Thursday, January 27, 2011

Swarm: Arena #5 - Advanced Techniques 1 - Staying Alive (1)

I want to discuss survival tactics, and how to more effectively (and tactically) dodge your opponent's aggression.  For those of you who have seen the matches with myself and Pikaaa, staying alive and coming back in a long game is one of my strong suits.  I've uploaded another match between the two of us.  As always, Pikaaa plays a solid game and there is much to be learned from his play.  However, in this game I want you to watch my (Evilmeat's) dodging.  It's important to note that it doesn't always work out in my favour; some luck is indeed required.  Being more tactical about dodging will allow you to survive in those cases where Lady Luck has a little something waiting for you.

Pikaa has, in the past, accused me of being "dodgy".


You'll notice that there are dozens of times in the above video when I almost run into a drone.  You may also notice that I am significantly better at dodging drones when I have very few of them under my own control!  Why is this?  The simple answer is that I have a lot less to concentrate on.  The technique I actually use is not one with my fingers, but mine eyes!  A useful skill in a game with an excess of information - potentially hundreds of drones on the screen at one time in our case - is to "phase out".  Essentially what I'm doing is focusing on a large area instead of my character specifically.  This allows me to notice powerups very quickly which is vital to survival in nearly every case.  Note the instance in the above video where I literally nudge Pikaaa to ensure that I will be the one receiving the drone powerup: I would have surely been there second if I was a split second slower.

Don't expect this to come quickly; it takes many hours of practice.  I've practiced similar things in other games (eg. 2v2 Pong) and it works wonders for me.

Dodging 'Aggressively'

It's worth noticing that as soon as Pikaaa temporarily removes his aggression against me in order to pick up a powerup, I tend to follow him.  This isn't because I'm suicidal; rather, as discussed in a previous entry, I am simply maximizing my chances of picking up the next powerup.  There is even an instance in the above match where I follow Pikaaa and end up in between two large groups of his drones (see below).  If a powerup shows up anywhere on the right two-thirds of the arena, I will be the first to it, and I may even be able to remove some of his inactive drones along the way.

 Two powerups are nearest to Red due to aggressive survival tactics.

Taking a Hit / Be Decisive!

When absolutely desperate to win a game, any powerup can help, even if it requires dropping a power level or losing your powers altogether.  If your opponent has only a handful of drones more than you, getting to a drone powerup can be vital.  Too commonly I see players (myself included when I slip up) go for a powerup, put themselves in a bad position in order to do so, and retreat without the powerup.  Be decisive!  A player is invulnerable to more hits after being hit for a small period of time.  This is often enough to run through an opponent's wall of drones, retrieve a powerup (even the number of drones, for example), and be safe again.

The above advice becomes especially useful if a player already possesses a level 3 power and is able to pick up another powerup of the same type shortly after being hit.  This completely negates the hit.  In a slightly less favourable case, picking up the opposite powerup directly after being hit is still useful because it instantly maximizes that player's Circle of Influence (COI).  Often it is not the lack of a high level power, but the lack of a proper COI, that causes a player to be put in a bad situation.

Evilmeat (red) taking a hit in order to even the player's drone counts.


There could easily be more said about dodging, but I hope that by watching videos of myself and Pikaaa's play you are able to pick up much more than can be said.

An abrupt change of topic: Pikaaa is desperately looking for non-Evilmeat players to play Swarm with.  Add him as a Steam friend and play!  In how many online games do you get the chance to practice with the best in the world?

No comments:

Post a Comment