Heard about the MML but aren't sure if your skills are up to snuff? Are you new to team shooters and wondering why everyone else seems to know what they are doing? Do you just want to make sure that yours is not the last name in the post-game lobby? Read on unenlightened one.
Team-based multiplayer games, on any platform, require one core ingredient: teamwork. But what is teamwork? And what makes it successful? If you are new to the site you might feel overwhelmed by the chemistry some of the teams have here. We've been playing together, and against randoms, for a long time. Don't be discouraged. Here is the final word from one of the best team players on the site. Fir3 will have you up running and gunning with the rest of us faster than you can click a link to the MML sign-up thread.
Teamwork is defined as: “A cooperative effort by the members of a group or team to achieve a common goal.”
Three skills – communication, strategy and chemistry – form the basis of any successful team. While this may seem like a simple task, getting your team to a competitive level takes a lot of dedication. While most of the references in this article are Halo-based, everything in this article can be applied to any team-oriented game. The term "Slayer" can also refer to "Death Match" or "Arena" and Objectives can refer to King of the Hill, Capture the Flag, Territories, etc.
The ability a team has to clearly communicate the in-game events to one another is essential. It is every team member’s responsibility to communicate not only what they see, but also what actions they're making.
“Call outs” are musts! Telling your teammates how many people are pushing in on a side of the map, if they are hurt, where the enemy is spawning – if a team member does not call out enemy positions or fails to alert teammates of an enemy pushing in on their flank or their objective, it creates an advantage for the enemy to exploit and move in.
Communication in progress: By labeling areas of the map with specific names (the more specific the better), call outs become that much more important. For example, on the Halo 3 map Guardian, location and color-specific call outs rule the map. Simplified color call outs (yellow/gold 1 and 2, blue 1 and 2, green 1 and 2) and location-specific call outs (snipe 1, 2, 3; top/bottom/middle; snipe lift; camo lift; etc..), provide teammates with a good idea of where to find the enemy. Knowing and memorizing each location of every map can greatly help a team stop an enemy push to their side of the map or keep the enemy pinned down in their base.
In addition to basic location and color-specific call outs, enemy call outs are also helpful. Always let your team know how many people are pushing a given side of the map, or how many shots you may have in an enemy. Say you have two enemies pushing your left side of the map and you fired one shot in each of them. Sharing this with your team tell two things: 1. Obviously, two people are coming on the left side, and 2. They are both slightly weakened, giving your defending teammates a potential advantage in the upcoming fire fight.
Using specific name call outs can also greatly help your team. Take this scenario: Two guys, Players A and B, are pushing on the left, you manage to put two shots in Player A, but none in Player B, before being pushed back or getting killed. Sharing this with your team helps them know that Player A is weakened and Player B is full shields. The bottom line: Specific call outs give your team a huge advantage.
Strategy is huge to any team’s success, and not only a best-case scenario strategy, it's important to have plans in place for the variables that will inevitably come up. So where does a team begin?
For starters, each map should have an essential strategy based on what you want to achieve, and how you can achieve it. From the moment the match starts you need a plan. In Halo, you need to send team members to secure key power weapons on the map. For example, on the Pit, my team knows what to do the moment the game starts: Neks0ne and another team member push to the rockets, while I (F1R3) and another team member push to overshields and sniper. But now what? This is where the variables come in. Did all four of us survive the initial push? Or are we down players? And if so, who's down and where were they? If three or four of us are alive, we automatically push to their side, and start to control their spawn points and/or push in on an objective if it is an objective gametype. If less than three are alive, we sit back, wait for our teammates to spawn and then push in as a team or stop the other team from pushing in on our base, and push in afterward.
As you can see in the above example, variables need to be accounted for in most situations and this can be complicated – but the game flow, team strategy, and variables all become easier and more natural with practice and team scrimmages.
In some respects, objective game types can prove to be trickier than slayer game types because you need to protect a teammate carrying an objective and give him/her a clear road to the capture point. Working out your team’s optimal route and a secondary route can help your team to correctly score objectives and protect the flag runner or ball carrier, allotting your team more scores on the flag or times with the oddball.
Chemistry is equally important as communication and strategy. Team chemistry is, simply, how well you work together. This is something that can be learned over time, but some players just play better together than others. I am fortunate enough to have a teammate that I have played with for three years now. Our team chemistry is great because we've played so many games together. The more a team plays together the better the team will become over all. Chemistry doesn’t come by simply saying, “YAY! We have four people, we are a team!” It comes from a lot of practice and playing other teams in matchmaking or in scheduled scrimmages. A couple years back, there was a great article by Overswarm. In this article he broke down the different types of Halo player. As a team, you should strive to become what he described as a “wolf pack.” Attacking your enemy together, aka team shooting, will give you a big advantage over the other teams: “The Wolf is the least common of the five styles, and that is a sad thing. One thing that wolves know is that no matter how strong they are, no matter how fast they are, there is always the possibility that there is something bigger. They also know that it is easier to take down even the simplest of prey if you work as a team. That is why wolves run in packs.” This pack mentality can lift a team to victory or shatter a team in defeat. If a team does not have chemistry they are bound to fail, over and over again.
Ultimately, teamwork is not as hard as it sounds. With the proper practice and dedication, any team can become a cohesive unit. Below I have added a couple of you tube videos of neks0ne and myself (F1R3) playing together using some of these principles. The video shows Neks and I on the Halo 3 map Orbital, we run through seven opponents simply because we talked, shot together, and worked as a team. Orbital is not a map we have any strategy for, but with our team chemistry and communication, we were able to stay alive.
If you have any questions about this article feel free to PM me or Neks0ne, or better yet, dive on into the Halo Tournament and League Forum. Join the discussion and add your own strategies
Big shout out to Caesar, thanks for capping these vids for Neks and I. – F1R3