Operation Lodestar has now taken affect on Mass Effect 3's multiplayer and it's spurred me into doing a lot of things I don't normally do and learn how to improve myself as a player.
For those who don't know, the wave based, Horde survival is divided into different tiers of difficulty: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Platinum is different in that in addition to making the enemies tougher, enemies of different factions that you didn't pick will start to show up. So not only will Banshees and Brutes rush you, but an Atlas or two will bombard you with flak cannons. And Lodestar's crowning achievement objective is to extract on Platinum four times; once for each faction.
Playing a few Platinum lobbies, I'm starting to see the Matrix code for what makes a good N7 team and how they'll survive. More importantly, it's taught me what it takes to survive gold pugs. I used to be more of a silver pugger, but playing a few plats along with getting used to a very powerful kit has allowed me to hang around gold much more and earn a lot of extra creds to make my gold runs more efficient.
A good team will need at least one beefy tanker. An N7 Destroyer will do in a pinch but nothing tops the new Geth Juggernaut. These guys need to draw aggro because in gold and above, a simple foot soldier will drop your shields like nothing, and you'd much rather have a tough as nails tank take that fire instead of a squishy biotic. You'll need an AoE DPS machine too. Someone who can blanket an area with damage and do it constantly. Normally, this is where biotic combos come into play, but I normally fill this role with my Geth Trooper flamer. There's also the spiker, someone who delivered punctuated strikes of high damage to individual units. Usually, an infiltrator fills this role by constantly using Tac Cloak and using its bonuses. Their cloak also helps in objective completions.
It goes without saying that consumables are a must, preferably high end ones. In silver, you catch a bad habit of being stingy since you want to save up for gold, but even in silver you have to learn to use what you got since you often times won't know how bad your team mates will be. But in gold, you have to learn to use them at the right moment. Who knows if when your team will get wiped suddenly? Might as well medi-gel yourself just in case.
Last night, I played with the perfect team and scored 200k credits plus a notch for the Lodestar operation for my trouble. I topped the scoreboard since Geth Trooper flamer tends to do that and we went out separate ways afterwards. Just tonight, I tried to recreate that situation to no avail. My last plat lobby ended in failure as my team mates couldn't handle the heat and the best I could do was score points really. I could kill a lot of things but my team mates couldn't keep up and I ended up with too many enemies and boss aggro.
So far, I've only completed Cerberus plat, with three more factions to go. I've completed the other two objectives of Lodestar but things are looking unlikely for the last stretch. Still, the flavortext to Lodestar made it sound like the weekend operations for ME3 are winding down and that would be a darn shame. I guess the finality of Citadel and Bioware's readiness to move on is finally setting in. I was hoping the multiplayer would at least continue to get support in the form of the weekend bounty weekends but it looks like the inevitable is coming to pass; the devs will move on and it'll be up to the players to keep the game alive until someone decides enough is enough and pulls the plug.
Also, [the following has been redacted due to NDA constraints for Battleblock Theater]. Man, so much fun.