I should probably start this post off by saying that I don't post on forums. I don't even lurk on them. Should I decide to hit the post button in this window, this will likely represent the first opinion I have deliberately put onto the internet in this fashion for what I am sure is several years at least. Try not to tear it apart too much if I break some of the unwritten rules one is expected to abide by on forums, or if I don't take full advantage of the various features I may have at my disposal. I hope it can be appreciated how significant something has to be to pull a lurker of my caliber into the public light.
Anyone who knows me knows I am best when allowed to be blunt and fire from the hip, so I will do just that here. This has been on my mind for quite some time since joining The Ascended, and building up more and more the longer I play with this community. I am posting this here because it is something I feel should be said to the community as a whole.
The thing I want to say to TAS, and everyone in it, is thank you.
This is not quite a simple expression of gratitude, however. It is, to me, a very deep and meaningful thank you. For it to be understood, I may have to ramble on a bit but I feel the strong need to put this out there, so please bare with me.
I have quite a history in the Planetside 2. I’ve been playing this game for over 3 years. From the very early days in my Planetside career, if you could call it that, I've always had a strong affinity for the people. The game itself is fun, sure, but the game is merely a backdrop to the things that made this game truly special: The people that play it, how they interacted with each other, and the politics that form as a result. No other game that I've played has a paradigm quite like Planetside 2, with its squad and platoon-based organization and inter-outfit politics. Since the very beginning, I’ve had a strong urge to experience it all.
I’ve spent my years doing what many refer to as "outfit hopping". It was far more to me than that, though. I wanted to run with all the leaders, see how they did things, and learn their tactics. I wanted to experience what they experienced and view the game through their lens. I wanted to see what made them unique. This desire transcended factions and servers. Some of you may know that I have nine alts alongside my NC main, many decently leveled. I've created and deleted many more than that. I even started keeping a log of what outfits I've been in, and while likely inaccurate due to my own personal forgetfulness, I've still gotten many shocked reactions regarding its length. I've played in multiple outfits from all 3 factions on Emerald, Connery, Miller and Cobalt, and formed relations with many of their players and leaders. Each server, faction, and outfit has something unique it brings to the table, and that, to me, has been the greater experience in Planetside 2.
Even though many have frowned on my "outfit hopping", all I've ever really wanted was for all of the outfits and factions to have fun and get better together. Not for some higher idealistic reason, but for an effectively self-centered one: When everyone does well, Planetside 2 does well and when Planetside 2 does well, I do well. The best players in the game would eventually quit if there was no other players of comparable skill on the other factions to lock tusks with, and my own point holds would be far less enjoyable if there was absolutely no one capable of pushing my squad off the point. The grand strategies undertaken between outfits, the scale of which still inspire awe in me to this day, could not take place without outfits and leaders willing to work together. I've always desired to foster this everywhere I've gone, always advocated that even the shittiest of shitfits and the zergiest of zergfits all have their place. It's in our best interest to work together, even if I'm the only person in the entire outfit willing to extend the olive branch to do so.
As the years dragged on, though, I began to see everything that there was to see in Planetside. Things stopped surprising me. I started to see outfits making the same mistakes I knew destroyed others, squads operating using similar tactics, and the same old drama between outfit leads. I started to become the classic 'salty vet'. However, I was a little different in one key way: I didn't have a home. Because I hopped around a lot, a lot of people knew me. They may have known of me through having worked with me on command chat or known firsthand what I am capable of if you give me a squad and put me on a point. But I was never 'one of them'. Come Ops Night, their own squad and platoon leaders would get priority over me, understandably so. I was not new to Planetside as a game, but in every outfit I had been in over the years, I was just seen as an experienced but fleeting passerby. Worse, sometimes, being aware of my drifting tendencies, they were reluctant to place too much stock in me. In my time floating around, I had gathered all of these skills, experience, and perspective, and began to find that I had nowhere to apply it.
There was a period of several months where I was essentially outfitless. Tagless. My name in and of itself sometimes felt like a tag in it's own right. I had built up enough goodwill and made an impression on enough people that I could play with a wide variety of outfits at any given time. I could just hop into their teamspeaks or into their squads at any time. They knew I knew the drill. They were happy to have another capable squad member. But I always felt strange when I was asked, "So what outfit you from?" and had to think to myself and answer, "That's... a complicated question." The truth is, I wasn't from any outfit. I had no fallback. I represented no one but myself. I had no home.
That was until I joined TAS.
I'm not going to go into what I've done since joining the community, but suffice to say I have found the community I've been longing for in TAS. In every other community I've been in, at some point or another, I'd feel my old wanderlust. I'd look at other outfits and think, "that's where I want to go next." I have not had that feeling in TAS. I've found in TAS a wonderful community of good, fun people. People who can appreciate both playing just to have a good time and playing for keeps. I've made so many good memories and had so many good laughs with the people in this community, experiences that I will carry with me the rest of my life.
Good memories are extremely important to me in my life. This sense of community and belonging that I feel is something that I cannot thank this outfit enough for. In TAS I have found a remarkably understanding and resilient community; One that exemplifies all of the best aspects of outfits from all tiers of play. I have seen TAS move and maintain highly effective armor columns and move entire platoons across the map in mere seconds. I've seen TAS single-handedly change the course of an entire alert and go toe-to-toe with some of the most feared shitfits on Emerald. I have seen amazing things from this community, and find myself proud to be a member of it.
As the title of this post suggests, I do not foresee this feeling I have for TAS going away anytime soon. I finally feel like I have an outfit to represent, a community to dedicate myself to, and a place to finally call home.
And for that, I am eternally thankful.