I imagine part of the reason TDM died and other “objective” gametypes took its place is the total lack of understanding of the mode and how to play it. Especially in the “old” days when gaming was not as thought through as it is now. I remember the excitement surrounding counterstrike and bombs/hostages, specifically because they were objectives. There were already objectives and they were a sight more dynamic and interesting than bomb XYZ.
Basically in TDM (quakes/unreals would be the best examples) the objectives are:
1) Quad / Other power ups
2) Armours / megas
The order of importance varies between games and even between maps inside each game. One map may put more weight on being physically near an item where as another might put the item somewhere difficult to secure so holding another area near it and then moving to it when it spawns is the way to go. One map may even have an area that is important to hold but no resources near it.
Lets use quakeworld as the example, if only because it is the original and oldest TDM game. It nicely illustrates that objectives were there from the very beginning. The map in question we will look at was in the quake beta test. Can’t get older than that.
On DM3 (The abandoned base), one of the 3 “big” maps you have the following items.
(reminder for those that cannot remember the map :)
Quad (spawns 1 minute after pickup)
Pentagram (Health invulnerability, spawns 5 minutes after pickup)
Red/Yellow armour (20 seconds after pickup)
Megahealth (20 seconds after the player that picked it up health goes below 100)
Weapons (30 seconds after pickup)
qw is slightly different to q2/q3/ut in that the only weapon heavily utilised is the rocket launcher. The lg is also good, however on DM3 there is limited ammo so you are better off conserving its high power to kill enemy rocket launchers. In addition quakeworld is different to some of the later incarnations of tdm because the weapon respawn in longer than the armour respawn.
The order of objectives is something along the lines of pent – quad – red armour – yellow armour. However key to this is getting your team rocket launchers. Because the engine is now open source (or close to it) new clients display all sorts of things when playing demos. One of the key things to keep an eye on when watching demos is the rocket launcher count. One of the key binds you should have for TDM would be “enemy RL leaving via XYZ”, so you can alert your team mates where the enemy rockets are and if they need to push to kill one when the player is hurting. This is to illustrate rocket importance.
Holding the upstairs section of the “hill” room is a good idea, this is called ring due to the ring of invis spawning here. From here your team has access to the red armour room, the quad area and the mega on top of the hill. In a way it is the “middle” of the map, and you have good position to cover a number of spawns as well as stop the enemy team approaching red armour from downstairs. Dropping to get the mega is not always advised, to “escape” you either need to rocket jump out or travel through the weapons room / via back stairs to red armour room. If you are controlling ring and by association red armour your team is most likely not in control of the weapons room (the room with water, rocket/lightning/grenade spawns here). Leaving hill via the weapons room is genrally a bad idea because it is wide open and even fresh spawns hiding there can shotgun you to death, esp if there are two or three players. Leaving via red armour is a longer trip and leaves ring and red armour open.
If your team is controlling red the next objective you can expand to is yellow. If your team is not in control of ring (and thus red) your first objective after getting rockets could be going to yellow for some armour.
However the first objective is to get a rocket launcher and stay alive.
This may sound relatively straight forward, camp X, camp Y, etc. This may be the case for the armours, however when the quad and pent are spawning the whole team is generally mobilised to try to make a move on the area. This means that every minute, even if your team is not in control of red you will be making a move for the quad area.
One thing to note about quakeworld game mechanics is the weapon/ammo dropping system. Players drop all ammo for all weapons they have picked up but only the weapon they currently have equipped. Because weapon switching is instant you can keep your spawn gun out at all times and only swap to a rocket launcher if you need to kill someone. In this way you avoid dropping weapons for the enemy team if you are ambused. If you look at the spawn times previously mentioned you can see that in a 20 minute game there are a total of 40 rocket launchers, if it is picked up the instant it spawn. This is not that many when games have scorelines of 2-300 points per team. 2-300 deaths. the aforementioned script only stops weapon dropping if you are not shooting, if you do shoot there is a “reload” between shots and switching. If you die using the rocket launcher in a fight you will generally drop it as there is not enough time for it to switch back to your shotgun. Assuming that the enemy that killed you has a rocket as well your dropped pack becomes important and will be guarded by your killer until one of his team mates can come and get your pack and your RL. This is important and is yet another objective that needs to be addressed on the fly during the game.
If players are picking weapons/armour/items as soon as they spawn, and taking into account that they are spawned when the match starts, we have an objective breakdown along the lines of..
Pend – 4
Quad – 20
Red armour – 60
Yellow armour – 60
megahealth – NA*
Rocket launcher – 40
*is harder to time this and is generally not considered as important as the armours. Your team would not make a concentrated effort to go for this on DM3 or in quakeworld in general. In quake 2 or 3 this is different.
That is 184 item spawns over 20 minutes. Spawns will coincide with each other at times. So for the sixth quad your team may have to choice between going for quad or going for pent – or if you have quad control prior to the pent you can try to delay pickup so they are not spawning at the same time. Picking objectives and how you want to play is important.
Spawns of armour are generally treated as an area to secure rather than attack when the item is spawning. You could time the armour so you do not waste time waiting for it, but you would generally not time the enemy pickup of it in order to attack when it is spawning. The areas are important rather than the items time itself. This is in contrast to quad/pent. You want to know exactly when these are spawning. Quad on DM3 is in a high traffic area so typically players do not have to go too far out of their way on the spawn. Pent on the other hand is set off to the side of the map and teams converge there when it is spawning. This adds interest as the long spawn on the pentagram means it is not under conflict every minute.
To this point I have only discussed the power ups in relation to them being important to time and attack when spawning. Quad and pent usage also strongly support the idea that TDM is about control, items and teamwork, rather than just killing.
The goal of a quad run is to destroy enemy control. If they have rockets and red position then you should aim to kill them and take red armour area back for your team. Depending on the opponent this may be as simple as going to the area. If they have rockets they may abandon ring/red armour room in order to keep their weapons. Your team can come and take control. When your team has control you could further pressure their weapons.
An example of an unsuccessful quad run would be as follows: Enemy has two rockets. You kill the non-rocket players and then proceed to kill them another two or three times. You chase a few more spawn frags and end up in the SNG area. Overall this is fail because all you have acheived is some more points. You have not taken control of red from the other team and you have not killed any of their rocket players.
The same goes for pent – you should be hunting down the enemy weapons and then trying to take control of red armour. Pentagram prevents health damage but you will still take armour damage. As a result you should end your pent run on the red armour, to take control of it. Same goes for quad.
You are not hunting players simply to kill them, you are hunting them to exert control over parts of the maps, which then turn into more points for your team because of better control, not because you are killing.
This could be expanded to discuss teamplay and other ideas but for the purpose of this thread and showing that TDM is objective based I think it serves its purpose 😀