Author Topic: Alpha Strike Matched Play BETA  (Read 4433 times)

nckestrel

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #30 on: 13 June 2024, 14:56:51 »
I need to play test them, but I think that:
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are going to need to have a VP scaling option based on the PV deployed.

There is a default scoring scaling of 10 VP for skirmish and 15 VP required for battle already. (added this version).  Escort has an exception (it's always 10).
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Geg

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #31 on: 13 June 2024, 17:17:24 »
There is no requirement that a 'mech formation be filled before a detachment formation is created.
You have to fill a 'mech formation before you can create another 'mech formation.  And you have to fill a detachment formation before you can create another detachment formation.  But you can put 3 'mechs in a 'mech formation and 3 tanks in a detachment formation and be done.

(Yes, will clarify that next time.)

That helps.  It looks like you can still mix BA and CV within a detachment?

There is a default scoring scaling of 10 VP for skirmish and 15 VP required for battle already. (added this version).  Escort has an exception (it's always 10).

I see that now.  The VPs to win in each of the objectives overwrote that part of the brain.  Maybe mention both point totals, or just refer back up to the standard win condition.
« Last Edit: 13 June 2024, 17:19:24 by Geg »

Kastor

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #32 on: 14 June 2024, 14:14:41 »
A "Matched Play" so-called "official" format? Please don't do a GW, it will make people gravitate to this as the end-all be-all "official" game format.

Ugh.

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #33 on: 15 June 2024, 14:09:20 »
A "Matched Play" so-called "official" format? Please don't do a GW, it will make people gravitate to this as the end-all be-all "official" game format.

Ugh.

This is my exact fear. If this is adopted as a game-wide standard, it will become increasingly hard to find anyone willing to play any format other than the "official" one, and anything that's not included or allowed (Aero) will be functionally banned from the whole game.
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Frantic Pryde

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #34 on: 16 June 2024, 15:37:57 »
A "Matched Play" so-called "official" format? Please don't do a GW, it will make people gravitate to this as the end-all be-all "official" game format.

Ugh.

Good? I think that would be great for the game and community.

Even with games like 40k, narrative and open games are still popular among that community among experienced players who are comfortable going a bit outside the norm. Matched play remains the most beginner friendly approach to most games.


Charistoph

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #35 on: 16 June 2024, 17:00:24 »
There are 2 ways it can go.

A group of people not affiliated with CGL or Topps will decide that this will be THE tournament format for them.  They will post it on the internet, and it will start percolating out where people are doing tournaments locally till that is the only format that is informally decided to be.  Often this can make it rough for new or more casual players to do something else.  That's largely been the GW route.

Then there's the Privateer Press route where CGL posts a tournament scheme.  This gets announced and regularly updated.  Local players start focusing on it so much that it degrades any other game time, and thus becomes toxic to new or more casual players.
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Elmoth

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #36 on: 16 June 2024, 17:56:33 »
OR... it makes casual pickup games easier.

Normie

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #37 on: 16 June 2024, 21:42:47 »
This is my exact fear. If this is adopted as a game-wide standard, it will become increasingly hard to find anyone willing to play any format other than the "official" one, and anything that's not included or allowed (Aero) will be functionally banned from the whole game.

I'll admit that I wish they still called these rules the standard pickup game format, but I don't think you have to worry about it becoming the only way to play until Catalyst tells us that they want an Official Format. What they've presented makes sense for a ruleset designed for pickup games where you don't have time to discuss optional rules beforehand. I would have different viewpoints on the rules if they were meant to be more than that.

I would add that if their intent is to make an official format, they really should send out a survey. I'm not even sure the community would want an official format or if there are enough players to be worth trying to build it. Answering that is key, and then trying to figure what an average game looks like should be next. I love how flexible Alpha Strike is, but that flexibility makes it hard to tell how we're playing.
 

Charistoph

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #38 on: 17 June 2024, 00:30:50 »
OR... it makes casual pickup games easier.

No, it just makes pickup games with the in crowd easier.  For new players or those who can't quite fit their collection in to those standards, it doesn't make it easier.  It ends up making it harder, especially with how the ForcePacks are configured at present.

At least, in those areas which have those psychotic tournament-only dudes who always seem to ruin the seen.
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Normie

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #39 on: 17 June 2024, 09:21:29 »
No, it just makes pickup games with the in crowd easier.  For new players or those who can't quite fit their collection in to those standards, it doesn't make it easier.  It ends up making it harder, especially with how the ForcePacks are configured at present.

At least, in those areas which have those psychotic tournament-only dudes who always seem to ruin the seen.

Standard pickup game rules make it easier for the guys who don't know anyone, because it provides a framework for them to work with. That said your right about the fact that they don't really help you dodge that guy. I also think you brought a good point about forcepacks, I didn't really consider a starting collection in my feedback.

I'll have to add that in my next feedback email once I get a chance to play a few more missions, because so far this mission pack does feel tilted towards having a lot of cheap fast units. The example list in version 1 would be really tough for a new player to handle.   

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #40 on: 17 June 2024, 10:31:43 »
I'll try the 500 pt games at my next Alpha Strike meeting, but that won't be towards the end of the summer.  Having a standard format could be helpful. 

Charistoph

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #41 on: 17 June 2024, 12:36:45 »
Standard pickup game rules make it easier for the guys who don't know anyone, because it provides a framework for them to work with.

It makes it easier if you have a sufficient collection and meeting up with guys who follow it for the first time.  Like I said, the "in crowd".  Since this is a third party set up, it is following the GW model more than the PP model.

For my group, we post the expectations on the store's Discord and in the regional Battletech Facebook page so they know what to expect when they come in.  I and our main scenario guy also usually bring several extra lists just in case someone is new or visiting and wants to try it out.

That said your right about the fact that they don't really help you dodge that guy. I also think you brought a good point about forcepacks, I didn't really consider a starting collection in my feedback.

I'll have to add that in my next feedback email once I get a chance to play a few more missions, because so far this mission pack does feel tilted towards having a lot of cheap fast units. The example list in version 1 would be really tough for a new player to handle.

And only 2 ForcePacks really have such a focus in them, and the Inner Sphere one just doesn't have enough on its own and would require a second ForcePack to fill it out.

Honestly, I'd probably look at a standard of either half of A Game of Armored Combat, the Clan Invasion box, or either half of the Alpha Strike box for balancing points.  The ForcePacks themselves are just too unreliable outside the ComStar Level IIs.
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Normie

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #42 on: 17 June 2024, 22:45:23 »
It makes it easier if you have a sufficient collection and meeting up with guys who follow it for the first time.  Like I said, the "in crowd".  Since this is a third party set up, it is following the GW model more than the PP model.

For my group, we post the expectations on the store's Discord and in the regional Battletech Facebook page so they know what to expect when they come in.  I and our main scenario guy also usually bring several extra lists just in case someone is new or visiting and wants to try it out.

That's awesome for the people in your area, great job :grin:.

I made a 250-point list using the cards/models from the game of armored combat box, and I'm going to put it through the paces with the playtest rules. I didn't mess with skill very much because I don't think new players will with those constraints.  My brother and I are going to run a game tomorrow night after I get out of work (breakthrough with random deployment).

Funny story though the hexless battle mats that Catalyst sells are 34x22 so two of them put together would be too small for a "legal" skirmish game in the playtest. Kinda sucks because I like our areobase mats and thought it would be a great excuse to use them. I will dice off a section on the 6'x4' table for the playtest, but I do think that a pair of the BattleMats catalyst sells should be legal.

Geg

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #43 on: 17 June 2024, 23:27:40 »
At least, in those areas which have those psychotic tournament-only dudes who always seem to ruin the seen.

These guys exist at scale.  Get enough people together, and the asshats will show up and ruin it for everyone.

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #44 on: 18 June 2024, 11:55:51 »
These guys exist at scale.  Get enough people together, and the asshats will show up and ruin it for everyone.

Not everyone who wants a standardized structure for play that's also tight enough to be used for tournaments fits your description.  Just like not everyone who wants narrative play fits the same mold.

Many people here, simply because they're immersed enough in the lore / background, fail to appreciate how high the learning curve is for factions, eras, availability, etc.

Structured options for quick force construction, mission selection, and result scoring is a very welcome addition to the menu of choices the game provides.  I personally believe that Alpha Strike could do quite well as a fun competitive game with these standards in place.  I also readily agree it should never replace the narrative campaign style of play that's been the hallmark of the Battletech universe for decades.

As to the personality issues, if people can't be good sports remove them from your event or group.  That's how adults do things.  Another popular format for Alpha Strike tournament play wrote sports guidelines directly into their rules.

Geg

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #45 on: 18 June 2024, 18:42:04 »
Not everyone who wants a standardized structure for play that's also tight enough to be used for tournaments fits your description.  Just like not everyone who wants narrative play fits the same mold.

Many people here, simply because they're immersed enough in the lore / background, fail to appreciate how high the learning curve is for factions, eras, availability, etc.

Structured options for quick force construction, mission selection, and result scoring is a very welcome addition to the menu of choices the game provides.  I personally believe that Alpha Strike could do quite well as a fun competitive game with these standards in place.  I also readily agree it should never replace the narrative campaign style of play that's been the hallmark of the Battletech universe for decades.

As to the personality issues, if people can't be good sports remove them from your event or group.  That's how adults do things.  Another popular format for Alpha Strike tournament play wrote sports guidelines directly into their rules.

I was going more for the... 

You get fewer asshats in narrative and campaign style games, because of the relatively smaller group size, and the ongoing relationships you get with players when compared to tournaments.  Tournaments are larger, more transactional, and will therefore and a higher percentage of "that guy" compared to most other type of play.  This has nothing to do with the format, or the tournament, and is just a function of group dynamics.  Trying to make involving people work at scale is going have the same problem.

There are stats for Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook highlighting that only 3-5% of the users are responsible for almost all of the toxicity.  Translate that over to meat space, and by the time you hit 20 people, you probably have had to manage through at least one "that guy."

All that being said.  I am a huge fan of Formats.  I have made my own (BK10K) to support my local scene, and am really hoping for a more standardized approach...  Especially for AlphaStrike, which I think would benefit immensely from one, in part due to the complexity of building a good list, and then painting it.


schoon

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #46 on: 19 June 2024, 10:59:55 »
I'm new to the game, so hopefully this is a reasonable question:

Are there any "availability by year" restrictions on force building for this effort, or is it free form in that regard?

Normie

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #47 on: 19 June 2024, 18:02:30 »
I'm new to the game, so hopefully this is a reasonable question:

Are there any "availability by year" restrictions on force building for this effort, or is it free form in that regard?

It mentions that fraction and era rules can be used (and that if you use fraction you also have to use era). So, I would think that means its optional.

Edit: Geg that is a cool format, and it's very in depth good job.
« Last Edit: 19 June 2024, 18:22:25 by Normie »

glitterboy2098

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #48 on: 22 June 2024, 02:34:41 »
the issue i have with faction and era restrictions is "how do you deal with people who prefer different factions and eras"
these are pickups games. they're meant to be "i brought some stuff, you brought some stuff, lets play". but once you get faction and era involved, its a lot more complicated, because if i'm running say, a 3130 Capellan augmented demi-company at 500pts, but they show up with 500pts of 3025 Davions.. my opponent is going to have a very unfun time since my force is probably going to be heavy on stealth armor, probably has minelayer gear, might have integral artillery, have a fair amount of mechs that can vaporize his in only 1-2 shots..[1] and the other guy probably won't have any of that or the sorts of countermeasures needed to deal with that sort of tech advantage. all he'll have is a slight numbers or tonnage advantage. could he win? sure. is that battle going be much fun? probably not. and if my opponent has a hodge podge of IS and clan mechs from different factions and eras they bought because they looked cool (which is how we all start off, lets be honest!), does that mean they can't play, since they can't make an faction and era appropriate force?
faction and era specific forces should be flavor, not rules. something we more experienced players do because we want to, not because it's part of the format.


[1] and yes i actually have this army.
« Last Edit: 22 June 2024, 02:41:27 by glitterboy2098 »

Geg

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #49 on: 22 June 2024, 08:56:19 »
the issue i have with faction and era restrictions is "how do you deal with people who prefer different factions and eras"
these are pickups games. they're meant to be "i brought some stuff, you brought some stuff, lets play". but once you get faction and era involved, its a lot more complicated, because if i'm running say, a 3130 Capellan augmented demi-company at 500pts, but they show up with 500pts of 3025 Davions.. my opponent is going to have a very unfun time since my force is probably going to be heavy on stealth armor, probably has minelayer gear, might have integral artillery, have a fair amount of mechs that can vaporize his in only 1-2 shots..[1] and the other guy probably won't have any of that or the sorts of countermeasures needed to deal with that sort of tech advantage. all he'll have is a slight numbers or tonnage advantage. could he win? sure. is that battle going be much fun? probably not. and if my opponent has a hodge podge of IS and clan mechs from different factions and eras they bought because they looked cool (which is how we all start off, lets be honest!), does that mean they can't play, since they can't make an faction and era appropriate force?
faction and era specific forces should be flavor, not rules. something we more experienced players do because we want to, not because it's part of the format.


[1] and yes i actually have this army.

With classic, you can take a set number of BV of random stuff and generally do ok. With AlphaStrike the list design, it's synergies and the counters are going to be far more impactful on the lists overall performance, and it is much much harder to play well against a well designed list.  The points less represent a balanced game, but more a balanced budget.

Normie

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #50 on: 22 June 2024, 14:08:52 »
As far as fractions & Eras are concerned, I think this ruleset is trying to do an awful lot. IMO the initial goal of helping new players have a format for their first games makes more sense than trying to make a format that covers everything. I would streamline these rules and have 6 missions at 250 points and just try to make them as good as I can. If a tournament book is released later, it would reference them and give direction for scaling them up so that they are matched play rules.

Thoughts on other parts of the playtest...

1) I think breakthrough should be reworked, it's just not a very compelling mission when it's the objective for both armies. If one force is faster the other one player has to play defense, and if they're evenly matched speed wise, they just pass by each other.

2)  The 6-turn limit feels rough for capture the flag. In most deployments you're going to need to move almost 40 inches to get back to your home edge. That means a mech like the spider would have to pick it up on turn 2. A size 2 mech with 12-inch move, would have to pick it up by turn 3. With the objectives not affecting movement you can just park mechs on top of your opponent's objective, and as long as the mechs base hangs over the objective they won't be able to get into base to base with it that turn even if they kill it. I think adding a couple of turns would help with this, because as is this mission is very likely to end in a draw.

3) I really think their needs to be a unit cap or at least one mission that punishes players for going wide. Swarm lists have always felt strong, but there just isn't really a downside to them at all in this mission pack. 

schoon

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #51 on: 22 June 2024, 18:37:57 »
the issue i have with faction and era restrictions is "how do you deal with people who prefer different factions and eras"

Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not arguing for this.

I was just wondering if folks worry about that for pick up games or non-narrative scenarios.

Frantic Pryde

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Re: Alpha Strike Matched Play BETA
« Reply #52 on: 22 June 2024, 23:07:43 »
Sent some feedback. Love the format overall. Great potential.

I did forget one important bit. This definitely needs a unit limit. No unit limit can lead to a very bad time.

I’d suggest 12 and 18 for 250 and 500 respectively.

Normie

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Re: Alpha Strike Matched Play BETA
« Reply #53 on: 23 June 2024, 17:01:08 »
Sent some feedback. Love the format overall. Great potential.

I did forget one important bit. This definitely needs a unit limit. No unit limit can lead to a very bad time.

I’d suggest 12 and 18 for 250 and 500 respectively.

I wouldn't worry too much about forgetting to mention something like that. I plan on sending a second one soon I just want to see how extraction plays first. I actually think it's better to send multiple shorter ones, than to write an essay.

I do agree with those unit limits, I like how it scales with the VP. You would have to adjust the combined arms rules a bit, but I don't think a force of 4 mechs, 4 vehicles, and 4 CI would be problematic (I'd rather face it than 16 mechs). 

Ch0c0L4t3m1Lk

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Re: Alpha Strike Matched Play BETA
« Reply #54 on: 24 June 2024, 18:26:50 »
thank you for doing this! ive been begging for a standardized ruleset for years to make it easier for new players but mostly so its easier to play Battletech without needing to find a friend and set up a play date ahead of time so we have compatible armies to play.

im pretty happy with any rules selected as long as I know I can make a whatever point value army head down to the local shop on Battletech night and find someone else with the same army to play with.

I agree with the point made previously about removing optional rules. its a set of standard rules so everyone can know what's up, loading in optional rules doesnt help that. as well everyone already knows every rule is optional, and if we want to play with an additional rule no one can stop us, so adding optional rules to the standard is pointless. make the standard rules and if theres a rule we want to add we will.

I would suggest looking to X-wing 2.5 rules as a decent guide for the broad strokes tourney play. I really like in X-wing that you set a timer for 90 minute and then you get points equal to the point value of units you kill + any objective points awarded and you play to certain point total or whoever has most points at 90 minute mark. it really keeps games at a manageable time.

I like that youre having at least 2 size formats, one for a quicker game and one for a more drawn out slugfest.

one additional note would be to keep the faction and lore requirements on the lighter side, this is for new players too, not just the people who have had their heads jammed up the lore for 40 years. I recently got one of my friends into Battletech and its very hard to know how many mechs you need as a new player so you can start playing and which ones to get etc. itll be great for new players to know now they need to scrape together a 250 pt. army or whatever it ends up being, and they can build from there.

Geg

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Re: Alpha Strike Matched Play BETA
« Reply #55 on: 24 June 2024, 22:42:01 »
Sent some feedback. Love the format overall. Great potential.

I did forget one important bit. This definitely needs a unit limit. No unit limit can lead to a very bad time.

I’d suggest 12 and 18 for 250 and 500 respectively.

I agree on the need for a limit.   Especially for 500pt list where I think you can push the unit count into the 40s.

Though I would recommend 12 and 24, just to keep the symmetry of being able to use two 250pt lists.

Normie

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Re: Alpha Strike Matched Play BETA
« Reply #56 on: 28 June 2024, 09:21:00 »
I played a game of extraction last night. I thought it would be an interesting scenario because your scoring units would be positioned between two lines of your opponent's units. The little mechs were just a bit to fast for that, and worth enough VP that it was a very short game. I'm thinking that maybe scoring should be based on size, rather than movement with some sort of scaling based on PV.

As far as a unit cap of 24, I think if the size doubles that maybe the VP should as well. The point that Geg makes about symmetry is a good one, but with so much the scoring based on the number of units it feels like the VP would need to double as well.

Frantic Pryde

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Re: Alpha Strike Standard Pick-up Format BETA
« Reply #57 on: 28 June 2024, 17:08:35 »
the issue i have with faction and era restrictions is "how do you deal with people who prefer different factions and eras"
these are pickups games. they're meant to be "i brought some stuff, you brought some stuff, lets play". but once you get faction and era involved, its a lot more complicated, because if i'm running say, a 3130 Capellan augmented demi-company at 500pts, but they show up with 500pts of 3025 Davions.. my opponent is going to have a very unfun time since my force is probably going to be heavy on stealth armor, probably has minelayer gear, might have integral artillery, have a fair amount of mechs that can vaporize his in only 1-2 shots..[1] and the other guy probably won't have any of that or the sorts of countermeasures needed to deal with that sort of tech advantage. all he'll have is a slight numbers or tonnage advantage. could he win? sure. is that battle going be much fun? probably not. and if my opponent has a hodge podge of IS and clan mechs from different factions and eras they bought because they looked cool (which is how we all start off, lets be honest!), does that mean they can't play, since they can't make an faction and era appropriate force?
faction and era specific forces should be flavor, not rules. something we more experienced players do because we want to, not because it's part of the format.


[1] and yes i actually have this army.

I don't think any of these things are an issue really. PV works pretty well for balancing across eras, and you and your opponent don't have to have the same era for your armies to play together, its just that your units are limited to a certain faction and era list, which will give your builds more in-universe flavor.

I'm a big proponent for faction and era in a standard format. If you make something like this, it will be the way most people play. Faction and era goes a long way in bringing the setting to life and getting people more connected with their painting and unit choices.

Kastor

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Re: Alpha Strike Matched Play BETA
« Reply #58 on: 30 June 2024, 01:47:59 »
Somebody who solely plays Succ Era IS mechs will most likely get roflstomped by what's available to Clanners at same PV range.

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Re: Alpha Strike Matched Play BETA
« Reply #59 on: 30 June 2024, 17:19:05 »
Just wanted to chime in on the concerns about a standardized pick up format since I'm a relatively new player (2 years -ish). This was a huge blocker for me and I wasn't sure how to actually start playing or what to do for a list when I first started playing and it was really daunting not having any kind of standard play to aim for. Once I found my local community and started jumping into different games/events that became less of an issue but this is a real blocker for fresh faces and overall a good idea.