13/08/2012

Understanding your role in Huttball

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Huttball. It's the most complex warzone I know, what with the moving objective, the mechanics of passing and the dangerous terrain. All these things can be great fun if you manage to use them to your advantage, and when a pug really gets its act together and produces some great team play, it's an awesome feeling to see a group of random people fall into a sort of dance together.

On the other hand, when you don't really know what you're doing and neither does your team, Huttball sucks worse than any other warzone. People will be all over the place simply because they don't follow what's happening, and you'll be losing badly. On my main I often used to find Huttball frustrating even when we won, simply because I felt so useless, constantly slowed or punted off a ledge somewhere and miles away from where I would have to be to be useful.

However, while I can't turn bad pugs into good ones, I've learned over time that I can really improve my personal Huttball experience by understanding my role in the game. Like football, Huttball kind of relies on people to focus on taking and holding certain positions: offence, defence and midfield. Characters are better suited for some of these than for others based on their class and spec.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, tanks and healers should be focused on offence, because it's about moving the ball over the enemy goal line and staying alive. Defence on the other hand is mostly the territory of dps. Who else is going to take the enemy ball carrier down quickly?

One of the things I find most frustrating in a Huttball game is when I somehow find myself chasing down the enemy ball carrier on my own, as a healer. Those hammer shots aren't going to do jack, and getting a chance to one-shot the enemy with a well-placed punt or stun in a fire is rare. These days, I rarely even bother with giving chase unless it's convenient and there's nothing else to do. It just gives my pug mates the wrong impression (oh, someone else has it under control and is killing the ball carrier... - no, I'm not; I'm a healer and my damage is terrible!) and draws me away from areas of the playing field where I actually could be making a difference once the enemy either scores or loses possession of the ball.

The other big factor determining your ideal position is your class's mobility. Knights and warriors have the best mobility hands down, and should thus focus on the "ends" of the playing field and getting to the enemy where they are hard to reach and other classes would struggle. Classes with bad mobility (I'm mostly thinking Commandos/mercenaries and Gunslingers/snipers) do best while trying to keep control of midfield, as this doesn't require them to move as much. Everyone else, who usually has some way of getting around, should move between mid and the edges of the playing field as needed.

Obviously these roles aren't set in stone, but I've found that it really helps to use them as a guideline. I've always loved Huttball on my Sage and my knight, because I knew exactly where I should be - running ahead to yank people to safety on my Sage, and chasing people down with leaps and bounds on my knight. On my Commando, I kept trying to be wherever the ball went, and I could just never keep up. It was so frustrating! Ever since I let go of that desire, my games have been much more fun, as I mostly stay around the middle, supporting defenders and attackers as needed, without making any futile attempts to run all the way to the end that never lead to anything anyway. You've got to be able to have some faith in your pug mates, even if they disappoint you sometimes. As you can't personally be everywhere at once anyway, it's better to be where you have the biggest chance of making a difference.

5 comments :

  1. I've played Huttball exactly once, and found it very confusing. Imo, the map is way too complex and way too busy to see what a decent strategy should be.

    I'd almost like to see what Huttball with a flat football field would look like. That might be too simplistic, but it would be interesting to see how that played.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't mind if they added different maps to Huttball. I could see Girrada the Hutt liking some variety in his entertainment, and the ball-throwing mechanic by itself is interesting enough on its own.

      Still, I think declaring the current map way too complex after only a single game is a bit hasty.

      Delete
    2. Maybe, but given that I never figured out how to get from one end of the map to the other, I still think it's a little excessive.

      Delete
    3. I think everyone's had the experience of running the wrong way once or twice in Huttball, and it took me a few games to get familiar with it. Worth it, though. The z-axis component really enriches the play, in the same way as, say, Circle of Blood arena is more interesting than the Ring of Trials.

      I may be biased as a Guardian, but well-executed Huttball relays are some of the loveliest things in any MMO battleground.

      Delete
  2. I too found Huttball very confusing the first several times. It was the 3d aspect that got me lost. But once I got used to the map I loved it. It was Warsong but with the need to pass, environmental hazards, and terrain that could be used strategically.

    ReplyDelete