ORvR Leadership Series: Commanding The Public Group (PuG) Part 1: Group Chemistry
Leading Public Groups reminds me a lot of playing and coaching football. In youth football every season brings new players, new faces, first time players, long time player, skillful, and the tragically skilless. In High School the players typically are the same group of guys every year with a couple new faces thrown in the mix. College it's the same crew every year with a couple of hot heads fresh out of high school to screw up the chemistry. Now of all the time I spent playing tackle football I would never compare any of it to leading a Public Group. That is what I'd refer to as a Premade.
Now once college ended for me and I started getting more serious about life, business, and my career I started playing flag football instead in hopes I'd preserve my knees long enough to toss the ball around with my kids. This is where I discovered the love for Pickup games. Each Saturday we'd go out to the field and have a bunch of guys and gals show up. Each week was a total random group of people. Players you've met, players you've never met. Strong and weak, tall and tiny. Every kind of player imaginable was out there. This is where I was introduced to the Public Group.
Taking a group of completely random people, who have a enormous range of skill, their own ideas for how to make this work, and their own goals and perspectives and turning it into a unified front in the 2 hours you spend with them takes a lot of practice. First off you need to observe your force first. Find who is strong, who is weak, the tendencies people have. In Warhammer Online I pay close attentions to who's Distant and who's not. Who can I count on to get my back and who will fail me when I need them most. If you have a healer in a group and your constantly burning your resurrections on their party members it might be time to move that healer to a secondary healer position rather than primary. If a tank rushes straight into the fray abandoning his unit and ignores your orders you may want to put them in a group with a very good healer. Group makeup is a very important part of success on the battlefield. Put the strong with the weak to balance your warforce.
Now managing this on a larger scale and across multiple warbands will take some help from trusted friends. Seed a friend in each warband that you can communicate with quickly weather its through ventrilo or other means. If they have 3 healers for 4 groups make sure they let you know. Nothing worse than throwing a healer deprived warband into the warzone first to see them get demolished. If possible send them one of your healers to balance the warbands out. In the Gaiscioch we try to never have full warbands. We split our warbands in half every time one fills up so that we constantly have a new flow of people and people don't have to try hard to find an open warband. This also allows our healers to jump from warband to warband without having to boot someone out.
Learning your strengths and weaknesses within your warforce is the first in a series of things you will have to master in leading the Public Warforce. Placing the skilled with the unskilled will help you make your warforce more effective as a whole. Always be patient and clear with your orders. When I lead I imagine I'm telling my grandmother where to go and what were doing. Not everyone will understand your motive, but success is understood by all. If you succeed they will follow just try not to let people get discouraged and quit prematurely. Conquer your frustrations, be slow to anger, and be patient with your warforce and you will find them united.
Continue: Part 2: Harnessing The Public Warforce