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  • PR maps & infantry tactics

    In this thread I would like to discuss how the PR maps dictate the tactics being used and wether we like the result. Most of the time I am writing about infantry, but I will adress assets and how they affect gameplay.

    CHECK MATE
    Personally I would like to play PR as chess; manoeuvring troops until you have the enemy check mate when taking an objective. In PR that would translate as killing the enemy, destroying RPs and FOPs and finally taking control of the objective. To make that possible you have to consider the following:

    Number of players and flags in play
    Depending on the availability of assets you normally have 2 to 4 functioning infantry squads in play. If you need to defend a flag and attack another you would need 3 squads to be able to have cooperation between squads outside "sq1 defends Flag A, sq2 attacks Flag B." In some maps you can have 3 flags in play requiring 4 infantry squads. If you do not have enough infantry squads you are limited in possible tactics. Trying to pin the enemy with half a squad while the other half is trying to take the objective is not something you can depend on to work. On the TG server we have luxury that it is full most of the time, but on other servers this will be even more difficult.

    Rate of enemy reinforcements by spawning from RP or FOP
    Trying to clear an area purely by long range is only usefull when that area is a patch of desert. If the enemy has a RP on the objective they will simply be able to respawn meaning the only gain is that the enemy lost a few tickets. Areas with FOPs are even more difficult as you will also have random guys spawning. Unless you are able to keep killing the enemy you can bet on it that the enemy is back in full force within 1 minute knowing where you are.

    Size of the area that needs to be cleared out
    The larger the area, the longer it takes for a squad to clear it and prepare for a counter-attack. If the area is too large the enemy will be able to counter-attack while the friendlies are still in the mindset of attacking. This will result in a continuous fight over a objective.

    Area surrounding the objective
    How much cover or concealment surrounds the objectives affects greatly how easy it is to defend it. A few flags on the PR maps have so much cover around them that the only way of knowing that you have cleared the enemy is when you switched the flag. It is impossible to overview the surroundings. As a result the taking of the objective has very little strategic value except that it allows you assault the next flag in the list. You cannot get a check mate as the enemy will very easily be able to counter-attack.

    50 metres radius for auto-destruction of RPs
    This is a quite important change for PR, but only when cover on the objective or surrounding it isn't too plentiful. If the objective has a 50m radius and no cover outside of it you would just need to eliminate the enemy knowing that their RP will be destroyed automatically (except when there is a FOP of course).

    Summarised, the attacker needs to be able to:
    • have enough forces available to pin the enemy or attack from multiple directions. This is related to the number of flags.
    • kill the enemy and their spawnpoints fast enough to avoid a battle of attrition.
    • secure the objective. If the flag switches sides it should mean that the occupying force is in control.
    • control the surroundings. There should be dead ground surrounding the objective otherwise a battle of attrition can start if both sides have their RPs just outside the flag area.

    If he can do that, then is he able to set up a check mate, execute it and make it mean something.

    FLAGS

    Strategic value
    As mentioned earlier it is quite difficult to get enough functioning infantry squads to be able to set up an attacking involving multiple squads. This is even more difficult if flags are not placed in strategic points. A chokepoint or dominating hill is often more important to control than a bunch of houses. Sometimes the flag is even in a lower area or providing very little cover meaning that staying on the flag is just a invitation to be sniped or killed by heavy firepower. The only wise thing to do is to move outside away from the flag and defend it from a more strategic point. (But why isn't that point the flag in the first place?)

    Main base
    If it is possible to capture all the flags then the last flag should not conflict with the permanent spawn points in the main base. If the game ends with baserape it is hardly enjoyable for both sides. It just shows a weakness in the map/game design. It requires no tactics at all.

    MAPS

    This might a bit incomplete, but lets say there can be the following military strategic objectives on which a map is based on:
    Control resources
    Insurgent caches, oil fields, ammo storage, etc.

    Destroy enemy resources
    Destruction of insurgent caches, production facilities.

    Control city
    Controlling cities means usually you are in control of the people (perhaps not their minds).

    Kill the enemy.
    If you can get a decisive victory against the main enemy force than the war might be half won. Insurgents kill soldiers because it might increase war weariness.

    Cut supply line
    Focus is on controlling hills dominating the surrounding landscape, chokepoints, bridges and villages on the road. Prior to an attack on a city you would normally first cut off all supply lines to avoid having the defenders getting supplies or reinforcements. You will also cut off their line of retreat allowing you to get a decisive victory.

    PR Maps
    Now lets see how the above can be applied to the current PR maps (not going to describe them all now, might do that later if there is indeed discussion):
    • Kashan - If the infantry is not hunted by heavy assets, then the bunkers allow for good tactics as they are easy to secure and defend and can be attacked by multiple directions (unless the top entries are blocked by sandbags). The other flags are just too much in the open making it impossible to approach them as infantry. Objective is to kill the enemy; the bunker area acts like a staging point or buffer until you can attack the enemy main. Remaining flags have no strategic value at all. The map size does allow large tactical movements, but a single tank can destroy your plan with a single shell.
    • EJOD desert - Dominated by close combat fighting, but it has a nice feature just north of the city. A defensive line is created by bunkers and trenches which can be effectively attacked using a turning manouevre.
    • Sunset City - Battle of attrition as you cannot capture all flags.
    • Muttrah - Usually comes down to a battle of attrition as it requires a excellent US team to capture all flags.
    • Assault on Mestia - capture radius of two flags in play is very large which makes it very hard to capture both of them. It then boils down to killing the enemy faster. Lots of forest and hilly terrain result in short view distances and limits tactics.
    • Qinling - map made for assets. Practically all flags are like shooting fish in a barrel and have no strategic value.


    In general you can divide the PR maps in a few groups:
    • Very large built-up areas (Muttrah, Sunset City, EJOD desert) are an inviation for a warof attrition. You basically lose by losing tickets faster than the enemy. Most prominent at Sunset City where the actual possesion of the city does not even matter.
    • Maps with lots of vegetation and hilly terrain (Fool's Road, Operation Ghost Train, Tad Sae, Bi Ming) result in short view distances and are in essence green versions of the city maps although the hard cover is now gone.
    • Asset maps (Kashan, Qinling, Al Kufrah) where infantry is limited to being the bodies on the flag. Most flags have no real strategic importance but seem to be created for gaming purposes. Cover outside the flags tend to be sparse or non-existant. I call them asset maps because the large open spaces are perfect for tanks, attack choppers and jets but hell for infantry.
    • Siege maps (Road to Kyongan'Ni, 7 gates). These maps are dominated by the fight over a single flag that is so hard to take because the fortified flag has lots of dead ground around it.


    Conclusions
    Some maps are described as infantry maps. But in my opinion that is most of the time only because vehicles are simply not usefull on those maps as they are too built up or have lots of vegetation. However infantry tactics is more than close quarter fighting.

    A few flags have so much cover around them or not in a strategic location, being in control means very little. As a result it is very easy to keep pouring in more forces making progress for either side difficult. Needing to defend two flags on some maps also makes it hard to progress as it then becomes difficult to continue the attack.

    PR games tend to be very long. This is caused by war of attrition as a result of map (large built up areas or hilly forest areas) and game design (too many flags in play, spawn points/times). Wars are either won by decisive victories or by attrition. The latter is usually called a Phyrric victory (a game that ends by 1-0 being the ultimate one). Decisive victories usually results in one side calling the other stacked or their own stupid. How many times have you played games where one side was simply outmanoeuvred. It happens in reality, but for some reason it is rarely done in PR.



    p.s. Some parts may sound imcomplete, but I have been spending enough time on this for today.

    Things I would like to write about later:
    • In general you can say that there are 5 standard offensive manoeuvres to take a objective that is protected by a defensive line; penetration, infiltration, turning movement, envelopment and frontal attack. In PR it is either difficult to perform them because the way the map is designed or not practical as you are attacking a single squad which acts like a blob and not a defensive line.
    • A couple of things should be taken into consideration for optimal distances between opposing forces in PR; effective firing ranges, movement and cover.
    • Guidelines for how maps can encourage infantry tactics.

  • #2
    Re: PR maps & infantry tactics

    EJOD desert & Sunset City both have as scenario that a city must be taken by both sides. Sunset City does not offer any reward to the side occupying the city at all (war of attrition), while EJOD allows you to attack the enemy main (which rarely happens, so again a war of attrition). My proposals:

    * Once the city flag is captured it is game over. Perhaps it will work game-technically better if the city is completely in control by one side from the beginning. Staying alive is important as it means another body on the flag. Sweeping a city clean by moving multiple squads as a front is rewarded as it results in a win instead of just a pause while the enemy spawns back in for a counter-attack.
    * Perhaps place a couple smaller flags (in the same AAS group) inside the city to get a climatic ending when the defenders try hold a government building.

    Kashan seems to have two objectives: take the bunker area and take the enemy main. All the other flags are just buffer flags to prolong the game. My proposals:

    * Remove the village & outpost flags. Make the bunkers one big flag. The big area around the bunkers doesn't become useless as it is perfectly useable to make flanking movements, one of the highlights of Kashan IMO.
    * Give the bunker flag to MEC from the start if that works better.
    EJOD City
    - map has been modified with a few changes:
    - city flag now one large area of capture
    - north desert and gas station are now the "last flags" - if they are captured, rapid ticket bleed happens and the map is a win for the attackers, there is no longer a need to attack the spawn positions and will actually be impossible to due so with dome of death. This still means you can cut off supply lines but you cannot "spawn camp"
    - western hills sectioned off to focus the fighting on the city and not "hill sniping". eastern hills are still in play as they offer less clear overwatch on the entire city.

    Sunset City
    - intersting idea about smaller CP's inside to represent main objective buildings, however part of the appeal I think of using large capture radius is the fact that the battle does not have to be centralized at the same points every single round. By forcing players into defending tight areas, it means we get the same battle each time, but with a large CP it means we get more dynamic battles where your not forced into a small area. Not sure if putting these smaller flags inside the larger one would just degenerate into this same style of play or not..
    - once the flag is captured its game over - yes this could work as well but would also force a quick ending to alot of games and speed up the need for aggression. I think the fact that the map has small amount of tickets ensures it will end fairly quickly, but ending it decisively with a heavy ticket bleed is a possibility.

    The two maps above are examples of maps that were made well before PR's current gameplay elements were implemented. They were obviously not originally designed with the current gameplay layouts, but these layouts were needed in order to keep the maps fresh and interesting, and also adding element of flanking, manuevering and assaulting rather than the same exact tactics each time that small size CP's give gameplay.

    Im not against your proposed changes for these maps but I have to mention that I dont think these maps will benefit from much more changes, they are good maps but fairly basic compared to what we have now.


    Kashan Desert

    I dont think removing all other flags and making the bunker area one big flag will go well with this map. Because of its large nature I think this map does have opportunity to get some good tactics, however I agree that the CP setups are not perfect and could use improvements. Also on the 32 and 64 layers, I think there is a distinct lack of infantry most of the time and its hard to fill those rolls with the amount of assets available.


    I would like to see attackers being rewarded for succesfull assaults by letting the game end when they have the flag on the objective.
    Although this does sound logical, I think a strong part of having a good game is having both defense AND attack for both teams is a very big part of a rewarding round and overall beneficial to a good gameplay experience. Making an assault, then bracing for a counter-assault and then making another assault is recipe for some good gaming. If one team is on the constant assault with one team on the defense, I think it makes for stale gameplay and gets old quick.


    [/quote]Is it possible to count the number of times a flag switches using Python? In that case make a script like the one for the caches. "The enemy is attacking you need to defend against 3 attacks." If the flag switches to neutral but the defenders can get it back then it says "You have fended off 1 assault, 2 more remaining." I know it sounds gamey, but I think it would avoid the situation where defenders just need to sit out killing 300 enemy soldiers, what would be their reward for defending well then be? Also it would mean that the attackers are encouraged to plan their attack to avoid wasting a attack.[/quote]

    This would be difficult to implement and also very exploitable... as defenders, you would almost want to "feint" the attackers to neutralize, then destroy them when they attack with low numbers, just to achieve the victory. I just cant see this working in a way that was intended and would probably end up with some very gamey behaviour which ultimately I doubt would be very memorable or realistic.
    Last edited by fuzzhead; 11-27-2008, 12:19 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: PR maps & infantry tactics

      In general you can say that there are 5 standard offensive manoeuvres to take a objective that is protected by a defensive line; penetration, infiltration, turning movement, envelopment and frontal attack. In PR it is either difficult to perform them because the way the map is designed or not practical as you are attacking a single squad which acts like a blob and not a defensive line.
      agree with this... however it is VERY challenging as a developer to get players on public servers to start thinking in these terms and making these types of tactics valuable, but at the same time make the gameplay rewarding, "not boring" and giving players an intense experience.

      Main base
      If it is possible to capture all the flags then the last flag should not conflict with the permanent spawn points in the main base. If the game ends with baserape it is hardly enjoyable for both sides. It just shows a weakness in the map/game design. It requires no tactics at all.
      Agree with this. This is something that has already been addressed in v0.85. There will no longer be firefights happening at fixed spawn locations, the "final flag" will be located elsewhere to the spawn points. Keep in mind that all these old PR maps were not designed with the current gameplay in mind so theyre not perfect in design, but newer maps will have these gameplay elements in mind and mappers will be able to implement designs with much better layout when thinking of the current gameplay and its problem areas.

      more to reply to later i just seen this posting now... good discussion to have i think

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      • #4
        Re: PR maps & infantry tactics

        EJOD changes sound very good. You are right that small strongpoints as flags in a city will lose their attraction if you play the same map enough. It is indeed better to let the players decide where they make their last stand. Good to hear that main bases will be even more out of bounds. Understandable that you have to keep juggling with new game concepts and how they fit in the old maps.

        however it is VERY challenging as a developer to get players on public servers to start thinking in these terms and making these types of tactics valuable
        EJOD has the perfect locations for using offensive manoeuvres and I have used almost all the time succesfully. They are all located outside the city; long sanddunes or the trenches at N desert that allow multiple squads next to each other to create a defensive position. You will often see squads trying to assault frontally, but I always make a (wide) flanking manoeuvre to either hit from the back or roll them up from the flank.

        Maps need to keep the size of squads more in mind. Last week I defended a bunker system on Barracuda (S of the rock flag?), but it was simply too big for my squad and even with a second squad we had big holes. In the end the enemy kept coming in simply the defenses were too large.

        The fields east of the government office at Qwai are nice since you have linear cover allowing the whole squad to take up position. You can set up a suppresive element while you move to the next piece of cover. Creates pretty nice firefights in 16players version 0.75.

        In urban environments you can have good squad teamwork going with buddies covering each other. However with everybody now starting to build FOPs everywhere you will often find yourself being harassed with cars trying to run you over. You can move inside the little alleys but then the game tends to turn into a twitch game of who can shoot faster and I also tend to hear more complaints from squad members. Sunset city has the best housing blocks as they are small enough for a squad to engage the enemy and flank around. A couple of the new maps have the houses merged to large blocks which greatly hinders your tactical freedom.

        I would love to see more maps focusing on linear and parallel cover that allow for firefights of 50-150 metres. And also on flat terrain. During my modding years I have noticed that many mappers seem to be fond of creating hills. The problem with lots of small hills is that break up the terrain so much that firefights tend to be closerange and it makes it difficult to use squad formations as you constantly need to shift. If I am right Sangin (spelling?) will be the first PR map for me that has flat terrain. I am very curious how that will affect gameplay.

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        • #5
          Re: PR maps & infantry tactics

          EJOD has the perfect locations for using offensive manoeuvres
          agreed, i like the dunes layout which make for some great firefights. However I dislike the massive western ridgeline that overlooks the entire city, which basically trumps all the other possible positions.

          Maps need to keep the size of squads more in mind.
          yeap this is a big thing that mappers sometimes loose focus on. THe battles are not 100v100, they are 30v30 and often times the firefights are 6v6 or 10v10, rarely is the entire team fighting one concentrated firefight.

          you will often find yourself being harassed with cars trying to run you over.
          will no longer be a factor in v0.85, dont want to reveal too much but these "tactics" will be abused much less often.

          I would love to see more maps focusing on linear and parallel cover that allow for firefights of 50-150 metres. And also on flat terrain. During my modding years I have noticed that many mappers seem to be fond of creating hills. The problem with lots of small hills is that break up the terrain so much that firefights tend to be closerange and it makes it difficult to use squad formations as you constantly need to shift. If I am right Sangin (spelling?) will be the first PR map for me that has flat terrain. I am very curious how that will affect gameplay.
          well here you and me are in 100% agreement. large, unrealistic style hills I think make the firefights monotonous and also less skillful and realistic. I cant wait for the sangin firefights, with finally some realistic flat terrain that is not just perfectly flat but has minor ruts, trenches, ditches and gulleys, coupled with treelines and heavy shrubbery that draws at range, I think its going to be the benchmark map for PR that all other large scale maps will be looking up to.

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          • #6
            Re: PR maps & infantry tactics

            Fuzzhead: Are we ever going to see Counter-attack revised back to how it was (once flags are capped, no re-capping until the counter-attack time).

            I'd love that.

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            • #7
              Re: PR maps & infantry tactics

              Excellent work, I only just glanced over but got the important parts, I'm constantly frustated with SL's who tard rush a flag when there is a definite enemy presence (including RP's and FOB's). I'm more frustated when I tell them they must have a rally and still take no action. Although if they were a new or inexperienced SL I'd give them a break.

              Although I HAVE NEVER LEAD A SQUAD BEFORE I know that when I do somehow muster the ability to step up to it, I'll want to eliminate all enemy reinforcements and cut off areas to make sure we won't be caught with our pants down.

              I like your style man.

              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: PR maps & infantry tactics

                Originally posted by Riffraffselbow View Post
                Fuzzhead: Are we ever going to see Counter-attack revised back to how it was (once flags are capped, no re-capping until the counter-attack time).

                I'd love that.
                I would think so yea, I miss zatar still :row__579:


                If you find yourself in a fair fight, then you have obviously failed to plan properly.

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