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Opinion: Focusing on TTPs in Tactical Shooters Misses a Very Important Point

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So, I recently had GR: Wildlands gifted to me and it's been an interesting experience. I am thoroughly enjoying it since I learned to approach it differently than other, more realistic tactical shooters. As a result of this experience and lots of thought, I have reached the following conclusion and would like to have a productive discussion about it: from a leader's perspective (whether it be in a team setting or leading a group of AI in SP), approaching tactical shooters, no matter how realistic, by focusing only on emulating real life tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) misses a very important point: overall strategy.

To make sure I get my actual point across and not an alternate perception of it, let me elaborate. I am not saying that using real life TTPs as a base for developing your own set of TTPs is unrealistic or wrong to do. Depending on the game, they can be a great base to build off from and the end result may have few differences with real life. What's important is to develop your own TTPs and strategies in order to adapt to whatever circumstances. By focusing too intensely on TTPs, you lose sight of the bigger picture, the important pieces necessary to win. Being able to execute various TTPs with a high level of proficiency by itself may or may not lead to victory. Executing TTPs that support a larger strategy on the other hand is much more likely to get the mission done.

Let's take CQB for example. There's a ton of different ideas and methodologies surrounding it. You and your team could be really good at stacking up, breaching, and clearing. However, what's of significant important are some of the following:

  • Why are you going into that building in the first place? I personally feel like this question isn't asked nearly enough especially given how risky CQB is.
  • Where are you breaching/entering from?
  • In what order are you clearing rooms? Are you clearing every room, working your way to a particular room, or something else?
  • What intelligence do you have? Have you done reconnaissance? Why are you clearing that building before another?

Hopefully my point is becoming more clear at this point: what's realistic is developing a mindset to adapt and overcome to whatever situation you face. By focusing almost exclusively on TTPs with little to no effort on the strategies that would use these TTPs, you aren't developing a mindset for victory. It's important to be flexible and understand when to change rather than micromanage every little spot. The best test for how well you can do this IMHO is some form of truly dynamic environment, of which decently balanced PvP is a prime example. Static AI usually don't force you to adapt. Facing other humans on the other hand leads to a much higher level of unpredictability (depending on the particular opponents) in which TTPs aren't enough to ensure victory. I've done a lot of PvP in OGR and it's a lot more fun for me than facing AI. This is because it forces me to think, adapt, and get creative.

In a team environment, there is room for people to specialize in TTPs and/or strategy to varying degrees depending on your role. However, let me be clear about something. If you are the leader of a team and your focus is mostly on TTPs to a level where you effectively micromanage and hold you back, then the main reason I would take you seriously as an opponent is to prevent my own complacency. Otherwise, I do not fear you. The opponent I do fear is one who can adapt quickly in the moment and won't constrain themselves from trying something new or throwing away their own playbook if the situation demands it.

So what would I propose as a "realistic" way to approach tactical shooters?

  • Examine real life TTPs and determine what is useful for the situation and discard what is not.
  • Develop your own playbook. Let the situation/game dictate how close that playbook becomes to what is done IRL.
  • Develop a mission-focused mindset. Your goal is to get the mission done, don't restrict yourself to using only a select few methods unless the situation demands it.
  • Adapt and overcome. Learn from success and more importantly, learn from failure.

So yeah, what do you all think? Agree, disagree, think I'm a complete idiot? Hopefully this post provides some good food for thought and will spark a discussion where we all can learn.

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I'm feeling like you might've had some disagreements with someone recently, eh?

I agree with your assessment that adhering to TTPs too closely is detrimental. Tactical shooters aren't milsims and only simulate real-life combat to an extent that is enjoyable for the general audience. Focusing exclusively on real-life TTPs might be great for roleplaying but it also tends to diminish the value of creativity, which tactical shooters emphasize to a T.

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No disagreements about this specifically, but I have had some recent disagreements with people. Great learning opportunities result from it though, just wish said disagreements didn’t result in a mostly one way “discussion.” Though that is also a learning opportunity in it of itself.

Even in milsims I would argue the same point. The biggest difference would probably be that your own TTPs end up much closer to real life TTPs. Real life success requires you to adapt and overcome. My main issue with strictly adhering to real life TTPs even in a milsim is the mindset it’d likely promote: one of inflexibility that hinders mission success.

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I think the open nature of WIldlands missions lends itself to TTPs.

This damn caviera mission I have failed 20 times kind of demonstrates that. Thanks to GRW flexibility I am able to plan my strategy exactly how I would have in real life. 

1. Take out remote patrols and over watch snipers.
2. Plant C4 on diversion doorway
3. Plant C4 on planned entry doorway.
4. Blow C4
5. Enter building

and step 6 so far as been

6. Get ass kicked.

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I love the openness of Wildlands, definitely something that allows the the player to explore different ways of doing things. As is, it’s a fun experience that allows you to play pretty realistically or not much at all depending on your settings. While I may enjoy something closer to milsim, this may end up resulting in a more restrictive game. I don’t find myself approaching it like OGR or ARMA, but there are definitely plenty of overlapping concepts to use for mission success.

Edited by Jack Wachter
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  • 7 months later...

I think multiplayer is always hysterically unrealistic no matter what you do, because people in one-off matches have incentives that nobody but a PCP addict serial killer has in real life. That being said, I just wanted to comment on something you asked, "why are you breaching the building, given how dangerous it is"?

And this is where Single-player is unrealistic. We are breaching the building because we want to breach the building: run in and shoot a bunch of people. There are lots of Raven Shield levels I could have beat by creeping around and getting my objectives knocked off. I never did that. Instead I found and shot ever single enemy. Being able to mass murder people in a realistic way, to execute dicey and violent procedures on hapless foes, is the entire point of the game. This is why I despised one of the last levels in the original Rainbow Six, where you have to sneak around an executive's house avoiding his butler Oddjob, and you're not allowed to kill him. If I had had a Gameshark for N64 at the time I first played it I would have skipped that level.

I, personally, play tactical shooters to be assassination/breaching sims; I loathe PvP, though, so that means it's got to be against AI in missions. This is also why you'll never catch me dead playing the new R6 and GR games; less realistic, more arcade-y and Normie-oriented, faster, and multiplayer focused. I went from buying every single title in these games to refusing to play any of them, because they basically did everything they could to make me dislike the actual experience.

Edited by Cheimison
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