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Thread: Why do they fight? The competitive mystery of Atlas Reactor

  1. #1

    Why do they fight? The competitive mystery of Atlas Reactor

    "Ok guys, we are up a kill - sprint away like there is no tomorrow! Run and hide my friends and victory will surely be ours!!"

    Unfortunately, this is a conversation that is had all too often in my team's voice chat during competitive play. There is a significant flaw in competitive Atlas Reactor which is very similar to a lot of tabletop miniatures games that I have played over the years - why should we fight?

    If you are up a kill and ahead on resources (health, catalysts, etc.) the most efficient strategy is to disengage to safer or hidden positions. The onus is then on your opponent, which forces them to make aggressive movements which potentially incurs more risk. But what about the beginning of the game? Why fight then?

    A competitive game of AR is often decided based on who achieves the most favorable trade in the initial engagement. The damage done, cooldowns used and resources consumed (catalysts, etc) put one team on offense and the other on defense. Good teams understand this concept and are therefore extremely cautious in the early game which makes for a very boring viewer experience; this is compounded by the "run away" syndrome when a kill is finally achieved. Don't get me wrong it is boring for the players too, but I think the viewing audience is key if the game is to grow.

    In the miniature games that I have played over the years similar problems exist when kill the general or attrition points are the only measure for victory. These goals lead to stationary standoffs where clear threat ranges cannot be encroached upon without sacrificing resources. So how do you solve this problem and make the game more engaging without altering the core experience/mechanics? The answer is the introduction of objectives.

    In my opinion the introduction of an objective to competitive AR is crucial to initiate the action in the early game and provide a secondary path to victory in the late game so the team with a lead cannot simply disengage. I have discussed this with a few players and my current suggestion is to randomly spawn a control zone (similar to the extraction zone) on turn 4. A team that has a lancer within the zone at the beginning of a turn, with no enemy lancers in the zone, is rewarded with X. X is still up for debate but essentially it should be an advantage that forces action and would eventually grant a point equivalent to a kill.

    I have described the basic issues and proposed an initial solution, please chime in with your thoughts!

  2. #2
    I've not experienced this in this game. I have in others.

    It could be that I'm just not good enough to be super competitive but also I find that mostly, people play for fun. So being bored, running and hiding is not only uninteresting, but also against the spirit of the game and arguably cowardly too and most people would frown on that. I definitely would. If you want to win, play to win by beating the opposition soundly, not just scraping by.

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