MechWarrior Online Commanding Guide by MushrooMars
Foreword: Commanding is something that requires patience, intelligence and the ability to accept defeat. Your average MWO player isn’t very good, which is compounded by the fact that they are using a Trial Mech. Commanding is a way to attempt to improve the effectiveness of your team, but bear in mind, a team is only as effective as the players that make it up. If the players are unwilling to follow orders, or are just downright bad, you will loose, no matter how godlike your commanding skills may be.
Okay, so you decided to PUG because none of your friends are online; how convenient. First match, stomped by premade. Second match, stomped by premade. Third match, stomped by more premade. Bleaaaargh, you are tired of this. You notice that the primary issue with your team is – hey, look, no one knows what to do. Everyone just runs around like chickens without heads, shooting at whatever moves, hoping that the team somehow self-organizes and everything is happy-cheery. Well, you can change that! That’s right, we want YOU to be a Drop Commander!
Commanding entails pretty much taking your team, and organizing them. This means telling your team where to go, setting priority targets, and outlining an overall strategy. Command also means keeping your team in high spirits, but considering that you’re only with them for 15 minutes max, this means positive comments and complimenting people on how awesome their kills are.
So, obviously, now we need to know tactics that work in this game. There are really 3 main viable tactics; Attacking, Defending, and Line Combat. Attacking implies just having the entire team bum-rush the enemy cap, and usually is the most viable tactic when most of the team is in fast mechs, such as Lights and Cicadas. Defending is the polar opposite; digging in and holding down your base, hopefully shredding your enemy with LRMs on their way to your base, and then performing a coup de grace on anything that enters your Brawler’s range. The last, and most common tactic, is Line Combat. This means meeting your enemy at a tactically favorable location (favorable to YOU that is), and obliterating them through sheer firepower and superior tactics. Line Combat is the most fluid and successful of all these 3 tactics, as it allows for flanking, ambushes and Long Range Missile support.
Now, obviously, I am most in favor of line combat. That’s because Line Combat allows our more expressed players to carry out their own strategies and personal tactics. For example, Defending is great and all for LRM boats, but Brawlers are left sitting their itching their balls until the enemy reaches your base, if they do in the first place. It’s the other way around when it comes to attacking; LRM boats are left very vulnerable to rogue Jenners, Cicadas and Commandos. This is especially true for our paper-armor hyper-Gausscats. Line Combat is that nice niche between the two that allow pretty much all players on your team to survive and prosper. LRM boats and Snipers can sit back on a ridge somewhere, slamming the targets spotted by Brawlers and Scouts, while close-combat Lights and Mediums flank from the side, and Scouts can scoot on back to the enemy base, distracting the enemy team with that big BASE UNDER ATTACK banner plastered across their screen. Line Combat is the strategy you see most often used by premades; you know, you join a match, and your entire team is suddenly being hammered by LRMs, and Atlases loaded with nothing but close-range weapons are just turning overextending mechs into ferro-fibrous shishkebabs, and Jenners are running around tagging **** and slamming SSRMs and Lasers into your *** – Yeah, it’s that kind of thing.
So, but, these aren’t the only tactics I see! What about that one premade that decides to rush through the tunnel on Frozen City, and caps the base before anyone can respond because my entire team is FATLAS? Well, these are map-specific tactics. Know them well, because you might get drunk and decide to use them one day. They are incredibly effective but also snap like a twig underfoot of an Awesome. “Tunneling,” as you may have heard some friendlier premades call it, is generally a stupid tactic because it involves funneling your entire team, one-by-one, through a closed in space, with several entrances. It’s a recipe for disaster, either for the enemy team or for you. If your enemy wisens up, and posts scout outside the tunnel; you are screwed. The scouts will squawk, and the big mean Assault mechs will come barreling through the side entrance and the exit and crush your team as if they were a tin can. Same goes for the tunnel on Forest City; if you get caught in that place, and the enemy realizes it, big scary mechs will close in from both ends and turn your team into cheesecloth. Overall, Tunneling is great, but don’t rely on it or you’ll end up someone’s lunch.
Next is probably pure LRM camping. This involves situation your team on a large, tall ridge somewhere, and beating the living crap out of the enemy team. With missiles. 1 or 2 scouts help seal the deal, allowing LRM boats to keep a constant stream of hot, fiery death on that one slow mech sitting in a remote field somewhere. There are two primary problems with LRM camping; one is the fact that LRMs have a very deadly (to the user) minimum range of 180m; inside of which they literally do no damage, because some ***** Inner Sphere scientist decided they needed safe arming mechanisms. Ha, high-explosive missiles, safety, these guys must be crazy. The obvious fallacy in having such a large minimum range is that anything that moves faster forward than you do backward can eat you alive. The second issue is ammo; LRMs are heavy, inaccurate, and have a bad tendency to miss about 20% of their shots even on targets standing still out in the open. If your team is boating LRMs, there’s a very good chance you will run out of ammo very very quickly, especially if the enemy team knows how to use COVER *hint hint nudge nudge*. So yeah, pretty much any tactical maneuver of any sort is able to defeat LRM camping, so unless your enemies are a bunch of idiots bumbling around in Trial Dragons (which happens alot), do NOT LRM camp. Use Line Combat instead.
Probably one of the most common unorhtodox tactic is rushing. This means getting everyone together in a big clump, getting them moving at a similar speed, and throwing that clump into the enemy team headlong. This can be very effective, but is nigh impossible to set up in a PUG game. There will always be that one guy, that decides he’s too cool to follow orders, that just runs face-first into the team and gets decapitated instantly. Then you guys are down one man and you will most likely get swarmed and explode hilariously one-by-one. So yeah, great tactic, if you can get bloody EVERYONE to follow orders, and you have no AFKers, and you have no scouts, and you have everyone in hardy, well-armed mechs, and you have no LRM boats. Yup. Good luck.
So, now you know to popular tactics, you’re probably wondering “So, how do I actually take this magical thing known as ‘command’?” Well, I’m glad you ask, as now that you’ve (hopefully) read my thread, I’m going to tell you. By now, you probably know you can press B to open up a macromap. In this macromap you can find an awesome little button up in the upper left hand corner labeled ‘Take Command’. It would be an insult to your intelligence if I told you you needed to click that button, but I’m going to anyways because it’s mildly amusing to me. Click the bloody button. Now, whenever you use teamchat, you will appear to your entire team as this awesome, magical golden text which is the word of god. You will also be able to set waypoints by clicking on the macromap and setting a waypoint Icon.
Now, before you go “OH COOL I CAN COMMAND NOW WHOOP DEE DOO!” please listen to the following public service announcement. There is a very good chance, which is especially high if you’re playing with a premade, there is someone that knows how to command better than you. If you are reading this thread, and you learned something from it, there’s a good chance I’m a better commander than you (I reserve one crit space for ego). If someone else on your team is talking amicably with other team members, and they appear to be having a conversation, they are most likely a premade. They also most likely have a designated commander-lord-in-general with an ego on par with mine. Do not usurp his command, you will regret it one way or another. There are also people that command every game (such as myself), and also have previous experience in other games commanding. We like to have control over our team. If neither of these kinds of people are on your team, feel free to take command over your team and lead them to a glorious, shiny, and stompy victory, and feel free to post your results here.
Ah, yes, and one last thing; commanding your team does not reward you any extra XP, C-Bills, or any egotistical medals at the end of the match. Commanding quite simply means that your text is a different color and you can set waypoints. Your team does not have to follow their orders (although they bloody well should, as it’s something better than smacking face-first with a premade Atlas team), and if they don’t, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad commander. It means you had a ****** team. If two command oriented players are in the game, and one takes command, and the other shouts “DUDE GIVE ME COMMAND NOW I AM BETTER THAN YOU,” ignore the ****** that’s shouting, and hope he isn’t an ******* and goes with the guy who already took command. Your commander, if he’s smart, should also ignore the shouter, and will guide the team to a glorious, shiny, and stompy victory.
Okay, you can go now. Kick some *** for me will you?Other MechWarrior Online (MWO) Articles
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