Part 2: How to stay on a good team
If you have not read Part 1 yet, I recommend it.viewtopic.php?f=171&t=12207
Some leaders are fairly lenient about recruitment, some are paranoid, but I'm now assuming you are on a team you want to be on and your challenge now is to prove you are good enough to play again with them in the future. All of the eight aspects of being a member are now much more able to be evaluated, but they show themselves at different rates. Once you are on a good team generally it is hard to get removed, a good leader will do his research and won't leave much to chance.
Sometimes a leader will still be unsure, or he is playing non-serious and can afford leniency, and still you would want to show your worth not just for a single era, but show you should be invited over and over again. I will now get fairly in-depth about each category to give a good account of what a good leader wants to see from you. Again, this is just a tale of my personal preference, this is what I look for and try to instill into people who play with me. Activity
is an indirect aspect of playing Battledawn. The need for it is dependent entirely on the speed of the server, and the competition you are facing. It is fickle, and depends entirely on what you do with your activity. You can login every tick, be hyper-active and accomplish nothing. It is also possible to login only twice a day and be more useful than some members who are around every two hours. While activity by itself is not an indication of how good a member you are, activity "allows" for higher performance in most of the other categories.
Think of activity like muscles. You can be the most fit weight-lifter in your city, but you might waste it sitting on the couch eating chips all day. Or you can use those muscles to play sports, do manual labor, fight, and any number of other things. Activity is simply a potential that can be used elsewhere, but having a high potential is better than a low one. Some alliances only require you to be on once a day, twice a day, four times, or more. It really depends on the speed of the server you are on and how good the alliance is.
Logging in is not the only aspect of activity. Being online in an online messaging client like MSN, or sharing phone numbers might also be a qualification of an alliance, share personal information like this at your own risk. As a personal preference I prefer my members to login mostly every 1-2 ticks (except for sleep), have MSN, and share their phone number with the team. I'm not insane and expect people to not work or go out and live their lives, but the important thing is that if you are going offline you need to plan your movements so important things don't happen while you are gone that put you or your alliance in danger.
For instance, never attack something and then fail to check your attack before it lands. Always check your attack at eta1 to make sure no additional defense was sent, and that no one matched your ETA. Also, don't sit next to enemy silos during a war for any period of time, if you know a nuke can get to you in six ticks make sure to check again within those six ticks in case he launches one, otherwise your team has to ion for you. So in the end, your level of activity probably matters, but not as much as what you do with your activity. If you are smart and plan your moves well around when you know you have to be away, you end up playing smarter than someone more active than you.Defenses
are something that most leaders wouldn't kick you for not being good with, but at least for me it is a very important indicator with how team-oriented a player is rather than self-oriented. Leaders notice if you are good at defending things without asking, and by doing so you make the lives of your teammates immensely easier by doing your share. If you are a good defender you are almost guaranteed to be invited again and again. I cannot overstate this, when you have attacks all over your empire on your outposts, and someone is very good at noticing this and defending things without being asked, I love them forever. Every time I login I check the radar, and there are a few types of attacks:
- Small, easily defended attack, a few squads at most. These should be defended without hesitation. Yes it's your responsibility, just do it. The only exception is if the outpost in question is in a very inaccessible place and you realistically cannot hold on to that area without expanding towards it more first.
- Medium-sized attack, more squads than you can handle cheaply and easily. You should look around for people to help you defend. If it becomes too late you should scrape together your reserves and defend it anyway, unless it is in an area you can't realistically hold. If it is convenient you should try to talk them out of it before you defend if the diplomat or leader isn't online to do so. If it's a very unimportant outpost like an unarmed silo or an unupgraded outpost it might be wise to just let it go.
- Large attack, more than you can handle at all. Unless the squads belong to someone hostile and you need to kill their army, it is generally recommended to let large attacks go unless you really feel the outpost is worth it, but usually it's best to use diplomacy to get an outpost back rather than defending 30 squads for a radar.
is one of the main aspects of Battledawn in it's entirety. The game is a team-based game, so communication is going to be extremely important. There are plenty of things you can do on your own in this game, expanding the network, getting conquers, even fighting enemies on your own can be done sometimes. Most things however, are based on teamwork, and there is very little to get around that. So what should you do to communicate well with your leader? Generally for a good team you've got two main ways to communicate. Most good teams will have a chat room of some kind, it might be MSN or Skype or any number of other clients, but it's a chat room. Some stubborn ones however, rely entirely on the in game chat system and in game messages.
As far as what is expected of a normal member, simply follow whatever plan your leader has for communication. If your leader wants to use MSN or Skype, try your best; If your leader wants to use the in game chat, do your best; If your leader wants to share phone numbers, try your best. That's really all there is to it. Ask your leader what he wants you to focus on and he will love you for it, I have kept members around who otherwise were not the best simply because they showed enthusiasm for helping the team and asked me what missions I had for them.Expansion
generally has three aspects to it. One of these is up to your leader, while the other two are on your own. First, if a leader asks you to expand somewhere you should try your best to see it done. As for what two things you should do on your own, you should be expanding on your own even without direction from your leader and most importantly you need to hold and maintain those outposts, which usually falls under "Defenses" as well but be careful about which outposts you raze.
In general, expansion is simply about taking outposts or building them and upgrading them into something your alliance needs at that location. How strong or dense your network of outposts should be is always determined by how strong your alliance is, without donating or a high worker growth rate holding outposts can be quite expensive, so you need to find the balance based on how high a worker count you want. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide if something should be upgraded or razed, if you are in doubt you can ask your leader or follow some simple rules.
- Radar. These are the most important outposts. If you have no coverage of the immediate area surrounding the outpost, make a radar. If you have coverage of the immediate area, check to see if a radar would reveal a decent amount of territory beyond your current coverage. If you need another upgrade first, do this first, but a radar would not be a bad idea. If a radar would not reveal any more territory, you might still want a radar there if you know your radars are in danger of being jammed, which adds a safety net of redundancy, but usually you can pick something else or raze it.
- Gate. These are the outpost upgrade you should be purchasing most often, they are the most important outpost to have in high number and radar only barely edges it out as most important. Radar is a necessity you forget about if you have it already, like air, but gates you can never seem to have enough of. Fast movement is essential to Battledawn, and gates are what facilitate it. Generally speaking, you can never have enough gates, but there are three main times you want a gate over another possible upgrade:
- Building one gives you a shorter ETA attack distance to a lot of potential targets
- Building one gives you a shorter ETA defense distance to an area without adequate defense
- The area is in danger of an enemy attack and you want to strengthen your control of the region
- Silo. Way overrated. Lots of people like to have tons of silos, but most of the time they sit unused, they are probably the least important upgrade. Pay special attention to where you sit silos. Some alliances surround their colonies with a large battery of missile silos, but this is not wise unless there is an imminent threat to your hive, usually they remain armed and unused for ages. Silos are expensive to hold armed, and even empty they are something you don't want too many of sitting around eating up your worker growth, remember each missile is 1 worker per day in upkeep. There are two times you should have a silo:
- Near the front-line of a war. Use the missiles to hit enemy colonies or outposts
- Preventative silos in the middle of large swaths of territory for hitting enemies that spring up where you'll need a silo on short notice
- Training Base. These are a special case as you can have only one, and it's usually very straight forward where you should have it. Far from your colony, more than 24 ticks away, in the direction of where you need to reinforce most often. As far away from your colony is best, but not close enough to any enemy silos that you would be in danger of rebuilding it often. Sometimes it's wise to move it every so often to keep spam squads around the map, but that is up to you. Here are some examples of where to put it.
- Hive is in Japan and you control all of Europe and Asia. A Training Base around Eastern Europe is good.
- Hive is in Alaska and you control all of North America. A Training Base around the Southeast United States is good.
- Hive is in Madagascar and you control all of Africa. A Training Base around West Africa is good.
is the thing probably most dependent on activity, but if you're smart with low activity you can still pull it off. The important part is knowing when you'll next be able to login and making sure your army is safe for at least that long by staying just out of reach of enemy armies and nukes. Battledawn is after all a war game and most eras, at least the exciting ones, will be decided in a war. This means that having a good warrior is very important to a good team, and showing the qualities of one will get you recruited most of the time.
There are a lot of aspects that come together to make someone a good warrior. Being active, doing defenses, and being good with aggressive expansion is all part of it and none of that should be ignored, but the core of war making will remain how you utilize your main army. A good warrior knows how to keep his army alive, keep spy protection with your force, keep plenty of extra armor around, and stay close to your team. Just as with activity, the initiative is what counts. To use the muscle analogy again, a big army that does nothing is less helpful than a smaller army that is actively engaged in completing the military objectives of an alliance. You can do a lot for yourself by simply getting out there and working hard to take down enemy objectives, people will notice, and they will keep you around.Economy
stands as the background origin of everything. Without resources you are nothing, your army is small, and you can't help out your team. How you grow your economy and how effectively you use your resources is something that is easy to learn, but difficult to master. The trick is to think mathematically about every move you make before you make it. The extra resources add up, your army ends up bigger, your rank will be higher, and people will notice. There are three kinds of economy, and it is important to know how they work.
- Bonuses, this is a team-based economy. No matter if you have no workers, get conquered, or anything else, this value remains the same. The most important resource generator is resource outposts. Two resource OPs is equivalent to about 14 conquers, since they would be worth about 1 conquer for each of your 14 members. Crystals are important too, they give less but you can only lose that income if you get conquered.
- Constant Income. This refers to workers, conquers, and the production boost donations. I wouldn't recommend buying the production boost unless you are over the worker threshold. This varies depending on what the boosts are at, use some math to figure out the metal/oil per token for the normal boosts and use that to see if 100 ticks of +50% worker income is worth it, but I generally don't purchase these. Conquers are useful, but delete so fast these days that I don't bother much with them. The main key is keeping high workers with wrecks and outpost razing. Keep an eye on your worker upkeep.
- Instant Income. Capture wrecks and outposts to raze if you don't need an upgraded outpost in the area. The instant boosts also fall into this category. This form can end up very profitable, but requires the highest activity because it only pays off if you keep up with it on a constant basis. This form of economy goes hand-in-hand with #2, as wrecks and outpost razing will keep your worker level high, but do not discount the resources gained immediately from this method. Just keep in mind that losing even a single unit can really set you back, and this can really eat up your energy in scans and gating if you're not careful.
The rule going along with everything related to economy that I will now reiterate is just to think mathematically about every move you make. There is an outpost you can capture to raze but you think there are 4-5 squads inside? Well the raze wouldn't pay for that, so don't do it. Always think about risk vs reward, and cost vs benefit. It will save you resources in the long run and you'll have more workers, metal, oil, and energy to play the game with. An efficient and smart player ends up outranking donators sometimes because of this, they're more efficient. Also just for emergencies it is wise to keep a good sized reserve of resources available, just in case. Think carefully about your resources, because managing them is an important meta-game that failing will ultimately make you lose Battledawn entirely. Trust
is complicated, and a deal breaker if not up to par. If a leader doesn't trust you, he won't keep you around, simple as that. If you have gained enough trust to join the alliance, most of your work is done for you. The only thing you have to do now is not screw up. Don't attack people your leader doesn't want attacked, attack who he wants attacked, and don't make him think you're the kind to leave a team at the first sign of trouble. When the going get's tough, the tough get going? Not here, if you are known for that most leaders won't accept you. There are exceptions when you are clearly the only one working hard, but don't leave while the rest of your team is still trying.
If you can do all these things then trust will not be a problem, every era you play together the trust will get deeper. I've had a few members I wouldn't let on my team again due to trust, but this was usually because they broke agreements with my alliance in later eras we were against each other. Generally this is not something you have to worry about if you play legitimately. Personality
is a bit of a mixed bag, but it is probably the most subjective and difficult to quantify of all aspects in playing Battledawn. I have had players I kept around longer than I would have otherwise because they were friendly and fun to be around, and I have also turned away great players after an era or two of being exposed to the difficult and dramatic person underneath. The general rule here is mostly to not be too dramatic, people are stressed out enough about Battledawn without needing members who add to it. Did someone steal a conquer from you? Let it go, it's not a big deal. Is someone having a foul mouth in the chat? Let it go.
Don't let the little things get to you, if it really becomes a problem you can talk to your leader about it or see if it's bothering anyone else, but don't make a big scene or threaten to quit. If you can let the small stuff slide and just generally try to get along with your team, no matter how different your life or background from the other members in your team, they will accept you. I've had teams with kids from Israel and surrounding Arab nations getting long just fine, Europeans of every sort and all ages, housewives, office-dwellers, and people who hang out at the bar all the time. There is no end to the diversity of people you can find in Battledawn, and that's something I love about it. You get can along with anyone if you try, just be easy going and people will want to keep you around.