Paucity of research forces you to commit to a strategy early

I’ve played enough multiplayer matches now to be able to comment on matters of multiplayer strategy, at least generally. It’s a whole different game than when playing against the AI, of course. The AI is — what’s the best way to describe this? — brain-dead, and you can get away with truckloads of mistakes that would never fly against an intelligent opponent. So playing multiplayer really is the best way to hone your strategy. Anything you do in game that isn’t actively helping you win (like getting a research that you don’t end up using, or building a defensive structure in a position where it never fires upon the enemy) is actually helping you lose, because a good opponent won’t be making those same mistakes.

So we come to research. The research tree in SupCom2 forces you to commit to a specific strategy early and completely. There’s no half-assing it. And it’s specifically the research, moreso than the choice of which buildings to construct, that’s the reason why.

It’s instructive here to compare the game against SupCom1. In both games the basic level factories are really cheap. In SupCom1, it was almost always a good idea to build both ground and air factories and use mixed forces. But in SupCom2, while the factories themselves are just as inexpensive, the research points to make the units produced by those factories are insanely expensive. Simply put, you don’t have any extra research points to throw around to improve both your ground units and your air units, at least not until the end-game. Until then, you have to make a choice — are you going to kill your enemy with massed tanks, or with massed gunships?

And of course I’m not just talking about the air/land division either. It’s also an issue of whether you’re trying to go for early economy (by getting the structure unlocks leading to mass converters), or going for a powerful offensive ACU — again, there are no research points to spare for anything else. And, if it’s a sea map, and you want a powerful navy, you don’t have the research points to spare on anything else. Unlock cruisers for use as anti-air; don’t waste your research points on making fighters better and then saunter into combat with weak ships.

Am I trying to say that you should exclusively focus your research points on one area at a time, to the exclusion of all others? No. There are some sensible deviations that may need to be made (like unlocking certain structures, or mobile anti-air, etc.). But by and large you should be spending the vast majority of most of the precious few research points you get in any one normal-length game towards the same goal.

So your basic strategy is: Before the game begins, consider which map you’re playing on, pick a good strategy, and devote yourself to it entirely. If you want massed gunships, go for air factories, get that gunship unlock, and then get the upgrades to your air units. If you’re going to rush with your ACU, spend some of your initial mass on a research building and get those ACU upgrades. Et cetera.

Indecision and inability to commit to your strategy, more than anything else, is what’s going to kill you.

11 Responses to “Paucity of research forces you to commit to a strategy early”

  1. MeDDish Says:

    Yes in Supcom2 the game is decided in the first 30 seconds of game play, what u spend those first 5 points on decides ur fate!
    it also means those who play the same way over and over, have a MASSIVE disadvantage as once u have played someone they know ur moves, AIR/LAND/MASS/ACU they are gonna know what u went last time and what to do next time, there is now no chance to change ur strategies on the fly, i remember in FA i use to sometimes to really confuse a player come @ him with T1 LAND T2 AIR then T3 LAND just to keep him on his toes, yes i spent more upgrading a factory or 2, but after they swap from complete LAND defensive to complete air defensive there is nothing they can do when T3 land starts knocking on the door again!

  2. Sanman Says:

    Good post, however there is one thing I’d disagree with after a handful of multiplayer matches.

    Don’t pre-pick your strategy and never consider changing it. If you do so and then discover your opponent happened to research the perfect build to ruin your strategy, you’re sunk.

    My point is this; don’t spend your research points till you actually have to. You have five to begin with, and there really isn’t too much reason to spend any of those till you first see combat or scout the opponent. Unless you need gunships/transports immediately, you can save the points. If cybran, do you need to build adaptors immediately? Probably not, unless you have some specific strategy that requires them, factory AA will hold you steady till you realize if you need adaptors or an ACU upgrade or whatever first.

    So unless you really have only one thing and mind and thats it (transport mmls rush, acu rush [which really isn’t much fun for anyone], or gunship rush, why do you need to invest points at the 00:15 mark?

  3. DeadMG Says:

    You’re absolutely wrong. Because research applies virtually instantly, the best strategy is to keep them and spend only when you see what the enemy has.

    Spending RP in the first five seconds is a natural instinct but never worth it.

  4. SeraphLeviathan Says:

    The only reason I use the 5 points in the absolute beginning is to drive down the cost of buildings. That extra 5% of resources and 10% on time to build can really add up. This is especially true on a large map where you’ll need lots of buildings and lots of expansions in order to keep up with the enemy.

    On a map like Open Palms it only kind of matter. But then, the 5% savings and 10% time savings can add up since you’re always losing structures to the enemy because of how close everyone is to everyone else.

  5. MeDDish Says:

    Think about it i play as cyban, and grab -10% build time and cost
    time only saves my 2 seconds per mex with a engy, but the 10% cost, saves me 80 mass on the first 4 mexes, build a few more buildings and u save enough for a free mex! or 2-3-4 tanks
    that does make a difference! and a large one!

    RP need to be spent sometime between when u get them and when u need them, if u wait any longer its to late!

  6. Cyde Weys Says:

    Just a clarification DeadMG, nowhere was I suggesting that research points should be spent immediately. You’re right, there’s no reason to get any of the combat ones until combat begins (because they do apply immediately). What I was referring to more was that you shouldn’t waste RPs on things that aren’t a part of your basic strategy, because there aren’t that many RPs at all during the length of a typical game.

  7. Silence of the Clams Says:

    I’d generally agree with this, but I would also add that since the upgrades higher up the research tree tend to be more powerful, the lack of research points tends to favour a degree of specialisation. And it’s usually better to go for units from the same parts of the tech tree since one upgrade will often boost the effectiveness of everything you build.

    This might also go some way towards the problem of gunships’ effectiveness; any player going for gunships will also have strong fighters because they share upgrades, whereas anybody not investing in air power will face serious attrition from the gunships’ accompanying air support. And since gunships don’t really go down to anything less than serious fighter cover, anyone pushing a land strategy is making a serious gamble against them.

  8. Gryphyn Says:

    I just noticed the other day that stealth appears to completely gone. I am saddened by this, I really liked trying to hide firebases with it and drop zones and such.

    Or is it still here and I missed it?

  9. Cyde Weys Says:

    Yeah, it’s too bad that stealth is gone. I miss stealth. I think there’s one unit in the game that gets it (maybe it’s a UEF ACU upgrade or something?), but yeah, stealth was very important. Now radar is effectively omnipotent. There go the uses for scout planes!

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