As a Survivor main (55 hours) who played as the Mastermind (20 hours) solely for the achievements, I've got some advice. Its purpose is to help newcomers, but it might assist a few seasoned players too.
Guide for Newbies
By far the most important bit of advice that I can provide. This game is unbalanced on both sides, and only exists in the first place because Capcom acknowledged the RE3 remake's shortcomings. Accepting those facts will make all of this a lot easier.
Try not to take it so seriously, pace yourself, know when it's time to stop playing for a little while, and be prepared to endure an experience that literally everyone has been frustrated with in one way or another.
It Won't Always Be Fun
As I previously mentioned, this game is unbalanced on both sides. However, it's not solely the characters or even their abilities that make the game feel this way. It's the matchmaking.
Expect to be matched against experienced players with a much higher play time, way more effective abilities, daunting levels and aggressive tactics regardless of if you choose Survivor or Mastermind.
The opposite of that should also be expected; being matched against, or even with, inexperienced players who've hardly played the game, have no helpful abilities, pitiful levels and can hardly even think of the word "tactics".
Playing as the Mastermind (MM)
This was *the* most frustrating experience I've ever had in my entire gaming life. I actually wanted to quit and uninstall the game during my teeth-gritting experiences in getting each MM to Rank 5, just to realize that they were hardly effective until you get them to rank 10.
Unfortunately, you /have/ to push through that frustration to get good. Quitting won't give you points, no points means no ranking, no ranking means no progress and no progress means no improvement. You *will not* be able to win without better equipment, which you *cannot* get without failing over, and over, and over again.
I can't deny that a lot of what MMs can do is broken. However, once you feel the grind, you realize that power is earned, not granted.
Playing As The Survivors
My fellow Survivors: this is a team based game. Keep that in mind, try sticking together and learn from your mistakes. All it takes is ONE bad or uncooperative ally to ruin an entire match, which makes playing Survivor almost as frustrating as Mastermind.
In addition to maintaining that team mentality, playing as only one Survivor is a good way to burn yourself out. Masterminds don't have to worry about someone locking the character they want to play, and can keep all of their experience in just one place. You cannot. Try learning at least 3 Survivors in order to ensure that you can play comfortably regardless of who gets locked.
Practice might never make perfect for us, but just like the Masterminds, there is a lot of potential and power behind each Survivor. That power is earned, not granted.
The Old Razzle Dazzle
Cosmetics are a trap. Until you've purchased every available piece of equipment, try not to spend your points on cosmetics regardless of what you main. If you truly want to test your luck with them, try doing so through the completion of daily and weekly missions. That way, you save your points for improving characters and get to experience both sides of the game.
It helps that, as of now, there haven't been any difficult missions that couldn't be achieved in a round or two.
Cheats, Exploits and Hacks
Some of the biggest issues with this game stem from the lack of programmed authority. There is no anti-cheat, no ability to easily report players, and no way to prevent being matched with someone who regularly uses mods or exploits.
To make matters worse, trying to report someone through Steam is irrelevant. The game only gives us access to people's display name, and since we have the ability to freely change them, the culprit could literally be anyone.
The silver lining for all of this is that each day, the community is raising awareness toward the issue by sharing their pictures and videos. Surely, Capcom and NeoBards are at least glancing at the forums for this game, so if you see something, capture it and share. Otherwise, it will never get resolved.
I'm sure there will be people like me who mostly end up playing this game in order to collect its achievements. To them, I say this: Take. Your. Time.
Taking advantage of my state's Covid limitations, my life looked like this for about a week: wake up > breakfast > Resistance > lunch > Resistance > dinner > Resistance > sleep > repeat. Why? Because I feared this game's community was quickly dying out, and I'd be unable to legitimately unlock the achievements before the month ended.
My biggest, and most unfortunate mistake was hard-focusing this game. The longer I played, the more frustrated I got. The more frustrated I got, the more I disliked it. Match after match. Loss after loss. Quitter after quitter. It. Was. Not. Worth. It.
This game isn't going anywhere. There will always be at least 500 people playing. Do. Not. Rush.
Rising Above the Toxicity
This community is, by far, one of the most toxic that I've ever been a part of. People at each other's necks for preferring one side over the other. Members who harass people on their profile just because they play as a certain character. Supporters who blindly accept the game's faults, and haters who would like nothing more than to see this game burn.
Rise above it. Don't be afraid to share your thoughts, and don't be a dummy like me who entertains the negativity. You *will not* be able to change anyone's opinions of this game. Only they can change their minds by opening them and playing the game from a different perspective.