Monday, April 14, 2014

Following Orders

As I sat down to outline topics I wanted to talk about, I somehow missed one of the most critical: orders. Different realms and units have their own structure of leadership, while others differ to experience. Yet, more often than not, leadership comes in the form of "he who yells the loudest must be in charge".

At large events, regardless of what type of leadership is present, or absent, not everyone follows orders. Small groups of friends may disregard outside influence to do what they wish, or units may have their own orders separate from the rest of the line. Others may just be hesitant to listen to someone they don't know. Following their own path may yield them local success, but at the cost of other sections of the line.

During my time as a squire, I had plenty of opportunities to witness how leadership played out at various events. My first year as a squire, I wasn't exactly taking charge and leading. I'd relay orders, but still looked to others to lead. After a while, and several events, I began to feel more at ease directing people.

One event, in particular, still stands out to me as an example of how powerful leadership and following orders can be. I had been invited to a day event just a couple of hours away. Myself and small group of local fighters all made the trip over. It was a day long objective battle with respawns.

The heralds had divided teams, with my group and a couple of other groups I was unfamiliar with on one team. Numbers were nearly even, though they may have outnumbered us a little bit.

The woodland terrain made it difficult to keep track of fighters from my realm between respawns. At one point, I found my knight and 2-3 others from my group guarding an objective with a large group of people I didn't know. We came under attack a few times. I had worn myself out throughout the day, the glaive I carried was getting too slow to keep up with the line. After helping repel the first attack, I backed off of the line to catch a break.

The enemy attacked in force, bringing along a Valkyrie, a mobile respawn point with a limited supply of extra lives. I went to work, barking out orders and calling out threats; I was too tired to do much else. Much to my surprise, my orders echoed through the line. People I didn't know were repeating my commands and, more importantly, they were following them well. I had expected maybe a few people would listen to me, or at least a handful of more seasoned fighters would notice threats I pointed out. It was quite refreshing to have the majority of the group respond to orders.

Calling for the line to reform caused fighters to fall back and redress the ranks into a solid, strait line. Ordering a flank to push resulted in us crushing that side quickly. We fought on for quite a while. Our casualties had to travel a good ways to respawn, but the enemy was back alive nearly as quickly as we killed them.

Their side, however, lacked any sort of leadership. Their fighters respawned and returned to the fight, without regrouping or reforming their line. Their disordered line was facing a solid line, making it easy for our fighters to pick off individuals and break sections.

With solid teamwork and a mix of attacking and regrouping, we actually managed to run them out of respawns and crush through the remaining fighters. All the while, our casualties were light. We had survived with enough numbers to pressure their base. Victory for the day was won through many fights like this, small groups working together to hold ground.

I suppose the moral of the story is the importance of communication and teamwork. Even in the midst of people you have no experience working with, passing along orders and doing your best to follow them makes your team much stronger. If your team seems lost and leaderless, take charge and try your hand at it. Sometimes all it takes is one person keeping an eye on the bigger picture to keep your line from wandering out of formation. Who knows, you might even find there are plenty of people willing to follow you.

tl;dr: At the end of the day, working together wins more fights than individual heroics.

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