There's only room for one FOB, and one Outer Heaven...


Melodramatic(And incorrect!) titles aside, I've been playing a lot of FOB. I mean a lot. Sure, not as many as those weirdos that stream FOB all the time, going for hours and hours and hours. But I've played a lot.

In my time playing, I've gone through a variety of emotions. The unparalleled joy I felt by successfully invading a base even with a player defending it. The unparalleled rage I felt when I was successfully invaded while looking right at the invader when he did it. The feeling I have right now, coming to terms with how I can't spell unparalleled without technological intervention.

Konami are trying to stand in the way of my love for FOB, by constantly adding new items that cost unimaginable amounts of GMP and resources, making you want to buy that extra FOB, and now an extra extra FOB to process those raw resources. They are also adding new and interesting additions, but at the cost of my sanity. These new items cost several million GMP and take 7 to 10 days IN REAL TIME to build, which is fucking nuts. To go even further, due to an "unforeseen glitch", you can only develop 4 of them at once. But the kicker is that you can "hurry" their development and finish immediately with MOTHER BASE COINS. That's right, an unforeseen glitch. Now you can bypass it entirely by spending your real money! (Yes, I am implying they did this on purpose to get you to spend your cash on finishing items now and then building more)

Yep! You can bypass an extremely long wait time by spending real cash. But it's not cheap. To "finish now" an item that takes 10 days to build, it requires 1000 MOTHER BASE COINS, which is equivalent to TEN DOLLARS, American.

It's a sad turn of events, because I quite like FOB. I find FOB to be some sort of zen mode that I can enter and just... coast. Continue to infiltrate, over and over again, adapt to new enemy and trap placements, hide from UAV's, just go for it, you know?

A lot of my friends(Read: All of them) seem to hate FOB and I can understand that. First you'd have to deal with the crazy amounts of bullshit microtransactions that Konami are trying very, very hard not to just force them down your throat and get it over with. Then you'd have to deal with the bullshit that is FOB.

FOB, by the way, stands for Forward Operating Base. The narrative idea is that Diamond Dogs grew so big that they eventually place other bases in the oceans of the world, filled with staff to carry out their missions with an expanded reach.

The mechanical idea is fuck you we want your money.

After a certain point in the game, the game allows you to have an FOB for free. It doubles the amount of staff you can hold. It also has stats associated with it that determines how many more raw materials you can process.  A higher rank of course means more can be processed, saving you from hours and hours of grinding because holy shit does that suck. It's also a time sink. It just goes and goes...

Unlike your actual Mother Base, these FOB's don't really serve much of a role in the story or anything like that. It's just a side activity to give you something else to shove microtransactions into to do. It works in a similar vein to the invasion system from Dark Souls. You're just chilling in a mission and this big fucking alarm goes off in your headset nearly giving you a heart attack and then your shit is being stolen by some brother jack dude with too much time on his hands. You have the choice to go to your FOB and defend it or just leave it to your security staff and stay away, but by going to your FOB you lose all current mission progress, even if you have checkpoints. So if you're going through the game for the first time and trying to earn some stuff, it can be a difficult decision.

But where FOB shines, in my person opinion, is the feeling of entitlement it can evoke from attacker and defender. It's an unusual feeling to face during, ostensibly, a 1v1 deathmatch with some A.I collateral thrown in. But it's your A.I. collateral! It's your resources! You worked hard for them. Busted your ass in those fucking skulls missions trying to find S ranks, repeating Hellbound time and time again for some fucking fuel. You EARNED that. And some geek off the street comes in and tries to take it? Enter: Armed conflict.

Once the invasion goes through, a time limit is put in place. They call it a "blockade", the idea being that the other Diamond Dog crew are going to come in and block the base off from the attacker, forcing him to give up. In reality, once the timer ends the defender loses. The higher your security team is, the shorter the time limit. So aside from being a better and stronger security team, the time limit also closes in on the attacker, really putting the pressure on. Which is another reason I love playing FOB's. I quote "Pressure turns coals into diamonds", therefore, I suppose, making people who can withstand the FOB trial of fire, the true Diamond Dogs.

But pressure, as they say, can also turn diamonds into dust. It's a ratrace of skill and patience, willing to play a sneaking game like it was some sort of speed strategy game that rewards you with resources and even the possibility of high ranking soldiers, should you be lucky enough to steal them from the enemy FOB or earn them in the random volunteers at the end of a successful infiltration.

While playing this "zen" mode of mine, where I can turn off my brain and coast from one platform to another, I start to get ideas about the mode, about how similar it can be to certain other experiences. I mean, you're just this random guy infiltrating this super military's remote base, trying to remain undetected from point A to point B, with the possibility of getting caught and having a massive firefight and even a real human defender come to muck your fun right up.

FOB really gives you the idea that you can be overpowered in the way that main characters and bosses can be, by allowing you to use all of your equipment and items. You can come in with a sneaking suit and non lethal weapons, or hit the FOB hard, throwing caution to the wind with battle armor and heavy weapons.

And, while sometimes frustrating, it can be surprisingly liberating to go up against a defender with a fully stacked deck of explosive weapons capable of demolishing you whole cards. It really sets the tone that this isn't supposed to be a fair fight, and you've got to do what you have to do to win.

It's also no surprise that the most efficient way to play as the attacker is, of course, sneaking and playing stealthy. Not interacting with anyone unless absolutely necessary. Defenders usually come armed to the teeth with grenade launchers or missile launchers and heavy machine guns. It really does a lot to set the boss "battle tone".

Even more so when you don't play as Snake, but play as one of your own custom soldiers. I believe they changed it up a little, but back in the day if you went in as a random soldier and got captured or killed, that soldier was gone. You would then have to be invaded by that other player to even have a chance to get that soldier back.

FOB reminds me a lot of Outer Heaven. The player(infiltrator), finds a way inside of a top secret military(PMC) base, and subsequently begins to sneak his(or her) way through to the end, wading through cameras, traps, and highly trained soldiers with top notch equipment, with the possibility of another player(boss) coming out at the worst possible time to put the player's skills to the test.

This of course then makes me think about how Metal Gear Solid V was supposed to be the MISSING LINK of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, presumably showing the creation of Outer Heaven and recruitment of several main characters from MGS history. It's funny because in a way, FOB is similar to what we thought we would see. Instead of reprising our role of Solid Snake(Since that never happens) and taking the fight to Big Boss himself(Since that also didn't happen), it's just two players duking it out on a base stationed in the middle of the ocean, with their entire arsenal of highly advanced, prototype weaponry and equipment.

The ending of MGSV tells Venom that, he, no, we, are Big Boss. That we aren't living in anyone's shadow, that we can make our own legend. Just because someone will ultimately remember us as someone else doesn't matter, because it's a legend that we ourselves will create. So too, then, must FOB be our legend, our own personal Outer Heaven. Forged in the resources stolen from other players, staffed by soldiers stolen from other players. Engaging in the cycle of attack and defend, cat and mouse, the cycle of revenge that keeps battle going day and night, giving soldiers, be they S++ or E ranked soldiers, a place.

With FOB's, every day is just another day in a war without end. Until Konami shuts down the servers.

There are no facts, only interpretations.

Imagining this scene occurring after every FOB is so mentally exhausting

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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