Titanfall Taught Me To Persevere: A Story

Titanfall_wallpaper2560x1440

 Source: Respawn Entertainment, Fair Use: Titanfall (video game)
With the release of Update 8, players have access to Frontier Defense, Titanfall’s new horde mode.

I have never wanted to persevere in a game as much as when I was playing Frontier Defense in Titanfall. Frontier Defense is the newest game mode (released with Update 8 on October 23) where players work together against IMC AI in horde-mode fashion; waves of enemies attack in an attempt to reach the Harvester and destroy it. Once a wave of enemies is completed, the next becomes more difficult, until the last wave (Wave 6) is inundated with all types of enemy AI. Not only do players have to deal with infantry, but also Titans – Nuke Titans, Mortar Titans, and/or Arc Titans.

I was excited for Frontier Defense because it gave me a break from going up against other players. Don’t get me wrong – I love the simplicity of Attrition matches as much as everyone else, but I also love teamwork. While I occasionally stumble across some good teamwork during a Hardpoint match, sometimes it just doesn’t exist. Ending gameplay after losing Hardpoint can leave me feeling really down, especially when Hardpoint is one of my favorite game modes! Having a new game mode with all players on the same team sounded like a better chance at decent, solid teamwork.

Source: GameSpot, via YouTube
Check out this basic breakdown of Frontier Defense from GameSpot on YouTube!

After several matches of Frontier Defense, I discovered that teamwork was always necessary, but not always practiced. This was most apparent during waves when Mortar Titans were introduced. Mortar Titans can fire missiles at the Harvester from a distance by launching them straight into the air. A barrage from two or three untouched Mortar Titans can devastate a Harvester. If our four-player team didn’t go out to exterminate the Mortar Titans, we lost the wave fairly quickly. And if players didn’t stop Nuke Titans from reaching the Harvester before self-destructing, our chances were just as slim.

In numerous cases, losses like this resulted in players “disconnecting” from the match (though I speculate that most were rage-quitting). Since matches only have four players to begin with, this was detrimental. The more this happened, the quicker the remaining players (myself included) lost Frontier Defense. I don’t see myself as a negative person and prefer to give others the benefit of the doubt, but when players continue “disconnecting” from matches, especially during the same match, I get skeptical. That is where my story comes in.

Titanfall Stars

 Source: Jessica Marello, Fair Use: Titanfall (video game)
Players can now earn stars for each Titanfall map and game mode based on game performance!

I was playing a match of Frontier Defense in the Overlook map, which I easily won the first time around. There are no Mortar Titans, though there are Nuke Titans and Suicide Spectres (essentially exploding infantry). We didn’t start out the match as strong as we could, and the Harvester got destroyed within Wave 1. We picked ourselves up after the first retry, and completed the wave. However, a player “disconnected” in the process. My guess is that they foresaw a losing match and left the game, but I wasn’t pointing fingers.

We completed the next few waves with only three players, as our fourth never got replaced. We weren’t doing terribly, but it was more difficult to win each new wave and the introduction of Nuke Titans only made the challenge harder. After losing the Harvester on Wave 6, another player disconnected, leaving myself and one other player. At this point, I thought my last teammate would “disconnect” and leave me alone in an impossible Frontier Defense match. But they stuck around, and we gave the final wave a go together. The Harvester was bombarded by Nuke Titans, and we lost the wave again.

We were on our last retry before we would lose the match entirely; players have a total of three retries during one Frontier Defense match. When my teammate still didn’t abandon me, I figured that they wanted to win as much as I did. For every wave that we failed, I wanted more and more to turn the game into a victory. Studies have shown that gamers spend a lot of their time failing in video games, and that they actually enjoy it. I suppose it is about facing a challenge and overcoming obstacles. All I know is that I really wanted to pull off an epic win at this point! Who wouldn’t want to tell that awesome of a story?

Source: Jessica Marello, via YouTube
During one match of Frontier Defense, I experienced a “swimming” Titan and a “Burning” Titan. Such variety!

So I made a silent vow to give the retry everything I had, without getting discouraged or negative. The Nuke Titans were the biggest challenge; I fought them off in my Titan, and when my Titan got destroyed, I pulled out my anti-Titan gun and kept going. I rodeoed Titans, threw grenades at Titans, and died more than once. My teammate seemed to be trying just as hard to stop the flow of enemies to the Harvester. And somehow, with the Harvester health near zero and no friendly Titans left, we survived. We won Wave 6 with just two people, and it felt awe-inspiring!

I was so excited by our surprise (and well-deserved, thank you) victory that I started jumping around my teammate in some sort of victory dance. Thankfully, they began jumping around wildly as well, which made me feel even more awesome. Then the match ended and I returned alone to the Frontier Defense private lobby, feeling elated that my perseverance had paid off at something. It isn’t everyday that sticking through to the end is so rewarding. For a video game, this was a rare occurance for me. It is so easy to give up sometimes, especially when the task appears impossible. Video games are truly amazing, sometimes.

And yes, I added my epic teammate to my friends list. They didn’t add me back, but seeing them there reminds me of what I learned playing Titanfall that day.

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