Quakeworld: Advanced Aerowalk Strategy by inertia
written on July 14th, 2005
contact me: inertia on #american, #terrafusion on quakenet, sollers.inertia @
version 1.2, written on July 14th, 2005
version 1.3, written on July 14th, 2005
version 1.4, written on July 15th, 2005 (added defensive/offensive enemies
and the momentum trick)
version 1.5, written on December 13th, 2005 (added a link to my map
I have come to be known as a “one map wonder” on aerowalk. While in dm2/dm4/dm6
I am div3 or the very bottom of div2 in skill, in aerowalk I am able to fight
on equal ground with the lower members of div1, and even the upper ones on a
good day. My rapid skill advancement on aero has intrigued many, and I have
been asked many times for guidance on how to play the map. So, I decided to
ignore all those people individually and write a strategy guide for all
The Fundamental Theorem of Quakeworld
If I had to sum up the grand and essential theory behind how to play qw, and
how to play aerowalk, it would be this:
A) When you correctly guess what your opponent is going to do, you gain.
B) When you incorrectly guess what your opponent is going to do, you lose.
The inverse is also true:
C) When your opponent incorrectly guesses what you are going to do, you gain.
D) When your opponent correctly guesses what you are going to do, you lose.
The implications of this theorem seem obvious, but make sure you take some time
to consider all the ramifications of these four statements.
Considering the Fundamental Theorem
The rest of this document will be a gradual discussion centered on theory,
which will change into a discussion on the actual practice of the theory.
First, you must learn the map. This is obvious, but take the time to get the
muscle reflexes learned so that you can execute your actions with the most
efficiency. Again, if you do something your opponent does not expect, you gain.
Speed and agility enable you to act faster and make tactical changes faster,
which increases your versatility and flexibility when countering your
Secondly, get in your opponent’s head! Like poker, this game is all about
psychology. If you can accurately and precisely predict what your opponent will
do, you have him beat (unless he outaims you to such an extreme extent that you
cannot stop him). If he seems to be a player that favors the high ground, find
a counterattack to that strategy. Essentially, this follows directly from the
Fundamental Theorem: figure out what your opponent is going to do, both in
battle and while staking out territory in the map, and make him PAY for it. All
strategies have weaknesses; it is the winner who knows how best to break down
his opponent’s strategies!
Strategies are the decisions you make about macroscopic events, such as what
items you focus on controlling or what part of the map you wish to dominate;
tactics are the smaller-scale actions you take to win or retreat from a
particular battle. The person with the superior tactics and strategies will win
There are four packs of cells on the map. When I say “cells” I mean the ledge
in the middle of the map with just 2 cell packs on it. When I say “LG,” I mean
the lightning gun near the red armor.
Also, this is a dueling guide. The concepts can be applied to other maps and
team sizes, but I wrote this for 1on1 aerowalk.
I say this about spawnraping:
“You want the control of the map, so that when your opponent dies, you can
maximize the number of spawnkills you get.”
Many say that quakeworld is all about spawnkills; I would agree with them. The
strategy is this: You are fighting for the right to make spawnkills. If your
opponent spawns and grabs the nearest rocket launcher before you can attack
him, you can’t kill him as easily. You have lost the right to kill him without
any penalty to yourself, because he is probably going to shoot at you to do
some damage. Kill before your opponent can fight back!
In short, controlling the places where you can get the most spawnkills is the
critical focus point of the map’s strategy. In other words, in a game where you
know where your opponent is at all times, campers can’t win because they don’t
have anyone to kill! So you fight for the places where you can get “cheap” and
Hearing Enemy Movement
You can hear alot on aerowalk. Listen for jumps. For example, when someone
rocket jumps from the RA with the intent of coming out at upper-RL, you will
hear three jumps right before he emerges from the hole. Shoot rockets at the
appropriate time. Of course, your opponent can know that he is making this
predictable noise, and could bunny for one jump, zigzag to the health, then
bunny out again to the RL, which messes up your timing.
Listen for item pickups! The single most vulnerable enemy is one who does not
disguise his actions.
Avoiding Being Predicted by Your Opponent
Most of this guide deals with how to predict your opponent’s thinking in a
nice, psychological sense. This is where I explain with some more concrete
details how you can avoid your enemy’s prediction of your actions. You want to
confuse your opponent so that you can escape, or snatch an item, or catch him
off guard for a surprise kill.
One of my favorite “moves” is the switchback: go somewhere, pick up an item
near an exit, then turn around and go somewhere else. You will have your
opponent waiting for you to emerge, and you can stick a rocket in his face from
For example, if you are trapped at GL-GA area, with your opponent at mega, go
up the stairs, pick up the health packs, and then quietly zigzag/run around to
the upper-RL. Not only have you gotten a health benefit, but now your opponent
thinks you are waiting for him to stick his head out where you can see him from
the upper-SNG ledge! Another example is if your opponent has more armor than
you, and would win a direct fight, you feint: when he comes up the RA stairs to
get RA, bunny from upper-RL, pick up the cells at the lightning gun and throw
some grenades or rockets, then bunny out of there through upper-RL. You will
escape with more ammo and more health (which means less for him) and a confused
The list goes on and on. Adhere to the Fundamental Theorem and all will be well.
Ammo respawns every 15 seconds. Armor respawns every 20 seconds. Megahealths
respawn 20 seconds after they run out (health returns to 100 or below).
It should be obvious, that to “stay in the game,” you must control the ammo!
Armors and the megahealth are obvious focus points, but when you and your
opponent fight and both retreat, make sure to take all the health you can, so
that he does not recover as well! Additionally, if your opponent shafts twice
as well as you, remember to spam rockets at the cells, and get them for
yourself too. In this way, you can wage a war of attrition with your enemy, and
cause him to venture further and further out of his comfort zone. An
uncomfortable enemy equals a vulnerable one, and you can annihilate him easier
when he is lacking ammo, health, and opportunities for attacking you.
Fighting an Overly Defensive Enemy
Suppose you are fighting someone who is a “camper,” or just someone scared of
your aim. This might intimidate you… after all, who wants to rush into an
area where someone is waiting to kill you? But remember the Fundamental
Theorem, Part A:
When you correctly guess what your opponent is going to do, you gain.
Thus, you are actually at an advantage! Every strategy has a weakness, and if
you know the strategy your enemy is using, then you are able to exploit his
vulnerabilities much easier. When someone is playing defensively against you,
remember that you have a number of inherent advantages:
1) The area that your enemy is occupying is less than half the map. There is
no possible way for him to occupy more than half the map and still stay in
control of “his turf.” Therefore, you have positional advantage, because you
have more flexibility in where you can move, and where you can attack him
2) Following from point 1, you also have access to more items. If your enemy
is camping at the lightning gun and RA area, then you have access to both
rocket launchers, the cell ledge, the mega, the yellow armor, grenade
launcher, and plenty of rockets and health. So, he keeps himself in his cage,
while you dominate everything else on the map!
3) The angles involved in shooting defensively, such as the situation at the
lg mentioned above, are complex and tense. It is much easier for you to spam
the exits of the camper’s “base” than for him to predict and prevent you from
entering his territory. This means that you will have momentum carrying your
attack: both literally from bunnyhopping, and also from the surprises that you
can use to trick your opponent… he will lack the time and resources to
successfully counter your techniques, if you take him by surprise.
This is what you do:
1) Assess where your enemy has decided to claim territory.
2) Keep a checklist of the exits that he has: rocketjumping, walking silently
down stairs, and other sneaky methods are also included.
3) While he waits on his item(s) to spawn, take control of all other important
items on the map. Get “loaded” so that when the time comes, you can destroy
4a) If he has a higher score, he will wait until you come to attack
him, in which case you must get as much health and armor as possible, quickly.
Set up distractions and sneaky methods to cause him confusion, such as
shooting into his territory and then running around to another entrance. At
this point, he will not know what you are doing, so you will be at an
advantage according to the Fundamental Theorem of Quakeworld. Sneak in or
speedily assault him, and he will be surprised and annihilated by your
4b) If you have the higher score, wait him out! There is little use in risking
death when you already have a higher score. Especially if you have only a
small lead over him, do not risk getting fragged and having your opponent
steal the game from you! If you are sure you can kill him, then do it,
otherwise, be patient! A win is a win, whether it is by 2 or 20 frags.
Fighting an Overly Offensive Enemy
If someone severely outaims you, he will most likely become careless and take
risks that are stupid. It is your responsibility to stay alive at all costs,
while keeping an eye on overall strategy and map control. You must play hide
and seek for almost the whole game when fighting this sort of player. Because
when you face him head-to-head, he _will_ severely hurt you, without him
taking much damage, you should prevent those situations. Instead, recognize
the value of splash damage: control ammo, and prevent him from getting
critical items by damaging him if he comes NEAR to them. In this way you can
mark off spots for yourself, by making them too dangerous for him to go!
Additionally, spam with the lightning gun if you can spare the ammo. It is a
powerful deterrent to see a lightning beam 10 meteres from your face, between
you and the item that you want.
A Little Trick
Most people don’t do this… even I don’t (yet). But FayD (the q3 pro)
suggested to me that I include a section about using weaker weapons to stop
momentum of enemies. It is a simple procedure: use the nailgun or the shotgun,
and spam a place where you think your opponent will bunnyhop out of. If he
hits the nails or the shotgun pellets, his inertia (heh) will be almost
completely eliminated! Its a very convenient way to use up those shells and
nails lying around, and can SERIOUSLY screw up your opponent. After
successfully executing this technique, combine with the LG or RL to quickly
About the Red Armor Spawn
I have heard from a few people that aerowalk sucks because it has an RA spawn.
This may be true. However, many people still think this map is pretty damn
good, so I am not going to say either way about the “fairness” of this spawn.
One thing to note, though, is that if you are waiting for the RA to spawn, or
just a free moment to rocket jump to it, and you are about to kill your
opponent, DON’T KILL HIM! Unless there are spawn rules in place to prevent him
spawning at the ra (or he spawned there last time), your enemy might get that
favorite spawn, and possibly kill you. Keep his health low, go get that armor,
THEN kill him. If he spawns at RA, so what? You already took the armor there!
Thanks to Traxler for pointing this out to me.
Sometimes, you have no idea who your opponent is, or what he will do. In these
instances, you must assume that he will find ways to put you in the worst
situations possible. By being pessimistic early in the game, you will learn
about his playing style, and skill level, while minimizing damage to yourself.
After you find vulnerabilities in his game, then agress against him and destroy
For the purposes of explaining the items on aerowalk, I will use numbers. The
idea is simple. Assign numerical values to each major item, and use that to
estimate their potential worth for gameplay dominance (much like the chess
point system, where each piece is ‘worth’ a certain amount). So:
Red Armor = 3
Yellow Armor = 1
Megahealth = 1.5
Thus, the RA is better than the MH and YA combined!
Why these numbers?
As any aerowalk player will tell you, it is harder to control the megahealth
AND the ya simultaneously, while still staying equal with the player
controlling the ra. The reasons are fairly obvious:
1) the megahealth spawns much more slowly than the armors, thus forcing a
slower regeneration of health for the “down” player, and
2) the YA and MH are _separate items_ with separate timings, thus forcing the
player without the red armor to time two items, who must also make separate
attempts to obtain each of them.
(A note here: timing the mega, if you consistently grab it, will not prove too
difficult. Nor will consistently timing the yellow armor. However, I am going
to argue that the RA location has more positional advantage, and that in most
games, you would rather have control of the RA than both the MH and YA.)
The added cost of the YA + MH combination is reflected in their numerical
values of 1 and 1.5, respectively. Of course, when you have full health and get
the YA and the MH, you will have 150/200 (armor/health), which if you do the
calculations regarding the armor absorption ratio, you find that the MH+YA is
actually stronger than the RA:
(health) / (1 – (armor absorption ratio)) = (total damage you can take before
(health) + (armor) = (total damage you can take before death)
…the game uses whichever number is lower.
So, for example, if you just got the megahealth and the yellow armor, which has
a damage absorption ratio of 0.5, you have 150/200:
Equation 1: 200 / (1 – 0.5) = 400
Equation 2: 150 + 200 = 350
…Thus, you can take 350 points of damage before you die with YA and mega
(because 350 < 400).
With a fresh red armor (having an absorption ratio of 0.8) and regular health,
Equation 1: 100 / (1 – 0.8) = 500
Equation 2: 100 + 200 = 300
…Thus, you can take 300 points of damage before you die with the RA and full
“So what you doofus, get to your point!” you say? Well, hold on! I am showing
you two things:
1) A megahealth and a yellow armor allow you to take more damage than just a
red armor by itself. This allows you more breathing room, as far as your health
is concerned, to attack the player in control of the RA.
2) However, the tradeoff that comes due to the megahealth’s longer respawn
time, and the difficulty in controlling 2 items, makes the collective value of
the megahealth and ya actually less than the red armor.
Lastly, the megahealth and the yellow armor are at a pretty crappy place in the
map… in the open, near the bottom. The red armor, on the other hand, is high,
much easier to defend, and much easier to camp (if you decide you want to do
that)… it just requires some skillful jumping or a rocket jump to get to it.
In conclusion, the red armor is good, the megahealth and yellow armor are not so good. But because of their higher (initial) “real health,” the YA+MH is excellent for going head to head with the RA player… Of course, if you need to find more health and armor, and did not win the RA position, you will have to wait a while for the MH to respawn!
Lots of risk involved
Time for less abstraction. Hopefully, the theory here has been educational to
all of you. There are some who will benefit more with concrete examples, so I
will provide some. Of course, individual play styles emerge when someone
develops their own take on a theory, so I hope that these examples do not
become “law” for the learning players! I am going to share some things that I
have learned in my tenure on aerowalk.
Here are a list of rocket jumps that you should learn if you will ever be top
notch at this map (these include bunny hopping):
between ya/mh -> lower ra entrance (very important for running items)
MH -> upper-RL
bottom of RA stairs -> RA
top of RA stairs -> RA
upper-RL -> RA
upper-SNG -> RA
low-ramp -> upper-SNG
cells -> upper-RL
cells -> upper-SNG
grenade launcher -> above grenade launcher
Rocket jump from everywhere to the RA. Learn to do it well and quickly. This
will change who has control, because as was shown above, RA > YA + MH.
Places to be
Advantageous places to shoot and to stand are:
…the ceiling above lg for splash damage
…above the doorway at upper rl for spawn kill
…above the doorway at cells for splash damage
…above the ceiling just next to upper sng for splash damage on people coming
up the stairs from gl
…through the holes at ya, or in the other direction at the gl
…from cells through the column at ga, to the grenade launcher area
…from mega to the spot just next to the RA
…through the holes at wind tunnel
…at ceiling and walls surrounding exit at upper-rl
…at the wall at upper sng
…down to the wind spawn
…while bunnying from upper rl to upper sng, straight down to the ramp
…while doing the common trickjump at the teleporter at gl, shoot straight down
…grenades at all places where you have the height advantage (top of RA
stairs, gl to YA, etc)
…grenades around angles
…grenades down through the non-windy part of the “chute,” at the megahealth
(visualize in your head what you are shooting at!)
Stand (or stay near)
…the cell ledge in middle
…the upper rl ledge (higher, and also easy spawnkills)
…at health at RA (easy wait for health because you can escape with ease)
…to hide, hug the bottom of the walls at the bottom of the “pit” with the 2
teleporters, if your enemy is high, he won’t see you (probably)
…to hide, jump into the small hole at the high one-way teleporter. you won’t
…to hide, run up, down, and around the gl/upper-rl area. play cat-and-mouse
with your enemy (you are the mouse!)
…at upper sng, you can rj to ra or assault many places from here (beware of
…anywhere up high. Height = advantage
I could go on and on about stuff to learn, but instead I am just going to say
Look for moves and tactics that you can use to attack faster and from more
varied directions, while respecting the Fundamental Theorem of Aerowalk.
Do not force yourself into a win-or-lose situation unless you are SURE you will
win. Always leave yourself ways out of the battle. In this way, you can
minimize the damage you receive, and maximize the damage you give, allowing you
to probably gain control of the level.
You should know where your opponent is at all times. Because of this, you can
trap him! Shoot rockets where he WANTS to go, so he CAN’T go there. Then you
can keep him pinned down, or at least, cut down his options.
When you are down
When you are down on health or armor, don’t die. Period. That scoreboard will
haunt you later if you run too aggressively into a rocket, and lose the whole
match by one frag. For example, if you spawn at the grenade launcher / green
armor area, do NOT run straight out into the center of the map unless you are
SURE your opponent is not waiting for you! More than likely, your opponent is
either standing at the cells or the upper rl, waiting for you to show your
0/100 pre-corpse to him. Hide! Go grab the YA if you can, get the grenade
launcher, go upstairs and go get the rocket launcher that is through that
teleporter…. just like I said above, don’t do what your opponent expects you
to do! In this way you can stay alive, and wage a war of attrition against your
enemy, so that he will be weaker when you do decide to attack him.
When you are even
When you and your opponent are at a standoff, where one of you has RA, the
other has YA + MEGA, and lots of health, ammo, and weapons to go around, you
must maintain vigilance! Only those with the greater tenacity and DESIRE to win
will come out victorious in these situations. Be willing to wait out your
opponent. Strike him when he is vulnerable, and shield yourself when YOU are
vulnerable. Using these methods, an apparently even situation will tilt in your
When you have map control
Basically, you want to gain maplock: total control of spawns and items. This
will rarely happen, but it is the ideal situation, and is what both you and
your opponent are fighting to get.
Stand at the ledge with cells (where the Australian player reload loves to
sit!) and rape the RA and GA spawns behind you, the RL spawn to your top, the
spawn at the bottom of the wind tunnel, and
the GA spawn across the map. Obviously, you can see all the spawns on the map
from here. You are very vulnerable, but you have awesome power to get easy
frags. Fight for this position!
Additionally, as was pointed out to me by Kovaak, you must maintain map control
by “running” the items. Which is to say, diligently take the ra and mega
(timing is important here), and if possible, the ya as well. The ideal map lock
is one where you have the ya timed to spawn about 5-10 seconds before the red
armor, and you know exactly when the mega will spawn. The details of timing
won’t be covered here, but it is basically where you have either a clock on
your screen, on your desk, or a very good one in your head, and can predict
exactly when the items will spawn. In any case, the key is to get as many
spawnkills as possible, while keeping the armors and megahealth out of your
opponent’s grasp. After a while of successfully doing this, your opponent may
/quit… this means you have won Of course, if he is smart, he will have a
similar understanding of the map, and will be able to counter your strategies.
Do not ever become lazy! 10 minutes is a long time, but tenacity is more a
virtue of winners than losers!
A list of situations, and what to do!
1) The game starts. You spawn upper rl, and your opponent spawns lower rl (ga).
DO NOT GO FOR THE MEGAHEALTH BY JUST FALLING ON IT! If your opponent is
100/100, and you are 0/100, you WILL die, and he will get mega and YA. If you
are unlucky, he will even get ra, and you will have to play very coyly to win!
Instead, shoot between the MH and the stairs to lower rl, so that your opponent
will be hit and not get the MH. Alternatively, shoot at the doorway to the
lower RA stairs, if he tries to go for RA.
2) You are awaiting the megahealth, and you already have the yellow armor. Your
opponent is at RA stairs waiting for it to spawn. What do you do? From the
mega, you can spam rockets at the ra ledge, possibly causing splash damage to
your enemy, and more importantly, keeping him from coming out of that bottom
entrance to attack you! Wait for mega, then either go through the tele and
trick-jump to upper rl, or go to low rl and surprise your opponent as he comes
out of upper-rl or lower-wind tunnel, by firing prediction rockets at his
potential exits. Keep your opponent contained!
3) You have 50 health and a rocket launcher. You are at the top of the RA
stairs, looking at the RA. Your opponent is at yellow armor. What do you do? Do
a jump off the top of the stairs, then shoot straight down at the steps below
you. This will give you the height to land on RA ledge, but without the damage
that usually comes from “traditional” rocketjumping. If done correctly, you
will will have 200 armor and about 25 health. Plenty of breathing room
4) You just spawned at upper rl, and your opponent has 200/200. What do you do?
HIDE! Obviously you will get destroyed if you face him out in the open. Use the
teleporters, ledges, anything to confuse and run from your enemy. If he tries
too hard to hunt you, punish him by going for the RA or MEGA! Again, predict
what he will do and how he will do it, then intercept and KILL.
Obey the Fundamental Theorem of Aerowalk!
Read it! Memorize it! USE IT!
That is all
Thanks for the time you spent reading this, I hope it will make your
quakeworlding experience improve by leaps and bounds
Kovaak and John, of American Gangsters, for teaching me how to bunnyhop.
Bl1tz and Gibbie, mappers, for being awesome dudes.
Preacher for making aerowalk!
ID for making quake.
FUH for making the best client EVER (fuhquake)! I hope he mends whatever caused
him to leave the scene…
Cyan and Myth for being awesome.
Also, skitter, scarecrow, the guys in fruit (Adamllis, Bagheera, Diab, Enjoi,
Ia, Joy, ssaknup, and Sassa), and all my other buds on #american
Lunaran for looking in the quake source code and finding out the exact
equation for the armor calculations.
Sirlin, at sirlin.net, for providing lots of cool essays on how competition
forms around players who play to win.
David Sklansky, for writing The Theory of Poker, from which I took/stole my
fundamental theorem of qw/aerowalk.
GL & HF!
This was copied from @ http://www.qwplayers.org/inertia/aerowalk.txt