Some thoughts on play

Routine and the unknown

We build up an understanding of the game through experience. We repeat the same actions many times, and by doing so we build up a picture of how we predict events to unfold, and what is the best/most efficient route or position. This is an extremely useful tool, because of it we learn the best strategies, the best player positions and the best build orders in games like Warcraft 3. It is because of this that we can see mirror Starcraft players having units and buildings in perfect symmetry even minutes into the game.

Despite the importance of this part of the way we learn, we have to understand its limitations too. It is easy to fall into the trap of being caught out by more unexpected or creative play when we are just doing our normal routine. We can use the fact people create routines and the standard way of doing things defensively and offensively. Defensively: to learn about and improve ourselves and our play. Offensively: to take advantage of our opponent’s routines.

I will give an example. There was a time when we were playing Weapons of the Rebellion, the map was badlands and we were pushing last point. Both Player Thirty-Two and I had died, and we re-spawned at the same time on the middle point. I ran out slightly ahead of P32, my mind was not on what was happening and I was just bunny hopping away waiting until we arrived inside the enemy base. As I jumped into the enemy house on the way to the canyon, I suddenly got damaged, and then I was dead before I realised. Seconds later Player Thirty-Two was dead too trusting me not to make an error. What had happened was that Predz had somehow got behind, and decided to camp there.

My fatal mistake was assuming that I “knew everything.” There was no reason, no expectation that someone could be anywhere near by when I had just re-spawned on mid, and that clearly incorrect assumption put my team in a horrendously bad position: no scouts alive with an enemy scout behind – not good! It is important to understand why we have routines, that there are always more and less efficient ways of doing things. But it is highly important that we don’t get limited by what we already know, and always remember that no matter how good we are or how much better we are than our opponents there is always the unknown, always something to learn. And always leave room for a touch of creativity!


I often find that when people pull off a nice manoeuvre such as a good kill or some other kind of good play, they become more likely to make a mistake in their following actions. They become overconfident in their actions, and they are more likely to take risks beyond what is sensible for “good play.” It is standard that as one grows in experience this part of you is tempered, but this kind of overconfidence may still exist in some ways.

An example of what I mean. I remember a time where I was at the enemy canyon on badlands, and two enemy scouts were there. I managed to pull off a double kill getting both of them, which is a considerable feat even versus less skilled scouts. My next action was to rush straight to last point and try and take on 4 players by myself. The result is nothing but halving the advantage my team has, I have just put us up a 2 player advantage, and because of my arrogance I quickly halved that to only a 1 man advantage.

Just a tip to keep an eye on your play. Watch yourself, and make sure you are making good decisions, not brash ones based on your mad lust for frags!

No comments:

Post a Comment