In keeping with the theme of blogging on Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, it's probably as good a time as any to diatribe on my points and pet peeves regarding what makes or breaks a superlative game. Although I've mentioned never being a fan of the shooter genre before now, I can only now imagine the types of frustrations these people experience in their ventures. More than likely, these grievances are relatable on many levels - but someone has to make them known ;)
1. STAY OUT OF THE LINE OF FIRE.
Probably the most annoying blunder members of a squad can engage in. It's bad enough when having to campaign with A.I. teammates, but seeing it occur with real buddies is just unacceptable. As is customary in any military/offensive operation, the standard battle formation in such squads is a forward or inverted V-shape (in larger environments, a phalanx formation works well, too). When enemies advance from any direction, you're covered in a 360; right side is covered by your right man, left side by your left man, with the squad leader taking point - that is, front and center. Advancing or retreating is led primarily by this guy, too. Keeping in formation during an ambush will ensure there's no confusion as to which enemies are covered by whom, and ensures range of motion and great effectiveness without worrying about friendly fire in a skirmish.
2. YOU ARE NOT A ONE-MAN ARMY.
There's a reason missions require a fucking squad. It's going to take teamwork to ensure operations go smoothly, no matter what rank you are or how many times you've played. Not only does each member have a specific role in terms of abilities, but roles should become apparent in battle strategy as well. One teammate shouldn't have to carry all burdens. Conversely, one teammate shouldn't expect to easily cover them all if he wanted to. If one player finds an impervious vantage point from which to blast the hell out of the defective Tyrant at the end of Gone Rogue, it should be common sense the rest of you are needed to keep wandering zombies away from this player. The same is true at the onset of Echo Six's By the Trail of Our Dead. Somebody needs to erect barricades to stifle enemy advancement. It takes time and leaves the player vulnerable. Teamwork is needed to ensure you don't have a dead squad member on your hands as a result of not moving to keep crimson heads out of their way.
The abilities each player possesses are a nice bonus. If you don't know how to use them, your teammates will expect you don't use that character. A medic should keep a constant eye on life bars. A field scientist should consistently manipulate enemy crowds and creature attacks. And being assault class means YOU'RE the one who's expected to take one for the team: triggering cut-scenes for enemy appearances, shielding those with low health, and taking initiative in tight quarters, such as within the trip-mine/grenade trap during the confrontation with Ada Wong in Redemption.
3. UNDERSTAND STRATEGY.
If you're going to take a mission seriously, most likely in your endeavor for an S/S+ rank, then as much as I hate to say this, it's necessary to do so: noobs need not apply.
Likewise, buying any game and immediately jumping online for co-op is just foolishness. You'll only succeed in annoying the shit out of your teammates. Before going for upscale trophies/achievements, it's imperative you just take the time to enjoy the game. Run through it once or twice for fun. Then up the difficulty setting. Use XP to purchase and practice with different weapon classes. Earn character class abilities and train with whoever suits your instincts best. In other words, get to fucking KNOW the game before you believe yourself anywhere near ready for a speed-run or high ranking status.
It's amazing how easily you can tell the noobs from the refined soldiers within an online mission. Yes, it's far harder to obtain an S/S+ rank when online, but you'd think it'd make no difference when using teammates with real intelligence as opposed to artificial. Not necessarily so.
Learning and anticipating different scene triggers, data file placements, and boss strategies are examples of knowing your environment, goals, keeping good pace, and ensuring things go by the numbers. If there's no collaboration or someone who recklessly heads right into a trap, it's readily apparent they don't know what they're doing - and that can break your objective.
The licker ambush in the City Hall atrium in Corruption is a fine example. Wolfpack enters via the stage, and a cut-scene triggers a group of these things to attack your group. First off, jumping from the stage results in an inability to return. Therefore, the usual strategy is to wait until all lickers are dispatched before proceeding. In turn, picking up the key card, blowing up fuel barrels, or speeding toward the exit will only result in triggering several more waves of lickers to attack. It takes someone with a lot of experience and much attentiveness to understand perhaps the best and only strategy for getting in your kills and surviving the atrium is to dispatch each wave one at a time. Alas, there's always one asshole in your squad who insists on skipping the area, leaving everyone else bombarded.
Which takes me to an equally necessary reminder: as part of a squad, you can't be a fucking pussy. Just like with ignoring members who take on way too much burden. Not being attentive. Insisting on speeding through areas without collaboration. Anything that makes it clear you don't have knowledge of your surroundings, you're not just annoying teammates, you're displaying cowardice. Roles are a necessity here, and if you're gonna jump in the water, prepare to swim. Actions like these are not going to convince your teammates of anything less: "strategy" or "style" is a piss poor excuse for what you're really doing - hiding.
4. STOP DYING.
Yes, a death or two is only to be expected. The difference here is how it's noble when it occurs as a result of putting in your all and just getting stuck in a bad postion on a one in a hundred chance. What sucks is when players drop like flies within 5 minutes of a mission start. Or repeatedly get caught and wrestled to the ground by zombies not out of mission difficulty, but because they haven't developed control manipulation, or any other reason outlined above.
Learning the tiny quirks (like delays) in controls, focusing on developing new strategies against individual enemies on each playthrough, and getting in-tune with your weapon and latent abilities are tantamount to optimum performance. It only hurts your mission objective and annoys the fuck out of your teammates to die at the drop of a hat because you had to plow through a crowd with health in the red, or don't know to keep moving while shooting at the Tyrants during Expendable. Your inexperience will drag down your squad.
Of course, there are plenty of others on the list, but the blog's already long enough as it is. Perhaps in another we'll cover some extra tips. Something I missed? I'm quite interested in hearing about gaming peeves like these.