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Team Games Article

By Sepha - 11th March 2008 - 22:28 PM

Yojimbo252 shares his insights on how team games work and how you and your partner can maximize your play efficiency and teamwork through communication.


An Intro into Team Games - Some general thoughts for beginners
By Yojimbo252
May not be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Yojimbo252.

Traditionally, the core competitive focus of any RTS has centered around its 1v1 play, and Company of Heroes is no exception. The CoH 1v1 ranked ladder has always attracted the community’s best players, and with it, some fantastically competitive matches that we’ve all enjoyed through replays and shoutcasts. However, with the impending arrival of Arranged Team automatch, the interest in team games is growing and may well explode once finally implemented, so I thought I’d share my views on team games in CoH.

For experienced teams, much of this may seem fairly obvious and will be second nature to you, so I’ll point out that this is aimed primarily at inexperienced teams or players who are only familiar with 1v1. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy the read, and I welcome any feedback.

So, what makes team games tick, and what makes them so vastly different from 1v1s?

Well, the obvious answer is that you’re playing with a partner(s), but if you look a little further into this, what this really means is that you have to share your fight with an ‘unknown.’ Before I elaborate on what I mean by this, let me explain the context in which I’m writing this article, and the experiences from which I draw upon.

Whilst I do play some 1v1s, the majority of my CoH gaming tends to be 2v2 matches. I don’t generally play 3v3s or 4v4s, apart from the occasional game for fun, so the majority of the examples used here will be based on 2v2s; however, I trust there will be principles laid out here that apply equally to all types of team games.

What do I mean by 'sharing your side with an unknown?'

I guess there are two ways to look at 2v2 games. You play with a partner; you have your units they have theirs, and you both need to work together to win. A fairly obvious statement - I can’t argue with that. However, I would prefer to think of it as your side being represented by the total amount of units available to both players, the control of which just happens to be split between yourself and your partner. The problem here is that you have no control over what your partner might do with their ‘share’ of the team’s units. This is the 'unknown,' and applies whether the game is a random pick-up 2v2 or an arranged team match with a preset partner. The bottom line is that even if your partner is a buddy of yours, you still have no direct control over what they might do with their units.

Splitting hairs, you might say? Well, possibly, but from your perspective, an individual squad under your partner’s control is just as important to achieving victory as a squad under your control. The company/doctrine your partner chooses is just as important to you as the company/doctrine you yourself choose. The way in which your partner spends their share of the team’s resources is just as important as how you spend your share. Every action your partner performs has an influence on the overall result, and in this sense, to use a cliché, your destinies are intertwined. Thus, it’s certainly in your best interests to ensure that what your partner does with their share of your team’s units/resources/etc will further your team’s chances of victory and vice versa.

So, how do we go about this? It all starts with communication.

This is where random 2v2s and arranged team game types diverge, because the level of communication differs significantly. I’m going to continue with the arranged team game type in mind for the remainder of the article, because it offers the greater *possibility* for the highest level of communication.

Note that I emphasize the word ‘possibility,’ because unless the opportunity is maximized, the outcome may be no better than if you were playing with a random partner.