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 Post subject: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:25 am 
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DBB Ace
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So, this is going to seem a bit like pining, but at my own risk here I go. I've been trying to get re-involved in descent over the last few weeks, and I'm coming back to issues I've never resolved in the past. Suffice to say if 10% efficiency is the best I can do, I'll just leave again. So I'd just like to open with some Q&A and lead into discussion, because for some reason I'm drawn to this gameplay like a moth to flame.

For starters, how does everyone know where I am, but I don't know where anyone else is? Why is it that every corner I take, there just happens to be that fusion burst waiting for me? And on that note, why do I always end up sandwiched between two or three players?

When I'm being attacked, what's the fastest way to find the attacker? The hardest thing for me to do is find out where the danger is coming from. More often than not, I lose out because I can't find who's shooting at me. So I'll run away, try returning to target, and I'm so busy dodging smart missiles, frags, mortars, and god knows what else that I can't even engage, then I'm back to "where is he?" again.

Thanks,
SW


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Location: Camping the energy center. BTW, did you know you can have up to 100 characters in this location box?
Turn on a permanent rear view camera (Shift F1 or Shift F2 IIRC), learn how to spot other players in it at any time from any distance.

Wear headphones while playing, don't listen to any music or any other distracting audio, turn off your own ship sounds if they are on. Other players may know where you are from audio cues, they can hear your afterburner, when you bump a wall, when you collect a weapon or powerup or recharge in an energy center, when you fire a weapon, or when you open doors all without having to see you. Being aware of the sounds you make and the sounds other players make is very useful for avoiding ambushes.

There is no indicator showing where you are being attacked from in Descent, which brings you back to wearing headphones, the only guide you have when the attacker isn't in your field of view is going by the audio position. You must also know the area you are in and all its exits and connecting points, so going from the direction of the firing sound you can immediately know the likely location they are coming from. It is also important to slide around corners so you are facing down the "hall" around it as you approach, be prepared to dodge (including up or down) to avoid incoming fire.

All the top players have incredibly finely tuned powers of observation and situational awareness, and they know the maps so well they could fly them upside down, blindfolded and under the table drunk in their sleep. They can survey a whole room at once with only a half turn by using their main view and a permanent rear view camera window on their HUD. They may also observe you from a distance and knowing the overall "flow" of the level they can detour to intercept and ambush you at a corner or other constricting point. They also apply all that skill and knowledge of the level to enter and exit rooms without exposing their blind spots as much, making it difficult for other pilots to catch them by surprise.

For some people these skills come naturally, for others it can be learned only after many hours of practice. It is best to play and learn from people who are moderately more skilled than you but not entirely out of reach. Little can be learned from the top tier players if they instantly destroy you without even revealing themselves, it takes a lot of time and effort to catch up to them.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:11 pm 
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Slow down and concentrate on living. Let the others get themselves killed.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:48 pm 
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Sometimes I fly upside down just for wierdness... but then my efficiency drops to zero and I don't care.

Music doesn't have to be distracting, I have various songs by various artists I play whenever I'm playing Descent multi and I still have no problem hearing peoples' movements. Not afterburning everywhere does wonders for being able to hear people who are.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:58 pm 
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Next time i see you ingame Silver, i'll try to give you some more tips, pay good attention to those that Krom posted, i'll elaborate on those when i see you again.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:12 pm 
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Stop playing Abend2. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:35 pm 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Music doesn't have to be distracting, I have various songs by various artists I play whenever I'm playing Descent multi and I still have no problem hearing peoples' movements. Not afterburning everywhere does wonders for being able to hear people who are.

Don't argue with Krom, he was capturing flags and pulling hat-tricks while you were still using the default keyboard-only configuration. In a crowded Indika game Krom is 3 out of the 8 people handing you your ass before you even collect your thoughts, nevermind your weapons. The only difference he sees between you and the power-ups floating in their predefined spawn points next to you is that you require a little more Energy to collect (not time). Krom was Chuck Norris's pick to represent him in the world of Descent... nuff said.

;) :mrgreen:

Certain kinds of music help me focus and power through while playing, but Krom's suggestion is a good one--if his problem is being wiped out without knowing where his enemy is coming from, the answer is to fly quiet and learn to use your senses in the game.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:50 pm 
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I have always flown with the rear views up, but unfortunately they don't do me any good because they're always angled into a corner in the floor. If I'm on the move, I'm tri-chording, and so that means my longitudinal axis is never in line with the hallway.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Bingo


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:18 pm 
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I'll answer your question about being sandwiched between players--you have to realize that in-game a conflict draws attention from other players looking for targets (especially good players)--chances are either you or your opponent will be sandwiched if you don't watch your back.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:21 pm 
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Location: Camping the energy center. BTW, did you know you can have up to 100 characters in this location box?
Thorne exaggerates my game a bit... :P ;)

If you are trichording all the time, then it helps explain why you keep getting blindsided. Somewhere in the laws of competitive anarchy is a line that reads: Don't chase your enemies, it is always easier when you make them come to you.

Don't trichord when you are just cruising the map waiting for an encounter; move slower, be more observant, otherwise you are just rushing to your own death like a moth to a flame. Trichording is for getting every last ounce of performance from your ship to get a better position in a dogfight or to dodge something at the last minute. The only time I would trichord just while I was traveling around the map was in CTF and other modes where there are clear goals that are easier to accomplish if you can get to some other point in the map faster; or when I was circling around to ambush stupid newbies in anarchy maps like Indika. Normally I would cruse around at a very leisurely pace.

Also I tended to rarely get caught in crossfire or sandwiched between two players, people that know my style can probably figure out why: One way or another, my fights almost always ended before it was possible for one of us to get caught in a crossfire. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:51 pm 
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I'm currently uploading a demo of a game I played this evening to my google documents folder. It's pretty large, though, on the order of four-hundred megabytes. As soon as it's up I'll post the link and I'm sure you'll be able to pull it one-hundred times faster than it's taking me to push it. Albeit I'm leaving my style and my tactics open, but they don't work anyway, do they? lol

Standby for the link...

Actually, for whatever reason the demo wont even play on my end. So... Yeah. I guess next time I'll just Fraps it.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:10 am 
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When I was playing against you it was pretty easy to hit you with fusion because you didn't change your direction of movement often in dogfights.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:05 am 
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Actually, that's being caused because my eyes tend to focus on anything coming at me. So naturally, just like the runway, I'll adjust the flight path until it meets that point (which turns out to be a fusion burst sometimes, or a missile.) Still working on this. Trying to focus on the open spots and fly to those.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:52 pm 
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Good ol' mothing. I wind up doing that in a bunch of other games too.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Location: Camping the energy center. BTW, did you know you can have up to 100 characters in this location box?
Trying to focus on a open spot and fly there is not a good way to approach a dogfight. When I was playing regularly, I never really had time to think about flying or which way I was headed during a fight, I dodged shots and countered my opponents movements as naturally as if my ship was an extension of myself. You don't think about positioning your hand when you reach out to pick up a glass of water or when you drink from it, your ship movements in the game should be the same. Having to think about your movements is an impediment.

And it is definitely the same for all the best players out there, none of them are spending any time thinking about how and where they move their ship, they just do it. This is probably one of the biggest skill barriers in Descent, so don't expect overcoming it to be a simple task. It takes most people months to fully "disconnect" from trying to control their position consciously, and then you get to the really hard part: Not only do you have to bring out your "natural" movements, but you also have to condition them into something combat worthy.

Thorne inflating my ego notwithstanding, I won't deny that I could cause more than my fair share of damage in crowded Indika games in my prime, but it wasn't always that way; I had been practicing and playing a LOT to get to that point. I easily put in 10+ hours of hard gaming every week, and I kept that up for a solid 4-5 YEARS to reach that level of conditioning. I think before PXO went down the total play time accumulated on my account was equal to playing without a break for several months solid. A lot of the skills I used actually came to me quite naturally and it still took me that long. My average efficiency was about 65%, but I had died more than 50,000 times. IIRC I was at/near the top of the global stats for total kills, but I was THE TOP player for total deaths. So yes I was powerful, but it took a huge commitment of time and effort to get there (and I still had plenty of room for improvement).


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Unfortunately that kind of dedication is not realistic with the present level of Descent activity, unless I'm very mistaken. A better bet would be to get together with some friends and do some LANing, if you know anyone who plays. That has always been the best way to improve your game anyway! I'm unlucky enough not to have any friends that like to LAN, and my brothers and sisters who have played Descent have had better things to do than get wiped out since my efficiency passed 50% back in the day. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:58 pm 
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Location: Camping the energy center. BTW, did you know you can have up to 100 characters in this location box?
Yeah, the community just doesn't have the numbers to level people up as far as it did for me anymore, but it doesn't mean there is no room for most people to improve anyway. Especially for someone with a low efficiency like 10%, if they are able to figure out their weak points then grind and polish their skills for a while, 50% efficiency should be well within reach. It won't be easy, but if done right it will be fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:07 am 
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So, I've been trying out the "cruisin'" approach to things, and I think my efficiency has increased a little. I tend to omit my rear views still, but I'm getting better at incorporating them into my scan. One thing I'm still having an issue with, though, is close-quarters sitautional awareness. Easy for someone to get inside my radius and beat the piss out of me while I'm trying to figure out if me's above, below, left or right. Yes, to my knowledge I'm on stereo audio.

Had a few funny moments with Fiend last night that I'll share. Bottom line, stay away from that door in Incognito. I dropped a napalm rocket behind me to cover my tracks (leaving no other way than the door,) but the door was already open and a smart missile was coming through it. I got past the cannister just fine, but there was a mass driver waiting for me. LOL.

Hey, I have another question, and it's about my control setup. I'm presently using my HOTAS Cougar to play, which in my opinion is great. I have a microstick I can use for vertical/lateral movement on my throttle, and I use HAT2 for my rolling. One of the things I love about a joystick over a mouse is that I can keep a turn going without having to move the device. I'm wondering if this is hindering me, though, because let's be honest; a joystick is just not as accurate as a mouse. So what's better? Mouse and keyboard, or hotas, if you have one? Reference the keyboard, if you're on the WASD setup, where do people normall put their forward/reverse/afterburners?


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:42 am 
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Location: Camping the energy center. BTW, did you know you can have up to 100 characters in this location box?
I was a keyboard+joystick player myself, the only requirement for a good control setup is that it is comfortable and more importantly, you must be able to: pitch, yaw, roll, accelerate/reverse, afterburner, slide horizontal, slide vertical, fire primary and fire secondary all at the same time and without moving your fingers from the "resting" positions. I used my joystick (right handed) for pitch and yaw, twist for roll, the hat switch for vertical/horizontal sliding, and the trigger for fire primary. I did accelerate/reverse/afterburner and fire secondary on the keyboard with my left hand. It doesn't hurt to have cycle primary and cycle secondary somewhere within reach, but they don't have to be in the resting positions. If you are using the keyboard for any movement control, another thing you should check is in D3 in your control setup there is a feature called keyboard ramp, set it to 0.0 to disable it, otherwise it slows down movements assigned to keyboard controls.

I've also known some talented players that used WASD and a few other keys + mouse, so it works for some people. Keyboard+Joystick was the mainstream control setup for Descent though, most people were using some variation of it.

As for players getting up close and into your blind spots, they are moving without thinking, and there is only one way to keep up with that. You also have to move and turn and track them without thinking, which comes down to practice a lot, then practice some more, then keep practicing. Back when I was building up my experience and skills, there were plenty of occasions where I developed blisters on my thumb and had to take a break for them to heal (till the skin toughened up enough that it wouldn't blister anymore). So I literally practiced myself bloody, but that is just about what it takes. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:57 am 
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There's also some excellent stuff regarding chording, controllers, styles, etc. written by Descent badasses including Birdseye, Darktalyn, wavetrades, Genghis, etc. out on DescentValhalla.


Go, read, absorb, win.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:04 am 
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Krom wrote:
I was a keyboard+joystick player myself, the only requirement for a good control setup is that it is comfortable and more importantly, you must be able to: pitch, yaw, roll, accelerate/reverse, afterburner, slide horizontal, slide vertical, fire primary and fire secondary all at the same time and without moving your fingers from the "resting" positions.


^^
This.

And don't give up. It will take time before you find a level of comfort and familiarity with your config that allows you to move/kill without thinking about controls. Good luck. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:50 pm 
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stop playing subway dancer

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:03 pm 
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You need to develop the necessary experience using/changing/tweaking your config until you find what's right for you, there is no one perfect setup for everyone, but the WASD is pretty standard for most people starting off, when i switched to Keyboard+Mouse i was on a WASD setup until i tried one that suited me alot better, it's up to your own discretion what's good for you.

Also, You might want to take a look at your controller sensitivity and tweak that to optimize your capacity to keep up visually with an opponent, I never stay at one concrete sensitivity because some levels have rooms that are larger than other levels, meaning you don't always have to have a setup fro fast turning when you will be fighting at a distance.

You will have to practice moving alot and also very little to learn the kind of tricks you'll need to use when someone gets in your blindspot. It's not the same for everybody, some people have one trick while others have many...Those personal tricks that you develop yourself will take time and effort to realize and to be able to be used effectively, But once you do you will be on your way to developing your own pattern of moves that make up your own "style"
But that's another thing i need to point out, Having any kind of "style" is slightly dangerous because it makes you more predictable, and nothing stands out more in Descent than someone who does the same thing over and over again, So learn your moves and practice your flying for maneuverability but also remember that flexibility with everything is key.

A few tips that should help you get started is,
Remember where you are in the level and always pay attention to the sounds around you, if you're using headphones (Which is very important) you should be able to detect the direction your enemy is coming from judging by the sounds, but also remember that some people don't make noise on purpose so you have to be able to counter that.

Dogfighting is a staple of Descent playing, so the better you become at this the better your overall skill at descent will increase. As Krom stated, you need to have enough experience with your configuration to the point that you don't have to take time to think about what to do, but if that's a bit much for you right now just remember this, as long as your enemy has the nose of his ship pointed at you, when you hear him fire a shot thats when you move, and you move out of the path of where he'll do his follow up shot.

Speed is important but it's not everything, it's the mental speed that counts, making decisions faster than others is what makes a pilot a great pilot, and what seperates above average players from the best. It's important to become comfrtable with your setup to where things happen naturally like dodging and aiming, but don't think for a second that you can get ahead without coming up with strategy, that's what makes this game better and more interesting than other shooters, is that the smart players are always the best.. So work on your mind game as well, but that can come later, just remember to get in games as often as you're able to, and make sure you get enough time to try to expand your capacity.

If you need anything else just message me.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:17 pm 
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Yeah, trying to trick/blindside people is most of what I have lately :) (more in D1/2 though, I rarely played D3) Rising-star players seem to be able to out-dogfight me long before they can actually win a 1-on-1.

If I ever got around to practicing the art of dogfighting, on the other hand...


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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:18 am 
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Unfortunately, without a ton of training, pretty much every new player just gets chain-killed. It's only after one realizes the many problems that plague this game that he is free to overcome them. It's better to learn from the best, not people who are moderately better than you. You can't learn anything from either if they never properly explain to you what you're doing wrong. After that, your mind has to make the connection, and some people are better at helping you connect the dots than others.

BUBBALOU wrote:
stop playing subway dancer


This.

If you spend too much time in levels like these, you won't learn to rely on more important skills, more fundamental skills like aiming and evasion... and unfortunately, we have server ops who cater to this kind of noobery. If you play in the dirt, you get dirty. This ancient Choinese proverb means that if you play with skilled players, eventually the skillz will rub off.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:08 am 
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I'll just bullet some things in no particular order, most is just reaffirming what's previously been said.

-First of all, overall, listen to Krom and Behemoth - they're good at this game, and they know what they're talking about. Their advice is solid.
-If you really wanna work on getting better, try and think what you're setting out to accomplish before you join a game. If your goal is higher efficiency, try to take your time - focus on being aware of what's around you, not speeding around the level, and only engage an opponent when you have the necessary weapons to do so (or even better, only if you have the jump on them). If your goal is to get as many kills as possible, you're gonna mix it up more, but probably have more deaths. Maybe your goal is focus on camping and see how you do, or only practice MD shots, or do a lot of dogfighting, or whatever else.
-Headphones are required for knowing where sounds and weapon fire are coming from, and music *will* affect that to a negative extent. Again, depends on your goals.

-Playing with people who are moderately better than you IS a good thing, not necessarily to learn explicitly what you did right and did wrong, but to be in an environment where you can make little tweaks to your game and see how your k/d changes as a result. If you're playing really good people, little tweaks won't make any difference.
-Along with the previous point, to learn explicitly what you are and aren't doing right, take Behemoth up on his offer, or spot someone good in a crowded game and try asking them to watch you - having someone who knows what they're doing piggyback you and give advice is really helpful.

-Know the levels you are playing on. Or at least, don't expect to do well against your baseline in a level you don't know yet.
-Try to get comfortable with banking, if you aren't already. Eventually, it becomes more natural, and helps w/ the blind spot stuff.
-Learn to tri-chord backwards.
-Get in as many games as you can, practice practice. But try to play with a purpose if you want to improve.

Edit: I've plateaued lately.. Time to take my own advice..

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tactical Assistance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:10 am 
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It all boils down to how much time you're willing to put into developing experience playing the right way.
There are physics to this game that if you don't learn how they are and how they can be manipulated you'll only reach "that" level.
There are so many different things i could say, i even wrote a tactical guide to playing multiplayer and to do better in 1on1's several years ago, but i don't know where it's at.
always feel free to message any of us though.


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