My first attempt at outlining tactics for pub play generated some calls for a review of Highway. Sounded like a good idea to me.
I hate this map. In the first clam wars campaign, we played this stupid map so often that I sat out the entire second campaign. I just couldn't face night after night of CW battles on this stupid map.
The map falls into the "huge open valley separating the two sides" model, which also includes El Haluf and Severogorks (starting to see a trend?). I think it's just generally a bad design and WG ought to retire this model.
There. I've said my peace.
Winning Highway is pretty straight forward:
1. Get eyes in the field
2. Avoid falling for the obvious temptations
3. Concentrate fire and overwhelm the enemy
4. Break the enemy down and move in as opportunities arise
One interesting aspect of this map is that both bases are actually extremely difficult to defend. The natural defence lines have good foliage cover, but no hard cover. When defenders fire, they are usually going to be spotted and, if they're spotted, they're going to take a lot of fire. It's actually better to defend both bases from the rear.
The general plan for the north spawn is simple.
You want to secure your south flank. You can easily beat the enemy to the south, so do it. You actually want the enemy to attack the city (more on that later), but even if they don't, secure the south.
This map is all about eyes and scouts can really shine here. A bad/sui-scout is going to screw your team over badly.
I like to see scouts get into the middle and mid-north areas, find some big bushes, and sit. This gets some spots going early and protects defenders from being seen too early. If you have a surplus of scouts, then spotting for the city is also an option.
Note: I do NOT like mediums and scouts pushing hard north at the start on this map. Why? Well, if the south spawn team follows my advice, they will be pushing hard to clear the north. The extreme north west corner is beyond the draw distance of any defenders at your base, so you will be fighting on your own. You will almost certainly die. It's not worth it.
Since I prefer to see scouts set up for passive spotting in the middle, mediums should spot for the city. This is a good map for flexing, so mediums should avoid committing to positions that limits their freedom of movement. Wait for the battle to take shape and then use your mobility to find weaknesses, press forward, and spot.
The first job for heavy tanks is securing the city. Beyond that, I actually prefer to see heavies defend the base on this map, since the defence is best done from behind the cap. Tanks are better suited to using the crest of the hill behind the north spawn for defence, especially tanks with good gun depression and strong turret armor.
Assuming your team is winning the fire superiority battle, the heavies next job is pushing the attack. On this map, I actually prefer an attack up the middle to one at the south. The enemy has a hard time shooting at enemy tanks moving up the middle since the best lines of fire are north and those positions are completely exposed.
TDs just need to do what they do best: hit things for big damage. Find spots in the middle and provide fire support. You need to really watch the draw distance on this map and be aware of unspotted enemy scouts. Move up when you can. If your team is winning the vision fight, then cover is actually not all that important. Stay within draw distance of known enemy positions and wait for spots.
Ok, now we have to talk about the city. This was mainly what I meant when I spoke of avoiding the obvious temptations. The city sits there like a shining beacon and you know you want to go there, especially if you're a player that likes urban combat situations.
Don't do it. Avoid the city like the plague.
1. It's an uphill drive the entire way
2. You're not fast enough to beat the enemy there
3. Once you're spotted, you're in an open field and enemy TDs will be firing at your side armor.
Let me be even more clear: Going to the city is probably going to result is your death and, if enough of you go, it will cost your team the game.
The general plan for the south spawn is kind of the a mirror to the north spawn plan.
First, clear the north of any pesky mediums or scouts. Your best avenue for attack at the enemy base is along the north, so you need control of that line. After that, you may need to return to base to defend an enemy attack from the city. If not, the job becomes finding and eliminating any enemy scouts and then driving along the north of the map to the enemy base. TDs and fire support tanks should be in the middle to hit any spotted enemies.
In my opinion, the south spawn actually has the easier task of the two.
Same comments apply for scouts on the south spawn. Your team is going to need eyes. From my perspective, the priority for spotting is:
North is less important because the team mediums will be rushing there early to clear the flank. Get eyes in the middle to spot any defenders on the crest near the enemy base. You can also be of service passive spotting for defenders near your own base if the defenders are sitting forward.
Guys, your job is to secure the north. Your team is going to attack along that route, so get up there and make sure it's clear of enemy eyes. Do it. Right away.
After that, do what you do best: be flexible. Get back to base if it's under attack. If not, you can try pushing north. There's a road with foliage heading along the north that provides cover for a good distance towards the enemy base. After that it's a short sprint to the defilade of the hill. Hug the hill and move up to spot defenders for your supporting TDs and heavies. Avoid committing your tank to places you can't easily move from.
Heavies on the south spawn team have quite a few options. Personally, I like them setting up in the middle or north early to provide fire support. After the north is cleared, heavies can push the north attack.
If you've elected to defend, then you have to watch for the turning of the tide. At that point a flanking attack to the city may be an option.
Unlike the north spawn base, the south spawn base is more friendly to TD defenders, so this is an option. Again, I like TDs setting up in the middle, in foliage, to support the north and eliminate any spotted defenders. Be careful to not push too far forward, especially when the enemy scouts are still in play.
A win on this map is going to take some time, and some work. Be patient. Manage the vision fight, concentrate fire on spotted enemies and chip away at his defences until a general push will cause a collapse.
1. If you're on the south spawn, don't attack the city
2. Scouts: Go get eyes early and stay passive. Stay alive.
3. Keep an eye on draw distances and support any movement.
Personally, I've found that teams are listening to me when I do some "coaching" at the start of this map. And players seem to be getting more savvy. Long term, this probably means the map will devolve into hard core camping, but for now, it's definitely playing better in pub matches.
I had a previous tactical talk on Highway that touches on most of the points in this map review, which you may also find interesting.