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Follow The Fracking Atlas

Guide Tactics

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#1 Void Angel

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:59 PM

Or, "How to Cooperate with a PuG."

Please note: This guide is a treatise on cooperation with non-communicative teammates and does not deal specifically with Escort Mode; for advice on that game mode, See This Thread.

Players of online games are rightly impressed with the potential of real-time voice communication to enance the cooperation of a team - giving such teams an advantage over randomly-selected Pick-up Groups. However, there is also a certain amount of mythology and magical thinking on this subject. Players often assume that premades are unstoppable juggernauts, or that being on such a team trumps the need to cooperate with the other 8 players on your side.

Neither of these attitudes is correct: I have seen PuG players with superior playing practices (developed through the Darwinian process of our faction being outnumbered ~5/3 on an open-PvP server) routinely stomp dedicated PvP guilds under voice communication - because we all followed the same set of general practices.

Thus we have the fine art of PuG cooperation: The purpose of this microguide is to outline a few simple, general rules which will greatly increase the effectiveness of any PuG that uses them. It is NOT a post advocating "bull-rush lemming" tactics, nor ANY specific tactical doctrine other than what is specifically mentioned. If the Fracking Atlas charges alone and no one can/is supporting him, you may need to hang back until they get liquored up for the end-game. If all of your assaults are Highlander poptarts and Banshee AC snipers, you may end up playing bodyguard for a while if they don't want to move. Be flexible, and understand the principles behind these rules, rather than treating them as an absolute dictum.


Rule One: Follow the Fracking Atlas.
Stay together and support the heavy hitters (it doesn't have to be an Atlas, per se - it just made a good tag line.) If you're in a big 'mech, group up with other big 'mechs - you may need to resort to talking to them, or just follow along if they're not up to using their words. Remember that the rest of the team relies on you to be the linchpin of the battle. The reason we all stick together is because the effectiveness of firepower is greater when it is massed - "the more you use, the less you lose." If you split off and run into their main body, you'll do a lot less damage to them than they will to you - and you'll be crippled or dead, your firepower lost to the team. So stay generally with the team and don't let them cut you out of the pack. And if you see a group of your teammates charge into the enemy team, for Comstar's sake, go with them.

Rule Two: Be Their Eyes.
As a special exception to Rule One, it's vitally important that light 'mechs scout out the flanks, especially after the long-range fight is joined. Yes, I know, some of you are ECM snipers, or backstabbers - or Locusts. I'm not telling you you should expose yourself to light hunters by running around the map: you dropped with a certain build; by all means, play it! But whatever your build, always be on the prowl around the edges of the space controlled by your team. You don't want to be destroyed for no reason, but you are the only ones with the speed to escape an unexpected move by the enemy, and we need your eyes. Heavier 'mechs are not exempt from this rule either, however; cored 'mechs, priority targets, and flanking maneuvers are all important pieces of information and may be vital. Take the time to let your team know. Finally, if you are not making use of voice coms, well, you're living in the Stone Age. Certainly, not everyone has needed a mic in the past, or can justify the expense of getting a headset - still, no matter what, hit that Team Chat key and relay critical information! It takes literally two seconds to snap out some kind of warning to your team, and that information can make all the difference.

Rule Three: Cull the Weak.
Always try to focus fire on one person whenever possible. Certainly you can't ignore any target that's attacking you - even a Commando will core you fairly quickly if you just let him stand behind you and pound your rear armor in. However, don't get tunnel visioned on trying to kill him. If your opponent breaks off, do not pursue him unless he's damaged heavily and no focus fire target exists - instead, swap to the best target that's still fighting you. The more firepower you can put on a single target, the faster that target will die, and the less damage he'll be able to do to our team.

Rule Four: Support the Team.
This rule is quite simple; we are a team. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and we need to help one another. Don't be too far away from the team for help to reach you - even if you're a Gauss Rifle sniper or LRM maniac. Optimal engagement range for LRMs is roughly 300m, and while sniping across the map may feel safe, it opens you up to being tracked down by fast movers and destroyed. Try to get a feel for what the team needs done: if your Assault brawler has three light 'mechs camped in his rear arc, or your LRM boat has someone face-hugging him, go help them out. Try to help your teammates before they even know they need it. Cooperation requires tactical judgement - it would be a bad idea to let an Atlas walk through your lines while you all chased scout 'mechs - but it is the most important element in any PvP game.

Rule Five: Every Rule Has an Exception.
No ruleset written by mortal man can ever encompass all situations. These rules are general guidelines that will help those who understand and adopt them to cooperate with each other absent active coordination - they are not a suicide pact, nor is the guide to blame if you did something foolish - even if you Followed the Fracking Atlas at the time. As with any set of rules, you should understand them as completely as you can - so that you may know when to break them.


Supplemental Rules: While the above four rules will give you the basic practices needed to facilitate cooperation without voice communication in the heat of battle, there are a few extra things I want to point out without diulting the main four points:
Spoiler
Important! This post has been revamped as of 25APR2014 - the comments below may not be relevant to the updated guide. The original post is archived here, and comments on the updated post begin after this point.










Edited 12JAN2015: for existential clarity, and to add Rule 5.
18MAR2015: VOIP! YAY!
17DEC2016: additional editing for clarity of spoilered segments, addition of disclaimer about Escort game mode.

Edited by Void Angel, 17 December 2016 - 12:40 PM.


#2 FrostCollar

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:07 PM

I fail to see how Atlases or any other assault mechs are involved in natural gas extraction.

Edited by FrostCollar, 19 December 2012 - 03:07 PM.


#3 neviu

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:10 PM

Why follow a atlas,,,

#4 MagicHamsta

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 05:20 PM

View Postneviu, on 19 December 2012 - 03:10 PM, said:

Why follow a atlas,,,


1) Because the Atlas D-DC may has the ECM. Awesomes/Stalkers cannot has.
2) Because Atlases has more armor than Stalker or Awesome.
3) Because Atlases has the largest profile of all mechs, making it easier to use as cover.
4) Because Atlases tend to be piloted by more experienced players at the moment.
5) Because it looks better following an Atlas compared to following a mech that resembles a dong.

#5 Budor

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:09 PM

You can not follow a stationary mech :wub: But rule 1 is better than no rule i guess.

Edited by Budor, 19 December 2012 - 07:11 PM.


#6 Adrian Steel

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:37 PM

View PostVoid Angel, on 19 December 2012 - 02:59 PM, said:

Rule One: Follow the Fracking Atlas.


Only if I can tell he's a decent pilot.

And If he's a trial Atlas: instant write-off of competence until proven otherwise.

#7 steelblueskies

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:48 PM

View PostMagicHamsta, on 19 December 2012 - 05:20 PM, said:


5) Because it looks better following an Atlas compared to following a mech that resembles a dong.


unless it's two urbanmechs side by side to the rear flank of the mech that resembles a dong. then it looks perfectly fine.

#8 Void Angel

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:33 AM

View PostMagicHamsta, on 19 December 2012 - 05:20 PM, said:


1) Because the Atlas D-DC may has the ECM. Awesomes/Stalkers cannot has.
2) Because Atlases has more armor than Stalker or Awesome.
3) Because Atlases has the largest profile of all mechs, making it easier to use as cover.
4) Because Atlases tend to be piloted by more experienced players at the moment.
5) Because it looks better following an Atlas compared to following a mech that resembles a dong.

It's much more basic than that: the Atlas (or any assault mech, if you read the miniguide) has a lot of firepower and more armor than your average medium 'mech's entire weapons loadout. It's designed to be the linchpin of your team, and if you just let it wander off alone, it's going to get murdered - denying your team its firepower and armor. Worst-case, he absorbs an alpha strike or two before dying in a horribly ineffective blaze of glory. If the team is there to witness this exercise in newb-immolation, at the very worst you can all be shooting at the other guys while they're killing him to death, and not you - and if you all followed the fracking Atlas, any other assault mechs on your own team will be there to pick up the slack.

Edited by Void Angel, 20 December 2012 - 12:35 AM.


#9 mechman

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 03:24 AM

The more people are shooting at the guy in front of you, the fewer will be shooting at you. Atlas is a hell of a mech for drawing fire, especially since they can actually stand enough of a beating to let you get a couple alpha strikes in before anyone notices you.

#10 Kiiyor

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 05:39 AM

View PostFrostCollar, on 19 December 2012 - 03:07 PM, said:

I fail to see how Atlases or any other assault mechs are involved in natural gas extraction.


Intimidation.

I know if -I- was a gas extractor, and a badass giant robot with a freaking skull shaped face was exhorting me to greater efforts, I would exhort like there was no tomorrow.

#11 Void Angel

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:01 AM

Heheh. Bear in mind that this isn't really a tactical guide except by association. I mentioned tactics only when I needed to do so for the sake of illustration - and an organized group may choose to run a completely different way.

Edited by Void Angel, 15 September 2013 - 02:01 PM.


#12 Void Angel

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 08:19 PM

View PostMagicHamsta, on 19 December 2012 - 05:20 PM, said:


1) Because the Atlas D-DC may has the ECM. Awesomes/Stalkers cannot has.
2) Because Atlases has more armor than Stalker or Awesome.
3) Because Atlases has the largest profile of all mechs, making it easier to use as cover.
4) Because Atlases tend to be piloted by more experienced players at the moment.
5) Because it looks better following an Atlas compared to following a mech that resembles a dong.

Also, I believe the proper spelling of "has" in Lolcat is "haz." =)

#13 Atriedes

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:37 PM

As a Medium (hunchie!) pilot, I always spend the first few seconds of the match looking for the big nasty and run support for them. Granted I havn't been playing long (only a few days), but once I figured that little tidbit out, I've started not only surviving missions, but ranking top 3 consistently.
Now if only I could up my kills instead of scoring all my c-bills through spotting and assists....

#14 Void Angel

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:38 PM

I found a maxxed-out engine and six small lasers helps, plus an ER Large Laser for extreme long-range firepower. Thinking about turning it into a normal Large Laser for the heat efficiency, but that's what I'm using now. =)

#15 MagicHamsta

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:45 PM

View PostVoid Angel, on 21 December 2012 - 08:19 PM, said:

Also, I believe the proper spelling of "has" in Lolcat is "haz." =)


Silly Void Angel
Me not lolcat.

Posted Image

#16 Void Angel

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 01:55 PM

I see you has. I see you has indeed.

#17 Void Angel

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:37 PM

As a corollary to this microguide, please remember that cowardice is NOT a tactic. I don't care if you're a "sniper" with only long range ballistic and energy weapons. You still have to get up there and support your assault mechs. Long-range harassment is all fine and dandy, but if you're not in position to shoot at the battle - if you're three ridges back, standing on a cliff so you can jump down quickly in the horrifying event that someone might shoot at you... You're probably not helping the team. The only people who HAVE to stay at long range are the LRM boats. Don't be afraid to get a little closer than half the map away in order to get a good firing position on ALL the enemy's main body.

If you don't, you'll end up with your team dying a lot of the time, and you after them - particularly if there are a lot of you. Since they were able to focus fire, and you guys just shot at whoever popped up over the ridge, they probably killed your team in the team fight. Now they're going to hunt you down with missiles and scout mechs - and there's no one left alive to hear you scream.

Follow the Fracking Atlas.

Edited by Void Angel, 25 December 2012 - 02:37 PM.


#18 KEMikos

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:48 AM

View PostAtriedes, on 21 December 2012 - 10:37 PM, said:

As a Medium (hunchie!) pilot, I always spend the first few seconds of the match looking for the big nasty and run support for them. Granted I havn't been playing long (only a few days), but once I figured that little tidbit out, I've started not only surviving missions, but ranking top 3 consistently.
Now if only I could up my kills instead of scoring all my c-bills through spotting and assists....


That'll come with more time in the driver's seat. You're doing it right. Besides, you get more CB for assists than kills now anyway.

<Note: This is in no way intended to imply that I am by any means an expert, or even a good player.>

#19 J0anna

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:04 PM

As the long time Atlas pilot, here's some general "rules" for those following:

1) Do not follow directly behind, follow off to the side, so you can actually shoot at what the atlas is shooting at.

2) If the atlas is heading towards the enemy, he's probably in a brawling setup (in fact if it's me, I'm definately in a brawling setup)

3) Keep a fire lane, do not cut in front of the atlas, or be willing to live with an AC-20 in the back.

4) A good atlas pilot isn't going to chase light mechs, do your best to keep those away from him.

5) Once the atlas commits to a battle, he's there until the end, there is no 'breaking off', Once you see them engage, support them or expect that they are lost to the team.

#20 Ursh

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:23 PM

1) Follow the Atlas, especially the DDC Atlas.
2) You and your one friend who are in voice coms are not a complete team, and going tunnel is not a great tactical move when it's only two of you. Follow the f**king Atlas and you can voice com focus fire a lot better.
3) You don't have a super secret ultimate sniper position the other team doesn't already know about. Running off on your own to your special place just means that the fast-mover sweeping your area will identify you as the lone ***** his team should either LRM to death first, or who he should harass. Congratulations on getting two volleys off before they found you and made your life hell before you died.
4) Don't be a f**king coward. When the Atlas moves up, you move up with him and fire on enemies. When the Atlas pilot announces to the team that he's pushing, push with him. If he's a complete ******, then obviously don't follow him. But if he's willing to weather some damage to gain team an opportunity to fire on the enemy, take advantage of it. Far too often, an Atlas pushes, his teammates follow, and then they back off and go back to cover when the first ac2 or large laser hits them.
5) If someone is shooting you while you're following the Atlas, SHOOT BACK. Don't maneuver for the perfect shot, aim center mass and press that pretty little button on your mouse that causes your weapons to discharge. Some damage is better than doing no damage while you're playing some angle.





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