There is no T in Squad.
Titanfall is entirely ill prepared for anyone transitioning from better squad oriented games like Battlefield. The number of squad friendly options is exactly 2. The first bullet point is arguably the most important – they let you queue together. Awesome. At least we don’t have to figure out how to get on to the same team. This is actually something that they do better than Battlefield. We’ve had to juggle teams many times in BF, and let’s face it. No one likes us all on the same team anyway.
The only other squad feature that TF has is that they paint the little squad dots green on the mini-map. Alright, that certainly has its uses, but again, these two things implemented together are the absolute bare minimum of squad based features. The worst part about Titanfall is that when you respawn, there’s only about a 50% chance that you WON’T spawn all the way across the map. We’ve played several games where we lost more time trying to group up than actually taking down objectives effectively.
That being said, in 6v6 matches, you’re better off moving as a squad than as 6 ronin wandering around trying to get the best K/D. Here’s the math: In an average encounter, each pilot has 200 HP. In a 1v2 match up, the solo pilot has to burn through twice as much HP as his two opponents. He has to accomplish this while taking fire from 2 independent sources.
Rounds to lethal damage
200HP/50D = 4R
Time to lethal damage
810RPM = 13.5RPS
4D/13.5RPS = .3S
810RPMx2 = 27DPS
4R/27RPS = .15S
Assuming here that all three pilots are of equal skill and all are using identical weapons, the chances of the 2 pilots killing the 1 is near 100%. The chance of the solo pilot killing one of the two is far less. Let’s say that all three pilots are using the R-101c. This starting assault rifle has a base damage of 50, and fires at 810 RPM which is around 13 shots per second. You can take down an enemy pilot with 4 rounds in just under 1/3 of a second. At twice that fire rate (two pilots firing simultaneously) you are dead in 1/6th of a second.
I understand that this scenario takes place in a vacuum, and of COURSE you take down hundreds of players all by yourself, but for those of us who are mere mortals, it is in our best interest to be on the side with the larger number of players. If several of our players are inside giant machines of destruction – so much the better.
The Moral: Go get your respawned guy. The more time the enemy spends dead, the fewer bullets and rockets he can fire in your direction.
No man left behind.
The best way to ensure that your squad functions together is to always have at least two Titans in play. When one member dies, send a Titan in to retrieve him, or better yet – send three. Not only can the Titans cover the infantry, they can cover each other. On respawn, dash over to your solo member to pick him up. Titans move much faster than infantry and they are also tougher to kill. His chances of dying alone in an attempt to come to you are far greater than three Titans losing even one member moving to him.
It is often good to have a rover or two with your Titans to clear out buildings. You can certainly accomplish a similar goal by leaping from your Titan and clearing out a building yourself, but once I’m in a Titan, I like the extra hundred tons of armor between my meat suit and the outside world which seeks to swiss cheese me.
Another added perk is that there’s only room on top of your mech for one person. If you have a friendly pilot riding rodeo, an enemy can’t leap up and start tearing apart important controls without first killing your little buddy. Also, if enemy infantry is jumping around like a maniac and all you have to kill him is a triple threat, you’re going to want someone nearby who can take him down more efficiently.
Two by Two. Hands of Blue.
Within your squad, make sure that you pair off. The pairs should be dynamic, for example, if two people have Titans and two don’t – obviously there are some times when you’ll want to keep the two Titans together, and some where you’ll want each to have a rider. The basic premise of the binary teams that I advocate is this: don’t fucking wander off alone. Look at the math at the beginning of this article. You should be roaming as a four man team, but when it’s time to go get that turret, ride two men over on Titans, then the two of you leap off and one of you cover the other as you secure the objective. Meanwhile the Titans will provide heavy cover nearby.
Most of the things that I’ve talked about here, you’ve heard before. These are the basic small unit tactics that I advocate in most FPS games. In Titanfall you have to take a bit more care to stay together as a unit, but it’s certainly possible. Due to the unfriendly nature of squad handling in this game – sticking together is also an enormous advantage.
It is the function of your shot caller to make sure that unit cohesion is taking place. If you see that you have guys dying in vain attempts to reconnect with your group, remind them – go get the respawn. Tell them over and over until the act is second nature. Also, it is the respawners job to tell the squad when he is dead. It takes less time to tell your squad that you’re down than it does to die.
Communication is key to creating a lethal squad.