PlanetSide Squad Leading Guide
PlanetSide Squad Leading Guide by Supreme_Commander
I wrote this for Azure Twilight about a year ago, and I felt that I shouldent let it sit idle in the AT forums, so I am publishing it now in these forums… Enjoy, and thanks for reading if you get all the way through.
Squad Leading Guide
This will be the first of many guides, this guide shall focus on how to effectively lead a squad into battle, I have instilled this guide to make more efficient use of the resources this outfit has to offer.
Firstly I should state that, this guide shows one how one may attempt to be a Highly Strategic, Tactical, and effective leader, and is not the only style of leadership, however it is the one that I have found to be most effective in battle and getting the job accomplished.
Other than those 2 special defensive formations that are listed in the Objective Reached section, tactical situations are not in this guide This guide is all about how to lead the squad, and gives a general overview of strategy. The next guide that shall be published “Tactics and Strategy: Specifics” will deal with a plethora of strategies and effective tactics for running into certain situations.
II. Anatomy of a Squad Leader
To be an effective squad leader you should further most, think and feel as If you are in control. To do such, I have attempted to put together a list of how I feel I should be acting when a squad leader, this is more the philosophy of how a squad leader should act, not precisely the physical leadership.
Firstly, to be a squad leader you generally need to be experienced in the game, at least 4 or 5 months of playing, is what I would suggest, however I have seen it be done by people playing the game for 3 weeks in which they have done it effectively.
It is also useful if squad leaders have certifications that can keep the group together, primarily Advanced Medic, Ground Support, and Ground Transport are very effective certifications for SL’s to have.
Your overall mood should be very analytical as well, when you are leading a squad do not be prepared to be fighting at your best level, as more of your attention should be focused on the soldiers in which you are commanding. Therefore you should be more focused on your surroundings than what is directly in front of you. I generally check the local map every minute, and the world map every 5, so I always know what is happening around the continent, and world. This is very important with your maneuverability.
A squad leader should also have a very cool attitude, do not get angry, it is detrimental to the objective. If someone is not following order kick them from squad and let them solo, as they are simply wasting a slot.
Because communication can become so hectic when you get into the battle it is a good idea to have rules set in place before you get into the heat of things about how you will speak in voice comms/typing. Although everyone has different levels of how comfortable with chat here are the guidelines I generally set out.
- Idle Chat- Talk about anything you want to, but be ready that if you hear the commanders voice you immediately stop speaking and listen up.
- Battle Chat- Only battle related material may be conveyed, for non-battle use typing.
- Tactical Chat- Only commanders should speak. Exceptions can be made for time critical information (I.E. someone is resecuring the base)
Numbers-Colours can also be effective, they are shorter than names, and you can call more people to do a job more effectively, this is at your discretion however.
And more importantly than just having these rules, enforce them, if someone gets out of hand on team speak, kick them from the server if you have the rights, and if you don’t exclude them from the squad. Be stern, as a squad leader you are there to help enforce your rules and regulations.
IV. Attaining Squad Leadership The first way to attain squad leadership is to simply make a squad, you then are inherently the commander of your squad.
However more often than not you are leading a squad that was formed before you arrived. In this case there is some etiquette you should be aware of as a common courtesy.
The first matter would be to simply ask if they would mind if you took command, generally people do not mind and the matter is solved there, make sure the current SL states that he is passing command to you to give a you a bit more authority and others do not assume you are opposing the current commanders view.
If however the current leader does not wish to give up command that is their choice, however you can still influence their decisions by sending tells and adding to public debate on targets.
V. Information: A Squad Leaders best tool
In WWII, an American lieutenant named Luis Prent, was ordered to retake the French town of Jauqeuen. When they arrived at the town, they had discovered that another occupying force had already arrived, the British. The British had had control of the town for 3 days, the information of such had failed to transfer hands.
Information can do many things for the squad leader; firstly give you a list of targets that are viable. This should be done when the squad leader takes command, the current objective has either failed or succeeded, and any other time the squad leader deems necessary. Secondly, it can tell you enemy presence, Tactical is a very important tool in any commander’s tool belt, yet you must learn how to read it. Below are some tips on how to effectively use Tactical
- 5 People makes one block on Tactical. So if there were 9 people in the area, the extrusion from the origin would extend one unit in all directions.
- I keep detection and influence both on 40%. Ive found this to work the best, and you can still see what is underneath.
- Tactical updates every minute.
- Disable empires when needed, it can give you a more clear view of how many soldiers the VS have, as well as how many the other empires do.
There are also other things that can be done to determine information the most obvious tool would be CR5 chat. Though an effective tool it is generally slow, while waiting on the information that might come across, I would advise moving suggesting the information will determine that that should be your target. If asking between 2, attempt to get a to a midway point in between the two.
Another tool I have discovered and formulated uses a bit of math. This is so you may get the exact population of the enemy, or friendlies on a continent. This I use in many situations, however you may use the formula below how you see fit.
The first step you must do is do a /who sanctu, do not finish the word or you will not have permission to use the command. Divide that number by the global population that is on the sanctuary you now have what 1% of global population is. That number is now S.
S multiplied by global population on continent desired divided by percentage of enemy soldiers on continent.
VI. Target Acquisition
How does one decide what others should do, how does one decide how best to use the recourses allotted to you, to do the most damage to the enemy, while at the same time supporting your faction. This is a fine line for many people, and is called target acquisition or T.A. the process of T.A. can be a difficult one, it uses the skills of Strategy, Recourse Management, and analyzation.
The first thing you must understand when decided a target are your recourses. Recourses are composed of four things in planeside; numbers, certifications, skill, acquisition. Numbers are how many troops you have, certifications are the certifications your soldiers posses an operation might require a certain amount of tanks or CE to work, this must be checked BEFORE you decide a target. Skill is how good the soldiers are at A. Listening B. Killing C. Executing Orders in a timely fashion, if you have a group of new players, you are not going to have them attempt to do a hot drop on a heavily fortified enemy tower, however with more skilled players you might. Acquisition is all about friendly Tech and Modules; you need to know if you can acquire advanced weaponry/vehicles to accomplish your goal.
Once you know all 4 of the requirements you may then proceed to open your map and begin to choose a target. Make sure you make use of all informational benefits above. There are 3 Genres of Targets, that you may make use of. I shall explain each below, and when all three would be useful.
Offensive- Offensive should be used in most zerg situations when, you have momentum. It is generally obvious when to use an offensive strategy. The Benefits of Offense are that that you may acquire bases, gain territory, and you accumulate CEP. The Cons of Offence are that, you can lose some rear bases, is much more difficult to accomplish, amour takes longer to arrive to battle.
Defensive- Defense is generally easier to accomplish, though over time you will lose over attrition, it is a better way to keep your bases while you allow the rest of the zerg to push forward or defend with you. The benefits of Defense, is you can attain more BEP, it is an easier method, you retain benefits and bases. The negatives of defense would be that if you have no zerg support, you cannot take further bases. You will always lose by attrition if the other force works equally as hard as you.
Also if you have a considerably large force 20+ soldiers, I would almost always advise a Offensive or Defensive, role as taking too many troops away from the battle can be detrimental.
Special Operations- This is a very broad topic, and generally is the misc category. Because of such I cannot give a very good overview of how they work. Generally Spec ops can change the tides of battles, instead of just fighting solider one on one, you take out more strategic objectives. The downside to spec ops is that, you will generally be fighting the best of the best from the other empires; they also rely on yourselves entirely. Because the large amount of Spec ops operations available I shall give many commonly used ones.
1. Gen Blowing
2. Back Hacking
3. Tower Of Death (Can be used as a distraction)
4. Module Stealing
5. Base Draining
6. Ghost Hacking
7. Point Hold (For Bridges and other chokeholds)
8. Clown Car (AMS Bind and Transport)
9. Siege (Intentionally not capturing a base, while keeping pressure on it, Can also be used as a distraction)
10. ANT Running (Refilling a sieged base, using air transport)
By some there is considered to be a 4th type of Genre, with the release of Core Combat. I will explain such here.
Caverns- The caves can put forth many benefits and links to the surface, and can be a fun and engaging experience as opposed to the constant battles of the surface. Benefits of going into the caverns are Link and Modules to the surface, as well as a different play experience. Downsides of the caverns are that it takes troops away from the main battle; many people have a strong distaste for the caverns, and will refuse to go there, so generally before I call a target to the caves I take a vote, see who likes them and who doesn’t.
Now on a personal note I would like to ask this question every time I pick a target. “Will we change the battle?” Will what I’m doing right now actually matter, meaning gaining land, helping my fellow Vanu accomplish their objective, or simply pissing off the enemies. So I challenge you. Do things that matter. That is the most important line, of this entire document.
VII. Rules of Engagement CommanderPlayer is driving a galaxy into position above an AMP station for a resecure, along the way there are multiple enemy ground targets that on their way to the base, the tail gunner, with his itchy trigger finger fires upon them. Spark achieves target, drops his troops, which all die upon reaching the ground…
What the gunner did not know is that these prowlers moving into position are also on communications with the defenders inside the CC. The TR commander, once hearing this information then goes outside brings up his Orbital Strike reticule and prepares an orbital strike to be layed upon the CC drop area. By the time the Pack is on the ground it is already to late.
If ROE would have been instated before take off the gunner would not have fired on the prowlers below, and the TR inside would have not been notified. Because of these times rules of engagement are paramount. The 3 ROE that I tend to use are such.
- Green – Fire at Will
- Yellow – Fire if Fired upon
- Red – Fire if Engaged, (Meaning shot and followed, not someone takes a couple pop shots at you)
- Note If you know you will be fired upon/engaged it is also allright to begin firing first
VIII. Getting your Squads Attention
This is also a very important and crucial part of being a squad leader, getting and keeping your squad members attention. Without their attention your squad cannot effectively function. Generally the best way to attain attention is through teamspeak.
If you have squad members not on teamspeak send them a tell politely asking them to log on. Make sure it is polite, as the Squad Leader you want the be authoritative, however make them feel as if they want to follow your orders.
Once they are on teamspeak, first give the order with dominating authority, be the only one speaking, and explain the entire plan, also thank the squad for their attention.
If this does not attain their attention, explain the significance of the squad, and their plan to the overall battle. This in all honesty rarely works, however you need a medium between suggestion and punishment.
Punishment should be the last resort, only if you have been verified to give this response by the overall commanding officer. Give the players a reasonable time limit (5 Minutes for Recall) and state if what you ask is not completed in this time, they shall be kicked from squad until they wish to work together.
IX. Preparing for Battle
Preparation is also something that I would find evidently helpful in the tactical side of the battle. The first thing to note is the difference between strategy and tactics. Strategy, according to Webster’s is relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them. Tactics however, is the changing tide of the battle and how you will go about achieving these goals, for instance what hallway you will take to hack the CC. Generally vehicles and weapons and organized prior to the assault to suffice for strategy, to know what you must accomplish, however one must be aware of the skills and personalities of their soldiers to account for tactics.
Now to begin the Battle Process.
The first thing, after gathering all information needed, you should thoroughly explain how the plan should be intended to work. Make sure you explain the finest details as the most people should need to know the plan.
If necessary for your plan, divide your squad up into fire teams, so they can do different jobs on a moments notice, make sure they all know what fire team they are.
Next, is to have everyone attain the correct equipment for the job needed, if you are leading newer players, I would advise a visual check on them, if more experienced I would leave them be to decide what they need.
After that, you should have your vehicles prepared. If using transport vehicles this should not be much of a concern other than to repair and rearm your vehicles. If you are primarily running armor columns, make sure all of your squad members know that they should have glue guns and glue in their trunks.
Next, depending on time I would advise using a vehicle load up procedure. They look very professional, and can be useful for organization into vehicles. A Vehicle load up procedure would be lining up in the hallways into which positions you will load into so there is no confusion, this should only be done if there is excess time as it is meant to save a few seconds between bases.
While the vehicles are loading up you should then have some time to do a few Squad Leader operations, firstly place any waypoints and battleplans BEFORE you leave, also if no homebase is set it is wise to set, one because there is no penalty for having a homebase it is always a good idea to have one set. It is also a good idea to go over your procedures and how communications will work as well as your personal rules of engagement
Before you leave, do one last map check, make sure everything is still how it used to be you might need to make a change last minute.
Issue Order “Move Out”
Preparation for battle does not end until you officially reach your target. If your target is to hack Rehua, you are still preparing until get to the CC and have it hacked, in reality you are always in a preparation stage.
Therefore the next stage of your battle is getting to the target location, I would recommend looking at the map for quite some time and going to certain locations so you can learn the topography of maps and decide what vehicles can pass over which terrain, and what terrain might provide you with the most cover.
What you want to attain in transportation is a combination of two things. Firstly the safety of your troops combined with time. If it will take 10 seconds to take a bit safer of a route it is generally well accepted. If it will take longer than 30 seconds it is most times not worth it.
Once you arrive to your target, there are a couple procedures you must do. All of these procedures are generally for building assaults, not for field battles.
1. I institute battle chat upon arrival to target.
2. Have the hacker determined before you get to the door. (If on offence)
3. Reinstitute morale by increasing your chatter over communications “Get Ready to slaughter those NC pigs” stuff like that will increase morale and make your soldiers a tad more responsiveness
4. Have the vehicle as close as possible to target (unless said plan has the vehicles further out), give them the least amount of chance to target and kill your soldiers before you get in the door
5. Have Pilot/Driver kick all men out of vehicle when you arrive.
6. Get Inside, Repair if time permits and is necessary.
7. If you no longer need the vehicles you used to get to target, deconstruct them when they have no more use. Those vehicles might give information, such as force size to the enemy.
Now, your squad is to desired vicinity, yet the fighting has only just begun. You now must use your tactical skill to move your men from the insertion point to the target. If I had any suggestions on how to do this I would say
- Use the least expected method
- Think about survivability first, then target. If you don’t survive, you can’t reach the target.
- Keep everyone calm when things get hot, if the begin screaming, you scream once to make yourself noticed, then make your voice very soft as for them to decrease their own volume to hear you.
- Splitting up your forces can be useful, but only do it if you know there are effective leaders in both fire teams.
- If you can utilize recourses without taking any damage yourself do it
- Promote Cover, tell your men to use it when advancing into hostile territory; it slows your squad down about 20%, however it might save their lives.
This is a very touchy subject with many people, as people do not like to admit failure. Yet very often this will be the case. It happens because of many reasons, sometimes because of commander error, other times because the enemy was better prepared then you were. This does not mean your job cannot be done. Accept it and move on.
If it was your fault, admit it, think of a counter plan. And continue moving. If the enemy was more prepared than you, give them credit, they did a good job, remind your troops to watch for that thing from now on, and to use it. A good tactic is a double-edged sword, when you use a great one, the enemy learns it as well.
Most importantly, give yourself 10 seconds to remorse over your loss; then keep going at it. Do not stop moving or your troops will lose faith in you, the loss was a heavy morale blow in the first place without their commander flaking out.
If you are attempting the same plan again, make sure you counter the mistakes made. Try something different every time, or they will be even more prepared.
XIII. Objective Reached
Once the objective is reached it is paramount to still keep your men on their toes, Make sure they are still around of their surroundings even while securing an objective. For Instance of the Tower CC is being hacked, you should not be repairing, wait until the objective is complete before you issue any reparation order.
For CC defense, I would advise using a cross-fire method. Cross-firing is the action when 2 people coming from different angles converge their fire action on a single location. This is beneficial for multiple reasons than a hold-the-line technique. The first, and most important reason it generally works better is because it causes confusion in the enemy troops, If an entire squad were to rush into a dropship center crossfire defense, the commander of the opposing squad, unless has extremely tight and quick control of his troops, should not be able to give a firing order, confusing and having the enemy fire in different directions, making it easier for our troops to concentrate fire. Another advantage for crossfire’s is that it generally can reduce the effects of the enemy using thumpers and Special Assault, this is most useful in generator holds. You do not need a large amount of people for a crossfire as well, generally 6 soldiers can create an effective crossfire in any situation. 4 soldiers shall stay in the traditional hold-the-line defense formation, while the other 2 shall stay together to move into a separate position.
Another defensive formation I would advise is very cloak and dagger, It is primarily a trap. This trap is only usually quite effective in Bio Labs and Amp stations. In Bio Labs position all of your troops in the middle quadrant on the wings to the CC, In the Amp station position your troops along the outside edge of the walls, none directly in front of door, and position them behind small bunkers to provide cover. Make sure you are not seen, or that no one fires a shot until the enemy has clearly had a chance to see your force. The major advantage of this plan is surprise. In fact the way I discovered this formation is by an enemy using it on me myself, without expecting resistance from preliminary reports I rushed my squad inside. We were all dead before we knew what happened, my entire squad was eliminated.
XIV. Idle Time
Generally between base hacks there is a certain amount of time where nothing is to be done, while many think that during this time the squad leader should be doing nothing, he would be wrong. Leading a squad means you have control and should promote organization, strategy, tactics, and discipline, however the squad leader should also be friendly and promote group bonding.
In Idle time encourage conversation, they’ve just accomplished something for the empire and now this is there time for a bit of a break, start up a conversation, If there is no speaking by anyone, bring up other MMO’s or the Next Gen MMO’s you will always have a conversation topic from these.
Make sure your soldiers still have their weapons out however and are slightly aware for any quick assaults that might take place on the base.
At about 8 minutes to hack you should also begin thinking about your next target, I generally put out targets for public debate as I know Im not the only intelligent person in my squad. Remember however it is your decision; squad members are simply there to give you advice.
At 2 Minutes until hack I generally institute battle chat and thoroughly explain the plan, get them back in the disciplined state they were in 15 minutes ago. Decide who shall repair base if no reliable non-outfit engineers are at location. Announce that you shall move out at exactly 20 seconds on hack.
At 20 seconds tell your soldiers to move out that second. The enemy can no longer resecure and its 20 seconds you can save loading up for the next base. It also looks very impressive to see a large amount of AT soldiers moving down the hallways at the same time.
XV. Common Problems with Squad Leaders
I am making aware some very common problems with new and old squad leaders alike, hopefully you can be more aware of these yourself and attempt to relieve these symptoms.
1. Arrogance (Not Listening to squad member ideas, expecting squad members to know every bit of information they do about game mechanics)
2. Pushover (Allowing squad members to do whatever they want, zerging around unorganized)
3. Inflexible (Sticking with tactics they are familiar with, not trying new ideas)
4. Dictator (Does not allow for any other person to speak, has an extremely large control complex, does not allow “down” time. Generally anger suited)
5. Inexperienced (Makes bad strategic and tactical decisions, just step down for a bit, learn some from the older guys, you’ll get there in time. Note I am not stating all new players make bad decisions and older players do not, everyone makes bad and good decisions collectively.)
6. Irritable (Angered Easily, Not particular friendly)
7. Disorganized (Thoughts aren’t conveyed clearly)
Hopefully some of these can help you make sure you do not become them. Remember; be Authoritative, Attentive, Experienced, Coherent, Friendly, and Organized.
Now, you may have been bleeding out of your eyes for this massive guide, however I applaud you and will give you a nice big cookie. Reading this guide shows that you have the will to become an officer, you have the will to be a leader, and that you want to advance yourself. Thank you, you now know in theory most of what I know about being a squad leader.