They're Random, Baby!

Not So Common Sense - A Halo 2 Strategy Guide

by Overswarm

Home | Advanced Combat Techniques | Articles and Extras | Map Guides
Matchmaking Gametypes | Movies and Commentary | FAQ

Articles and Extras
General Strategy | Product Reviews | Interviews | Other Articles

Articles: Relearning Instinct

      Imagine, just for a moment, how much better you would be than anyone else if you could go back to November 9th with all the knowledge you have now. You've read my guide, you've watched VoD, you've purchased a lesson from gaming-lessons.com, and you've played a whole lot of X-box Live. You are one hundred times better than you were when you left the store with that game, even if by all other accounts you suck now, you'd do really well back then if you had all the knowledge you have now.

      The reason you would do so well is because you've learned how to do things the RIGHT way. Nothing in halo 2 is very complicated; even blocking the plasma pistol shot is a simple concept. Things in halo 2 are just hard in practice, and many of the people that have problems with certain aspects of the game (like sniping, getting the last headshot, using dual wields, throwing grenades, etc.) have those problems not because they are stupid, but because they learned things WRONG.

      I have a lot of trouble sniping; I'm decent by normal standards, but at the caliber I play at I am lucky to go positive. This is partly because I use legacy controls (making it difficult to snipe), but also because I learned to snipe wrong. I was a good sniper in halo one, but now with the insane amount of auto-aim and the addition of sweep sniping, I can't keep up. I didn't learn to abuse it properly, and now I'm trailing behind. If I could erase all my knowledge of how to snipe, just change my perception to a blank state, I could learn how to snipe better. You could learn how to fix your big problems too, and that is what this article is about.

  1. Just take a break

    The most obvious, and most common (while people don't really know it) form of relearning is just to stop playing altogether. Crazy, I know, but I guarantee that with X-box Live being down today (Monday, for maintenance), there will be a lot of people that get back onto X-box Live, play a few games, and just suddenly realize that they are OWNING everyone they see.

    Why? Because it doesn't take long at all for your short-term and instinctual memory to go into submission. One day could do it, maybe. A week could do it for sure. Your instinctual memory, the part of your brain that says "this has happened before. I know what to do. Trust me" and makes you twitch that reticule and mash those buttons, THAT is what is screwing you over. It's screwing you over because what you did against those really sucky people you played earlier won't work against people who are better than them. That's why playing people better than you makes you get better; you edit your instinctual memory and take out the bad things. When you stop playing for a little while, your instinctual memory is a clean slate; you go off critical thought rather than instinct. If you then play smartly, THAT will then be your new instinctual memory.

    Instinct is what you want; you never want to stop and think "what do I do here" in the middle of a battle. You think "what should I do if..." BEFORE it happens, and then when it happens you consciously try to do it. When you get it right, repeat it. When you get it wrong, don't repeat what you are doing. Always remember the first quote shown in this guide. It will then become instinctual memory. Do you really think that people who are great at Dance Dance Revolution just read those arrows as they are coming, or do you think it becomes instinct for them?

  2. Critical Thinking

    Think critical. That means consciously question EVERYTHING you do the entire game. Your best bet would to go into a game by yourself (team hardcore, team slayer, team skirmish, whatever) that requires teamwork. Get matched up with randoms that probably aren't very good, tell them to read my guide, and then think about what to do. The moment you start moving, what are you moving for, and why. Is there a better course of action? Could it be better to, instead of rushing straight for the plasma pistol on midship, to go on top of pink room and kill those rushing the plasma pistol?

    Think way ahead of the game. If you are having trouble with sniping, consciously think about what to do. Take time to line up your shot, rather than shooting frantically hoping that one of the four shots you take gets a headshot.

  3. Watch someone better than you

    Watch VoD, and watch it a lot. Watch some videos that are on various websites out there, watch some gameplay videos, not montages. Say "now why did he do that...", and try to give definitions to what they do. "Oh, their icons are constantly going to a certain formation", "he's going to the same room over and over", "the same two guys keep going for the hill", etc. etc. Pay attention.

  4. Listen to someone better than you

    This doesn't mean you have to go and buy a lesson from Shockwave or T2 (although it'd help), just listen to someone else. Ask them directly, "what am I doing wrong", and they'll probably tell you what they think. "Stop rushing the hill" and "Focus on not dying, not getting kills" are simple but true statements that anyone can answer for you.

    It isn't hard, but it is commonly overlooked. Your gaming skill is defined by your instincts first, your technical skill second, and your intelligence third. You have to define your instincts forcefully instead of letting random happenstance choose them for you.

Home | Advanced Combat Techniques | Articles and Extras | Map Guides
Matchmaking Gametypes | Movies and Commentary | FAQ

Articles and Extras
General Strategy | Product Reviews | Interviews | Other Articles