Friday, December 3, 2010

When ahead, stay ahead

This is a RTS philosophy that I've used, learned and experienced the hard way in many years of practice.  Typically in StarCraft, once you get ahead of your opponents in terms of economy and expansions, it's very easy to stay ahead as long as you control the money game.  If you kill one of his expansions with a push, you can take another expansion and you'll be infinitely be more ahead than he is.  Chances are that no matter what he does, you'll remain ahead for the rest of the game.  This is a mentality that I took with me to miniatures gaming.

Say that you're playing a game of 40K and you've killed a bunch of his transports and left almost his entire army footslogging.  Do you go balls out and assault with your dudes and ignore the ranged advantage that you have?  Fuck no.  I don't know about you guys, but I get the most fun when I use every strategic choice available to me in the most efficient way possible.  I understand completely that if I keep my range and use my speed as an advantage, I'll take less losses and inflict heavy casualties on my disabled enemy.  Will that make the game more fun for him?  No.  It is a form of punishment to watch all his minis die one by one, but such is the price of tactical failure.

Now what about Warmachine?  Last night I watched a game where one of my friends got eVlad down to 2 HP. Instead of taking his time and thinking about all the options and tools he had in front of him (eVlad was the only guy left), he got greedy and tried to kill eVlad by shooting him in combat.  Greed is not the right method in WM, especially when you're ahead.  Turns out that eVlad didn't die after all and he walked over to Kaelyssa and chopped her head off in the next round.  This isn't the first time I've seen greed overcome a player's tactical mind either.  Maybe it's the smell of victory so near or the thought of a glorious win that makes players forget their logic and tactics.

This has happened to me as well, for more games than I can remember.  I remember the times where I would be overly aggressive and push into someone's base with tanks, MM and Drop Ships; going for the killing blow.  Of course he would defend well and I literally smash my head and my resources into a 1-base all-in strat, but despite everything I do, I just can't make it up that ramp for the home stretch.  Before I know it, my army is in full retreat and my opponent has a hidden expo.  He stayed calm, controlled his fear of defeat and used superior tactics to defeat my push.  What I should of been doing was scouting for possible expos, taking another base and anticipating any tricks he can muster to get back into the game.  I smashed into his tactics like water on rock and I full-heartedly agree that I should be defeated.  Stubbornness, greed and arrogance are some of the the biggest flaws in gamers in every genre of gaming.

So how do you overcome such flaws?  Simple.  By simple, I mean that the following advice I give will be simple to understand, but will take time to come to fruition.  I promise you this though:  Once you master these tips, your game will improve drastically.  Guaranteed.

  • Stay calm in dire times.  When things go poorly, keep your tactical mind sound and analyze every possible situation to reverse the game in your favor.
  • Don't get greedy, ever.  When a win is near and you can taste it on the tip of your tongue, take a second and analyze various ways your opponent can reverse the game in his favor.  Deny them these situations and the game is yours every time.
  • When all is lost, gg out and find another game or play again.  Take a few minutes to discuss the things you did wrong, how you could of done better, and what you can do next time.  Most importantly, LEARN from every mistake and commit your failures to memory.  Try not to repeat these again.
  • Take time to do research and study your adversaries.  There is nothing more unforgiving than ignorance in the face of battle.  It has been the downfall of thousands of generals and their soldiers paid for it with their lives.  Knowledge is power, use it well.
  • Lastly, practice makes perfect.  You might be the best player in the world, but if you don't get game time in, your skills will start rusting away.  Don't be afraid to lose and take each loss with a smile.  Defeat only makes you stronger as long as you learn from your mistakes.

That's all I got.  Take as much from this as you can.

PS - I changed the color of the site slightly.  Let me know if you like it or not.


Nikephoros said...

Very excellent article.

Thor said...

Agreed, well said.

"Don't get greedy, ever. When a win is near and you can taste it on the tip of your tongue, take a second and analyze various ways your opponent can reverse the game in his favor. Deny them these situations and the game is yours every time."

So true. I know early on when I began 40K, or was still new anyway, I would take a quick lead and start getting all giddy. I was finally going to win, finally! Nope. I forgot to evaluate ways my opponent could come in and ruin my day and deny me the win and steal it from me. I've gotten sloppy too. Oh, I have a solid lead and this guy is pretty new so I'll let up a bit. Sure enough, it comes back to bite me in the ass every time. Not saying I should stomp him but I let my guard down too much.

A victory is only secure when the game ends.

kdawg said...

What a great article! Thanks for your time and dedication to your blog!

Anonymous said...

The colour is terrible compaired to the old, it just hurts my eyes.

HERO said...

Hehe, I'm working on it :P

Gareth said...

Great article, HERO. The colour is quite bright.... :)

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