I’ve been putting quite a few hours into the new MMO shooter, Destiny. After sinking about 24 hours into the game, I’m a Level 22 Hunter currently focused more on PvE (Player vs. Environment). I hit the soft-level cap of 20 by about 16 hours, and have been progressively doing Strike missions to level up some rare equipment and also earn my Vanguard marks and ranks to purchase Legendary equipment later on.
When I went on my first Strike mission, it was an absolute mess. I had no idea what I was doing, nor where my teammates were. If I did know where my teammates were, I’d stick with them. Power in numbers, right? However, every time we got surrounded by a swarm of enemies, or a boss character focus fired on us, we’d become another nasty smear on the wall. Trying to revive someone without covering fire was also another incredibly silly way to ensure a premature death.
However, as I became more familiar with the game, and more confident in my own abilities, I noticed a trend as I played even more games with total strangers, fighting against the Darkness.
After awhile, you notice that the more experienced players playing PvE aren’t good because they have more abilities or better equipment. It was because they had better team work and non-verbal communication.
For example, if I was reviving someone, a team mate would not repeat the action, and he or she would be on another side of the map drawing enemy fire. Or the moment someone is revived by me, that person would use the 1 second of invulnerability to cover my escape. Likewise, during boss rights or large swarms, we wouldn’t be bunched up in a defensive position putting rounds down only one angle. Almost immediately, we would each scatter to a separate location and lay down overlapping fields of fire to create a maximum killzone, and also ensure that the enemy’s efforts were diluted.
And these tactics were all communicated without the use of speaking to one another. When you enter a fireteam of 3 Guardians, who have been forged in the fires of PvE, we don’t waste time talking. We lead by action. And when someone is taking point, you check your ego and cover their unguarded flank. When someone is being hosed down by a particular tough boss or swarm, you reposition and flank the enemy without that person screaming for help.
In a nutshell, non-verbal communication is actualized by your ability to access the situation you are in and act accordingly while trusting your fireteam (team mates).
Nothing is sweeter than overcoming a level that is deemed Impossible, and yet there you are, standing victorious over the odds with two complete strangers, never having spoken a word to each other. You give a silent hat-tip to your randomly generated fireteam, and perhaps you will meet again by happenstance.