- INTRODUCTION -
I’m confident the strategies I’ll lay out here will help you, the lone player without need of team, dominate in Capture the Flag and other objective based games. Most importantly, these tips will weather the current and future rounds of patches that are addressing some of the flagrant balance issues. When the dust clears, these ideas will retain value.
Others have dropped tactics for straight offense and defense: I’m going to outline two seemingly similar but actually disparate approaches to play – dubbed “The Gadfly” and “The Lanna”. They focus on providing crucial assistance to the offense and defense respectively, but both essentially involve jetpack hopping around the map, blowing the shit out of everything with a rocket launcher and shotgun, and smart building. Playing proper offense or defense isn’t necessarily easier, but it is nonetheless tactically (more) straightforward.
While some big nerfs have been floated that weaken these styles of play compared to the early beta days, most notably to the rocket launcher, they’re still dominating – a virtual guarantee of victory if pulled off well on a competent team. They rely on big heaps of skill, poise, and clutch. It’s also hands down the best way to rack up kills and blow out your K:D ratio, if that’s what floats your boat. Here’s my best using these tactics:
- OPENING RUSH -
Before diving in, let’s look at your opening 1.5 minutes – they’re a critical time frame where you can start the countdown to total annihilation or dither around wasting rift. Both approaches have the same problem, assuming you’re without a pre-built base: how to quickly double your starting rift to build a Vulture Station? Without the luxury of simply shooting rift barrels, I see three distinct options available:
- Simply sit around and wait till you have enough, in the meantime arming up and readying to shut down their rush. While the safest and possibly least time consuming, it relies on your sometimes inept opponents mounting a timely razorback or hawk assault for you to squash and cash in on. If that never happens, simply waiting around to accrue rift from a beacon or collector will take around 2.2 minutes, far too long. If it does and you successfully crack a few skulls, you’re still at your base so you can immediately get going and you lent a helping hand stopping that first rush. Pat on the back.
- Venture out on your lonesome and try and score a few kills and/or blow away a few barrels. This is your lowest yield but consistent ROI, since the barrels never go anywhere, you’re more likely to find enemies out in the neutral zone, and you may get lucky enough to stumble into a rushed base that you can destroy (you did grab a rocket launcher right?). Unfortunately you’re easy pickings for a random hawk or razorback group – you have to really keep your eyes open and make sure you’re not simply run over or stomped. After gathering the requisite energy it’s usually best to kamikaze their base and try to do some damage, since dying and respawning is often quicker for getting back.
- Jump in a vehicle with one of your teammates and go on the rush. The most precarious, it’s also potentially the most satisfying, should you score a point. The same principle from #2 applies: try to kill and destroy your way to 6 rift points, die, then respawn and get ready to make magic happen ASAP. Beware of the many retarded drivers though – 1 out of 3 times you’ll just get iced for a big waste of time.
- META STRATEGIES -
Now. You have your Vulture Pack, you’ve stocked up with a rocket launcher, shot gun, and (hopefully) a sniper rifle. If someone else hasn’t already built a watchtower then consider that your next building priority. Before setting out, let’s consider a few meta strategies that apply to you either way:
- Learn to think like you’re playing an RTS, not a shooter. Start to think of the different weapons and vehicles as different units produced in an RTS, with strengths and weaknesses that dovetail the standard rock-paper-scissors formula seen in the genre. Don’t, for instance, measure your personal success in terms of how many kills you get; instead judge how well you fulfilled your personal role on the team. Did you counter the units you were supposed to? Did you stay in the areas you work best in, creating the appropriate buildings there in the right layout? This shift in perspective will serve you well almost all the time…
- …the one great exception being considerations of how many other players you’re occupying by fighting. If, while on offense, you’re practically forcing the commitment of two or three defenders just to repel you then consider it a job well done. Does it take more than one player assaulting your defenses to break through? Bravo. How many individual players you can successfully engage tends to rely on your raw skills at a shooter, so it makes sense to focus on these if you intend to improve in this area. Any time you’re monopolizing the time of more than one player you’re helping your team win, even if you’re constantly dying and your buildings are getting destroyed.
- Stay the course, George W. Bush style. If you’ve chosen your perk and load out around supporting the offense, help the offense. Unless you’re in a game-ending situation or it’s very convenient, you should be ignoring the plight of your defense focused allies. Same thing for defenders: just focus on doing your job and disregard to some extent how many points you’re putting up. You’re ultimately hurting your own side by not playing towards your strengths, and you can fudge your whole team’s rhythm if you’re constantly trying to accommodate both sides of the coin. Consider that certain games are just destined to be high scoring slug matches, while others will be only 1-0.
DON’T BUILD STUPID STRUCTURES! This is the first thing everyone says, but repeated violation necessitates a few dead horses. There’s a 1,000 ways you can force your team to lose by building like a moron, but few consider that unnecessary buildings are actually hand delivering rift energy to your foes when they casually blow it to smithereens. Every time you build a lone turret in the middle of the map or third hawk hanger on the outskirts of your base you’re inviting their offense to pass Go and collect $200.
- MISCELLANEOUS TIPS -
- Never run out on foot towards the enemy base without some kind of upgrade. You will get smoked instantly, thereby wasting your own time and giving your opponents rift.
- Mines will harm any infantry if they run directly over them, even if they’re running or jump off a ledge or whatever. Mines you’ve placed stay intact after you die.
- Snap aiming on rifles has been rendered less effective, but it’s still very useful. Try easing off L1 for a half second to let your accuracy re-align a bit and then lay it on them.
- Think twice about trying to crush enemies in your base with your drop pod. If they’re on their A-game, they’ll just avoid it and blow you away with a couple shotgun shells.
- You can indeed shoot people out of their Hawk cockpits and Razorback or Jet Bike’s driver’s seats with conventional guns and deal damage normally, but it seems that rocket hits will simply affect the vehicle and ignore wherever they hit on the seated player.
- There is no reduction in damage from range on sniper shots.
- Like any good shooter, you can up the sensitivity for the left and right stick functions in the options. This is a good idea. Get used to it, these tweaks will serve you well.
- Learn to maneuver terrain, cover ground, destroy rift barrels and perform other non-combat tasks with the map open. You’ll want to be monitoring the entire map as much as possible.
- ARMOR AND ATTACK RATING ANALYSIS -
Here I’ll cover how armor and attack coefficients play with one another. Expect this to updated when the game releases, since there’s not much to say at this juncture. For now we can note that armor is an all or nothing game: if your weapon has a sufficiently high “attack impact” quantity (as opposed to the number of hit points it reduces per shot), you will damage that player/building/vehicle at full value. There is no damage reduction provided by armor. For example: an assault rifle cannot damage a supply bunker under any circumstances, and a rocket to a soldier’s face subtracts an equal number of hitpoints as nicking the corner of a wall (the wall just has many more hitpoints than said soldier). You can take note of your weapon’s effectiveness by looking for the color X it creates upon hitting: red means damage, white means nada.
- CONTROLS -
(lifted with thanks from EU’s PS3 blog)