Rhi's Guide to SO

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Rhicora
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Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by Rhicora » 29 May 2017, 23:15

Marines have the odds stacked against them. Many of them are robust and enjoy putting lots of bullets into aliens, but they are at a severe disadvantage both in terms of numbers and killing potential. The only reason we don't see aliens winning every round is because the Marines have communication on their side. That's where you come in. As Staff Officer (and Squad Overwatch, and Supply Orderer, and Salvo Orbital, and the SL's Significant Oth-), you hold the rank of Lieutenant. This means your obligations are limited to only one squad. You will rarely be in the line of fire, and typically you'll report to an Executive Officer (XO) or Commander (CO), so final responsibility for the success of the mission won't fall to you.

Sounds easy, right? Apparently not for those Staff Officers who keep falling asleep two minutes into the round, tying up a valuable slot. Please, for the love of all that is holy, don't be that guy.
► Show Spoiler
You wake up in your bunk in the Officer Quarters of the Almayer, with a firm commitment to not be that guy. Head out the door and down to the Combat Information Center (CIC), your home for the rest of the round. If your commanding officer (either an XO or a CO) has fired up his radio, listen for any special instructions - he might have specific squads he wants you to take. Generally you can choose whichever one you want. To do so, walk up to an Overwatch Console and choose one (1) squad that hasn't been claimed yet. For this guide, we'll say you picked the purple one, Charlie. Immediately take off your command headset and click on it to turn on Charlie's channel. You can flick on the other squad channels too if the noise doesn't bother you, but it's essential that you listen to your chosen squad.

Send the boys - or at least the Squad Leader - a nice message letting them know you'll be looking after them, and to hit up Charlie comms if they need anything. This is a good chance to briefly RP if that's your thing.

While we're on the topic of the radio, here are the channels you care about and why.

:v Command. Squad Leaders talk here, POs can be reached this way, and - of course - the XO and CO will give orders through it.
:c Charlie. This is the one you really care about, assuming you chose Charlie.
:u Requisitions. Here is where you beg for supplies for hours before deciding to go down there and push the fucking crates yourself.
say Local. Be sure to listen to your surroundings. Sometimes officers will talk here so they don't make Command too noisy.

Here are the ones that you might talk to but probably don't have to monitor closely:

:q, :b, :d Alpha, Bravo, and Delta. Might be situationally useful if you want to advise them that your squad is coming to their aid or whatever.
:p, :e Police and Engineering. You can mostly ignore these unless they are being fuckwads.
:m Medical. Advise medbay of incoming wounded/infected from your squad when they hop on the shuttle.
; Common. This will mostly be cancer but you can occasionally overhear useful things on it, or announce all-calls for bored Marines to get on the shuttle.

Err on the side of communicating too much.

Staff Officer's Hierarchy of Needs

1. Is there urgent shit?
2. How is my squad doing?
3. Does my squad know what they're doing?
4. Does my squad have supplies?
5. Is there miscellaneous work to take care of?

1. Is there urgent shit?

Let's say you hear all of this at once:

CO: "Can someone get me Charlie's position?"
PFC: "I've found some kind of brown spider with a tube leaping at people's faces."
SSGT: "OB on my mark, X+5, Y-2."
LCPL: "I'm out of smartgun ammo."

The underlined calls count as urgent shit. Urgent shit can be tactical, as in the case of an orbital bombardment - there's often a very limited window for firing them and hitting anything. Urgent shit can also be strategic; the Commander needs to know where you are so they can send Bravo to help you. The Lance wants supplies, but stow that in the back of your mind. The Private has info on a new type of alien (which can help other marines know what to expect without metagaming), but this can wait. Both are part of your job eventually, though, so don't forget to relay the info later on.

2. How is my squad doing?

Being aware of your squad's health and proximity to one another helps you and the Commander understand how strong they are expected to be.

Make sure you're following your Squad Leader's helmet cam and periodically checking in on the rest of the squad's status. If several marines are a long distance away from the SL, advise the SL of it and help the squad form up again. The squad status will also tell you if marines are dead or unconscious, and sometimes it even gives a vague indication of where in the facility they are. If you want more details on someone who is hurt, you can check the Crew Monitoring Console, though this requires stepping away from your Overwatch Console.

You can also be reactive about this one. If a Marine screams for help, but doesn't give a location, you can help his buddies find him.

LT Adriana Zaun [Charlie (SO)] says, "Herman Briggs is 127 meters from SL's location. Underground Hallway NW."

Try to get seriously wounded marines to a shuttle for medevac. Talk to Pilot Officers and make sure they wait for any incoming casualties. Inform Medical in advance of the shuttle arriving. Some marines may die, just make sure Command is aware when you commit to battles that you're only at partial strength. If your Squad Leader dies, it's important to make it clear to the squad who their interim leader will be. SL succession is by rank:

- Specialist (Sgt.)
- Medic or Engineer (Cpl.)
- Smartgunner (Lance)

If you have a choice, pick someone who communicates and seems robust.

3. Does my squad know what they're doing?

Hopefully, you had a CO or an XO at briefing (if you were the poor SO who had to do it, I'm so sorry, just follow the Commander guides and try to find creative ways around not having an announcement/beacon/evac card). You'll periodically end up with your squad not being sure what to do next; maybe they've completed their objective, or they've heard of a situation to the north and want to get in on the fight.

Communicate their objectives with them on a frequent basis - even if it's "continue with your current orders" - but remember two things: 1) communicate strategic goals via the Squad Leader rather than directly to the men, and 2) don't be a prick about it. You need to maintain a great relationship with the SL, and that means giving them the freedom to translate your strategic goals into tactical decisions. And whether you're talking with the SL or the squad marines, you should be friendly, collected, and trustworthy. There should very rarely be any blame in your voice, because if someone has fucked up so spectacularly as to deserve it, the MPs are probably going to get them anyway.

4. Does my squad have supplies?

Make sure your squad has everything they need. In general, you shouldn't be stingy with supplies - the challenge isn't in getting the points to order them, but in delivering them to the planet. It goes like this:

1. SL asks for flares and puts down a supply beacon (you might have to remind him).
2. You ask in the Charlie channel, they will say "helmets" or "smartgun ammo."
3. You let :u know to prepare a crate for Charlie drop containing all of the above, and ask for a response from them.
4. They will not respond.
5. Bother :u again. A CT gets on and says the RO is passed out in a pool of his own vomit. Repeat the order because he didn't hear it.
6. Some engineer will chime in on Charlie channel moments later saying to add metal sheets.
7. The CT tells you it will be delayed owing to having to order the metal sheets.
8. Everyone forgets about the order, including the CT, who goes SSD too.
9. You eventually remember, walk down to Requisitions, and push the fucking full crate onto the purple "C".
10. Launch supply drop.

If it goes better than that, treat the Requisitions staff like gold. The bar is kinda low.

5. Is there miscellaneous work to take care of?

Sometimes there is work to be done on the Almayer that can be sorted out by an officer. You might volunteer to do that to take some load off the Commander's hands and mind. In general, unless you've been ordered to take care of these chores, they should be your last priority. Make sure you're still listening to your squad's radio channel all the while, ready to rush to their aid if need be. Your responsibility is first and foremost to your squad.

Congratulations On Your Promotion

So ... the Commander has gone rambo planetside and the XO is dead. All the other SOs are saying "not it." Now you have to be the person who does the following:

- Briefing marines on their assignment (read a Commander guide, say something inspiring, deploy them in a boring and normal fashion).
- Coming up with new objectives once they're on the ground, and making sure the other SOs and SLs know about them.
- Dealing with the absurd whims of the W-Y Corporate Liason (this can be fun but also incredibly distracting from real work, indulge sparingly).
- Making sure MP sentencing isn't boneheaded.
- Ahelp to make sure it's okay to grab the XO's card and raise the alert level on IBs who are murdering you all.
- Pizza has been delivered and the pizza man insists on speaking to your leader.

If you can handle all that without crying, you should just take XO next time while your Commander Whitelist app gets reviewed.
Last edited by Rhicora on 31 May 2017, 19:25, edited 5 times in total.
Lt. Adriana Zaun, Staff Officer
Rhi's Guide to SO
Dr. Mendez, Pharmaceutical Researcher
Rhi's Guide to Experimental Drugs

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Ikmalmn
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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by Ikmalmn » 29 May 2017, 23:47

This guide...is beautifully made. Clean, slick and easy to the eyes.

Overall, a good presentation on how to be a good SO. The detailed parts is nicely detailed and the feel to being an SO is pretty good
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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by Szunti » 30 May 2017, 18:21

Common situations that I can't handle:
  1. Squad finished the current task and asking for a new one. CO, XO has given the squads initial orders, not telling anything to us about the greater strategy but now are busy with something else. I'd like to give new orders because without orders the squads tend to fall apart. But I don't want to step on CO's toes.
  2. Squad is on FOB duty. SL tries to keep the marines in the FOB desperately, still half of the marines went to the front instead to fight. Others are going SSD. The couple of the loyal ones asking for permission to fight. CO denies, he wants the FOB guarded and I can only watch the squad dying.

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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by Rhicora » 30 May 2017, 18:41

Squad finished the current task and asking for a new one. CO, XO has given the squads initial orders, not telling anything to us about the greater strategy but now are busy with something else. I'd like to give new orders because without orders the squads tend to fall apart. But I don't want to step on CO's toes.
Squad is on FOB duty. SL tries to keep the marines in the FOB desperately, still half of the marines went to the front instead to fight. Others are going SSD. The couple of the loyal ones asking for permission to fight. CO denies, he wants the FOB guarded and I can only watch the squad dying.
These situations go hand in hand. Often it comes down to reading the squad: are they able to hold a location without getting bored / going SSD? There are a couple good solutions to keep FOB marines busy:

- Offer to rotate squads; that is, tell the CO you'll send your squad out to reinforce Alpha at the front, and that will allow Alpha to be ordered back to FOB (with their wounded).
- Assign medics to tend to other squads' wounded at the FOB, and engineers to fortify the base. Squad marines can be tasked with helping out these support roles if they've nothing better to do.
- Divide into small fire teams, each of which patrols a nearby landmark. If anyone sees hostiles, they're to call it in so the other fire teams can respond.
- Have them search for survivors / gather information on civilian casualties / accomplish some Weyland-Yutani sub-objective near the FOB.
Lt. Adriana Zaun, Staff Officer
Rhi's Guide to SO
Dr. Mendez, Pharmaceutical Researcher
Rhi's Guide to Experimental Drugs

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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by Ikmalmn » 30 May 2017, 18:41

Szunti wrote:Squad finished the current task and asking for a new one. CO, XO has given the squads initial orders, not telling anything to us about the greater strategy but now are busy with something else. I'd like to give new orders because without orders the squads tend to fall apart. But I don't want to step on CO's toes.
My recommendation for a course of action when you meet this situation is to ALWAYS keep a steady flow of communication and hope to them. Tell them to hold their ground for a bit while you, presumably, try and ask the XO or CO for another set of orders. Marines sometimes get rowdy and will so indeed when they do not have any more objectives or no real communication from command.


Szunti wrote: Squad is on FOB duty. SL tries to keep the marines in the FOB desperately, still half of the marines went to the front instead to fight. Others are going SSD. The couple of the loyal ones asking for permission to fight. CO denies, he wants the FOB guarded and I can only watch the squad dying.
Now this, is a tricky situation. For the moment, threaten the marines with hefty threats of brig due to insubordination. After that, give out hope and morale that they will soon go fight along. Try and find them something to do, like "Enemies reported from East side FOB, go take a look at it". Hope, is your only hope.
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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by Nick123q23 » 30 May 2017, 21:19

Say your squad is braindead and doesn't respond to anything you say, or they do but if you ask for something like "where are you" or "what are you doing" and they never answer, what do you do?

I've had this exact scenario happen to me nearly every time I play SO
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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by Rhicora » 30 May 2017, 23:12

Nick123q23 wrote:Say your squad is braindead and doesn't respond to anything you say, or they do but if you ask for something like "where are you" or "what are you doing" and they never answer, what do you do?

I've had this exact scenario happen to me nearly every time I play SO
In this situation I typically contact specific squad members by name - starting with the Squad Leader and working my way down. It's part of an SL's job to communicate with Command, but if they aren't doing that, find someone who will.
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Rhi's Guide to SO
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Rhi's Guide to Experimental Drugs

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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by Sneakyr » 31 May 2017, 19:01

If your SL is giving good orders and communicating frequently, do not give non-urgent orders to the SL over the squad channel, but instead over the command channel or via the squad objective interface. Many squad members will follow what you say instead of their SL (for some reason). This problem has been alleviated somewhat with the reduction of SO font sizes but with a promising suggestion to return them to how they were I can see it becoming an issue again.
As a regular SL, this is one of the worst things you can do to me as an SO and will get you on my shitlist quick if you don't stop the first time I ask.
A retreat order is urgent. An OB warning is urgent.
Moving to support another squad is not urgent. It ends better for everyone if the SL moves his team as a whole than in scattered waves of one or two guys at a time.
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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by Rhicora » 31 May 2017, 19:22

Sneakyr wrote:If your SL is giving good orders and communicating frequently, do not give non-urgent orders to the SL over the squad channel, but instead over the command channel or via the squad objective interface. Many squad members will follow what you say instead of their SL (for some reason). This problem has been alleviated somewhat with the reduction of SO font sizes but with a promising suggestion to return them to how they were I can see it becoming an issue again.
As a regular SL, this is one of the worst things you can do to me as an SO and will get you on my shitlist quick if you don't stop the first time I ask.
A retreat order is urgent. An OB warning is urgent.
Moving to support another squad is not urgent. It ends better for everyone if the SL moves his team as a whole than in scattered waves of one or two guys at a time.
Definitely agree with this, and I'll edit my guide to mention it. As an SO, the squad marines are not your direct reports. If you have a competent SL, they'll be more than happy to help you guide the squad.

Exception: sometimes the SL doesn't talk to his squad at all. At that point, you'll have to be the one to fill the gap.
Lt. Adriana Zaun, Staff Officer
Rhi's Guide to SO
Dr. Mendez, Pharmaceutical Researcher
Rhi's Guide to Experimental Drugs

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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by shotgunbill » 05 Jun 2017, 20:18

This is legitimately a great guide for one of the most thankless jobs in CM.

A+ work.

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Re: Rhi's Guide to SO

Post by jalen earl » 31 Oct 2017, 05:54

cheers for this guide. hopefully my next attempt at SO goes better than the first time

tried playing as SO the other night on low pop. Only problem was that not only did the XO go ssd 2 minutes in but i was the only officer in CIC so basically got the hospital pass of command and was essentially learning on the fly. 25 minutes in a runner and drone got loose on the ship and then the reactor shut down leaving everyone on the surface to get slaughtered. not a fun time
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