Judging the performance of Free-For-Alls

Last weekend my friends and I played Battletech once again at Dave & Buster’s. Each time I play this free-for-all robot blastfest, I get exponentially better.

In an eight-player free-for-all, I managed 20 kills with only 1 kill of my own (which was mainly a suicide on my part, since I was so damaged most of my weapons were destroyed and I knew if I tried to limp onward without respawning it would negatively affect my kills). I was mighty proud of my 20:1 kill ratio, particularly since most other people had kill ratios of 4:4, 5:7, or something similar.

My best friend chastised me, saying the only reason I got so many kills is because of shameless opportunism- finishing off heavily damaged opponents, fading out of weapons range of enemies and letting them turn on each other, and unloading into the backs of recently-respawned players. He believed true skill in such an arena was from 1 on 1 victories among the carnage.

His record in that battle was 8 kills and 2 deaths, and I do respect the fact that he only died twice in what amounted to 10 1v1 duels in the game. However, I think he’s flawed with his attitude about the concept of Free For All. FFA is exactly that- a bloodbath. However, attacking a distracted opponent isn’t going to net you a fantastic kill ratio- while you’re blasting away at a distracted guy, some third fella is most likely doing the same against your backside. Maneuvering and gunnery play a very big part in preserving your own mech, and can go a long way in making you appear nearly impossible to kill. So in my opinion, I think my friend is biased, and too accustomed to either team games or mano a mano battles.

While I agree that using tactics to improve your battlefield ability is not only acceptable but required, I also think that a certain sense of honor is also required… otherwise, one could simply hack the system and get 100:1 kill ratios.

I also believe that shooting an opponent in the back during the crucial spawn-in moments of total disorientation is completely low and cowardly. Give 'em a fighting chance, dude.

By fighting chance, of course, I mean hide somewhere they can’t see you, wait for 'em to start moving and/or shoot at something, THEN blow them to bits. You don’t have to just stand there either, ya know.