Rant: RvR - Not One Step Back!
Order 227 was issued by the Soviet High Command and Stalin during World War 2 to deal with cowards on the battlefield. Order 227 was read out to all troops in the Russian armed forces and here are the critical parts of the order...
"And so the time for retreating is over. Not one step back! That must now be our watchword.
Is there something we lack? We lack order and discipline. This is our main shortcoming. We must establish the strictest order and iron discipline in our army if we want to rescue the situation and defend our Motherland. Panickers and cowards will be eliminated on the spot. Commanders of companies, battalions, regiments and divisions, along with their commissars and political workers, will be considered traitors to the Motherland if they retreat without orders from above.”
I have been recently playing Warhammer Online and have been spending a fair amount of my time doing overworld RvR now that I am 40. The game is built around massive combat between the realms, so it has become more common to see giant bloodbaths in places like Praag. I have seen a behavior pattern that I find disturbing that I have seen in previous MMOs, and I am sure both realms are suffering from it.
You are in your warband marching into battle when you encounter an equal size warband of the enemy team. There is a moment where you see each other and time seems to slow to a halt as the realization hits you that a battle is imminent and unavoidable. In this moment of truth, someone from the other team finds his balls while your comrades are still feeling in there pockets trying to find their yambags, and they start charging forward towards you. For some unexplainable reason, this man inspires the fear of God into your team and they start to retreat!
What the hell is the logic behind this? You both have the same number of people. You both were looking for a fight. You both are facing each other head on. All things being equal, you had the same chance of winning as they did. Now your army will be ran down like animals and scattered into the wind.
Is it confidence that inspires fear? This is the same type of behavior we see nature between animals when one animal scares off an entire pack, or how a mouse can spook an elephant. As it turns out, elephants may not be scared of mice, but scared by sudden movements (depending on who you ask).
I play a Shadow Warrior which is by most accounts a back row class. From my point of view, I will be traveling with my warband or group until we encounter a group. Often times I my initial reaction will be to calmly step to the back of the ranks to allow the tanks to receive the brunt of incoming attack like they are designed to do, and to give myself the range I need to be effective. Naturally other back row classes, specifically healers, are also inclined to position themselves at the rear of the warband to avoid being damaged so they can keep the front line classes alive.
I suspect what happens is that front line classes in the warband see half of their force backing up and think they are fleeing, when in actuality they are repositioning. The front liners start to freak out when they see the opposing side advancing and the rest of their team backing up. Panic sets in and they turn and run. The back row watches the front row flee, then they in turn start to flee. The next minute or two consists of you and all your friends being rounded up like cattle and put down.
We need RvR Order 227. No army ever wins an RvR fight in any MMO with their backs to the enemy. Now don't get me wrong, there are times where you are faced with hopeless odds and running may be the best course of action. People who wander off on their own are likely to encounter superior numbers. When you have even a decent sized force, I'd wager you are more likely to get more kills by standing your ground, then try to flee and being killed anyways without any resistance. Regardless, this is something I see all the time from my experience so far in Warhammer and previous MMO's I have played. I suspect there are many other out there like me who do a collective facepalm on a regular basis from being the victim of this phenomenon.
Co-Leader of Inquisition