Coach's Corner: The anatomy of strategic map play
With this being the first article in my series of map oriented coaching articles I am aiming to outline and define the themes and concepts that will remain constant in my guides. While most of the game is undergoing changes, and all the maps are likely to change as we approach the final release, there are a few major themes that remain constant keys to being a better player. So while the rest of my articles will most likely become outdated, these major themes will continue to aid you as such changes are presented to us.
Now to any of you who believe that there is some great level of complexity that separates the average player from strategic play, similar to how it is in other MOBAs like Dota and LoL, you would do best to completely forget that notion right now. Gigantic is nowhere near as complex as the other titles in this genre. There are only three themes that any given player needs to understand to be able to utilize proper strategic play. Those themes are Geography, Movement, and Rotations. Once you understand what these are and how to apply them to your play you will have broken down the barrier between you and higher level play.
When I say Geography I am talking about how the entire map is layed out. How are the points layed out; what are the high points and low points; where are the bloomer pools and cyclops walls? What are the major and minor paths around the map and between points? How are these paths layed out? How are the guardian pits layed out and how does that affect your ability to defend and attack the wound. Being able to understand and use the map to your advantage is the most important thing to a player, even more so than being mechanically strong on any given character.
Movement works in tandem with Geography and is some ways is a part of it. How you move around the map, what paths do you take, what cooldowns should you use to get you around vertical distances. Being able to understand how to use minor paths between points to surprise your enemies, flanking properly, and knowing the fastest ways between points is one of the quickest ways to up your game.
The last theme Rotations requires understanding and application of the previous two themes to utilize. In Gigantic team and individual rotations more often than not are used in two situations: putting pressure on a point to win a fight or take an objective, and positioning to win a fight or take an objective. Rotations are the only thing that the average soloq player doesn't have great control over, but knowing when is best to rotate to a new location will help you play better with your team and even help you play better on an individual level.
While I don't expect you to be experts on these themes right away you will be at least properly equipped to read the next few articles regarding playing on the individual maps themselves. After you go through these articles it's up to you to apply what you learned and to be thinking about these themes and how best to use them.