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Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

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  • Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

    The Concept:
    In PS2, the squad is the base unit of force commonly accepted by pretty much everyone. In command comms, we label our unit's strength by squad (half squad, full squad, 7 squads, etc.). A full squad is 12 people, and while 12 people fighting cohesively toward a common goal is powerful, I believe that the true power of the squad comes out when you can divide it across multiple groups and extend your battlefield reach.
    I've been working on this as a thought experiment for the past few days and will be running some TG only squads for the next week or so to put a system like this into practice and develop tangible combat-proven results indicating either improvements or detriments to performance.

    The logic:
    In my (as of still,) short experience with TG, I have noticed that squads seem to have a minimum threshold of effectiveness, a critical number so to speak. This seems to be about 4. This is the point where the full power of the squad is unlocked and becomes exponentially more than the power of it's members additively combined. There also seems to be a critical point where the addition of new members ceases to increase the squad's power beyond simply the combat potential of the individual joining. For what is stated later on in this post, I'll set this number at 8, though personally it seems to be realistically between 8 and 10.
    Given these distinct points, one can see where the theory stems from. As the minimum number of squad members required to be a powerful fighting force is coincidentally half of the number of people a squad needs to reach effectively maximum combat potential, it isn't too crazy to sub-divide the squad into 2-3 fireteams, depending on the situation at hand.

    The Implementation:
    When a squad reaches 8 members, the squad leader then has the choice to divide the squad into two distinct fireteams. These would consist of 4 people each and would have a fireteam leader. Currently PS2 does not implement a system to support this because of it's intended scale, but it is still possible to do. The two easiest ways to divide this are both based on number. Option 1 involves squad members 1-4 to become fireteam 1 with the squad leader being that fireteam's leader. Members 5-8 would become fireteam 2 and member 5 would become the fireteam leader (but could appoint someone else should they not wish to serve that role). The other option is splitting the squad even and odd, which is also more adaptable to changing squad numbers as the first option would involve moving people between fireteams as members come and go. This method has the squad leader leading the odd numbered members as fireteam one and member 2 leading fireteam 2 of all even numbered players.
    When a squad reaches a full 12 people, the squad leader has two full fireteams of 6 people to work with, allowing vastly more combat options including 2-prong flanks, ambushes, and other options which do not require multiple squads but do require a coordinated group in two places at once. If two places at once is not enough, the squad leader can split the squad into as many as 3 fireteams of 4. This would mandate the use of the first method of division.

    In summary, the power, ground coverage, and influence of a squad can be theoretically expanded exponentially by dividing the squad into fireteams of 4-6 players. This requires an organized, disiplined, cohesive squad to pull off due to the current lack of support in game for such a tactic, but I do believe it is worth experimenting with and I would like some other squad leaders to help accumulate results by testing this in game if you do get such a squad rolling. If anyone else would like to add to this thought experiment, feel free to share your thoughts in this thread. Right now none of this is combat proven. I plan to work towards that as well as expanding the theoretical concept behind it.

  • #2
    Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

    Fireteams are something that have been tried around here before and I don't recall much coming of it. Personally, I think fireteams are a better idea on paper than they are in practice.

    Try checking out these threads on the subject of fireteams. There's a couple more threads laying around, try using the search function to find them.

    http://www.tacticalgamer.com/planets...perations.html

    http://www.tacticalgamer.com/planets...am-leader.html


    A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum. -Jon McBride, astronaut

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

      Originally posted by Daelon Suzuka View Post
      Fireteams are something that have been tried around here before and I don't recall much coming of it. Personally, I think fireteams are a better idea on paper than they are in practice.

      Try checking out these threads on the subject of fireteams. There's a couple more threads laying around, try using the search function to find them.
      I'll look some up. It's definitely worth seeing what has been tried before and how it worked. As for on paper vs in practice, I certainly am aiming to find out!
      I'll report back and let yall know if you are right or not. I think, from my theorycrafting, that it works but requires a good squad to start with, making something like this effectively useless in an open squad.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

        It's definitely doable but goes back to the "who", "what" and "when" scenario. Too many times we pull the wrong assets and address situations which are clearly wrong for what was pulled. A lot of the way you address the enemy has to do with who you are addressing. Take Mag-riders for example.......if you address them with stationary platforms like a Vanguard, then you need to be fairly close to the target, unless the target isn't moving. Anyone with a tincture of experience will slip right or left when they see a round coming. On the other hand with lock-ons they can't simply slide out of the way. So the "who" of the equation is whether they are VS or TR, the "what" is the type of action you plan to see, whether infantry, armor, or aircraft. And of course the "when" depends on the terrain type and whether you can out-flank, out maneuver, or bottle-neck them. There are a lot of considerations when doing fire teams and more than simply saying "let's try this and see if it works" in my opinion.

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        • #5
          Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

          I've tried using fire teams sporadically. There are many situations where a full squad is overkill, or you require two manuevering elements to really make things work (for instance, if you want one element to overwatch while the other moves and don't have a second squad available to do it for you), along with the other reasons you state, Sierra.

          However, I've found a few limitations here:
          1) Lack of proper interface support. This is pretty much the root of all my subsequent complaints. Which gives me an idea for that other thread...
          2) Can't reorder your squad. Since the most simple and easy to communicate way to divide the squad is via a range of numbers (like 1-6 and 7-12, or evens and odds) it's tough to get the right people in each fireteam to do the job you want them to do.
          3) Same deal with leaders. The person in the squad you trust to run the fireteam might be in your own element. For that reason I tend to drop the "fireteam leader" aspect and just control both directly
          4) You NEED a disciplined squad, especially since people need to self organize.
          5) People joining or leaving the squad plays havoc with your organization, both by potentially unbalancing the fire teams or by new people needing to be brought up to speed.

          As a result of these limitations, I typically only split into fire teams when I've got the right people with me, am in a low pressure situation, and I've got a pressing need to do two tasks with one squad (like when capturing a low pop base with multiple objectives).

          There are advantages to running fire teams, though, and I'd love to do it more often even WITHOUT the interface support that'd make it more viable. Here are some of my initial thoughts on that...

          1) Avoid splitting fire teams by range of numbers. "1-6" is a mouthful. I haven't tried it live yet, but "odd" and "even" would be simpler, AND would be more robust when people leave or join. As an added bonus, you get to refer to a group of people as "fireteam odd". Using names that aren't self-descriptive (like "fireteam alpha" or "fireteam 1") will increase chance of confusion and might be mistaken over comms as referring to a squad name or player number.
          2) Take time to drill it in between major fights, just like you might practise moving a squad waypoint to waypoint. If you can't do it when it's calm, you won't do it when it's crazy.
          3) Be prepared to collapse down to a squad when things get insane. One squad is easier to manage than two fireteams, and if there are enough friendlies in the area the benefits of splitting the squad up are less.
          4) Employ it when you've got a squad that's already responsive and working together well. If you're already having trouble herding your cats, the extra load from having them figure out what fireteam you're refering to



          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

            The even and odds thing sounds interesting and I do believe that TG will find it difficult to progress in capability and proficiency without being able to utilize fire teams. However Starstriker is right about the challenges on all counts. No I have had some thoughts that may help but it requires significant discipline among other challenges. The idea is to choose fire team leaders and assign people too them. Even, odd sounds like a good way to split them. Have them form up military style before movements so their fire team leads can review the teams and maintain discipline. All the followers really need to know is to follow their team lead. For TG only squads we could use Teamspeak for fire team comms and squad comms for well squad comms. Adding another level of comms introduces more comm noise but it is possible. I know this because I already do this. If you see myself, mazaraz14, and runeblue, I guarantee we are doing our little fire team over teamspeak. It works. Not a perfect system but it does works.

            Example of execution:

            SL: Alpha 2 is lead over evens and alpha 3 is lead over odds.
            - SL order: load into sundy and take small base X. Evens sweep left. Odds sweep right. Defend corresponding sides of the building from entry once building is secure.

            1. Squad arrives and deploys.
            2. Leads step forward from the group
            3. Members form up behind their leads
            4. Leads execute their respective orders and sweep their sides of the point building
            5. Building is cleared, casualties assessed/rezzed/healed/repaired/ammo
            6. Members should be forming up on their defense of the point building as instructed by their team leads


            assumptions:
            - In small spread out engagements where fire teams are viable then it is perfectly possible for 3-5 members to follow one.
            - SL orders are clear
            - Team leads take up the bulk of management of the members so SLs can focus on PL directives/planning at the tactical level in order to always have active/relevant orders for the squad.
            -- With member management on the team leads the squad will be ready to move before the squad lead calls upon them to do so.
            - Third party comms used OR members remained tight lip as much as possible to keep comm interference between the teams to a minimum.

            Can elaborate more but I got to hit the hay for now.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

              I really like the odds/evens concept, I think that in the limited organizational environment of Planetside2, odds/evens gives most of the benefits of fireteams with the least of the downsides. I'm going to try to remember to start implementing even/odd divisions when I lead squads. I suspect the majority of situations (in Planetside, and I'd be willing to argue why I think so but it's late.) aren't helped by fully separating a squad into components but I've often wished for an easy way to divide a squad between, say, the first and second floors of a building, or to instruct a squad to cover two entrances to a room without instructing each member individually.


              A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum. -Jon McBride, astronaut

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

                Odd/even split keeps it simple, which is good. Only problem I see (and have always seen with all of these various fireteam discussions) is, what if all your Medics happen to be odd numbers? Ideally, you would want a good mix of Medics and HAs and an Engi in each fireteam. Also, I like only 2, maybe 3, Medics in the whole squad, for survivability (I prefer more HAs for more punch). So now you are splitting your 2 Medics apart, what if one of the Medics goes down then? Fireteam wiped, or the Medic from the other fireteam has to go over and get him up. Defeats the purpose of fireteams. And getting people to switch to the requested kits can be difficult enough, now you have to manage that even more to keep the right mix in each fireteam.
                "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

                  This is another example where a company structure vs. a platoon structure would help us organize. Instead of an infantry squad, you would make an infantry platoon with up to 4 fire teams. You don't have to run full 12 player squads/fireteams but could do, say 4 squads of 6 players each. 3 heavies, 2 medics, one engy per fireteam, as an example. Organized this way, you now have 4 smaller maneuver elements with their own self contained comms and markers.




                  * *

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                  • #10
                    Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

                    That's one of the reasons I don't like fireteams in this game, Randy, 6 people just isn't enough. The ideal(ish) general infantry squad of 6 heavies, 3 medics, 2 engis, and a wildcard(i prefer to have an infil around all the time, some others don't) isn't able to support itself until it reaches a certain critical mass. It doesn't feel like that happens until you reach 9 or 10 squad members. I would be all over fireteams if we could make our squads 16 members, because 8 well coordinated people are just barely enough to make a functioning unit in this game.


                    A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum. -Jon McBride, astronaut

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

                      Daelon, I think there's some value in being able to split to 4-6 man teams. That value declines substantially as the fight scales up, obviously, but sometimes the full unit is just overkill and you can cover more ground in smaller teams. Hell, a cohesive and disciplined 6 man team is as effective as many fully squads. Nothing stops you from collapsing the two teams when things get hot, or keeping them close enough together that they're as cohesive as you could want.

                      Like I said, I haven't actually tested odds/evens live yet, it's largely just speculation on my part based on past experience. Still, I hope to have the chance to trial run it in the next few days... even if you divorce the idea of true fire-teams from it and just use it as a way to quickly split the squad amongst two tasks (e.g. "Odds cover the north stairwell, evens cover the south stairwell") that would beat the hell out of hoping people will self-organize on those tasks or manually assigning people.

                      Hopefully the obvious issues of things like "what if the medics are all even numbers?" will prove to be less of an issue in practise. If you've got 3 medics in the squad, it's only a 25% chance that you will have all medics in one fireteam, and that's relatively easy to spot and sort out ahead of time if you've got your squad briefed on the odds and evens thing early while squad loadouts are still being sorted.



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

                        Drona makes good points about organization, no reason you can't form two platoons and coordinate in TS if you really wanted to experiment with fireteams for some reason. The air platoon basically does this, splitting up flights of Reavers into separate squads and maybe even a squad of Libs, etc. Less numbers in each squad but you are spreading it out for the organizational structure.

                        But it all comes back to what Daelon is saying. Fireteams and small groups only work well for say, ghost capping. In that case, make x number of squads in your platoon with only a few guys (up to 6?) in each, for purposes of sending them to different bases and speeding up capping (on Amerish during low pop for instance).

                        But by the time you have 24-36 guys, you are starting to be a platoon, and usually then you are looking for an appropriately sized fight, and so should be seeking out a similarly sized enemy. And that's where the 12 man squad starts to shine, it's a good size to be a self sufficient unit, even in a large fight, with the usual mix mentioned above.

                        And at the end of the day, it's just simpler. Which is why I have never been a fan of fireteams in PS2, they are too complicated for the average player, and do not stand up well in larger fights (lack of survivability, because only 1 Medic). PS2, in order to give us the massive scale that it does, by necessity must be a free to play game. Which brings a certain kind of playerbase. Now certainly most people who decided to join our TG Outfit in game have a higher standard of team play, and you could get a squad of pure TG doing something like this, but to what end? It's just much simpler (and more effective) to run a standard 12 man squad, IMO.
                        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

                          Personally, I'll be experimenting with a hybrid. I can see a LOT of use for a "half the squad does this and other half does this other thing" setup even in bigger fights, and I think if you stay realistic about the capabilities of half a squad (as well as how quickly your average squad can come to grips with such an organization) there's probably some utility to having it in the squad leader's toolbox. I'm specifically thinking of things like creating crossfires, breaching or covering different doors, etc.

                          Maybe it'll prove to be too fiddly or brittle. Still worth a shot though.



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                          • #14
                            Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

                            Star if you ever wanna do Fireteams in a full platoon and I am leading, I am more than willing to have my squad cooperate. Perhaps swing this actually implemented will give us a better idea on the Do's and Don'ts.

                            But something which I see will be a problem is that a Fireteam will probably not work in a larger scale fight. This is due to the reason that I doubt it could withstand an airstrike since they move so fast and there isn't as much suppressive power as a full squad.

                            But a way in which this COULD work is that we get a full Tg platoon and have fire teams use TS. To fully operate this is to use the Whisper feature. I used to play with a larger group than TG and can assist on TS since I used to run many aspects of their TeamSpeak. Other than that, this looks promising if we can operate properly.
                            Questions about those who deserve it!
                            "Remember, no survivors" -Myself and probably what explains my methods the most

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                            • #15
                              Re: Fireteams: Splitting the Squad

                              The way I envision fire teams operating within squads is actually not far from the standard ideal of a cohesive squad. The fireteams wouldn't be handling completely separate goals except under very low pressure situations. Instead, they'd be pursuing the same goal from different angles... holding the same building by watching two different stairs, one handles overwatch while the other moves, they put a small distance between each other to create a better crossfire and make it harder to flank the squad, etc. This kind of split is the thing I think can work well in a bigger fight. Think "left hand/right hand" instead of distinct units.



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