While people are discussing whatever squad changes, I decided to write this as a real post from the stuff I keep rambling about on discord.
The FTL role currently suffers a bit of an identity crisis from being a bit of an amalgamation of two very different jobs:
The first is the JTAC. Originally FTLs were RTOs, who were in fact JTAC+s. JTAC is all about standing at whichever position and communicating with pilots\mortars. This is a very powerful and useful job, but you’re usually too busy to actually lead anyone.
The second is of the fireteam leader. This is a job that exists in many IRL armies. In CM FTLs should be the most aggressive junior leaders, who vanguard all the pushes and take all the risks. Since they’re pretty disposable.
The problem is that both of those jobs have completely contradictory requirements and even require different kits.
In practice this means that I, as a SL, can never trust any of my FTLs to actually lead a fireteam, because I always have to make sure that they’re not rolling the role to do JTAC(as most people do). And people who roll FTL to actually lead a fireteam as a junior leader(all 2 of us), have to explain to the squad leader that “yeah, bro I’m in fact here to lead a team and you can trust me”.
So to untangle this, I think that everything JTAC related should be outright removed from the fireteam leader, be it LD, JTAC channel or RTO backpack. And whoever plays JTAC should be directed to play PFC with a JTAC kit. If needs be, it can even be made cheaper at say 15 points for both LD and the skill.
Alternatively FTL role should be just removed. But I think it’s still a pretty useful RP role, since it provides the SL with a quick list of people to whom you can assign fireteams and SOs with easy selection of people who should succeed the SL when needed.
I guess renaming the role back to RTO and removing all the fireteam leadership aspirations is ok too, but it’s kind of a role without gameplay, since PFCs were doing JTAC fine before and can do it again too, without a need for it being a separate role.
Of course, bring back RTO. About the “remove all RTO stuff and let ungas handle it”, why not remove medics and engis and allow ungas to handle it? If there was a seperate RTO and FTL role, I think the RTOs would, well, RTO, and the morrowbeno PFC++s be PFC++s because most fireteams don’t need that much leading anyways. Edit: About all the name stuff, what’s about giving RTOs a choice between being RTOs and this morrowbeno PFC++s similar to doc?
The FTL is in a good spot from how I see it, it doesn’t need a change. If anything maybe the name but returning it to RTO isn’t what I’d want from the role. To begin with you no longer need to have a radio backpack and it actually costs points to use, so that literally beats the point, just give it a less aggressive name than FTL but not as lame as RTO.
The idea of removing JTAC related stuff from FTL just sounds like torture, PFC JTACing even though I was a huge offender of this a while ago is genuinely dumb to do because of how LONG it takes for your to laze even with the JTAC pamphlet, it was why I usually had to trade my laser desig with the scout’s since it’s instant and just did God’s work afterwards.
A role dedicated to JTAC while also being the second in line for the SL is fine, not everything needs to be pinpoint accurate like the real army/marines/whatever, FTL in its own spot is the JTAC + second in command after the SL, while also “leading FTs” , the thing that most SLs ignore or set up at the start of the round and forget about it.
Plus with the skills/rank given the FTL can choose to be one of those two, or like me and another FTL player, we know who’ll be what, I dedicate myself to JTAC and he dedicates himself to leading when the SL goes off and dies 5 minutes into the round. JTACing gets reduced if the second FTL dies/gets capped as well but overall this can be arranged and it’s not even a problem at all so lets try and not make it sound like one.
I do sympathize with people who want to call in CAS and artillery without having to wrangle a handful of marines that don’t want to listen. No one wants to herd cats. However, I think that making CAS and fire support the responsibility of SLs and TLs is a good thing. These assets require you to have a bigger picture and a greater understanding of the situation on the frontlines. You need to have the marines hold their ground for a few seconds so you can organize an effective counter-attack after mortar fire and CAS clear the way, and being in a leadership position is the best way you can achieve that. Too many times I’ve seen privates call in fire missions and drop a mortar shell or two on other marines because they couldn’t sense the upcoming marine advance. I think it absolutely is possible for a team leader to both lead his fireteam effectively and call in CAS and IDF. If we are going to take inspiration from the real world, actual JTACs that specialize in coordinating air support, and actual forward observers that request a boatload of artillery fire missions, do exist. However, these personnel are usually attached to other units at the battalion level. Corporals and sergeants all the way down to the rifle squad are perfectly capable of calling in CAS, artillery, medevac, etc.
Engineers and medics exist as separate roles to limit marine power. You don’t need to do that with JTAC since both CAS and mortar are already limited assets.
Just optional role naming is an OK solution too I guess.
JTACs generally don’t need to lead and leaders are\should be too busy to JTAC. Especially at the fireteam level, because that’s actually the guys you want to coordinate with JTACs - JTAC aims CAS\mortar at X, fireteam follows up on it and finishes the xeno\pushes in. As for PFC JTACing - well I guess I didn’t make it clear enough - make JTAC pamphlet give RTO level skill.
Basically your playstyle, while it’s fine on its own, still leaves that fireteam leadership level gap on marine side. And I’ve been trying to close that gap for ages and push some of the best troopers on the server into that FTL position. But currently this ambivalence is really hurting it. In the end, an actual fireteam leader role is way more useful than the second in command JTAC role.
Leader is the JTAC role. aSL being the JTAC role is obviously fine by extent.
As you said yourself, it’s all the way down to the rifle squad, not lower than that. SL doing JTAC is fine. It’s the FTLs who in my opinion should not be doing it. If anything I’m pushing for a tighter coordination between fire support and the grunts.
When I say that it’s not possible to lead your fireteam effectively and call in CAS, here’s what I mean:
To call in CAS you need to position yourself somewhere where there’s a good view and it’s safe both from being grabbed\slashed\boilered or even pushed around by other marines. But to effectively follow up on fire support you need a position just outside of the hit range and then immediately rush in. And that follwing up is exactly the work for fireteams. It’s just not realistic to expect one person to effectively call CAS and then move from that third line to immediately follow it up with his team.
That’s why a pattern of SL(or even some other JTAC) calling CAS and a fireteam led by it’s leader be positioned just outside just outside of the CAS range and be willing immeidately push in when needed is what works best.
In addition, low level leadership in CM requires a certain tempo. If you’re a FTL leading a fireteam and you’re just playing JTAC for 20 minutes of course you can expect the other guys in your team to get bored, since they generally don’t get to do much and they gonna run off.
That’s why I think that fire support should be a squad level asset, not a fireteam level one.
As someone who mained RTO from the day it came out all the way until the FTL change, I do agree that the dichotomy between the JTAC and team lead aspects of FTL is kind of awkward to fit into one role, often giving you people who don’t lead and JTAC, or FTL’s with 0 JTAC supplies who are there purely to unga rush. My main issue is as a leader you are expected to be in the front, but most of the time trying to laze for coords in the very front is not ideal, and if you are in the back controlling the flow of where your team goes is much harder. I think the transition from calling in supplies to the JTAC role was very smooth, fitting a niche previously filled by combat engie, but now that RTO/FTL has been somewhat forced into a leadership role that directly clashes with its JTAC aspect I do believe that either a name change or in the most extreme case a separation between FTL and RTO is needed.