Yeah, in multiplayer the game has a very nice risk/reward balance. Like most strategy games it's all about finding that right balance of securing resources, building an army and making sure you punish the enemy if he's being too greedy (which means intel is always super important). Each nation usually has some good harassing units early game be it air or fast tanks/infantry. In team multiplayer games it gets a bit more complex, you usually want one person to sacrifice their economy to put on heavy pressure and keep the enemy on the defensive while the other two secure as many depos/resources as possible. I've even played games where we've made the entire other team surrender with mostly decoys (a few real units up front, heaps of decoys behind them, they through we built no depos and just all-in rushed them).
There are often a lot of people playing but not many of them are aussies, most are UK/US/Euro but in the evenings here there's usually a few games going. You'll also find if you lvl is low most people will kick you from team lobbies, best to start your own game and kick the lvl 100 ranked players and learn with fellow lowbies. Multiplayer is very punishing to inexperienced players.
If you end up in a higher level game the other players will probably try to pick on you. My advice is always have recon, always decrypt the starting zone of italy players (they like to proxy tank base rush, if they do make an anti tank base). In fact, best to do that regardless if you're new, and camo your own base so they have to guess what you're doing.
Standard game opening is 3 depos + 1/2 bases, usually something with recon (barracks/tank base). Recon is sooo important, most low lvl players I play against/with always seems to neglect recon and get smashed because of it, your opponent will have recon, they will see you don't, they will take advantage of that and take you by surprise. If you want to pile on early pressure then it's 1 or 2 depos and usually 2 of the same kind of base (2 tanks bases, 2 barracks) as build time/research is based on how many bases of that kind you own. Russia will often double/tripple barracks rush with about 25-30 heavy infantry as their barracks only cost $10. Lots of light tanks or bunkers with flamethrowers is the best counter to infantry rushes.
Watch how many depos your opponent makes as that will likely tell you what they're planning. If you see them making one/none cancle your own depos if you can and prepare to defend. Watch out for sneaky construction trucks (camo ruse hides construction trucks as they're technically still buildings) and sneaky infantry trying to capture your bases, lots of UK players will paratroop rush low lvl players bases, even in higher lvl games many UK players will paradrop depos if they can see you making your bases well ahead of them as by the time you get something back to defend it they've kill that $40 depo with a $15 unit and slowed down your overall economy. Also watch out for UK and Japan players trying to snipe construction trucks with planes in the early game. They'll often rush out an air recon and a few fighters to snipe trucks heading to depos or forward bases.
As you can see, there's a lot of variety and that's all early game/build advice, if you survive that then the late/mid game has it's own set of issues and how you compose and handle different engagements on the field also has it's own tactical nuances. It will take time to get a handle on how different nations can be dangerous to your current deployment and how to sense when/where they are weak and when to be aggressive or defensive.
Last edited by Drac; 19th May 2012 at 12:54 PM.