Archive for April, 2010

Medic Ubercharge Mechanics

April 27, 2010

OK, another nerd post, this time dealing with the ubercharge. It’s basic stuff but I figure it’s easier to have it all written down in one place.

Charging Uber

The uber charges at 2.50% per second when you heal someone not at full overheal or during setup time. It’s a fairly common misconception that it charges faster the lower health you are, this is not true. It charges at the same rate whether you are on 1 hp or at 149% buff.

The uber charges at 1.25% second when healing a fully overhealed player.

It’s important to know this so you can keep track of enemy uber. The more accurate you are, the more often you will know you have an advantage and you get more opportunities to push. Even a 5s uber is enough to start a push on some points.

It’s kinda hard to keep track of this accurately during a match, so until you’re used to it, the easier way to think about it is:

5% per 2 seconds

10% per 4 seconds

25% per 10 seconds

50% charge in 20 seconds

75% in 30 seconds

Full charge in 40 seconds

But eventually, your goal is to keep track of enemy uber down to the 2.5% or second. It will become second nature after some practice especially if you’ve played Quake before, as it’s really not that different to timing item spawns. Keep track of the round time when the enemy’s uber fades or when he respawns – you can calculate from there. This is another reason why it’s important to always call a medic pick, if people stop doing it shout at them. Once you get good you can also see whether anyone spawned with the medic and guess whether he had anyone to charge, making your estimates more accurate (unless ofc people call their team is near their spawn). But of course, you must always know the fastest possible time they can have uber. This is what makes or breaks picking their medic at 95% charge or whether he ubers you back off the point.

Basically, if anyone asks “Do we have uber advantage?” you should be able to say how much you’re ahead or behind accurately.

Uber Drain Rate

It’s important to know this in uber vs. uber battles as it forms the basis of your decision on whether to stay and fight or run and live. In Buick’s words:

“Another thing that you need to be keen on is uber management, you NEED to let your team know that you multi-ubered and how many times (targets) you did. You need to do the math in your head and let them know exactly how many seconds each team has left on their ubers. If you see the opponent multi-uber count how many new targets he
hit, do the math in your head, and prepare your team to swoop in the split second it drops. It’s unacceptable to just say “we ubered, oh they ubered” and then not speak until it’s over. When both teams uber it’s war within a war.. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a medic uber, multi 2 new people and not realize that he needs to get out of danger MUCH sooner than usual. Instead he realizes it once the uber starts flickering and it’s far too late then, he’s as good as dead if he went too far in.”

(http://communityfortress.com/tf2/blog/an-evening-with-keith-smerbeck-part-2.php)

Anyway, the base drain rate during ubercharge is 12.50% uber per second (uber/s). This means you hold uber for 8 secs + 1.5 sec of fade time.

However, it gets quite complicated when you multi:

Robin Walker clarifies the issue:

——————————-
Hi Stuart.

You pay a 50% base drain cost for every extra person being affected by the uber. So the formula is:

Drain amount = (base drain) + (0.5 * base drain * (num ubered players -1))

You only pay 50% for the extras because we wanted to still reward juggling.

Robin.
——————————–

In other words, this means:

Uber 1 person: 12.5% uber/s = 8 seconds of uber

Uber 2 people: 20% uber/s = 5 seconds of uber

Uber 3 people: 25% uber/s = 4 seconds of uber

Uber 4 people: 31.25% uber/s = 3.2 seconds of uber

Even though you won’t uber more than 4 people, like ever, just in case:

Uber 5 people: 37.5% uber/s = 2.67 seconds of uber

So in general, you can tell when their uber will run out and make a decision from there.

Once you get used to this, you can be even more precise. The uber only drains faster if a medic keeps multiple people ubered. If a medic ubers 2 people but lets one drop halfway, he starts off with the faster drain rate (20% u/s), but goes back to the base drain rate once the uber on one person has faded (12.5% u/s).

i.e.

Uber person A and B = 20% u/s

Person B stops flashing, only A is ubered = 12.5% u/s

This could mean the difference between an extra second on uber which can be significant.



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Theories on Soldier Play at Mid

April 26, 2010

Spam

Better coordinated and more accurate spam is more likely to win you mid,  giving you the overall health advantage which you can convert into position advantage to push the other team off the point. At lower levels of skill, play is decided on picks and uber, meaning you act only based on who you’ve killed and which side has the uber. Higher teams will evolve this, and also act on health and position, focusing on low hp targets and punishing opponents who overextend.

Health

Putting classes at low health basically curbs their aggression. In other words, you can control where the enemy will be and what they will do depending on the classes you spam.

At low health:

  • Soldiers cannot rocket jump or go aggressive, forcing them to take cover and stopping their spam
  • Scouts have to look for health, restricting their movement (they will be near medic, health pack or respawn)
  • Demo cannot push, limiting his dps range and forcing him to stick with the medic
  • Medic has to fall back. The whole team has to then either fall back further to stay with the medic, or stay forward with no heals.

(Don’t) Hit the Medic

Ideally then, you want to plant spam on the medic as it gives the largest benefit. However, most of the time this is not a good idea as he should be positioned in a way where it’s difficult to deal damage to him. Even if he is exposed it could mean they are going ultra aggressive, in which case you need to focus on the threat like jumping sollys, rather than trying to spam the medic. It is only really feasible to focus the medic if he is both exposed and they play passive or he is low. Let your demo spam the medic using rollers or high pipes, he will call medic low if he gets some nice hits, then maybe you can catch him with a rocket to finish him off.

Hit the Pushers

The next thing you ask yourself is whether they have any heavies pushing up. A demo pushing onto mid uncontested can lay some serious hurt into your team or trap off a whole area if he isn’t contested. You need to prevent stunts like this by making sure any heavies think twice before pushing forward by putting them on low health.
This also goes for any jumping sollys who have to be dealt with quickly. If it takes longer than 3 or 4 seconds to kill him this puts your team at a disadvantage not so much because of the damage he does, but due to most of your team having to focus him, giving their other heavies free reign to push up and deal terrible terrible damage. Good teams will use the jumping soldier to distract the other team to initiate a push rather than sending him on a solo kamikaze mission onto the medic and praying he gets the kill.

Hit the Combo

If no-one rocket jumps from the beginning and it’s a standard mid battle, your focus should be on the enemy combo. This forces their medic’s heals onto the soldier almost non-stop,  and restricts their push as well as limiting healing on the other classes on their team. If you hurt a solly to say 50hp, it takes roughly 6 secs before he’s at 200hp again. That’s 6 seconds of either the medic healing only the soldier. If the medic spreads heals the solly will stay low, limiting their pushing power.

Hit the Scouts

If their heavies are all very passive and there is no immediate threat, look to hit their scouts with a rocket or two. Even if you splash a scout with a rocket it helps immensely in scout vs scout battles. Only do this if it’s not possible to force the medic to heal one target (e.g. too long range, behind cover etc.)

Position

You can work with the demo to deny areas to the enemy team. An example of this is on granary. By stickying and planting rockets around their medkit you stop them moving out that way, forcing them into the tight space behind their crates. This makes it a lot easier to damage them together with splash, and makes your rj pushes that much more effective. This is situational as it’s almost always more beneficial for a solly to spam a person than an area, but in some cases it’s worth it. The best case scenario is if you can get both a key target and an area.


Initiating the Push

As I said before, this is basically it:
Good teams will use the jumping soldier to distract the other team to initiate a push rather than sending him on a solo kamikaze mission onto the medic and praying he gets the kill.

Before jumping, make sure you have enough health and know the other heavies in your team are ready to push (enough health, in position, etc.). You need to know the most effective place to jump (usually high ground such as their train on badlands or their crate on granary) or where their medic is if they are playing non-standard (ask if you don’t know).

If you aren’t the jumping soldier, make sure you soften their team up with spam while doing your best to not get hurt yourself as it will hinder your ability to push when needed.

This is why spam is so important, it increases the effectiveness of your jump depending on how well you did in the first 5-10 seconds at mid.

NB: Of course, everything written here is based on standard scenarios, by all means jump on their medic early to surprise them. Just don’t do it all the time or they get wise to it and it’s going to be 5v6 on mid.

The tl;dr version:

The Primary Roles of a Soldier at Mid are:

  1. Spam enemy or a position
  2. Initiate the push
  3. Protect friendly medic

The Secondary Roles of a Soldier at Mid are:

  1. Assist demo/scouts
  2. Suicide on key classes