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commander role

SloanSloan Member Posts: 104 ★★

I tried the CO role for the first time yesterday, and found it was rather difficult to use. Some issues may be lack of familiarity (so maybe more intuitive UI?), others seem like they warrant larger changes:

1: I cannot easily see where every member of a given squad is. This means that I cannot figure out which squad would be the appropriate one to ask to secure a flank, or has a suitable number of people in a position to assault something. I would like some way select an entire squad to quickly see where all the squad members are.

2: I couldn't figure out how to give a squad a move/attack/defend marker directly, like I can with fireteam leaders in my own squad. I was limited to the circle-and-arrow thing which lacks a lot of the meaning that I wanted to convey. Something more like an objective mark for each squad would work better IMO - the team has flags as shared objectives, each squad could have their own additional CO-provided objective.

3: The map markers were difficult to find. I know there is an enemy front-line marker but couldn't find it during the round. Would make more sense to have either all CO-only markers in a CO-only menu area, or all markers in the same area with some only visible to the CO. The inconsistency in where the markers are found was really confusing.

4: Map markers seem quite limited. There is northing to mark out different sectors/AOs for different groups of squads (to try to avoid the human-wave-style mass of people all running over the same hill or using the same alleyway to reach a flag), maybe platoon or company boundary lines for that to help squads coordinate between themselves? Maybe also some field-of-fire and ranging markers for friendly and enemy static points? Maybe a set of arbitrarily-shaped region markers (bezier spline ring, let me set/insert/remove/move the control points) - friendly/enemy/unknown varieties - this could even just be a closed form of a unit boundary line?

Note the company and battalion boundary markers here, having things like that on the map could make it easier for squads to coordinate.

5: (a bit more minor) The front-line marker is not intuitive to use, picking the centre point and then an end is not a normal way of drawing a line. Clicking on each end is more intuitive. Would also help to be able to move existing lines as the front moves, and use multiple connected segments (or splines) to better fit the terrain.

6: My first impression is that the workload seems too high; I don't really see how I could simultaneously make use of the UAV, coordinate an offensive/defensive action, arrange for new strategic FOs, and send support (either infantry, armour, or indirect fire) to key places in a timely manner. This isn't including any squad-leading stuff at all. It seems like the CO would be better as a dedicated role with a dedicated person manning the UAV - and no squad to control directly.

7: There doesn't appear to be much strategic thought needed for the indirect fire stuff, you just use it when available or you don't. Would be more interesting to be able to use an arty strike (pick one or N patterns) and an airstrike (pick one of N payloads) at the same time, but with the restriction that you must wait longer in order to do so. Then you either use single strikes when available, or save up for a bigger strike. Or, be able to wait a while and then use multiple strikes with a much smaller delay between them.


  • 3S_Moe3S_Moe Member Posts: 155 ★★

    It seems like the CO would be better as a dedicated role with a dedicated person manning the UAV - and no squad to control directly.

    You nailed it. The CO should not be a squad lead. If you get promoted to CO, you should leave your squad entirely and not even be a character on the map, and all you should get is a nice big map with all the cool CO stuff that only a CO should have access to.

  • GeebusGeebus Member Posts: 142 ★★

    I don't think that the commander should be removed from the field. That's too gamey for what should be platoon level leadership. Instead, make the command squad a 4-5 man squad that is geared towards a supporting role. Just enough players to perform logistics tasks, building fobs, running supplies but not enough to really be doing the fighting. That way, the commander can focus on actually commanding but not just be a guy staring at the deployment screen all game.

    I'd even role lock the command squad. Only give them access to riflemen and a medic kit. Go ahead and exclusively give them the combat engineers too to push it more towards its secondary role of building, rather than it just being the FOB hunting kit. I've even played around a little with the idea of making FOB building solely a command squad thing in order to push squads just a hair towards using vehicles for transport rather than everyone making their own personal FOB's. FOB spamming is a bit more limited when its only a single guy that can do it rather than a whole team.

  • GeebusGeebus Member Posts: 142 ★★

    Yep OP, its already hard enough to try to actually command when teams aren't used to someone filling that role as is but the lack of actually useful tools to streamline that is a bit of a pain. I often run into similar issues with the game's map markers and wish they just used standard NATO markers instead.

    We definitely need your first suggestion. The way I'd do it is to copy how ARMA 3 shows squads. You just click on the SL and lines connect all his subordinates. Here is a quick image that illustrates:

  • That Luke guyThat Luke guy Member Posts: 4 Civilian

    Came here to keep this alive, playing commander and squad leading is not fun. No one makes fobs, no one wants to follow squad lanes or set up. They want to do their own thing until you got a good gun fight started then they will mass spawn at the one hab and charge leaving their logi halfway across the world. We need to really start finding ways to keep good squad leaders interested in the game

  • 3S_Moe3S_Moe Member Posts: 155 ★★

    I really like your ideas here. I can totally see what you mean about the command squad being used more for logistic, fob building, special tactical things like laying minds. And I agree with you, the only way that is going to happen is if a "Command" squad limits the kits available to it. If there was a clearly defined set of roles for a command squad, and it was pre-built, pre-defined, and team members could join it even if an "SL" hadn't been selected yet, that would be interesting. It would also be interesting if that command squad somehow had priority over say logis or other support assets, or maybe the engineer could carry more land mines, etc. That could bring a whole new dynamic and really reinforce that the command squad is meant to support and lead/organize. Not sure how to actually flesh that type of thing out in game play, but the idea as a whole would be interesting.

  • SloanSloan Member Posts: 104 ★★

    Tried CO again last night, many of the points in the 1st post still applied:

    • Work-load is way too high: I could either use the UAV, or coodinate squads, or try to understand what the enemy team was doing, or lead my squad. I couldn't do all 4 at the same time. I ended up ignoring the UAV, not really leading my squad (so that's a large fireteam or full squad out of action immediately), and still did not have enough time to coordinate my team (8 subordinate units with different & changing capabilities) and understand/react to the enemy. https://forums.joinsquad.com/discussion/815/more-structured-chain-of-command would really help deal with many of those issues.
    • The majority of my time was spent looking at the map, being on the battlefield was just an annoying distraction - no time to understand the situation on the ground, cannot coordinate anything in any meaningful detail at any physical location because it was more important to deal with team-level strategy. I actually didn't notice whether I was wounded or not on more than one occasion. A CO not being on the map would work better IMO - as a CO the weapons you deploy are the squads & vehicles of your team and indirect fire support, not individual sandbags/hesco bunkers or your rifle/grenades.
    • As a result of not being able to see where squads are I had to randomly pick squads to shift between offence/defence. This is largely ineffective as it slows down our ability to respond to the enemy and probably irritates the SLs because I can't provide objectives or intel that they are appropriately placed to assault or otherwise exploit. A squad currently in a firefight to slow the enemy should not be pulled off the line to move back and defend, but I didn't have enough information to tell what each squad was actually doing and lacked tools to effectively communicate intent as quickly as I needed anyway. The single biggest improvement here would be to highlight each squad on the map when I select them, and the ability to give them markers/objectives would also help a lot.

    This was all with a good team, too: everyone on the objectives, each squad able to manoeuvre to engage targets from multiple different directions at the same time, squads willing to fall-back and defend when flags were vulnerable, armour acting to directly support our infantry, nobody building or spawning on FOs that were well away from the front-lines, functioning logistics & transport to keep our positions reasonably well supplied, the team avoided over-stretching when we ran into the main body of the enemy team and massed on our flag to try to halt the enemy advance that was already in progress instead. On a mediocre or poor team all of the problems become way worse.

  • 3S_Moe3S_Moe Member Posts: 155 ★★

    All great points! The real take-away is, something different needs to be done with the Commander role. The #1 issue is being overloaded. I personally like the idea of the CO not being in charge of a squad and not even being on the map, but I do also see some of the points that Geebus brings up and they are very valid.

    Right now it seems like the most effective CO's with the current setup have been ones that have a VERY small squad in which the squad members are just running logi's, and then the CO stays back at main so they don't have to worry about being killed. They are then looking at the map the entire time, directing other SL's, calling in air strikes etc. The least effective CO's seem to be ones that have a full squad, are actively attacking points and are too distracted to lead the entire team. They are also too distracted to notice when the next air strike is available or pre-positioning another SL to call in tactical support, or working with another SL to get a new FOB setup, directing mortars, etc.

    OWI... feel free to chime in. Your continued silence is frustrating. If you aren't listening, then there is no reason for us to provide you with feedback.

  • SloanSloan Member Posts: 104 ★★

    The span of control is still the main issue that I'd have with that. I've found that I can't reasonably coordinate a team even when ignoring the UAV, myself, and my entire squad - just coordinating the team is too much to do. A span of about 2-4 works OK for squad & fireteam leading, but a typical span is about 9-12 for the CO. That all tells me there is a missing level: there should be something with a span of around 3-4 above squad leaders, then another with a span of not much more than 3-4 to coordinate the team, which together covers the current span of up to 12. What he suggested for the CO role is someting that I really think would work much better in an intermediate platoon-leader role, with more than one (but still a fairly small number) of those in the field.

  • grey275grey275 Member Posts: 10 Civilian

    I think you'd probably cause more problems than you'd solve with that level of hierarchy, but I definitely agree that commanding is a pain as it stands, and making the commander more than an elevated SL and giving him more ways to express his plan would go a long way.

    I would probably tackle the problem from the other end by reducing the number of squads that need to be created. Often there are a bunch of small extraneous squads that either shouldn't exist or should be consolidated to improve comms. One way to do this would be to template out the squads that should be created for the match beforehand. I'll be intentionally vaugue here because there's a lot of ways this could be implemented but the basic idea is to have sensible defaults for squad composition baked into the game which players are expected to adhere to, and certain mechanics that help enforce it, like only allowing armor squads to use crewman kits, etc.

  • RackEmUp187RackEmUp187 Member Posts: 88 ★★

    I agree with Geebus.

    I don't think the command Role should leave the battlefield either. When I was with the command on real life. We were about a small group, and I think that's what the command needs. No bigger than four or five people

  • SloanSloan Member Posts: 104 ★★

    Some more recent observations:

    • Some COs will try to concentrate the entire team on defending a single point. It looks very much like they realise that they can't command multiple axes of advance and instead decide to treat the entire team as a single platoon with one objective.
    • On several occasions I've had my squad and 1-2 others on a point. In those situations I actually can feasibly understand that part of the fight in enough detail to make informed decisions and give reasonable orders.
    • The only methods to use the current CO role that I've found to be viable are to use the UAV to spot for mortars & other indirect fire, or to make no attempt to understand any part of the front in enough detail to give orders and just revert to occasional artillery strikes. The latter is very similar to just not having a CO at all.

  • ItchypantzItchypantz Member Posts: 24 Civilian

    Commanders quit and get voted out. What then? No commander. That's what. This is a game. Squad Commander has an interesting job: making something out of the chaos. Currently, the commander only has a few assets. They have long rearm intervals. There is plenty of time to get from one objective to another without compromising the commander responsibilities. I think you guys are all trying to do way too much. You cannot make 50 internet players do anything at all. To expect you can is foolish. I play commander all the time. I run 9 man squads. I usually win when I am commander. I succeed by using Command Chat often and speaking to SLs in a calm and informed manner. The game's logo is a chat bubble, after all. This game is about how you COMMUNICATE with others. I would like some better drawing tools, but to segregate the commander is to not have commanders or to have crappy Holier-Than-Thou commanders. It is a GAME. Relax. Enjoy.

    To the OP here, as you said, your discontent might be from a lack of experience. 😉

  • SloanSloan Member Posts: 104 ★★
    edited June 14

    The pattern I keep seeing is that poor teams can't benefit from a CO in the current form, great teams don't really need one, and mediocre teams often end up with a CO who has too much to do and just gets annoying. The only viable use seems to be to use the UAV for correcting mortar fire/helping the armour out and waiting around until you can use the one (or two) indirect-fire actions per round. Outside of the few teams that don't actually need a CO anyway it's generally not a role worth having.

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