May 9, 2015 at 1:00 PM #1654bishopParticipant
I admit I didn’t catch all of the conversations leading up to the formation of DH, so I don’t know fully what the intent for having a server guild was. I don’t even know if we settled on DH, DHA, or DHC. It doesn’t matter. I do see the potential though. Please tell me if this system meshes with what you all want.
Purpose. We need to be separate and distinct from typical WvW guilds or we don’t need to exist. A guild, even one dedicated solely to WvW, has multiple missions. They do a WvW raid time or times, typically during the same timeframe. Hard-core also do GvG, sPvP, and training. Casual guilds might do some WvW for a couple of hours, then brake off and do some PvE. This is energy and attention directed in different directions which are near impossible to manage. These activities are all fine and even productive at times, but what they all have in common is that our PPT, 24-hour ops coverage, and other strategic considerations often take a backseat to other priorities if even considered. DH provides a mechanism to share these considerations among the several highly committed guilds we have, who often have different ideas on how to go about them. When someone flips their guild tag to DH or volunteers their registered static DH team for 4-6 ticks (yes my mickey mouse watch uses ticks not hours and minutes) on a given night, there’s no question what the goal is or who they will take direction from during that time. Incidentally, I don’t think DH guild tagging is critical.
Reporting for Duty. If a guild team has not committed to run for a given block of time, they should be considered off-duty and free to pursue their own WvW objectives. This ownership of battle space is what we’re critically missing. No one player can make sure that EB and all the BLs remain our color all day long. One player can make sure this yak stays alive this tick though. There are I’m sure plenty of guilds and players that won’t like this level of commitment. I think everyone wants to win though. They just see people beating their heads against a rock for 6 hours and find it not appealing. I think a moderate amount of time on-duty in addition to their already unstructured time can be really effective. Short stints with significant impact is the goal. The very knowledge of a team coming on in another 30 minutes gives that skeleton crew preserving our PPT all night long much needed hope. The marathon players who have an unnatural amount of free time can use the same information to see gaps to cover.
Unit Designators. I am a big fan of static teams and echelons. Pug zergs are often undisciplined, following far behind, running after strays, throwing their own siege, delaying to build siege that’s thrown, or joining and leaving the zerg haphazardly. I don’t know a veteran commander who hasn’t been frustrated by these things. Units provide a modular dynamic to deal with different challenges. All too often we have one main zerg with a couple of roaming groups in EB.
Echelons. The game has 5-man groups. That’s ideal for a team. I prefer the term Team over Group though. It implies purpose or task. There are jobs to do that don’t require five people though. 2- and 3-man units are also needed. Some jobs are tougher or require more supply than a 5-man brings, so a 10-man or larger element is also needed. I suggest we also align ourselves with time zones and make those part of the designator for the static team. I made a google sheet for these shifts a few weeks ago to poll guild attendance during different times. It was more helpful when I broke the day into six 4-hour blocks or shift. They were by server time:  0000-0400 NA Prime,  0400-0800 Night Crew,  0800-1200 OCX Prime,  1200-1600 SEA Prime,  1600-2000 EU Prime, and  2000-2400 Late EU/Early NA. We aren’t at the stage where we can perform Platoon operations yet, which are two or more Squads. We will get there though. I will say that a zerg which incorporates a Squad and other elements works similarly to a Platoon. In most cases, guilds who dominate the attendance of a zerg typically take charge, or the existing commander tags down.
Numeration. So for a 5-man team which raids primarily during NA Prime time, they could be given the designator Team 251. The first number being the shift they operate in. The last two digits are their team. The first 3 members of that team would be 251A, the last 2 members 251B. Guilds or friends who want to form a team but straddle multiple shifts just need to pick the one they play in most. If they are active in two shifts equally, they should use the first shift for their designator. For guilds who have more than two teams, they can form a Squad, which are two or more teams. The designator the unit that controls Teams 251 through 259 is Squad 25. We have a lot of people who run with other guilds and even guilds that run in tandem. This system is a convenient medium for players to do just that. Some guilds don’t have commanders natively, so they may wish to latch onto another guild that plays at the same time and be part of their Squad. Still other players may have lots of command experience and be un-guilded. Those players may be talked into taking a Squad Leader position, provided the Team Leaders from two or more teams want it.
Inefficient Response. If a friendly tower is being attacked by 3 players with rams in the middle of an SM assault, the commander has a choice. He can (1) continue on with the assault, (2) pause or cancel the assault, (3) call for roamers to help, or (4) call for some of his zerg to break off and help. Option (1) is acceptable as long at the tower isn’t upgraded and the zerg keeps its momentum to let people catch up. In this way, a small enemy team could counter the progress of a 30-man zerg, flipping towers and camps faster. Option (2) can be appropriate if the tower is valuable, but may lead to loss of siege, surprise, and attrition of disappointed zerg members. Option (3) is hit and miss whether anyone responds. If players do respond, they typically don’t give any indication they are responding or whether they routed the attackers. If they do respond, the size of the response may not be appropriate, since they don’t coordinate. 10 roamers could converge on the tower and be overkill for what’s necessary, stifling camp flipping, yak escorts, etc. The 10 could all die as well to the 3 well-coordinated attackers if they trickle in instead of working as a team. Option (4) is sometimes necessary but never seems to work as intended. When a commander ask for someone to help, the request is generally not specific since he doesn’t formally command his pug group and doesn’t feel it’s appropriate to direct specific players. The response is not only vague, but also volatile. He could lose half his zerg to deal with a small problem. A pug zerg is a blunt instrument. It doesn’t perform surgery well. Active direction is easier to do tactically than strategically with an unorganized zerg.
Efficient Response. For the same situation of a friendly tower is being attacked by 3 players with rams in the middle of an SM assault, the commander has the same choices. Option (1) continue on with the assault, (2) pause or cancel the assault, (3) call for roamers to help, or (4) call for some of his zerg to break off and help. Option (4) has more possibilities though. Here, the zerg commander is leader of Squad 25 and Team 251. His zerg is composed of Squad 25 (Team 251, Team 252, and Team 253A), Team 221, as well as 10 pugs. He could send Team 252 if he wants to overwhelm the 3-man and maintain good coordination. He could do the same with Team 221. If he has a good number of pugs on Teamspeak, he might ask some of them to do so. He also have the option to send Team 253A to deal with it or at least delay them until the SM cap is done. With static units, there’s no guess work in who’s supposed to go. When the commander says in chat Team 252 go! The rest of the zerg who know they aren’t Team 252 will (or should, depending on IQ and attention span) stay. All of this would take considerably more time to coordinate if there were not pre-determined teams.
Perks. Teams offer some other benefits as well.
1. Units are numbered. Even if a commander is familiar with the people in his zerg, he doesn’t know which ones are grouped and who’s leading them.
2. Teams provide modularity to a rapidly changing battlefield. Team 252 can peel off, finish their task, then reintegrate into the main body at the next supply camp, all the while maintaining their group integrity. Pug groups get easily distracted and often don’t group at all. Eliminates impediments to momentum. I can’t emphasize too much how important zerg agility is.
3. Group composition can be pre-planned to provide the zerg with specialization. Squads can load one Team up with heavies for zerg breaking. Back line can also be segregated into teams. Ever need a mesmer or elementalist? Static teams allow for strategic placement of needed professions and abilities.
4. Guilds can own a Team Designator and fill it with different people if they like.
5. Specific objectives or standing orders can be given to each echelon. One example can range from securing a single leg of a yak route to controlling an entire BL or corner of EB, depending on the size of the element.
6. Clear authority and communication.
7. Allows for succession of authority or chain of command to be applied when a commander tags down and leaves. Squad Leader to Team Leader is one example.
8. Efficient communication for assigning orders. With a brief comment, teams can be deployed to hit multiple objectives or assemble from sub-objectives to converge on larger targets.
9. Brings small guilds into the fold by provided unit sized to fill. They also make a significant and visual contribution to the war effort.
10. Guild egos are removed from the picture, since not one guild is running the show. To my surprise, I haven’t seen much of this since I returned to the game. It is always something that can develop.
In summary, I think this system can be implemented in a painless way, while preserving guild identity and authority over their own activities. It’s a key component of winning the war as opposed to winning the battle at hand. We will be successful in T5 no matter what we do. If we move up without any changes, all I see is pain and more attrition of our already dwindling population.
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