I believe that to be a great player in this game, there are 5 attributes to be measured:
|1. Knowledge of Individual Unit & Multi-Unit Strength / Weaknesses|
|2. Financial Management|
|3. Situational Awareness|
|4. Strategic Planning|
1. Knowledge of Individual Unit & Multi-Unit Strength / Weaknesses.
This means that you have a thorough understanding of every unit in the game. What it can do well, what it can do weakly, and what it cannot do. Example: what units are vulnerable to deployed Kindjal? What units can easily kill deployed Kindjal? And not just individual units, but combination units. You must have expert knowledge of Unit Groups vs. Unit Groups! Example: Can my hoarde of Buzzsaws, Infantry, and Sards take on that Hoarde of Laser Tanks, Dustscouts, and Troopers? OR, If I combine my laser tanks, Fedaykins and gas with my partners sandbikes, Mino's and drones, how will we do against those elite sards, devastators with carryalls, Kobra, and Assault Tanks? A great player has a very keen knowledge of all unit capabilities and knows how combinations of units fare against other combinations of units from multiple houses.
2. Financial Management
This means you are an expert in knowing what to build and when to build. You know how much things cost, you know what your budget will be and how to manage your income as well as your spice harvesters. Example: I can afford to build a Guild Palace now, but will doing so cause me long term financial problems or should I build another refinery first? If I spend the money to build another refinery, will I be wasting money that I could put on vehicles NOW in order to defend vs. a possible rush? If I dont build the refinery right now, how much financial impact will it have for me trying to get those Mino's out?
3. Situational Awareness
One of the keys to all great players is being AWARE of what is happening on the map! I cannot emphasize how important this is. Unless you are aware of what your enemy is doing...what your partner is doing...you will forever be just a limited player. You will never ever cross that line from 'average' to 'great' until you take your eyes off your base and start observing your surroundings. This is what makes someone a commander and what makes someone an enlisted grunt. Here is a way I have been able to instantly identify an "average" player several times in the past. We start a new game, and I am harkonnen with say 10k no starting. I ally and tell my Atreides partner "Im making fac first!". He says "OK". And by the time my ref is placed, the entire map is still dark!! He didn't even send out one single scout. That is the mark of a bad player who will never grow until he starts taking in all of his surroundings- and not just focusing on his pee-on units. But situational Awareness is much MORE than just seeing your surroundings- it is being aware of what is GOING to happen based upon your observation. It is PROTECTING and WORKING WITH your teammate!! It is all about being a TEAM PLAYER. Example: You see your 2 harkonnen enemies rallying all their units outside your partners base. You know that your partner will be in big trouble soon. Another example: You see a guild palace go up in your enemy base. Your base is well protected with turrets, so you look at your partners base and tell him to build up some guild defense quick! This is situational awareness. It means that you are aware of your partner and your enemies at all times- what they are doing, and how they are reacting to every move you and your partner make.
4. Strategic Planning
This is where all the strategy comes in. Strategic Planning cannot exist without Situational Awareness. All those players who never scout - who never watch the map, they are bad players because they cannot even get to strategic planning without first having situational awareness. This is where you observe the map, and plan your strategy. Example: You see your Harkonnen enemy making a lot of gunships. You know he is spending a lot of money on them. He has the same amount of refineries as you, though. His primary ground units are infantry and buzzsaws. But because so much of his money is going into gunships right now, you are therefore making more ground units than him. You start making sards, buzzsaws, infantry and troopers with a couple flame tanks. You place some gun turrets in your base. You plan for an immediate ground rush on your opponent. Basically, it was because of your situational awareness that you developed a tactical plan. Players that develop strategies in the dark (meaning they dont watch their opponents) are asking for destruction. Example: A harkonnen player who never scouted and doesn't care about watching the map starts making a ton of gunships. When time comes to launch them, his very observant tAreides opponent, simply rushes in his 15 drones and takes care of business.
This is the final component of a great player. Technique is simply controlling your units properly. Being able to control 5 laser tanks against 15 buzzsaws, for example. Properly controlling your sard elites, Minos, Kindjal, Missle tanks, Fremen, etc. When to retreat, when to press forward; formations and movement- all of these are part of technique.
Of these 5 components, you can be taught 3 of them. I can make you an expert in numbers 1-3. But I cannot make you an expert in numbers 4 and 5. Being an expert in numbers 4 and 5 only come through practice, hard work and dedication to the game. You might try some of the elite BO's on this site and still get cremated! You then might even wonder if the BO was any good or not! Well having the best BO in the world will NOT give you a win if you have very poor technique and strategic planning. I can teach you all about unit strengths/weaknesses, financial management, and situational awareness. But that is only 60% of the game. You can be a master at all of those, and still get obliterated by someone who is a master strategist. Having said that, however, I do believe that you can be a better player if you follow the guides on this site. You can go from newbie to average. From average to good. From good to expert. And who knows...maybe even from expert to great.
I do not consider myself a great player. I consider myself an expert player. Yet there is a chance that another expert player who has better technique than me just might find that one piece of information on this site that takes him to the next level from expert to greatness. I hope that is the case with everyone who comes here. I hope your game goes up one more level.