So, I am seeing a lot of "OMG XXX Max is OP..." posts. At the moment the flavor of the month is the VS ZOE Max instead of the NC's ScatMax. I think that 99% of the players posting about OP Maxes don't have over 1000 certs invested in any Max of any sort, on any Empire. If you haven't used the Maxes with any degree of investment of certs, how can you know if it's OP or not? I however have used all three Empire's Maxes quite a bit. The Max play style suits me a little better than most others at the moment mostly due to the fact that I'm using an older laptop with a Core i7 2.53GHz quad core, 12GB of RAM and an Nvidia 360M GPU with only 1GB of RAM. The point being, I can't win twitch fights up close, so being in a slower Max works better with my hardware limitations. I'm going to get hit anyway so I need as much armor as possible. On to the Maxes: Full disclosure: I play VS the most, and have the most certs invested in my VS Max, but this was long before ZOE showed up. I was a long time PS1 player and I really enjoyed the VS's flexibility, focus on speed and agility and the adaptability of it's weapons etc. Too bad none of that made it through to PS2 lol... Anyway.. on with it: I think that everyone tries to play all three Empires the same and cries when one Empire's kit can't do what the other can. Instead, players should be focused on each Empire's specific strengths and play to that advantage. The NC Max's weapons are great. For the AI role, you really get an even broader selection of weapons because the shotguns can use slugs, which effectively doubles your AI options, giving you massive easy to aim firepower up close with the regular ammo, and very good medium range options with the slugs. No other Empire has this much selection and firepower when it comes to AI Max weapons. Raven missile launchers: quite frankly, I find myself using these vs infantry more than as an AV weapon, but whatever. The pinpoint accuracy at range is what's important here and I have used them quite often to hit infiltrators and light assault troops at over 100m with great effectiveness. Ravens vs. enemy Maxes in open terrain are really great. Falcon: meh. I don't use it. Poorly designed for the job at hand- slow projectile velocity, convergence targeting issues up close, not really good vs infantry, lousy DPS and easily avoided by vehicles at range. Raven is better at putting DPS on target in all respects in 'real world' use. NC's Aegis Shield: apparently most of the NC aren't old school PS1 players. The shield is awesome in the right situations. Now here's the trick: it's situational and for some reason players think that it needs to be great in all situations, not just one. Whatever. For what it's good for, it's absolutely awesome. Get a few of these and you can push down just about any hallway/corridor with a few engineers behind you. Done right they're unstoppable. Don't have a coordinated team to take advantage of this amazing ability? Not my problem. The TR: overall, I'd say they have the most versatile/well rounded Max options of the three Empires. The Mercy has an amazing effective range if fired in short bursts to keep the COF down. DPS wise it's great and of the three Empires, I think it has the most overall flexibility with respect to DPS on target over the widest range of distances: higher DPS than the VS guns at close range and higher DPS than the NC at long range. I'm still undecided about the Mercy vs. Blueshift at extreme ranges. I think at that point it's a toss up, with random luck being too much of a factor due to bloom and COF spread. Anyway, it's good. It's usable, both for close in work and at range and is a good choice for base assaults when you have to close distance across an open field from a deployed Sunderer. The Fracture: the ANTI-EVERYTHING gun. Seriously. It does everything right. It has a 10 round magazine, will kill most infantry with half a mag (per gun), does great AV damage to Maxes and vehicles and did I mention it has splash damage? The projectile velocity is great, it has very good accuracy, high rate of fire (compared to all other weapons in its class across all empires) and basically zero projectile drop. This is the weapon that the other two Empires wish they had. The Pounder: while it's the most specialized and least used of all the weapons, it's still very good in its niche as an indirect fire weapon. Again, no other Empire has this option, and it's a very effective one when used in the right situation. My kingdom for a proper automatic grenade launcher for my VS Max! The Lockdown special ability: again, I don't see why the TR don't like it and/or don't know how to use it. I usually find myself putting my back to a wall or rock etc. when using Maxes anyway so I don't get flanked/shot in the back. I find a sector of fire I want to cover and lock down. I rarely end up in a situation where I don't have the range of motion to fully engage/track a target to a completed kill, and I rarely get killed simply because I couldn't unlock fast enough and run away. By the time someone has me zeroed in, I'm dead anyway, lockdown or no. The lockdown coupled with the Burster = LOL. One of the main reasons I got into Maxes in the first place was due to Bursters and how much I enjoyed ambushing aircraft with them in PS1. The TR Max w/ bursters and lockdown 4 is absolutely LETHAL. Again, people complain and complain and they don't even know what kind of jewel they really have on their hands... Which brings me to the VS. VS AI: I really tend to use the Blueshift most of the time for AI work. I know, I'm weird like that. It ends up being the most flexible and the most effective at range, having the smallest initial COF and the best damage at extended range vs. the other options. Coupled with the VS's increased speed and ability to keep at range and flank targets, I like engaging at medium to long range so I won't get caught face to face with a Light Assault or Infil (or any other class carrying C4... which is pretty much every one except Medics if I'm not mistaken...) and losing a twitch fight and/or getting C4ed instantly. VS AV: Meh. The Comet is only barely better than the Falcon in that it holds two rounds vs. one. The Vortex is just horrible. It's just too hard to use and too ungainly and doesn't provide any advantage over the actual DPS on target of the Comet. It has no flexibility between AI and AV. In short, I'd give my eye teeth for a Fracture style weapon for the VS. You don't know how horrible all the other AV weapons are until you try the Fracture. And then all you want afterwards is a TR Max... Notice I wrote very little about the VS weapons in general. There's a reason for that: they're very boring, bland, there isn't anything special about them that stands out above anything else. The Vortex is a complete write off, the Comet is barely passable if at all and the VS AI weapons are just the same gun with slightly different (read: poor) stats. This is why the VS hardly used their Maxes pre-ZOE. The ZOE: it's pink. You should have pity on all ZOE users just for that fact alone. Anyway, the ability is probably the most usable and least situational of all three abilities, which is good. Particularly considering how weak the VS weapons really are. I forget how slow Maxes are until I play on my NC or TR characters since I pretty much live with ZOE on all the time. I never turn it off, and I think it's just fine this way as an always on option. It doesn't need a cool down, it doesn't need to eat away at your health while you're running it. The -20% raw HP is plenty. People who complain about the ZOE have probably never used it in earnest. Never put certs into it, never tried it, never examined it to see what makes it tick. One land mine: dead. One C4: dead. One Phoenix: dead. Decimator: dead. Infantry pecking away with their rifles? Dead. Snipers? Dead. ZOE Maxes are not *that* fast, and most definitely not "just as fast/faster than infantry" like most would have you believe. Not until you get 5/5 on the cert tree, and by that time, you're looking at 2000 cert points. Most people will never spend half that on ZOE, much less 2K. And then there's the inertia. Boy is it screwed up. Even while crouched I have a hard time begin precise while moving, particularly on ridge tops etc. where I'm trying not to fall off of a perch while shooting down aircraft etc. It's like there's a couple seconds of lag between the input and the result. It's really frustrating. So, even though the speed looks fast on paper, in actual use it's far more difficult to engage infantry up close than you would think. But again, most people have never even used a ZOE Max that's certed to 4 or 5 to even know what it's like first hand. I find that the 20% HP penalty really hurts. I have to really manage my armor because unlike infantry, I can't just run back around the corner and use a med pack or health booster and wait for my shields to recover. Unless you have nanite regen, every little tick of damage hurts, and it adds up quickly, particularly when you're traveling and have falling damage. It's a real pain in the ***. And if you choose nanite regen then you lose considerable staying power in a fight due to your lack of Kinetic Armor. In closing, I'll give everyone my best tips for fighting ZOE Maxes: Rule #1: understand that they can't regenerate their armor/health the way you can, even with nanite regen. Engage, damage them and then fall back to cover to pop a health pack, get your shields back up (HA) etc. and then re-engage. If the Max pilot is smart he'll keep pressing the attack and not let you regen your HP. There in lies the problem: reloading. Maxes have a fairly long reload, and if they don't kill you with the first volley, you have that time to re-health and either get away or attack from a different angle. Get in close where the inertia really makes it hard to track targets. When targets are literally toe to toe with you as a ZOE Max, the NC and TR Maxes are much easier to use/operate due to no built in inertia problems. ZOE Maxes are quick, but infantry is soooo much more flexible/agile. Particularly Light Assault. They're my first priority to kill as 99% of the time they have C4, and if not, their rifles can do plenty of damage to me quite quickly. You can kill a full health ZOE Max in two clips quite easily with a Carbine, and odds are your target isn't at full health anyway. You can probably down him with one clip if your aim is good. Oh yeah, and aim for the head. But this goes for all targets, not just ZOE Maxes.... As always, I'm interested to hear constructive comments and discussion. I'd like to see other's input on the above and their experiences using all three Empire's Maxes. How do you use them, and for what roles? I'm always curious to see how other people use the same tool set in different ways.