The PvP Battle Guide: 1.) The Basics

The PvP Battle Guide: 1.) The Basics


As the video game industry progressed over the years, new and groundbreaking innovations happened to their technology and design. Frames Per Second faster than our eyes can process, graphics rivaling real life images, a single game containing hundreds of hours of entertainment. But of all the advancements that have happened to them, of all the different changes, there seems to be one thing people focus on the most: online gameplay. And while playing with friends and partaking in jolly cooperation is fun and all……….where the real fun lies is PvP. To kill your enemies, prove your superiority, show them that your skill far surpasses theirs! In this guide I will go into detail about the things related to PvP and how you may improve yourself in the line of battle, regardless of what game.

Section 1

What will these guides contain?  These guides will outline PvP in all it’s formats and attempt to better the people who read it by offering knowledge, providing tactics and helping them to understand the way PvP works overall. This particular guide, being the first one, will try to cover the most basic elements that are in PvP of all formats. Of course, with how varied games get, some things said will not pertain to every single form of PvP. And if there is any complaints about that, there is a certain dark place that I recommend that you shove it.

Section 2 

The Circle of Balance.   To have balance in any PvP game, there needs to be certain things. There needs, specifically, to be counters. Every game has them. Where one method or style triumphs upon another. A sniper with a rifle kills someone far away who was using a submachine gun, much too far a distance for the small submachine gun to kill someone. Then the sniper is shot in the back by a shotgunner, with the sniper unable to defend himself adequately in close range. Then the shotgunner is staring down a hallway against a man with an assault rifle, too far for a shotgun shell to be of use. Though after the shotgunner is dead, the man with the assault rifle is mowed down by the quick mobility of the one with the submachine gun, the rifle-man unable to react fast enough. Everything must have, and most likely does have, counter play. It is in every game, and perhaps the most beneficial thing to do is to find out what counters what. If you are able to play a certain way, and stop the counter-play to how you are playing, you have achieved a main goal for becoming a beast in PvP. That shotgunner surprising you too much? Find hard to reach places, know the paths that lead up to it, so you know all the places that someone may come up to meet you. Playing a mage and having an assassin kill you too much? I really hear that assassins don’t like being stunned. Running around with melee and hate everyone with range mowing you down? Learn the spots that grant cover. Know how to move between cover to cover to reduce the amount of time you are out in the open. Learning how to counter the counter plays is easily one of the most useful skills one can have in a PvP environment.

Section 3

Self-Reliance.  Let’s face it. People suck. A lot. More specifically, your team sucks. Rare is the team player in an online game. The more popular the game, odds are the more toxic the community is. While not every form of PvP is team based, there are enough that it warrants this section. Relying on your teammates can often get you killed.  With how varied peoples skill is, it is completely unreliable to count on them to do anything you expect them to. Shoot that enemy in front of them? Naw, they didn’t see him. Probably just a fly on the screen. Capture that objective? But why do that when you can get kills? So as your teammates scores plummet into the bottom pits of scrub-level hell, your only option? Rely on yourself. While everyone is off fighting go and capture the flag under their nose. Learn to Rambo your way through enemies, and let their lack of coordination be their downfall. Just because your teammate just checked an area, don’t expect there to not be an enemy waiting to ambush you. Teamwork is essential in games, and at higher skill levels of play coordination and teamwork will be some of the most important factors.  While you are out in the game playing with randoms expect nothing from nobody and assume every teammate you have is drunk, because they sure are going to play like it.

Section 4

The Meta. In every game we play, there is definitely a meta. A certain way something is used, a certain item or weapon that is always used, a certain way to play that has become the norm of the game. When the large majority of people use something in a certain way, or simply use one certain thing, it is safe to say that that thing is the meta. While it’s all fun and games to break apart from the meta(entire series of videos on it by youtuber “Solwolf”, and new game Dawngate going by the slogan “break the meta”), there is a meta for a reason. It is possibly overpowered, perhaps it is just smart, maybe a pro gamer did it and now everyone copies it. Whatever it is, it is meta, and therefore, you will probably encounter it very often and it will be stronger than many other options. When encountered with a meta in a game, there are two obvious choices to do. Following it is the safe bet, which will most likely net an easier time and less people calling you a hipster for refusing to follow the meta, despite it probably being the better option. The other option is to counter it. Why not? It’s meta, so you better know what to do to counter the tactic, and you know that you will have plenty of opportunity to be able to use your counter. Though a problem lies with that if there is a clear and obvious counter to it, it probably isn’t a “meta” choice. Many things that are part of the common meta are, while typically very strong compared to other options, the ability to not be countered. Anything with such a big weakness and easy counterplay isn’t going to become widely used, so it will most likely be difficult to nearly impossible to actually countering it. There is, of course, a third option in all this, which is disregard the meta entirely and play how you wish. This may not be good for trying to better yourself, as it is important to pay attention to what is the strongest thing in the game at the time, but if the meta isn’t too overpoweringly dominant in how better it is than other things, then it is alright to disregard meta entirely. Just, don’t be surprised when it kills you. A lot.

This is the end of the first guide. This one is short, though ones to come will include much more information, as they will specialize in certain genres, or if it warrants it, specialize in certain games as well. May this guide help you pwn noobs and make many a 12 year old smash their controller.

2 comments on “The PvP Battle Guide: 1.) The Basics”

  1. chaossam says:

    Lol I love section three.

  2. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    This would be my bible. All things I knew but couldn’t express, put into an easy to understand format. Not my work, i got it here but in case you’re worried about following random links on the internet or are really lazy, here is a copy pasta. When i win, excluding the prerequisite understanding of the games mechanics, this is how.

    So after having a long conversation with someone over how you’re supposed to approach certain match ups which inevitably led into “what do I do here” and “what do I do there”, I decided to take a more general approach. At the end of the conversation, I had my otherwise scattered thoughts and ideas in written form and figured it was worth sharing.

    By the end of this wall, you should be able to use the information to develop strong gameplan with considerably less “uncertain” game time. Enough with the intro junk and on to the meat.

    General Concept

    The general concept of battle is that you, as a competent competitor, and your opponent, as another competent competitor, know everything about each others tools (character and available movesets). This is hard data that you spend time outside of battle learning and mastering. You also need to learn when and how to punish all those tools. This is common knowledge, but it’s also a prerequisite of high level battle AND battle theory.

    If you are a Squall main, for example, you obviously know everything about Squall – how his moves work, who can punish them when, how to abuse them for maximum efficiency, etc. BUT do you understand all that about the Cecil you’re fighting? What about the Yuna? Tifa? You’d better because you’re at a severe disadvantage that isn’t skill or match up related if you don’t. Still no secret, of course.

    Once you understand all this, you start to realize battles have three distinct and recognizable phases. I’ll call these phases the Beginning(Gameplan) phase, Middle(Infinite Possibilities) phase, and End(Predecided Outcome) phase. These phases are present in EVERY match, but their length with change depending on player knowledge and skill.

    It’s very important to recognize these phases AND understand what you’re supposed to ‘do’ in each phase. Knowing this WILL give you an advantage over those who don’t and help you develop your game at a much faster pace than someone who say – relies more heavily on intuition and reaction speed (outside of those rare, special cases).

    So let’s discuss them a bit so you know what they are and what to do with them:

    Gameplan Phase (Battle Beginning)

    OK, so in any match, you should have some idea as to what your opponents character can do and how you’re going to respond to them. You probably also have some idea about the player you’re facing and maybe even have some ideas on their preferred strategies. Because of this, you would have some idea of what you’ll actually do in the match when it starts.

    At this point, you’re going to stick to your safer moves – but so is your opponent (if they’re good). You’ll both test each other with safe pokes and wiffs – each response almost being a predecided action you had planned before the battle even began. The battle will basically progress as both of you expect it to for a time and there will be no surprises.

    We can liken this to Chess: In Chess (for someone of my level), the first 4-5 moves are always “standard” – nothing unexpected or veiled. You understand why you’re doing certain things (they’re safe moves or safe setups) and understand why your opponent responds the way they do (again, they’re staying safe). In Dissidia, I might open with a series of actions in a certain match up (ie: Dash up and neutral dodge just out of range of their fast brv attacks). Depending on how my opponent responds, I’ll further tailor my game. Once I get to my personal threshold (where I no longer have a conscious game plan), I step into the second phase. My ultimate goal, however, is to never have to enter into the second phase (you’ll see why in a bit).

    As previously stated, I want to stay in this phase until I can jump to phase 3 because I can use this phase to gather information about my opponent through safe tactics and approaches. That doesn’t mean I won’t get hit, it just means I won’t be taking any high risks and I’ll be focusing on learning my opponents habits and how they treat this area of the battle (it will tell you a lot about their conceptual ability in a fight as well as their general preparation).

    As you gather information about your opponent, you can see how deep their understanding is and probably pick up easy ways to expose them (again, unless they’re a rare exception).

    Most people actually do this (I hope) – just without consciously thinking about it, so let’s move on now that you know you should be having a strong mental game plan and why.

    Infinite Possibilities (Mid Battle)

    So you’ve inevitably entered into the second phase unless you understand all possibilities at all times (basically impossible if the game has any real depth). You enter this phase when you no longer have a conscious game plan and are now relying on a few things to get you through:

    – reactions
    – match up knowledge (how their moves work and how to deal with them in relation to yours)
    – player skill/technical prowess
    – previously acquired knowledge about the player (in the previous phase generally)

    This is how most people play out the entire match when they’re still learning. Heck, some of the pros still play like this. Despite that, this is the least desirable area to be in and you should set your sights at getting out asap. This is ALSO the most enjoyable part of battle for a lot of people since it puts a lot of tangible, “hard” skills to the test. The uncertainty and applying your witts is also very appealing to a lot of competitors.

    You don’t want to be here because this is an area of (basically) infinite possibility. What I mean is in the previous phase, you might have chosen to open with a certain set of actions – but those choices are limited in the number of choices available to you and your opponent. Let’s (for sake of example) say you had to choose between 1/3 options (opponent the same) so there was 6 possible “opening moves”. By the time the second set of “moves” happens, any one of those choices have 6 possibilities coming off of them in a “tree” fashion. By the time you get to mid match content (this phase), the possibilities to get to that exact moment are enormous (look at the match as one, giant flow through a growing, then regressing tree diagram).

    So back to the point – you can no longer “follow” the battle and are now relying on “hard” skills. It’s at this point where you basically no longer have a predecided gameplan and are now adapting as you go (which is higher risk – rarely good in competition if you want to win). So the only thing left to REALLY say is: play this like you normally play and actively look for a way to force your opponent into the final phase.

    Predecided Outcome

    So you wrestled through the actual meat of the battle and now your “tree” of choices is on the decline. Basically, someone has made a game changing move that is forcing the other player into a corner that will eventually kill them. If you liken it to Chess, this is generally when someone starts chasing a king, forcing checks. (Yes, you can recover from that, but generally not from competent players). Sometimes in Chess, this phase might have opened up 20+ moves before the game actually ends. High level players can see it, too (note: That DOESN’T mean give up – they still might screw up).

    At this point, you’ve probably landed a hit that put the opponent in a specific situation that (as long as you don’t screw up), they can’t get out of. Even though it appears they have choices, you have them set up in a way that no matter what they do, you have a guaranteed answer. Maybe that answer leads to another, similar, situation that leads to another that leads to another that leads to [etc etc] that leads to a killing blow.

    The deciding factor that you’re in this phase ISN’T good guess work or anything like that, though – it’s that the outcome is 100% guaranteed outside of personal slipups. Honestly, these phases are small and less significant in Dissidia, but it’s important to know it’s there – especially in other competitive games.


    So as you can see, it’s really important to have a strong and competent opening game so you can observe and prepare for the inevitable middle phase. The longer you can last, the more information you gather and use your resources to peg your opponents habits (important when considering the length of Dissidia matches).

    After gathering the information and losing your initial gameplan; you’ll enter into the meat of the fight where both players apply the information they learned. The better tactician will come out of this phase basically victorious.

    Entering the final phase is basically just formalities and making sure the “winner” doesn’t choke. The final chance for the loser to mount a comeback is here if they do. It’s very important to note that if that DOES happen, you’ve essentially just played more “middle phase”. You can take that concept how you want so long as you realize that if there IS a screw up, you’re back into the mid phase.

    Finally, at the end of it all, don’t forget to review your matches and help develop better starting game plans. This closes the battle cycle and it all starts again at the top of this article, going full circle.

    So there you have it; Battle Theory 101. Hope this helps some of you understand a few things like the work “pros” put into their pre-game, actual game, and post-game. That’s the work you need to put in, too … if you want to be good.


    Edit: oh, as a side note, this is why games like call of duty and battlefield are so popular with the more casual crowd. Kill times are extremely low, so is that beginning phase, and so the better players time to get a bead on you and assure victory, is EXTREMELY limited and so it allows the less competitive to feel more skilled/effective than in games with longer learning phases.

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