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Capture the Flag

Here you will find our strategies on playing this team based game mode, Capture the Flag (CTF).

Note: It is first advisable to learn the various Force Powers and Weapons, as well as familiarize yourself with the Items and basic game mechanics before attempting to play this competative mode!

This section is not exhaustive. First off, you will want to check out sith's excellent guide to CTF basics.

After memorizing the maps you’re going to play, and being generally familiar with basic combat and the team dynamic, focus on the following:

CTF: Capture the Flag

CTF Gameplay showing Blue Flag Base

Two bases, each with a flag. Your mission: grab the enemy flag and bring it to your base. “Tag” your flag with the enemy flag, and you score a “capture.” Kill the flag carrier and his flag drops to the ground, ready to be picked up by friend or foe. Tag the dropped flag to pick it up yourself (if it’s the enemy’s) or return it to the base (if it’s yours).

Points are scored for captures… other scoring is irrelevant to the overall scope of the game, thus its important to always keep the big picture in mind when playing this gametype.

Try to coordinate yourselves AS a team. The primary concern is to prevent the enemy from taking your flag and moving it outside your base. It is impossible to score unless your flag is IN your base, so this should be the first priority.

Make use of the “team chat” so that you can speak covertly and attempt to coordinate your efforts. It is inevitable that when joining a public server or a random pick-up game, you’ll be put on a team with people of varying levels of skill and experience. Some may even be playing CTF for the first time.

You’ll have all sorts of problems (this is one strength of clan/leagues and their specific servers… you can practice with a group to get to know their strengths and weaknesses) with people thinking they’re in a death match game (running in alone, guns blazing, usually getting killed… ignoring the larger picture in favor of one on one battles, etc).

Courage for the sake of the team, and sacrifice, are values that should be embraced by each player. Lead by example, if you can.

Not everyone can be a glory hound… individual performance is less important than team performance. Put yourself where you are needed.

When you start out, don’t be a jerk and join a team that already has enough people. The sportsmanlike thing to do is to join the team with less people (to even things out) and I like to join the side that’s behind in score. Once the map rotates, everyone will be on the same sheet anyway, but one might as well try to even the odds. ; )

Often, I find myself on defense, as the situation goes. It’s important to hang around in your own base, collecting what you need.

Here are five basic positions on a typical CTF team:

FLAG DEFENDER (aka Base defenders)

You should know how to use your lightsaber, since close quarters combat will surely come into play as the enemy gets close (especially if too many of your guys are going after the enemy flag and not defending). But you should keep at least one solid firearm at your disposal (varies with the map, but in general I recommend the Flechette or Repeater).

Prepare yourself for an extended siege… stock up on health (stay full at all times) and armor (keep yourself at 100 minimum). You can stock up on other things (like the super shield and Force Boon/Enlightenment) but you should NOT do this at the expense of other players. An incoming or leaving Flag Carrier will need it more than you. Don’t hog the health/armor if others are coming in… let them grab what they need, the gear will respawn and you’ll have plenty of time to get one yourself.

Once you’ve got your “big gun” be sure you have enough ammo to kill at least one fully shielded attacker (a full clip is recommended). Note that incoming attackers will likely be damaged (if your outer defense is any good), but there will likely be more than one.

Likely they will either send their best fighters, several will charge en masse (risky, but possible to overwhelm you) or send one as a distraction, then another to slip past and grab the flag. One attacker engages you in battle while the faster one avoids combat and gets out of there. Don’t let him escape!

Use the Heavy Blaster Cannons to “cover” areas out farther than you can reach. Be aware that enemies can also use them, so don't let them fall into the wrong hands. Don't rely on them too heavily though, since their firing arcs are limited and their killing power is not great. However they can take out an enemy who's back is turned (fleeing or approaching foolishly).

A Flag Defender should be ready to do whatever he can to protect a Flag Carrier as he returns home, including putting his body in the way of enemy fire.

If the enemy has his saber drawn, draw yours and get in his face (and give the Flag Carrier a chance to get to safety).

If you die, you will respawn very close to the base (when you do, GET BACK QUICKLY and try to anticipate what the enemy will do).

Always have Force Heal or Team Healers handy. Without Bacta, you will have to rely on the Force even more to keep everyone alive.

I would not recommend using the armor recharge station unless nobody else does… save it for your Carriers. It takes too long to recharge most of the time anyway... but if nobody else is there, go ahead and use it. Just try not to drain it completely. Better that you die than your Carriers.

Force powers to have would be Seeing (higher ratings allow you to see attackers and carriers from farther away), and Protection or Dark Rage (to allow you to survive more punishment in a brutal siege). Team Heal or Team Energize may also be good to help out Carriers and teammates who are damaged and can’t get healing or mana fast enough to survive the next assault.

Don’t go exploring… unless you think you can take out somebody sneaking up on your own (watch out, there is usually more than one!) but you should alert your guys (using the team chat) if there is time. Find a weapon, powerup whatever, and then get back to your patrolling area. Memorize respawn times of items so that you can get there and grab what you need when you need it. If you see a friend who might need an item, offer it to him first.

Make liberal use of Force Push and Pull. If the enemy is getting away and you’re behind him giving pursuit, pull him closer. If you want to keep him away, push, or if you’re running and he’s in your way, push him off the path. Do whatever it takes to keep him off balance and yourself on course.

If you can setup mines, use the Det Packs. You can remote trigger them (for stealth) and discriminate between friend and foe. Of course if team damage is totally off (make sure it is or you may get kicked/cussed at) you can detonate them with friendlies around without fear (just don’t blow yourself up). Keep in mind though that the blast will throw the bodies around, so don’t kill your buddies this way either.

With Trip Mines, be sure to use them in Secondary (Proximety) mode. If you must use them in Primary, make sure your teammates know where they are (Seeing helps to detect them) or else only use them in areas where nobody travels (these mines are long term after all… whereas Det Packs need to be constantly replenished, and go off if you die).

At LEAST one defender needs to stay within visual distance of the Flag (a few “feet” in game terms). It is a good idea to have speed, in case you fail to stop attackers and need to chase them down. Having a Defender with the Saberstaff or Dual Sabers (and a high level of Saber Defense) is a great idea (use of Katas and the dual Saber Shield) can help put up a defensive wall around the flag as a last ditch defensive manuver.

Flag Defeners may also be active healers, using Team Heal and Team Energize to help their comrades.

SNIPER (a type of Base Defender)

2. A sub type of Flag Defender is the Sniper. Please read sith’s article on the art of sniping.

Unlike the Deathmatch Sniper however, the CTF sniper doesn’t have the luxury of waiting around for his prey and remaining unseen. Most likely you will be spotted much more quickly (sometimes before you take your first shot).

Snipers, using the Disruptor rifle (from a nice safe spot) plus Force Seeing and possibly Mind Trick can be excellent defense. Posting multiple disruptor riflemen will stop most attacks. But be sure your aim is true. Place yourself so that you can get off more than one shot, as you may miss or he may have a super shield (or high level force seeing).

When you run out of Disruptor ammo, or you don’t have time to line up a shot, a Flechette can be okay over long distances (primary fire) and is good against saberists. Lobbing a secondary Repeater shot is riskier, but the explosion may throw the enemy off a ledge. The Concussion Rifle is of course great if you stocked up on lots of ammo (Metallic bolts) for it. The Merr Sonn is good, but long distance rockets can easily be pushed back, so use it carefully. The BlasTech can be used for sniping (with fully charged Secondary shots), but it's a last resort.

FLAG CARRIER (aka Runner)

3. Flag Carriers. This is often considered the "glory" position, but also the one of the hardest. Defending can be insanely difficult, but against a good defense, being a Carrier is the toughest job of all. You have to be fast, so have all the Force Speed and Jump you can. Avoid combat if you can, to save health/armor and to get there quicker. If you are the kind of player who can take out all opposition, that’s great, but you won’t last forever and you need all the strength you can for the trip home.

Your job is to get into the enemy base, get the flag, and get back alive, to put the flag in its place and score.

Having Dual Sabers or the Saberstaff with a high level of Saber Defense is a good idea. If you're using a Single Saber, switching to the Fast (Blue) stance will afford you better blocking.

RUNNER SUPPORT (aka Flag Carrier Support)

4. Flag Carriers travel in groups (if possible) though you will attract more attention, you can “rush” the defenders easier. Whoever is in position to grab the flag must take that opportunity and get home. If the Carrier dies, the flag drops to the ground, and is up for grabs. Tag it to carry it on yourself. If the enemy touches their own flag, they return it to base, forcing you to start over… don’t let them do it. As before, use Push/Pull to keep them out of your way.

For both 3 & 4, I recommend a lightsaber. To distract defenders while your buddies snatch the flag away and to give yourself a little added protection (from blaster shots) as you run through (I recommend blue stance, since it’s the best for blocking shots). You should have full health and armor (and hopefully mana) when you leave (a Super Shield as you go is great protection too). Force Boon/Enlightenment will give you needed force. You should use the force for Speed first, healing second (that’s what the Team Healers are for). Always run over health/armor as you go home. Rolling (with saber out) may save you, or it may slow you down, as will Force Jumping, Wall-Running, etc (use at your discretion). Keep in mind that you may miss a Force Jump or get push/pulled away from your target so that you fall and die. Absorb is a good idea to help counter this, so in general, the best Carriers are probably Lightside (however, running home with Dark Rage can be a gamble worth taking, if you know you have enough time to get home before it slows you down).

If you’re supporting a teammate who got the flag and you see that he’s safe, go after him… because he will need your help later on as others try to head him off on his way back to base, to prevent the capture.

A risky, but possibly highly rewarding strategy for a support is (lets say you distracted the enemy and they all got away or you killed them all and you’re alone) is to hang out near the enemy flag position (the flag is gone now.. your buddy is taking it home). That way if he fails (and the flag gets returned) or if he captures, the flag is ripe for the taking right away. This can be a shock to the defenders, who start to relax prematurely. However you’ll likely be alone and a very easy target, so use the element of surprise when you have it. Best not to utilize this strategy too often, as the enemy will catch on and make sure they take you out, which mean one less guy to protect the Carrier.

If you do die, you’ll likely respawn back at base, so you might as well help the Defenders while you’re there.


5. Mid Level Roamers... these guys keep lots of gear handy and wander around the level between the two bases, harassing the enemy and denying them the good powerups/weapons. They also occasionally catch enemies trying to sneak across your territory and engage them, as a first line of defense. Always warn your team as they come in or if you fail to stop them.

This position is less common in smaller games or smaller maps, and may not even be used. Without access to Sentry Guns however, this position is becoming more important in larger JA maps.

Using Grip, Push, and Pull to toss enemies over ledges, killing them essentially without a fight may seem cowardly and annoying, but in a cut-throat game like CTF, this can mean the difference between winning and losing. Individual honor takes a back-seat to the team’s overall performance, so do whatever it takes!

Keep in mind these positions are not set in stone… all players will probably need to play these parts in any game. Of course the same people can be the Carriers the whole game (unless they decide to rotate out of fairness or a better player shows up that can handle it).

Many players are perfectly happy to play Defense (“D”) the whole time, and that’s fine. A good team needs good defenders. However, not everyone HAS to be a carrier and perhaps not everyone should. Also snipers are not always necessary, or mid level roamers. Especially the snipers, are specialized skills and are not for everyone, however they do help a lot when played well.

When the game is over, congratulate the other team and your own guys (depending on the occasion)… up to you, but it’s polite. It’s like a duel, except between two groups instead of two individuals. Its best not to complain unless there was something gravely wrong (such as a huge team imbalance or some poor sport on your own team doing something stupid like shooting his buddies or just running off or constantly typing and not helping anybody. A good admin should take care of players who are clearly not there to play the game, since they just ruin it for everyone else (unlike in a deathmatch, where these players are just ignored, or killed over and over).

When the map rotates, keep in mind that you may not be on the same side as your teammates were before. Know how to switch teams, but don’t always switch just to be with your buddies… mixing it up and give yourself a challenge. Switch sides for variety’s sake, as you learn from new experiences and everybody has a good time if it’s kept interesting. Nobody can win all the time either, so you might as well get some practice either way.

The final piece of advice is moral support. Sometimes it helps to tell somebody they did a good job. Much like saying “good fight” or “good game” after a saber duel, this can help reinforce your teammates’ confidence. Just don’t get OVER confident. ; )

With bots on your team, some of the dynamic is lost. The bots know how to play CTF, but you probably will have to do much of the work on your own, without a way to communicate with them. Bots are not as random as human players, and so can be easier to defend against. Consistency can be good, or it can be bad, you decide, but human players make better teammates in general. This brings us to a problem:

Quake 3 has built in console commands that can be used to give the bots orders. If you announce “I am the leader” these commands should take effect. The only trouble is that JA doesn’t seem to use the same protocols as Quake3, though a Raven developer I talked with said they were untested (and assumedly untouched). If these commands were discovered, they would be a GREAT help, as telling the bots to cover you, or defend the base, or attack and get the flag can help out a lot. If anybody has any further information on these bot commands, please send email to me ASAP, I’d love to get people using these.

Don't get confused, especially if team damage ("friendly fire") is enabled (though personally, I hate to play on team damage enabled servers.. it means you have to be super extra careful with your shots, and beginners and lagged players (or poor sports) will likely kill their own teammates).

Another aspect that we will hopefully touch in the future is Voice Chat. This option is also available in Siege and may provide a valuable help for people who choose to use it.

  >>Siege Guide - by Kurgan
  >>Force Profiles - by Kurgan
  >>SP Walkthrough - by Various Authors
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