After my Spy Psychology article, I’ve come to another, somewhat connected conclusion lately. The real key to being a higher tier player is the ability to disorientate your enemies. The idea is simple in principle, but difficult to pull off effectively on a consistent basis. If you know how a standard player will react in a situation, do exactly the opposite, or better yet, what he expects in a different way. Part of that sounds obvious I’m sure, and I’ll explain the second part shortly. First, though, I want to talk to those players who are new to their game of choice, and how they might pull off something like this without already knowing the mindset of veteran players.
Psychology for Newbs
I’m going to assume you don’t know the maps, the weapons, abilities and playstyles the large portion of the in-game population uses. Use that to your advantage. Hear me out. Like a child with little real life experience, you are the most unpredictable player on the battlefield. Players with hundreds of hours in the game have to think like you to come out on top.
Say, for instance, you’re playing TF2, and you decide to play Soldier. The standard newer player just spams rockets in the general direction of his enemies. Sure, that works most of the time. What you should be doing is deviate from the objective, whatever it may be. Let your experienced teammates worry about that. That’s really all they care about, for the most part. Plus, you need to learn the map, so go exploring. You’ll die a few times, but if you have the reflexes, you’ll get more kills than you might expect. If you see all the “good” players going one way, go another. Expect that the other team is filled with good players, who will in turn want to put a stop to the push. Expect also that one of your foes to have the same idea as you because that’s what they did when they were new.
I guarantee you’ll come across players flanking just like you are. Your job at this stage is to learn to evade them. A head-on assault on someone with more skill is a death sentence. You don’t know the map; they do. Again, use this to your advantage. Their flank routes are fairly set. Go where the winds of fate decide. Half the time it’s a way your enemies think is stupid and inefficient. That’s the whole point. You take ten extra seconds, survive and get the opportunity to do some killing at the expense of so called pros. I don’t recommend it, but if you’re feeling particularly cheeky, tell the enemy team in some way, “You just took it from a n00b!”
Psychology for Pros
Veterans, let’s talk what you want to know, or already do instinctually. The art of disorientation relies on your enemies having a preconceived notion on either how you are to move or how their heads up display works or how a situation is to play out. Picture this in your head: you have some kind of full body cover, and the enemy knows you’re behind it. You have several options. Go left, go right, run away, or go over it if this is TF2. Now, the average players thinks you’ll come the way he’s looking. The good player think’s you’ll go the other way. The great player doesn’t really know, so he takes a step back and watches all avenues. In Battlefield BC 2, he might throw a motion sensor. In Call of Duty, he might chuck some stuns. In TF2, he might jump over the rock to see.
Your job is to act in a way that puts you in the immediate advantage. In Battlefield, if you have it, use smoke. If you don’t, chuck a grenade. If you don’t have that, play with his head and do a little ring around the rosie. In TF2, the Spy’s choice is obvious. Cloak and dodge. Any other class the choice is equally as obvious, but more difficult. Get above your enemy, or too close for their comfort.
No matter which option you take, your enemy must now react to you, and not the other way around. He’s on the defensive, and if you push the advantage, victory is just a little closer. In Call of Duty, the best way of putting foes in an unfamiliar position is to mess with their radar. Do not underestimate the usefulness of a jammer. Verticality and cover are good options, but if you remove their second set of eyes, it’s like fighting a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. Humorous and easy, in most situations.
The cardinal rule of disorientation is this: always know where you stand, but don’t let him know. If you’re unsure of what to do, it’s you who will fail. Indecision is death. Know all the choices for an engagement. Use all of them in some way, either as deception or as part of action. In time, this will be intuition and instinct. Until it is, I hope this helped.