|. . . by repeatedly feeding yourself to organized units!|
. . .or is it? As someone who is new to the queues of CW, I'm truly horrified by the experiences my opponents were getting in CW. Instead of being matched to dozens of similar large groups dropping simultaneously, we were repeatedly given very inexperienced and disorganized pug teams. I have played 19 matches so far with 18 of them qualifying (I had to go AFK in that non-qualified one!) and I don't think we were matched with a similar 6+ man group more than 3-4 times. Even the large groups that were pitted against us weren't close to our team's skill level and it made no difference for them.
If you're reading this as a mainly lone-wolf player, here's my advice to you: do not drop solo in CW. Avoid it at all costs. Ignore it until either CW populations increase to a level where matchmaker can be made to be more selective. Currently, it seems like the matchmaker is prioritizing speedy matches over any kind of balance concern such as prioritizing groups versus groups. What it seems to do is look at the player pool of a planet, think "Oh god so many lonewolves and small groups, let's try to empty this pool as fast as possible!" and just fire up matches.
The result? You will be teamed up with newbies in trial 'Mechs, people who don't know the map and the basic tactics of each map, don't have the basic aiming skills, don't want to coordinate or just have different ideas on how to play the map. It'll be a circus and even if you somehow manage to communicate and herd the pugs, you will still be at a massive disadvantage against a group who are in their private TS and know each other already. Even with some improvised teamwork, you can't break groups with teamwork+experience.
Here's an example of what happened to the pugs against us:
As I said, I had a good time getting a lot of easy kills but in the background I was absolutely horrified by the sheer imbalance. It felt like clubbing helpless seals over and over again. I couldn't shake the feeling that I was making someone "have a bad time" and it also made me have a bad time in the end. I get the most fun when I actually get a good fight against intelligent/skillful opponents such as 228 which is even a level above my group in terms of CW tactics. Unfortunately after 18 matches and with over 1400+ players in the CW queues according to Russ, I'm yet to get a challenging and close match.
Alright enough rant/rambling. What can be done to improve the solo player experience in CW? There are numerous threads on both Reddit/official forums from experienced units/members deeply analyzing the current situation and suggesting new features already. I don't want to join them and dilute the feedback, but I have some suggestions:
- Prioritize pugs vs pugs. Let the large groups wait longer and try to find them a large group to fight against. Even better, prioritize groups with people from the same unit against similar groups. So if BMMU is looking for a match on a planet, don't immediately dump 12 pugs against them and launch a match. Wait a few minutes to see if there's a similar group is available and if not, launch with pugs.
- Fix the trial decks. Let the community design default drop decks and use them. DO NOT put newbies in gimped stock Clan/trial IS 'Mechs. If you don't want to firewall CW for the beginners, at least give them a chance with good decks.
- CW tutorials. I know there's a competition going on right now, but it won't matter if those tutorials won't be easily accessible to the newbies. Pop a pop-up when someone goes to the CW tab for the first time and FORCE them to watch tutorials before letting them drop.
- Drop the "CW is hardcore" attitude. Thanks to this, some units completely dedicated themselves to the CW because it's easier to farm unsuspecting pugs over and over in CW rather than being pitted against similarly skilled opponents in the group queue. I'm not saying everyone does this, but there are certainly some groups who enjoy this. There were times when the other team whined (Why are you dropping here?) because they had a good group against them instead of the usual easy pugs.