Commo FTW

I’ve heard people talk of high dps, of healing, of this and that being THE key to victory – instance, battleground, whatever.

Balderdash. Less-than-stellar numbers in all of that can be overcome with the judicious application of one skill: communication.

Let’s go to a battleground to see this in action. At the beginning you frequently see a flurry of “everybody do this” instructions (along with “Buff me please” in various flavors). Shortly after the battleground begins, however, you can swiftly tell whether your side will do well or not. Things seem to be going well when you start seeing reports of where the other side has players: “Druid going up the ramp to our flagroom,” or “four headed for the mine,” or, well, you get the idea. Things are going GREAT when you ALSO see, “I’m on the druid” or “Team A headed to mine to help.”

Notice what’s going on is that you’ve gone from a gaggle of individuals to a GROUP. And cooperating groups beat gaggles of individuals unless the individuals are magnitudes better (skill or gear or both). But the key is the communication. Not just talking, but listening. Not just listening, but responding. That’s the critical element to communication – mutual talking and listening.

One voice crying in the wilderness isn’t enough. More than one reporting what’s going on gives potential. But when someone answers…

It tells you, the lone voice in the wilderness, that someone is paying attention -which encourages more messages. It does so even if the response is, “Can’t get the druid – fighting midfield.” An odd thing happens – and I’ve seen pop psych and soc explanations, and real psych and soc near-situations that might apply, and they all say about the same thing. That is, communications are positively reinforcing. If you can get past some magic threshhold, you go from random noise to communication. You go from individuals shouting battle cries to something closer to a team.

I have noticed in battlegrounds that when a side’s healers start healing other players on a consistent basis, that side tends to win. I’ve noticed (when it’s my side) that this happens a lot more frequently when the healer tells the target heals are on the way, and especially more when there’s a “thanks” in reply. Usually – not often, but usually – this seems to be a seed crystal for the communications. There’s TALKING, not just random shouting, going on.

The benefits of communication work in parties and raids too. Oh, sure, you’re already oriented on a common goal. And “everyone” knows the the leader gives instructions. But are you communicating? Are you telling the leader “ready” and “got it” — or “Why did you mark for shackle on that demon?” Or are you just going through the numbers, making it solely on sheer skill.

If you communicate, your party or raid or battlegroup will work together much more effectively. For the win.

Before I go, I want to point out a small bonus. You’re playing this game for your own fun. But there are lots of games out there that are a lot of fun which have zero chance for social interaction. Part of the fun for most players is meeting other players. Without communications you might as well be playing with smart computer NPCs. Just something to keep in mind.

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~ by Kirk on August 18, 2007.

One Response to “Commo FTW”

  1. Amen! What perfect timing for this, as a guildmember (and friend) and I were having a problem with this the other night. Thanks for helping to explain way better than I could (and a lot more patiently!).

    It should be noted that communications are just as important in a 2- or 3-man grinding group, as in a 25-man raid or 5v5 Arena fight.

    Each time I come here, I come away more and more impressed with how you’ve cut to the chase on issues that are important to me and my enjoyment of the game–but should also be important to anyone playing.

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