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Captain Cox, the Legend of Emerald and the Leader of 1st Terran Rangers

Posted by:  Charoplet 17.12.2020

Today we will talk with [1TR] CaptainCox, probably the most known person on Emerald server and beyond it. You will know about his hobbies, about his way in Planetside 2, and his vision for the development of our beloved game. So let's begin! 

Charoplet: Hello! First of all, I want you to tell me something about yourself. You decide on your own what to tell people about your real life, but try to tell something interesting.

Captain Cox: Hey. I'm Captain Cox, the leader of 1TR. I'm from California and am a recent game design graduate looking to work in 3D modeling in video games/TV. I have been playing Planetside 2 for 8 years. Other than video games and 3D art, board games, horseback riding, and sci-fi are interests of mine.

Charoplet: Wow! Horseback riding? Do you have your own horse? And what about sci-fi? Do you like TV shows and movies or you are more interested in science?

Captain Cox: I do not have a horse and it's actually been too long since I've gone horseback riding. I also taught horseback riding a few years ago. I've been a fan of Sci-fi since I was a kid, watching shows like Star Trek, Babylon 5, Stargate, etc. More recently, book series such as R.M. Meluch's Merrimack Chronicles and shows like The Expanse and The Orville.

Charoplet: Cool! I am also a fan of Sci-fi shows, especially I like The Mandalorian nowadays. Back to the questions - you are one of the most known players on Emerald as I know. Even you have around 1,7 monthly average KD, Emerald players
post threads on Reddit where they kill you, also I heard something about you, even I play on another server. Tell me the history of such popularity.

Captain Cox: I think the reason I am somewhat known is mostly due to myself and my outfit simply being a constant in the Emerald/Planetside community for 7+ years. I have found that consistency is huge in building up a reputation, and we often joke in 1TR that we're really only seen as somewhat capable because everyone better than us is no longer around.

On top of this, I've taken some rather public actions, like being an Emerald server representative for a while, Force Commanded in a smash, platoon-led in way too many Server Smashes/Community Smashes to count, and various other events. Earlier in Planetside's lifetime, I was also notorious for being the Joint Ops person on Mattherson/Emerald, striving to make many good and lasting connections with other outfits and outfit leaders.

Charoplet: You created your TR character 8 years ago, on November 23, 2012. Did you play other factions before or CaptainCox is your first character in Planetside 2?

Captain Cox: In 2012 I actually created a VS character on a US West server at first, but it didn't click with me. So on a whim, I deleted that one on my first day and made a TR character on SolTech, which was previously a US East (or Central?) server. I have since found that I enjoy VS now, too, under the alias of NotActuallyCaptainCox on Emerald VS.

Charoplet: How did you know about the game? Or you played Planetside 1 as lots of veterans?

Captain Cox: I found Planetside 2 when I happened to be looking at the front page of the Steam store and saw that it had released. I previously had never heard of it. I decided to give it a shot, since it was free anyways. And thus began the journey

Charoplet: You are a leader of 1st Terran Rangers, I checked the stats and it seems your outfit is a good solid midfit. Tell me the history of your outfit - when it was created, did you have more or fewer players during those 8 years?

Captain Cox: Originally, when 1TR was founded, I wasn't even in the outfit. The original core group was a small Red Orchestra 2 group of friends that decided to try out Planetside 2. I ended up in a 1TR open platoon on my first day on SolTech and gradually moved up the ranks. In the beginning, we only had a squad or two for our events, and this remained semi-constant for a couple of years. But, through that consistency I mentioned earlier, we slowly grew. These days, we average between 3-5 squads for ops, and haven't had to actively recruit for at least the last year, if not longer. The ops activity generally stays constant due to a mix of people joining via word of mouth and veteran members coming back to the game after hiatuses.

Charoplet: What are the structure and main features of 1st Terran Rangers?

Captain Cox: The rough structure for 1TR in Planetside is essentially 3 tiers. There is the general member base, which includes 95% of members, officers, and then the outfit leader. Many years ago we had formal rank structures, and even went through multiple variations, but we always came away with the same question. "Why?"

So eventually we ditched all of the different ranks and settled on a pretty flat structure. There are no restrictions for general members such as who can lead squads during non-ops times, and we even encourage members who want to try their hand at leading to run public squads. Likewise, it is also not a requirement that one is an officer if they squad lead or even platoon lead during ops. It is generally a case-by-case basis where I and the rest of the officers make judgment calls on whether someone is ready to try squad or platoon leading during ops. Obviously, we don't just throw them in unsupported, and likewise, we generally don't let someone squad lead during ops unless we feel they've been in the outfit long enough to know how we operate.

On the topic of officers, I think it is important to note that we actually have a very slow rate of promotion. We've averaged maybe one or two promotions a year, which I think is due to both the lack of restrictions on what non-officers can do and our relatively low turnover for members and officers alike. It helps with that consistency.

Outside of Planetside, we also have a host of active Tabletop Roleplaying groups and play a smattering of games such as Stellaris, Mount & Blade, Zero-K, Street Fighter, and a few more.

Charoplet: Your outfit is the member of TR Emerald Command - Alliance of TR outfits on Emerald. And you have a Field Marshal rank there. Are you a creator of that Alliance or how did you obtain that rank? Tell us the structure of this Alliance and is it active nowadays or no.

Captain Cox: The TR Emerald Command is really just a communal discord for outfit leaders and officers of various TR outfits. It is where we discuss issues that affect TR as a whole or certain TR outfits, and strive to get past differences, successfully or not. It was originally created by CmdrGeeno from [BTYR]. I actually ended up leaving for a time out of disagreement over banning outfit leaders of outfits who played on multiple factions. There were weird and harmful worries about potential spies. Anyone who has been around long enough knows that the people who still believe spies exist on Emerald are exactly the people who are not worth spying on.

I ended up rejoining after the policy was walked back. Eventually, the Field Marshall title, which is essentially a glorified admin role, was given to DeathwishTR from [TRM]. He tried to make some valiant efforts to improve TR as a whole, but differences in ideas between him and some other outfits led to him stepping down and handing it to me. I wouldn't say it has lost activity over the couple years it has been around, but I also wouldn't say it has ever been more than just a communal discord for TR leaders to have available.

Charoplet: What about your opponents on Emerald? Do you have good relations with NC and VS Outfits? Maybe you create some joint Events on live?

Captain Cox: Generally we have good relations with outfits we fight against, with some friendly rivalries with certain outfits. These friendly rivalries have even manifested into joint game nights with outfits such as VCO and BWAE in games like Zero-K and Among Us.

Our good relations with other outfits have also partially come from Server Smashes, back when Server Smashes were a constant. Coming together as a server to battle against other servers really works to break down barriers between factions. It is one of the big reasons I sometimes miss the days of Server Smashes, and one of the reasons the VS/NC outfits we are closest with are those that were around back during the Server Smash era.

Charoplet: Planetside 2 celebrated its 8th Anniversary not so far ago. Did you see the dev stream where they showed their Road Map for 2021? And if yes, do you like that plan for developing the game, or do you want to see something else?

Captain Cox: I viewed the 8 year anniversary dev stream with the same cautious optimism I've had for 8 years. Nine times out of ten, I think the ideas the developers have are great and would make positive contributions to the game. Sadly, I have watched the implementation be rather hit or miss over the years. I think there are some good ideas, like fleshing out NS characters, but I am waiting until I see the ideas come to fruition before making judgments.

Charoplet: What about the new Outfit Wars? It seems early in 2021 we will taste those changes devs announced on their stream. Do you think the new format would be better? What are your thoughts about adding some sort of Outfit development? Do you want to see an option to make a progress for your outfit unlocking different features or options Outfits have now are good enough (Bastion, Orbital Strikes, Outfit Wars)?

Captain Cox: I have long thought that adding updates to the outfit scene was a necessity. Outfits, by necessity, are essential to the core gameplay loop of Planetside 2. By and large, outfits are the starters of fights on Live. On top of this, the likelihood that someone stays in the game goes way up if they end up joining an outfit that fits them. I think the moves they are making with the new Outfit Wars are a step in the right direction, but I will wait and see. One thing that I think is desperately needed for Outfit Wars but also, in general, is some method of designating certain outfits as "Allied Outfits" or "Outfit Friends", with the ability to easier link up with those groups. In the Outfit Wars scene, this could manifest in being able to team up with said allied outfits, and on Live play, this could take the form of seeing their squad on the map without having to be in the same platoon as them.

In terms of other updates to outfits, they are long overdue. Before 2020, the biggest updates we got to outfits were the outfit browser and the button that invited all currently-online members to a squad. It's honestly surprising and disheartening that it's taken this long to get updates to outfits at all. More depth to outfits is a must, in my opinion.

Charoplet: What do you think about our website? Do you think we need to continue to post news about the game and add more new features like alert information or Reddit is quite enough for Planetside 2 community?

Captain Cox: has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant set of PS2 out-of-game content. Overall I think it has already had a positive impact on the community, even though it's only been around for a short while (I believe). I don't think it really needs to compete with Reddit since they are totally different platforms and serve different purposes.

Charoplet: Thank you very much for an interesting interview. You can tell whatever you want to Emerald and Planetside 2 Community.

Captain Cox: Thank you for the chance to do this! I guess the one thing I really want to say to the Emerald and Planetside 2 community, and to the devs, is that I am thankful for the past 8 years and can't wait for what is in store.

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