Thursday, June 26, 2014

Theory Thursday: Strategies of WAR (the event)

Today we are going to take a look at a large scale battle as a case study. War is a great event near Indy, you should check it out if you get a chance. For the entire day, two teams battle it out to control 5 objectives in two rounds of regen battles. Holding the objectives gives you points based on time held that vary by the type of objective, the enemy castle being worth the most points and your own being worth the least. Each team has a mobile respawn point, or two, called Valkyries. They have a limited supply of revives before they have to return to base to recharge.

The basic layout of WAR.  Not quite to scale.  Note that neither team starts with
an objective.  The castles are just marked for clarity.

Given the terrain and objectives, the fighting is a long series of fights over choke points. Support weapons and good leadership are essential for winning this type of fighting. Of course, thanks to the scale of the engagement, communication between areas is spotty, at best. Objectives may fall with little notice.

The path near the lake is usually a hotspot of fighting, given that it is nearly the midpoint between both respawn points. The junction between this path and the dry riverbed, in particular, is often highly contested. Usually, whichever team has managed to take the side path has a slight advantage, allowing them to attack from an extra wide front and push the enemy back. For the forest side, losing here can be disastrous, allowing the enemy to block off the main route out of their base.

Typical engagement.  Both teams fight over the main choke points.  Blue team
started on the plains, giving them a little easier access to the lake and riverbed objectives.

There are, of course, other paths the forest team can take, one of which will put a force directly behind the fight at the junction, and another that leads out to an objective. This really highlights the importance of leadership and battlefield awareness. Seeing the enemy coming and responding quickly prevents them from gaining too much extra advantage. The flanking route can be shut down by a small force, and the other objective can be held with a few reinforcements. If the forest side pushes too heavily through the woods, rather than the path, the main attack has a good chance of getting to their castle.

If the lake path battle shifts in favor of the forest team, the dry river bed and lake objectives become new choke points. The plains team ends up having to split their forces and can't easily shift reinforcements from one to the other. However, if they break the enemy on one path, they have an easy shot at the other path's flank.

Red team pushes out of the junction, hoping to make ground on the river
bed and lake objectives.  they go pure defensive on the woods objective.

If the red team fails to hold out on both flanks,
they are in danger of losing the fight all together.

Should either team reach the enemy castle, they are often going to be forced to fight on two fronts, the castle entrance and the nearby respawn point. This is especially dangerous of the enemy has a Valkyrie stationed in the castle as well. If the attack can't push into the castle quickly, it will eventually be overrun by respawns as its own numbers dwindle.

Blue team made it to the enemy castle, but now has to deal with all those
respawns.  Looks like they'll have to play it safe and hope to get reinforced.

Winning the castle fight is rough and time consuming.  If the rear of the force (supply line, essentially) is secure, Valkyries and reinforcements can make from the respawn point it to help keep the fight going.  It seems that fighting cautiously and using the few respawns carefully is a key to success.  Should then enemy Valkyrie nearby run out of respawns, that is the moment to put pressure on the castle and hope to take it.

Once inside the enemy castle, holding it is a matter of holding a single choke point for as long as you can keep respawns flowing.  If you are extremely lucky, and have taken their castle while holding the path to their respawn point, you can more easily reinforce the area and keep them at bay.  Just be sure to monitor other points for forces funneling around the lake through the woods.

In our example, blue team's castle is a little harder to attack.  It is very difficult to cut off its reinforcements from their starting point because the open area allows them to easily flank a group.  This means that red team would need to spread out and bring many more people to act as a rearguard for their attack.  If your group isn't good at maintaining a strong, spaced out line, you will have a hard time here.  That's why the teams switching sides between the two rounds can be extremely important.

If you aren't sure what to do, make sure you are fighting over a point or keeping the enemy away from them.  There is no sense fighting over a piece of woods near their base if they hold all the other points.  Try to avoid getting stuck in one area.  If you get bogged down, look for alternative routes and easier targets.  Sometimes, changing where you attack will draw a larger force than the enemy can afford to send.  For example, this post talks about a pair of people attacking a base by themselves, but managing to draw a sizeable force to deal with them.

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