Wistric’s Weekly Warfare 8: Field Awareness   4 comments

I have a theory.  It is not a particularly good theory, as theories go.  It does not provide for causation, and indeed there are better metaphors, but I like it, because it is mine.  What’s more, I have scientific evidence to support my theory.  Again, not good scientific evidence.  Mostly, it’s a non-random poll with n=4.  There was no control group.  But again, it’s my theory.  There are many like it, but this one is mine.  And it is this:

Drivers who speed are better melee fighters, or at least have better field awareness, than drivers who obey the speed limit.


This is not Wistric advocating speeding. 

And, yes, it’s another over-stretched metaphor for melee.

Attentive drivers who exceed the speed limit, by necessity, pay more attention to the cars around them, and even further away.  They have to watch the car in front of them, but also the next car up and, if there’s not an H2 in the way, the car beyond that.  They are aware of the cars to their left and right, and any gaps in the traffic pattern that might, say, fit a Subaru Forester as it drops into 4th and guns the engine (my Forester thinks it’s a Mustang.  It’s so cute).

Now, imagine you’re engaged in a line.  As a good Atlantian, you’re not just watching the guy in front of you, but also the guy on either side of him because you know, having read the WWW, that one of those oblique shots is going to be your most effective attack.  But what if, like our speeder, you also pay attention to the fighters behind your opponent, the ones coming back from rez point.  Which way are they going, are they moving quickly to go around the flank or slowly to join the line?

And, hey, what about the guys further down the line.  Where does the line end?  Is the guy at the end of the line peeling off, or forcing the flank?

Of course, if you’re a bad driver, at this point you’re all distracted and you’ve just run into the car in front of you, say, in your dad’s Nissan Pathfinder.  Twice.  By the age of 18.  But if you’ve developed your field awareness, as your eyes flick around the field, tracking all of the fighters on it, when the fighter in front of you attacks, you’re still aware of his movement and you parry, kill him, and then yell to your line that somebody in bright orange pants is in the backfield.

But is there any way to make it easier on your eyes?  Well… sure!


1. Have a Garmin

Can you hear the metaphor groaning yet?

Before the melee, take a good look at the battlefield.  Make a mental map of it.  If it’s a big rectangle, it’ll be pretty easy.  If it’s a broken field or a woods battle, details will be more important.

Now, with this map in your mind, you can then plot where you are at all times, and where your opponents can go.  If you’re pretty close to the wall on the left, and there’s a teammate to your left, and you see an enemy fighter heading to your left from the rez, you can be pretty sure they’re not getting into your backfield.

If you know there’s a thicket to your right, or some other obstruction, you may need to check that nobody’s coming around behind it, but it’s also going to serve as a good anchor for your flank.

And here, just insert something about knowing when to change lanes for an exit.


2. Know Who the Threats Are

Chances are that, beyond a 5 on 5 or so, you can’t track all of the fighters on the field.  So before you take the field, do a bit of threat prioritizing.  The Caddy in the slow lane isn’t going to be a threat as much as the motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic or the guy in the Expedition yakking on a cell phone while straddling the center line.  So, too, you’re not going to need to keep as careful track of the guy who authorized that day as you are the Provosts and Free Scholars (refer back to WWW#1).

And, hey, what about the SOB with the radar gun crossbow lurking in the trees over there?


3. Periodically Review the Situation

When coming back from rez, or after every minute or so of engagement, pause.  If you’re engaged, step back a half step.  If you’re coming back from rez, stop and take a breath.

Far too often resurrecting fighters run, head down, straight into the first fight they come across, when they’re really not needed there (because everybody else has already run straight to that fight) but are needed somewhere else.  So stop, step back, look up, figure out where you’re really needed.  Who’s outnumbered?  Is the goal achieved/endangered?


4. Use your CB radio like a trucker!

Okay, time to put this metaphor out of it’s misery with one final kick.  You know how truckers, when they aren’t drunkenly cussing at each other, are telling each other where the cops are hiding?  Yeah, it’s like that.

If your teammates tell you what’s going on, you don’t have to take your eyes off your immediate opponents.  If you tell your teammates what’s going on, they don’t have to take their eyes off.

So, “I am dead” is a good place to start.  “Five coming up from Rez” is better.  “Reinforcing your right” is great.  “They’re pushing the left,” is useful information.  Generally, it falls to the unit commander to do all of this shouting, but if nobody else is doing it, well, it’s your job then (see WWW#4)

Because if there’s one thing GI Joe taught us, it’s “Scarlet is hot.”  If there’s a second thing GI Joe taught us, it’s “Knowing is half the battle.”

Posted February 20, 2009 by wistric in Melee, Wistric's Weekly Warfare

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