Players Tactics: Basic
The following article goes over some basic water warfare tactics for individual Players. While some of these tactics may seem obvious, they lay the foundation for Intermediate Individual and Advanced Individual as well as Team tactics and should not be underestimated in terms of their utility and applicability in the water warfare battlegrounds.
Charging involves a Player heading directly towards an Opponent (or Opponents) with water blaster drawn and ready to fire. In doing so, one is both trying to get the Opponent within one's firing range as well as potentially intimidating an Opponent into retreating and/or losing position. Being a direct, obvious attack, charging should only be done when one's Opponent has little chance of being able to return fire (i.e. the Opponent just used his/her shot and must re-pressurize before he/she can fire again). As noted, charging combined with a battle cry or shout can be used to intimidate less experienced Opponents into giving up a shot or a superior position. However, against more experienced Opponents, a simple charge can be tantamount to getting hosed as one's defensive options are limited during a charging attack. One must remember that while charging gets an Opponent into one's firing range, one is also entering the firing range of one's Opponent.
Flanking is similar to charging, but instead of going head on at an Opponent, one opts to head towards either the left or right side (i.e. flank) of the Opponent. In doing so, one forces an Opponent to re-adjust aim in order to target oneself, thus reducing the likelihood of being hit by a counter-attack. Flanking can be particularly useful if an Opponent has not initially noticed one's position or is occupied dealing with another Player. Attacking an Opponent from the side or, even better, from behind greatly reduced the chance of counter-fire as well as improves one's ability to achieve a successful soak.
If the odds in a particular situation are not in one's favour, sometimes it is best to go into a full retreat in order to regain better positioning against one's Opponent(s). The main problem with retreating is that it is a purely defensive maneuver and offers one little chance to properly retaliate. Success also depends on whether one can truly out-run and/or out-maneuver one's Opponent(s) quickly. If one has no definite safe place to run to and does not believe one can easily out-pace one's Opponents, retreating is likely an unwise option to take and alternatives such as dodging and/or counter-attacking should be considered (albeit quickly).
As its name denotes, counter-attacking is simply returning fire at the same time an Opponent is attacking. Success (or failure) of this tactic depends on one's water blaster's capability versus one's Opponent's as well as accuracy of both's aim. In one-hit-soaks/scores-type games, a counter-attack will likely yield an exchange of points and little chance of gain. In a soakfest, whether to counter-attack or not becomes also dependant on one's soaker's output compared to one's Opponent's. If one has the upper hand in terms of pure soaking power, a counter-attack may be worthwhile, but if the opposite is true, counter-attacking is not likely a sound tactical option.
In games where shielding is permitted and/or if one's blaster is large enough to serve as a shield, blocking a shot becomes an option. Blocking, not surprisingly, involves using a shield or blaster to stop an oncoming stream from reaching its intended target. Successful blocking depends on the size and maneuverability of the shield as well as the reflexes of the blocker after realizing the impending attack. Blocking is only effective against streams at mid-to-longer ranges; typically at ranges less than 10', there simply is not enough time to anticipate and block an oncoming shot. Blocking is also a purely defensive tactic and even successful blocks do not necessarily improve one's offensive positioning.
Dodging involves getting out of the way of an oncoming stream. Unlike retreating, the goal of dodging is solely to avoid being struck by a stream, but not to free from an encounter. Dodging, however, like retreating is a purely defensive tactic and does nothing to get one into a better offensive position. As such, dodging is used for the mostpart by beginners while more advanced water warriors use side-stepping and/or parrying instead of dodging.
As the name suggests, side-stepping involves moving to the side to avoid an oncoming stream. Unlike dodging, however, a successful side-step not only effectively dodges a stream but also puts one slightly to the side while still facing one's Opponent. As such, side-stepping can be thought of as both a defensive as well as offensive maneuver with a successful side-step allowing one to subsequently attack with lowered chance of retaliation while having increased chance of a successful attack.
Unlike blocking, parrying involves using one's shielding device to deflect away an oncoming stream while not giving up one's aim towards an Opponent. In general, parrying a stream in a water fight is a particilarly difficult maneuver to perform successfully;however, a successful parry can mean the ability to counter-attack immediately while deflecting the oncoming attack.
Strafing involves firing multiple shots quickly over an radial area to force an Opponent or Opponents to dodge, block, and/or retreat. Strafing can be used either as an offensive of defensive tactic depending on the situation.
When charging or flanking a group of Opponents, strafing as increase the likelihood of hitting a target as well as allow one to get some stream ranging done in order to increase the likelihood of a subsequent successful attack after the strafe. Strafing can also be used when dodging or retreating to halt a charging Opponent.
As can be expected, the main problem with strafing is that, in most cases, the majority of water used during a strafe is not directed towards a particular target and is more likely to be wasted as opposed to scoring points. The benefit, of course, is that one is more likely to hit something as more water is being unleashed in rapid succession.
Leading (one's aim)
To lead one's aim, one must be firing one's blaster at a visual point in front of a moving target such at one's stream will arrive at the same time one's target reaches the same position. Knowing how far ahead of a moving target to aim involves knowing how quickly one's blaster's stream travels as well as being able to effectively estimate the speed and direction of the target. Typically, it is best to use tap shots or short bursts when firing, both to conserve water while allowing one to adjust one's aim and leading amount accordingly.
When using cover, one is making use of natural and/or man-made objects to reduce the amount one has exposed to being attacked. Using cover can be akin to hiding if one manages to remain out of visibility of one's Opponent(s). Generally speaking, use of cover is done primarily to provide natural protection from oncoming streams when shielding is limited or not an option. Optimal cover not only protects oneself, but still offers one the ability to see and even attack an Opponent with little fear of a successful counter-attack.
Choice of cover depends on availability and escape options if/when discovered. Poor choices of cover offer little visibility and end up trapping one with no place to run/hide if discovered.
Crouching often goes hand-in-hand with using available cover and/or shielding, but can be useful even in more open areas. The advantage of crouching is simply that one presents a smaller target area upon which to hit. The main drawbacks to crouching is that one's maneuverability is partially decreased (i.e. it takes a moment longer to get back up if needing to side-step, dodge, or retreat) as well as the lower position partially reduces one's blaster's effective range.
Using Higher Ground
Use of higher ground generally increases how far one can see as well as increases one's blaster's effective range while decreasing one's Opponent's blaster's range. The primarily disadvantage to higher ground positions is that they are often more obvious, thus making one's position more likely to be spotted. Of course, if there is a good amount of cover, use of higher ground positions may allow one to soak with impunity.
As higher ground position increases one's range while decreasing one's Opponent's range, higher ground positioning is generally preferred. However, most know this and are less likely to attempt an attack of an individual in a position with a definite advantage. Thus, even with better range, if one's Opponents remain out of range, one will be forced to abandon the better position in order to break a stalemate in a game.