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Online games strategy is multifaceted and often depends on the genre of game being played. For example, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) should be played distinctly differently from a real-time strategy game (RTS) or a first-person shooter (FPS), because the three genres involve different settings and objectives. Online gaming is often characterized by a presence of human opponents as opposed to computer opponents. This opens online games strategy to a wealth of real-world tactics that play on the weaknesses of human attention. The best tips for online games strategy include managing resources effectively, using tactical maneuvers to outwit opponents and gaining a technological advantage by using the best equipment possible.
Resource management, or macromanagement, is essential to any gaming strategy, though it is commonly neglected for more exciting gameplay aspects. Resource management should be viewed as the production or preparation phase, which generally is maintained until the end of the game. Whether the genre of game being played requires stockpiling arms and ammunition, as in most FPS games, or requires city expansion and unit training, as in many RTS games, the attrition of frequent combat typically will favor the player who makes the most of his or her limited resources. The need to appreciate resource management is perhaps most obvious in MMORPGs, in which the game setting itself predisposes the player to focus on pooling resources.
Particular strategies within the heat of combat, or the use of micromanagement, tend to depend on the technical aspects of the game genre and the specific game itself. First-person shooter games typically call for unpredictable movement in order to complicate an opponent's targeting. Real-time strategy games call for assigning the particular unit types of diverse armies to target the opponents' particular unit types that they are most efficient at dominating. MMORPGs call for ordering and timing of spells or abilities in such a way that best enhances their damage and debilitation or healing and fortification. All genres call for maintaining prompt communication between allied players for strategic harmony.
Generally, defensive postures provide an advantage, forcing the opponent to come out of fortification while the defender maintains a fortified position. On the other hand, static defensive postures ease an opponent's efforts to obtain helpful reconnaissance, which a defender might not realize has been obtained. In genres where players are able to maintain a fortified "main base" as well counter-reconnaissance sentries, the advantages of a defensive posture might be maintained while avoiding the disadvantages. One offensive tactic is distraction, which involves using only a fraction of one's forces or ammunition to occupy an opponent's attention while directing the majority of one's forces and ammunition at more critical, then-neglected targets.
Online games strategy often combines micromanagement and macromanagement to achieve subjective but developed tactics. "Luring" involves encouraging an opponent to become accustomed to a specific strategy or movement by visibly repeating it, only to critically take advantage of such relaxed assumptions by redirecting efforts entirely. "Bluffing" involves intimidating an opponent with unreal force or capabilities by merely appearing to have them, a tactic intended to direct that opponent's strategy into a predictable or nonthreatening, reactionary stance.
Players sometimes can take advantage of the technology powering the game. Online gameplay sessions sometimes are subject to "lag," a skipping effect caused by slow Internet connections. This sometimes allows players with faster connections to exercise superior control over the flow of combat. Aside from such technical opportunities outside of the game itself, most manifestations of online games strategy will, to some degree, play into the opportunities of human psychology.
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