I'll tell you why you may want to skip over NS2, but let me start on a positive note.
NS2 is a bold step in an industry full of very similar multiplayer experiences. Multiplayer is asymmetrical, with each team featuring multiple classes and vastly different approaches to play between teams. Rounds require the participation of not only individual teammates and their skill, but also the (micro)management skills of a commander, acting in an RTS role. These factors lead to NS2 having not only very deep tactical gameplay, but also a very large skill curve to climb and become immersed in. The results of fully embracing and immersing yourself in these systems can lead to a very fun and utterly different kind of gameplay which is truly one-of-a-kind.
Now I'm going to tell you why you may want to pass on getting this game.
Unless you are prepared to adopt the committed ethic and mindset of a competitive gamer when going in, you're going to have a very rough time; or at least a very inconsistent experience. The difficulty curve is downright brutal. Maps are huge, complex sprawls with a lot of tactical options hidden away in the architecture and terrain placement. They take a lot of time to learn. Gameplay, even for the human side (which you'd think is in more familiar territory for most people) is not too hard to get a handle on at first, but the leap from functional play to consistently effective technique is ENORMOUS. It also does not help that the core community of this game consists of very talented and highly competitive players that one of them alone can stack a team to an almost assured victory.
The other major problem that this game presents for new players is related to its greatest strength - its complexity and essential reliance on communication and teamwork for success. This depth ensures almost DOTA-like skill and tactical moments to shine in league play, but in pub play it is a different story. The reliance of one person, the commander, to basically support the rest of the team to ensure victory can be a huge liability in pub play, as having the wrong guy in the commander chair can spell instant doom for a match - very frustrating when it happens consistently. Unlike a lot of other games, like Battlefield and Team Fortress, in which throwing a lot of like-minded players at common objectives usually results in emergent teamplay, constant voice and text communication is essential to a fun and successful game in NS2. Sometimes you get lucky and have a lot of teammates who communicate effectively and listen to orders from the commander. A lot of the time, this isn't the case, and it's frustrating.
Because of the aforementioned complexity, another problem arises. A small mistake by the commander, or players under him/her can lead to the team's doom in the early stages of the game. Most of the time everything goes smoothly early on and you roll the team, or you lose a battle early on and it's all over.
Anyways, at the end of the day, I'll say this. If you're prepared to immerse yourself in NS2 completely - make it your religion, as you would with a game like DOTA - you're probably going to have a great time with its tactical complexity and heavy reliance on teamwork. If you're not that hardcore, you're going to play an interesting game, with interesting levels, but with an enormous skill curve and a lot of frustration trying to deal with players who seemingly cannot be killed or bested in any way.
Me, I'm not that hardcore. I played the game, it was fun while it was interesting, but after 50 hours I can see some of the complex mechanisms move about and I realize I'm simply not a bad enough dude to become one of those 142 - 2 k/d kinds of players that you'll no doubt run into if you play this game.
Posted: December 4th, 2013