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Old 09-01-2010, 09:58 PM
Smushface Smushface is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Default [G] How to get Into Competitive Altitude

Hello everyone. For those of you that do not know me, I go by Smushface in game and have been playing on and off for about two years now. I'm currently playing for the TBD clan, Lobstars, and the Ball clan, Team This Team That, both of which are relatively well-respected clans in the competitive community.

The intention of this guide is to get fairly newer players who are interested in upping their gaming experience, integrated as quickly and seamlessly as possible into the competitive community. This guide will focus on not only the steps you should take in improving your game but also the mentality and the approach you should have. Parts of this guide will consist of my opinions and personal recommendations so feel free to disagree with me if you feel the need.

Why Should You Play Competitive Altitude

Competitive Altitude is without a doubt, the peak of the Altitude gaming experience. Sure, its fun to mess around in pubs, play king of the hill, or the coop servers, but competitive Altitude will give you the highest level of play, and to those of us who participate, that means fun. Yes, I know Altitude is "just a game" but many of us consider gaming a hobby and to us its better to be have fun and be good at a hobby then just diddle around, merely looking for a way to make the minutes tick by.

How Competitive Altitude is Organized

The first is Clan play. Clan play involves either starting anew or joining up with one of the many clans that Altitude has to offer and then playing in one of the several player-run leagues. Currently the biggest and longest running league is Altitude ProLeague (APL) which is currently in the playoffs of the 4th season. This is a 5v5 TBD league. The main 6v6 ball league is Skyleague which is approaching its third season. There have also been small leagues here and there like the Final Frontier League (FFL) and the Summer League, but it looks like APL and Skyleague have become the two main outlets for Clan play.

The other element of competitive play is Altitude Ladder which you can read more about at and in the Altitude Ladder subforum. Basically, ladder is a player-run system that rates you based on your Win-Loss record in either TBD ladder or Ball ladder. Then the system uses this rating to create teams so that there is some semblance to balance (aka a good match). This is easily the most common form of competitive Altitude and I will bring up ladder again later on in the guide.

NB: The two main game modes of competition are 5v5 TBD and 6v6 Ball.

Mindset and Attitude
You are not god's gift to Altitude. No one cares to put up with your bs. This is a multiplayer game with people. And I know we're all socially awkward nerds. You've got your high pitch voice pre-pubescent nerds, acne-covered high school nerds, your lonely alcoholic college nerds, and your creepy too old to be playing a 2D cartoon shooter nerds. Nonetheless, there is a lot of inter-human interaction at the heart of this game. So the general norm is to act mature and don't be a diva. I cannot emphasize this enough. You will receive a lot of criticism, see a lot smack talk, be the mercy of nerd-rage but if you take it all in stride, make a concerted effort to improve yourself, and eventually become a solid player who isn't a pain to be around, then you will gain respect.

Competitive Plane Setups

Alright, now the breakdown of what you should do. First, choose a plane. Peruse the Guide forum for a more in depth look into plane comps, but here's the general gist. There are 3 light planes (Loopy, Biplane, and Miranda) and 2 Heavy planes (Bomber and Explodet). For TBD, most teams usually fields either 3 light planes and 2 heavies or 2 lights and 3 heavies.

TBD plane setups:

Due to recent buffs, Biplane has seen a lot more success in competitive TBD. Generally, I think HC is the way to go, but I have seen really top tier players see some success with dogfighter and recoilless. The thing about biplane is that it is really unforgiving and you need to be an excellent player to pull it off.

Loopy is very useful and versatile and good loopy players are always coveted. Get comfortable playing both acid and double fire (not tracker) to add some variety to your game.

Miranda is also a fantastic plane and you'll see a lot of times field at least one. The red perks basically break down to Trickster being good vs. light planes, Lazer being good vs. Heavy planes, and Time Anchor being primarily for bomb running.

Bomber is a great plane which is easy to learn, difficult to master. Good bomber players are always in demand. Play with Flak. Suppressor if you must. Stay away from dumb bombs.

Explodet is the backbone of any team. Good explodets can easily find a spot on a team, great explodets are sought after by the best clans. You really can't go wrong with any of the three red perks on this plane, but I personally think its between Thermobarics and Remote Mines.

Some non-plane specific tips.
-Do not use rubber hull as your green perk.
-Do not use Reverse Thrust. Very, very few people have used this perk with any utility and it was marginal at best.
-Do not use Ace Insticts. Again, very few people have used this perk effectively, and even then the usefulness of these players is up for debate (and if you're reading this guide for helpful tips, you're nowhere near ready to use Ace).
-There is a glut of light planes. Heavies are like bass players. No one really wants to play them but they're necessary for any band. Don't be surprised if you decide to learn say, a Miranda, and you get asked very frequently in ladder games to switch planes for the sake of plane composition.

Again, look through the guide section if you want more information about a specific plane.

Smushface's 10 Step Plan for Getting into Competitive Altitude
1) Get Level 60 and stay there. Don't Ace yet (or again for that matter).
2) Choose a plane and get the right perk set.
3) Get out of bouncy servers. If you like TBD, Officials 1-3 are usually pretty good. If you like Ball, try out Ball Dojo or the Arr ball servers. I have to emphasize this, get out of bouncy servers.
4) Play on these mid-level servers for a while. Be cognizant of how you kill other planes, how other planes kill you, energy usage, map positioning, plane roles, team comps, game mechanics, etc. etc. etc.
5) Once you've gotten about 5000 kills doing step 4, you should know the basics of your plane.
6) Go to the ladder servers. Ladder #1 and #2 are for TBD, #3 and #4 are for ball. Don't play yet. Watch. Ideally, watch players who are playing the same plane / setup as you. See what they do well. Look for positioning, energy management, team role, matchups, etc etc.
(On a side note, if you get asked to join and you're there with the intention of watching say something like, "I"m a noob and I'm just trying to pick up some tips by watching." and then if they insist on you playing to make 10 or 12 players, then you can play if you want to. If you start to get a lot of ****, then just say, "I didn't come with the intention to play, but I was asked repeatedly to get in." And if they continue berating you, then at least you know that you are in the right.)
7) Repeat step 4 and 6 as necessary.
8) Eventually, you will start to be okay at your plane. If you really have 10,000 kills or less on your plane, then you usually will not be ready for ladder. I saw a guy yesterday who claimed to perform just fine on official servers who went 3-24 as a bomber. He wasn't ready.
9) When you feel like you are more than ready to play some competitive Altitude, hop into a ladder server with the intention of playing. If you do well, congrats! If you do poorly, then maybe take some more time in watching experienced players. You might be the victim of some rage and humor at your expense. Take it in stride. Remember the act mature and don't be a diva rule. Just keep switching between playing mid-level servers, playing ladder, and watching ladder and you'll eventually get good enough to be an asset to your team.
10) Once you get comfortable enough to play in ladder, these servers just became your new home. No other servers provides such a consistent source of good games. You'll be playing with people who are better than you and know what they're doing, and that in turn will push your skills up.

Last edited by Smushface; 11-28-2010 at 08:57 PM.
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