Ghost Recon Online Phase 3 Closed Beta

Just when I started to really sink my teeth into the Closed Beta action in Ghost Recon Online (GRO), the new F2P TPS from Ubisoft, the game’s devs are shutting it down for a few weeks. All planned of course…the game’s devs will retool the game in the next three-four weeks, after which time the third phase of the CB should launch.

I had been playing the second phase of the Closed Beta (CB) for about a month — along with hundreds of other lucky GRO fans and loving it — now, alas, it’s going on hiatus. I guess we will all have to busy ourselves with yard work, cleaning the toilets or other mundane activities until this game comes back online.

In the interim, I’m going to miss the game a lot. It’s been a long time since a shooter got my blood pressure up and this game tends to do that to me. Though sometimes it’s been difficult to find balanced teams during the CB phase –simply because of the lack of players, but when the teams did balance well, I’ve had some of the best “shooter” experiences in my life.

Note that I said “shooter”, not “FPS”. This is simply due to the fact that technically the game is a Third Person Shooter. TPS not your bag? Ya, I didn’t think it would be mine either. Suspend your prejudice and try it out. Frankly, I’ve had my world view change significantly, thanks to this game. The third person view enhances your ability to scout around and look for enemies and actually feels much more natural and realistic. However, the FOV (field-of-view) is narrow and that curtails some of the situational awareness. Many of the old Rainbow 6 and original GR guys, can’t stand the third-person switch. Coming from the old CoD community, which saw CoD:UO and CoD2 get morphed into an unrecognizable MW2…hey, I understand the anger. Having said that, I stayed open-minded about the third person view and as a result I’ve learned to love it — admittedly, I don’t want to play all games as TPS, but in this game…it works!

About four days ago, Ubisoft introduced patch 0.6.0. The patch notes can be found here.

This patch significantly nerfed some of the shotties in the game (like the Pentagun) which were very OP in my opinion. The 0.6.0 patch does not go far enough unfortunately. For me, there still are quite a few things in the game which need ironing out before the game can go full Open Beta.

  • There are a few visual glitches in the game. Some allow you to snipe behind cover without being hittable (especially while lying on stairs).
  • Balance. The devs are currently focused on getting rid of bugs so they haven’t spent much time on balance. Currently, the Recon SMG’ers are far too quick and their guns far too effective. SMG’ers can go “invisible” due to cloaking devices, add speed and OP guns and well…you get some pretty skewed results. I’m fairly happy with the way the assault guns are split into counter-sniping and counter-smg’ing, though I’d like to see the Assault rifle damage relative to an SMG be much higher.
  • Some of the nuances of the game do give the player an odd feeling from time to time. Hard to explain…but it almost gives you the impression that others are haxing. Like I said…hard to explain. For example, you’ll be going 1v1 with someone and they’ll head-shot you with almost no reaction time. Stuff that you couldn’t counter. I chalk this up to netcode, imbalance, or something…but I can imagine that if the game’s idiosyncrasies are not looked into, serious players will start dumping on it after a few weeks of play.
  • Matchmaking has been odd. Hopefully this has been as a result of the lack of a large population of players (it’s a small select group playing this right now).
  • Devs have to decide whether they would like a full run’n’gun game like CoD or a thinking man’s tactical shooter. Right now they have a miss-mash of both and are probably running the risk of alienating the old fans as a result. I personally enjoy run’n’gun and hope they make the game play even more wide open. My guess is that the old timers will prevail and force Ubisoft devs to dampen down the hyperbolic stuff. Some of the dampening includes:
    • Significant fall damage that prevents acrobatic take downs
    • Sllllooooowwww health-regen that inhibits heroic acts of run’n’gunism.
    • Sluggish ADS times, especially for Assault guns.
    • Massive gun recoil that requires you to prone for accuracy (various visual corrections also prevent CoD-style dolphin-diving).

Here are some commentaries I did this weekend to give you a better idea of what the game is all about:

Remember that we’ve already reviewed the game and you can read that review here.

I’ve also got a few more Youtube vids available showing some in-game play, here are those vids: