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Co Guide

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  • Co Guide

    I wrote this a bit ago and kinda forgot to move it from the private 7th to the general public! On the other side I have almost gotten the second part written and have worked on map specifics here and there.

    The Commanders Chair - Azreal

    The CO chair is sometimes a difficult place to be. I know from first hand experience, I have been COing from day 1. When I could count the number of COs on TG with one hand and have fingers left over. Thankfully that has changed, there are many competent COs. This is a little guide/primer on what I think a CO should do based on my own experiences. Your mileage may vary.

    A CO has one important aspect that no other person on the battlefield has, perspective. This gives the CO the ability to create and utilize a plan. In fact this makes the CO the only person that can reliably institute a plan. The CO also has access to a variety of tools, called Assets. Each asset performs a job: Radar, Scan, Artillery, and Supplies. To effectively CO you must first have some sort of plan, and use your assets wisely.

    A CO job is communication, he/she lives and breathes communication. Originally before we learned of the undocumented use of using 'B' to chat to one squad we used 'V' or talk to everyone. You can understand why this made things so difficult. The lines of communication became blurred, and who was talking to who and in the heat of the moment not identifying squads lead to confusion, it was a dark time in which dinosaurs ruled the earth and Blackhawks reigned supreme. Fortunately we are out of that era, we are in the modern era where a competent CO will use a mixture of both. You need to talk to squads one on one, its very important that way you can have longer conversations with them and not distract the other SLs. On the other hand you need to lay out a plan, (more on this later) and constantly give updates to all squads, announce artillery strikes, make requests and if two squads are working together it helps to identify that globally, gives the SL a sense of the bigger picture beyond there object and men.

    Lets start with the essentials a CO needs, and the first is a plan. Doesn't matter what it is, how far forward it is looking or how detailed, but you need a plan. Sometimes if I hop into the middle of the map and we have one flag my plan is simple, take more flags no matter the cost. At this point winning/losing is not in my head, ticket counts are irrelevant, and anything much longer then can I take this flag doesn't matter. Or on maps if I hop in at the beginning I have the long term "Plan" plus additional sub plans for how to use all my assets. A plan does not need to be sturdy, or even good. Almost all of the time just having someone in the CO seat stabilizes a team, call it the God effect. They know someone now has the lines of communication open and faith is implicitly given that they can make the situation better. Doesn't matter if you are as blind as a bat, have no artillery, and yourself are getting shot at. Talk to your team! Tell them you have a plan! It doesn't matter if the plan is to stay alive. Its a plan!

    This is not to say all plans are not created equal, take for instance Karkand the eternal fight over the river. One of the basic tenants of that map are "medics win". There I have just given the secret to Karkand. Given two equal teams, the one that revives the most wins. Take that as your free tip for Karkand. Understand that not all squads will like your plans, they need to understand you are looking out for the greater good. Many a time I have told a squad to go into danger or hold a position knowing it would fall, in full knowledge that it might buy me that minute to take something more important or stabilize my defense.

    How do you make a plan? Well thats a good question, number one is to play the maps. Be a grunt, be a SL, see it from the air. You have to acknowledge all these aspects, before you can truly feel comfortable with a map. Make a private lan game and run around on the map. You won't look foolish, I spent 3 hours doing it last week. Not playing the game just simply driving, learning, seeing. I spent over an hour on Daqing since I might have to command it. An hour! What was I doing, figuring out how a good SL will move his men and how much time it takes to go from point A to B. Yes I have a notebook with things like it takes 24s to get from MEC Home to Old City in a buggy with a 3 man squad. And I have measurements like that to most CPs with multiple vehicles, at least on Daqing, my notebook is slowly filling with notes.

    Keep a notebook, OMG you say, its a game and as an SL I don't need a notebook! Well guess what as a CO you want a notebook. Record what works, what doesn't, why you think you lost, why you think you won. I don't do it for every game but I try to jot down a few notes for every well played game. Like I know a dedicated "utility"/"quick strike" squad can move 2x as fast as a 6 man squad. Is that important? It is if you are a commander. Learn the CPs, this is part of driving around on your own private server thing. Its important!

    Learn YOUR play style, you will CO differently, what works for me might not work for you. I hate to give up my secrets but hey with so many good COs nowadays its no big loss. I am what is called a lockdown CO. I get the COs I want in the plan, lockdown the squads and set up zone of control (ZOC), The ZOCs are very important, they identify avenues of defense and attack, places where I need squads patrolling, and areas I can generally just keep a skeleton defense. I find ZOC work great with air assets, since I can funnel enemy troops down and into a certain point. My squads are no longer defending a small CP but a ZOC radiating from that CP. And for each ZOC you can link they get stronger in your flexibility to respond. Once I have my ZOCs setup I sit back and watch bleed take hold and watch you spend more tickets attacking. Do I generally win by huge amounts? Nope, generally its 80-100, but I generally win once lockdown is established. Some COs (generally new ones) for the aggressive kill, take every CP. sure its an easy way to win, but its also easy to loose that back CO, that that one guy snuck around and got. There are other myriad methods of COing.

    Next Installment - Assets: Implicit and Explicit



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