Even though I obsessively keep up with FPS games, Heroes and Generals still managed to fly under my radar. Given that it’s still in the beta phase, that’s understandable. It’s been a long time since a big WW2 shooter’s come around, so I figured I’d try my hand at it. Free-to-play games generally don’t keep my interest for too long, but after a few hours with HnG I found my expectations shattered.
HnG is browser based, but frankly it doesn’t feel like it once you load in. In fact, it plays a lot like Battlefield 3 as you look at game statistics/server lists through the browser, then the game loads fullscreen. Once you decide between the Axis or Allies, you can start joining battles. When you do, there’s a couple important things to keep in mind:
- You’re choosing a faction to play until the end of the campaign. Campaigns can last up to a few weeks, so put some thought into which side you want to play. Once the campaign is over, you can decide to continue playing your current faction or switch. Either way, you don’t lose any progress. In other words, if you decide to try out a different faction, your items and progression will be there when you go back.
- Weapons are faction-based, so do some homework on what weapons you think you’ll prefer. Here’s the current breakdown of infantry firearms for each faction:
Allies: Colt M1911, M1 Garand, M1903 Springfield (Scoped), Thompson M1A1, M1919 Browning, Bazooka M1A1, M1903 Springfield Unscoped (to be released)
Axis: Mauser C96, Karabiner 98 Kurz (K98), Karabiner 98 Kurz Scoped, MP40, Maschinengewehr 42 (MG42), Panzerfaust 60, Gewehr 43 (to be released)
- The first available class is the Rifleman – which means you will start with the K98 on Axis, and M1 Garand on Allies. I find the M1 Garand to be a little more forgiving for new players, as it’s semi-automatic and fairly accurate. If you have no particular preference to either faction, but the Allies is a good start for newcomers.
- “Credits” are the in-game currency. You gain these easily enough: by fighting in battles. Keep in mind, victory rewards many more than losses do. With credits you can purchase weapons, weapon modifications, classes, Assault Teams (more on that later), among other things. Although earning credits will seem slow at first, you will gain more and more as you level up. Gold is the in-game microtransaction currency. With gold, you can buy credits and premium game time (or “Veteran” status) which increases your credits earned by +50%. You can also obtain gold without paying with any real currency as there is a small chance you will get a small amount at the end of a battle.
- The time to kill is fast compared to most other shooters out there. Only a part of the damage you take is regenerated. Pay attention to where cover is on the map and don’t get caught in open areas alone. Attack and defend from safe positions to pick people off, and conserve your ammo regardless of the class you end up playing.
- Something I recently found out is the battles listed on the server last as “Auto-Generated” do not count towards battles for winning the war. These are essentially “sandbox” battles that automatically have more spawns. Battles labeled as “Normal” will take into account assault teams and count towards the war.
Heroes and Generals is not just a first person shooter. On the main game screen you will see a tab that says “Assault Teams.” Although it’s not something you need to worry about when first starting the game (as it requires a lot of credits), you should keep it in mind as you progress through the game. Assault teams are essentially a pool of resources, sent to battles and that allow a certain number of classes to spawn in. For example, if I buy an Infantry assault team, I can send it to defend/attack a zone on the map. Once it reaches that zone, it will allow for 64 infantry spawns in that battle.
Once you start finding yourself with heaps of credits, aspects of the game like assault teams & weapon modifications become even more intricate. Assault teams can level up and gain more perks and the in-game stat system helps you customize your gun for the most specific of scenarios.
Personally, I think the rifleman is easily strongest class overall. The maps are vast and reward those with good shots over a variety of ranges. Submachine guns are both expensive and will restrict you to small quarters. Even though a bolt-action or semi-automatic rifle might not be the best at CQC, with some mastery (and purchase of the sidearm, which is very cheap and should be done early) it doesn’t end up being too much of a problem. While the fully-automatic weapons shred at closer quarters, they are very inefficient with their ammunition.
So far, I have played both factions for roughly 15 hours each but still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of this game. I am a sucker for the rifleman weapons and have spent a majority of my play time using them. Recoil in this game is mostly vertical, so I wouldn’t suggest using weapon modifications that will reduce it. Try to focus on increasing accuracy and range as rifles are perfect for quickly picking off targets at most distances. Pay attention to the kill feed – if you see that 3-4 enemies were killed in rapid succession, it’s a good time to push onto a point.
Specialized classes like Recon and Armor are limited and as such you should never expect to play them in every battle. For this reason I chose to master the rifleman class as it is always readily available.
Lastly, don’t forget the game’s still in beta. Report bugs and give the developers your comments.