Author Topic: Major and Minor Playstyles  (Read 41959 times)

Offline redria

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Major and Minor Playstyles
« on: April 19, 2014, 05:05:30 pm »
Recent mentions of Overwatch being hyper-aggressive got me thinking: what are we? What are we compared to other teams?
I have watched the Glowwater Thralls smash excellent teams, only to see them get soundly beat by the Mandarins. The Mandarins are good, but by the quality of the teams the scores should have been a little more even.

From this I have come up with 3 major categories to define the play-style of a team/ship. Keep in mind this is all theory and depends heavily on the skill and coordination of the players involved.


Major Categories
Aggressive Damage per Second [A]
The aggressive DPS play-style is focused around exceptionally fast kills where the team seeks to initiate the attack on an opponent. Ships will generally attempt to close distance to make their shots more accurate and increase the potential DPS. Ships often favor speed and firepower over durability and maneuverability, opting to try to get a kill too quickly to be killed themselves.

Reactive Damage per Second [R]
The reactive DPS play-style is focused around arranging an overwhelming quantity of focused, often multifaceted, DPS and waiting to see what an opponent will do before deploying that damage potential. Ships often favor durability and firepower over speed and maneuverability, opting to endure any surprise damage while reacting to new events by arranging their firepower. Ships often feature multifaceted DPS, with builds that maximize DPS for different ranges on the same ship.

Control [C]
The control play-style is focused around gaining control of an engagement and using this control to selectively destroy ships. Ships often favor speed and maneuverability over firepower, opting to be able to control the engage distance and angles over pure firepower. Ships will often feature disabling style weapons, preferring to disable select parts of an enemy ship to gain further control over the engagement.


Countering
While there are builds that mix between the major play-styles, the major play-styles themselves counter each other.

Aggressive DPS is best countered by Reactive DPS. A reactive team will have the greater durability to endure the initial rushing onslaught of an [A] team and, played properly, will be able to focus fire and destroy the [A] ships one by one.

Reactive DPS is best countered by Control. A control team can move and fight in positions and ranges that force the [R] team to constantly reevaluate how to react. [C] teams are better at splitting the engagement apart, which reduces the ability of an [R] team to focus fire as necessary.

Control is best countered by Aggressive DPS. An aggressive team will push inside a [C] teams desired range and can quickly destroy one of the [C] ships, forcing the other to leave a 2v1 engagement. The [A] team's strength in this fight is the ability to kill before the [C] team can gain control.


Notable Clan Styles
The Mandarins
The mandarins operate mostly within [R], slightly leaning towards [A]. They feature highly reactive builds, capable of quickly engaging in long or short ranges. They have high durability. This reactive capability along with well practiced skill allows them to react advantageously against almost any [A] team. Their tendency towards aggression also gives them a step of help against [C] teams. While they are best countered by a team that tries to take control and split the engagement, their aggression can catch a [C] team off guard and still give them the advantage.

Crimson Sky Riders
CsR operates almost entirely within [A]. Their preferred builds tend to feature a massive amount of DPS that can be focused on a single ship for absurdly quick kills. Their high skill level allows them to put themselves in positions where their DPS can win fights even against [R] ships. Due to their level of coordination, they also beat out most other [A] teams, out-damaging and out-maneuvering the opposing team.

Overwatch
Overwatch operates mostly within [C], with a slight leaning towards [A]. Overwatch features builds that allow them to close the distance and take control of engagements. They tend towards medium range disable and close range mayhem. Their ships tend to operate on a highly mobile level, preferring to move about and control the distance of the engagement and altitude of all ships over getting a quick kill. Their coordination and communication allows them to split or focus opponents as need be to regain control or take a kill where available.


Ships and Builds and where they Fall
Junker
Junkers, due to their low speed, high armor value, and the potential for asymmetry giving short and long range sides, tend to fall within the [R] play-style. With their excellent turning speed, they can quickly react to changes and flip to offer the optimal weapons for the range. The specific build of the ship causes it to tend toward either [C] or [A] as a bonus. Triple Artemis builds as the Gents have featured offer a greater degree of control, while the Hades-artemis-artemis (HAA) build is more neutral. The HAA build, however, has a greater potential to give your ship an aggressive edge if flown aggressively.
Alternatively, a junker featuring mines tends more towards the [C] play-style. Once mines begin to land, a junker can maneuver and continue to lay mines in such a way that they have taken a ship out of the fight. Mines are an excellent [C] weapon: allowing for slower kills, but allowing control over the engagement.

Pyramidion
Pyramidions, due to their high speed, decent durability, ease of repairs, and focused forward firepower, tend to fall within the [A] play-style. Pyramidions are good at closing distances quickly and engaging high-DPS combos. Most common among these combos is the Gatling-mortar combination, which allows for rapid destruction of an enemy ship at close quarters. A mid-range version of this is the hades-flak combo, which gives the same piercing-explosive combo at greater ranges. CsR features these 2 builds to focus down a ship from multiple ranges, giving them excellent aggressive DPS.
An alternative build is Hades-Artemis (HA). HA pyramidion falls between [C] and [A]. While it can be flown aggressively to deal solid DPS, it can also be used to gain control of an engagement.
Another build is carronade-flamethrower (CF). CF pyramidions fall within the [C] play-style, while still leaning towards [A]. It can be used to vertically separate enemy ships and force an opponent to lose their arcs. This combines well with the pyramidion's ability to ram, allowing you to knock off lateral arcs while dropping an enemy out of vertical arcs.
Pyramidions also have side guns, allowing them to outfit themselves for [R] style, but their greatest strengths tend away from this style.

Squid
Squids, due to their high maneuverability, high speed, and low firepower, almost entirely fall within [C]. Featured weapons of squids tend to be carronades, flamethrowers, mines, and tar. These weapons all allow a ship to gain control over an enemy ship, causing mayhem and taking players off their guns to help repair.
Squids also have the potential to be the greatest [A] ships. With the gatling-mortar combination a squid can outmaneuver an enemy ship and kill it quickly. This style is difficult for pilot, engineers, and gunners, making it rare. Most squids tend towards the [C] play-style.

Galleon
Galleons, due to high durability and high firepower, tend to fall within the [R] play-style. With the option of split sides similar to Junkers, a Galleon can reactively play close or long range with massive firepower to either side. Due to the low maneuverability of Galleons, they tend away from either [A] or [C] play-styles since they don't have the maneuverability or gun arcs to do much but react.

Spire
Spires are odd creatures, falling between [R] and [A] depending heavily on the chosen build and the quality of the crew. With 3 light and one heavy gun all with forward facing arcs, the spire is an excellent forward attacking ship. However, it has such low durability and speed that it has a hard time being aggressive and a hard time reacting. The highly focused firepower allows for some of the fastest kills in the game if the firepower can be focused properly. Whether this is between long range piercing and heavy flak, or close range piercing and kill power, a spire can quickly destroy other ships, but generally needs to get a jump on the enemy as their durability is too low to allow for any prolonged fighting. In general, the spire does not offer enough mobility and durability to play in [C].

Goldfish
Goldfish generally falls entirely within the [C] play-style. With the 3/4 heavy guns able to operate almost unsupported being heavily disabling guns, the goldfish is almost bound to use one and commit to disabling one (if not both) enemy ship. Oftentimes pilots select side guns that allow them to easily spread more chaos on the enemy ship, not necessarily ones that allow for faster kills. With their higher speed and maneuverability, the goldfish is excellent at closing distances and gaining control over an engagement, along with helping to disable a ship and remove it from the fight. In general the goldfish does not offer enough damage potential to play well in either [R] or [A].

Mobula
Mobulas tend to fall between [R] and [A] depending on their loadout. With 5 forward facing guns, pilots tend to select loadouts that are specific to a single range, allowing them to operate 3-4 guns at their desired range. If their are seeking long range engagements, their mobula generally operates within the [R] play-style, while close range engagements operate within the [A] play-style. Mobulas tend to be poor [C] ships simply due to their poor turning. Their excellent vertical mobility gives them the opportunity to gain some control, but they can easily be out-maneuvered if they try to play a [C] play-style.


Minor Categories
Formation Flying [F]
Formation flying is a feature of teams that tend to stay together. Regardless of whether the ships focus fire or split targets, some teams tend to stay together and work together.
Often teams feature this as a good tactic to be able to support each other should there be a need for it. Alternatively it is featured as boost towards additional DPS for faster kills. Formation flying is often used by [A] and [R] teams. [A] teams will use it to help them get additional DPS on a ship to gain a 2v1 advantage faster. [R] teams will use it to either eliminate the greater threat/easier kill quickly by flying close and focusing fire, or they use it to make sure that they can easily support each other.

Split Flying [ S]
Split flying is an alternative tactic that involves teams splitting up. This tends to be a feature of [C] teams, with use sometimes by [A] teams. [C] teams tend to prefer 1v1 engagements, trying to split their opponents to work individually. [C] teams often stay close to start an engagement, but will usually try to quickly move to split engagements, either by vertical or horizontal space. The alternative feature of [ S] is in surprise attacks. Teams can split their ships to keep attention on one while the other arranges for a surprise attack.


Revisiting Clans
The Mandarins
A final classification for the Mandarins would be RF-A, Reactive DPS formation flying, with aggressive tendencies. Their formation flying aids them in assisting each other in difficult situations.

Crimson Sky Riders
A final classification for CsR would be AF-S, Aggressive DPS formation flying, with occasional split flying tactics to gain an edge. They prefer the advanced DPS formation flying offers when you focus targets, but will split to initiate a surprise attack if the opportunity presents itself.

Overwatch
A final classification for OVW would be CS-F, Control tactics with a preference for splitting the engagement, along with occasional formation flying. We tend to fly together until an engagement starts to protect ourselves from surprises, but tendencies lean towards splitting up when an engagement starts.

Glowwater Thralls
I neglected the Thralls initially since they defy simple classification under the Major play-styles. They tend towards AS-C, Aggressive DPS builds flying split ship surprise tactics along with control capabilities. GwTh loves high strategy and arranging themselves for surprise attacks. The heavy feature of the surprise attack is the quick kill ability featured in [A] ships, combined with [C] style ships that protect the [A] ship as it engages. This style works well against both [A] and [C] style teams, but tends to fail against [R] teams because [R] teams specialize in reacting to sudden changes and surprises.

Offline Crafeksterty

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 05:41:51 pm »
I really like this Post Red. Seriously, very interresting to think about.
Probably the best Gameplay Thread ive seen XD haha.

Feels like im gonna go back and forth on this very Topic because its a tought i love to think about when it comes to competetive gameplay.
And very true in most or all aspects.

Like, seriously. Loving this post. I have to admit. Loving this post very much. Super exemplamentory to me.
Being labeled feels crappy but as some of us (Glowwater Thralls) talked of your post a bit, we agreed on your theory.

All of a sudden i feel more... enlightened? On the different playstyles of the players in this game. Very cool. I salute (And i rarely think to salute).


EDIT: Would like to see more like, weapons in theory in terms of A R or C and what it usualy suits best with on what ship.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 05:55:01 pm by Crafeksterty »

Offline Alistair MacBain

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2014, 05:54:10 pm »
Crafeksterty is right. THis is a gem. A great classification. Ive used to use the standard range based definitions but that one lacks on several points. This one defines engagements much better.
Awesome work.


I think you missed something for control engagements.
The longrange engagements can be a control fight if you ships fits that style.
The dual LJ Galleon the gents used to fly is a great example for this. If you get the engagement on your preferred range you will most likely blend the enemys down and keep them down so they cant get their arcs on you.
But i understand if you rather call it reactive.

You should also mention that it can get quite hard for a team like the thralls if they cant unleash their slow and tactical approach.

CSR is also capable of super longrange fights with the dual mobula they used to fly on fjords or dunes against the gents for example.

Gents would be between R and C. They tend to wait for the enemy to get to them and try and react to the enemy and get the upper hand by disabling one of the enemies so they can force a 1n2 on them and then roll over the survivor with two ships aswell.

As alot of teams arent playing that often i tend to rather not classify them aswell but im sure we can work something out later.

Offline Queso

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2014, 06:41:47 pm »
This is a really thoughtful analysis from an unusual angle. It exposes a rock-paper-scissors balance that seems more emergent than designed. As for further research I would take a look at a traditional range based analysis and see how it compares or combines with the ARC classification system.

Offline Frogger

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2014, 08:36:15 pm »
fascinating

Offline macmacnick

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 08:55:47 pm »
Combat triangle, anyone?


Offline Omniraptor

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2014, 09:05:27 pm »
I would agree long-range control is a thing. Personified mostly by the lumberjack and possibly artemis and sort of by the mercury.

The spire is capable of all 3 styles IMO.

Offline redria

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2014, 09:34:51 pm »
Dangit. I was gonna add long range control for the galleon and forgot. Haha. I can get an edit in there at some point.

I agree the gents team (not mad hatters) tend to be CF-R. The triple artemis is certainly control oriented, and junkers are almost inherently reactive.

CsR certainly has the long range mobula builds they like, which are interesting to classify as a team. They probably lie between reactive and control as well.

Spire I haven't seen enough of to really have a solid grasp on where it should register. It can be flown a lot of different ways, and I haven't really seen a way that works consistently.

Really I just was thinking about it and trying to quantify what Overwatch takes with the way I fly. Because it could be classified as disable-heavy, but it isn't so much about disabling, just getting in a position where the enemy can't retaliate. And against really aggressive teams like CsR I'm often killed before I can get in a position I have control in, whereas against the Mandarins and several of the reactive teams I can (sometimes) get in and control an opponent. It is a much different style of flying from just killing, and I really enjoy it over just trying to get the faster kill.

Each style naturally lends itself to a different range set of weapons, but is not limited to that range.
Reactive tends to use longer range weapons to force an opponent to move in and engage at close quarters. A short range reactive build wouldn't have a strong incentive to make an opponent close the distance.
Aggressive tends towards closer range weapons as they give the fastest kills, but the hades is a wonderful weapon that offers a small amount of control (balloon fires are hell) along with good piercing.
Control tends towards closer range weapons since at close range you have much more opportunity to use altitude to help you control the engagement. However, things like the lumberjack can really give a team control if used right. Lumberfish is a wonderful example of a longer ranged control ship.

Overall this is all just food for thought. A lot of discussion goes on about long range vs short range, but there are different ways to play each. Aggressively played reactive ships are fun to watch, like the Mandarins. Aggressive teams always make for intense matches. Control teams can leave you scratching your head (Squishy? What?). I don't know that this is something to build teams and ships based off of, but it is interesting to consider.

Also, A-R-C.... ARCs? Like gun arcs, but ... yeah, you probably get it. Cool. :)

As far as classifying most teams, it probably doesn't matter. Teams often change ships and loadouts, so most teams don't fit one class. My examples were just highlighting some of the (in my opinion) best teams at each category to give examples. But you can certainly categorize specific ships and ship loadouts, which is interesting to see. :)

Offline Dutch Vanya

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2014, 09:43:18 pm »
Very interesting post.

Offline macmacnick

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2014, 11:39:41 pm »
meh, decided to make a combat-triangle style chart as I was bored and had nothing much to do.


Offline macmacnick

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2014, 12:25:44 am »
Also, shouldn't there be for the minor styles, a 'Bait' designation, designed to lure one or more opponents into a trap waiting, such as a dual burst hwacha barrage from a galleon that has its allied squid doing the baiting? (more significant in 3v3 play, squid bait leads to a disable galleon for control, then squid switches into offensive control, or even reactive DPS.)

Offline Sammy B. T.

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2014, 01:03:52 am »
That is not so much a style as it is a specific tactic. The more specific a classification system goes, the less useful it is for broad observations and ease of access and you get just a list of everything.

I would say the three ranges (short, mid, and long) would be further minor styles. A merc/heavy flak spire and a gat/mort pyra would both be type A, however their play style differs tremondously.

Long range is characterized but low risk in beginning engagement but high risk once in engagement due to missing shots with low clip guns or getting rushed. Short range is the opposite, high risk in beginning engagement low risk once in engagement due to high dps nature of close range. Mid range is clearly the hybrid of the two.




For me, I had always classified by two metrics. Range and kill v disable. I like yours better
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 01:07:02 am by Sammy B. T. »

Offline Mod Josie

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2014, 11:29:12 am »
The Spire truly is a strange creature. My favourite Spire build does exactly what a Spire isn't meant to do. It works as a [C] ship and tends to work well alone.

I coat my Spire in mines and use those with Tar to split allied ships off from each other. The other weapons unleash their fury and the dust clears either with my own ship being annihilated or with my enemies confused and decimated.

This is an excellent strategic post and is going on my Favourites :D

Offline redria

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2014, 12:13:32 pm »
I'm glad everyone likes this post so much. ^.^

Tonight I'll try to post a first draft of how I'd classify each weapon for discussion.

In the meantime, since I have a hard time being neutral, what style/blend do you prefer (alone or in a team) and why?

I have a hard time writing this stuff because I love close range control over aggressive and reactive, and I can't even do it properly. I fly hybrid [A]-[C] because I'm impatient and not a tactician. I fly by the seat of my pants and make up for it by being aggressive. But I love control. I feel like true control requires the pilot to be on top of everything at once. Since you are playing for longer engagements, you have a much greater opportunity to make a mistake. Since other people fly with more killing power, your mistakes are punished with death much more often. I feel like while part of the reason that we don't see control in competitive as often is that the control ships may be slightly underpowered in the current meta, the other reason is that we just aren't good enough (myself included). Puppy Fur is the best control pilot I know, with Alistair Silas probably coming in second with his hwacha-fish. Simply put, I can't do what they do. I don't even know how they do it. I can't tell you how much I wish Alistair hadn't had DC problems against the gents so that we could have shown him off in competitive, and you all saw how well Puppy's squid did. It makes for more tense, more action packed matches as things are constantly happening, with ships always inches from a fatal mistake. I am far too impatient for reactive play, and pure aggressive play usually feels somewhat monotone to me. The control aspect of things is so vastly different and I love it. ^.^

Offline Alistair MacBain

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Re: Major and Minor Playstyles
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2014, 01:10:18 pm »
I cant claim a preferred style. Due to my experience as a gent i am very used to longrange control engagements. Thats where i know the most and thats what i can do best.
However i also like good old reaction play.
The only thing where i dont feel to comfortable is closerange aggresive play. Take the beating like a man and then just outdps the enemy.
I am limited by the Cooldowns and numbers. I know i did everything correct but i still take alot of permahull damage.
Yes it is a great feeling when it works out and the enemy ships breaks apart but i always have the fact in mind that i did take alot of permahull damage and will probably not survive a similiar fight again.
In a control or reactive ship the hwacha or lumberjack will prevent the enemy from shooting at me so i know i got more time even with less permahull. It saves my ass.
I cant count the times anymore where the hwacha on the gents pagoda gave me the time i needed to rebuild the armor and saved us. Couldnt do such a thing with a aggresive dps ship.
I also know that it doesnt matter to much if the enemy is behind a cloud or way across the map. I know that we can hit him and wear him down slowly but surely. I also know that they wont reach us if they charge us straight. I can simply prevent him from doing it again.
For a aggresive dps build i first need to get in close to make things work.


Dont missunderstand me ...
I really like to watch those things. I felt the pain when a good CSR rush killed us and we couldnt do anything against their superior focus fire. Or the well executed split when one of their ships just played distraction and even if i expected it i couldnt do something just because our weapons werent in arc and they could pick us off.
Ive also felt the pain of a well prepared Thrall ambush.

Those are great things and i really like to see such things. Its just that i am not used to fly on such a ship.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 01:13:33 pm by Alistair MacBain »