Repost of Xeli/Xenon's guide from the gamepotusa forums
Xenon's Brain Dump #01- Fighting in a group pt.1Edit
Or:How to fight less like the rest of Hordaine and actually not suck
Xenon's Brain Dump is a series of guides intended to be a thorough yet approachable resource for becoming a better player. Suitable for new players and old alike, these guides present material in an organized fashion -- the main points are presented as headings in bold, while details, examples, and exceptions to the rule are situated below with the most relevant tidbits bolded. So, for a veteran looking to read through and gain a second opinion on the subject, a review of the headings is all that is necessary but a new player can read the entire text to learn from scratch. These guides will try to encapsulate what paltry wisdoms I may have gleaned in my months of playing this game, hence "Brain Dump".
And that, is the entire reason I have taken the time to create these guides -- to educate the new players who don't know what they're doing AND the old players who only think they know what they're doing. Both groups are entirely too large in Hordaine and in the NA server as a whole. Too often, this problem has been blamed on elitists unwilling to teach others. Just as an example, <Rebirth> is oft maligned for not caring about Hordaine, recruiting only veterans and alts, mercing too much, and other such accusations when the player base feels like whining about how badly Hordaine plays. No one stops to consider why people have stopped caring, stopped helping -- the root of the problem, the underlying reason for why hardly anyone teaches anymore. For myself, it's because too many people don't care to learn and I am fed up with wasting my time. So, here we are. Instead of teaching one person at a time, I've made these guides as a replacement available to anyone, at anytime and to prove that the problem does not lie in a lack of teachers, but in a lack of people looking to improve. Now, there are no more excuses; anyone can help new players simply by pointing them to these guides but it's almost certain that overall skill level will not significantly improve because lack of resources is not the problem. I'd be delighted to be proven wrong, but I'm certainly not optimistic.
On a stylistic note, I will be using the masculine form of pronouns in all ambiguous cases for the sake of simplicity. Explanations of potentially confusing acronyms, abbreviations, and jargon are presented in parentheses immediately following the first use of the term. Apparently random "u"s in words such as "colour" are not the result of a typo, but simply the British spelling of the word -- deal with it.
Lastly, though this series of guides is posted in the Hordaine subforum, it is, of course, equally applicable to players of other nations. All readers are welcome. Comments are appreciated though you should not expect to be unrefuted should you say something stupid.
FEZ is a game based around group pvp combat. This guide is going to focus on the group aspect. Specifically, for simplicity's sake, this guide will provide some basic rules for working with just a single partner -- those situations on the fringes of battle where it's only you, and one team mate. These rules can be later built upon to encompass working with larger groups but let's start slow, shall we?
1. Assume your partner is a bad player Unfortunately, this is the North American (NA) server and most players you come across will be half-way incompetent, if only that. If you try to rely too much on your partner to cover you when he doesn't know how to play properly, it's just going to get you killed. Unless you know that your partner is a decent player, it's always best to assume the worst.
There's no foolproof method to identify a bad player without seeing how he plays, but bad equipment, and low level are warning signs. Watch for things like overly aggressive behaviour, not healing, normal jumping (space bar) to dodge, breaking roots (hitting frozen targets) with weak attacks, cancelling attacks (2 attacks cannot hit at the same time. See (Mirose's bow scout guide for more info and videos) on stunned targets, and overuse of knockback skills are all signs of a bad player.
2. Learn about your partner Fighting with a partner is all about adjusting your actions to complement your ally; therefore, it's vital that you know what your partner is likely to do in order to support him. Things such as your partner's class, skills, and equipment can be helpful in guessing what he is likely to do. The sooner you figure out your partner's skill set, the less likely you're going to have problems with coordination.
For example, bscouts (bow scouts), dscouts (dagger scouts), ice mages, and 1h warriors (one handed, ie. sword and shield) tend to play as support, while 2h warriors (two handed, polearm), GS warriors (great sword), and fire mages are damage dealers. People in weaker armour will either be more defensive players or they'll be overly aggressive because they're poor players. Knowing how your ally is likely to behave allows you to choose actions that work best with him.
3. Protect your partner; work with your partner Keeping your ally alive is very important. If your partner dies, that's one less target for the enemy to focus on, and one less source of damage helping you -- altogether, things get worse for you as soon as your partner dies.
But keeping your partner alive is not the only concern; you also have to work effectively with him. This means playing in a way that covers for his weaknesses. If he plays support, you have to take advantage of the roots, stuns, or debuffs and play the damage dealer, and the opposite if your partner's the damage dealer. Always try to combo whenever possible. If your partner is squishy (low defense, ie. scout, mage) or low HP, try to stay between him and the enemy; if the situation's reversed, try to hide behind him. Also, take your partner into account when considering your position -- try to box in and isolate out the target when attacking, and stay within range of each other when retreating in order to offer support.
4 Be aggressive when you have the advantage, defensive when at a disadvantage This rule actually applies in all situations. Don't be afraid to take a hit if it results in a opening for you or your partner when the match up is favourable. On the other hand, when things aren't looking so good, wait for the enemy to initiate and make a mistake before retaliating.
The key is to know when a situation is to your advantage or not. The most simple indicator is numbers -- if the enemy out-numbers you, that's not a good thing. Also keep an eye on your team's HP; back off and heal up when either you or your partner is running low. Class composition is important too -- warriors tend to beat scouts, mages do a number on warriors, scouts shut down mages. Last, but least reliable, is skill level. A 2v2 may seem fair but if both you and your partner are relatively unskilled players while your enemy are a pair of lv40 players from a major corps (you'll learn to recognize these soon enough), you're in trouble.
5. Don't be afraid to cut and run if absolutely necessary So, after all that about how crucial it is to keep your partner alive, there are still situations where it's acceptable to leave your partner to die. Sometimes, you'll get so severely outnumbered or outclassed that there's nothing you can do to help your partner without getting yourself killed. Learn to recognize the limits of what you can do. In those situations, the only correct thing to do is to run and leave your partner to die.
That said, you should do everything you can to avoid such a situation in the first place. Good map awareness will allow you to call a retreat before you get outnumbered. Communicate with your ally using A.N. chat (press right Ctrl until the little button in the bottom-right of the chat box is a tan colour) to coordinate a retreat when necessary.
Since working with a partner is about altering your behaviour to suit your ally, this section will be organized based on your partner's class, not your own.
2handers are great at dealing large amounts of burst damage (high damage in a single attack). Therefore, you should play the support role when paired up with a 2hander. Slow, root, and stun are particularly useful. Try not to attack targets that are within HS (Heavy Smash) range to avoid cancelling. When dealing with roots, let the 2hander attack first, and try to fit an attack in afterward, preferable a slow such as IceA, Leg Break, or Earth Stamper.
GS warriors are like 2h warriors but with better attack, and less defense. Treat them as you would a 2h warrior.
1handers are a support class based around Shield Bash -- the stun attack. Therefore, your role is to pressure the target into the 1hander's stun range and dealing as much damage as possible on stunned targets. Also, if it looks like you will not be able to kill a stunned target before the stun wears off, it's a good idea to use a debuff, such as slow, before the stun ends. Like with other warriors, try not to attack targets in a 1hander's range, in this case, to avoid cancelling a stun.
Most hybrids are based around stunning as a 1hander then switching to 2h or GS to deal damage. In this case, you should treat them the same as a 1hander until a stun goes off. When a target gets stunned, you should be able to fit in a single attack before the hybrid has time to change weapons. After that first attack, alternate attacks with the hybrid to avoid cancelling.
Light mages usually have ice skills as well and will mostly be using IceB to root. Unless you're an ice mage, or scout, you should take the lead on roots. Try to keep a rough idea of how much Pw your partner has left. If your partner is low, leave the root alone for a little while to give your partner a chance to recover Pw so he can chain an attack on the root. Keep in mind that all mages are squishy ranged classes so try to keep the enemy away from your mage.
Fire mages also tend to take ice as their sub class and will be able to root. However, their main role is to use HF (Hellfire) to deal large amounts of damage. Therefore, expect fire mages to root less as they try to conserve Pw for HF. If a root does happen, let the fire mage lead unless you're certain he doesn't have Pw left for HF. Like other all other mages, fire mages are squishy and need to maintain range.
Ice mages tend to take lightning as their sub class. Their main role is to root and can be treated the same as a lightning mage.
Bscouts are a long range support class with a fire and poison DoT (damage over time) as well as a slow. They don't do very good damage, however, and do poorly at close range. However, bad bscouts tend to have terrible aim and will not be using support skills opting instead for low damage but easy to aim attacks such as True Shot and Air Raid. This will often cancel your attacks making bad bscouts one of the worst classes to work with. In any case, you should keep the enemy away from the bscout when possible though I wouldn't blame you if you used a bad bscout as a meatshield. Another thing to keep in mind is a special property of the bscout's Blaze Shot. An enemy knocked down by Blaze can still be attacked. Shield Bash, HS or other high damage move, or a debuff are all good choices.
Dscouts are a close range support class based around debuffs and hide. To work with a dscout, you need to take advantage of the debuffs by pushing aggressively. It's also very important to stay away from a hidden dscout so as not to accidentally reveal his position. Just stay close enough to support him when he comes out of hide.
Fencers are a close range damage dealing class intended for 1v1. They have nearly no support capability so don't expect much from them other than damage dealing. Their Finish Thrust deals high damage so let them lead on roots and stuns.
As you can see, playing in a team is not that hard at all. It simply boils down to paying attention to what your allies can and cannot do, covering for weaknesses, and playing to your strengths -- these are all lessons that can be applied to any group situation.
Guides in this series
Xenon's Brain Dump #00 - Newbies only: stuff everyone assumes you know *Planned
Xenon's Brain Dump #01 - Fighting in a group pt.1 *Current
Xenon's Brain Dump #02 - Building *In Progress
Xenon's Brain Dump #03 - Fighting in a group pt.2 *Planned
Xenon's Brain Dump #04 - Summons *Planned
Recommended Reading - Most of these guides are class specific but still should be read by everyone because not only does it help you to understand how other classes think and act, but also because there are topics covered that apply to every class such as attack cancelling in Miro's guide, "stiffening" in Yukii's guide, and consideration of viewing angles in Cris's guide.
Yukii's ice mage guide