Everyone agrees that cooperation in PvP is key to winning. But, getting a team of Gulch-hippies to cooperate will often seem like herding cats. Everyone is pulling in their own direction and everyone tries to be a general, so how do you turn this around? How do you get a PuG PvP group to cooperate?
Based on a series of different attempts in the Gulch in 10-19 bracket I have compiled a list of tips. I am sure they wont apply to all BGs or grouping situations, but I don’t think they will ever hurt.
Setting the scene: If you want credit, take credit for wins and losses
The Greedy Goblin did some “experiments” in 10-19BGs.He came to the conclusion: When I lost it was cause the rest of my team sucked. When I won it was because I was doing something right. Even though twinking and Gulch strategies is clearly outside Gevlons field of expertize, I found his attitude resonating with how people speak of PvP and grouping in general. Its always someone elses fault. This is ofcourse, only a partial truth. As pointed out, others failing more then you is simply cause there are more of “them” then you, and in such its statistically more likely that “they” will screw up rather then you.
Facilitating groupplay should not be confused with beeing social or handing out winning games to unskilled players. The fact is simple: Get cooperation to work and you are more likely to win. In such, cooperation is a goal for any group. If you plan on winning, the best way is to make sure your team is all pulling in the same direction. Dont see it as a necessary evil, see it as part of the challenge.
The point is quite simple: To get cooperation, you need to facilitate it. You dont have to lead anything (actually I would recommend you dont try to be another general), you just have to play your part in the team and help others do the same.
For this I will instruct a stereotypical fictional player, lets call him Bob. He has a semi twinked rogue, and he’s had a hard time in BGs. Noone listenes to him when he suggest strategies, he dies alot and he dont have friends to do premades with. He is not a bad player, but he just dont seem to get it quite together. He thinks the BGs are filled with retards, and if they only would listen to him they would win alot more. He’s the kind of player that reads Gevlons post about twinking and goes “Right on man, thats exactly how it is!”.
1) Action speak louder the words
Bob wants to team up so to get support and he tells people in /bg when he is charging – asking for other players to team up. It happens every blue moon that he gets a few players together, but for the most part he is left to his own devices. What Bob is failing to see here is that if he want people to team up with him, he needs to make it easy for them to team up. That means that instead of shouting about how they are on the wrong side of the field, he needs to go to where they are and ensure that they stay alive. Not aiming for killstealing, just tipping the edge in their favour (a stun, debuff, cc goes along way), so that after his teammates are done fighting it will be natural to continue to fight together.
If Bob wanders across the field and yells to people that he needs help, he is ignoring that the other players probably have their hands full. By going to them first, ensuring a win in that skirmish he is communicating quite clearly that he is a team player. Much better then a “FFS team up gais!!!” in /bg. Action does speak louder then words in groups where you have no way of knowing who is worth teaming up with. So when Bob wants to team up for a proper team effort, the first step is for him to team up with someone. Not the other way around.
2) If you want specific, be specific
Bob thinks he can get the flag back by stealthing into the enemy base and hopping the enemy flag carrier (EFC). Stealth is the key word here, so he dont want the rest of the team with him. Another rogue however would make things alot better. Bob then types in /bg “Going 4 flag, one more rogue come”. A few minutes later he finds himself at the EFC quite alone, and is not able to retrieve the flag. Didnt the other rogues read his message in /bg?
The other rogues did read /bg, but they all presumed that it was not about them. Matticus pointed out that this as the bystander effect: the more people are present, the less likely they are to intervene. The other rogues simply thought they had other more important jobs (defending the flag carrier, thinning out midfield or whatever) and thought that someone else would do it. What Bob needs to do is pick out the person he wants to go together with and use the wonderful command /whisper. With that he can coordinate where they should meet, where they will attack, who will attack what etc, but most importantly – he will know if that person has any intentions of coming with him.
3) Inform, dont command.
Bob is starting to come around to my way of thinking, but he is adamant that /bg is there for a reason and it needs to be used. I couldnt agree more, the problem is that /bg is often used in a non productive way and is too often expected to have a clear and visible effect. Bob tells how often he has taken the flag and used /bg chat to say “Flag carrier needs support!!” when he was attacked. Noone answerd, and when the opposing team cought up to him he was dead meat.Why didnt they come to his aid?
Point 1) and 2) aside, when using /bg Bob needs to write things that will help other players do their job well. Information such as “FC going tunnel” or “EFC on roof” or “EFC supported by priest and druid” is useful for other players, it will help them assess their own situation better as well as getting the bigger picture of how the battle is going. After all there is only so much of the field you can see, as well as read out from map and healthbars.
4) Dont presume they are in it to ruin your game
Bob tends to attribute failure to a personal vendetta against him. He will often verbalized in BGs through comments such as “gg on support guys….” or on bad days “FFS!!! WHY DIDNT I GET NY HELING?!!!??”. What Bob is failing to see is that not every move is made by a mastermind, with an ultimate purpose – but its usually for a reason. Just cause that reason wasnt visible to Bob, doesnt mean that it wasnt there. So the healer that was behind him before he charged wasnt there after the charge. Was it to insult Bob or to ruin his charge? Unlikely. Perhaps the healer saw someone else who needed help, perhaps she got attacked, perhaps her giraffe was set on fire IRL and she had to go AFK. Point is, Bob dont know either way and he cant change the past – so he should not get annoyed by it.
Thinking that it is always someone elses fault when things fail will never cause good group play, even though it is the truth. The point is that the scoreboard wont care whos fault it is. Using /bg to take it out on people will only distract the team, and its not worth it.
5) Identify key players, and stick with them
Its an obvious one, and I think even Bob understood this one without too much of an explenation. If your BG is filled with names you dont know (as trying to remember the names of players you have had succes with will make this alot easier), using the scoreboard + raid frames (healthpool is a good indication) to find key players in the team is important. You dont want to end up supporting the keyboardturning paladin with 250 hp. He is not irrelevant, but probably not the one that is going to win you the game.
Some times Bob might be that key player, some times he wont be. To make it work he needs to understand when he is the one people should follow (and thus wait up for them before charging, talking to a healer to back him up etc), and when he should follow others and willingly sacrifice himself so that they key players can keep on fighting.