Monday, February 6, 2012

Leadership


In many online shooters with any kind of leadership system (whether its only squad leaders, or leaders of entire teams) there has always been a lack of real power over the subordinates. KILLZONE 2 has squad leaders that could act as mobile spawn points for their squad-mates. Squad leaders in BATTLEFIELD 3 have the power to designate objectives as the squad's priority. MAG had the most in depth leadership system out of any shooter in recent history; squad leaders, platoon leaders, and company leaders (OIC/officer in charge) that direct the actions of 128 players. Though leaders in MAG possess a variety of strikes, tactical maneuvers, as well as abilities like setting waypoints as well and FRAGO (marking objective as the squad priority), but something was still lacking. MAG, and all these other games lacked the power to truly make someone follow orders. I don't expect Dust 514 to give the commanders and squad leaders the ability to subvert the will of other players through some sort of magic, but there needs to be better ways on incentivising players to follow orders.


There are many possible ways to accomplish this in Dust 514. One way is the ability to control which spawn points players are allowed to use. It has been confirmed in an article from Eurogamer that commanders will be able to deploy spawn points for his teammates to use, but what if leaders could lock use of certain spawn points for specific squads? This would allow leaders to force those specific squads to use the spawn point closest to where the leader wants them to attack (by locking the other spawn points), thus raising the chance they will actually attack the target. Another possible solution would be to give leaders the ability to select the general areas where squads have been ordered to attack, and set the areas as the only place where the respective squads can get war points, experience, kills that count towards stats, etc. This would also make players go to and attack where they are commanded to.

You may be asking "Why is it so important? can't gamers be trusted to take orders if its in their best interest and will lead to their victory?", but it is important because sadly not everyone respects the chain of command, nor values victory as top priority. When empires can rise and fall based on the results of Dust 514 battles, simply trusting that to take orders despite the evidence to the contrary is simply not the best option.

27 comments:

  1. I think the way that commanders should be able to control their subordinates is actually much more simple than this. In EVE, there is no way for the FC (Fleet Commander) to control his wingmen. Instead, they obey because if they don't, they will be kicked from the corp. In order to be in a good corp, you have to follow orders.

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  2. good points. hopefully dust will provide the most depth for leadership in gaming.

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  3. hope they take the lead from mag and just expand it.

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  4. Interesting ideas. I know commanders will want some in-game ways of letting random noobs join the fight without having them just go off and doing their own thing like they are prone to do, but on the other hand CCP probably doesn't want to impose too many leadership structures on the game side because they want to encourage and reward player driven leadership. That said, some features would certainly be very useful and desirable so there is probably a trade-off between what tools to give commanders and how much do you leave it up to the players.

    Certainly squad spawn points are useful as are squad objectives. If your squad is assigned to help take out an installation (or help defend an installation) you might get a bonus reward if your objective is met. Remember, you are space mercenaries.

    Eve has a fixed size fleet command structure. Up to ten pilots per squadrons, five squads per wing, and five wings per fleet, based on the skills of the individual commanders. In large space battles this leads to a bunch of 250 ship fleets fighting pretty much as blobs. This is because in Eve there is no hard and fast limit to the number of pilots in a battle.

    I would hope that the fixed limits to battle sizes in Dust might lead to a more effective use of a leadership structure. Imagine that squads are limited to 8 players and 8 squads to a side. If your hard limit is 24 players, then you could have 3 squads of 8 or 8 squads of 3 or anything in between. The ability of commanders to change assignments and objectives mid-battle would also be useful.

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  5. support this. give us real leadership abilities.

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  6. The author assumes that the commander will be someone who knows what they are doing/will have the best intentions. How many times have you played a game of MAG where the SL/PL/OIC is clueless or silent? This isnt so bad on MAG as squads can sort of organise to an extent without the leader but if you give someone control over spawn points it could be catastrophic to the game being enjoyable nevermind winnable. CCP would have to bar randoms from becoming commander and I dont see them doing that.

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    Replies
    1. Read the Eurogamer article linked above. The commander is most certainly not random, except perhaps in some kind of practice match. As described, the commander is the person responsible for accepting the contract, flying the huge (and expensive) Mobile Command Center. He positions the installations and spawn points and decides on the classes of vehicles your side will be using.

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  7. "CCP would have to bar randoms from becoming commander and I dont see them doing that."

    How did you come to that conclusion?

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  8. Whenever i'm a part of a battle in eve, there is always someone calling the shots.. some one from your corp, or alliance/whatever that was in charge before the fight began.. Why would you assume it would be different in dust? Your going to have to join a corp. If your corp is decent enough it won't be a noob. I'm sure there will be a head of the dusting department. Or at the least a command structure when said person isn't available.. its all up to your group to get organized.. way it should be.

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  9. Obviously the tools the blogger is suggesting isnt for corp/clan, since they wouldnt (or shouldnt...) need incentives to follow orders. But that such suggested tools are for a platoon of individual players that are all virtually randoms for another.


    /Shaka_Zulu

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    Replies
    1. Fair point. It is just hard to predict how CCP feels about tools for that type of gameplay based on any experience in Eve, except maybe faction warfare and incursions. Eve is definitely a "you figure it out among yourselves" kind of place. It is possible that CCP is hoping to translate that culture to consoles and that corps will form and they will recruit noobs. Of course the vast majority of Eve players are off doing their own thing on their own, so that just goes to show how well CCP knows its own playerbase.

      One reason that works in Eve is that everyone is at a specific location in the game at all times. And while they can fly off somewhere else, their stuff tends to be in specific locations also so it is not always trivial to move. Every star system. constellation or region has people living in it, also known as the locals. You act like a jerk and the news gets around. If you want to keep acting like a jerk you will probably have to move along (or find some other people that want to be jerks with you.)

      Dust mercenaries will apparently have unrestricted movement. You can jump across space to join a fight. If their are enough random players looking for a fight, it is easy to imagine someone just being a serial jerk. I assume that once the jerk is identified, the commander will be able to boot them from the battlefield. Also expect corp and personal standings so you can identify known jerks before letting them join a battle.

      I don't know what else you expect. I think there will be both public and private ways to join a battle. You might join a corp and do most of your fighting with them, but if there are not enough of them online you might go join some public fights and recruit some noobs for your corp in the process.

      CCP has said that they want committed Eve players for the Beta and they expect the initial purchasers of they game to pay a "cover charge" (returned as in game currency) to make sure they are also committed. I think that means they expect them to put some time into the game and join a corp. They don't want tourists, at least not right away.

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    2. Also, Eve has (twelve?) noob corps and you start in one of them. Something like this in Dust would give you an initial community to hang with and fight alongside. Of course they probably don't want to encourage you to stay too long, so if they exist they will be limited in some way compared to player corps.

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