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The Art of FFA: A Comprehensive Guide

20.12.18 | FML_sEksi, UgriWC3 1817

Introduction

To the inexperienced eye, Free For All (FFA) often looks like a game without skill, purely based on either luck or manipulation. These comments, which I've often heard in the past, are reminiscent of what we can hear about poker just being a game of luck which gamblers play.

From a name well known in FFA circles is Seksi, comes the result of his extensive experience. He now wants to share his complete knowledge of FFA with us all, through a 90 pages guide (yes, we did say "complete knowledge" after all, but don't get discouraged just yet). Read on to meet Seksi and get access to his guide.

So it's just luck right?

In both examples, FFA and poker, skill does in fact outweighs luck. We can see this though the repeat performances of certain players, who, over and over, win in a game where they must take down at least three different opponents at once to achieve victory.

Wrecktify or Magadansky are players you may never have heard about and yet have made FFA history by winning multiple FFA Masters Leagues (FML). Well known solo players also experimented with FFA and mastered it, such as Rain, TGW and htrt.

What makes FFA truly unique is the layer of social strategy, which isn't there in normal melee games.

I'm not reading 90 pages are you crazy?

Maybe you do not like to read, so do not worry, you do not have to read it like a novel. The guide is very well structured, with a table of contents to guide you. Sections introducing the basics, then going through each races, their strengths, hero builds or army compositions are available. Navigate through it like you would an encyclopedia, seeking the resources you need.

The guide is available under this link : Comprehensive FFA Guide.

Interview with Seksi

 What do you think of Warcraft III: Reforged and its announcement so far?

I couldn’t be happier to find out about Reforged. Despite anyone’s feelings about graphical changes or the direction Blizzard is taking, the fact remains that Blizzard is working on our favorite game again! It’s being advertised and supported. WC3 will be brought into modern BNet, which includes modern (global?) matchmaking and support. Many players, new and old, will be playing and the game should be active again. I can’t wait to queue on BNet and find FFA games on a competitive and active ladder once again.

Any specific strategies or races you look forward to playing?

I am currently looking forward to playing Human with Blood Mage. I also want to explore Pit Lord more so, and continue to refine Dreadlord first with Undead. I’d also like to include the Alchemist in more styles with all races. I think he can have a significant impact as Human with AM/Alch/Pal, Alch/MK/Pal, or even Alch/Panda/Pal.

I am new to FFA. What is the best strategy or race to start with?

I would play the race you are most comfortable with in other game types. Practice the ‘First Phase’ on different maps so you can creep, expand, and tech efficiently. The easiest race to play effectively would probably be Night Elf because of the power and ease-of-use of Chimeras and Hippogryphs.

Which is the best race in FFA? How would you rank them?

All four races can perform well at a high level. With that being said, I think Elf currently has an edge as the best FFA race. I would rank them Elf > Undead = Orc = Human. Before the recent patches, I would’ve ranked them Human > Elf = Orc > Undead.

What is your best race? What is your favorite race? And what about Heroes?

I play Random, all races are similar, but Undead or Elf are slightly ahead. I enjoy playing them all; if I had to pick I would say Orc is my favorite race to play. My favorite heroes are the Alchemist, Dreadlord, Dark Ranger, and Blood Mage.

What is your favorite thing about FFA, and why?

I love the depth in strategy. As there are multiple players and only one winner, it is a complex match with many things to consider. I also enjoy building heroes with items and fighting with varying army sizes and compositions. Lastly, I love that every game is different and unpredictable.

What is your favorite FFA map, and why?

My favorite FFA map is Silverpine Forest. It is a 6-way map that promotes action with close quarters, while also embracing FFA elements such as higher gold mines and an abundance of creeps and items. The Marketplaces are insane, so there requires a balance to allocate resources between your army and items. 


Silverpine Forest 

What are your accomplishments in FFA?

I’ve played Free For All on and off since 2006. While BNet ladder was active, I held Rank 1 FFA on Azeroth and Northrend. I am a 2x playFFA Champion, 2x FML Ladder Winner, WC3M FFA Champion, 3x FFA Masters League Finalist, and ISFF Cup Finalist.

Do you think Tanks are OP?!

Siege Engines have been nerfed! As I stated earlier in the guide, the food cost of a Tank increased to 4 food and I was thrilled to see that change actually happen. They did increase the DPS of Barrage (anti-air attack) slightly which was okay with me. Tanks are still really good - even at 4 food - just not completely OP anymore.

What about the Alchemist, is he as rampant in FFA as in other game types?

Yes. We are in what can be called an “Alchemist Meta” in FFA. He is often the best choice for Elf and Orc as their first hero, and can be seen with Human or even Undead at times too. I have mixed feelings about that, because while I love the Alchemist, it’s a bit stale to play against multiple players with an Alchemist in a FFA game.

Who are the people that manage FML and other FFA ventures?

WorpeX is the founder of the FFA Masters League and is still an administrator. HighTac is the head admin that runs most of the FML related events, and massmoretanks is also an FML admin.
Ugrilainen is the founder of playFFA ladder, and is now better known for his work on everything in relation to Warcraft III as an e-sport. Ping created the WC3Melee bots that carried us into current times.

 

How many control groups to you use? What about custom hotkeys?

I use 2 or 3 control groups for units unless I have 100 food and need 4 groups. For example, with Orc: 1- Heroes/Melee, 2- Casters/Kodo, 3- Wind Riders (or Bats/Raiders) 4- Production Buildings/Altar, 5- Main Hall, 6- War Mill, 7-Burrows, 0- Scouting Unit My custom hotkeys are primarily for hero skills. F, S, D, and Z. This makes nuking more efficient (Coil/Nova/Swarm = F/F/F) and skill-use comfortable across all races. I've changed some awkward building hotkeys and tough to reach ones like Hide for Night Elf from 'i' to 'x'. I use tab to switch between heroes more so than using the F1, F2, F3 keys. To change the numpad keys (items) it is still difficult and it bugs out sometimes. I do have one slot on hotkey for staffs or scrolls with other races. I’m sure with Reforged there will be in-client support to change key bindings without a 3rd party software which will be great.

Will you stream?

Yes. I am taking a leave from WC3 for awhile, but I will return when we are closer to Reforged being released and stream again regularly (link).

FFA Masters League: Sign up!

FML is the longest running WC3 league in Warcraft III! Season 1 was organized in 2005 and you can already register for Season 29. Let's show if you learned anything from this guide!

Thank you Seksi for your contribution.

Sign up here for Season 29!

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