Next on my list of things to unlock are some of the multiplayer nicknames. A lot of these are quite grindy (just got to fly in a bunch of unpopular planes a bunch of times) but there is one that is quite problematic: Alan Smithee. You only get this performance evaluation when you get no other performance evaluations, and you have to get it three times to get the nickname. I got it twice previously through blind luck, so I only had to earn it once more.
Everyone will tell you there’s nothing you can do to affect the odds of getting this one, but I’d argue that’s not true. You can boost your chances significantly and then the random factors will be significantly less. I was able to earn it on the second evening of attempts. I really enjoyed the scientific approach it required. Here’s the template I followed;
Fly in unlimited MRP sessions in Roca Roja, preferably Battle Royal. Roca Roja has fewest clouds which will ease your chances of avoiding the most or least time spent in clouds, the evade missiles in clouds, and destroy enemies hiding in clouds evaluations. Unlimited MRP allows you to select a mid range plane and have a good chance that everyone else will take something faster (which avoids the fastest speed and distance travelled evaluations). You still need quite a good plane though as you don’t want to be slowest either, plus you’ll want to be able to score some hits to avoid getting the lowest accuracy evaluation. I found the Mirage to be perfect, making sure I spent a little extra time burning in a straight line just to avoid being slowest.
During the round, don’t do any of the following - use guns in combat, use flares or switch targets. Using guns opens you up to earning trigger happy and gun master evaluations. You do need to fire off a few rounds into thin air just to be certain of not earning the highest accuracy or least ammo used evaluations though. If you use flares you are potentially going to get the bullfighter eval for shaking off missiles. Likewise switching targets frequently has an eval attached, so don’t do it.
Don’t take any aggressive action until someone has already killed an opponent (as there is an eval for first kill) and don’t shoot anyone down in the last minute to avoid the last kill also. Score missile hits but try not to kill more than two or three enemies, depending on your current rank. You want to finish in position 3/4/5 to avoid getting the most kills with missiles or lowest/highest average score per enemies destroyed evaluations. If you think you’ve been flying too long without firing shoot off some missiles into thin air to avoid the evaluation for conserving ammo or being too accurate.
Let yourself get shot down somewhere around the middle of the mission (twice is safer) to avoid getting the most time spent flying without getting shot evaluation. If you are critically damaged, suicide to avoid the most time spent flying in a critical condition evaluation.
The remaining things really do depend on the actions of everyone else, but the highest/lowest average altitude can be quite easily avoided by watching where others are flying. The tricky one for me was stall time - you have no way of knowing if others are stalling during high-g turns or not. The few times that I came away with one single evaluation it was usually either ‘stalled for the longest time’ or ‘stalled for the shortest time’. If you try to second guess this one you will generally get the opposite of what you want. Just fly naturally and wait for the luck.
That was basically it - I knew I was on the right lines when I eliminated nearly all of the combat based evals (except one time I got nothing except the one for being shot down the most, and I was only downed twice). I could consistently get two or three evals only, mostly cloud flight time and stall time or distance. So I knew it was just those factors requiring luck, and yeah - nailed it in two sessions.
I stuck the nickname on and I’ve never been so proud to advertise how average I am lol.