Leading By Example
City of Heroes: Leading By Example
MMORPG.com City of Heroes Correspondent Michael Mcnutt writes this article giving players tips on leading a group in NCsoft's superhero game.
One of the greatest aspects of playing an MMO is the fact that you are never alone in your endeavors. The basic foundations of MMOs is the fact that more can be accomplished traveling with companions. Regardless of your agenda.
This brings us to the core of teaming: The leader.
In my 3 years of a life invested in City of Heroes/Villains, I have teamed with and led some of the greatest players in the world, despite their personal agendas, to glory, enthrallment and epic victories. The teaming part was easy. Just follow the leader and do your job. You just sit back, let the boss multi-task and set up the plot for destruction or arrest.
Now to say that the leader has a hard job would be an understatement. They have the hardest job of all. First comes the recruitment of a diverse team. A good leader will be very selective of which powersets will enable the best course of victory for his team with as little to no team wipes as possible.
When I lead my super powered motley crew, the first thing I need to establish is the fact that I want to earn their respect and although I may shoot laser beams from my eyes and my bio may contain references to the destruction of the world, I don't really have much of an ego.
We've all been there. Standing side by side with perfect strangers in crazy, outlandish costumes. Is the guy next to me actually wearing spandex? What's with the demonic chick with spikes coming out of her eyeballs? Fashion statements aside, these look like some pretty well equipped players. The last order barked out by the leader of this ragtag group.
The prompt responses from the anxious and impatient team. "Ready!!"
Chaos erupts. Bright lights embedded with energy are dispersed from glowing hands and eyes. Bodies flying in all directions. The sounds are deafening.
The blame game ensues, followed by excuses to help SG members, children in need of tending to, and Girlfriend-Aggro.
Team Wipe = disbanding.
Was it unavoidable or inevitable? Game glitch or poor planning?
Like any kind of leadership, whether it's your boss from work, your coach in school, or your father laying out the plans for not getting lost in Disney World, their main strengths lie within confidence and open-mindedness. And of course knowing what works in the mechanics of how the game is played.
Now no one wants to be micro-managed and told how to do their job, whether that's being the front man, the Tank or Brute, whose job it is to take aggro and the brunt of the alpha strike or it's the rest of the team who go about debuffing, healing, and laying the cosmic smack down.
But a well coordinated team needs to know their strengths and weakness and their leader has to have a basic understanding how his / her creative abilities best serve the team.
It's the leader's job after recruitment and mission setting to add input and strategic alignment to the opposing forces ahead.
Tanks or Brutes lead the pack and assert their destructive might, while defenders buff the team with heals and protective shields as they debuff the enemy of their accuracy and damage potential as Blasters and Corruptors mark their spot when they unleash their devastating energy blasts. Scrappers and Stalkers will precision their strikes, while the Controllers and Dominators lock down the opposing forces. Add in some Zombies, Robotic henchmen, Thugs, Ninjas, and Mercenaries to enact their dreaded clean sweep as the epics, the Kheldians, with their tri-forming powers of doom, accompanied by the Soldiers of Arachnos decimating all who stand In their way.
Now all of these ingredients compiled without order or communication foreshadows the inevitable "team wipe".
Like any kind of great relationship the core of stability is Communication.
Communication for the leader is essential for the whole team to be on the same page. Not only does the leader have to worry about success but keeping his entourage happy.
Some tips a leader of team can benefit from are:
- Know powersets- Reminding a Kinetics wielder that Speed Boosting other players allow their powers to recharge faster, meaning in case of trouble a defender with mass rez can get others back in the game by bringing them back to life as well as shortening the time it takes to recharge pet summoning and buffs and debuffs.
- Know the levels of the players, and make sure they are sidekicked/lackeyed. Everyone needs to be at or close to the same level to apply effectiveness.
- Inquire about experience - Just because someone's a level 50(lvl cap) doesn't mean they earned it. They could have been power leveled while they sat back and let everyone else do the work. Being a high level does not mean you're an experienced player.
- Listen to what your team mates are saying. If someone suggests pulling a mob instead of running full gorilla, be open-minded about this.
- Mission select - Have your missions ready at the end of the last one. Don't make people wait around for you to find a mish or select another's. If there is a little delay, throw out a team speak and let them know.
- Difficulty-Ask if everyone thinks the applied difficulty is too high or to low?
- Replenish your source-If some players bail for one reason or another, keep actively searching out for new people to join.
- Respect-Show it and earn it. Let your team know when they did something good or be direct, but respectful for pointing out something that could hinder their progress or cause teams wipe.
- If you are consistently forming teams and leading, make sure you have recall friend. It makes you look adept and prepared.
- Go that extra yard. Bring extra awakens in case death tolls arise. Be willing to part with some enrages if you're not tanking for the team.
I've been on teams that lasted 5 + hours, that ended only because of players being unable to keep their eyes open, and I've also been on teams that lasted no more than one mission.
Although people play MMOs and video games in general to have fun, a lot of players have a competitive edge, that constantly needs sharpening. And as long as leaders take this into account and plan accordingly, they should be fulfilling their team's ambitions and agendas, while having a good time playing with people from all walks of life.