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Playing to Win

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  • Playing to Win

    A number of years ago a friend gave me some advice for a different game. In the middle of a game, he said "You're playing to not lose... play to win." At the time, this gave me a completely different view on the game, and it helped to make me a much better player. This statement has had a profound effect on the way I view games and play them, even today. While NS is a different game, I think it shares some characteristics that allow this concept to apply.

    At it's heart, this idea means to play aggressively. Playing to not lose is characterized by passive, defensive, and reactive gameplay. The reason why this is bad is that it doesn't put pressure on your opponent, and it gives them time that they might use to win. Playing to win often involves taking risks, being active, and being aggressive. It means sometimes you should sacrifice a solid defense to bolster your offense.

    This is not to say that you will never win when you "play to not lose". In NS, I would say there are a number of times when you will eventually win by doing this. The problem is that playing like this will give your opponents extra time to make plans and execute them, which can lead to a loss for you sometimes.

    The difficult part is identifying when you and your team are playing to not lose. If you catch yourself with control of most of the map on aliens and your team isn't pressuring marine start, you're playing to not lose. You don't want the marines to take down a hive so you are going to focus on keeping them out and away from the hives. If on marines you catch yourself with lots of res and fortify your defenses in double or some other important location, you're playing to not lose. You don't want the aliens to take back double so you're going to invest your resources to defend it. Pressure marine start when the marines are reeling. Pressure the hives when the aliens are reeling. Please note that this doesn't mean to completely drop your defense. It is necessary to defend things, and stopping that is not the idea.

    These two examples are extremely limited in demonstrating this concept. The best way to understand it is to pay close attention to your style of gameplay and try to determine what you're trying to accomplish by playing the way you are. The main goal here is to identify when you are being passive or reactive. If you and your team can recognize these situations and remedy them, you will become much stronger and win more games.



    Play to win.

  • #2
    Re: Playing to Win

    I could stand to benefit from this, especially lately. I'll try to keep it in mind when I command.
    Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

    Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

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    • #3
      Re: Playing to Win

      Don't dump this attitude completely on the commander either. Don't be that grunt who does nothing but follow orders and die. When the commander makes a call you find frivolous, take the time (while still doing your job) to call him on it.

      Don't just say: "That's a bad idea."

      Support your com, offer him solutions not derision.

      If Wyz, Infro, Shroom, etc, are in a position that I feel they need help in, I try and get in my own position to help them. I don't wait for the PG at a hive to be lost (when I know there is no possibility to keep it). I take pride in already being at another hive ready for a second phase gate. Or already on the move for more RTs before the com asks someone to go cap res nodes.

      Building and killing aliens are not the only two tasks for a skilled marine.

      Also, know your commander: if you've been playing here for 6 months and you don't know how wyz thinks when he's commanding, then you need to sit back and re-evaluate your play style. You can learn to expect certain things from certain commanders (like always losing when Infro commands, or always losing AND being yelled at if I command).

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      • #4
        Re: Playing to Win

        That's funny, considering the fact that Infro kicks ass from that chair, lately.

        I take a lot of value from marines (including others) like Fenix, j, Yack, vapox.... marines who think 90 seconds ahead all the time... who position themselves (regardless of location) for an opportunity. As a commander, I thrive on opportunities.

        I'm not as good as I should be at making opportunities HAPPEN as a commander, but I can do more with most opportunities than can most commanders.
        Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

        Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

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        • #5
          Re: Playing to Win

          In my experience with playing NS, "playing so as not to lose" is the one of the more common mistakes.

          Another closely related one (but not nearly as common) is "playing so as not to let the other team win", where either the commander or the team at large becomes reactive. This seems to happen most frequently with commanders that get early MT. Something to think about when you get MT is whether you are using it primarily to counter what the other team is doing, or are you using to allow you to do what you want to do?

          That said, "playing to win" while generally a good state, is not perfect, and you need to remember that. While you should always try to be on the offensive, you also need to keep your eyes and ears open so as to know when you need to be defensive. To use an example, later in the game, it might be a better idea to spare a few marines to kill that healing station by marine start, rather than devote all your men into PG rushing a hive (that is being defended), becuase while attacking the hive will give you the offensive now in a minute that healing station will be putting them on the offensive. Basically, (to use a chess analogy) don't get so caught up on killing all the pieces on the board, that you leave your king open.

          Edit: Reading that again, it looks almost like I don't agree with you, but I do. 80% of the time you want to play to win, I just wanted to point out that 20% of the time you need to play not to lose.
          "Chance favors the prepared mind" -Sir Isaac Newton

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          • #6
            Re: Playing to Win

            Originally posted by TheFeniX
            Don't dump this attitude completely on the commander either.
            That is a good point. I didn't intend this to be directed toward the commader alone, but after reading it again I can see how it might look like that.

            Originally posted by Card AKA Karrd
            I just wanted to point out that 20% of the time you need to play not to lose.
            I totally agree with this. Although I tried to get that point across in my original post, it might not have been explicit. There are situations where you need to do this. What I wanted to bring into light was the notion that sometimes this can be a bad thing, and to try to recognize these situations so they can be eliminated.


            It's funny how this seems like a very trivial concept, but it's never really examined until pointed out. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying not to lose we forget to try to win.

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            • #7
              Re: Playing to Win

              I so wish I could have show this thread to the people playing earlier. Late in the game, one hive going up, one standing, only one res node on our team. 1 onos, 2 fades and several skulks. I'm frantically trying to get anyone to attack MS with me, yet, everyone is saying "defend the hive" and "they'll just beacon if you attack MS". So, nobody attacks MS. I'm reasonably certain if we'd had 3 people attack MS, making sure to kill the PG first, they'd have beaconed. The rest of the team could in the meantime kill the PG by the nearly complete hive, we'd have been able to get our 3rd upgrade, and the surrounding res nodes. Instead, they just kept attacking the heavies around the hive, as they seiged.

              I'm venting a little frustration I realize, but this is a perfect example of playing to not lose, and becuase of it losing.
              "Chance favors the prepared mind" -Sir Isaac Newton

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              • #8
                Re: Playing to Win

                Karrd, I didn't agree with the shut-down (mostly from Lazyeye) you recieved when you presented an idea that could have worked and had very few negative consequences even if it failed (as long as skulks were the only ones to attack ms). If I wasn't a gorge at the time I would have gone to attack marine start with you.

                Still, that doesn't mean you have to repeatedly order your teammates to do something they don't agree with as you did in that game. It becomes annoying.

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