) are simplified to normal FPS controls in this game. You can drop in drop out, but make sure you have a mic and headset because some Squad Leaders will ask direct for help when its immediate ie Sniper scouting up or Medic to stay back or come up and heal etc.

The immersion in this game is really done well. Good graphics and great sound (you will need to detrermine direction of enemy from sound ALOT). Really great experience of a game.

Loners can be loners, I’ve done it a few times, but you will be kicked out of squad. The game kind of makes you conform to the squad… because you need them to survive overall. But I have seen some good loners scout ahead and do there own thing… but they are not common. This is the game people buy to teamplay.

Also, mic headset a must.

This youtuber does alot of Squad vids, gives a good idea of how game works.

Also, not all SLs are the same. Half the SLs I’ve been in were very casual, and a couple were semi hardcore. Actually had one female SL who was VERY good at laying down an FOB fast and attacking quick… was so damn cool.

Yeah, America’s Army, but on an ARMA scale is the best way to describe it. And it looks a lot better than both games. It’s not Triple-A-budget beautiful. But it’s detailed, it runs fast, and the effects (like explosions) are almost lifelike.

Here’s a link to a manual, which gives you more info.

I also like watching this guys’ videos. (Jump to about 2:30 for the action).

This goes on sale (35% off) starting today. I highly recommend it if you’re interested in stuff like realistic infantry tactics and working in coordinated teams. I’ve been playing it daily for weeks now. Be advised: a microphone is absolutely essential to the experience.

Here’s a pretty cool video that shows more of what the game is like (fast forward past the first minute for the fun.) It’s edited to show a lot of action. I really like the second match, starting at 5:47.

What size of squad is needed to be able to play/have an impact? Is everyone on the team in one giant squad working together, or is there room for say… 3-4 people working in coordination? I guess what I’m getting at is I’m wondering if a few friends and I can play in our own squad and be able to help/accomplish anything, or would we all need to join a larger squad?

The current max server size is about 72 players right now. (Game is still in early access, so the 100-player servers are still coming).

That figures about 35-36 players per side. Max squad size is 9. Which means that on a 72-player server, you’re looking at about 4 squads of 9 each per team. But you can have more than 4 squads, if you’re willing to have fewer members per squad. So, yes, you and your friends can squad together. Plus, odds are, other players will join your squad, and they’ll be helpful additions, too.

The best games I’ve played tend to be on Friday and Saturday nights, which makes sense. When you have a good squad leader, and the squad leaders are coordinating with one another, it’s like nothing I’ve ever played before.

Last night, I was playing in a pretty good team, but we were facing a ridiculously excellent team that obviously has played together a long time. Each of their squads was highly organized, and the squads were tightly coordinated. It was very impressive. At one point, my squad was tasked with seizing and holding a southern objective, while another squad set up a defensive point to the north of us. But the other team had a squad set up a heavy machine gun nest on a hill to our south. Meanwhile, they had other squads flanking around our sides, and they had done their scouting, because they had located a forward operating base we had set up to our west. Within minutes, all our positions were overrun, including our FOB (which had its own dedicated squad around it). Meanwhile, that fortified hill they set up completely shut down any attempt for our squads to maneuver to each other.

We spent the rest of the game desperately trying to play defense, but losing. Finally, my squad leader grabbed a Humvee at base and drove the crazy long way around the map, and set up a FOB to the east of that aforementioned fortified hill position the enemy set up. A bunch of us spawned. We totally lost the match, but the last thing we did was assault the hill. We took out the enemy FOB there and spent the last minute shooting guns in the air in celebration. Basically, imagine an NFL team scoring a garbage TD after getting blown out 49-0 in a game. Yeah, that was us.

Sorry if I abuse you by bombarding you with questions. You mention that when Squad leaders are communicating, it’s great. How do people communicate from Squad to Squad? Is there a specific Squad Leader channel where they can talk to each other, or how is it handled?