Optimizing pathing is one of those things that won’t flat out win you a mission but will allow you to seek out an additional 100-500 points per mission. Occasionally this is enough to rip the top spot away from another player.
The basic idea is to place each waypoint with shift-clicking so each and every path is as straight as possible and hugs every wall and corner in order to shave off a fraction of a second on every turn. There are a few dangers with this technique though. When shift-clicking a path you must preview absolutely every turn to ensure that none of your units get caught on any crate or wall colliders. If you get overzealous and get snagged it’s almost a guaranteed loss. You will lose an entire rounds worth of time at best and have a full team wipe at worst. Not great.
An additional technique for shift clicking is to create a shift clicking path across a wall or door and then insert a waypoint onto the path by double clicking on line. This can allow you to place waypoints incredibly close to walls or boxes by getting around the minimum distance waypoints require to be placed next to objects.
For each mission type getting all of the possible kills is usually the best way to get the highest possible score. Generally it’s ideal to kill each enemy unit as they spawn until no more reinforcements are coming and then finish off the objective. Usually easier said than done.
A good rule of thumb to figure out whether or not you should go for kills is that each kill is worth two rounds of time. The idea is that if there is one enemy left and you can kill them in one round it’s always worth it to the tune of ~1500 points. Taking two rounds to close off a kill should be point neutral and taking three rounds to kill a single unit is -1500 points vs. just winning the mission three rounds earlier without the kill. It’s also worth considering what the probability of losing a unit while trying to get a kill is because a dead character is an instant -3000 points. Try not to be greedy.
The hardest mission type to kill every enemy unit is certainly elimination missions. There are almost always additional spawns after you have killed the required amount of enemies to win. The best way to handle this is to intentionally not kill the last required enemy and to allow as many units as possible to spawn. This is extremely dangerous but it is certainly high risk and high reward. After as many units as you can handle have spawned your objective is to kill as many as possible within a single round. If you are successful you will most likely win the mission for the day due to the raw amount of kill points. The easiest way to do this is usually allow the enemy bomber to live and pray to the anti-fishing gods. Any other unit left alive is a massive liability as they will take advantage of your passiveness.
Frame 1 Shenanigans
For each frame (.03 seconds) you lose points so the faster you complete the mission the better off you are. With this in mind it’s ideal to complete the mission as fast as possible while still getting as many kills that you can. To do this you should be attempting to win each mission the first frame after amassing your kills.
In a collection mission this usually means collecting all but the very last collectible and leaving one unit next to it while you hunt down your kills. The ideal case is that on the first frame after getting all of your kills you can move your stationary unit a small a distance to collect the last object which should minimize your score loss from time. Don’t worry about collecting more than the required amount of collectibles either. They don’t provide additional points.
In a zone control mission the best play is to usually capture all but the last zone and hunt down your kills. In the same fashion as the collectibles on the last zone you should have a unit standing next to it for an immediate capture. Additionally you can expedite the capture by walking onto the zone before you finish off the enemy units and leaving it the frame before you capture it. This allows you to cap it on the first frame in the same way you did with the collectibles. Although, if you don’t preview enough and actually capture the zone early you will most likely lose to other players due to a lack of kills.
Free Firing / Spawn killing
I think we can all agree that bullets are dangerous. The best way to avoid getting shot is to shoot the other guy first before they can even react. Cradle to the grave. A good way to do this is to practice free firing enemies before they spawn. In a perfect world you would have your bullets in transit flying towards the enemy as they spawn so it hits them on the first frame of their existence. Accomplishing this can be quite tricky. The timing for a free fire is different for every unit and if you mistime it by even a fraction of a second the bullets will either fly past the enemy and cause no damage or leave them with enough time to run out of the bullet trajectory.
It’s easiest to set up spawn kills when your units are already set up within range and don’t need to move before firing. That way you can use some easy to remember default values for your free fires. Let’s break it down per unit or class.
Hindenburg is fairly unique for the bombers because of his massive explosion radius. If you get lucky you can have a single grenade overlap multiple spawns. In order to set up a great spawn kill grenade with Hindenburg you should have no grenade cooldown (5 seconds) from last round. At the beginning of the round you can give him a 2.3 second wait order and then his grenade launch order at an enemy spawn. This should explode perfectly on the start of the next round and kill the unlucky spawning enemy.
The Baron requires a bit more precision than Hindenburg. The Baron has a much smaller explosion radius so you need to be somewhat precise while aiming. From the start of the round with no cooldowns you need to give The Baron a 3.9 second wait order and then his grenade launch order. This should leave the impact grenade in transit at the end of the round. With some luck it will kill the spawning enemy before they have a chance to move.
Hudson is probably the easiest bomber to set up but also the riskiest to use. With Hudson your timing doesn’t need to be precise because as long as the mine hits the ground you should be fine. With Hudson the tricky part comes with the placement. If the mine is not perfectly centered on the enemy spawn point and it happens to be a shotgunner or bomber they may be able to run out of the explosion radius before the mine explodes. There is one more thing to keep in mind as well. The mine takes a second or so to explode so you need to make sure that the spawning unit can’t see any of your units. If they can and it happens to be a gunner you may get shot in the back for a point of health for being sloppy. The same applies to shotgunners too.
A more advanced tactic to make mines a bit safer to use is to have Hudson work with another unit. The idea is to drop a mine with Hudson and then have another less immediately useful unit free fire at the mine to detonate it. If you time it right you can have the mine detonate the first frame of the next round to do a proper spawn kill.
Denton is probably the only gunner that can use this technique. Denton’s free fire isn’t very useful for spawn killing enemies because they’ll more than likely just walk out of the stream of bullets. But, it can be done. Instead of free firing Denton should concentrate on throwing a flashbang so it explodes on the first frame of the next round and then just kill them normally with aiming. To do this Denton needs a look order, then a 4.1 second wait order, and then a flashbang on the enemy spawn. Denton should be able to win the ensuing fire fight with anything that comes out.
Zeke and Bodark are not really suited to spawn killing due to their skill set. We still love them for their team synergy and scouting though.
Seraphim, Ares, and Hyde are all great at spawn killing. Snipers are pretty easy to set up with a few caveats. All of the snipers have the same wait time which is ~3.3 seconds before their free fire. The big thing to remember with snipers and this timing is that if you’re too close to the spawn the bullet will pass the spawn point before the enemy unit arrives. The big issue is that if you drop your wait time to 3.2 seconds it will be too slow and most units can run away in time.
There are two ways to deal with this. One way is to simply find the correct distance from the spawn and ensure you’re far enough away to fire. The other way is a bit more complicated. Wait orders are only precise to a tenth of a second so to get more precision you actually need to set up a waypoint where your character walks for less than a tenth of a second and then does their wait and free fire. I’m not going to pretend this is easy nor is it quick.
Linus, Augustus, and Hoser are very good at spawn killing but aren’t worth the time it takes to set up 90% of the time. It’s usually easier to just have your shotgunner stand still next to the spawn point and stare at it. If any unit other than a shotgunner spawns you just win. If it’s a shotgunner you simply free fire at it and win. If you still want to set up the spawn kill the wait time is 4.6 seconds and then your free fire. Have at it.
To be honest having an entire round to kill the spawn is not the norm. Most of the time to set up spawn kills you’re going to have to find your own wait times and get somewhat lucky with the spawn locations. Every round you should be assessing whether or not you’re within walking distance to an angle where you can shoot at the spawn and are able to do so within the allotted time. If you mistime it it may cost you the game. For this you’re going to have to get very intimate with the step button and internalize the free firing times. Good luck!
When players first start missions it’s tempting to keep all of their units together so they can support each other and deal with any situation. This is a great strategy to be as safe as possible when you play but it severely limits how fast you can complete any given mission as well. Once you get used how each of your units handles it’s a good idea to start spreading out so your can kill enemies and capture objectives in parallel. Spreading out is something that naturally comes with experience but can come much faster with practice. Instead of just trying to survive really push yourself to take up as much map control as possible and figure out how to aggressively take territory away from the AI. This opens up way more opportunities to spawn kill and also limits the amount of damage a single enemy bomber can cause.
Stutter stepping is a pretty simple technique that just consists of having your unit with hold on sight on the desired waypoint and then having the next waypoint almost completely overlapping the first with a sprint order. The objective is to stand on your position to finish a fight with an enemy that you’re confident you’ll win and then instantly run away to complete other objectives or get other kills afterwards. This is more or less a time saving technique which gives you additional time within a round to set up or allows you to run away if the enemy rapidly breaks line of sight to try and reengage with more a favorable outcome.
The enemy last known position ghosts are useful. I swear. If you click on an enemy ghost you can assign it any class you want, you can give it orders as if it was your own unit, and you can even preview them. If you click the base waypoint of a ghost and drag it around you can even move it to anywhere you want on the map to test out any scenario.
Half of your time in each game mission or not should be spent with these ghosts. You should be going out of your way to place the ghosts in the worst possible position for your plan given how far each unit can travel while taking their last seen time into account. With any luck you should be able to determine the worst possible scenario and then assess whether or not you’re willing to take that risk and if not change your plan to a more conservative one.
You should also be aware that AI are sneaky. If a sight-line exists between your units and theirs, no matter how small, they will find it and use it against you. The best way to find this is to select a ghost, give then a look order directly at your unit, and then pick them up by the base waypoint and drag them around the map to find any cracks between any windows or doors. After you’ve discovered the cracks you can then go back and change your plan around then. You can use the cracks for vision or try to win a firefight with look and hold on sight. Most of the time you can just sprint across it though without too much worrying.
Last Second Peeking
Information is half the game. Every round some time should probably be dedicated to getting information on the enemy team. You can accomplish this several different ways such as the sensor grenade, tracking, or the scout ability. If you can find out where the enemy units are and where they’re looking it opens up infinitely more options for the round such as flanking or mid round free firing.
One of the most powerful strategies for getting information is peeking with your character. There are several ways to do this all with different advantages and disadvantages.
One options is to run to a corner or window that you want to look around and immediately run around the corner and then back. The advantage here is that you can do this at any time and that you can be several seconds away from that location before the next round even starts. The disadvantage of an immediate peek is that the information that you gained is already several seconds old by the time you can use it and may lead to bad decisions.
The other option is to wait until the end of the round and then peek the corner with only a fraction of a second left in the round. This means that your information is fresh and you can make accurate plans off of it. Depending on the situation you might be able to instantly roll into a favorable fire fight or free fire. The disadvantage is that the enemy most likely has fresh information as well which might make that character a prime target for a grenade or signal to the enemy that another area of the map might be weak and free for the taking. Although those concerns are more relevant for PvP.