Tip 34 - Active defence

URL: http://freespace.morat.net/Vitenka/Guides/

Wow. This is, like, one of my favorite topics, and I didn't write it down yet?

Right. Active defence can mean two very different things depending upon whether it is a clan game or a public game.

Active defence DOES have a place in a clan game, but will be used much more rarely, and will be decided upon by your overall coordinator - it won't be the kind of "Ah this would be good now" it is in a public game, nor will anyone spend all game doing it (probably)

This is mainly because most clans know how to ignore it.

Active defence is, in some sense, midfield. It hinges around hackneyed principles such as "The best defence is a good offence"

First - a warning. Active defence can very easily degenrate into deathmatching. If it looks like it is doing this, then stop doing it.

So - what is it then?

A/D (as I will abbreviate it from here on) is trying to distract and wound the enemy attack. Your aim is to force the enemy to change their tactics to counter you, thus leaving them exposed to the rest of your team.

A/D takes place either in no mans land, or at the enemies forward defence (their rr on 2fort, for example)

The aim is pure harrasment. If you can make their offence take a while to deal with you, then that offence isn't attacking, and this gives your defence time to get set up again. Hence the defence in the name.

Alternatively, if you can wound their offence, then your defence will have a much easier time taking them out.
Or they will go and restock, which again takes time that they would otherwise use to attack.

Another advantage of A/D is that you are in place to support your attack.

So if your team calls for fire support to punch a hole in the enemies forward defence, then you are on hand to handle it.

Primary skills required.

You have to be able to stay alive. Dodging, playing keepaway, never letting the enemy work out where you will strike next...
If you are dead, then you are doing no good - and since you are playing a very forward position, it takes time to get back there.

You also have to be at least a perceived threat.
If you cannot cost the enemy time as they deal with you, then you are doing nothing.

Making a medic sidestep twice as he crosses the bridge is no good, you have to be able to hit them - or make them spend a few seconds circling you trying to get away.

Similarly, if you don't have a chance against the rear line of defence, then the forward line will ignore you. You hav to make a nuisanc of yourself. Being a good shot really helps here.

Next skill - you have to be unpredictable. If you do exactly the same thing time and again, then they will be able to cope. You have to keep them off balance, which means that you need practice with a variety of classes, especially the spy.

What you do.

Get into the enemies face. Make yourself a problem, but not enough of a problem that they HAVE to kill you immediately. Save that for when your offence needs a hole.

Make it clear that you are on the sidelines, waiting for them to make a mistake. Keep peppering them with niggling amounts of damage, it all adds up.

Deliberately miss - try to make them consider you less of a threat than you are - plus it makes it harder for them to dodge intelligently.

Force them slightly out of position - your offence can use any little hole they can get.

Make them, at the very least, have to take notice of you. It's one more thing for them to keep track of, that introduces the possibility of a mistake.

If the enemy steadfastly ignores you, then if they are any threat at all to the team, kill them. They won't ignore you much again.

If you can - make the enemy chase you. This is where staying alive comes in handy.
Spies, pyro's and medics are wonderful for this - you can tranq/halluc/flame/infect the enemy - and STILL be a threat to their defence.
You have to be good to stay alive, but if you can spend thirty seconds leading some of their attack, and some of their defence on a merry dance around their base, then that's thirty seconds where your team is effectively facing a smaller enemy team. That can really tip the balance.

When the time comes, sell your life dearly.
Try not to kill them, unless they are close to their defencive positions - it'd be much better if you could force them to restock.
Especially if FF is on, kamikaze attack the pursuing group - try to leave the enemy with a dead A/D opponent, and a bunch of primed grenades.
Even if FF is off, it'll strip any remaining armour.

Lay traps for the enemy.
You know where your long term grenade was left, they don't.

Try to get the enemy missing you and shooting each other.

If you are harassing the enemy offence, then this can lead to real spycheck problems. What the heck is their medic doing here? MUST be a spy, right?

Spycheck problems are good - because next time you might attack with a spy.

Now. A big warning.

While you are doing A/D - you are NOT in a standard position, and you are NOT doing anything directly useful to your team.
Do NOT do it if your team has no other flag runners - go get the enemy flag.

Do NOT do it if your team has no normal defence - wounded attackers can still get to the flag if no one else opposes them.

Do NOT do it if you can't stay alive, or don't force any holes.

Now, what classes are good for it?

Scout. Scout CAN be a good A/D class, though the 'staying alive' bit will be much harder. If the enemy can hit you regardless of your speed, change class. Its advantages are that the enemy HAS to take you seriously as a threat, the defence CANNOT ignore you. You also get caltrops which are good for this, and have a complete inability to kill stuff. Sadly, this means that the enemy offence will usually ignore you. Or worse, kill you.
Final advantage, you can get BACK to the role quickly after being killed.

Sniper. Forget it. You don't have the ammo / grenades / rate of fire with sniper rifle to do continual harm.

Soldier. De facto standard. Your lack of speed and reload cycle is your only bad thing - but your armour and ability to RJ from area to area are good assets.

Demon. You can lay traps, you are THE BEST deathmatching class... it's just very hard to play. Also, when you DO decide to sell your life, you can tie up a room with explosions for ages.

Medic. Hmmm, your weaponry doesn't suck, and infection is lovely for spreading chaos. Not so good if the enemy uses medics to cure stuff. Also you can boost your attack force, and are a real threat as a flag runner.
Concing the enemy allows you to seriously hamper their fighting ability, but without killing them...

HWG. Too slow. You'll cause some chaos once you get into position, but you'll be in position too rarely.

Pyro. Napalm, flamethrower, rockets that go through walls... nuff said. You can't really kill, but you've got great armour for your speed, and you can make yourself a continuing nuisance. Also, again, you are fast, so the defence does have to take into acount that you might flagrun. You CAN kill SGs but only while you have gren1's really - so if the enemy has SGs the forward defence will show it in their reactions to you, and you should work on the offence and distracting the forward to get your SG killers in.

Spy. Spying is good. You're vulnerable, so you don't want the enemy working out where you are. You can draw attention from the real spy, you can halluc areas to force the defence out of them, you can tranq the attack (takes them almost twice as long to get to your base) and, of course, you can harass the engineers lovely.

Engineer. Unusual, but the ability to EMP should never be unerestimated. Don't do forward SGs, but you can do forward dispensers - and leave your SG for another engy to repair.
You get decent speed, and the ability to kill a group. Sadly, you aren't great at killing one on one. Still, this can be good to throw into the mix, especially if the enemy is using a lot of heavy classes.