“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” –Nelson Mandela
The Coup Coup machete is a new weapon introduced to Battlefield 1 as a part of the Winter events leading up to Turning Tides’ release on December 11. Modelled after a French machete, the weapon performs similarly to the billhook, dealing more damage than a typical knife per hit at the expense of mobility. It has two attributes that make it an attractive melee weapon: the machete can cut through barbed wire and break small wooden structures. This allows the weapon to be highly useful for navigating the battlefield, especially for folks who prefer taking the shortest path to reach an objective, and also looks amazing. However, these attributes come at a cost – one must get three hundred shotgun kills in order to unlock it, and the challenge closed earlier today. Shotguns have remained a relatively interesting weapon in Battlefield 1 even following the patches applied to balance them out; when the game first launched, the Model 10-A Hunter was the top shotgun in the game bar none, but later revisions made the Model 97 line viable, as well. Shotguns are a close-quarters weapon and not particularly useful at range, but up close, they are absolutely vicious. At least, this is what expectations of shotgun performance would ordinarily be: the shotguns in Battlefield 1 have a different mechanic for pellet spread that causes them to be randomly determined, making their performance inconsistent at best. Thus, unlocking the Coup Coup machete has resulted in no shortage of salt from players, who feel that the challenge both encourages players to run with shotguns and resulting in close-quarters chaos, as well as forcing players to use weapons that pigeon-hole them into a specific role, leaving them vulnerable to long-range attack. My experiences with shotguns are largely neutral: they can be made to excel on some maps, but otherwise, their limited usefulness at range means I prefer running with a submachine gun if I intend to play the objective as an assault player.
Screenshots and Commentary
- For the course of the challenge, I switched between the Model 10-A Hunter and the M97 Trench Sweeper. The Model 10-A is my go-to shotgun for its extreme stopping power and reach, being balanced by its low rate of fire – the weapon is very unforgiving if one misses a shot. In spite of this, against groups of opponents, it can be immensely effective, and thanks to this challenge, the Model 10-A Hunter is now my second-most-used weapon behind only the SMLE Mk. III Marksman.
- Thanks to Premium Trials being back, I was able to make a triumphant return to the They Shall Not Pass maps, and admittedly, I miss these maps; they were well designed and had fantastic aesthetics. Verdun Heights initially starts out sunny, but the skies give way to a terrifying, apocalypse-like orange as fires from artillery rage. While weather effects were highly disruptive in the base game’s maps (especially on Sinai Desert and St. Quentin Scar), the DLC maps feature weather patterns that were less obtrusive while remaining impressive.
- The village by the train station on Rupture is a place I hardly ever visit, since most of my visits to this map is on conquest, which is set in the area surrounding a river valley. I manage another kill here underneath a swift sunrise. The map features an open area on its east end, and having spawned here, I immediately made my way to the small village on the west side. I subsequently proceeded to flatten the other team with the Model 10-A. In later matches, players caught on and took to sniping, making the acquisition of kills more tricky.
- In the narrow hallways of Fort de Vaux, shotguns are the dominant force, and one of the things observant readers might notice is that I’m consecutively chaining multiple kills together, visible in the kill-feed. During this challenge, I’ve noticed a few interesting things in my performance. The first is that after a death streak, I will somehow manage to come back and raise my KD ratio back to positive, after an intense kill streak where I manage to chain consecutive kills together.
- The other thing that I’ve noticed is that my ping is particularly noticeable when I play. There have been instances where I’ve fired buckshot into an enemy under my crosshairs, got nothing and could only watch as they killed me. I’m not too sure what it is with my ISP, but Canadian ping is generally terrible, leading the netcode to punish me. I’ve acclimatised to this as needed, but it can be frustrating to know I’m being bested in a firefight simply because my opponent has a better latency. Fortunately, these occurrences aren’t so frequent that they make Battlefield 1 unplayable, and here, I get another neat series of kills in a short period of time on St. Quentin Scar.
- Compared to the Model 10-A, the M97 Trench Sweeper is faster firing, at the expense of raw damage output and range. It is at once more inconsistent than the Model 10-A (at ten meters, killing an opponent can be accomplished with one shell, but sometimes may require up to three), and more forgiving thanks to its fire rate. If one’s first shot did not deal enough damage, follow-up shots are much easier to make. While I find the M97 to be fun in its own right, I normally don’t run with it. Thanks to this challenge, it’s now my third most-used weapon, displacing the BAR Storm.
- During the challenge, I managed to earn the Legion of the Skull medal and somehow remained alive after a harrowing encounter with another player that saw me victorious. I’d played enough TDM to unlock the two criteria preceding the goal of getting twenty kills in a round. Normally, TDM matches don’t last long enough for me to get twenty kills, especially if there are a lot of players, but thanks to Battlefield 1‘s new medal tracking system, which allows medal requirements for that week to all be unlocked simultaneously, I managed to earn another medal.
- My original plan was actually to try and unlock a pair of sniper medals, but the shotgun challenge came out of the blue, forcing me to put those plans aside. Overall, the shotgun challenge was modestly entertaining, although it also seems to have brought out the worst in some players – while I mean not to point any fingers, I noticed an inordinate number of folks with Japanese screen names (including one yukino168 and yuki-halberted) surviving shotgun blasts from the Model 10-A Hunter at a range I know to be unsurvivable.
- Unpleasant folks aside, the challenge turned out modestly fun even if it was a bit of a grind. With this being said, not everyone agrees – the spectrum of folks who dislike the challenge range from those who passed on the challenge to those who were so salty that they vociferously complained about the challenge as a sign that DICE was losing touch with the community. The challenge is a tall one, yes, but quiet manageable (weaker players like myself can complete it within four hours, and more capable players will be able to do so in less time).
- This post wasn’t expected, but I figured I would share my experience in trying it out: I sat out the last challenge that similarly required folks to get three hundred kills with another weapon I can’t quite remember. The next post I’ll be doing on Battlefield 1 will deal with Turning Tides – I’m most excited to see the new maps and try out the L-class destroyer. In the meantime, I will be returning to write about Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter now that the ninth episode is out, and also aim to do a talks on some elements in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus that I’ve not covered yet.
I have done some challenges previously for events involving a large number of kills, and three hundred over three days did initially seem insurmountable. I eventually broke it down, planning for around a hundred kills per day of the event; to avoid the long-range engagements of conquest, I predominantly played TDM and Domination, infantry-only matches that feature a proportionately larger number of spaces and environments that facilitate for shotgun usage. Amidst loud and vocal protests, I pushed through – by the end of Friday night, I was up to 128 kills of the 300 required. I was out most of Saturday lifting weights and teaching karate. After returning home, I sat down and continued on my quest, reaching 287 kills. I managed the last thirteen kills yesterday, and over the course of four hours, I secured the required three hundred kills to earn the battlepack containing the Coup Coup machete. This particular challenge was an exercise in patience, and while DICE has done similar challenges in the past, I did not have time to complete them. This time, the Coup Coup machete challenge was scheduled for the weekend, so I decided to give it a whirl: with the challenge now in the books, I’m looking forwards to seeing what Turning Tides will play like. I’ve seen some footage of the two new maps and new weapons, and while the weapons are not as remarkable as those introduced in In The Name of The Tsar, the new maps look stunning. Two maps will be released on December 11, with the other two coming in January. While Turning Tides was the DLC I was least enthusiastic about, the maps don’t look half bad, so I’m curious to see what this one brings to the table.