42, other than “the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” is the film number of H.M. Government Public Service Films that should be go-to choice for anyone playing tactical/stealth shooters. Don’t be like Mr. E.R. Bradshaw of Napier Court, Black Lion Road London SE5, and don’t stand out.
Cosmetic DLC and skin packs are ruining games. There, I said it. You might not see it from all the bling, and it’s kind of counterintuitive, but you’re not supposed to see it. It being yourself. At least when you’re talking about tactical shooters or stealth games.
This occurred to me while playing another current favourite of mine, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, and more specifically, its Ghost War Open Beta. I was running towards an enemy while chucking a grenade at them, ducked and covered, and my opponent quite literally ran over me.
The whole scenario just launched a series of ‘WTF’ lines of thought in my head. How was I not seen? Yes, I do dress differently but is it really that uncommon? Then I started to ponder a bit more thoroughly.
You might know this sketch by Monty Python about How Not To Be Seen. While it is funny (obviously), it does have a quite valid point that the Python crew could not have foreseen at the time of writing it. You see, often the skin packs or other type of cosmetic DLC that you get in shooters allows you to customise your character in exceedingly fancy ways. Metal Gear Online 3 allows players to lunge about the battlefield in swimwear or bright white berets, and COD as a series has distinguished itself in a variety of options for customisation.
Apart from being perfect getups for blending in at a white paint factory or an exotic beach resort, aforementioned wardrobes would not be suited for tactical battlefield wear. Guess which environment you’re gonna be on in a shooter? If you guessed paint factory or beach resort, I’ve got bad news for you.
Yet, I exceedingly find people opting for the more outlandish attires in shooters that allow for customisation, instead of trying to blend in with the surroundings. As far as single player/co-op against AI campaigns are concerned, I’m not that fussy about what I wear as long as I like it, and that I understand. But when I play against other people online, I will without failure choose the gear that helps me not stand out. This just doesn’t seem to happen with others most of the time.
I guess skin packs such as the infamous Horse Armor for Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, as maligned as it was, have had a deteriorating effect on players’ sensibilities as far as battlefield attire is concerned. People need to wield increasingly outlandish ensembles to stand out from the crowd, and in case of earned outfits, wear their accomplishments on their sleeves. Quite literally. The more flashy the better and the regular, blending-friendly outfits are scoffed at and treated as they are dirt. Me? From the other players’ perspective, I AM covered in dirt since I’m not wearing the fanciest gear – I adapt to my surroundings instead of trying to stand out from it. If it doesn’t stand out, it’s not there. And that’s the attitude players in tactical shooters should embrace. Like Dutch in Predator, when he covers himself in dirt to conceal himself from the Predator’s heat vision.
That would make shooters more intense, since you’d have to pay extra attention to spot your enemies. I thoroughly enjoyed Ghost War’s open beta and intend to get back to it on 10/10 when it actually comes out. I just hope people would adapt a more tactical attitude towards their attire.
TL;DR – On the battlefield (in general, but also in tactical shooters in this context) don’t dress to impress, but dress to be seen less.