Progression systems give me one of two reactions: “eh” or “ahhhh”. At first glance, Far Cry 3′s online competitive progression system fell into the “eh” category. You level up, unlock guns, attachments, equipment, etc just like many other games. It didn’t seem very exciting at first, but as I played a few matches, unlocked and decrypted data, I was getting more into it.
As I said, the basic formula is there. You gain xp based on performance, level up, and unlock doo-dads. Unlike other familiar games with this system though, you have access to create loadouts from the beginning. So I threw together a quick assault class with the only available assault rifle, and then poked around the menus some more.
Weapon skins are actually called mods in Far Cry 3, and the only way to unlock them is by decrypting data received after finishing a match. After every match you find some sort of data, whether it be a USB thumb drive, CD, DVD, or a few other options, and each particular type takes so long to decrypt. This is the part that had me addicted during my play time with Far Cry 3, because you never really know what you are going to get. Most of the time, it’s some amount of xp. But a few times, I’ve unlocked weapon mods, which (while random) is quite exciting.
That’s the premise, and with that, on to the numbers.
Hour 1 – Storming the Camp
Team deathmatch was the mode of choice for the first few hours, and the first few days were marred with some networking issues. Not to stray too far off topic, but I think it’s important to note that during the first few hours of recorded gameplay it was pretty rare to have a full lobby. And when people left in the middle of the match, they wouldn’t be replaced. That issue has since been resolved, thankfully, but it had a pretty drastic effect on the numbers (I think).
Only five games were played, since a few of them went to the time limit draw (15 minutes). The first game though I went 12-13, and got to level four. I had unlocked a new assault rifle, the AK-47, which was sad because I generally use that gun often in multiplayer games. But, because you have to use guns to unlock attachments, I stuck with the starter STG-90.
The rest of the hour went well, with 59 kills getting me to level 12. I completed a weekly challenge (get a multi-kill with a grenade) worth 2,000xp, plus the three CD’s I had decrypted worth a total of 1,250xp. I also unlocked two primary weapons, two secondary weapons, two attachments for my STG-90, and some other things like equipment, skills, and finishing moves.
Hour 2 – Decrypting the Data
I was actually disconnected from a game during this hour, which ate up about ten minutes of my time, but I didn’t get any numbers from it. Lesson learned, don’t try playing online when three different TVs in your house are trying to watch Netflix.
Only four games were recorded, but one of those was a 21-4 game, with two levels gained. It was also one of two times that I got to pick the finishing move. The MVP on the winning team gets to pick between being sparring the opposing teams MVP or humiliating them. You unlock various kinds of finishing moves as you progress.
I had some serious xp boosts in hour two, as two CD’s gave me 1,000xp each, and a thumb drive game me 500xp. I also unlocked my first weapon mod, for a shotgun I wasn’t using, but it looked cool. The skin itself was green, and the mod gave the shotgun some extra range.
47 kills later, I was sitting at level 17. I was also still having the same issue of lobbies not being full or filling up in the middle of gameplay (have I said I’m happy that’s been sorted out). Attachments were unlocking slower, with one new one becoming available.
Hour 3 – Burning Down the House
At this point, the network issues had sorted themselves out. I managed to get into another gamemode for hour three, Firestorm. Firestorm gives both teams gasoline barrel racks to defend, while charging the other teams to light on fire. After lighting one, you have a certain amount of time to light the second before it goes out. It’s not over with at this point, because you then have to run to a radio in the middle of the map and hold it down for a set amount of time. It can be a very back-and-forth affair, or a rather quick blitzkrieg.
One match in particular was dragged out to the max time, ending in a draw. A few more took awhile for the winning team to prevail, and one ended very abruptly because I snuck around behind the opposing team and hit the objectives in less than a few minutes. But the longer matches took up valuable time, which meant I could only play four games in the third hour.
44 kills and three attachments were unlocked, along with a new primary weapon. Two mods were unlocked, too, one of which was for my beloved STG-90. I also got my first DVD (which unlocked another weapon mod, but after the third hour), which ended up taking longer to decode than the 30 minute thumb drives.
The Final Numbers
(Please note, I have included the numbers from a few games in this series of editorials to use as a benchmark. Please refer to “Progressing Through the Modern Battlefield“, “Progressing Through Starhawk“, ”Progressing Through the Future (Soldier)“,, “Progressing Through (Spec Ops) The Line“, “Progressing Through Medal of Honor: Warfighter“, and “Progressing Through Call of Duty: Black Ops II” for further reading.)
Far Cry 3: 13
Call of Duty: Black Ops II: 25
Medal of Honor: Warfighter: 23
Far Cry 3: 150
Call of Duty: Black Ops II: 317
Medal of Honor: Warfighter: 208
Far Cry 3: 20
Call of Duty: Black Ops II: 20
Medal of Honor: Warfighter: Level 16
Far Cry 3: 4 weapons, 6 attachments, 3 weapon mods
Call of Duty: Black Ops II: 4 weapons (excluding starting guns), 13 attachments, 4 weapon camos
Medal of Honor: Warfighter: 13 classes unlocked, 14 paint schemes
Field Report Conclusion
First, and foremost, it’s interesting to see that despite Far Cry 3′s total game count and final kill count being drastically less than both Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Medal of Honor: Warfighter, the final level was on par with Black Ops II. The wide open maps, coupled with unfilled lobbies no doubt changed the first few hours of data.
The random bonus’ after matches were a driving factor to keep playing, both to see what you found and what you decrypted. Of course the first you get a higher level piece of data and it turns out to be xp, it’s a little aggravating. Outside of this mechanic, though, the progression system would be very generic, so it’s a nice little touch that sets it a little off to the side.