The first official Rock, Paper, Shotgun Planetside mob formed up on the Gemini server last night at 8pm GMT. We had around thirty people in the platoon, which meant lots of chaotic combat, and a whole lot of tanks. Read on for the battle report.
Having messed around in battle for much of the afternoon, various disparate units of RPS troopers formed up at the New Conglomerate Sanctuary. This is an area that is completely free of conflict, allowing Outfits to gather their troops, get their kit sorted and then head off for deployment across one of the contested maps. While we'd previously been fighting on the desert world of Ishundar for much of the afternoon, Cyssor, a pleasantly wooded series of islands, was selected as a better initial playground for our tank platoon.
We had three squads of ten assembled into a platoon when we decided to move. We had a couple of air support units, but the body of the RPS army was a series of Vanguard tanks, each with a driver and a gunner. Two anti-aircraft buggies came along too, with the intention of keeping the skies clear of enemy air cav. We trundled off to the warpgate, and arrived en masse in Cyssor.
The opening battle was somewhat clumsy, and was made all the more difficult by our vanguard tanks having to cross a narrow bridge to reach our first objective. Enemy units were already on the field, and those Vanu hovertanks were able to use the stretch of water around the bridges, while our armour was forced to stick to the land. Their ability to maneuver on open water was dangerous for the constrained Vanguard convoy, which was getting pounded as it made the crossing. We hammered enemy units in return, and felled half a dozen fast moving aircraft. But it was too much for us. Unable to repair, the tanks eventually got shot to pieces, and we respawned at the nearby base.
After a second failed attempt to grab a bridgehead on that far side of the river we switched target. There would be another bridge to cross, and another base to attack. Fortunately, however, friendlies were already attacking this second base, and so the bridge was clear. Once into the open woodland near the base we were far more effective. Our second massed Vanguard gang rolled into the base and demolished the enemy armour, which included hovertanks, and several of the large robots called BFRs. As the area was secured and outlying tactical towers captured, allied infantry were able to pour inside the enemy base, intent on capture. In this instance the base spawned a LLU, an object which can be taken to a connected base friendly for a quick resolution. With the LLU safely bundled aboard a speedy buggy, its courier headed off under allied air cover. The base was swiftly captured, and we hastily rearmed. Hastily, because we had been flanked by the enemy units who had cut off our first attack. They were now sieging the base we had just left behind.
The RPS crew poured back into this second base, devastating enemy vehicles and slowly clearing out the swarms of VS infantry. There was, as usual, a brief and brutal scrap for the nearby tower, which had to be hacked by friendlies to stop enemies spawning there. The purple baddies poured out of their spawn tubes. Were there any BoingBoing crew among them? It was hard to tell. Nevertheless the tower fell, and it rapidly became clear that our work on Cyssor was done. It was time to return to the Sanctuary base and put together a second strike team. Once again we went for a whole lotta tanks.
The second target for the evening was Ishundar, land of the fossilised tree. The desert continent had seen a battle for control raging since before lunchtime GMT. And where at noon we'd controlled half the island, by the evening we had been pushed back to a mere two bases. The RPS army charged into what was already a hugely contested battle, and the sheer weight of firepower meant we didn't last long. There was up to a hundred enemy soldiers in the area of the base we were defending, and they were making significant advances. Waves of hostile armour was helping to push forward their base-capturing infantry. Airbourne friendlies seem to be having a particularly tough time too, with loads of anti-aircraft fire putting them at a distinct disadvantage. We watched the awesome Galaxy Gunship arrive over the base, only to get torn out of the sky in seconds by a huge plume of missile fire. He wasn't going to be much help.
The battle burned on for the best part of an hour, with no one able to take the upper hand. I ran around helping with repairs and then, towards the end of the evening, I noticed and enemy soldier running down a gully near our base. Briefly I saw he had "Escapist" in his name, so I charged after him. I put a few bullets into his fleeing form, but he disappeared over a ridge. I gave chase, and was suddenly dead. Run over by a tank who had crested the hill at that same moment.
Listening to the near-hysterical bleatings of RPS readers on our Ventrilo server (which was rapidly full up, sorry about that) I knew that my work was done. We had killed many, lost many, and had begun to scrape together enough XP to actually have a decent spread of different soldiers. As the RPS crew gain more experience they will gain greater diversity of certifications, unlocking a greater range of weapons, and increasing our flexibility on the field. Perhaps that means we'll do a little better next weekend. Same time, same place. I hope I'll see you there.
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