First Person Teaming: The Best Defense

Last time I covered mobilization strategies and explained how flexibility and cooperation will enable the success of a team.  Now we’ll get into the old argument of Offense vs Defense and demonstrate the superior importance of the former.

Distilling gaming principles into simple terms can often be disingenuous, but this one tenet always holds true: offense wins games.  Defense, on the other hand, can only secure an already sure win.

The typical multiplayer game has one or more goal types, among them capturing objectives, amassing resources or slaying opponents.  The one element in common is that aggression is required to achieve these and similar goals.  Passivley sniping from remote locations is a strategy that resides in the middle of offensive and defensive postures but as long as the target accomplishment of racking up virtual kills is being met, players are obviously aggressively pursuing enemies through their scope.

Succeeding in active modes means employing the tactics described in the second and third articles in this series in aggressive, relentless fashion.  Falling back on defense only ensures a loss or tie unless the team has already ensured a win by accomplishing enough goals.  Consider the extreme example: if one team spends 100% of its time on defense, and never attains any objective, it is a foregone conclusion that the team will lose.  There’s also the possibility at the other end that a team employing 100% offense could lose, but only if they are equally ineffective at securing goals.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to identify roles.  Divide your team into three main parts: goal pursuit, midrange operations and base/waypoint defense.  Your goal pursuit squad is highly dedicated toward offensive strategies and only alters tactics on a contingency basis as previously described.  In Capture The Flag (CTF) scenarios, they will be consistently entering enemy territory to seize their flag.  Midrange ops will oscillate back-and-forth between home and enemy territory, moving to support the immediate needs.  If the goal pursuit squad is moving into an enemy’s base, then midrange support will naturally and persistently pick off spawning enemy combatants to ensure that the goal pursuit squad gets away safely.  Along the same lines, they will fall back toward their base as fellow flag thieves race toward home base.

One important mode of your midrange operations is to “tie up” enemy combatants in the field, especially if the enemy is itself moving aggressively toward your base.  If you kill off their own midrange operatives while your goal pursuit squad is at the enemy base, you are simply aiding the enemy in their defense by causing them to respawn at home (assuming the spawn points are set up that way).  It’s better to antagonize them but keep them alive (and wounded) until your goal pursuit gang is safely away with their prize– and then finish off the enemy midrange operatives and follow your guys home.

When one team is extremely aggressive, their opponent may find themselves reflexively congregating in and around their own base in a purely defensive mode.  An effective enemy will take advantage of this and overwhelm the hapless defenders.  In every game I have played where this occurs, the defenders lose… often miserably.  If however they are able to regroup, and have the necessary skills, they may be able to respond appropriately and recover.

But a caveat here: if this is ad hoc play, then the situation above may indicate severe imbalance between teams and ethical players will offer to switch sides to make play more fair.  I personally don’t enjoy a lopsided win and would rather work to rally a struggling team than win with people who enjoy taking advantage of noobs.  On the other hand, if this is tournament play, all bets are off and to the better-organized team go the spoils!

Next, I’ll get into more detail on vehicles and weapons.  See you then!

4 responses to “First Person Teaming: The Best Defense

  1. Pingback: First Person Teaming: Mobilization Strategies « Tabula Crypticum

  2. allnameswereout

    Having football (soccer) in mind there are some odd situations though. Especially in a sudden death mode. This affects risk-taking. Or take a competition. A draw to a strong party can be seen as a win for the weak party while a draw to a weak party can be seen as a loss for the strong party. A loss of 2-1 might mean a lot for the losing party if their opponent was strong. This influences the playing style. Sometimes, going defensive after scored means you give the opponent room for adapting and (mental/physical) recovery. It also depends how the scores are counted. If your goal is 5% market share and you get 2% which nobody ever managed to gain in one year that might feel positive. Or if your profits are less than expected that might feel bad even though you did make a profit. Scores and results are hardly absolute; they’re relative to all kind of circumstances. The fabulous EC2004 finals between Greece and Portugal is a great example of a good defense which worked. Greece was a weaker team, and had little chance, especially when they’d go on a rampage offense. Instead they organized a good defense and sometimes attacked. They benefited from ‘dead’ situations (free kicks, corners, etcetera) and in the extra time they benefited from a corner which was one of the very few chances they had throughout the whole match. While they played much better than Greece, Portugal was mentally destroyed by this and were not able to recover.

  3. Nice input regarding perspective, as well as pointing out good examples of mental and physical agility. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: First Person Teaming: Grand Theft Warthog « Tabula Crypticum

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