Life in an FPS Clan, part 2
by Wayne Cole
To be competitive, your team has to work as a well oiled machine. Each player on the team needs to know the other’s strengths and weaknesses, and trust that everyone on the team can play their role. The only way to get that level of comfort is to communicate and play together as often as possible. In our clan we had scheduled practices two to three times a week, a match at least once, sometimes twice a week, and a friendly get together on our server every Friday. Practice could consist of running maps against each other, scriming against another team, or just running a strategy session.
If we ran maps against each other we would have each team on a separate channel of our voice communication software to keep communication private. Each team would have a captain that determined the strategy we would employ. This was a way to test out strategy, improve skills, and get used to playing with the squad that you would work with on match day. More often than not the group would know each other so well that the captain would have to switch plans multiple times per map.
A scrim is when you set up a practice against another team. This helps both teams practice and try their strategies in a situation as close to a match as possible. Each team can learn from not just their teammates, but the opposing clan as well. Crazy strategies can be tried out during a scrim to see how another team would react to them.
Finally a strategy session would involve all other players watching one player walk through the map and explain where everyone would be stationed or how they would progress. These three methods are how a typical team prepares for a match. If time and opportunity present themselves then watching recordings of an upcoming opponent’s previous matches could give a glimpse into how they work together.
You will notice the word “strategy” was used a lot in talking about match preparation. Many people think that FPS games are all about skill and reflexes. That certainly is important, but if you don’t have the strategy and planning to back it up, you will likely lose. I have seen the more skilled team lose to a team with a better plan more times than I can count. First Person Shooters at the competitive level is a game of skill both physically and mentally. Sharing that experience with others helps to bring you closer together.
For the third part of my series I will discuss match day and the feeling that competitive gaming can provide you. If anyone has any questions they would like answered e-mail me or leave comments and I will try to address them later in the series.