Following is a step-by-step that can be used by teams to develop map strategy. As always: take what you can use, discard the rest (or back-burner it like I do in case it becomes useful at a later date).
The first step a team can use to begin developing strategy on a map is intel. Set aside time to go into the map in a customs game and do a walkthrough. Walkthroughs are invaluable and there are several key things that can be accomplished during them:
- Familiarize your team with the map’s layout, including weapon respawns.
- Encourage your team to explore lines of sight and cover.
- Review/develop map callouts
- Discuss things team members have observed works/doesn’t work on that map
Assess strengths and weaknesses
A next step teams can use in developing a map strategy is to assess the team’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to the environment. For example:
- Power weapons proficiency of teammates – who can snipe? Who’s good with rockets?
- Long range vs short range effectiveness of your team members, this will effect map navigation
- Vehicle usage strengths and weaknesses – do you have a Banshee pilot? At least one Hog driver/gunner? Can anyone pilot a Hornet?
- If present, what abilities might be useful for your team to use to navigate the map?
In every game-type there is always more than one objective for a team. Part of the trick to getting a team all on the same page is to make sure your team has the same prioritization of those objectives. Some common objectives to consider and develop are:
- Develop first rush scenarios – who grabs/supports what power weapons? Where are the positions of power on the map and who will move to take them?
- Make power weapons a priority and decide which vehicles fall in this category for your team.
- Prioritize your objectives, including things like taking down their Banshee or sniper and when your team should focus on offense and defense.
Make a plan
Using all of the information you’ve gathered above, discuss a basic plan and begin to assign who will help accomplish the objectives of your plan. Keep in mind that your plan will morph as you congeal as a team and as your team gains a deeper understanding of the map, so the plan doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be a place to start.
- Discuss who will watch for power weapon respawns (a highly useful skill not all can multi-task).
- Discuss which areas of the map you want your team to control.
- Discuss which routes of travel your team will take to accomplish objectives.
- Discuss/volunteer for/assign roles and responsibilities, whether your team decides these will be loosely based or strictly adhered to – ie: offense, defense, power weapon assignation, vehicles team, etc.
Utilize your strategy
Put into practice all of the above. Play the map in matchmaking or scrimmage. Unless something you’ve decided as a team is glaringly fail at first try (ie: a power weapon spawn is only there on the default version of the map), I would suggest trying to put into practice all our team has developed for the map so far at least five times before making any changes. Give your team time to get the feel for obtaining the objectives you’ve decided as a team are your priorities before you decide it’s not going to work.
After you’ve played the map at least five times utilizing your strategies and objectives, reassess your objectives, roles, strengths and weaknesses. Discuss what new knowlege team members have gained of the map and your strategies from the games.
Tweak your game plan to suit your team’s best effectiveness. For example, perhaps you originally sent one for laser on a map, but it turns out that’s a weapon you really would like to have right up front, so now you decide the one guy who was running off to get rockets will support getting laser.
Make sure expectations are clear.
- If using roles, who does what? For example, perhaps you’ve determined your defense player needs to cover your sniper’s back as well.
- Perhaps you’ve decided your Hog team never crosses the center line unless they have back up from the Wraith or Revenant.
- Maybe your team has need to stress the need to wait upon respawn for your teammates before navigating ahead again towards an objective.
- What communication and callouts is your team expected to make?
Perhaps one of the most difficult things to accomplish with a team is to hold it’s members accountable for objectives your team has decided are a priority, this is one reason why having clear expectations is key. When giving feedback about accountability, it’s best to try and keep it to business and not make it personal. Focusing on positive reinforcement, communicating what’s being done right and encouraging that to happen, and praise can avoid discouragement and drama in your team.
Request the that your members help to remind each other of the expectations and objectives you’ve chosen as a team to prioritize on a map, and encourage praise and good sportsmanship. This makes members stronger and congeals your team.
Communication is key, both in game and out. As a member of a team, don’t just decide what you think is best and do it if it’s contrary to your team’s plan, you will weaken the team! Instead, do your best to fulfill the objectives that are expected of you, then provide feedback when the time is appropriate (NOT in the middle of a game), so your team can better assess what changes need to be made to the game plan.
Your voice counts, and anything you observe that could be useful to the team should be brought to the team’s attention during discussion time. Don’t be discouraged if your information doesn’t affect the team’s objectives (strategy): if not considered priority enough to affect the current plan, it will remain information that can be used later during reassessment.
And never forget: on the battlefield, Communication is a Power Weapon!
If at first you fail – try! Try again!
This concludes Tip 3 of the Basic Halo:REACH Team Strategy tip, Developing Map Strategy as a Team. I hope you found something you can use to help build your team stronger. Be patient with your team: if we could do all things perfect the first time, we wouldn’t need strategies.
It does help to recruit teammates that are positive, eager to help, take an active part in the development of your team’s strategies, and are willing to hone their individual skills. For those who are new to developing strategy, know that the important thing is you start somewhere, anywhere, and build from there. In this way your team members will have the opportunity to learn how they can be most useful to the team and your team can become more effective.