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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EsotericReverie's Avatar
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    Lessons from the command centre

    I thought we could do with a focussed discussion of some of the leadership skills needed to succesfully run a platoon in Planetside 2, and some tips/tricks or lessons learned by PL's/SL's or just your average Joe Grunt.

    I will start out by writing down the notes I took after tonights Strategic Thursday, in which I led around 55 giraffes in a sometimes desperate struggle over the north-west of Amerish. This is not intended as an exercise in back-slapping, not that we don't deserve it. Rather, it is meant as an inspiration for other current and future PL's.


    What I initially planned to do and keep in mind:
    • To get people to stick together on a squad level, and try to regroup into groups of 3-4 at least, before moving out after respawns, etc.
    • To keep good communications with squad leaders
    • Give squads some time to get set up, have a chat about how to play an encounter, before first setting out, and again somewhere midway through the night.
    • To make people in the squads feel like they were making a difference in the big picture.
    • To hold a debriefing session afterwards, to let people discuss the evening's events etc.



    What I did somewhat well:
    • Somewhat regular reports to everyone in the platoon on the progress of each squads objectives, their status and on the war at large. This was mentioned as something very positive in the debriefing, since the grunts on the field got a feeling that the PL took notice of their efforts, and that the sometimes seemingly meaningless objectives they just accomplished actually made a difference for the war. This is something that most if not all platoon leaders do, but we could all do more often, I think, myself included.
    • On the same note, at one point we were fighting off the TR and NC from Ikanam biolab in the north, trying to push them out of three satellites which they had held on to in a prolonged fight. At this point we all regrouped at the one satellite we still controlled, and I ordered the whole platoon, five squads at that point, as a single unit. This worked really well in that situation, and taking the command like that is something I feel PL's should not be afraid of doing when the entire platoon needs to move as a synchronized whole.
    • Timely reinforcements. According to comments at the debriefing, I apparently managed to organize reinforcements to squads under heavy attack in a somewhat timely fashion. I put this down primarily to good two-way communication about the situation for the various squads. Reports from SL's of when they met tough resistance was swift and clear, so big thanks to you guys!
    • At the debriefing, squad leads mentioned a calm demeanor but still decisivie orders throughout most of the night, and I suppose that helps uphold that nice atmosphere we had in the command channel.
    • The debriefing itself. A very good thing! There were around 20 people in the Muimble channel for the debriefing at the warpgate. Many had very good feedback (much of which has been included in this post), and some were mostly quiet, which is fine. I think we all learned a great deal from that experience, and we should definitely try to do it again, maybe after every stategic Thursday? Having someone pick a few topics would be good, and maybe even directing the talks, picking speakers, when it gets crowded?


    What needs improving upon:
    • Whack-a-mole. The eternal problem of adapting to an ever-changing battlefield. This was a bit of an issue about midway through the night, when the NC were starting to retake some of the territory that we had previously swept in across mostly unhindered. Perhaps this could be solved by letting some people stay on defense at critical locations?
    • Chatter on the command channel. We had a good time in command chat, but maybe it's reasonable to try to cut down on the longer sentences and rambling explanations and questions and whatnot? It was sometimes hard to hear my voice over squad chatter, according to comments during the debriefing.
    • The midpoint timeout. We all recalled to warpgate to regroup, and have a quick chat in the squads on the night so far, judging our progress and the general mood, looking for areas of improvement, and possibly loading out for some attempts at new tactics. Some liked this, and some didn't much care for it. To some it felt good to get to re-focus and to get some minor gripes with the way the squad interactions went out of the way. To others it felt like 10-12 minutes where all territory gained so far during the operation was left for the enemy to retake. For me personally, it was a good time to get to gather all the platoon in one place, find a new target and move out in Galaxies. We did a quite effective series of galdrops after the timeout, to cut the TR off from Ikanam and mess a bit with the NC before getting bogged down in the large three-way fight there, which we first lost and then won with a resounding force on the re-match. I guess the jury is still out on this one.
    • Getting people to stick together is something that all three (at times four) of my squad leaders agreed made a measurable difference to the effectiveness of a squad. It turned out to be difficult to enforce throughout the operation, however. The consensus at the debriefing was that this is probably a consequence of our inexperience at this kind of play, both as leaders and as soldiers, and that we should keep at it, even on regular nights, and it should soon become second nature.
    • I will need to improve on my map-reading skills, to learn to predict enemy movements, and identify the situations and locations when a solid defence is needed, and when it is just going to be a waste of time. Tonight, I tried to order a defence a few times, at various locations, but it never really panned out, until at the very end, when we held both NC and TR off of that last satellite of Ikanam. We could probably have been able to avoid some of the whack-a-mole if I had called for the defence of a couple of critical territories at the right times.


    Small things that make life easier:
    • When addressing the whole platoon, prefacing with "Talking to everyone now..", or something similar, avoids confusion. Props to Ridebird for that!
    • Intel is important. Having people scout ahead before a galdrop or massive tank push really helps you forces your forces where they are needed. Tonight, we managed to redirect a couple of galdrops when scouts reported no, or sometimes heavy, enemy presence at bases. This saves us from those futile drops when 11 people deploy to a location where there is really nobody to shoot.
    • Bring enough medics. We mostly agreed that medics are vitally important for galdropping and similar tactics, and that we generally have too few medics, or have them clumped together into one squad. We should encourage players to play around with their medics more often.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    Perhaps this could be solved by letting some people stay on defense at critical locations?

    I was thinking of suggesting this in one of the other threads. The night we held Quartz Ridge against the TR livestream dolts, once they'd retreated, the giraffes who stayed up late pushed on to take some of their territory, and I stayed behind at one point to support the randoms, and after that, to relay information should the TR push back again. It turned out quite useful, as we were able to keep some of their reinforcements busy, and I could keep tabs on the situation away from the main giraffe action. We used that to quickly regroup and take another base immediately after pulling out somewhere else, rather than losing the initiative farting around back at the warp gate for 10 minutes.

    On busier nights, this could help alleviate the "some people hanging around while everyone else wants to move on" problem - we could leave a detachment behind to keep the pressure on more than one zone.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EsotericReverie's Avatar
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    Okay, I might've scared some people off with this wall of text. But please, feel free to pitch in with whatever comments, suggestions and thoughts you might have. Anything that you'd like PL's and SL's to consider. (Thanks Sinister Agent!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by EsotericReverie View Post
    Okay, I might've scared some people off with this wall of text. But please, feel free to pitch in with whatever comments, suggestions and thoughts you might have.
    I think seeing as you sumarized most stuff from that debrief...

  5. #5
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    I want to do a defence only stratgir night once. But I dont know whens the next time Ill have the time to do that.
    - Tom De Roeck.

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  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus RIDEBIRD's Avatar
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    It sure was a lot of text! But it was good.

    What I have learned:
    • Split channels = squads stick together.
    • Don't micromanage as PL.
    • Do micromanage as SL.
    • Be short and precise on command channel - it shouldn't be too chatty.
    • Talk to everyone once in a while as PL.
    • Lead Bio Lab assaults as PL. SLs step back here. It works much better.
    • Accurate information helps the PL a lot. Exaggeration is the enemy of good intel. I want numbers and accurate estimation not "WOW TAWRICH IS FUCKED" "How many are there?" "THERE'S 4 DUDES ON A". Know when to call PLs attention - this is when you spotted a zerg, a force is cutting us off and PL didn't notice, and when a large force is heading in to us. Know what's important to us. We got three tech plants? Then losing one is not going to kill us.
    • Do use /leader to coordinate.
    • Medics are very important.
    • An infiltrator in your squad will save the day every time. No sunderer? Why not hack!
    • Re-iterate orders. Especially WG recalls. Leave people behind if needed.
    • When moving out, check if your target has changed. Being capped/friendly zerged? Go somewhere else.
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  7. #7
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    I mainly feel we need to stop trying to spread all 4 squads over different objectives all the time. This pretty much leads to ghostcapping 90% of the time. Hell I had like 6000 xp/hour yesterday, and thats with 90% boost. That is the problem I have with all the stratgir, splitting comms thing. It pretty much always turns out the same way. Yes splitting up and capping many different bases at once is often the most strategically sound move but it is never really fun.

    It is fine to start of with trying to cap a couple of bases but if we find an enemy platoon or similar nearby we should try to gather our forces and make a fight of it. Just because why the hell not. Especially since the grand strategy of game is pretty lacking anyway and bases have minimal impact on the war.

    Another gripe is that when trying to set up a max crash or similar, we do not have wait for every single member of the squad especially if we already have friendlies inside the target. Many times we have been sitting in the teleporter room waiting for that last dude to come over while the rest of the friendly zerg or even the rest of the platoon already moved inside and won the battle.

    But generally I think the battle for the biolab yesterday was fantastic once we just moved together to get those satellites, the squad leaders were still coordinating their squads but the main direction was by the PL, thats what will make a difference in a battle for a major facility. The PL setting the target and the SLs trying to keep their squads together and managing the intel for the PL. Not the PL sending the squads all over the place trying to micromanage everything.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Bankrotas's Avatar
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    All I can say about Ikanam fight, that both NC and Vs were focusing on each other rather than TR. Honestly, rolling mags on southwest satelite, really? All you needed to do with southwestern base is let NC bash TR in biolab, what we were doing there, while you cut them off satelites and then move in inside for a fight having 2 satelites (I think, TR held that or even you did hold it when we moved into biodome and capped all the points from TR)

    One thing when leading squads, I learned, is that asking someone personally is more effective than saying "Someone go to the gen room and fix it." You're practically a quest giver as SL/PL.
    Reading a map isn't too hard, if you want to just decide where to go. But reading a map to see enemy movements is a bit harder, I do love having general direction where to go (I'm out of my game usually, when it comes to leading) and if I have enough people (RTRS doesn't usually have many people online), I'm tempted to ask 1-2 guys go forward on a flash in near 2 locations to check them out.
    Reading a zerg isn't actually hard, you just need to understand that they want to fight at bigger bases, where there are bigger fights, of course there is the crown are, which is a black hole for zergs ( I so hate it, I would like to nuke the crown). Reading a organised outfit is harder and is really situational, depending on surrounding areas, knowing that they might totally return to warpgate and roll out differently (this is more direct information reliant.)
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  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus RIDEBIRD's Avatar
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    Agreed on the quest giving thing!

    Wardancer: No one should already be inside. To attack a bio lab successfully against a defending force it is CRUCIAL that we all attack at once. Also that shouldn't happen, people should be quick (this needs improvement) to deploy.
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    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    I know this is not a lesson perse, but I think we should really try an inf only squad, to hack a vehicle terminal inside the base and spawn a sundy or two.
    - Tom De Roeck.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIDEBIRD View Post
    Agreed on the quest giving thing!

    Wardancer: No one should already be inside. To attack a bio lab successfully against a defending force it is CRUCIAL that we all attack at once. Also that shouldn't happen, people should be quick (this needs improvement) to deploy.
    The fight is usually already going on when we arrive, meaning of course there are people inside, hell the other squads have probably moved inside because generally it is not a platoon-wide order. Max-crashing is effective but there is really no point in delaying it for too long if the battle is already on.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EsotericReverie's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's true, I could certainly work on the swiftness of execution of that kind of orders in the future.

    EDIT: part concerning LA tactics cross-posted to http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...l=1#post256964
    Last edited by EsotericReverie; 08-02-2013 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Moved the grop tactics related part of the post.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wardancer View Post
    The fight is usually already going on when we arrive, meaning of course there are people inside, hell the other squads have probably moved inside because generally it is not a platoon-wide order. Max-crashing is effective but there is really no point in delaying it for too long if the battle is already on.
    Responsiveness is the main thing here, i think. I'd say that it takes us about 3-5 minutes from when the order to meet at the max crash rally point until we have a sufficient amount of people there. This causes people like wardancer to have to stand around and wait while other platoons/the zerg already push in. It'll take a while for us to get better at this, but i think that we should aim for getting much faster at prepping these things.

    What could help is to use /suicide and spawn at the closest point when an order to pull tanks or maxes is given. That way, our reaction time could be cut to 1 minute or so.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EsotericReverie's Avatar
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    Aso, being a bit tougher on deadlines when doing a time-critical redeployment might help in the long run. Give the order: "MAX crash from SW satellite. Form up and move out in 90 seconds." Then make sure to move out 90 seconds later, it's more than enough time to redeploy, kit up and form up at the teleporter. If you find yourself getting left behind, you might take the hint and try to be faster next time around, but if noone sets or enforces any time limits, then what's the rush?

    This might not be good for casual nights when we won't want to press people too hard, but for stratgir, I say go ahead!

  15. #15
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Yeah, people, on strategic nights, caring about K/D ratios is absolutely forbidden, penalty of headshot.
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    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

    "It's frankly embarrassing. The mods on here are woeful."

    "I wrinkled my nose at QC being a mod."

    "At least he has some personality."

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    I know this is not a lesson perse, but I think we should really try an inf only squad, to hack a vehicle terminal inside the base and spawn a sundy or two.
    Volunteer right here. That's what I spend most of my solo time in the NC doing, and I've unlocked the less-shit Vanu pistol to support that.

    Following on from what I said earlier about a few players sticking behind to defend a base / recon the neighbours, it might be useful to make these two squads the same. A couple of infs, heavies, and when attacking, a medic. The infs can hack on attack, spy when on standby, and switch to light assault or engineer if needed. The heavies can defend and take out vehicles, and be a diversion if a handful of defenders show up before the sundy's ready. All infiltrator would be fun to try, and I'd like to, but if a single vehicle spots them, they're out of luck.

    I can see some interesting possibilities for having a couple of infiltrators watch each other's backs. From experience, being harassed by an infiltrator is an annoyance, but two of them at once can really ruin your day, even if they're not working together.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EsotericReverie's Avatar
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    I realize that I derailed my own thread with the post on light assaults in biolab attacks, but could we try to move the group tactics discussion here instead:
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...-group-tactics

    I'd like to keep this thread focused on leadership issues.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    NO. IT IS TOO LATE.

    But alright, fair enough. To get it back on track though, I might overcome my crippling aversion to responsibility for a semi-independent squad lead like that. Point us at a base and I'll sort it out, then hold it and act as recon and potential reinforcements.

    Also the quest-giving thing is spot on. It's standard crisis/group management to single people out for responsibilities, ask any paramedic.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus RIDEBIRD's Avatar
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    I've done it in the past when I know someone is class X. No one has ever said no or to wait. People like quests!

    Time limit on redeploy is also a good idea.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by EsotericReverie View Post
    Maybe have a bunch of light assaults on top of the buildings surrounding the spawn room, rather than have us all bunch together in the generator room, as it usually turns out.

    Another neat trick I saw LevelCap doing in his SMG review; going LA, and jumping on top of the teleporter room to clear out enemis camping up there. Imagine doing that with most of a squad with carbines and shotguns
    This is why I now switch to LA for every bio lab fight (apart from when we max crash). It's so very effective for when you are being camped in the teleporter room; sprint out, get up on the building and suddenly the only danger to you is other LAs on the roof.

    Also, from the teleporter room next to point A you can basically run straight out, jumpjet up to the balcony next to A, where there are often people camping, grenade a few of them on the way past, then if you survive start taking them out from the roof/balcony. The whole bio lab interior is basically light assault adventure playground.

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