Playstyle and Team Chemistry

June 11, 2010

Seems to me a lot of teams don’t really think about this when recruiting. How someone plays is just as important as how much of a dick  they are in dictating teamwork, which is the most important part of TEAM Fortress 2.

One problem we had in our old lineup was our mentality, we were all aggressive minded players. If left to our devices on mid, you’d get the demo pushing up to sticky aggressively (their choke, medpack, demo etc.), our scouts pushing in deep, and when the sollys arrive they’d pretty much jump in instantly. We tried to curb this with tactics and positioning but hey, when you’re adapting to non-standard play or faced with difficult, split-second choices you generally do what’s in your blood. You can change your aggressiveness when you have time to think about what you’re doing, but sometimes you over do it and play too passive etc. etc., and it can take a long time to change your fundamental mindset.

When it worked it was like magic, 6 down in 5 seconds hey let’s push to last. But it could equally fail just as easily. Our demo pushed up far and did tons of damage, and this style works with scouts committed to defence.  But we also had a beast scout who was in the clan for a long time back when it was still div 5-6 skill, and his playstyle was to carry the team by meatshotting everything on the field. Our demo died a fair few times, causing frustration in the initial battle.

When the demo survived he was heal hungry pushing up and doing work. But equally our soldiers were heal starved from trading spam, and couldn’t jump in to assist. But we still did so a lot anyway as we were aggressive minded, trying to get in before the spam starts. Again, when that succeeds it’s perfect but when it fails it’s hey we just wiped. It would often be soldiers killing one before dying, rinse repeat. You can see this from the match results at the time, our soldiers would bottom frag 90% of the time. Problem here again is that our medic is forced quite deep to keep up with heals, and he’d also die quite often.

We didn’t know at the time why we’d roll some rounds but fail hard on others, and didn’t know why our demo and medic died so much. Frustration built up until eventually, blame started to be shifted around to the scouts not knowing how to play, the soldiers bottom fragging to the medic dying too much etc. The team started to fall apart.

What you really need for your team is a style. Most teams run with a “main carry” (lol dota) who get the bulk of the heals, and the rest of the cast supporting that. You can’t have a whole team made up of carries jumping around everywhere (unless you’re Xensity) and expect to be consistent. Sure you’ll roll a lot of teams but you’ll fail just as much. The main reason for this is heal distribution,  medics can only heal 24 hp/s on targets in battle, which is not enough if everyone is getting lit. Of course, the best setup is to rotate the “carry” according to what is best in that situation, but a lot of top teams have their “go to” guy who get a good proportion of the heals. Complexity have their scouts, EG has Reptile, FB has Exfane, etc.

This was all a while back but we learnt our lesson, now when we recruit we try and take into account the trialee’s natural playstyle on top of everything else. This makes it easier to get them to adapt and gel with our team’s style.

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