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Spawntimes and objective play in ET - Enemy Territory

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Since nobody ever taught me anything about playing for the objectives, and the little knowledge I have comes only from watching some ettv matches, and playing a few 3on3s years ago (plus common sense and reading other tutorials), this tutorial is for beginners.


More experienced players will probably know these things already, and they could also find mistakes or generalizations (all suggestions are welcome).





A good player is one who does the right thing, at the right moment


The goal of the game is completing the objectives faster than your opponents, here the word 'faster' gives already an idea that time plays an important role.


In order to complete an objective, you must generally take advantage of some weakness in enemy defense, it might be a matter of numbers (dead players who are in limbo) or bad positions, or both. You can also surprise or deceive the enemy, or rely on other tactics, but of course the more obvious way is killing enemies. If they aren't alive, they can't defend or attack.



Let's now imagine a game where you have only 1 life, i.e. after going to limbo you can't play anymore.

In such a game, probably players would be much more careful, and rely a lot on things like crossfire and reviving. Timing would still play a role in such a game, but only as in 'attacking when you think it's the right moment, according to the situation'.


In a game where players re-spawn at once (i.e. without high re-spawn times), again timing would be important to some extent, but the moment when you kill an enemy won't matter so much (aside from situational factors, as I said above).

The enemy would just re-spawn immediately, and go back to attack or defense. So the only thing you would get is removing that player from the fighting zone, sending him back to the spawn point.



When players die in a game with spawn timers, they have to wait for their timer to reach 0 in order to play, starting again from their base (flag, etc.).

Attackers will begin a new attack wave, defenders will try to get back to the best defensive positions.


While in limbo, they will be out of the game for a while, giving the other team a sort of powerplay situation and an obvious advantage, till they re-spawn again.


A re-spawn acts like a sort of reset.


- If (playing as defender) your team successfully blocked an attack wave, a new attack wave will begin again.

- If (playing as attacker) your team created a weakness in enemy positions, and you didn't take advantage of that weakness during that short time window (i.e. enemy spawn), defenders will re-spawn and go back to their positions, and you're back to square one.


If both teams had the same re-spawn seconds, and those timers were in sync, there wouldn't be much interest in spawn times, but since axis and allies have different timers, and there is also a random offset, the different combinations make the game more interesting.




Of course you know your own spawn timer. As regards enemy spawn timer, you don't know it yet, when the game begins.

Since knowing enemy spawn timer is important for many of your decisions, you should try to know it (or guess it) as soon as possible, and share this info with your team mates.


There are many ways to know or guess enemy spawn time:

- Watching enemies when they re-spawn

- Hearing the sound of re-spawning enemies, if you are camping nearby

- Checking when their shield disappears after re-spawn (they spawned 3 seconds before)

- Assuming that they selfkill just before re-spawning (this is just a guess, and they will try to deceive you if possible)



At the beginning of the round, spawn timers get a random offset. Without this offset (and assuming 20sec for allies and 30 for axis) axis and allies would always spawn together every 60 seconds, and you could set enemy spawn timer just after the first spawn of yours, at the beginning of the match.


But there is a random offset (different for axis and allies), ranging from 0 to 16 seconds.


For example, allies spawn every 20 seconds in most maps, but at the beginning of the round their counter is not necessarily 20. It can be 20 if the offset was 0, down to 4 when the offset was 16 seconds.

The same for axis, they can start the match with 30 seconds if the offset for axis was 0, down to 14 seconds.


Since this offset ranges from 0 to 16, you can guess 8 and make at most a mistake of 8 seconds.

So you can set the enemy spawn timer exactly at your first spawn (when the match begins) then reset it again when it reaches 8 (maybe a bit earlier, since there is usually a couple of seconds of lag after match start), this way you get enemy spawn time +- 8 seconds.

There is a built-in spawn timer in etpro and almost all other mods (the command is /timerset number), making this much easier if compared with the past.



To tell enemy spawn time to your team mates, you write the seconds in the clock (i.e. the map clock, stopwatch counting down, and not the spawn timer).


For example, let's say one of your team mates writes '03' (and you are in allies, so we talk about axis)

Since axis spawns every 30 seconds, if they spawn when the seconds in the clock read '03' they will also spawn at 33 (because a minute is 30+30=60). Sometimes you write it fully (e.g. 03-33).

Another example, you say 'they spawn at 41', obviously that means 11-41.


For allies, since they spawn every 20 seconds, and in 1 minute you have 3 spawns, there will be 3 numbers (e.g. 07-27-47). As usual, you can give only one (usually the smallest) and your team mates will figure out the rest.





Many of your actions are based on your spawn timer, and enemy spawn timer. I will split them in 4 sections, based on attack vs defense, and your timer vs enemy timer.




When you attack, you do what you need to do during your spawn time (Sherlock ^^).

At the end of your spawn (i.e. when your timer is low) you have to decide whether to selfkill and spawn again, or not.


This decision can be difficult, and it depends on many factors (are your team mates dead? you have to do something important right now? you can do the objective? you can spawnkill?) health and ammo are an important factor obviously.


In general, I would say that beginners never selfkill or don't selfkill enough. Players like me, who know something but not much, always go by the book and selfkill too much by default. Good players know when they don't have to selfkill.


When your timer is low, even if you didn't plan a selfkill, dying is less 'bad' if compared to when you would get a full, so this could be the right time to attempt something more risky. If you decided to selfkill already, you don't care at all about dying, and you just try to do something useful before you selfkill.


When your timer is high, if you die you get a long spawn. But if you go and hide somewhere, just to avoid getting a full, that doesn't help your team either. You don't have to throw away your life or play rambo, but you still have to fight.



Spawn timers have a big influence on revives too. If your timer is low, and you think a team mate wanted to selfkill anyway, don't revive him (of course not if he is the engineer and he needs to defuse ^^ but I said 'if you think he would selfkill'). If the timer is high, try to revive your team mates, before enemies will gib them.





(Of course you have to know or guess enemy spawntime, see above)


As you are attacking, you need to weaken enemy defenses, in order to make the objective.


But as I said above, a re-spawn is like a reset. So you have to create a weakness during enemy spawn, and take advantage of it in the same enemy spawn, or that weakness may vanish in the next.

During the same *enemy* spawn, you either do the objective, or you reach some position where you can create a new weakness for the following enemy spawn (spawnkilling for example), and do the objective during that enemy 'turn'.


Since defenders generally spawn every 30 seconds and attackers every 20, and there is also an offset, you could selfkill and enemies are in the same spawn cycle, while you are in a new one.



When enemy spawn timer is low, you generally avoid engaging them in fights (this, of course, is the 'rule' - and you need to know when to break the rules too). The reason is, they will re-spawn again soon, and your kill could be 'useless' (after the 'reset' your enemy will go back to his position again).


What's more, defenders might push out and selfkill when their spawn timer is low, so fighting could be exactly what they want from you, in order to give you some damage and then selfkill.

Of course all this doesn't apply to killing important players (engineers defusing, players carrying objectives...)



When enemy spawn timer is high, that's when you have to attack, and try to send some in limbo. This creates a sort of powerplay situation for your team. If you see an enemy waiting for medic, you have to 'gib' him especially if his timer is high. It's useless to kill 3 players and die, then a medic comes and revives all 3.


Knowing enemy spawn timer is obviously needed to spawnkill with airstrikes, grenades, etc.

Of course, your enemies know that the exact moment they go out of spawn, they could be hit by a grenade, so some might wait a couple of seconds before going out (and you can wait for your grenade too, so it becomes a game of guessing and reading your opponents mind)





Playing defense, your goal is to slow down attackers, and if possible to prevent them from doing the objective at all.


When your spawn timer is high, you should play more safely, don't move forward if not necessary, don't play rambo, and keep your defensive position. If you are medic you could maybe stack some packs on the ground, if necessary.


When your spawn timer is low, you have to decide whether to selfkill or not.

If yes, then sometimes it's a good idea to move forward a bit and push towards the attackers, to slow them down and make some damage, ideally killing and gibbing one before selfkilling.

This could buy you and your team some time to get back to your defensive positions, but this decision depends on enemy spawn timer too (if enemies are just re-spawning, or they are already in your area)




Knowing enemy spawn timer is obviously useful for spawn killing them, but also to predict when they will be in some specific place, so you can (for example) time some grenades.


There is an interaction of 30 vs 20 timers and timer offsets, so sometimes both teams will selfkill together, sometimes axis has to selfkill when allies are already in the defensive zone, etc.

This changing balance between spawn times might help to decide whether to push out or not, or when to spawn kill.




(here I count myself as beginner too, and obviously I can't write about mistakes I'm not aware of myself, since I'm not an expert of the game.)


Some common mistakes I see, from players who aren't used to play for the objectives, in random order:

  • totally ignoring spawn times, especially enemy spawn time
  • picking useless classes, and/or not checking which classes your team mates picked for next spawn (you see this in fireteam display)
  • playing the same class the whole game, even when it wasn't needed anymore
  • not changing spawn point in some occasions (e.g. frostbite after they take the obj)
  • missing the main objective, and focusing on secondary ones (battery, when they recap the flag and they don't defend back at the obj)
  • defending too high (too far from the obj) or too low (too close), and not changing this according to spawn timers and situations.
  • reviving players who didn't need to be revived (e.g. who wanted to selfkill anyway) and not reviving players on long spawns instead.
  • giving ammo or medipacks when not needed, and when it's just dangerous or useless (players going to selfkill...)
  • giving medipacks instead of reviving, dying in the attempt to revive in unnecessary situations
  • stealing uniforms when not necessary, playing covert ops when there is nothing to satchel, no doors to open and nothing to snipe.
  • never spawn killing, and not expecting to be spawn killed
  • waiting when you have to rush, and rushing when you have to wait (again, ignoring spawn times, ignoring teammates who might need immediate support or revives, not seeing a temporary 'opening' that must be exploited at once...)
  • lack of crossfire, random positions and distances between team mates both in attack and defense
  • staying too close to your team mates, or the opposite (everyone alone)
  • waiting for team mates to re-spawn, instead of pushing out and selfkilling, wasting time in general
  • not defending the dynamite after it's being planted, and in general thinking that an engineer could defuse alone, or plant alone without any kind of support from his team
  • same for the objective carrier, thinking he can do it all alone
  • capturing flags without taking spawn times into account
Maybe I could add some more, that's all for now.


I hope this tutorial will be an useful reading, for those players who played the game but never for the objectives

Edited by Fearless Staff
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Awesome write up, though I feel the whole COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY BEGINNERS was created while spectating me :( gj nonetheless :P 

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Awesome write up, though I feel the whole COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY BEGINNERS was created while spectating me :( gj nonetheless :P

I forgot to add my usual self-kill on full :P


Actually since I almost never played 6on6, when there are too many players I get easily confused myself, so I wrote those tips for me too, hoping that I could take them into account when I play...


And some things are missing, like reviving first or fighting first, switching classes with a teammate, so he has a full energy bar while you play medic for 1 spawn,

And also what's the job of each class, and differences between 'reviving' medic and attacking medic, engi+smg and engi with rifle, etc.


Still, not hitting and dying in 1on1 = fail, regardless of the tactics you use...


If you have some other ideas please post them. I wrote this because who cannot do teaches :P

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Very detailed, comprehensive and eye opening tutorial for perpetual beginners like me :P . By the way can we use  spawn timer scripts which display the enemy spawn time for team members( like the one used by a player on SW server the other day)? I mean is it legal to use such scripts, If they are then can you suggest any good spawn timer scripts(for SW server only).

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Very detailed, comprehensive and eye opening tutorial for perpetual beginners like me :P .

One thing I forgot to put, is the importance of random spawn offsets, and the fact that according to 'pros' some combinations between axis and allies spawns can make you lose a game. But I'm too nub to understand this thing fully, first I'd need to figure it out myself without too many headaches :P


Like when axis on the 1st stage of supply pushes out and spawnkills. Then they selfkill.

After that, allies can't get anything done in the same spawn because axis respawned again, and those allied who survived the spawnkill have to selfkill or risk a full.

Then axis pushes out again, and allies spawn with axis already spawnkilling them. And the only good spawn for allies is the third one. Still this confuses me a bit though...  I'm not sure if these 'bad' spawn offsets are real, or it's just a thing players keep saying when they can't get the flag in supply or the tank in goldrush. (Or I'm just too dumb :D)



Another thing I could have added: since in the 1st round the time starts with mins:00 (it always ends in 00), there is no need to set the spawntimer at the start to roughly guess enemy timer, you can guess 07 or 08 straight away.

In the second round, the timer starts with the time the enemies set, so even if the random offset was 0, Axis doesn't spawn at 00-30.



By the way can we use spawn timer scripts which display the enemy spawn time for team members( like the one used by a player on SW server the other day)? I mean is it legal to use such scripts, If they are then can you suggest any good spawn timer scripts(for SW server only).

Personally I don't use any spawn 'script', I just binded 2 keys to 2 messages, one saying 'enemy spawning in 5 seconds' and one saying 'enemy spawned' but I have to actually press a key, it's not automatic.

Imho using external software shouldn't be allowed, using a script that writes a message like 'enemy spawns at 04/24/44' is allowed but overcomplicated. In some players configs you find such scripts for numeric keypad and they are huge.

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Certainly a lot more thought there than I'd ever previously put into the matter. I appreciate the resource. It's another dimension of the game to think about while playing.

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