Unit “Rush” vs Mass Conversion

In recent games, I’ve seen a lot of newer (and sometimes even experienced) people like to go for what I call a “Mass Conversion Strategy” as opposed to a “Unit Rush/Unit ‘Spam’ Strategy.”

Basically, this means that instead of focusing on units, in the beginning you focus on making 2 or more research stations, and lots of power generators in hopes of reaching mass conversion and using your economy to then out-produce and/or out-tech your opponent(s) who might be limited in their mass income to whatever they’re getting from Mass Extractors and likely have built very few research stations if they’re not doing what you’re doing.

While this is a very powerful strategy, if you can pull it off, because it’s kind of “explosive” and “exponential” once you reach that point where you have mass convertors built and 10+ engineers making PGens and different structures all around the map, it is usually (but not always) not a winning strategy against experienced people, and requires certain prerequisites for it to work, namely a larger map with a choke point for land units, no naval, as well as a opponent who is not doing the same tactic who can help defend against the best counter to this strategy – a “rush.”

So, why a larger map, a choke point, and no naval you might ask? Read More

Resources & Production (“The Economy”)

To play Supreme Commander 2 well, and hopefully win, you have to get an advantage over your opponent. The advantage can be either of the following:

  • a strategy which counters what your opponent has chosen – for example, finding out that he’s making gunships and making fighters to take them down
  • superior micromanagement of identical or near – identical numbers of small units – for example, tanks versus tanks or unit arty versus unit arty
  • outproducing your opponent – usually done by mass conversion, or superior management of expansion and unit production

I’ll leave the other two topics to other discussions; however today I’d like to talk more about the last advantage – managing your income and production, or what a lot of RTS people call “the economy.”

So, perhaps you’ve noticed that when you start the game, you are given some resources. The numbers next to the economy bar are the mass/energy income per second (if you haven’t figured it out yet). As you can see on the screenshot below, 6 seconds have passed, 6*1 = 6 mass income, 6*5=30 energy income (31 due to the fraction of a second).

Some mass and energy are available to start the game with.

It’s up to you to determine what to do with these resources. Contrary to what you might think, even at the very first 5 seconds of the game you are already making a choice and somewhat committing to a specific strategy.

For example, if you choose to make mass extractors and energy generators only, you’re investing into a mass/energy income “edge” over your opponent, who might in turn make research stations heavily and invest into a technological “edge” over you. It’s highly advisable to “follow through” with whatever you choose. Read More

Teamwork Mechanics

Team games in Supreme Commander 2 are very different from 1v1 games. When you play a team game, it’s usually good to “divide” roles between the players.

This means that on a land map, it’s very useful to have a dedicated player for “air” and dedicated player for “land.” Alternatively, on maps with water, depending on the situation, it’s good to have a “naval” player, an “air” player and a “land” player.

Why, you may ask? You might just want to play combined air/land or anti-air/land and have your teammate do the same!

Well, as it happens, it’s much more streamlined from a perspective of managing your units to only control one unit “type.” In addition, and possibly the biggest reason why “dedicated roles” work, is the investment of research points into a specific category of the research trees.

Think about it – if you are playing a 2v2 game on, for example, Fields of Isis, and are both playing Cybran and you’re encountering heavy air resistance or attacks (using gunships and/or bombers), from even just one of the opposing players, you simply cannot continue attacking until you’ve built anti-air units or air of your own – otherwise you simply get destroyed.
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Point Defense and Anti-Air Tower Usage

This post is in response to the grave mistake of building lines of point defenses that I’ve seen many times when playing with/against n00b players.

So you’ve played against the AI a few times and have learned how to beat it on “normal,” “hard,” or even “cheating,” and now you’re ready for a human opponent online? I don’t think so.

Let me tell you – human players are not the AI. This is online, and you have a (hopefully) thinking human on the other side. If s/he has any brains, s/he won’t attack your point defenses (PDs) in small groups of short-range units like the AI did and simply throw them away at you. Instead, s/he will stay back when s/he realizes what you’re doing, and will do at least one of the following things which will defeat your point defenses (sorted from more to less likely, according to my experience):
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UI Basics

In this post, I’ll offer some tips about the basics of the User Interface (UI) of Supreme Commander 2 which will, in my opinion, help you become a better player.

Turn on all overlays (weapon, intel, and “always render strategic icons”), except the “strategic overlay” which I hate, but you might like. The “strategic” overlay attempts to “smartly” display circles around “groups” it thinks have things in common (like a common location or order) and enables you to click them via circles when you zoom out. I think it’s useless personally, because for me it gets in the way of selecting individual units or groups, but check it out to see what it offers.

My interface settings.

Watch your radar coverage closely. What areas of the map do you not cover? Do you have arty or fatboys which cannot use their full weapon range due to no vision? Get an engineer going and make a radar for them!
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Here’s a list of abbreviations you might read or hear during online games in Supreme Commander 2:

  • AA – Anti-Air – Can mean towers or units depending on context.
  • ACU – Your primary “Armored Command Unit” – also used to be called a “commander” in the good old days of Total Annihilation.
  • ACU Rush – A strategy which involves creating research stations and power generators with your starting mass, instead of mass extractors, and “teching” up your ACU, usually towards the destructive “overcharge” and “teleport/jumpjet” abilities, and making it your primary attack unit, at least in the early game. This strategy aims to end the game extremely early with a powerful early attack, and therefore works best on small maps.
  • Aeon – that’s what the “Aeon Illuminate” were called in the original Supreme Commander. Lots of people still call them “Aeon” instead of “Illuminate.”
  • Commander – Your “ACU” – a leftover name from the good old days of Total Annihilation when the ACU used to be called a “commander.”
  • Read More