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UT2k4 | UT2k4 CTF Guide

Capture The Flag Guide.

NEVER give up on CTF. CTF is the one true way, the middle path as it were. It’s where the rubber meets the road and your chocolate gets into my peanut butter. CTF is insured against acts of God AND Satan. CTF is all things, and none of them, and dammit we like it that way! - [Apoc]Discord, BeyondUnreal forums.

Capture The Flag…From all the possible gametypes a First Person Shooter can have CTF might be the most popular one (with possible exception of regular deathmatch). At this moment, there are hundreds - maybe even thousants - of clans that focus mainly on this gametype. The reason for this popularity can be found in the objectives: these are simple to understand, but hard to master. They require teamwork and coordination, skill and agility, guts and common sence, and in our case… a retail copy of UT2004 as well.

In essence, CTF is played with 2 teams. Each team starts in a base that contains a flag. The goal is nothing more than to go out to the other base, grab their flag and bring it to your own base. You score a point whenever you touch your own flag post and your own flag is still in that position. Enemy flags can be picked up simply by walking over them. A flag drops if you die or teleport while carrying it. It can then be picked up picked up by a teammate. If someone of the own team touches the flag, it is immediately reset to the starting position. The flag is also reset if it drops in a death zone (chasm, lava, …) or when it isn’t picked up within 23 seconds.
CTF can be found in most arcade-style FPS’es, but the Unreal-based ones have thing that set them apart completely: the translocator. This little device gives every player an incredible movement boost, allowing them access to all corners of the map in a matter of seconds. There are some disadvantages to the thing, though. It’s limited in use (though it recharges), and if you teleport yourself while holding the flag, you immediately drop the thing.

Roleplay.

It’s important to keep in mind that the gametype revolves around the flags. It isn’t deathmatch, and you’re doing nothing but weakening your team’s position if you forget this fact. When playing CTF, you should stick to a particular role and only change if your team has too much players doing the same thing as you, or not enough of a different role. Each role has its set of priorities, but you should be able to adapt quickly if the context requires it (eg. when you’re a defender and an enemy flag drops nearby, you should pick it up and carry on the work of the flag runner).

Defender.

As a defender, your main role is to prevent the enemy team from getting your flag. You leave your position once the flag gets stolen to chase down enemy flag runners, even if it means you should get all the way to the other base.
Note that ‘chasing’ is only used by lack of a better word: if possible, you should get ahead of the flag carriers, awaiting them at points the Enemy Flag Carrier (or EFC) has to pass. In emergencies, defenders also take the enemy flag: not so much to hope for a cap, but more to prevent the other team from scoring a point. And “emergencies” can be just about anything in favour of the EFC: the EFC picked up a keg/super shield, he gets covered by many people or he is just close to his own flag.

If the defenders succeed in taking down the EFC, try to delay returning the flag until the rest of the defence is in position (about 5 seconds max). However: don’t hesitate to return the flag for even a second if there are other hostile forces in the area.
Anyway…after returning the flag, you should get back to the base as soon as possible. Run, translocate, even suicide if you have to, but make it back to the flag post before an enemy arrives there.

Roamer.

Unlike the other roles, a roamer’s goal doesn’t directly involve flags. Instead, they will try to get a lockdown on the center of the map by getting all the power-ups and items that linger around there. From that position, they provide backup for whomever needs it (as long as they are from the same team ;-) ). They should try to get the attention of enemy attackers so they won’t proceed toward your flag, stop or stall EFC’s whenever they come by, and cover Friendly Flag Carriers (FFC’s) the rest of the way. As a sidemission, roamers are the ones who must inform the rest of the team for important stuff.
The life of a roamer isn’t easy. You have to know just about everyone’s position at all times to be of any use and have to get in the right position fast. Lots of maps have two or even more completely independant routes to / from the flag, which makes roaming close to impossible.
Roaming is a good way to check out behaviour at pub games; you get to see what the strong and weak points of your team are, so you can shift your role to whatever is needed most.

Attacker.

These are the guys who risk their lives to get to the other base and steal their flag. Since this is so dangerous, it’s best to group together to make it out alive.
Nothing makes you a more eager target than when you carry a flag (except carrying a BR ball). Whilst everyone of the other team has their roles as well, no one is going to leave an opportunity to at least take some shots at you. Therefore, flagrunners must be quick and agile.

Be carefull as you aproach the flag: many flag runs end after a few meters (or yards) because the defenders predicted the time these guys pick up the flag and aimed at the flag at the right time. Watch out for these guys; they usually hide out, waiting for someone to approach the flag post. Sometimes it’s better to target them first, to make sure they keep their aim away from the flag post. Don’t turn it into a duel; pick up the flag and get out of sight as soon as you have a chance.
Even if you survive this encounter you better have lots of health, since having the flag is never a healthy situation. In fact, sometimes it’s better to go and fetch some health/armor from the enemy base before you attempt to steal their flag. Or let your fellow teammate pick up the flag, while you support him/her.

Lots of attackers pick up the flag and immediately rush back to the own base. Whilst the enemy base is always an unsafe place to hang around in, it usually has more items and power-ups than the center area. If you don’t have anyone on your tail, you could hide out in the base and replenish your health / armor / weapon status before you begin the journey back home. The longer you can stay out of sight, the more the other team will asume you are already left the base, and will start looking in the direction of your own base. This is also the reason why you should only fire when you’re seen: one shot can alarm the entire team, which limits the chances of a succesfull run.

Sooner or later, you must run back to your base anyway…And you’re going to be spotted just as well. Then don’t just “do nothing” with your weapons: either run backwards while firing some explosive stuff (assuming you know where you’re going), or deploy the shield of your shield gun.

There are good chances that in the course of the game, both flags will be taken at the same time. Find a safe hiding spot when this happens, preferrably somewhere in your own base (doorposts, meshes, …). Don’t trap yourself, and always be ready to restart running whenever you’re spotted, but otherwise try to keep a low profile.

If you start an assault in a group, only one of the attackers can pick up the flag. The others must support this FFC and cover him/her as good as they can.
When supporting a FFC, your position is important: you should be between the enemies and the flag carrier at all times. This makes it easier for you to pick up the fallen flag, and you can serve as a human ‘shield’, blocking some fire for the flag carrier. The distance is a dilemma: if you’re too close, an enemy can take out the both of you. But you can’t be too far either, because you should be able at all times to pick up the fallen flag if your flag carrier dies.
Always give the flag carrier first priority for picking up items: this goes especially for med packs and armor.

After a succesfull attack, it’s best to stick around the flag pole for a couple seconds. Many enemy defenders will be close, and they usually try to make a run with the flag while they’re at it.

Variations.

Generally speaking, attackers and defenders should try to stick with their designated flags wherever they go. Since this isn’t always possible, some of these players re-orient themselves around the flag poles rather than having to search for the flag carrier.
Attackers choose to stay behind in the enemy bases, gathering up the items and weapons while waiting for the time the flag returns. This strategy is commonly referred to as ‘freestyling’ or ‘base raping’.
Defenders very rarely stay behind to camp the home flag post, since they can’t do anything to prevent the enemy team from scoring. It’s only worth considering if the other team is raping your base on a regular basis.

Levels.

As with all gametypes: knowing the level allows for more complex actions. And with CTF, you’re in luck: over 95% of the maps have some kind of symmetry into them. They are either mirrored around the center point (providing both sides the same view, seen from their bases) or mirrored around the axis that crosses the middle (what is left for red is right for blue, and vice versa).

These kinds of symmetry allows for better balance for the teams and easier co÷rdination. It’s important to know all routes a flag carrier can take in and out the bases, and where he could hide (either to use it or to counter these tactics). Knowing how to cut off an EFC is important for about everyone who is nearby, and you shouldn’t let the enemy team allow to grab all the power-ups of the level either.

On most levels, the center serves as a passing ground. It’s pretty common that enemies simply pass by each other here, in order to reach the other team’s flag first.

Translocator.

No matter what your role is, you should never forget about the translocator. With a bit of practice, it allows for great means for fast travelling and navigation of the level. Good translocator skill always comes in handy, even if it is just to quickly grab a weapon. Beside the increased movement abilities, the device is also usefull in following ways:

As a defender, you can leave the disc on a safe position in your base. This allows you to pick a “backup spot” when defending the base. You’re defending the entrance of the base? One click can transport you directly to the flag carrier, where you can await this trespasser. The enemy has taken your flag? No problem: just translocate to the entrance of your base, where the carrier has to pass through. You’re a sniper, but are spotted and an easy target? One click and you’re out of the line of fire.

Attackers can do something similar in the enemy base: if they hide the disc somewhere in their base, they have a relatively safe backup spot to get back to once things get too rough, or when your team captures the flag. Sometimes it’s even a good choice to translocate while you’re holding the flag! You’ll drop it so a potential teammate can pick it up and carry on, while you replenish your health with their items. If there is no such teammate around, then you can comfort yourself with the thought that you’re still alive and near the flag post.
Note that dropping a translocator in the enemy base is (of course) more dangerous than dropping it in the own base: if an enemy sees it, he/she can easily destroy it, turning it into a death-trap for the owner. Therefore, it’s usually the best choice to drop the disc somewhere out of sight before you take their flag. Oh, and check the camera before you translocate: your disc is destroyed if it shows some sparks.

Due to the fact that everyone is translocating all the time, it won’t be easy to simply frag someone. Most of the time you don’t even need to (this isn’t deathmatch), but it’s not that hard as it seems. Translocating everywhere becomes a routine, and routines have the habbit to be done without thinking. So whenever you want to frag one of these guys, don’t aim for where they are. Instead, lead your shots to where the disc is going to. If you manage to hit the disc before the owner translocates to it, you’ve scored yourself a telefrag. Otherwise, you can be sure that the player still gets some splash damage. These players can simply withdraw their disc rather than transporting, but because ‘disc fragging’ (or whatever it’s called) is kinda rare, most of them simply transport theirselves to bits.

Communication.

CTF is a team game. And as with any team game, you’ll have to play…as a team player. This comes basically down to checking how the rest of your team plays and then filling in the void. Trying to get a high personal score or being the hero of the team is stupid, and in many cases even dangerous. Your offensive / defensive power must be about equal to allow for a succesfull capture, otherwise your team has some problems (unless the other team is playing unbalanced as well).
Offline games are somewhat a cause of problems with the online ones. Epic has set the bots to balance out the roles pretty nicely, and they adapt their role to whatever is needed or called for by the player. Strange enough, this intelligent behaviour this is unlike a multiplayer game of CTF (at least the ones in the pubs). In multiplayer, you don’t have the luxury to just do your thing and expect everything to work out this way. Keep in mind that there is no team leader and that the majority of the players won’t blindly follow general commands. Anarchy is the norm of pub play (everyone plays as he/she wants) and you better adapt to that or go back to offline.

Now…there is no leader, but this doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Everyone on your team still has the same objective you do (cap some flags!), and if you suggest actions rather than order people around, chances are higher that people are willing to help you out. Keep in mind that the other players still pick their own destinations, and you must respect their choices therein.

As far as communicating goes, it’s about telling as much as possible in the shortest amount of time (no one is going to wait while you are typing your messages). That’s why it can help to bind keys to speech.
If you’re lucky enough to have a microphone, you can inform your team over voice as well.

Page last modified on October 30, 2005, at 10:12 AM