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PostPosted: November 1st, 2017, 11:18 pm 
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PART I: HISTORY AND INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER I: OBLIGATORY BEGINNINGS

BZ2 has solid art that went through several concept iterations, solid voice acting, decent writing, and someone even took the time to write MBTI profiles for the manual. BZ2 was someone's labor of love.

And yet it has always been an oddity. A patchwork of game mechaniFs of which the first person possessed drawbacks of the third-person perspective and vice versa. Like one of those cars that goes just as fast as you needed it to, BZ2 was always pushed to its graphical and mechanical limits at the very start.

For those who started playing BZ2 from the very beginning, there was something utterly raw about the experience, things were fast and unstable and they would be for awhile. Strat and DMs would have been the only game modes that existed.

The 1.1 patch was released sometime later that improved the stability of the game greatly and fixed some of the balance issues that were present on the first iteration of the game. It was through this patch that the game had some of it's greatest growth, with numerous clans and guilds rising and falling sometimes within the space of months.

CHAPTER II: BEGINNING THE RENNAISANCE

The 1.2 patch was released to an already well-established strat scene, with several guilds already competing for the mind space of the next player who eagerly wanted the thrill of earning a hard-fought win. MPI appeared and had started to become somewhat popular with its own scene, and occasionally strat players would pop into MPI but then leave once they determined that winning was no challenge to them.

The 1.2 patch was where the modding revolution happened. The original Uler, G66, Starfleet Mod were amongst the first huge mods out there, because of them, the modded MPI scene started to become vibrant, occasionally joined by the strat veterans who had been playing since 1.1 and even before.

Strat was where it was at though. Several prominent guilds rose out of the ashes out of the ancient and short-lived guilds that had come before. Lords of Chaos, Violent New Breed, Gods Elite Legions, Blood Angel Corps, rose to popularity while some of the older clans like GFA and HeL started to make their exit. Players had become so efficient at destroying the AI units that strat essentially become dependent on the commander's ability to direct his wingmen, and remain composed and clear headed despite the constant onslaught to their base. BZ2 had changed. Nearly every new and dedicated stratter was mentored in a large variety of skills and tactics including how to 'hover', which is to say how to obtain maximum control of your craft while remaining airborne for as long as one liked. BZ2 has become a truly competitive game.

With this atmosphere of competitive a feeling of 'win at all cost' started to develop. It was always there, but now the standardization of concepts such as painting, quick pods, empty modding, etc had started to make strat doctrine into an efficient killing machine.

CHAPTER III: EVOLUTION OF THE DOCTRINE

It is only through truly competitive play that you can start to really see and understand every single crack that appears in the balancing of a game. Players that have that competitive will will always find the smallest weaknesses in balance and find a way to change the meta game for everyone.

Hovering.

Never in BZ2 has a concept been so hotly debated. I think the most opposition to it has come from players who have had the biggest egos, but didn't want to put the work in to become good at strat, because they had thought that their 'superior intelligence' had already granted them the capability to succeed over others when 'things were equal', that the only way that strat players were beating them was through the use of their 'win at all cost' attitude which included breaking a certain etiquette with a severity that rivaled that of straight out cheating. History has proven the success of these types of players who failed to filled games, even after getting the very thing that they had claimed was dearest to their heart and the one thing, they thought, that would save strat and create a level playing ground (we'll explore this concept later)

1.2 has been commonly regarded as the best patch for stratters. The players that complained the loudest about hovering never appreciated the nuances that BZ2 strat was based upon, things that made it so appealing to the existing large player base.


CHAPTER IV: CONCEPTION AND PARADOX

First of all, to really explain the things that make the mechanics 'fun', we first must dispel the notion about what BZ2 'ought' to be and the things that are 'supposed' to be good or 'supposed' to be bad. Everyone thinks bugs are bad, they think lag is bad, they think warp is bad, people think useless AI is bad, they think strong AI is good, they think choice is good (it USUALLY is, but sometimes you exchange something intangible in order to have that choice, so there are situations where choice works against you). In the age of CRTs people will buy a flat screen monitor because they think it's superior based on its virtue of being newer technology and being lighter. But a lot of that is just a conception. The same way that it would be a conception if someone told you that you MUST wash the dishes within 2 hours, versus if they gave you the choice to wash the dishes now, or within 1.5 hours from now. The choice choice seems like the ideal one, but neither of them is any different in a true sense.

I am not saying that things thought of as bad aren't bad. I am simply saying you must sometimes think outside of the box. Things just exist, and they serve some purpose. And what is that purpose besides those ones that you think they are? You may be surprised.

...TO BE CONTINUED...

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PostPosted: November 1st, 2017, 11:20 pm 
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PART II: ELEMENTS OF SKILL

Skill and roles of teammates.

Skills are an important aspect of a game. The maximum contribution of each teammate happens when they are playing roles that are suitable to their skill levels. In doing so, even someone who is not good at fighting can contribute to their team. This ranking system is something I conceived, but it's heavily influenced by a post that Phaser made several years ago. The system is basically tiers, but the + ranking is players within that tier that have extra brains. Without further ado:

D: True Newbie. Players that lack coordination and skill with their craft and do not possess any survival tactics. They will fight to the death even against opponents that are easy to run from. Players like these are usually small children or people who are very new to the game. These players are encouraged to play MPI or DM to develop some basic skills.
D+: True Newbie 2nd Class. Like D but will occasionally go for service
C: Trainee. The lowest rank of players that are accepted into strat games, but may sometimes be kicked out if room in that specific game is needed. These players possess very basic skills and understanding about how the game is played. They will occasionally attack scavengers and pools. They are not great at running or choosing when to run and as such they will often get caught out alone. It's extremely rare for players to have this rank as their final skill level if they've played enough games. These players usually graduate to B ranking (and sometimes eventually A or S in due time).
C+: Trainee 2nd Class. Not good fighters by any means, they have just enough coordination to score the rare flanking kill in team combat. They will hit scavs occasionally and run for service when they get low. They will occasionally make judgement mistakes or may not have completely mastered fast running techniques which means they should be getting a fair amount of support from the more conscientious players on the team. These players often graduate to B+ (or one of the other + ranks in due time).
B: Standard Player. They have been around long enough to know the basic flow of the game and tactics such as painting, hitting scavs/pools and joining into group combat. B players are still undisciplined and can bite off more than they can chew in combat but can be useful when they are guided and protected by conscientious players and their instincts are kept in check.
B+: Support Specialist. These players are not amazing at combat, but have a good grasp of what they can and can’t do in general. B+ players are focused on attacking the enemy’s economy and many of them are really good with scavengers, but they will often still participate in group combat and score the occasional flanking kill, they will also fall back if they are being targeted. These players can be great to have on a team and can even be more of an asset than an “A” player (who are often too focused on dogfighting to care much about the economy). You should have at least one of these players on your team. Some B+ players can make very good commanders.
A: Combat Specialist. These players tend to be very combat oriented, reasonably combat capable and have decent situational awareness. They are often good at base hitting too. They might occasionally serve as a team’s “ace” if no better players are available. However, “A” players usually lack discipline and self-preservation and need to be kept in line and supported a lot in combat by their commander or other teammates lest their willingness to fight and chase fleeing opponents make them a liability to their team.
A+: Skilled, with Strategic and Tactical Acuity. Like the “A” player, but more situationally aware, keeping stock things like the position of known enemies and teammates, health and ammo of all their teammates, team scrap levels and next possible builds from teammates and the enemy. “A+” player will occasionally use tactics like baiting, flanking, blocking and stalling the enemy for time. There is usually one or two factors that are keeping them from true greatness, such as having a merely above average combat ability, or being unwilling to take tactical risks, being susceptible to morale loss, etc. These players are good with scavs and can often be good commanders.
S: Elite, with Tactical Acuity. Possessing very high combat skills in addition to skills related to base hitting and retreating. These players are always on the move and serve as very dangerous annoyances to the enemy team. They tend to be very tactical but like any non + player can bite off more than they can chew or stay focused on combat/basehitting even if it’s not in their team’s best interests. These players are capable of operating at the highest level tactically, but can be hamstringed by a lack of discipline or can become demoralized which impairs their performance when the chips are down. These players can often be pretty decent or good commanders.
S+: Elite, with Tactical and Strategic Acuity. Players of this caliber tend to have supreme situational awareness and combat ability. They are also very capable of reading the flow of combat and adjusting their tactics accordingly, consistently harrying their opponents or base hitting at just the right time to stall a critical tech advance. These players often have a lot of discipline and are resilient. Anyone playing against one of these players should be on guard to make sure they are not being lured into an ambush or to ensure that the player is not just stalling for time. These players are always their team's ace and tend to also be the very best commanders.


Basic Flow of game in strat


“No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy”

Every experienced player has a set of ways to respond and approach situations. Things such as naving, painting, requesting pods, etc make up the types of ‘standard operating procedures’ that all players eventually become familiar with. These SOPs make up a standard set of skills and tactics employed in strat games.

BZ2 is a very tactical game in addition to also being strategic. The commander can determine a strategy but, a majority of the game is decided by tactics, and strategies must often be adjusted on the fly to accomodate the ever changing situations of strat.

An example of a simple battle plan in the first minute of a game might be as follows:

CMDR: Deploy Rec
CMDR: Starting Scavenger Tactic (Scav A deploy at base, Scav B get base loose, remaining scavengers sent to mid or alternatively Scav A to get base loose, scavs B, C in mid, scavenger D base pool, etc)
TEAM: Fly around map and nav all pools, following the commander or the team’s ace.
TEAM: Form up on ace, paint the enemy’s ace to all other teammates
TEAM: Target selection tactic by commander or ace (ie: enemy scavs, enemy thugs)
CMDR: Construction tactic (e.g. scavs, turrets, constructor, upgrade base pool, etc)

While these are de-facto guidelines, there is still a lot of room for flexibility. For example, many commanders immediately deploy the first scav and have the second scav collect base loose, but other commanders may choose to collect base loose and send the scavengers out without deploying base pool right away. There are a lot of good ways to use scavengers and so there can be even more variation to this tactic.

The commander’s use of scavenger and construction tactics can determine the flow of the game, bold commanders may choose a risky tactic based on the strength and disposition of their team and the enemy team as well as the layout of the map.

The team will form up on the ace a majority of the time, but sometimes the ace will run interference, distracting and disorienting the enemy team or picking off weaker players that have strayed from their group. In that case, players will follow another competent player or just do what the commander (or ace) tells them to.

Good communication and being in the proper ‘flow’ with the other players on your team can help immensely.


BZ2 is about economy


Teams will need to decide at any given moment whether the best course is to attack the enemy players, attack the scavengers, or attack the base. Commanders need to decide whether they should take a risk and try teching up, replace ships of lost teammates, or just pump out more scavengers. But the economy is not simply determined by the commander alone, every player is a participant because of what they attack and other actions that they take (such as pushing scavengers away from loose scrap, or positioning his own scavengers effectively). The player is also a very important contributor to the economy in a bad way if they lose their ships frequently, which is why psychology and tactics become important.


BZ2 is about psychology and tactics


“Knowing the enemy is half of victory. Knowing yourself is the other half of victory.”

While scrap is an important resource in BZ2, another important one is morale. Frustration can do things that can harm each team’s performance. It might make players reckless, or cowardly, or unable to take calculated risks, players may get tunnel vision and lose situational awareness and flexibility that they might normally have. Good commanders and players are resilient, able to keep their team on task when the chips are down and perhaps even bounce back from a situation that looked like a certain loss just a minute ago.

While resilience is important, the very cornerstone of good tactics is to take advantage of your opponent’s psychology. Every player is unique and every player has certain tendencies, we are all human beings driven by machinery that was forged from our upbringing and experiences. The very best players have some sort of grasp of their opponent’s psychology and capabilities and actively use that knowledge to gain superiority in combat. Players that have low impulse control might be easier to lead into an ambush. Players that are more fearful of stronger opponents might be less willing to engage in group combat. A busy commander might want to stop assisting his (or her) teammates to go and do base errands like pick out where they want to put their service bay, and modify ships. Certain players might be less willing to join their teammates in combat if they are low on ammo or health, etc.

“Seize what he loves, and he will heed you!” is probably the most fitting saying to use in this type of situation. For example, a team’s ace might know he’s painted and a hot target for the enemy team, he might bait a headstrong player and feign retreat, only to lead that player into an ambush. A team’s ace might attack a critically important target (such as base) to lure the enemy team away from his own base, or he might just fly around and distract the other players while his team kills scavengers/pools/other players, etc.

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PostPosted: November 1st, 2017, 11:20 pm 
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PART III: WHY STRAT IS FUN, A METAGAME ANALYSIS

-- TO BE FILLED IN LATER--


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2017, 12:50 am 
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When you talked about the beginning of the rennaisance why did you deliberately leave out GEL?

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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2017, 7:03 am 
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Didn’t even mention HeL


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2017, 10:20 am 
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Snake wrote:
When you talked about the beginning of the rennaisance why did you deliberately leave out GEL?

NT


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2017, 10:20 am 
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Red dragon wrote:
Didn’t even mention HeL

It's still a work in progress and I could use some help in describing the pre-1.2 history

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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2017, 11:47 am 
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1.1 -

Battlecom, 256mb and 56k / 256k :)

DMs galore. Most strats were played like DMs.

Lots of 2v2s - Many players / clans had team members they worked really well with. Such as:

Loc - Lubberlick / Scout(Recalesence) etc
HeL - Tyrol / Lucifer
bac - ShadowKnight (Alopecoida) / (Guy who passed away) but gave away a lot of gifts to people. Not TV
GEL - While I know BB created GEL pretty EARLY i can't remember the person he had with him. Det was in HEL before GEL if
im not mistaken so maybe it was him. Claw came later but maybe GEL guys can clarify this. It may have been DS
God - PF / GK etc.

Meta shift from Plasma to Blast sabres - No one could aim blast back then and Hammer and Tyrol(DNA) were the best Blast users during this time. (Some may disagree)

Tier system reinforced a lot more as competition increased. : Noob/Vet

After Hovering Mechanic bloom:

While most games ended with chain hovering. AFTER everyone became great at hovering games would end in 5-6mins at best unless people built a lot of defense. Rec Rushing was also very bad during the competitive phase

Competitiveness was extremely high during the end of 1.1 as most clans were establishing dominance during the time where whoever had the best clans got the best members. People were literally switching clans every week but most clans kept their CORE members.

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PostPosted: November 13th, 2017, 5:54 am 
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Domakus wrote:
STUFF


Really good info Doma! I will amend the history stuff to include most of that when I do some more writing. I really half-assed the history because the point of this topic isn't really about the history, I just wanted to get it out of the way. That said, I really like a lot of those ideas.

Anyways, putting part 2 up now.

Part 3 is going to be heavy on analysis of the meta game ("Conception and Paradox" is just a teaser for part 3) which I think will be the real meat of the topic. I just didn't want to go real deep into the meta game stuff right away without trying to add as much context as possible.

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PostPosted: November 13th, 2017, 8:11 am 
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{bac}Zero Angel wrote:
Skill and roles of teammates.

Skills are an important aspect of a game. The maximum contribution of each teammate happens when they are playing roles that are suitable to their skill levels. In doing so, even someone who is not good at fighting can contribute to their team. This ranking system is something I conceived, but it's heavily influenced by a post that Phaser made several years ago. The system is basically tiers, but the + ranking is players within that tier that have extra brains. Without further ado:

D: True Newbie. Players that lack coordination and skill with their craft and do not possess any survival tactics. They will fight to the death even against opponents that are easy to run from. Players like these are usually small children or people who are very new to the game. These players are encouraged to play MPI or DM to develop some basic skills.
D+: True Newbie 2nd Class. Like D but will occasionally go for service
C: Trainee. The lowest rank of players that are accepted into strat games, but may sometimes be kicked out if room in that specific game is needed. These players possess very basic skills and understanding about how the game is played. They will occasionally attack scavengers and pools. They are not great at running or choosing when to run and as such they will often get caught out alone. It's extremely rare for players to have this rank as their final skill level if they've played enough games. These players usually graduate to B ranking (and sometimes eventually A or S in due time).
C+: Trainee 2nd Class. Not good fighters by any means, they have just enough coordination to score the rare flanking kill in team combat. They will hit scavs occasionally and run for service when they get low. They will occasionally make judgement mistakes or may not have completely mastered fast running techniques which means they should be getting a fair amount of support from the more conscientious players on the team. These players often graduate to B+ (or one of the other + ranks in due time).
B: Standard Player. They have been around long enough to know the basic flow of the game and tactics such as painting, hitting scavs/pools and joining into group combat. B players are still undisciplined and can bite off more than they can chew in combat but can be useful when they are guided and protected by conscientious players and their instincts are kept in check.
B+: Support Specialist. These players are not amazing at combat, but have a good grasp of what they can and can’t do in general. B+ players are focused on attacking the enemy’s economy and many of them are really good with scavengers, but they will often still participate in group combat and score the occasional flanking kill, they will also fall back if they are being targeted. These players can be great to have on a team and can even be more of an asset than an “A” player (who are often too focused on dogfighting to care much about the economy). You should have at least one of these players on your team. Some B+ players can make very good commanders.
A: Combat Specialist. These players tend to be very combat oriented, reasonably combat capable and have decent situational awareness. They are often good at base hitting too. They might occasionally serve as a team’s “ace” if no better players are available. However, “A” players usually lack discipline and self-preservation and need to be kept in line and supported a lot in combat by their commander or other teammates lest their willingness to fight and chase fleeing opponents make them a liability to their team.
A+: Skilled, with Strategic and Tactical Acuity. Like the “A” player, but more situationally aware, keeping stock things like the position of known enemies and teammates, health and ammo of all their teammates, team scrap levels and next possible builds from teammates and the enemy. “A+” player will occasionally use tactics like baiting, flanking, blocking and stalling the enemy for time. There is usually one or two factors that are keeping them from true greatness, such as having a merely above average combat ability, or being unwilling to take tactical risks, being susceptible to morale loss, etc. These players are good with scavs and can often be good commanders.
S: Elite, with Tactical Acuity. Possessing very high combat skills in addition to skills related to base hitting and retreating. These players are always on the move and serve as very dangerous annoyances to the enemy team. They tend to be very tactical but like any non + player can bite off more than they can chew or stay focused on combat/basehitting even if it’s not in their team’s best interests. These players are capable of operating at the highest level tactically, but can be hamstringed by a lack of discipline or can become demoralized which impairs their performance when the chips are down. These players can often be pretty decent or good commanders.
S+: Elite, with Tactical and Strategic Acuity. Players of this caliber tend to have supreme situational awareness and combat ability. They are also very capable of reading the flow of combat and adjusting their tactics accordingly, consistently harrying their opponents or base hitting at just the right time to stall a critical tech advance. These players often have a lot of discipline and are resilient. Anyone playing against one of these players should be on guard to make sure they are not being lured into an ambush or to ensure that the player is not just stalling for time. These players are always their team's ace and tend to also be the very best commanders.


A, A+, S, and S+ can all have the same level of dogfighting skill. I wouldn't put myself at S+ but everyone knows I'm the best DF in this game. Someone like Cloaket is gonna be B+ or A in DF but S+ in command.


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PostPosted: November 13th, 2017, 8:19 am 
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Dogfighting skill is a huge part of being a wingman but it's not the only thing that determines your 'tier'. You can still be an S+ player with simply good (but not amazing) dogfighting skills as long as you can make up for it by being good at running, being good at tactics and having a good amount of tactical awareness and discipline. Slippery, hard-to-kill players that are constantly outfoxing you can be more of a nuisance to an enemy team than one that simply has a high DPS in single combat.

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PostPosted: November 13th, 2017, 9:01 am 
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Lmao thanks for reminding me about that scorp

ZA = B+


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