How to be a Good Gamer: Basic Strategies

For the next few weeks we’ll be tackling strategizing in gaming and how a good strategy can help in a variety of different games. For now let’s talk about a few basic strategies that may or may not already know about. Then, next week we’ll get into a few more advanced strategies. First let’s talk about many common strategy names, what they mean, and when to use them!

  • Camping: A common tactic in which you choose an easily defensible position and stay there for a prolonged period of time. Often used by snipers in places with large vantage points or by people with short range weapons in closed quarters places typically with one entry/exit.
  • Strafing: Moving sideways to evade attacks. Best used in any ranged battle and typically while also counter-attacking.
  • Circle-Strafing: Moving in a circle around your opponent while always keeping your eyes on them. This is best used for a 1v1 fight especially if melee weapons are being used as it opens the chance to attack the opponent from behind.
  • Kiting: To instigate an opponent to chase you, but always keeping a distance from them. This is typically used against computer opponents as they’re programmed to keep chasing no matter what. Often the purpose of this tactic is to lead the opponent into a trap or to continuously hit them with ranged attacks while staying out of range of their melee attacks.
  • Aggro: To draw attention from an opponent to you. Often used if you have a high amount of HP and/or Defense so that the more fragile (or “squishy”) characters may survive. This tactic is very often used in MMORPGs and JRPGs by the Tank role (defined further down), but is also useful in escort missions.
  • Poke: A type of attack that is often rapid speed, but low damage. Best used to deal with very weak enemies quickly or against strong opponents while searching for a weakspot/opening. Examples of this would be the guns used in the Devil May Cry and Darksiders respective series. This can also be used to draw aggro.
  • Scavenge: To pick off weakened opponents to gain credit for the kill. This applies to a free-for-all match where you may find two enemies fighting each other and you take both kills, or it can also apply to a single player game where you let NPCs do most of the damage and then kill the opponent.
  • Assist: To cause damage to an opponent to help a teammate kill them. Used in team based games, often best used in spurts where you will do some minor damage to the opponent and then move on, this makes the most efficient use of your time as you can put your faith in your teammate to win after giving them an advantage, and move on to another opponent to secure another kill.
  • AoE(Area of Effect)/Splash Damage: An ability that damages all characters within an area. This is of course best used for a large cluster of enemies, but has a few other uses. It’s best if the cluster of enemies happen to be weaker to maximize the effect of it, or it can be used against large opponents with several weak spots. It can also be used against an opponent that may be hard to hit with an aimed shot, or to damage opponents that are hidden behind cover.
  • Zerg Rush: A strategy of creating cheap units in bulk to overwhelm an opponent with sheer numbers and very quickly. This term was coined from the game Starcraft in which the Zerg race consisted of cheap, weak, and quick units that could take out opponent bases before they ever get the chance to build any defenses. Works out well in the beginning of PvP matches, but is also effective late game against computers as you can rebuild the same army before the opponent recovers from the previous attack.
  • Grind/Farm: To do a repetitive task over and over to continuously gain the resources it gives (rare drops, exp, money, etc.) Best used if you feel underpowered at a certain point of the game or to accomplish an in game task requiring a certain amount of any resource.
  • Cheesing: To get through a portion of a game using methods unintended by the developer. Usually this involves exploiting some kind of bug, but can also refer to tactics such as save scumming (using save states for infinite retries especially midway through a fight) or turreting (to take position in a spot enemy computers cannot reach and hitting them with ranged attacks while they are unable to do anything to you often used in Elder Scrolls games.) Use these methods if you’re truly stuck on a difficult section and just want to move past it.
  • Tank: To build your character with high defense and HP for the purposes of taking hits from an opponent for your teammates (see aggro). Tanking can also refer to the strategic choice to take damage and opting out of dodging or blocking, typically done to preserve time if other choices take extra time or if you’re choosing the least painful attack to take.
  • DPS: To build your character to maximize the amount of damage they can quickly do. Often used in MMORPGs as the group damage dealer against bosses, it’s also effective in JRPGs in which you can also get a party of characters with different builds.
  • Healer/Support: To build your character with abilities to heal and buff your party. Often used in MMORPGs and JRPGs to have one or more people who can devote their turns to keeping the group at their strongest.
  • Glass Cannon: To build your character with incredibly high attack and damage, but at the cost of very low defense and health. Often a tactic for building a sniper or mage character and best used if you have a partner (preferably a Tank) to support you.

And that’s our list of basic well-known strategies to keep in mind. Next week though, we’ll be discussing some far more advanced strategies that you may not hear about everywhere, and hopefully these tactics will help you improve your game!

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