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  1. #1

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    Rugmouse's Guide to Recorded Video Analysis

    Hey everyone!

    I’ve put together a little (well big) post on how I approach watching game footage that I record in arena. I’ve found that analyzing your game play after an evening of arena helps identify mistakes that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. This process can be used to identify shortfalls so you can make the necessary changes and hopefully improve in arena.

    A couple of things:
    1. If possible, record all game sound and communication. This helps immensely, as communication is one of the most important aspects of arena. Also, if you play with music on – try to keep it low so you can hear what everyone is saying.

    2. Get into the habit of starting your fraps recording before the gates open and let it run all the way until the post-match stat sheet comes up (more on why later).

    Here is my guideline I keep in mind while watching my videos.

    Phase 1 – Initial Playback
    -Pacing of Match
    -Degree of Success
    -Turning Points
    Phase 2 – Pre-Game Battle Plan
    -General Goal – Kill/CC targets
    Phase 3 – Match Details
    -Offensive Cooldown Usage
    -Defensive Cooldown Usage
    -Look for Swap Opportunities
    Phase 4 – Post Analysis
    -Phase 2 Strategy Effectiveness
    -Same Strategy next time or New Strategy?
    -Share your findings with teammates
    -NEVER Blame teammates – Suggest Game Play Alterations
    -Deficiency Selection and Alteration
    Bonus – Common Mistakes

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    Phase 1 – The Initial Playback of the Match
    The first time you watch a recorded video, let the match play uninterrupted. Don’t pause the video; just let the match progress as if it were happening in real time. In this phase, try to get a general idea of the flow of the match:

    • When were you playing offensively? Defensively?
    • How did that style of play work for this specific matchup?
    • Try to identify key turning points in the match, or major swings in momentum, and make note of them for later in your analysis.

    The beauty of watching recorded video is you are able to give more attention to things you might have missed in a live arena – beyond the focus frame and your kill target. Look at player positioning - your team’s along with enemy team positions. Who looks out of position? Could/Did you use positioning to your advantage? Looking at the big picture actually has helped me transfer the habit into a live arena setting, drastically improving my overall game awareness.

    Phase 2 – Pre-Game Battle Plan
    Start the video over. When the gates open, it is important to sketch out a general template of how you and your teammates handled the opposition. Did you and your teammates quickly communicate what the kill/cc target will be? Getting a good opener can really dictate how the rest of the match will play out. Going into combat unprepared will leave you in a state of confusion and will likely cause cooldowns to be used at improper moments. Make note of what your general strategy was so you can determine its effectiveness.

    Phase 3 – Match Details

    Offensive Cooldown Usage
    Every class has a handful of offensive cooldowns that should be used with a couple of goals in mind: to spur defensive cooldown usage from the enemy, or to score a kill. How successful you are at utilizing these abilities will play a major role in determining whether you win or lose a match. Watch your video and make note when you pop a cooldown. Were you able to accomplish one of the above goals? Chances are you used this ability properly.

    In the event you are unable to get a defensive CD or a kill on the target, take a look at the video and determine what prevented you from getting the result you were looking for.

    Were you peeled by a member of the enemy team?
    Perhaps using some form of CC on the enemy that interrupted your cooldown would have added to the success of the ability. Check your UI for available abilities (also check Diminishing Return status) you could have used to prevent your ineffective cooldown usage. Your teammates may have also had an ability available that could have drastically improved your abilities effectiveness. Be sure to collaborate with them as well.

    Was your cooldown usage clearly announced ahead of time so your teammates could assist in maximizing the impact of your cooldown?
    Communicating your cooldown usage is very important in arena. It is a team environment, and you’ll have to work as such to score a kill on the opposition. Coupling two uninterrupted DPS increasing cooldowns will often times lead to incredible pressure, or a kill. Failure to do so will likely be a waste of said cooldown, swinging match momentum over to the other team.

    Defensive Cooldown Usage
    Things are not always going to be going your way in arena. You have an arsenal of abilities you can use to help mitigate damage done to you, along with abilities to help alleviate pressure being applied to your teammates.

    “Peel” ability usage

    There will be times that your teammates are under heavy duress, and it will fall to you to help them out. In instances where your teammates are forced to use defensive cooldowns, examine the footage and look for some of your own abilities that you could have used to enhance the effectiveness, or even completely negate the need for your teammate to use the cooldown at all.

    Self-Preserving Defensive Cooldowns
    These abilities should typically be used to counter an enemy’s offensive cooldowns, but should not be used unless the situation clearly calls for it.

    Arena is basically a preservation of cooldowns game. Whoever has less defensive cooldowns will likely be the loser of the match if the enemy exploits it correctly. You shouldn’t just automatically use a defensive cooldown whenever the enemy attacks you. If your healer is not in a CC, check with them before using a cooldown. Quick questions like, “You got me?” help as a lot (plus it is a yes or no answer, so you can still react quickly if need be). They may or may not have you pop the cooldown, depending on their status. If they are in a CC, chances are they will have you pop a defensive to mitigate damage until they are able to top you off.

    Look for Swap Opportunities
    Taking into consideration the cooldown usage analysis above, look at the game play footage and try to identify which enemy may be at a disadvantage due to poor cooldown management (trinket included). There are several instances when your current kill target may have more cooldowns than another player, so a swap may be the correct decision.

    Let’s say the enemy healer used his/her trinket, along with some sort of defensive cooldown to keep their partner up during one of your burst attempts. Because your current target was the beneficiary of cooldowns from the healer, they may not have had to pop any of their own cooldowns to stay alive. If you decide to stay on this target, they will likely have more ways to survive another burst attempt. Switching to the healer seems the best choice in this situation.

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    Phase 4 - Post Analysis
    After you have gotten through the footage, there are a few things you will want to do.

    How effective was your initial strategy
    Win or lose, it is important to determine the effectiveness of your initial strategy and alter/adapt your course of action if necessary. There are times when you and your teammates simply pick the wrong cc/kill targets. Look at how the match went and even look at the stat sheet summary for added detail. Did one of the dps triple the amount of damage of your entire team (obvious over exaggeration)? Maybe switching that target to your main target will help alleviate pressure and allow for your team to better dictate the flow of the match. Was your partner’s damage low due to being trained the entire time (peeling for your partner may have helped here). This is why I always allow my software to record all the way through to the summary sheet after a match.

    Share your findings with your teammates
    Arena is a team sport. If you noticed some errors in your game play, let your partners know. If they are aware of some of the issues you are working on, they can be on the lookout for repeat offenses and bring them to your attention.

    NEVER blame your teammates – Suggest Game Play Alterations

    Nobody likes to hear they are wrong, so don’t create a hostile environment by blaming your partners for a loss. On the other hand, if you notice something that could have been done by one of your partners to help turn the tides of the match, offer it to them as a suggestion. “Did you have X cooldown up at this point of the match? Maybe next time you can use it so I don’t have to pop Y cooldown.” They may have their own explanation as to why they didn’t use the cooldown, but this will start a constructive discussion where you are all working as a team to help correct an issue. Down the road, getting into these kind of habits will bolster team synergy and you’ll work better together.

    Deficiency Selection and Alteration
    Chances are, you’ll see a lot of mistakes in match losses, and it could end up being a laundry list of things you need to improve. Try to isolate one or two of what you think are the most glaring mistakes and work to master them before moving on to other problems. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself by trying to fix everything at once.

    Bonus Phase
    This is just a few of the common mistakes I see people make (me most of all =D).

    “Fat Fingering” – If this happens from time to time, so be it, we’re human. But if you see it happen quite frequently, perhaps it is a keybinding issue you should take a look at.

    Overlapping CC – This is 100% avoidable and it all comes down to communication. Work on telegraphing what you are doing, and you’ll be in good shape here.

    Using CC that is DR’d – Many crowd control abilities come with a significant cooldown period. Using one of these cooldowns impatiently will seriously impact the effectiveness.

    Unnecessary CC – Kind of a big one, and it’ll be a “feel” type of thing to really get the hang of it. It’s always awesome to blind someone, into a vanish sap (as an example), but is using that many cooldowns to pull the chain off worth it in the grand scheme of things? It is something you’ll have to determine when watching the footage. Another thing to consider is if casting the CC is worth the DR period that follows. You may fear someone, but then during the DR duration, they may pop a major cooldown, which you cannot effectively peel.

    If anyone has other common mistakes, feel free to leave a comment and I will gladly add it to the post.

    That about wraps up my personal procedure for analyzing game play footage. As always, feel free to ask any questions you have and I’ll be more than happy to assist as best as I can. Thanks for sticking with me through that beast. Hope you enjoyed it, and good luck out there.

    Rugmouse

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    Another awesome thread! Definetly given me soem thinks to think about next time im reviewing my games!

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    Outstanding post, Rugmouse.

    Just wanted to leave a comment on Dxtory. You can watch a video (biased) here about it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0KqsTa_HpM

    What I like most about Dxtory is. 1) It records to a single file so you don't have to mess with combining the AVI segments. 2) You can choose to record to a codec such as H264, just need it installed on your computer. 3) I barely even notice it's on while recording BF3, MW3, Quake Live, Borderlands etc at max settings (going to an SSD drive)

    Reason I mention it is that it's just faster to get into your footage and start reviewing your game. Again, great post appreciate it.

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    Just superb

    Assume that I find several mistakes in some games, and me and my team decides to work on improvning. Now some people say that it is hard/impossible to improve everything at once, and that it is better to consciously improve on one for a few things.

    What is your opinion on this and what of the above aspects of a game do you think is most important?
    Last edited by Kenny; 03-22-2012 at 04:50 PM.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
    Just superb

    Assume that I find several mistakes in some games, and me and my team decides to work on improvning. Now some people say that it is hard/impossible to improve everything at once, and that it is better to consciously improve on one for a few things.

    What is your opinion on this and what of the above aspects of a game do you think is most important?
    Yikes, I could probably write up another 3 posts on this question…lol

    I would tend to agree that it is difficult to try and improve all mistakes simultaneously. You will likely overburden yourself and chances are other areas of your game (such as game awareness) will suffer due to trying to focus on too many aspects. That being said, simply identifying mistakes brings them to the forefront. You may repeat a mistake you identified from watching a video, but instead of having to look at game play footage to identify it, you may find yourself thinking, “Oh crap, I just screwed that up” while still in the arena…that is definitely progress. Eventually you’ll stop yourself from repeating the mistake prior to it actually happening and you’ll have subconsciously corrected the issue.

    In terms of which aspects are the most important for arena success – I would have to say communication is top dog here. So many mistakes can be prevented by working on communication. If you have three people communicating freely, chances are someone will notice something that the other two didn’t. If they broadcast what they saw, everyone will be aware of the factor and can react accordingly…game awareness goes up significantly with little effort just from having an open flow of communication.

    Things like positioning, cooldown monitoring, and the like, are huge factors in an arena match, but as I’ve said before, communication basically allows the burden of game awareness to be spread between three individuals working as one.

    Hopefully that makes sense. It was a good question that was kind of hard to answer. =/

  9. #9

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    Too Pro. Great post Nick

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    stuck for now!
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