Welcome to The Front Line, a new column dedicated to helping you improve your PVP experience, both as a member of a team and as a leader of one. This week’s inaugural column will focus on how effective communication will improve your team’s chances of winning.
There is no in-game tutorial for communication, and it’s not something that everyone learned as they leveled their character to 50. Communication is a skill developed through practice, observation and emulation of other players and teams. Communication presents a unique challenge in every Warzone, because in order to react to an impending enemy attack your team first needs to be made aware of it. Regardless of whether it is typed in Ops chat or spoken via a third-party voice client, effective communication is an invaluable asset for anyone delving into PVP. Not only will it help your chances of winning and snag you MVP votes but long-term, you may eventually become recognized on your server as a valuable combat asset, a fact that will play to your advantage when Ranked Warzones finally hit servers.
Read on for analysis of common communication problems and some helpful tips on solving them. If any of the article’s PVP-specific terms are unclear, make sure to check out the glossary provided at the end of the article for clarification.
Problems with communication can generally be broken down into one of four generic categories. A lack of communication is easy to remedy, but will require some assistance from your teammates. Late communication can be extremely hurtful to your team’s chances for victory and basically boils down to keeping your priorities straight, staying perceptive and calling out information as soon as it becomes available. Inaccurate communication can be just as hard on your team; accuracy is vital! Finally, meaningless communication can make it more difficult for your allies to get the information they need in a timely fashion by means of causing a distraction. Let’s take a look at these potential issues and what you can do to help alleviate them.
While this may seem obvious, this is probably the most common communication problem you will encounter. This one is extremely easy to solve, but requires co-operation from your team.
- Do not be afraid to communicate in a pick-up group. Communicating can greatly increase your chances of winning, and who doesn’t like winning?
- Discuss strategy before the game starts (eg. “Malgus and myself will go left, everyone else mid, ok?”). If no one offers any answers, then be ready to adapt your plan in-game. If you said you were going left, but see multiple people also following you, consider breaking off and let them go left instead.
- Look at your team composition. Make note of any healers and tanks so you know your allies’ capabilities. If multiple members of the Ops group are in the same guild, they will likely be trying to operate as a unit in the Warzone. Plan accordingly.
- Are you Guarding a healer? Let them know, so they know to keep you alive. Are you a healer? Tell your team, so they know to peel for you and/or guard you.
- Prompt your teammates for information. For example, if you’ve won the fight for the middle turret in Alderaan Civil War and you don’t see any more enemies incoming, you need to know where the enemy team is. Ask, “How is east flag?” and find out where your team needs to be. Don’t be afraid to prompt your team to do something (eg. “Call those incs, communication wins games”, “Pass, I’m above you”, “Run ahead of me so I can throw it”).
- Be respectful to your team at all times. Some players may take offense to your prompting and get defensive. Calmly explain that you’re just trying to help out the team.
- If all else fails and your team refuses to communicate, you may still be able get some information on the status of an objective. Using your map, you can determine who is guarding a specific objective. You can then look at their health on your Ops frames to see if they require assistance. Consider setting them as your focus target (alt+F by default, if enabled in preferences) to keep a closer eye on their health. Unfortunately, most of the time this method means that by the time they start taking damage, you’ll need to start heading to them immediately if you hope to make a difference.
It’s important to get into the habit of calling out information early. PVP requires players to spend a certain amount of focus on the battle at hand, and your teammates won’t always see your message right away. Give them as much time as possible to respond. If you’re wrong, you can amend the erroneous information.
- As soon as you see enemies approaching, the first thing you should do is call this out to your team. If you are killed and afterwards type “there are two at east turret,” you’ve waited too long. No one can possibly respond to your message in time to save the turret. You’ve given good information, but it was too late for anyone to use.
- Similarly, if you are losing control of your side in Voidstar, take the 1.5 seconds it takes to type “losing left help.” You can rest assured that if you needed to call for help in the first place, the extra global cooldown time you lost would not have turned the tide for your team.
- Did you just clear out your objective? Tell your team immediately (eg. “east turret clear”). Don’t wait for someone to ask you. If you don’t tell your team, they may continue sending players to help you, leaving another objective undefended. It also gives your team a better idea of where the enemy is likely to be, since you’ve told them where the enemy is not.
Sometimes what you’ve said makes no sense or doesn’t tell your team anything. Be precise.
- State your position, amount of opposition, and the urgency of the situation (eg. “2 inc east I am alone”). Stay away from one word remarks that contain none of these (eg. “stealther”). This doesn’t tell your team anything meaningful.
- Be as accurate as possible when specifying the number of enemies, because other players on your team will make decisions based on your information. Do not exaggerate. Don’t say “Their whole team is at east turret” if only 6 of them are there.
- Did you make a bad call? Did you say an objective was clear, only to have two operatives appear out of nowhere and introduce you to the pointy end of their vibroknives? Call this immediately. Your team makes decisions based on this information, and they need to know you need help.
- Be sure to learn and use the commonly-accepted names for objectives on your server. For example, objectives are sometimes referred to using compass points (east turret), their visual appearance (snow), or their relative position to your team’s spawn point (left). If you call out that there are enemies incoming but you specify the wrong objective, be sure to correct yourself immediately.
Often, saying something unrelated to the situation at hand can be worse than saying nothing at all.
- If someone is trying to talk in a third-party voice client like Ventrilo and you’re not saying anything important, let them speak. If they don’t start speaking again, prompt them to start or ask for clarification on what they just said.
- Similarly, try not to spam Ops chat about how Marauders are so overpowered, or about how happy you are to be eating pizza right now. People need to see important information, too. Most players do not stare at their chat box, but check it only when they see a new message out of the corner of their eye. If you type a lot of unrelated information into Ops chat, it makes it harder for people to detect new information that they need to respond to.
- If you’re trying to relay important info via Ops chat and there is a lot of chatter going on, consider sending the message twice: you can hit enter to open the chat prompt and then the up arrow key to populate the message you just sent. Hit enter again to send. Do refrain from spamming Ops chat, though.
Communication can make a big difference on the battlefield. Armed with these hints, you can be sure to make a powerful contribution both on the scoreboard and in Ops chat. Just remember to stay positive, help your team and keep communicating!
Glossary of PVP Terminology
A) A protective ability available to all Advanced Classes capable of tanking. It redirects 50% of all damage done to a specified ally to the tank, so long as the tank remains within 15 meters of the selected ally. Guard requires that the player be using their "Defensive Stance". It is most commonly used to protect healers, making them significantly harder to kill.
B) The act of defending an objective to make sure that it is not captured easily by the enemy. Someone is considered to be guarding an objective if they are making active attempts to defend it from opponents.
Using crowd control, stuns or snares to alleviate pressure on one of your teammates. This strategy is most commonly employed to protect healers who are being focused, or to protect flag/Huttball carriers. While tanks normally specialize in peeling, all classes have abilities which can be used to peel.
When multiple players attack one enemy target in the hopes of killing them before the enemy team can react. This is sometimes also called “training” or “pressuring”.
Short for “incoming”, this is used to announce to your team that enemies are attacking a specific objective. For example, “4 inc east” indicates that four enemy players are on their way to the east objective.