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Guild Wars 2 World vs World – The Importance of Commanders

One of the most awesome parts about Guild Wars 2 and its world vs world system is that players can purchase a commander tag. This lets them be seen from everywhere on the map, which makes getting organized that much easier. Through this article I am going to take a look at the commander system and why it is so important. I think this is an aspect that far too many people take for granted and do not really think about.

A Tag to Organize

If we completely exclude everything else the commander tag is good for, it gives a small icon on the map that anyone can see from all over. Even if you are just entering a battleground and the commander is on the entire other side, you can see them and start running towards them. Along with this, it even shows as a directional marker on the mini map, meaning that you can follow it just like you would a quest tag. This works so well, in fact, that people even use them out of the world vs world system to show locations of things to people or to organize for other events as well.

It does end up leading to its own problem, though, which is that a lot of people will ignore the chat system completely and just follow the tag. Sometimes the plans require people to be paying attention, and this just does not happen often. So while it is useful as a gathering tool, it is not so useful when it comes to planning. There is the other side, though, which is that it appears any time there is not a commander people spread out like ants, as they still do not pay attention to what is going on.

Squad Ownership

Guild Wars 2 offers up parties of up to 5 players. With the commander tag, though, you can have up to 20 members together in what is called a squad. Anyone is able to join the squad and leave it at any time; there are no groups or anything, so even if 20 people are running around solo they can still join the squad. So what does this squad do, if it is not like a party? It opens up a new chat where the commander and all of the squad members can talk to each other, without using the say, team and map channels. This is designed more for organization purposes (like if there are multiple groups of people that are each supposed to be doing different things), but it can also be used for secrecy. There are many guilds that have players in more than one world, and when they are put up against one another they can chat with their buddies to let them know what is happening. The squad gets rid of this ability by allowing you to keep chat confined to your small group.

Past the chat, the squad does not appear to have any other benefits. As far as I can tell, the drop rates are the same and you do not get or lose any experience or anything from being in one. Along with this, the name tag colors of other players in your squad do not change, so there is no way to know who all is and is not in the squad. My hope is that as Guild Wars 2 evolves, more features will be added to the squad system, as it looks like there is a bit that can be expanded upon.

It Gives a Voice

We could argue all day long about how being a commander is nothing special. Anyone can buy the tag and as many people as you want can have their tag up at the same time. But when it really comes down to it, commanders do have a special power: those of us who keep up with the chat and like to be involved with the actual strategies and planning can look for the commanders and listen to them over all others. It is kind of like being the leader of a group in school; while there is nothing special about you, the group should be following your recommendations. On the same token, you should be paying attention to what the others want and try to implement their desires and input as well. And, much like the school scenario, just because you have a voice does not mean that everyone is going to listen to it. Those who would not listen probably would not even if someone else were the commander, so it is nothing to get yourself down about. It is just part of life!

Conclusion

Commanders are a huge part of the world vs world system within Guild Wars 2. Even with them, getting people organized can be pretty tough. I can not even fathom how it would be doable without them. One thing that ArenaNet needs to do, though, is help make them more efficient. Instead of just having them carry a small tag, give them something like a larger party system (or at least name tag colors that change for those in the squad) and maybe even different colors of chat or an icon or something beside their messages. All of these things would help set them apart from the other players. While we are all still just human, we need this separation to help better understand who we should be following and listening to and who we should not. On top of this, the separation in chat makes it much easier to sift through and watch only what the commander is saying. This would be very useful when people are flooding the chat with useless and unrelated information!

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