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kittikat

Making the Mental Transition From PubGames to CW

Question

So a thing that's been bugging me lately and I'm noticing a lot in CW: I tend to really derp it up sometimes.

A lot more so than I do in Pub Matches.

I *think* I know where the problem lies, but my issue is what do you guys do in similar situations?

Also, wasn't really sure how to phrase this question (so much clearer in my mind, but I can't seem to translate it into fingerwords) so be gentle with me! (or else I'll change your title to "Is a Belieber" :P )

Anyhow, I'll start off with Pub Matches:

Whether I'm solo or in a plat, I usually have a good idea of where to go based on the tank I'm in. I am mostly reactionary in Pubs, watching the minimap and trying to forecast what's going to happen on each flank as the battle progresses and moving myself (and sometimes my platoon) accordingly.
I feel pretty competent in Pub Matches doing so.

 

When it comes to CWs though, I potatoe. A lot.
Or at least I feel that I do.

To clear it up, I'm not a caller. I can't wrap my head around both calling and being effective in my tanks at the same time. It's usually one or the other, something I'm assuming will correct itself with time and experience (but that's a whole nother topic).

The problem I seem to have is that my cognitive reasoning seems to evaporate when someone is calling the matches. I perform woodenly and "Do as Directed" which seems to completely override my ability to conform to the battle like I do in Pubs. And by woodenly, I mean that I feel more robotic and one-track-minded in completing the task given to me by the FC. And when things differ than planned (which always happens, of course) I find myself second-guessing/torn between doing what I FEEL I should do, or asking if I should do it. And by the time I decide one or the other, I'm already behind the ball.

For instance, say I'm in a Batchat, being told to hold the east flank with a T62a and perhaps a heavy.
West flank starts getting pummeled heavily by what appears to be 10-13 of the enemy.

My initial reaction is to tell the T62a and heavy to stay while I go back, since I'm the faster of the three of us and could help burst down at least one enemy tank on the west side.

But then my OTHER reaction is to ask if I should come to the west side (it seems apparently obvious to me I should be there, but the FC may not think so/has other plans) or maybe even not move from my post at all until I'm requested (but then what if the FC is too embroiled to realize he has unused assets on the other flank).

 

I guess my biggest concern is, with your experience in CWs, do you listen to your gut and just "YOLO HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAY!! -Oh, btw, FC, I'm coming to you" or do you stay stoic in your duty to stand your post until called?
 

As I said, many times I have paused debating internally which option to do, which to me is an even bigger waste of time and value.

 

And I know, "Certain situations differ with the choices you'll make" but I'm wondering as a whole, which happens more often with you guys.

 


Oh, and apparently, being a mod makes this thread auto-approve? Sorry about jumping the line -.-

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I never assume my Field Commander can think for 14 other tankers. Their job is to provide the group a vision (not literal vision control) and the then its up to the group to execute. So I do what I think I should do, and so far its worked out, even if isn't explicitly what I was initially instructed to do. As long as you aren't baiting your teammates or giving up a crossfire preserving a key tank, the right move in a pub is usually the right move in CW is usually the same as the right move in a pub, provided you have 'complete' information. 

 

But I don't run a ton of CW battles due to play-time conflicts, so theres probably better answers. 

 

And I don't often listen that well anyways, Ziddy always has to ask me what I am doing, especially in training as I "explore". 

 

However, I think really good team performance still requires a fair amount of autonomy, especially on the part of the scouts and flex force leaders. 

 

However, back when, when I played Counter-Strike, I used to get that wooden mental feeling you're talking about, where an issued order or request would cause me to seize and become little more useful than a roll of the dice. The solution I found to this was:

 

  1. Get better instincts
  2. Listen to them

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I often run into the same issue.  I tend to turn the brain off way too often in CW.  I know the strat, I usually understand how I fit into it, but the fear of screwing up and costing us a battle turns me in to a robot. 

 

For me, I think a lot of it depends on my respect for the FC.  I have no issue at all with overriding calls on one of Major Rampage's TCs, but would probably drive straight off of a cliff if a SIMP FC ordered it. 

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For me, I think a lot of it depends on my respect for the FC.  I have no issue at all with overriding calls on one of Major Rampage's TCs, but would probably drive straight off of a cliff if a SIMP FC ordered it. 

 

I have tremendous respect for some of the PBKAC FC's I've worked with: Ziddy, B0B_Ross and sr360, but at the same time, no matter how experienced or talented they might be, the mental task of microing 14 tanks is beyond all of them. No one is that capable, nor can anyone have the information I see on my screen. So I just do what I think is right. However if I am making a different move, I will make it known on TS. This is easier with slower-playing stuff, rather than the heat of the moment swings though. 

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TELL THEM!

 

Tell them you are coming back. Tell them that side is secure.

 

Ask for orders, "West flank secure, flank middle fight or go cap?".

 

I got derped down the middle road on fijords last night. Right into my "flex force". (so much for a flex strat... they literally derped into us) I ordered my 1 batchat in the north to go "cap or kill arty". I then got busy fighting. 2 minutes later he is dead... I don't know why.. he never said anything. As we clean up the tail end of their derp (I let the 1st 4 or 5 of them sprint to our cap. Go... go cap E100s.... I will deal with you later. Thank you for not shooting  us while we kill 6 of your friends) I order everyone to hurry to our cap and kill the ones we let through because I see the 4 mediums that killed our batchat coming in on our flank. We outrun the flank force, kill the ninnies on cap then turn and maul the flank force. Separate thrusts must control the timing on the engagement or you lose in detail.

 

I would have liked to know those 4 mediums were there. What I REALLY would have liked if our batchat had the sense to go, "Gee... I know he said 'go kill arty' but there are 4 pattons here. Maybe I should fall back and LET THE FC KNOW WHAT I FOUND!!!"

 

 

I'm not GOD.... I'm slightly better at seeing the big picture than you are... that is why I am FC and you aren't. Following my orders down in flames means I made a bad call and you are Stupid.

 

 

There are times I send people to their death. I preface those orders with, "Push in, no stopping. This is the main effort". At all other times, you should feel free to break off a bad engagement. My style of FCing is to create an over match for you... in either position or numbers, or both. Suiderping on the attack into hull down tank that OUTNUMBER YOU, is not what I want you to do.

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I don't call much anymore, but the short answer to the question is: it depends.

 

The job of the caller is to look at the overall picture. However, he may not have all the information he needs to make the correct decision. You can feed him the information if you feel it is necessary (though avoiding information overload is important-- it is important to know that your scout is lit, for example, but if you are in a blob of tanks you don't ALL need to announce "I'm lit"). I would not want my tanks switching flanks without instruction, but autonomy to accomplish what they are tasked to do is acceptable. In kitti's example, if I have a Bat on a flank, it's because I need the Bat on that flank. If I want that Bat to switch flank, I'll ask him to switch flanks. But if he leaves his previous spot and they derp a scout through and we lose arty as a result, you'll have (1) several pissed off arty players and (2) an FC who's not going to play you anymore.

 

I have had one player (old-timers from PBKAC will remember) who decided their personal initiative was superior to the setup we'd decided on in training. This individual pushed up further than I had requested in a key tank, got blasted because he was not covered from arty or team mates, and we are suddenly down an E4 3 mins into the match. Back when I was calling, I would spent hours poring over the map, then exploring the map with a couple of scouts and arty players, figuring out arty safe zones and angles, lines of fire and vision, and which terrain was suitable for what maneuvers. It was very time intensive, and is one of the reasons I don't call much anymore. However, this approach meant that when I sited tanks, I sited them for a reason. I will acknowledge that not all callers are as meticulous.

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So it's either..

A: You have terrible leaders calling bad strategies which simply don't work.

B: You're not following the commands properly.

C: Your team does not exactly and precisely execute the strategy.

If I have faith in the abilities of the caller, then I'll stay put and just follow commands. If their competence is questionable, I'll need to move myself into different positions as the game progresses.

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From my experience in both watching/listening to other CW matches being played, and how we roll in our own, we want players to use their instincts first, and ask permission later. When it comes to the example situation, especially if it's just 1 tank shifting over from one flank to another with an overwhelming majority spotted, I would prefer to -not- need to say that to someone and have them able to react on their own. Generally, especially if the person/group making the action speaks up as they're doing it, if I have another plan for you, I can have you abort as soon as you let me know you're doing something. In this way, you react faster than I could have ordered you over, or whatever the case may be, and we end up with more tanks in the fight more quickly, thanks to reactions from a player's pub instincts.

 

The thing with this, is that this is something that will change clan to clan. Have a dialogue within the clan about how comfortable your FCs are with people acting on their own impulses in situations of great stress like the one you described. Each FC will probably have a different opinion about it, even if the difference is slight, and will prefer one reaction over another. 

 

The thing I'd want to stress, though, is that communication is key. There is no problem with you rolling across the map to help a weaker flank with crossfire/flanking, but indicate to your FC that you're doing so. If he's currently giving orders over TS, throw it in text-chat and then verbalize after he's done talking, so that he will still have an indicator that it's happening and can stop you early if he does need you where you are.

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Back when I was calling, I would spent hours poring over the map, then exploring the map with a couple of scouts and arty players, figuring out arty safe zones and angles, lines of fire and vision, and which terrain was suitable for what maneuvers. It was very time intensive, and is one of the reasons I don't call much anymore. However, this approach meant that when I sited tanks, I sited them for a reason. I will acknowledge that not all callers are as meticulous.

 

EXACTLY.

 

However, I think it is important to SHARE with your players why you made the decisions you did. Firing lines that may or may not get used in pubs, often are the life and death diff in a CW game.

 

 

I'm putting X here to deny this area and shoot at Y. The strength is this, the weakness is this, they can counter it with Z. If they do A,B, or C, ya'll will have to move/react/retreat.

 

 

SR, you have better players to command than I do, but even _I_ get really good players. When I get M-A's A squad, I am easily the worst tanker in the room. I have to give them the freedom to do the right thing. At the same time, they need to understand my plan and why its a good plan so that they don't decide, "Nah, Imma do something else" and break the plan. If they understand the fireing lines, the initial placement, and what I am trying to cause the enemy to do.... I don't even NEED to command unless things go pear shaped.

 

We pushed ACES shit in on Steeps with a team of green. They were all purple and blue. We played as a unit. They played like headless chickens. My team UNDERSTOOD my plan. I called for the flank engagements and got a response of, "yep, we moved out 2 seconds ago".

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I used to have the same experience, but honestly taking care of 14 other tankers is near impossible...

 

also, I used to be a FC (called nearly a hundred battles or so), and it's nearly impossible to micro manage, people will get confused, that's why now when I call for tournaments and stuff I will tell the people in my team, think for yourself, deal as much as you can, you can think for yourself.

 

as a caller, I can't really call beyond 4 groups, also in the situation you described, it matters how many tanks they have detected there, if you know where their whole teams are (basically all the enemy is detected, then move up at least and fire), but honestly it might be the FC's fault for not being able to say control 3 or less groups... either get a replacement, or react by pub knowledge.

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Its impossible to properly control any more than 3 groups of people in my opinion.

 

All members of your team needs to be observant and think independently as that when the going gets tough, they don't just sit around awaiting order like some typical RPG unit.

Whenever i lead, i always ask my members to improvise and only give them objectives, not how to accomplish them, i may give some suggestions, but in the end, it is up to them to do whatever they think is best.

 

Me:

"I want those tanks at X# encircled, you 4 Batchats go do it"

"I need you(62A) to spot the bridge, try conserve health cause i need your health for later"

"Ill need arty to hit behind the rock at X# ASAP"

 

As you can see, i only give objectives and is up to everyone else to try accomplish it, if is impossible, they would say "I don't know this spot you are talking about well enough" OR "I dont think i can come out of this alive but i can do something else".

 

Of course,this requires a lot of trust in the skills of your players and that they are capable of making the right choice.

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God, so it's not just me. My first forays into CW were horrible - I followed the caller's orders to an ABSOLUTE degree, even if it meant certain death. The caller told me to push, so I'll push! Right into these TDs! I find the best "style" of calling is one where the caller places trust in the ability of his players and just gives objectives rather than micromanagement. Having just read Carbon's post midway through typing this, I feel like he's exactly nailed it. As a player, all I can hope to do is interpret what the caller wants and then accomplish it with what I have available. If a caller says he needs some tanks dead or surrounded or whatever, you have to decide how to make that work. That's where the lessons you've learned in pub games or platoons or whatever come into play.

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   As an "Average" tanker the feeling was the same for me at first as well, albeit a bit less awkward to my "instincts" since i didn't have much of any more then 1500 games ago. Now the clans that I have done CW's with have usually just begun their fledgling push onto the CW's map, and thus have had less experience as a clan and less capable players as the clans you are all apart of (assuming here).

   And it definitely differentiates from clan to clan too. At this point my clan is on an almost 100% "As your commanded only" rule because of our tanker skill base. But I assume that the higher skilled/tiered clans have much more trust in their individual tankers to make acceptable decisions within their own abilities.

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Listen to them,even if their commands are in your idea stupid, because if you don't commit with other people, you're just going to make a bad situation worse.

Like forcing 5 t57s downinto town is obviously a bad idea, but if like only 3 go in, the other 2 are gonna watch the 3 die, and accomplish nothing, because they didn't commit.

 

That said, if the fcs trust you, they will generally let you do whatever. Like whensomeone in kittehs fcs that I have platooned with, they let me freeroam a bit, especially in the bat. Certain tanks have more liberties, arty typically can play how it wants to, most scouts do their own runs and choose when they wanna go light/delight. Heavy tanks usually camp until the push is called.

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As a caller, I prefer that my team does not run willy nilly all over the place. I trust that they know how to handle the prcise situation that I place them in, but would rather that they didn't act entirely autonomously because they don't always have all the information. 

 

As a player, Yoott did most of our calling in LMF before he moved on. He very much wanted you to wait until he asked you to move, he didn't want you to take initiative, and you know that worked very well.  But at the same time he knew that you knew how to handle your tank.

 

As for teh deadened feeling, I think that tends to go hand in hand with Clan Wars. My understanding of Clan Wars is that a clan is supposed to work as a team, unfortunately I believe that this limits individual creativity, but does allow for a better response from the team as a whole. I doubt that the feeling will entirely go away, but I imagine that eventually you get use to the feeling and either end up ignoring it or not letting it bother you.

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Wow, really enjoying these insightful replies. This really is helping to open my eyes to my responsibilities and flex with CWs.

 

I'm thinking I have my answer, but would love to hear more from others about this as well.

 

Thanks a ton!! :D
 

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Sometimes you're turned into tater salad due to no fault of your own really because of the intense effects of an opponent's focused fire picking you first out of a group. You're executing the maneuver properly with your group but you're just lucky enough to be targeted first and there really isn't much you can do about that sometimes.

 

You also usually won't produce as many high damage/high kill battles in CW if your team is all distributing damage output in a coordinated manner so your expectations have to be different than when pubbing.

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