A weenie on being a decent commander (Old)

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Renomaki
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A weenie on being a decent commander (Old)

Post by Renomaki » 04 May 2017, 00:05

NOTE: this guide was made a long ass time ago. Naturally, while a lot of the guide still has good information, some content may be out of date. I may or may not take the time to redo this guide, but for now, I'll just leave this notice here so readers are aware what they are getting into, and thus are not confused when I mention certain things that seem out of place nowadays.

Whether you chose to believe it or not, commanders are a vital component to the USCM war machine. They act as the glue that keeps everyone together, keeps the troops focused on the task at hand, and generally are the kind of person you want to go to for advice on what to do next.

As of current, Commanders are voted in via a whitelist program to encourage a slightly higher level of quality. However, as has been proven in the past, just because you won the vote doesn't mean you are a good commander, not by a long shot. Being a good leader takes a fair bit of practice, a willingness to learn from past mistakes, and even may require you to get your hands dirty in order to achieve your goals sometimes (although you shouldn't have to do this unless you are in a situation where there is no other option). I myself am far from perfect, but I do have a fair few skills and ideologies that I wish more COs had, which is what I'll be trying to share to the best of my ability here.

Keep in mind that the ideal commander varies between person to person, so while this is a guide, this is a guide on how to do something my way, not quite THE way that everyone has to do, although some of these bits and bobs might be useful to you (moreso if you are still an XO trying to get that sweet promotion).

Another thing to keep in mind that some of these things I may share could apply to other roles as well, such as Squad Leader, so if you want to be a better leader of squadmates, some of these tips might help yuh out a fair bit.

1: The Importance of Preparation

I put this one first because it is the very first thing you always do at the start of every round, and thus it is important to understand how important it is to be ready.

When I talk about preparation, however, I am not talking about hyping yourself up for battle and shoving 7 guns up your ass in the event Iron Bears attack the bridge. I'm talking about preparing for your briefing and a normal day's work. After all, you have to remember that RP-wise you have no idea what could be planetside. Whatever you believe it to be, you should make sure to check these off your list:

1: Do a quick checkup of all the vital departments on your ship (via either sending an officer to inspect each one personally or via radio) to determine the logistics status of your ship

2: Inspect the squads to ensure that each one has at least a squad leader for every group (I honestly prefer to do a quick personal inspection of the squads in the briefing hall a moment before briefing, but a lot of COs prefer to have their BOs provide them squad statuses via the overwatch computers)

3: Ensure that you have a good briefing written and ready before the actual briefing takes place (I wrote a guide awhile back based on my ideal briefings here viewtopic.php?f=94&t=12117 ). It might seem silly and a waste of time to some, sure... But when you got 60 trigger happy marines in your briefing hall, you don't wanna keep them waiting too long, lest you want to risk angering an impatient crowd.

4: Make sure that your headset has all 4 squad comms active. There is no better time than the first moments of a round to do this, otherwise you could miss out on a lot of juicy information once marines get planetside.

Whatever time you decide to have briefing, that time should be used to make sure that everything is running decently enough and that you yourself are prepared for the briefing you plan on hosting. A commander, after all, should try to be productive, for being lazy tends to bite you in the ass sooner or later.

2: Communication is Key

Communication is vital in ANY role, but as the leader of an entire platoon/battalion, it is very important to have, at the very least, above-average communication skills.

From the very first announcement of the day to the frantic orders during heated combat, you gotta make sure that your orders are clear and understandable. You don't need to write a novel to explain what you want done, but trying to squeeze in some helpful details in your messages can go a long way to getting marines where you want them to go.

After all, if there is one thing that loses wars and crushes morale, it is unclear orders and directions. In the case that your marines might still struggle to understand, don't be afraid to clarify as needed.

It is also good to try to keep in touch as much as possible. Check in on squads every now and then, request status reports, or hand out new objectives directly to the squad itself via their squad comms. However, don't chatter your tongue dry, you don't need to constantly spam their comm feeds. Try to keep conversations with your men on the mission, no reason to waste their time talking about last night's basketball game or tell jokes to lighten the mood. While it is nice to bond with the men, try to keep a serious tone to match with your serious position.

While talking to the men personally is nice and all, don't forget about your ability to transmit far-reaching, loud and hard to miss announcements. Used properly, they can keep your entire platoon/battalion organized and on the ball, boost morale, or just generally keep everyone informed on current events. However, the 60 second cooldown means you can't use this too often, so be sure you think before you announce, lest you want good men to get killed due to lack of information, which brings us to our next topic...

3: Constantly Gather Intel

By that, I don't just mean "Oh, the xenos use huggers to reproduce", I mean more along the current situation of the ground.

Besides keeping in touch with your men more personally, having all squad comms active is useful for gathering up to date intel on the squads and their actions, moreso if their squad leaders happened to have met a terrible fate. You might not get a perfect picture of the situation on the ground, but it can go a long way in determining tactics and actions to take.

However, if comms happens to be unavailable to you, you'll have to resort to visual forms of information

The helmets of your squad leaders can provide a fair bit of visual information, although only what they are currently able to see. As useful as it is to have 1 of 4 different eyes on the ground, you don't wanna get too reliant on it, because sooner or later you are gonna lose most (if not all) of them in longer battles, forcing you to have to resort to verbal intel in the late game.

However, planetside cameras and sentries are also able to provide limited visual intel of their own, which can be useful of all your SL's helmets stop working but you still wish to see how the war is going on planetside, if only at a single small area. Since they don't really do a lot of moving, you shouldn't really focus too much on this unless there is confirmed action near their location (such as during a siege of your FoB).

In all, the collection of planetside information is very important in deciding what to do. If your men are scattered about, you might want to try and reorganize them before they are all picked off by the enemy. If your men are desperately holding a position and need help, you might want to deploy backup to their location, and so on and so forth.

In general, you don't want to do things without having a good idea of the current situation planetside. There have been many a case where COs would make decisions based on the panic of his troops, calling for retreats from FoBs that could have easily held until backup and supplies arrived, or failed to take notice of enemy movements and led his men to their deaths despite several marines bickering about it very clearly in their squad comms.

Pay attention, soak in what you can, and use what information you acquire to hopefully lead your marines to victory, or at the very least make your enemy fight hard to earn theirs.

4: Putting Points into Charisma

First, a definition on what Charisma is.
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Charisma

noun, cha·ris·ma \kə-ˈriz-mə\

1: a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure (such as a political leader)

2: a special magnetic charm or appeal
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It is one thing to lead marines, but to earn their respect, you must have a fair bit of Charisma.

This means you have lead with energy, pepper your speech with personality, inspire men to fight on no matter the odds! You must have PASSION as a leader, you can't just speak in a dull monotone and expect men to respect you, let alone die for you.

Considering the CO is a high roleplay role, it should be expected that you put fourth a good impression of a strong, brave commander, one that can inspire a great deal of confidence in his marines. If you can't be arsed to even make a decent briefing that can gather the attention of the men listening, then you might want to start working on your Charisma a bit more.

5: Tid Bits to improve your leadership

While I could drone on and on about what I think would make a good commander, I think I covered 4 of the major elements that I think COs need to work on, those being Pre-drop preparation, the importance of communication, the value of gathering intelligence to plan actions, and how Charisma is vital to getting the attention of the troops below you.

The following section is more a selection of little bits of advice and information to help better commanders in a way without going too much into detail into them, otherwise this guide would be unbearably long. Make of these as you will:

1: Never be afraid to get your hands a bit dirty. While the CO should try to delegate tasks as much as possible, sometimes there are situations where you have to step in and handle a problem yourself (such as if cargo is horribly understaffed at round start and marines start bitching about long lines). You shouldn't make a habit of it, but if things are urgent enough, feel free to roll up your sleeves and get shit done.

2: The life of a CO is often one full of distractions. Be prepared to deal with people constantly yelling into your headset about various issues, from the CL complaining about a lack of progress to the MPs requesting your permission to execute someone for running in the hallway. If the situation is important enough to require your attention, try to tend to it in a timely fashion after informing your NCOs on the ground of your brief departure. You still got a small army to lead though, so don't get too invested in the small things to the point of ignoring your troops on the ground.

3: The more ship-staff you have, the easier your life tends to be. Your job, after all, is to lead the marines as a whole, telling them where to go and what to do and what-have-you. However, you won't always have a full compliment, and will no doubt find yourself in situations where you are short an officer or two, or lacking enough POs to get troops and supplies sent in a timely fashion, and etc. The best you can do in situations such as this is either to handle the situation personally (such as overwatching one of the squads yourself) or find someone who you can delegate to handle the task (such as an MP filling in for a missing PO.) And most of all, keep calm. Not gonna get far if you panic at the slightest of things.

4: As a High RP role, you are encouraged to be creative to entertain the marines. Good Charisma really helps in this area, and so does some creative writing and a bit of lore research. The reason briefing time is my fave part of marine gameplay is because it is the best time to spin roleplay and set up the story for the marines, so naturally I go out of my way to make my briefings as interesting as I can (without going overboard, since I don't want to keep people waiting to deploy). Even after the drop, you are going to be one of the main sources of RP for the marines, since the rest of them will probably be too busy screaming and shooting as xenos try to murder them. Weave that story throughout the match and make it somethin dandy.

5: Try to aim to win, but be prepared to lose with dignity. Winning as a marine takes a lot of effort (and probably a fair bit of luck too), so don't get too upset if the enemy has bested you and are knocking on your door. If anything, you should be ready to fight to the last man, prepared to spit your last bloody breath in the face of the enemy, as any good CO would. After all, it is only proper for a CO to go down with the ship.

6: Morale is insanely important, and can mean the difference between holding the planet or getting steamrolled before hitting 13:00. As dire as situations might seem, you should always try to encourage your troops to keep fighting one way or another (The promise of fresh supplies and reinforcements always does the trick I found). If the CO gives up easily, so do the men, so be careful around your troops fragile morale. Positive reinforcement can go a long way, as I learned.

7: Lastly, you should respect your men as you'd want to be respected. You may be higher ranking then everyone else, but that doesn't mean their input doesn't matter. As mentioned earlier, it is important to gather as much useful intel as you can, and what better source than your front line fighters? Keep in mind the tactical suggestions of your NCOs and grunts to help determine the best course of action for the mission at hand.

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Is this guide the perfect guide to commanding? Probably not. The road to becoming a good commander is a long, difficult road, where many failures may be found and lessons wait to be learned. I like to think of myself as one of the better leaders, but even I am imperfect, and am a long way to becoming the Patton of Colonial Marines SS13. Still, I hope that this might help make you a better leader for your platoon, should you attempt such a role.
Last edited by Renomaki on 12 May 2018, 12:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A weenie on being a decent commander

Post by NoahKirchner » 04 May 2017, 00:18

A thing I like to do for pre-round prep, is to get the SOs involved. Walk out onto the bridge, address them, and very clearly start a plan and have all of them involved. That way everyone knows it better and it's far more well constructed, as far as prep goes. (Still dont write it down D:)
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Re: A weenie on being a decent commander

Post by David Attenbruv » 06 May 2017, 12:01

I liked the read, had a few good tips in there! +1 this.
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Re: A weenie on being a decent commander

Post by adrenalinetooth » 11 May 2018, 10:21

The formatting is a bit bland making it a little hard to read, but this is an overall good guide with many note worthy points. I'm not sure why it's sinking down to the bottom pages of the guides forum..

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Re: A weenie on being a decent commander

Post by Bancrosexd » 11 May 2018, 20:03

I am glad you mentioned communication is key Reno. Remember that round you turned off squad comms entirely?

Now we know why we must turn on squad comms.
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Re: A weenie on being a decent commander

Post by trustscience44 » 12 May 2018, 01:39

This is some good stuff. Thanks Renomaki!

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Re: A weenie on being a decent commander

Post by Renomaki » 12 May 2018, 12:26

adrenalinetooth wrote:
11 May 2018, 10:21
The formatting is a bit bland making it a little hard to read, but this is an overall good guide with many note worthy points. I'm not sure why it's sinking down to the bottom pages of the guides forum..
That is because this guide is OLD.

A lot has changed since I made this guide, and while some things are still relevant, a lot changed since I wrote this (such as how most briefing are now 20 instead of 15-18 now).

I might have to change the title so players aren't too confused when they read this.
Sometimes, bravery comes from the most unlikely sources.

An inspirational song for when ye be feeling blue:
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Re: A weenie on being a decent commander (Old)

Post by adrenalinetooth » 13 May 2018, 10:29

Oh. Holy shit. This was written in may of LAST YEAR, my bad. I totally misread the date. Still a pretty good guide though.

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