The Battlefield 3 community in Australia is very fond of some features no longer found in the game. The first of these is in game voice and the second is the commander role. The cries are loud for bringing these features back to improve teamplay, especially on public servers.
I have never played as the commander in BF2. After watching a youtube video the impression I get is the role boils down to issuing macro commands to squads, dropping ammo and vehicles. Or something. For the sake of this post we only care about issuing of orders to squads. “Attack here”, “Defend here” etc.
Battlefield 3 handed this feature off to the squad leader, so the option is still there, just without the overall “strategy” from one person overseeing it. Before looking at the efficacy of one guy telling you where to go, or even your squad leader we need to remember one thing – teamplay is the decisions you and your team mates make in relation to each other. With this in mind would an overall guy telling you where to go generate lots of teamplay options? In my opinion it would not. The orders the commander can give are very broad. Go to B. Defend A.
This is nothing to do with teamplay. If teamplay was heavily dependant on the interplay of different squads, mapwide then this would be the case. However because commander is so macro and not about individual interplay we end up with something that is not really about teamplay.
Not to say that commander is useless, I think it would be a decent feature to include, just remember it will not create excellent teamplay by itself, as it is too big picture. What if it was smaller scale? It would not work – issuing commanders to individuals that may or may not take note of them or issuing commands at some crazy rate like an RTS to take into account player movement?. No thanks!
In game voice is the other feature repeatedly mentioned that would improve teamplay. Again I have to disagree. With spotting there is less requirement to call out enemy players. With the map there is no requirement to tell your teammates where you are so they can adjust their play accordingly. Playing defence in 4v4 (squad rush) on metro I can look and see that one guy is in lockers and two guys are at plants. With the map it is even possibly to see where the players are facing and with that information place myself at the best possible position. This is in stark contrast to quakeworld that ban team overlay in higher divisions and force players to use binds and voice to slow down the flow of information. If battlefield 3 did not have the map or spotting then I can understand voice being more important. Because of its existence the smaller scale of teamplay is unneeded. A scenario is required to illustrate how the game would work without the map. Defending first mcocm on metro squad rush.
Player1 – I am at lockers covering corridor
Player2 – I am at right garden covering side stairs
Player3 – I am at gates mid covering front stairs lifts and back stairs
From this I can then make my play* which will be acceptable until my team mates move, which without the map would be communicated using voice.Keep in mind that these can change – if three enemy push lockers then one of the players outside rotating to either shoot them in the back or assist inside is beneficial.
*Lockers side door to cover backstairs/right hand lifts/left hand lifts for those interested.
Teamplay is the small scale movement interplay of team mates, it is helped by voice comms but much is done with no specific communication. This is especially true in BF3 where the map can facilitate most movement.