Articles: Team Organization
I've spent most of the weeks of my summer reading books by old generals, ancient strategists like Sun Tzu, and brilliant minds like Bruce Lee. One thing that ALL books mentioned about battles involving several people is the need for leadership and teamwork.
But this isn't war. This is Halo. You don't have 50 or 5000 people playing (that's the next gen systems), you have 16 at maximum. In most sensible tournaments and serious gameplay, you'll find 8 players. This article will hopefully have a good effect on your teamwork, and help you understand the different forms of team hierarchy that you will find.
The first (and most common) form of team hierarchy is the dictatorship form. This is generally what you find at all LAN parties, uneven teams, and several XBLive clan games. When you are playing with a new group of people, you will more than likely be joining a dictatorship. You will not be the dictator.
The dictatorship form is simple. There is one player who (generally) is of greater skill, fame, and/or competence. When I play with new players, I am generally "elected" to be the dictator of our team merely because of my quasi-internet celebrity status brought about from my strategy works. When I played a few games with Sergio from team IGS, everyone was quick to ask Sergio what gametypes he wanted to play, and what they should do when they played them. To anyone who has a fifth grade education, you will know what a dictator is. The dictator gives orders, and the orders are obeyed without question. When one brilliant strategist and player is giving the orders, if they are all followed exactly to the point, it is natural to believe that the team will prevail over any adversary.
There are several problems with the dictatorship form. First and foremost, is the fact that no player is ever 100% correct. There is the possibility of giving wrong orders because you do not have all of the information, because of anger, rashness, poor experience, or even simple ignorance.
Another problem is that every time the dictator dies, there are 3-7 seconds in which his teammates are leaderless. Since the dictator needs to give orders, he has to be in the action to see what is going on. When you are knee-deep in gunfire, you die quite often.
A common problem on X-box Live is that people won't listen to the dictator. When the dictator says "You go on offense, you go on defense, you come with me for the flag, guy on offense cover me" and such, the entire team rests on those orders. If there is one hotshot on your team that gets frusterated because he "doesn't like playing defense", he will generally cost your team the game by rushing straight into gunfire.
The last and most serious problem with the dictatorship form is the burden that it puts on any one player. When you are the dictator, you aren't just giving orders, you are responsible for them. If you say "attack now" and you lose, your team will blame you. This results into the dictator switching roles every game or so, and thus the team becomes bitter and inconsistent.
The next team hierarchy is the "revolving dictatorship" form. It is the second most common form found, and is a natural evolution from the dictatorship form. It isn't a democracy per se, but instead is just a constant change of the figurehead giving orders. There is never a clear indication of when the change takes place, but it generally lasts several minutes when it does, and is most commonly triggered by the failure or frag of the previous dictator.
As you can imagine, there are problems with this form as well. In addition to the dictatorship flaws, the revolving dictatorship leads to a lot of squabbling. Two people will start giving off orders at once, and they will often clash. Dictators that have their role stripped from them will often continue to spout off orders even though someone else has plans in action. A lot of pointless bickering comes from this, and makes this form even more dangerous than the dictatorship form.
The third most common hierarchy is rarely found now that those with XBL have microphones. The silent, or "leaderless", form is rare indeed, because naturally people like to give out orders, especially when they feel they can do a good job lining up the troops. I know I do!
There are a few silent teams out there that do nothing but play the game, and rely on their shots rather than teamwork to win. Oddly enough, the silent teams I find are generally full of good players. They manage to win by playing people who cannot aim as well as they can, and it becomes a habit to just sit there and shoot all day, not saying a word.
There are obvious problems to the silent form, so obvious I won't go over them here. It is important to communicate, very very important. No matter how good you are, talking to your team makes your team player better as a whole.
The last hierarchy is very rare indeed, and generally only comes about when the group of people playing are of equal skill and have played together for some time. The team hierarchy is one of support and respect. Everyone acts of their own accord, yet in accordance with every other teammate. It is difficult to explain, but easy to perceive. If someone says "help me out", the team helps him out. If someone says "help me out", but you are on your way to grab the flag from an empty base, the player may decide to leave his teammate stranded. If this occurs, the team doesn't chastise the teammate because they trust in him to behave wisely. The entire team can follow one anothers lead and advice confidently.
Obviously the team hierarchy is the best, and you should strive for that. But realize that you cannot immediately acheive it. Learn your role and the hierarchy you are in, and play it accordingly. Don't create trouble unless you absolutely have to. Naturally, over time, you will acheive the team hierarchy.
The next section of the article goes over the "roles" that you adopt when playing, and how to play them.
People generally fall into these roles:
In all reality, you SHOULD be able to switch from role to role instantly, and know when to do it. Teams like 3D, the reigning champ of halo 2, has done so well because they all can do everything. They excel in all areas, not just their specialty. For us mere mortals, we must realize what our role is and how to use it. Please realize that the following is not black and white, and there are always exceptions. Also keep in mind that you can be more than one role at a time, such as a Offense and Assist player.
The leader gives orders. That's about it for that role. He looks, listens, and guesses on what to do next based on the information given to him. He tells his teammates, and the teammates do thus. This role is obsolete in well practiced teams, and is generally only found in dictatorship hierarchies.
The Defense player guards certain weapons (like sniper or rockets), locations (like key choke points), or objectives (like the flag or hill). His goal is to sit and roast marshmallows until he has an opportunity to hurt the enemy from his location he is defending. This role is the most important in objective games, and should not be taken with a "blah" attitude, nor given to someone who you believe cannot play well.
The Offense player is one that goes to the enemy, instead of letting the enemy come to him. He is the one who goes to get the flag, grab the power weapons or powerups, and generally is a role given to those that have good survival skills. The offense player's goal is to keep the enemy from reaching the defensive player, and to speed up the progress of the game in his team's favor.
The Objective player is one that doesn't care about the limitations that offense and defense has, but instead keeps his mind on the objective at hand. He is the one that constantly goes in the hill, grabs the flag and tosses it to his teammates, holds the oddball, and plants the bomb. Dedication, awareness, and good survival skills are a must. I personally take this role in most of my games.
The Slayer is a coveted role. While the slayer is very similar to the offense player, he is not just that. While the Objective player focuses only on the objective, the slayer focuses only on killing the other team. He will just toast the enemy with frag nades and a BR to clear a path for those on offense, and to keep those on defense safe.
The Assist is seen as a weak players position, but is the natural role of the wolf. The assist player doesn't really focus on himself, but rather his teammates. He will shoot an enemy two or three times and then run, only to let his teammate finish off the kill. This results in a healthy player constantly weakening the enemy for his teammates, and can do a lot of good. Playing with a good assist player on your team is like playing against a team with a handicap.
The weapon whore (I apologize for the crudeness, but the name has been around for some time) is a role similar to both defense and slayer, but has an obvious difference. You use the (power weapon), and your main goal is to keep the (power weapon) and kill enemies with it. The weapon whore needs a lot of survival skills, and has to have excellent aim as to make the most of the power weapon. If you have watched the 41-0 vid, you've seen this role in action. This role is difficult to maintain like that (as Ogre 1 constantly has stated to me, it was a fluke), but the longer the better. Since the power weapons don't respawn until they are out of ammo and dropped, merely keeping them out of the enemies hands can be a great help.
Hopefully seeing these roles in writing rather than in action, you can understand more clearly how they work. This will also help you realize what your enemy is doing; when you see a player on defense all the time, you can quickly realize that he won't leave his base. That means that only 3 of the 4 players on the enemy team will be assaulting your base, at the most. Putting two and two together like that can be the difference between victory and defeat.