Howdy, I'm Negator, one of the Ops Leads for The Vindicators (VS) on Mattherson. A little background on me: One of three players that have organized our Outfit Ops every Tuesday and Thursday every week since launch (3-5 squads). Done a few outfit scrims, an MLG match, and a few other events. 10 years active army. 29. This post is long in coming and something I've been putting off for quite a while, and pertains to what i believe is the backbone of PS2: player leadership. LEADERS+PLAYERS=ENGAGING CONTENT Players ARE the content for our little MMOFPS, and it is the leaders, those one in one hundred personalities that rise above the rest to substantially increase the quality of play for those around them that guide said content. Without individuals willing to take the reigns, there would be nothing but mindless zerging. Hard to capture points would become absolutely impossible, epic moments in organization would be non existent, the game would devolve into zerg vs zerg in hours long grinds over small portions of the map. Never has a game been so reliant on the management skills, charisma, and dedication of so few in order to achieve its goals. LEADERS+OUTFITS+PLAYERS=PLAYER RETENTION Leaders are the crutch that the player base stands on. Going a step further, if players are the content, leaders guide that content, then Outfits are the ingredient needed to retain said players and maintain the social community and organizational requirements needed to meet the intent of PS2. Optimization and game play will do its thing, but community and social bonds will retain players like nothing else. WHO LEADS YOU? Take a moment to consider the squad's you join and why. My money says you look for the same individuals over and over whom you know will guarantee you engaging, enjoyable gameplay. Maybe its a particular outfit. Those folks, those leaders that keep people moving forward towards an objective (whether in game or entirely made up), those few that combine tactical know how with a cool outlook and an entertaining demeanor keep you coming back. I'd wager that in the last year of PS2, most of you can't think of twenty of these people. maybe even just 10). Then consider the squads/platoons/outfits you have left, and I'll put the rest of my money on the leaders in those groups being terrible for various reasons. LEADERSHIP IS HARD. Outfit leaders have a daunting task, including the following: *Play often enough to be easily recognized *Play and understand tactics/strategy enough to be respected *Manage various tiers of people (joe blow gamer, suitable squad leaders, platoon leaders, mature outfit officers) *Keep the Outfit engaged often enough to keep them coming back *Maintain a particular social climate *Recruit every moment of every day (F2P game=high turnover) *Maintain a desired standard of play and discipline *Keep up with changes in the game and ensure subordinates are aware *Meet the expectation of leadership (ever been in that platoon with 48 people which goes silent when the current PL says he's leaving?) Leadership is hard. Mentally taxing. Rare. The lifeblood of this game. Entire outfits have come and gone on Matherson due to the action or inaction of single individuals. At launch, Matherson VS had maybe 10 outfits, each a juggernaut in its own right. Each could wield 1-2 platoons regularly, and faction wide organization was a daily standard. People were proud of who they were and were constantly operating to outdo each other. This is not quite the case any more. Outfits whose leadership became fatigued and couldnt develop replacements faded away. Drama killed others. Gone are the days of dropping in on a multiple platoon engagement and seeing only two or three outfit tags out there with a general feeling that the whole fight was being sharply managed by just a few aggressive individuals. Now, a good 50% of each fight is made up of players with no tags, or sporting an unrecognizable tag that will soon be nonexistent. EXHIBIT A To cite the most famous case, Buzzcutpsycho at his height commanded 21 squads, and pushed around 8+ squads five days a week. Not even a year in, he disappeared. Now, questions about his personality aside, there is absolutely no denying that fact that his people enjoyed their time. They unquestionably followed him. They were convinced they 'won' every single engagement. TE squad leaders frothed at the mouth during every fight, and that energy made its way down to every single member. The reached levels of discipline and large scale organization that no other outfit has matched. While loathe to admit it every outfit out there would love to reach these goals and some have, but the point is that they were met on the backs of a single man and a handful of players willing to become leaders as well. An unnamed developer in our teamspeak went so far as to say "BCP plays the game like it was meant to be played". For these reasons, I'd like to toss the following ideas at the Developers, all aimed at retaining leaders, making their job easier, and encouraging new leaders to step up to the plate.