Updated: Aug 4, 2021
Communication is fundamental in tactical shooter games or any game that requires teamwork. Learning to effectively communicate and get your points across with accuracy will help you, and your teammates make better decisions in-game.
I've broken down communication into categories and I'll explain the basics and why they are important.
Generally, I would say it's better to say the agent names but if you peek and see 4 people. It's much more efficient to say 4, instead of "Sova, Sage, Jett, and Omen". Don't guess though, only say the actual number that you see. The reason is your teammates may be using this information to make a play, or take space. If I'm playing defense on Haven and one of my teammates says "5 Long A" and I'm at Long C. I might make a move and run down Long C to either flank A, or get in a good spot if they decide to fall back. If the call isn't accurate and someone is waiting for me, then they are getting a free easy kill and potentially the C site because everyone is rotating to A off that call.
If you see an agent. Call it out. This is very helpful as the round goes on. Let's imagine that I'm playing defense on Haven again. I start at Long C and I see Sova trying to get the orb. Nothing happens for 30 seconds, and then my A players call out Sova is A. Since Sova is a support agent and is most likely with the team, this is a tell that they are about to hit A (in most cases). When you start to play on a team, communicating agents will also help the in-game leader make decisions on where to go.
Did Sova recon dart? Did Astra drop a star somewhere? Did Phoenix use both his flashes? Knowing what utility has been used can help you decide which position you want to play on defense and what site you want to hit on the attack. If I’m playing against a Phoenix and I know he’s used both of his flashes, my positions are different than if he has 2 flashes left. The same thing goes for Sova recon darts. If I know the recon dart has been used, my position is different, and even my crosshair placement.
We're all guilty of it, I'm guilty of it as well. "He's over here". Unfortunately "here" isn't a call-out on any map. Calling out precise locations is key, especially in clutch situations. If you don't know the call-outs, hit CAPS-LOCK (unless you changed this bind in-game) and look at the 2D map overview. Most of the call-outs that people are using in ranked are displayed there.
Call out how much damage you did to which agent. If someone tells me "I did 145 to Yoru" and I’m in a 1v1. The chances of me pulling out my Classic and trying to hit a jumping burst have increased by 90%. It's much harder for the enemy to hit me if I'm moving and jumping. Knowing how much damage is done to someone can change the way situations are played out.
Only use urgency in your tone when it is required. If you're being executed on, and see all 5 enemies, you want to make sure your teammates understand what's happening. “THERE’S 5 RUSHING ME RIGHT NOW”. Don’t say it in a monotone voice, it might not register in people's heads, and then no one is rotating. On the opposite end of that, don't yell out "THERE'S 2 HERE" because that may cause panic on the other side of the map and cause early rotations.
When your teammates make nice plays, clutch rounds, or throw you a perfect piece of utility to get a multi-kill. Let them know! There's not enough positivity in gaming right now. I read it all the time on Twitter. This person's toxic, that person's sexist, this person muted the whole team and is running it down after. Try and encourage your teammates. I bet you they play better. It's not hard to say "Nice round", "Nice play", "Holy, sick clutch".
Now you know the basic categories of communication. Here's an example of a random round I played with some friends.
Did you hear everything mentioned above? Numbers, Agents, Utility, Locations, Urgency, and of course Encouragement after the round was over.
If you're new to tactical shooters or multi-player games in general then I would say at the bare minimum you want to call Numbers + Locations ("4 Long A") as you see it. After you die call out Damage + Agents ("145 on Jett"). If you can implement all of the categories above, then you are on your way to Radiant!
You just learned different categories of communication you should be using. Now it's time to learn about communication you should leave out.
I’m guilty of saying things after I die that I shouldn’t have before calling out what is necessary. I hear it all the time in the ranked games I play as well. "I lagged, omg I should have killed him but I ran out of ammo". The earlier you start to kick this habit, the better off you will be. In real tournament situations, you need to communicate immediately, there's no time for you to make excuses, and if you do, it could cost you the round cause your teammate didn't have the proper information.
I'm sure everyone has experienced people guessing in their games. "I think there's 4 over here". In reality, no one is there. Only call out what you see or hear. Don't make guesses that will change the way other people play.
DO NOT BACKSEAT GAME!. Especially random people you don't know. If it's your friend and they are looking for feedback, give it to them after the round is over. People need to fail before they succeed. Let them make the play that's in their mind and offer feedback after. “Hey, you could have done this instead it would have given you a better chance to win because x, y, and z”. When you backseat game, it's really distracting and in most cases will end up having a negative impact even if it's meant to be positive.
DO NOT SHIT-TALK YOUR TEAMMATES! It's like the old saying goes, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all. If you want any chance of winning the game you're playing, there's absolutely no reason to shit-talk a teammate.
Everyone can work on communication, myself included. I know what it's like to be hyper-focused and not say a word when trying frag or dying and instinctually start saying things that don't help my teammates, but if you make a conscious effort to work on your communication, it will become better over time. If you want any chance of playing professionally, start working on this now rather than later.
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