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Too busy to game?

The Folk sessions are two hours of tactical ArmA2: Combined Operations with similarly busy people, every Sunday at 19:30 UK. No mandatory addons, training, ranks or unnecessary milsim. Just non-respawn coop and adversarial missions crafted with care, a consistent way to organise the platoon, and people who don't talk when they're dead. From the founders of Ballistic Addon Studios and the F2 mission framework, the Folk sessions have run every week since Summer 2010, and many joint sessions have been held with communities including ARPS, Tier 1, LDDK and CiA. Find out more using the links below:

Finally, you might be interested in these words from an ARPS comrade who started playing in the Folk sessions earlier this year:

Comrade Fer encouraged me to write a few words about my thoughts and experiences with Folk so far, so here I go. Long story follows.

TL;DR version: It's been great. Thanks for everyone involved, guests and hosts both. Good people make this game worth playing.

I'm relatively new to ArmA2 multiplayer, having only started playing this summer. I've been playing the series now and then in singleplayer since the OFP times, but multiplayer always seemed too complex, confusing or 'hardcore'.

This summer I took the jump. Rock, Paper Shotgun published a story about ArmA2 free version release, and the ARPS people had an ArmA2Free server up. I figured I could see what the game was really like without my newbieness being too much of an impediment in the midst of all the other newbies. And it was cool. Even with all these people ramming trucks into helicopters in the friendly base, I could see the potential for fun, cooperation and teamwork so I took another jump, bought OA and got into playing properly with the ARPS people.

Folk was a mysterious word I heard occasionally when playing with ARPS. Some of the missions we played were Folk missions, and they were the kind I liked: focused and challenging, but also rewarding when tackled with a modicum of organization. There apparently also was some kind of session held on Sundays, and people who shared my idea of what made for a good game of ArmA2 spoke highly of it.

It took a while to gather the courage to join one of these sessions as I wasn't entirely sure what I was in for. Because of the milsim trappings of the BIS games and the community around them, it was easy to imagine that my lack of skill and experience would 'ruin it' for other people. I knew that for some, this was Serious Business.

ArmA2 can appear a scary game for new people. It's portrayed as a simulator, and it has so much stuff! Tens of weapons with various attachments, tons of vehicles, aircraft, terminology, abbreviations... All seemingly different, all with their own quirks, not to mention all the quirks in the engine and the various gamemodes and missions. Enemies are often just a few, hard-to-distinguish pixels on the screen, and you can die after getting shot once. Imagine playing the ArmA2 tutorial and then being dropped into the middle of a round of Domination. I still remember how confusing and unapproachable it felt.

I didn't know that I didn't need to know most of this stuff to enjoy the game.

After playing in my first Folk session these fears were put to rest. This was exactly what I had been looking for: for turning up on the given date and time for a couple of hours, I got rewarded with a focused gaming session with just the right amount of organization, preplanning and tactics needed to enjoy the mission at hand, accompanied by people who were drawn to a similar idea of good time. Not playing to win, or to have a second job. Just playing to have an enjoyable experience with good people.

In my opinion the Folk sessions (and ARPS Tactical tuesdays!) are ideal for new people, to give them the experience of what a focused, properly organized session can be like. The necessary skills are something like this:

  • Walking
  • Shooting
  • Listening to and trying to do what your FTL tells you
  • Asking questions

That's it. Everything else they can learn as they go. The Folk missions tend toward relatively straightforward infantry jobs without toys, so the average rifleman doesn't need to know how to do anything special. You have an FTL and teammates who know the game and can help with any problems. The slotting process helps ensure you don't end up in a role you don't know how to handle.

In a Folk session you don't end up wandering about in an empty airbase for an hour with no idea of what to do, while everyone else is fighting an incomprehensible war on the other end of the map. Worst case scenario, you take a bullet in the head for the revolution from the first salvo, and have to wait 20 minutes to go at it again. Best case scenario, you manage to stay behind a comrade at all times, and live to fight another day. There's always the next Sunday.

Edited by Fer

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