I originally hadn’t planned on attending this event, due to the need for registering a team of four players, being from much farther away, and not knowing if I’d even be free. However, things worked out, I filled in as a fourth on a team in need, and I got to do Battle Royale with dart blasters in a large park!
Is it my favorite game type? No. Was I in the shape necessary for being out in the heat for hours, and running when needed? Also no. But was it fun to try? Heck yes! More down below.
Teams of four entered the game, with ten minutes to scavenge before play started. Players could find blasters, ammo, fake money for upgrades, etc. Money could be spent in the safe zone to purchase better blasters, armor, extra lives for dead teammates, and more. During the game, if you died, you dropped your blasters and went to the gulag, and could battle other dead players for a single extra life.
As the day progressed, loot drops would occur, areas would close off, and the top remaining teams would fight over placement for prizes (provided by Dart Zone!).
My team consisted of myself and three local high schoolers doing it for fun. Given the format, we aimed to just not die first, and in that regard, we succeeded. However…
Long, Hot Gameplay
Being out in the sun for hours on end was very tiring. But that’s a factor for everyone; just means I have to work more at getting back in shape. Two years ago, prior to a pandemic (and doing a war of some type every other weekend), my endurance was far better.
That being said, there was a clear meta to the game. The local “pro” teams that play each weekend tended to not attack each other until absolutely necessary, making it much harder for outside teams to make an impact. They also seemed to make a point to hunt down other teams to gather resources. Which is the name of the game, after all, but it illustrates the difficulties of trying to run a family friendly event involving people of all skill levels and motivations.
Teams across the board would also try to extort people by threatening to take them out unless they dropped money, ammo, or blasters. While part of the game…it does leave a bad taste in your mouth, as why would you trust anyone trying to do that? I just elected to shoot back and take a few lives and/or layers of armor with me.
We quickly spent our initial money on armor and a DZP MkII, but died to teams that were not only armored, but had found more initial money and had entire loadouts of Rival and Adventure Force Pro already in-game. Three of us got second chances after winning gulag fights, but without supplies, were stuck on the periphery while other teams with actual range and firepower followed us on and off.
Even though our firefights were relatively few, it was a fun experience and worth a try!
- Trying to balance family friendly fun and competitive teams is HARD. Encouraging day-of-game randomization at a bonus might be worth considering in the future, with the option for parents and kids to stay together.
- Tying some rewards to making kills or other in-game actions would help encourage teams across the board to just attack each other.
- There is an inherent weakness in having an event in a wide open park, with little actual cover, when some blasters shoot twice as hard as others. (Note that this likely wasn’t as much of an issue back in 2019, when the first, Fortnite version of thus event happened). By the end of the game, it’s less of an issue for remaining teams that have upgraded, but it REALLY exaggerates initial luck in loot recovery. Providing that extra cover, though, requires time and money, whether you use proper obstacles or PVC and tarp cover. Perhaps have several central areas of cover, with initial loot around the perimeter?
- The safe zone (bathroom area, shop, etc) could use more regulation. I base this off one young kid bragging about their team placing so high because they “spent half the game in the safe zone”. Probably should keep that to yourself?
Critiques aside, the game itself was successful and fun, and I look forward to getting back in shape so that I can do this event next year and last at least a little longer!
Big thanks to the guys at Rochester Foam Dart League (Facebook link here) for running the event. I know they’ve been working hard to keep the gameplay alive, especially with the difficulties of the COVID pandemic. Hopefully, we’ll inch closer to what passed as normal in 2019, and more things can happen!
Also a shootout to Dart Zone for the generous prize donations!