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30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

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  • [AAR] 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

    There were a few of different PLs on Saturday, including Phealah and MisterChris who took over from him. I took over DaddyOfThree's squad for a bit after he had a BSOD and then moved to Charlie SL when DaddyOfThree came back. We spent a lot of the evening at Saerro Listening post on Esamir. Just west of Nott amp station.

    A lot of AARs mention how well things have gone, so I thought it useful to do one where it went a bit wrong for me as an SL. MisterChris was PL in our squad so I'm sure he could hear my frustrations!

    It was difficult. I struggled to maintain squad cohesion and discipline. Were it not for 2 or 3 squad members who generally stuck with me and were patient, our squad would have largely been a disorganised mess. We generally had the lowest member count in the platoon, with a pretty high "desertion" rate. The one squad member that sticks out is Phelann, who was by my side almost the entire time. Super star.

    At one point assaulting Nott Amp station I asked my squad to follow me to the horizontal gen at Nott Amp. When my squad failed to rally on me after a few minutes (and no comms), I moved out on my own in frustration. I made it to the gen, disabled it twice while killing 5 or 6 enemies trying to repair the gen. I asked where the rest of the squad was, and they couldn't make it to me. If I can make it to the gen with a 180 ping at 2:30 in the morning (GMT), so can the rest of my squad frankly.

    With the rest of the squad, we could have held that gen and distracted a lot of enemies from the front line to let the other squads move in to Nott Amp. The platoon eventually abandoned that particular assault on Nott Amp, but I really felt like we could have taken it if our squad had come through on that generator.

    I don't think there's a specific cause but perhaps it was a mixture of a few things:

    Double XP Weekend: It's so difficult to reign in squad members that want to go off and cert farm. I had a lot of squad members wander off to Nott Amp station with Bravo instead of staying with me at Saerro. After a bit of "squad admin", we did get some cohesion back.

    Comms: I'm not sure if all the squad members could hear me, or wanted to hear me.We were using the custom channels that cut down a lot of comms for SMs, which may have given the impression that the platoon wasn't operating together, even though we were. I'll have to do more comm checks in the future.

    Discipline: Maybe its the x2 XP weekend again, but general random joiner's behaviour was dire. Some were new TG outfit members that I didn't recognise. I had a squad members disagreeing with me, ignoring me including one member who joined, and within 30 seconds was calling for another squad leader to replace me. The irony was that he wasn't even near me. I kindly invited him to create his own squad.

    My skills: I realise that a lot of this is on me as an SL. I think I'll have to take a more heavy handed approach in the future when things go sour. This includes louder and clearer comms, making sure all my squad members have comms, and asking to kick problem squad members. Evidently I've been extremely lucky with squad members in the past. This is the first time it's gone this badly for me.

    Squad leader "transition": I was a bit burned out from trying to herd the squad around and E-Male took over the squad. I did a little de-brief with him and hung around while he got his squad organised they way he wanted. He had a few difficult characters to deal with too. I think the platoon eventually kicked them thankfully. I think I'll have to take a similar approach whereby upon taking over a squad, I ask the PL to accept that we're not a fighting unit until I've got a handle on the squad again. I heard Randy do the same over platoon comms, and it was clear that I should have done that at the outset. It was a bit embarassing to see him turn up with a full squad complement of armour within 5 minutes of taking over a squad and I couldn't organise my squad to be in the same place at the same time after an hour of play!

    I will say that MisterChris was gracious and patient with us the entire time. I'm sure it wasn't easy to PL because of the sheer scale of the battles, amongst other things. He thanked me and congratulated me when I handed over the "reigns" to E-Male, which I appreciated.

    Live and learn I guess.

  • #2
    Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL



    I was in you squad, and I distinctly remember the Nott Amp rally call. I was bemused at my own inability to advance on the objective. Unsure I was of where the objective was exactly (inside the main building, I knew, but my bad for not asking for more details). But more to the point, I was getting fragged so often I never made it into the building until after PL DaddyofThree called for the entire platoon to assault the main bay and destroy the enemy Sunderers. I responded with copious quantities of smoke and made my way in.

    I also clearly recall thinking how hard at times it was to hear some of your orders (and remember them) when in the midst of heated battles with multiple comms (lots of proximity chatter) in the area. I made a mental note at the time to address this down the road -- how easy it is to speak, how hard it can be to hear. The fault was not yours, but the impression it left upon me was very strong and leaves me still contemplating the complexity of SL-to-SM comms in a noisy environment. The lesson I took away for the evening was that one must not assume that one is heard and understood. It is an old lesson that I need to keep relearning. The problem cannot be addressed by asking 11 men to repeat the word "copy" with each order -- for obvious reasons. In the 1stMIP we would always operate with two fireteams, and it was the responsibility of the fireteam leader to "copy" orders on behalf of the fireteam and then ensure those orders were carried out. There is no reason why fireteams cannot work in Ps2. I will begin to use them once again and see how things work out. There are, of course, limitations to when fireteams can be used with pubbies, but again, my own experience in their use confirms that, with a little effort and on the spot training, random pubbies can be turned into effective fireteams after a few minutes of training.

    I think you were labouring under the burden of a particularly undisciplined group of pubbies. I myself was messing around with my Sunderer too often (trying to park, repairing it, moving it . . .) and probably should have been more communicative regarding this, at least to reassure you that I was trying (Although I know you are not implying a lack of effort on my part).

    I think it was this evening that I adopted an old habit of (occasionally) "copying" the SLs orders -- I did this as a way of communicating to the rest of the squad that we are expected to do what we are told (to little avail in this case).

    I think a SOP might help here.

    What if SLs got in the habit of appointing a 2IC (fireteam leader), and the main job of the 2IC was to provide a verbal "copy" of SL's orders -- a verbal sign that speaks of order, discipline and cohesion, an encouragement for other squad members to follow.

    I will immediately adopt this SOP for my own purposes and see how it works out.
    Last edited by E-Male; 04-01-2013, 11:12 AM.
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    • #3
      Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

      Originally posted by E-Male View Post
      I was in you squad, and I distinctly remember the Nott Amp rally call
      Were you using a different in-game character E-Male? I don't remember you being in the squad until you took over SL of Charlie.

      Originally posted by E-Male View Post
      I also clearly recall thinking how hard at times it was to hear some of your orders (and remember them) when in the midst of heated battles with multiple comms (lots of proximity chatter) in the area..
      Yeah I think my comms issues must have been the problem. There continue to be instances where names stop appearing in the UI when people are speaking, which just adds to the confusion.

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      • #4
        Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

        That was a rough session for a lot of reasons. Double XP aggression, large crowds of players, and technical failures made it hard to hear and understand orders, and there seemed to be a lot of disagreement between SLs and PL for most of the night. I remember one instance when we were ordered to a distant, zero influence control point, and the SL (Phealah I think) had a lot of difficulty communicating to the PL that we were tied up at our position and not able to get there without falling back to warpgate and grabbing a galaxy.

        A lot of people were crashing (I dc'd 3 times), and several of my comm channels went dead, especially during that brutal Nott push. Overall, performance did not reflect well on the devs or the platform.

        E-Male, I like fire teams but have had little success enforcing them in the field. Too many opportunities and good reasons to be drawn away from specific teammates when there are lots more greens and blues on your HUD. Ad hoc fire teams ("Ralph, Felix, you're with me") seem to work well. Any ideas on when and how to do team composition?
        In game handle: Steel Scion
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        • #5
          Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

          When I find myself with squad members all over the place, or seem to not really be following orders, or acting as a cohesive unit, I will usually take a couple minutes to do a muster / roll call. I ask everyone to form up on my position. Then I ask them to reply by number in order from 1 to 12 with their mic. If they don't have a mic, I tell them that's fine, please just type something in squad chat so I know you can hear me. It can take a couple minutes, especially the first time, but I find it starts getting the squad into shape right away by setting the right tone.

          Usually you can tell pretty quickly who is listening and who is not. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are AFK, using the bathroom or getting a drink. But if it's the same one or two people who don't answer and are in a completely different area than the rest of the squad all the time, well then I ask the PL to boot them. But that would only be after a couple warnings, including saying something like "if you don't answer up, I! am going to have to boot you from the squad and I don't want to have to do that."

          Another thing that I like to do is give a general idea of what I expect right off the bat. I usually say something like, "Gentleman, I would like us to stay close enough together that we can function as an effective infantry squad. When we are spread out all over an objective, we cannot raise each other up, supply ammo, repair each other, etc. In short, we are not A SQUAD if we don't stick together, we are just a collection of individuals. An effective infantry squad, supporting one another, can defeat an enemy force many times their size."

          I find that most people respond to it quite favorably.
          "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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          • #6
            Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

            I witnessed Randy do a role call (I call them "group ups") to great effect. I have also seen this used by 1stMIP leader John.C.

            I have been meaning to make it a regular part of my PS2 SLing and will do so from now on.

            It has an immediate effect on group cohesion and can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
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            • #7
              Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

              This is excellent, excellent advice Randy. Thank you.

              Originally posted by Randy_Shughart_ClwFL View Post
              When I find myself with squad members all over the place, or seem to not really be following orders, or acting as a cohesive unit, I will usually take a couple minutes to do a muster / roll call. I ask everyone to form up on my position. Then I ask them to reply by number in order from 1 to 12 with their mic. If they don't have a mic, I tell them that's fine, please just type something in squad chat so I know you can hear me. It can take a couple minutes, especially the first time, but I find it starts getting the squad into shape right away by setting the right tone.

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              • #8
                Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

                Fire Control & Group Up: Two Examples

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                • #9
                  Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

                  I look at my squad comp, and group those people together that I think will get the job done. I never have permanent fireteams because the battle changes too dynamically to have static fireteams.
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                  • #10
                    Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

                    Originally posted by Xen View Post
                    I look at my squad comp, and group those people together that I think will get the job done. I never have permanent fireteams because the battle changes too dynamically to have static fireteams.
                    Indeed, the use of fireteams is a highly personal and contingent affair. I do not mean to suggest that they are necessary or essential to success.
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                    • #11
                      Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

                      Doh! I made it into one of eMale's videos. :icon_eek: I feel like I just had to give a report to the whole class or something! :D lol

                      As far as fireteams, I also rarely use them due to the fact that it's too hard to know the capabilities of each and every one of your men in a changing and fluid situation with people coming in and out of your squad, etc. and it just gets too complicated. I feel I am doing well some nights just getting the majority of the squad moving in the same direction. :) However, when I do think we can split up (2 easy caps right next to one another for example) I usually keep it very simple and say 1-5 (or 6) with me, and 6-10 (or 7-12 or whatever) with SoAndSo, where SoAndSo = someone I recognize and is capable of leading the second fireteam and happens to have a number in the second half of the squad. That keeps it simple enough to manage within the context of a squad that is half (or more) full of pubbies. Of course, if it were a more organized event, with more regulars, I think more organization could be attempted (with fireteams and in general).

                      And how to refer to the first and second fireteam? The Alpha (or Bravo, or Charlie) 1, 2, 3, etc. are usually used to refer to specific men in the platoon, particularly in cross squad comms in platoon (ex. tank north of Bravo 4 position, coming from an Alpha squad member). Perhaps "first fireteam" and "second fireteam?" I think that would be quick and easy enough to say (within squad), without creating confusion.
                      "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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                      • #12
                        Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

                        First off I just want to pardon my terrible writing skills and bad memory, but I feel like I myself should add to this as Platoon lead for most of the night.

                        The 30-31st was a great night for fun, sadly it became really frustrating for me when some problems started piling up.
                        We had many squad members trying to get into Esamir and others scattered around the globe.
                        I myself had terrible communication and leadership problems which I have to work on. (plus the communications crashing on me several times forcing a shutdown of game and a wait list to get back into Esamir.)
                        Overwhelming enemy zerg attacks on the east flank.
                        Organisational breakdown. Probably caused by lack of communication and failure for the squad to rally on the SL, this was particularly shown when I wanted a single armored squad to support a infantry attack on the TR on the west flank, after our zerg had helped us take the Nott Amp station once and for all.

                        But some of the brighter features of the night came not only from the ''aurore boréale''
                        Bravo's solid squad getting the job done time after time again (Led by many, daddyofthree randy and someone else?)
                        Excellent Squad leaders who had extreme patience with me. (thanks!)
                        E-male gets an honorary mention for handling one of the younger recruits that I see often, who always wanted to lead, but the mistrust of many of our members and his lack of experience most of the time got him only a ''comms silence'' and a spot in a squad.
                        Having overheard most of it on the squad channel, E-male shaped up the young recruit and I Hope to see him on my list of '' Squad leaders '' one day.
                        Our continent capture (near after E-male left) with Xen's Squad seemingly making the difference at the last territory: Mani Bio lab.

                        Though one problem I face a lot was my lack in confidence to retreat and to rally the squads. I felt bad many times when I was getting nervous with my orders and stuttering over the communication channels and made squads go back and forth, sometimes to their imminent destruction. So please next time im Platoon leading, if you hear me say something and your not sure you want to follow that order, tell me please, so WE could analyze the situation together instead

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                        • #13
                          Re: 30/03/2013 MasterChris as PL

                          Cris, never look at retreating as a failure, sometimes the situation and timing only present falling back as the best option. I personally only see failure if we are warp gated. Regrouping and waiting can usually provide a weakness in the enemies advance. They usually spread themselves too thin, thinking in linear lines towards a big objective (Bio lab, Tech Plant, Amp Station). Aikido teaches that you should never meet a force head on, side stepping a strike or deflecting it to the side is prefered. Use your opponent's own momentum against them. In their rush to get to the big objectives, their momentum carries them past side objectives, usually only sending a squad or so to take them. These soft targets are where we strike, their "pressure points". This will cause the enemy to react, the way we want them too, diverting more resources and turning them from their larger goal.

                          Also, I can't take all the credit for my squads performance, if the other squads had not been able to complete their goals in a timely fashion, my squad would have lost the Bio Lab.
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