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UT2k4 | Bombing Run Guide

Ball carrier is here! - Aryss

It’s about time someone made a guide about BR. For some reason, as it’s not as popular as CTF, DM, TDM or ONS…And frankly: I don’t have an idea why not. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s easy to learn but hard to master…just like all popular gametypes. Maybe the learning curve is set too high for the average player to pick up? Well…then in that case, this guide can help out.

Basics.

Each level has two bases with a goal in them and a ball that starts out in the center. Your team must pick up the ball, infiltrate the enemy base with it and either jump into their goal with it (gives your team 7 points), or just shoot it in (giving a mere 3 points). Of course, the other team will try to do the same…but in your goal.
Players are equipped with a radar, which points out the direction of the ball, and which team controls it (red, blue or neutral). If you are in posession of the ball, it instead points toward the enemies’ goal.
Running with the ball denies you all your weapons; you can only do 2 things:

Prim fire: Shoots the ball. If the ball is unlocked, it will fly like a light variant of a flak grenade, falling down after some distance. If it is locked on a teammate, it will shoot straight toward this player, like a guided missile.
Note: If the player passed to dies or gets out of range of the ball, it will lose its focus and fall down.

Alt fire: Tries to lock on to team members in front of you. Pressing alt fire repeatedly cycles through potential passing candidates, or removes the lock if there is no one around.

Notes about being a ball carrier:

-your health replenishes up to 100 with 5 health/second.
-your translocator ammo is set to −1 if you throw the ball; you regain 2 ammo for it if a teammate immediately picks up the ball.

There are two kinds of projectiles that affect a neutral ball: explosions (rockets, flak,…) and shock ammo (both prim and alt fire); the ball can’t be moved if it hasn’t been picked up yet. Also, the ball is automatically reset if it’s shot into a death zone or lies idle for 20 seconds (this can happen if it gets stuck).

Bombing run is played in rounds: after each goal, you’ll have approximately 7 seconds before everyone is set back to the respawn point. All translocators are returned to the owners at full capacity, all health is increased to 100 (if you have less) and all combo moves and the damage amp lose their effect.
If you’ve never played BR before, now’s your chance. Start a bot match and go nuts. You’ll notice that most levels have many routes to the goals and it’s best that you know them all to save yourself the embarrassing moments on the net.

Flow.

Done practicing? Good. From this point on, I assume you’ve played each map and have at least some idea of what its strong and weak points are. It’s going to be important for examining the flow of a given bombing run game.
Each player knows at all times where the ball is, which is enough information to turn that place into chaos in no time. Add to that the fact that everyone but the ball carrier has a translocator to get to that position, and you’ll be lucky to survive with a ball for more than 10 seconds.
The only way you can avoid the chaos is to move the ball as fast as possible. If you don’t know how to do a running dodgejump, you’re dead. If get stuck behind a mesh for a second, you’re dead. If you don’t know your way to the enemy goal…well, you get the point. Ball runners don’t survive long, yet their play determines the entire match.
Carriers shouldn’t try to score the goal; their real goal is to get that ball as close to the enemy goal as possible. Watch out for team mates ahead of you: pass to them if they’re in a better position or have more health. And for god’s sake: shoot the ball if you know you’re gonna die soon, even if it isn’t locked. Every second of delay for your opponents is a second that your team is advancing on them. Don’t let them get away.

Roleplay.

Just as with CTF, you can divide the players in the standard offensive and defensive roles. All these roles revolve around the ball, not around the goals.
Furthermore, it’s not wise to take a role for the entire match: you simply you can’t get back to your designated spot fast enough. The better solution is to keep pushing toward their goal with more players in front of your ball carrier (attackers) than behind him/her (defenders). Defenders take over the role of attackers once they are down, while the fallen attackers catch up to the group and pick up the role behind the ball…if the majority of your team is still in front of the ball carrier. This kind of role switching is common in BR, and team that don’t play like that will find themselves being overrun in a short amount of time (and believe me: every team with goal defenders got pushed seriously into defence).

Another good example of switching roleplay is when the ball changes ownership. The game turns into a small domination game once the ball drops: both teams won’t allow the other team to pick up that ball and will do anything to prevent that. Two skills determine which team gets the ball: cautiousness and speed. If you are fast enough, you can pick up the ball and dodge out of the way before the enemy has a chance to react. This scenario is usually suicide with lots of enemies around. You’ll have to make some feign moves to draw away their attention and take off with the ball when their attention lowers, or you can do something what some people completely seem to forget: start firing at the enemies.
Things get worse when the opposing team has the ball (especially when they steal the ball). The defenders should now focus on the ball carrier, killing them as fast as possible, or at least slow down their progress while blocking the road. At the same time, attackers should travel back to take some good shots at the carrier or focus on the enemy attackers (who now try to get into a good passing position).

Let’s take a look at each class individually:

Defender: You’re a defender whenever you are between your own goal and the ball. If your team has this ball, you should try to catch up with the ballrunner and provide backup. If there isn’t anyone in front of him/her, you should even move on to get a good passing position.
If your team is close to the enemy goal, you might want to leave your translocator at the reset point - or even camp there - in case the enemy team can reset the ball.

If the other team has the ball, it’s your job to kill the ball carrier, or at least stall him/her while backup from the rest of your team arrives. If you’re able to take out attackers fast, you should do this too, but don’t hesitate to stop your duel to chase down the ball carrier if things take too long.
Note: if your defence is weak, you can consider leaving your translocator disc in the goal room and head out for the ball carrier. If he/she got around you, you can immediately translocate back to the goal for a second chance to stop him/her.

Ball Carrier: You are the ball carrier when you can’t shoot but everyone starts shooting at you. As shown on your HUD, you should get to the goal. Keep in mind that the chance to score is inverse proportional to the distnace you’ll have to travel, and that your real objective is to get the ball closer to the goal. Try to get a lock on a team mate as soon as possible, and pass him/her the ball once that player reaches a good position.
Many times, you can predict when you are going to be shot: shoot the ball when this is going to happen, even if it isn’t locked.

Attacker: You’re an attacker when your position is between the ball carrier and the enemy goal. Your main objective is to find a good position so the ball carrier can pass you the ball (if you have a team that knows what it’s doing, that pass will come). A good position is usually higher ground, and always clearly visible for the ball carrier. So you must be close to the edge of that high ground, so the ball can’t bounce back against the wall. Simple double jumps also help greatly: they give locked balls higher trajectories, thus lowers the chance of the ball hitting some obstacle.
You must be swift and agile as an attacker, because you will usually travel through hostile ground. Keep an eye out for defenders and avoid their fire as good as possible.
Fragging defenders only takes the third place, so don’t expect to build up a huge kill account.

Even attackers should be scarce with their translocator ammo and only use it to translo-skip to avoid fire or to cover a decent amount of ground. The reason is that once your team fumbles, you should be able to turn back quickly to catch up with the enemy ball carrier. If there are enough defenders on your team, you can pick on enemy defenders or even hold your position if you suspect your team will regain control of the ball. If there aren’t many defenders (which is mostly the case), you must hurry back and even suicide if needed to be able to stop the other team from scoring.

AssRunner: In this role, you completely forget about the ball or the enemies. You run around in an abandoned part of the map and snipe on travelling enemies or even team mates. If you accidentally happen to pick up the ball, you always run in the wrong or opposite direction. Assrunners have the mission to perform shield jumps on all thinkable terrains and to get the lowest score possible. If he has a good team with him, they will grant him his ultimate goal: getting kicked off the server.

Ball Tactics.

There are some characteristics about the ball that allow both sides some ‘exploiting’ that can help turning the tide on a match.

Changing the ball launch crosshair: all the weapons have different crosshairs, and the ball launcher is no exception. Unlike the other weapons, you can’t edit it in the Settings-Weapons section. The easiest way to change it, is to first alter a different weapon to look like you want the ball launcher to look. After that, open up \System\User.ini. Search for the paragraph of the weapon you’ve altered (usually XWeapons.<weaponname> or onslaught.<weaponname>) and copy all the lines that start with “CustomCrossHair”. Then make a new paragraph called [XWeapons.BallLauncher] and paste all the copied lines here. Don’t forget to return the crosshair of the other weapon back to normal.

Resetting: a commonly used tactic in bombing run is resetting the ball (see Basics). Disclosure, Skyline and Slaughterhouse have a “death zone” goal, which will reset the ball if the home team ‘scores’ a goal. Anubis, Elecfields, Serenity and Twintombs all have a ravine nearby, which also allows for the same thing. Bitfrost has a goal that won’t reset the ball, but it can’t be reached anymore either. This just leaves BridgeOfFaith, Canyon, Colossus and Icefields as the maps where a defending team must actually carry the ball away from their goal zone.

Resetting the ball is not always a good idea. The fact that the ball is in the goal room means that the complete enemy team is heading toward your ball room, and they’ll usually have the reset point secured. In many cases, there’s even an enemy camping this point, so the same team remains in control of the ball. There are two ways too counter this:

1. The easiest one is to wait a small time before resetting, allowing the rest of your team to get closer to the reset point and start some chaos there. The bonus is that there’s usually a couple of enemy players who travel to your goal room (depleting their translocator ammo), just in time to see you get rid of the ball.

2. The other solution is only advised when there’s no enemy in your goal room and if your team has decent passing skills: forget about resetting, form a line and pass the ball to each other in a rush to the enemy goal. If this action is performed fast enough, it can catch the defenders off-guard and they’re suddenly pushed into defence.

Blocking: Blocking is getting real close to the enemy ball carrier with a flak cannon or shieldgun to prevent him/her to make a clean shot or pass. There’s a reasonable to good chance to block the carrier, based on your close combat skills and your distance to the carrier. Keep in mind that some carriers pass you the ball and immediately start shooting at you. Be prepared to put the ball away instantly when this happens.

Intercepting: This is picking up the ball while it’s in the air. It goes from simply “standing between the carrier and the attacker” to “translocating to the spot in the air where the ball will come by”. Basic interception comes down to knowing where an attacker is when he or she is about to receive a pass. If you’re close to this attacker, you should start harassing him while he has to wait to pick up the ball. If you’re between the two, you should try blocking the attacker’s view of the carrier.
Intercepting unguided shots are much harder. It is possible to translocate yourself to a point where the ball will pass through. If you want to learn this, then I suggest you load up Skyline in singleplayer (no bots), and shoot the ball against the wall. Then try to catch it before it reaches the ground. Other than that, I can’t help you with this.
As an easier alternative, you can travel ahead to the point where it’s going to land and secure that position.

Goalie: This is a last-ditch effort from the defending team: getting in front of the goal, armed with a close combat weapon. The idea behind this is to stop the enemies from scoring by getting in the way. This means intercepting a goal shot (on long distances) or blocking the ball carrier (on short distances).

Court Shots: If you pick up a ball while carrying a shock rifle, you can go for acourt shot. This comes down to boosting an unguided pass: shoot the ball, aim carefully and then hit the flying ball with your prim fire of the shock rifle. This results in an extremely long shot. With some practicing, you can score a goal from the reset point in Skyline or Colossus. The instaGib rifle has the same effect on the ball, but gives more power to the thing.

Long Range Passing: As your translocator and attacking skills increase, you can start using this manoeuver: using the translocator to stay ahead of a ball while it has been passed to you. This might be hard to understand, but you’ll know what I mean if you ever saw someone taking a long range pass (IMO, long range passes are the most spectacular trick in UT2004). I’m not a master in this technique, but it’s not as complicated as it looks. First off all, you’ll need a good position; it must be open enough to allow the ball to travel straight toward you at all times (this excludes all indoor places). Next up is the timing: just translocating as soon as you get that ‘incoming ball’ warning isn’t enough here. If you’re on higher ground, make sure you’re as close to the edge as possible, and double jump to pull the ball in a higher trajectory. If the ball is close enough, throw the translocator and immediately translocate (if the ball is too close, you’ll catch it). Repeat this throwing/translocating as ‘slow’ as possible without allowing the ball to catch up with you, but still fast enough to remain airborne until your transloc is depleted.

Level Tactics.

It’s obvious that you can’t make court shots in Disclosure, and that blocking in Colossus is a rather…useless tactic. Playing BR in one map can therefore differ like day and night from another map. If you just start BR without thinking about this, there’s a good chance that the ball will pass by you before you even know it (and I’m affraid that this is the reason why there aren’t more people interested in this gametype :-( ). Here, I’m going to describe how to use parts of the level to your advantage, just as well as how you can counter this abuse by the other team.

Open Ground: This is the best terrain for passes. Attackers must take a leadstart and put themselves on high terrain to allow for a good pass.
The other team must be prepared for this, and shoot the discs out of the sky as they come closer or must try to sabotage the pass. Harassing the ball carrier rarely pays off…unless you’re fighting with a lightning gun.

Narrow Corridors: Passes are harder, especially when the corridors have corners and edges in them. Attackers should stay close and arm themselves with explosive weapons to keep the other team at bay. Once the other team finds out where the ball is, there will be spam for everyone. These fights are usually won by the amount of damage each player can produce per second. This operation takes time though, which the defending team will use to send in backup. The ball carrier shouldn’t stay here long if he has another option.

Dissaray: narrow corridors can be secured pretty tight, so mappers usually don’t rely on a single one for their map. Ball carriers can really confuse the other team by picking one route, then turning back, taking a second one, turning back again and so on. This kind of feigning allows for both teams to get into position, but the defending team will have it harder to be in the right position.
Luckily, the defence has some trumps as well. First of all: communication. The radar shows wether the ball is left or right, but it doesn’t show z-axis. Have at least keys bound to something like ‘Teamsay ^^^ Up ^^^’ and ‘Teamsay vvv Down vvv’ to warn your teammates. Secondly: there is just one goal, so that ball is going to come out there sooner or later. Defenders should make it a priority to secure this place. I have played games in Disclosure where I saw barely anyone in the corridors, but almost the entire team in the goal room.

Level Tricks: not all scenery is meant as eye candy. On roof A, there’s an opportunity to dodgejump to balcony B, attackers take positions on top of meshes, and so on. Keep playing online, and you’ll soon find out a whole lot of them. Here are a some examples:

Anubis: Attackers have a good (but dangerous) spot above the ball room entrance, on top of the doorpost.

Bitfrost: If you approach the enemy base on the right side, you can jump your way to the top if there isn’t a teammate waiting for you to take over your ball.

BridgeOfFaith: Ball carriers who attack on the left bridge can do a running dodgejump to the 2 med kits located at the end of the center bridge.

Canyon: If ballrunners make it on top of the edge (the one with the lightning gun) and look to the right, they can see a tree up there. It’s possible to dodgejump to that tree, and from there almost straight on top of the goal jump pad.

Colossus: If someone passes you the ball while you’re on top of the air vents (above the level, somewhat on the side): run over the wires, then dodgejump to the goal side. With some practicing, you’ll end up on top of the building. You’re somewhat shielded there, and you can also make an easy jump in the direction of the goal from up there.

Elecfields: Get the attackers on top of the roofs; either the roofs on the sides, somewhere above the center or on the roof of the small building above the spawning point of the defenders.

Disclosure: Make some long passes on the center field to deny your enemies the knowledge which corridor your team is gonna take.

Icefields: A lot of the snowy edges (including the snowy bridges) can be climbed for better passing.

Serenity: Attackers should take their position on top of the rocks facing the reset point or on the bridge that mark the entrance of the bases.

Skyline: Ball carriers should learn how to enter the goal room through the side windows, or give a good pass to the attackers that make their way to the top of the chimney, ready to shoot a straight 3-pointer (defenders could translocate into the chimney if they suspect the other team is gonna do this).

Slaughterhouse: If you’re carefull, you can walk on the metal plates that act as fake ceiling in the meat storage room. At the end of this room, make sure to pass the ball to a teammate that climbs the window.

Twintombs: Ball runners can dodgejump from their right roof onto the half arc above the center, double jump to the opposite arc, then dodgejump to the opposite roof.

Page last modified on October 30, 2005, at 10:49 AM