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Introduction Hello all, by popular request, I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and pen this commander guide down for you all. For a bit of background, if for some reason you have no idea who I am, then…well…you need to get out more =p. I’ve commanded since Teq was revamped way back when, starting commanding for BG Teq attempts and then moving into TTS a few weeks later. I’ve been commanding since then, including world first triple decap, so I like to think I know what I’m talking about =). With that said however, these are my personal preferences for commanding and some will work for some people and some won’t. It’s up to you to figure out what works for you and come up with your own commanding style, hopefully this guide will give you a nice foundation to start off with. The things I’ll cover in this commanding guide: Soft skillsUnderstanding mechanicsExplanationsCommanding roles in TTSCommanding tipsEnjoy! Soft Skills I’ll start off with this since I believe the difference between a good commander, and a great commander isn’t the understanding of mechanics and knowledge of the fight. While important, great commanders lead and inspire. They earn, not demand, respect and people will follow them without question, whether to success or to slaughter. While cliché, the below skills are essential for the makings of a great commander: Confidence: The number 1 skill required for commander and a must. A confident commander is a successful commander. The zerg will follow a not so successful, but confident commander, to the ends of the earth, regardless of the result. Have conviction in what you say, follow through on your commands and most importantly, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. While being new to commanding is nerve wracking, your confidence will grow the more you go at it. Confidence is key and is the first step to being successfulResponsibility and Accountability: Commanders that assign blame are not great commanders. If anything, they attract more ire and negativity than others. Commanders take responsibility for what they lead, and ultimately look forward. Rather than try and figure the source of blame for something going wrong, great commander look at what went wrong and how to improve and/or prevent it from happening in future commands.Energy and Attitude: Even when things go tits up, everything goes awry and you’re just generally having a bad day, the way you conduct yourself will be contagious to the zerg. The more energy and positivity you inject into your commanding style, the more responsive and energetic your zerg will be.Understanding Mechanics Pretty much a given, successful commanders understand the fight and strategies inside and out. However, to be in the top tier of commanders, it’s critical that a solid understanding of the underlying foundations is had, not just with the fight, but with the broader game itself. This separates the commanders who follow guides by the book and the commanders who are able to adapt on the fly due to unexpected things happening. The easiest and best way, is of course, to do the content over and over again. Read up on established guides to understand the general strategy and then go in and dissect the fight up into the smallest parts. Become an expert at understanding all the little pieces of the puzzle and you’ll be able to adapt to almost any situation. The second part of this is understanding animations. The aim as a commander is ultimately to make animation based calls with instinct. It’s quicker, reliable and it comes second nature allowing you to use your brain for other thoughts. The rest comes with experience. As an example, Crimson is the easiest to command. There’s not many variables that change between each fight. Compared to Cobalt, there’s a larger number of variables to consider as well as a significant number of judgement calls to be made. Do I run back to kegs with 30 seconds left before keg swap or do I clear the 6 wurms around the beach? There’s no right or wrong answer, and the decision comes to judgement. Know your zerg and what they’re capable of. Explanations Part of the TTS commanding culture is understanding that there will always be new people to the raids. That’s why we always do Wurm explanations. In my opinion, the most effective explanations follow the K.I.S.S rule (Keep it simple stupid). Focus on the key points that need to be addressed and as much as possible keep it simple. The more you ramble on, the more your zerg will tune out and your message won’t get across. As an example, when I command Crimson, I boil the explanation down to: “Grab colours, fill extractors, burn” That’s pretty much it for the phase 1 explanation. You can then go in and start going into further detail and answer questions if required. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to keep your explanations and spiel to less than 5 minutes. Your spiel should cover the WHAT and HOW of the fight. The WHY for the most part is irrelevant, causes you to ramble and should for the most part, be saved if someone seeks further clarification or asks further questions. Using the example above: WHAT: Grab colours HOW: Run into coloured clouds WHY: When you run into coloured clouds, you get a little buff above your head which corresponds to the coloured cloud you picked up. At it’s simplest you can already see the why part is longer than the what and how part combined. Not necessary and ok to omit for the most part. Speaking of spiels, nothing confuses a zergling more than a chaotic all over the place explanation. Many TTS commanders and leaders started off with a notepad with key dot points jotted down so they have a clear concise structure to follow during explanations. This allows you to logically step through the fight with the zerg and ensures you don’t miss any critical information. Commanding Roles in TTS There’s ample opportunities for commanding in TTS and this section will cover off TTS specific roles which may not be relevant abroad. At it’s core, there are two types of commanders. This is more relevant and clear for Wurm more so than Teq. Raid Lead / Setup: This commander is responsible for organising and setting up the raid. They look for the map to use, make sure commanders are all assigned where required, and ensure that everything is ready to go. E.g. making sure there’s enough reflectors. Fight Commander: The commander everyone is more familiar with. They’re the ones leading the fight and making the calls. The best time to dip your toes and start commanding is on Wednesdays UTC aka Leaders Night Off. Commanding Tips This section will be a bit longer so bear with me =D. These are all from personal experience and some are a bit more general than others. General Tips Keep your commands clear and concise. Any command which takes longer than 5 seconds to say is too long and will be irrelevant by the time you finish.Preempt animation based calls. The earlier you can call the command, the better in most cases. Teamspeak lag adds about half a second until the zergling on the other end will actually hear it. Don’t say “Stack on me”. Say “stack on the tag”. People are able to follow direct visual directions rather than semi clear directions. Repeat instructions. Especially during the wurm, repeating commands does wonders for zerg responsiveness and injects the energy you need. I usually repeat the same command at least 3 times. Utilise say chat! A lot of commanders rely too much on teamspeak. You can also reach out to people not on teamspeak under your command via say chat. While you don’t need to relay every command, key commands can be relayed quickly and easily e.g. DON’T FILL REDPractice situational awareness. Constantly scan the area, mini map and map chat. Are people down that need ressing? Do your specialist teams need help? Do other commanders need help? Is your zerg scattered or on your tag? This will start becoming second nature, much like driving a car, and is super important.Communicate communicate communicate. I cannot stress this enough. Communication is key, especially during the wurm fight. Commanders who can communicate clearly are heads and shoulders above others. TequatlWe primarily do a melee stack for Teq, though ranged is also viable, I’ll provide tips for both. Stack under his neck, NOT ON THE FOOT. The foot will knock the zerg back and wreck you. You also won’t get the DD. I still don’t know why PUG commanders still stack thereKeep reflects up at all times. Keep repeating it because people forget. If you have sound games on, you can tell when fingers are flinging by the hissing sound. When you see Teq lift his paw up before the wave, tell your zerg to dodge when his paw is up in the air, not when it lands. The TS lag will mean your call will reach the zerglings at the right time. Fear and poison finger spawning are good times to stack mightRANGED: Stack tight, using the reflects as well. I find attacking the two closest fingers when they spawn is effective at minimising the poison fields on the zerg.RANGED: You can move the zerg side to side to avoid stacked cripple fields and reduce the down time. Know the difference between cripple and poison fields. Poison fields can be cleansed by turrets, cripple fields cannot. WurmWurm SetupsIdeally each wurm should have about 35 members. However if there’s not enough on all tags, you can generally sacrifice numbers at Crimson for Amber and Cobalt. The priority for numbers should be Amber > Cobalt > Crimson. While 5 man reflect teams are ideal, minimum runs can operate with solo/duo reflectors and 3 man condi teams. Don’t waste time trying to get that last person onto a reflect or condi team. If they’re fine with 1 less, roll with it. Crit Phase CommunicationFor the majority of Wurm fights, the timing to go in for the final burn after all wurms are crit follow the same pattern. For the most part, each Wurm has a “drop dead” time where the final burn mechanic needs to be undertaken regardless of the other wurms for a decap. These numbers are more conservative in natureAmber : Stack @ 1:30 Crimson : Fill red @ 1:10Cobalt : Run kegs @ 1:00Each wurm should be at the following stages before initiating the final burnAmber has no debuff and ready to goCrimson has 2 out of 3 colours filledCobalt has more than 1 minute left before keg location changesCoordinating the final burn is critical in ensuring you’re able to get the raid to phase 2. We generally follow the below guide when we decide when to go in for burn based on the above conditions.Amber is first to initiate. This serves two purposes.Amber can abort their go a lot easier than other wurms. Amber is all or nothing. If there is time, and amber isn’t successful, you’re able to regroup and try again. At this point Amber is communicating in CC the following actionsStacking on abomKilling on abomStacking to get eatenEaten with numbersAt the last point, Amber commander will make the call on whether to initiate the final burn or not. Generally this is based on if there are enough people inside the stomach when they are eaten. If they have numbers, the call is given for Crimson and Cobalt to initiate. AmberWatch out for small spins when stacking on the abom. When spat out, wait for the wurm to finish it’s animation before giving the order to fire harpoons. This will allow for an extended burn phase as the wurm will do a second animation if timed correctly while also being vulnerable. Stick to the right after being spat out so that you avoid the majority of mobs and have the clearest line of sight with the wurm. Abom goo lasts a few seconds. As such, you don’t need to wait for the debuff to completely expire before stacking on the abom. Most of the time, you can stack on the abom with about 10 seconds left on the debuff. While it might not sound like much, it can shave about a minute off your crit time which is pretty significant. CrimsonStack at the triple colours spawn at the start of the fight, near the bush. When you get the triple colours, run to blue first then red and yellow. If you have the numbers, you can enter burn phase pretty instantly as all three will fill up in one pass. After the burn, note where the clouds spawn. While they will differ fight to fight, they will always spawn at the same spot after every burn. Find a place where there’s three together and direct your zerg there straight after the burn rather than have everyone split up randomly. I personally prefer running in a crescent move rather than full circle i.e. blue > red > yellow > red > blue. Keep your eye on the extractors and let people when it’s full. This will prevent people not paying a lot of attention from wasting time running to already full extractors. CobaltStack at hard spawn at the beginning of the fight. It’s the middle spawn which means you can run to the other spawns quite easily, and if by luck it’s the first spawn, you can grab and go straight away, making it the fastest to get to a burn phase. You generally have enough time to chain run single location before it swaps. I usually allow around 30 seconds if I want to chain run the same location. Tell your zerg which direction to run after the burn. Critical if you want those chose chain burns. This will keep your zerg together, allow you to get your zerg to the keg area quicker and keep things more orderly. One of my favorite strategies, and works really well at hard spawn especially. When you’re stacking on the kegs, if the wurm is doing a small spin, get your zerg to pick up a keg but WAIT. 9 times out of 10 the orange circles will clump up where you’re stacked. When you see the circles, run the kegs. As the spit takes some time before they land, it gives you ample time to get out of the area and a clear run to the keg spot to drop them.Put down reflects and stabilities when dropping kegs on the keg zone. If you see 3 or more vet wurms on top of the drop zone, take them out. Your next run will probably fail if you don’t. More important at cobalt but can apply to other wurms, when you’re clearing the beach, make sure you’re targeting a single target with your zerg at all times. Half killing wurms doesn’t serve any purpose and you’ll just be wasting time. It’s better to kill 2/4 wurms causing you trouble than to leave all 4 on 20% hp. Final Note Commanding isn’t easy, and for a lot of people, doesn’t come naturally. But you don’t know till you try. Sometimes it can be stressful, sometimes it can be frustrating, but for the most part, it’s extremely rewarding and fun (please don’t hurt me Rachel). Don’t be afraid to give it a go, let loose, make mistakes and ultimately learn a lot, not just about the game itself, but even maybe possibly about public speaking, leadership and more. As always, feel free to talk a leader if you want to learn more about commanding =).