Monday, February 16, 2009

The DCS Black Shark Online Experience

Just as it is gameplay-wise when it comes to playing online DCS Black Shark is no Call of Duty.

First, there are not as many dedicated or fan servers online. Even during weekends, there may be not more than 20 servers available for the player to login to. Second, a high proportion of these are servers that cater to the so-called "virtual squadrons".

In the same way that first person shooter gamers get together and organize clans, combat flight simmers gather around squadrons. These virtual squadrons come in various forms and shapes regarding their organization, requirements, way of flying missions, training, etc. They can be as casual as a "let's get together and blow sh!t up" and as hardcore as "I thought we spoke about this and you are not supposed to arm weapons without my authorization".

But there is a constant among all the servers I've flown into (pun intended): gentlemanship. It's just amazing how virtual pilots really help each other. From in-game tactical how to, to technical issues with your computer and low framerates. Don't get me wrong, there is the occasional moron time to time. But overall, flying DCS Black Shark online is just a great experience.

Before DCS Black Shark's release, I've not flown flight sims for a long time. Just after getting "the Shark", I was itching for online action and headed straight for an online squadron that I've been checking for eons: the ECV56 Condor or "Virtual Combat Squadron 56, Condor". This online squadron is headquartered in Argentina (the country where I come from) and it is organized around so-called wings, each one dedicated to one particular flight simulator. In the wing I joined (Black Shark), they have a flight school from which instructors write and teach you the works of the Black Shark. Past week I flew my first mission with them and, oh boy, they are good. Great pilots, lots of know how and enthusiasm.

Sometime in the future I will post more about my online adventures in the virtual skies along with the brave ones at the ECV56 Condor.


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