As of writing this article, I have played only three games of Rise of Nations against human opponents other than my friends. Crucially important in this distinction is that my friends are all less experienced players than me: the friend I have played against the most started playing the game just two months ago. I helped him learn basic economic optimisations (don’t rush a temple on your first city there friendo), serviceable army compositions (anti-tank rifles when facing completely infantry: never again), and other core game concepts.
Until two months ago, I had only played against a human opponent in Rise of Nations once or twice.
This year I didn’t reach Challenger – or even get within reach of it at D1/Masters. But I did learn and improve, and can carry what I’ve learnt into the next season. I also soared into Honor 5 despite it often being used as an “MVP award” – and I’m rarely a flashy player.
Note: I highly recommend playing Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop instead of the base game Alien Swarm. It’s a fan-made upgrade that’s better in basically every way – and just like the original, it’s free!
Alien Swarm lets you choose from a roster of 8 characters spread across 4 distinct classes. There are 21 selectable weapons (25 in Reactive Drop) to equip as either a primary or secondary weapon, and 17 additional equipment choices for your third item. All up, that makes a lot of combinations possible, particularly when you have a full squad of 4 people – and RD even lets you go up to a squad size of 8!
For some reason I can’t find an up-to-date command list from a single source online other than the source code itself, so I’ve patched the information together into one place, checked it against said source code, and put it here instead.
First, the strat: use a compact team of Elite Special Forces and Assault Infantry under the cover of a General’s Ambush to instantly capture the enemy’s capital with no warning. Combined with the Super Collider and World Government, this eliminates the enemy player within seconds of your Elite Special Forces becoming visible, and provides no obvious visual or audio queue for your opponent to react to until it’s too late.
Although difficult to accomplish, this is a cheese strat I find quite rewarding to pull off. I imagine it would also be somewhat tilting to lose against, because to some players it’ll feel as though there’s no counter (which for the record I don’t think is true).