Global Agenda PUG Madness Part Deux: How not to Fail Merc Control Missions

Since my first experience with a Global Agenda PUG was less than optimal but I had fun anyway, it’s no surprise that I’ve really enjoyed groups that worked well together.  On medium security special ops missions, working well together doesn’t even require communication — as long as everyone sticks together, we’ll get through it within the time limit.

Lately when in game, I’ve been focusing on PvP, running mercenary control missions.  I think these are 9v9, though I confess that I did not count my teammates in every match.  I’ve had some great groups here; several times even teamed with people that used the in-game voice channel.  Which is good — for awhile there I was starting to believe that it didn’t actually work and that no one could hear me speak.

Success in mercenary missions also does not seem dependent on communication, however.  It certainly helps and makes it a little bit easier to get players attacking or defending the same control point.  But success seems most dependent on players’ levels of “map awareness,” whether or not they understand and use their classes’ basic strategy, and their ability to adapt and change tactics.  I’m not so experienced in this game as to consider myself an expert in these three things, but perhaps because I play a medic I find myself in a pretty good position to observe and consider the differences between success and failure.

The first of my observations, map awareness, is something that you will hear League of Legends players talk about.  If you don’t play LoL, no worries, map awareness is a different creature in Global Agenda.  There are three things (again) to pay attention to.  The first, and easiest, is to watch the control point status window that is probably in the upper right hand corner of your UI.   Unless you moved it, but then you should know where you put it, smart guy, not me.  If a point is changing hands, and you’re looking for a fight, you need look no further than these convenient status bars.

The second of these is a two parter: get high and scan the sky.  And no, I don’t mean do drugs and search for aliens.  You have a jet pack — you should use it.   And use it for more than just dodging or quickly traveling.  Use it, sometimes, to quickly gain some height and scout out both your teammates’ positions and the enemies’ positions.  Of course, if you can see more map area, you are more exposed.  Theoretically.  Which is why, if you are not high, you should scan the sky.  This should be easy to remember — it throws down rhyme like Dr. Seuss.   Staying low and hugging buildings is a good way to avoid somebody else’s elevated eyes, but it’s useless if you’re not paying attention to your surroundings in three dimensions.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve launched out a window or a roof, landed behind someone, and blasted her several times before she even moves.  And since I play a medic, I don’t go looking to set up those situations — I just don’t hesitate to take advantage when the opportunity pops up.

If you pay attention to these first two parts of map awareness, the third shouldn’t be any trouble.  Know where your teammates are and don’t shoot off alone too often.  I’m talking to you, recon agents.  This doesn’t mean clumping up — coming at a control point from multiple directions can be a good thing, but you should try and attack or defend with others while remaining aware of the location of defenders or the approach direction of fellow attackers.  It’s good to work together — the classes are designed to complement each other after all.  And it’s good to know where to retreat to lead pursuit in to backup or just to get healed up after an exchange.

Play your class.  Play your class.  Play your class.  On a very basic level, each class has a top priority they should always be thinking of.  Robotics agents should be placing turrets, and if equipped, health stations.  Recon agents should take out any turrets in an area before attacking enemy agents.  Assault agents should focus on enemy agents and do their best to be the most tempting targets in any group.  Medics should heal.  I don’t care if your spec is focused on poisons — your priority should still be healing.

Although these should be the top priorities of each class, players need to stay flexible and be able to change tactics depending on the situation.  Really this can be said in any PvP game and can be summed up quite simply: if it’s not working, don’t keep doing it.  I can’t give that much detail on this tip — it’s where I have the most to learn and only have experience with medics.  But I’ve encountered a few scenarios where quick thinking comes in handy.  For example, and you’d think this would be obvious: kill the medic.  Maybe the real problem is the assault agent on the rooftop firing down on your teammates, but if you can see the healing beam coming from out from behind cover, you’re not going to kill the assault until you kill the medic.  On the other hand, if you’re the medic and someone decides to kill you using melee, stop healing, switch to melee, and block.  And if someone’s blocking you, stop hitting them, every blocked attack will damage you as if they hit you.  If someone’s blocking you, switch to your gun — blocks only work against melee weapons.  As for team tactics, flank enemies that are already engaged with your allies rather than join in head on — if you come in from the left or right, their attempts to dodge your teammates’ fire will leave them perfectly straight in your sights.

Following these tips is not a guarantee to win, by any means.  But these are habits anyone who wants to win should have.  I’d prefer that you only learn these tips if you feel confident that the matchmaker will not place us in opposition, but I’ll forgive you if you defeat me.  Perhaps it’s because I no longer have an Xbox to scratch that PvP shooter itch, but I have a lot of fun with the PvP, win or lose.

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