external image battle_plan_1.jpgAside from skills and how to use them, there are many techniques in SWAT associated with any hero that help in any difficulty or game size. If you have a technique, such as camping formation or particular kinds of aggro management, this is the place for it.

Item-Drop Trick

The single, most important trick in soloing (or duoing) involves the Temporal Avatar item. It goes under various names but for simplicity we'll call it the Item-Drop trick. Because the avatar is an uncontrollable unit on patrol on your hero, it can only duplicate certain orders. It will move when you move, and attack while you're attacking (or attack-moving). Other orders like dropping an item, it can't follow, so instead, it stands in place and shoots what it can. The trick is that when you want your avatars to shoot as your move, you need to issue a point-targetted order where you want your player to run to, such as dropping an item there. Some classes have point targetted orders that make avatar use quite easy, such as Place C4 and Construct Camera (Cluster Rockets, MIRV, Plasma Grenade, X-Nade, Concussion Grenade all work as well, you just need to make sure to watch wasting mana when you use them ~capn_koala). This trick lets you damage the mob while still moving, but note that they can only shoot at things that you have sight of. This trick is great for retreating, taking down bosses, leaving tors and any number of situations where in larger games, someone else on the the team would cover you. If you are having trouble in game sizes that give you an avatar, learning how to use this item well could be the solution. ~NmdSnprEnigma

Camping

(repeated from the Guides section)
A very large volume of people seem to have a big problem camping. So I thought I'd take a little time to explain how to not-suck, especially so I can refer people from the SWAT channel to this post. This is the Screenshots and Replays thread, afterall.

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The picture you see before you is the average group of bumpkins that has no idea what they're doing in terms of camping. The gray guy is me, obviously, and the yellow guy is my pro friend. We're really the only two people standing anywhere near where we should be.

Now look at the picture and think of the red plus (+) as a graph, who's quadrents I've conveniently marked for you with a 1, 2, 3, and 4. In our current situation, the Q1 (first quadrant) is the same quadrant that our corner is in. No human player should be holding in Q1, it is reserved solely for the mecha mutt, which should be placed inside the blue oval to lure mob perfectly to it from all current directions, marked by the teal arrows.

Next comes the actual players. The tank is the class that should be taking the hits, obviously, and as such he should be sitting up front. In our situation, the "front" is essentially the area above the X-axis of our graph. The tank should be positioned right about where yellow is, at the center of the graph, (0,0). After that, the group should all be positioned behind him. In some situations, its okay for the group to spread out around Q3 and Q4 in the green rectangle. This is generally accepted for when the majority of the mob is coming from one direction, namely the "front" which is the top side of our X-axis in this picture (Q1, Q2).

But, when the mob is being unpredictable, and this applies especially well on nightmare and ext, the group may have to position themselves only inside the yellow triangle both for maximum security (pending vision for tnt-ghouls) and also to help maximize the splash damage of firepower as the mob is tightly compressed in the purple rings, which represents the pyro's tovs, and is your key killing area. There should not be any excess of bodies in any area besides the purple cirlce, which is very convenient for ioning the "pile." Note that the purple area is inside Q1, where only the robodog should be, and NO human players.

When positioning, also consider your placement in the marked areas. You can see that I, the medic, am directly behind the tank in order to have easy access to him. The main target for adren should be behind or beside the medic, and of course anyone with low range, like a pyro, would be close to the front. Common sense things (or so you'd think). But I see lots of "pros" that still don't have this simple concept committed well enough to memory. Placement should be a natural thing, not something you're forced to do because a leader yells at you. If people could consider character placement and try to teach people these fundamentals earlier, I'm sure games would go much smoother as players fall into place without hesitation or uncertainty. It's so aggrivating to see "ext players" still fail at this easy stuff! Bad character placement makes me want to Alt-QQ from bad games much more than having to revive a lot of players for making bad choices. Keep in mind that quadrant placement will change based on which quadrant your corner is located at. Rotate everyone accordingly.

NOTE: You can picture the red + graph by looking at the markings on the street. Normally you walk in the lighter tan area of the street, but the darker purplish parts which touch the walls can be thought of as sidewalks. The center point of the graph is at the edge of the sidewalk, exactly where it touches the street. You should also never walk on the sidewalk when you can help it, because it promotes cutting corners, and we all know that's the best way to get blown away by a TNT. ~MinorFatality

Walling/Drawing/Hugging


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Walling is a technique in which teams will move their player near a wall, thus limiting the number of directions from which the mob can approach them. Walling portects the party and helps funnel the mob.
Drawing is the utilization of a low health unit (usually a mecha) to take advantage the the Warcraft III aggro AI, which states that enemy zombies will usually focus on the the lowest health unit. By drawing with a low HP unit, the team is protected from enemy mobs and can also effecticely lure mobs into their line of fire.
Hugging (or clumping) is the act of grouping up to create an area with a large amount of splash damage, pile up enemy bodies, and protect the group by placing tanking units nearer to the mob. By concentrating enemies in one area (usually via utilization of drawing, but it can be achieved in other ways), groups can focus fire on a specifc area to quickly eliminate mobs drawn into that area. By piling up bodies, the party also limits where the zombie can revive, and since all the zomibe are reviveing near the same spot, they are usually eliminated by the area of focused fire. A group that is not clumped (i.e. that is spread across the width of the street) will spread the mob out, decreasing the dps of the team and making taking hits more likely. ~LimeyMan

Aggro


    • Global Aggro

    • There are two and a half types of aggro in SWAT: global, local and boss. Global aggro is important for pathing, but largely uninteresting. Once you get a feel for how it works, it will be near 100% intuitive and obvious. Mob is given an order to converge on the location of a random swat hero. An attack move is issued for a subsection of the mob to the location of a hero plus or minus a small area. This is done regardless of cloaking, hero health, level, and player name/color (as far as I've ever seen). This is not anything that you can avoid. This is why having a soloer, even a cloaked one, can and will partially interfere with the mob flow for the team. That said a cloaked soloer who only breaks cloak responsibly will mess up aggro less because he will draw no less local aggro.
    • Local Aggro

    • Understanding and manipulating local aggro to your advantage is a large factor in separating the good players from the best players. Local aggro (who a zombie attacks) is based on a number of interacting factors including distance to the target, target's current hp, whether the target has an attack, whether a target is attacking the target or nearby allies, the amount of damage a target is dealing, etc. The important things to know are the following:
      • Maverick's dog draws by virtue of it having lower hp than most other potential targets, even when not attacking. Any target with hp below the dog's will draw moreso than the dog, so it is important to keep all other unit's health higher and equal. That said, if a high-hp character is close enough for a zombie to hit, the low distance will override the higher hp and that target will be attacked. For these reasons, dogs may dance to keep the team safe, but only if the team's health is high enough. Also, dancing the dog behind any character will cause that character to take hits, so avoid this when possible.
      • An attacking unit will draw MUCH more aggro than a non-attacking unit. This has large ramification for moving the team. When pushing against mob without a dog to draw, it is important that the team move along one side of the street while the tank stays on the outside at the front. The team must not shoot. As the tank moves, he continues attacking the mobs approaching the front of the group, grabbing aggro while still moving and preventing many potential hits to the team. [pic to be included]
      • Units with attacks will draw more aggro than units without attacks. This is part of what prevents civilians from drawing aggro. Furthermore, this is what causes Lockdown and Stow Rifle to reduce the aggro of the hero. Both of these abilities remove the attack of the hero, making zombies less likely to target them. Also, this is why a hero moving in range/attacking mob targetted on a civ will undoubtedly save them.
      • Another use of the fact that attacking units draw much more aggro than non-attacking is ping-ponging, also called wall-to-wall. This is most useful for dangerous units that take a while to kill such as bosses and STNTs. Players on one side of the street will attack the boss until just before he swings, at which point that player stops attacking by issuing a move order. Because other players on the other side of the street are shooting, the boss will aggro them and walk away without having attacked. Once he reaches the other side of the street, those players stop attacking and the process repeats until the boss is dead without anyone having gotten hit. With little or no mob, this can be done in a circle as well. Note that this is much less effective on super mutants and ranged enemies like Godzilla or commies.
      • Mob can also be ping-ponged, allowing a team to move and still keep the mob in check. This solution is midway between camping and running, permitting the mob to be kept in check while still moving towards a destination (albeit at a slower rate) and checking rooms. This technique requires a high degree of coordination and very knowledgeable, very aware players.
    • Boss Aggro

    • Boss aggro is a special subcase of local aggro, but obviously a very important one. When a boss is in range, local aggro is recalculated to be relative to the boss. Any given unit in the area will attack a unit that is attacking a boss, modified also by health, distance, dps, etc. The practical meaning of this is that if a boss is around, you will only be hit by mob if you are attacking the boss. If you stop to shoot the mob off of you, it will move to the next best target, one that is attacking the boss. This is very useful for fragile heros who are dps-ing (snipers) to know. Also this means that if the tank stops attacking the boss, he will likely lose aggro to a nearby player. Borgs using Emergency Power will lose aggro temporarily. ~NmdSnprEnigma

    • A pyro working on mob control during a boss fight does not have to worry about luring the mob to himself, as long as the tank keeps shooting the boss and the pyro does not shoot the boss.


Dancing

How not to get caught. To those who know how to do this it seems quite intuitive but otherwise it can be difficult to learn. This applies to dogs as well borgs who have phero'd. Effective dancing will generally take the shape of a figure 8. Going from one side of a street, then up towards the mob to bunch it up, then going down to the opposite side of the street, and repeating this maneuver to make the rough shape of an 8 is an effective way to take few hits and have the mob bunched up to make the most of crowd control abilities. Another option is a general U shape, up one side, down across to the other side, back up, and back down again. Also, going in a straight line perpendicular to the mob flow is acceptable but this tends to spread out the mob some. At the heart of the idea of dancing/kiting is minimizing the damage the team takes and while doing that, minimize the damage the lure takes.

Anytime you have control of the mob, you have to be very careful and aware of where you're bringing it and where the team is and is going. If even if the mob won't attack the team (though if you're drawing without phero, they will still), you must avoid dragging the mob over the team or its path. In fact, phero/drawing will frequently be used to move mob away from the team's path or out of the midst of the team or away from civilians. Depending on the situation, it will be imperative that the team MOVE and not shoot. Let them know this.

The important thing about kiting and drawing is to not leading bosses or mob too far away from the team. The team needs to be able to kill what's on you and alone you are not as safe as you might think. Ensure that you don't run so far away that their guns can't reach it. TNT Abominations can be hard to kite properly because of this. If you move away from the sniper, the boss won't die and you'll be left with a low-health bomb on your hands. You may need to tell your teammates to move out of your intended running path so that you can stay near the team without popping it on them. You may also need to tell them to stop shooting if you need to double back on the boss. Regular fatties make kiting interesting because of the unpredictablity of where the boss body will drop - try to drop it onto a wall, and avoid placing it where the team is or will need to go.

Attacking

When attacking an enemy unit, never right-click. Always use attack-moves. These can be executed by left-clicking the attack icon and then the desired unit or location. A much faster and easier way to do this is using the A-key on the key board followed by a left-click in the field of play. As with any targetted order, you can cancel by right-clicking once. When trying to target a particular moving enemy unit, it may happen that you misclick. If you were right-clicking, the game will think that you wish to move to that point without attacking anything and without regard for the zombie horde in front of you. This can easily kill you. If you issue an attack-move that misses, you will target the nearest enemy, instead of wading through a sea of undead. After playing for a certain amount of time, this becomes second nature but it is a mistake the new players can frequently make.

Walk-shooting

Similar to orb-walking in DotA, this technique takes advantage of your gun's natural cooldown to enable you to move while still killing what's behind you. This is best used on guns with longer cooldowns including the Laser Rifle, the Assault Rifle, the Sniper Rifle and the Rocket Launcher. After taking a shot, issue a move order in the direction you want to move. After the cooldown has passed, which will depend on your attack speed boosts and gun, do an attack move again in the direction you want to move. You character will turn to shoot. Re-issuing the move order only a few instants later will allow time for your hero to shoot at the zombies behind you and then continue moving. If you re-issue the move too quickly, your hero will simply carry out the turn animation and not actually shoot, instead just slowing you down.

Lockdown Hax

This is not actually an exploit. When activating and de-activating Lockdown, your hero has three seconds of no attack. This gives your hero as much aggro as a civilian, which is to say, less than claymores and c4. This means activating lockdown will transfer aggro onto near by teammates and also C4 (to be finished).

Dote-passing

A coordinated team technique that allows for civing with a limited number of dotes. If the team is aware that they are civing with a limited number of dotes in their possession, they can carefully pass the antidotes around to ensure that the target gets fully innoculated (redoted) in the 20 seconds before it reconverts. The first player ("primary doter", typically a healer or triage character) will dote a zombie while the team is very careful to kill it with splash weapons or abilities. Because there are only so many dotes right now, making sure that you don't kill it is key. As soon as that player can, they redote the zombie, and if it is unsuccess they place the antidote down at their feet with the expectation that there is another player waiting with an inventory slot open to pick up the antidote and attempt to redote the zombie. As soon as the redote shot takes place, the process is repeated. Triage heros should be the first in line for this.
The key to making this work is the expectation that you will be required to pick up and use the dotes as quickly as possible. If you see there is a partially inoculated zombie, look around to see who has the dotes, look to see when he's done doting and going to put them down. Stand near him while he does this and grab the dotes off the ground as fast as possible, dote and put them back down. Using this technique you can pre-call an APC (call it around 4-5 minutes, when the dotes aren't ready yet) move towards it, recall for the dotes, and civ a full APC with only 1-2 stacks of antidote before the first nightfall even. This is really good for credits and valor as the game progresses.

Cover Fire

Being 'In Position'

Aggro Management (healing)

Communication

Silently getting destroyed by mob is just as bad as chattering about rocket you launch.



Please add techniques here as you find them.