A Modern Mission Experience
My visit to Modern Mission in Fayetteville, AR was three years in the making. The last time I ventured through Arkansas was on March 12, 2020 (so literally the day after the pandemic became official). It didn’t work out during that trip, but they have been on my radar ever since because I knew they use iCOMBAT equipment and I really wanted to have a chance to play using Invictus. However, at Modern Mission they actually have a selection of taggers from the iCOMBAT line that can all work together in a single game, so not only did I have a chance to play using Invictus (while my opponents opted for irSMG taggers), but I also got to switch out my tagger in between games and got to put my hands on the new Valkyrie for my very first game there.
This was a really cool opportunity to compare and contrast these taggers that are both relatively new to me in actual real-game use. However, first I took a tour of the arena with the manager, Parker, who showed me around the Embassy.
This center tower goes up three stories and is flanked by two double level tower access points with base stations in each corner.
The theming is what I think of as “military sparse” with a predominantly raw-wood design that fits the tactical battlefield well. There are also a few distinctive additions such as furniture pieces to identify strategic room areas and this unique truck that functions as a raised platform on the lower level.
But what was the game experience like? In a word, awesome. I joined a group with three young guys, and we split up into teams of two.
I was partnered with Max on the red team while Logan and Dayton played on blue. Our first game was Team Deathmatch and we started inside our red base station.
This game I used the Valkyrie, which is a nice tagger for simplicity. The digital screen on the side provides key info if you are looking for it, but knowing I would have to reload after every 30 shots I tended not to glance down at the screen. Instead, I just pulled the reload after every successful tag to make sure I was never low on “ammo”.
I had one challenge at the start of the game. I looked through my scope and there was no red dot to align with my opponents’ sensors (we all wore head sensors for this game). Without that dot I was in theory at a slight disadvantage, but in practicality, because I am predominantly a traditional tag player I do not typically do well with a scope anyway, so I managed just fine without it. When I passed by one of the game refs he quickly switched it on and we never missed a beat. At the end of that game my team had won with a total of 10 “kills” and 7 of them were mine as I played using MMVader.
The next game was Sniper, a game where only one shot deactivates an opponent and accuracy matters. For this one I swapped out my Valkyrie in exchange for an Invictus.
It’s tough to explain why, but some phasers just feel right and for me Invictus is one of them. I think this is an example of my traditional tag lean rearing its head again, but everything just felt more natural to me with this phaser. Case in point…I just called this one a “phaser” and the other I called “taggers”. It’s traditional vs tactical semantics to an extent, but also an indicator of which feels like which.
The Invictus had some features I could have utilized by changing class mid-game to Titan or Commander. Medic probably wouldn’t have come into play in a one-shot game anyway. However, I didn’t clue in to when those decisions could have been made during respawn windows, so instead I just played without changing as if this was traditional laser tag. When I saw an opponent I was able to land my shot pretty easily. There is deliberately no scope in use here. However, my accuracy tanked for one big reason…I played it TOO much like traditional and at one point I simply forgot to be judicious with my shots. I’ll tell you exactly when and where I realized this.
I was on an upper level peeking out through these slats in the Embassy building. I saw an opponent on the lower level, basically a sitting duck. I fired, then fired again and again, realizing after far too many shots that I was not getting the angle I needed with the IR from the phaser in a way that it could make the tag work through the slats. I know in the photo they look wide enough, but the angle was wrong and it just wasn’t happening. So I abandoned that pursuit only to realize I had taken a ton of shots with nothing to show for it. Rookie mistake! But after that I returned to just playing the game and it was so much fun. I really love playing with the Invictus and hope to have more opportunities to do so. At least I know where I can enjoy it next time I pass through northwestern Arkansas!
Because I got into town a bit early, I got to enjoy two other really great experiences in Fayetteville. I’m not a foodie (I leave that to my friend and fellow blogger Big Hungry Shelby), but I must mention it now so I can remember to return to these places on my next trip. I stumbled onto Feltner Brothers who are apparently renowned for having the best burger in northwestern Arkansas and they showcased a ton of awards to prove it. Well deserved! The burger and fries were perfect! And I followed it up with a stop over to Rymolene’s Pies and More for a piece of Arkansas Possum Pie. Yes, that’s a thing. No, it’s not what it sounds like. It was an amazing chocolatey, cream and pecan piece of perfection, so if you need to fuel up before heading to Modern Mission like I did, then add those to your list of local stops.
My time at Modern Mission was thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were great and I feel like I had a really unique experience getting to play using both Valkyrie and Invictus is one location. This site would definitely be on my itinerary again in the future!
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