John Black (JB): So Commander, I hear you've got a SIT REP for us all here at ZERO-ALPHA! What’s happening out there on the front?
Robert Hopkins (RH): Yes Sir; it’s been a rough month here in Zandia. Wars and Challenges. There have been many great losses on both sides, but in the end it looks like Dead Kennedy’s Inc still holds most of the map. Wings of Destiny is holding their ground and it seems that F.P.U.R. Rage has lost their steam with the war with the Nightmare Combines. Nightmare Elite 14 has regained the 3rd position and the Nightmare Combines are coming back. Troop losses have been great but with all the new rewards, Global missions and ZHG missions one has no problem gaining troops to join their armies, and there are some Diamond specials so things are looking good.
JB: Thanks for the update, Commander. Now tell me - where did you find out about the Zandian Contracts in the first place?
RH: I was on Facebook talking to family and friends and I was looking for unique games, unlike others, when I was told about a new, military-themed game from Plarium. I had tried out other games but there were just no interaction among the players and I was looking for a new way to have fun with a group.
JB: The Syndicate is lucky capable Commanders such as yourself have joined us, Hopkins, What keeps you coming back for more combat?
RH: Wow, that's an easy answer! It's the friends, and Combines that are formed. It's the game. Some look at it as pastime just to stop by, have some fun and go, but there are many like me that put lots of time into the game and our Bases and armies. We can talk and kill at the same time! Funny thing, you do lose troops and rebuild, but it's a game that helps you grow, with plenty of deals and rewards. There has been many things in my life that have caused me to be home and rough times in my life and I always have my cyber-friends that play Soldiers Inc.
JB: Roger that, Commander – So what is your usual schedule on a daily basis? When do you make time for your Base?
RH: Always first thing when I am drinking my coffee in the morning — that’s a must! I check the posts on Facebook, send out some quick raids in Zandia, then it’s off to life tasks. At lunch time I check on my team, and when my day is done I relax and patrol Zandia. It's always easy to find time; it becomes a good pastime and a great hobby. Some periods I patrol more often – for example, awhile back, I was stuck at home with a back injury that had me home 24-7 for months. I was lucky to have the Zandia to keep me busy then. But on a normal day I stop in, check on the Combine, make sure my Officers have no issues, then it's off to the Map to see who is moving and where there’s been a lot of action during the past few weeks. So then it's the bountiful raids to help build and feed the soldiers, contact other CEO's to see who needs reinforcements and who has incoming raids, then it's off to make the rounds of friends’ Bases – and with as many other Commanders I am friends with, this can take some time, but it pays off well – I can sign Mercenaries at most Merc Bars and stray Resources to take home. Then the rest of the day it's just normal patrol. We like to be active, so on PvP weekends we make sure to do longer tours to visit some Mining Complexes of rival Combines.
JB: So how long has your Tour of Duty been so far?
RH: It’s been a long tour of duty, and I've loved every day of it. I've been patrolling Zandia since September 2013 - it may have been August but the first month of duty flew by.
JB: I know the feeling. Can you explain your Strategy to me? Without revealing too much classified information, of course. The new recruits out there would do well to listen to some advice from a seasoned Commander.
RH: I’ve got one rule, and so far it’s working pretty well: from the day you’re airlifted into Zandia, you need to start doing all the Achievements. They are a great way to gain troops and all the freebies will come in real handy later! Do your daily raids, recon, find the Bases close by with the most Resources and minimal resistance, and definitely get into a good Combine — this is your key to good group of teachers. Try to do Search and Destroy to help you grow a large army. You can't win any wars without troops to fight! If you want to gain levels in the game you need XP – that’s a reward for all your time spent, and shows others you have been helping keep Zandia ZHG-free. Build, build. Your Combine will also reward you for your Defense troops in the Mining Complexes with MC cash. This lets you vet troops, lessens Ration consumption, helps with large armies and gives your troops more power once you're in the higher levels of S&D. The Missions are an easy way to keep a surplus of Offense and Defense troops. Just be advised: it's not always a matter of which Commander that has the biggest army, it's more often a question of teamwork! You’d better be able to work well in a Combine if you want to get very far.
JB: The Dogs of Honor Combine has got that down. Who are your top allies and enemies?
RH: Like always, I stand strong by my longtime family and friends, F.P.U.R. and Zanos. Nightmare will always be in our sights, waiting for a wrong move, or someone else trying to control Zandia. I try to keep the playing field even so that everyone can enjoy the game.
JB: Let’s talk Logistics and Tactics a little more. Any more advice you can provide for the Raw Recruits out there?
RH: The best advice to raw recruits I can provide is to control the area around your Base. Your neighbors are the ones that make for fast raids, but don't pick on players bigger than you if you’re not ready for a fight. Join a Combine with players in close proximity to you when you first land in Zandia! Then, the best is to be careful not to start anything you can't finish. To keep it simple, you need Resources to grow. Make sure you don’t waste the ones you have. And it's worth doing Search & Destroy. Read the Soldiers Inc. Wiki(link link) info that Plarium and other Commanders have provided for you, and talk to players with good reps! They will be the best fountains of info.
JB: Excellent. What are your plans and ambitions, Commander?
RH: Further plans for me and DOGS OF HONOR are to build a loyal group of soldiers that have one common goal: to rid Zandia of dictators and to help reduce the Zheng Shi population in Zandia. There’s talk of some movement in Zandia, and I will be watching this closely. I see another possible War between two rival Combines… I don't like to see any of our allies get bullied so we might be forced to join in this battle. In the past, I've focused all my efforts on the removal of the Nightmare name from Zandia, but it seems there is another would-be dictator quietly building their empire. We may have to help take this empire apart before they become too big for their own good!
JB: I’m getting reports that Zheng Shi forces are on the move again – Looks like you need to stand by and ready your troops . Best of luck to you Commander HOPKINS; the team and I hope you are A-OK and 100% real soon; I need you and your troops on the front slicing and dicing ASAP… in the meantime I need to talk to a guy about… well, nothing you’ve got clearance to hear about! TIME TO MOVE, COMMANDER!