City of Heroes
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Creating and Leading a Good Team

Being a team leader is not just about inviting a few random people from Atlas Park to swim with you in the greeny waters of the Sewers and assuming that you all are going to play together well. It's also not just about getting together 7 other people to commit to doing a 10- to 12-mission Task Force. Leading a team, and putting together a team of good people, requires some work on your part, whether it's a small team for a mission or two, or whether it's a long 8-member siege of Task Force missions taking you to parts unknown.

Rule #1: Don't be mean or rude to your teammates.
This is first on the list because it is paramount to your team's success. If you, as leader, are being overly pushy or insistent about doing only your missions and no one else's, then you are not listening to your group's opinions, and people will quit and leave you in the lurch without a second thought. It is irritating, to say the least, to have to serve under a leader who is selfishly doing his or her own thing without consulting the rest of us to see if we want to come along.

Also, if team members have to leave the team for time commitments elsewhere (like work, family, homework/projects, etc.), even if it's mid-mission, let them go with goodwill. People can't be online superheroes all the time--City of Heroes attracts a number of players who are working, in school, and/or are moms and dads. Be courteous to players when they leave--thank them for taking the time to play in your group, and if desired, globally friend them so that you can look them up for teams later.

A partial exception to the "nice leader" rule: if a team member is constantly complaining about XP, insulting you and the other team members, or getting the other players in trouble by rushing into battle too soon, this is not the kind of person you need on your team. Send the player a warning Tell first, advising him/her that the behavior or commentary is not appropriate or helping the team. If he/she does not stop the behavior after being warned, use that all-powerful "Kick" button on your team menu (just make sure you're kicking the right player first!). As leader, it is your job to maintain a positive atmosphere for your team members--get rid of the source of negativity, and you may find your missions going a lot easier.

Rule #2: Don't start killing baddies in a mission before everyone gets into the mission.
Especially if your team members are coming from all over Paragon City, it is important to wait for all the team to assemble before beginning the smackdown inside the mission. Due to the levels of enemies outside the mission door, you may need to duck inside the mission to keep yourself and waiting teammates from getting shot to pieces; however, don't start owning face or running ahead as soon as you get in there. Wait just inside the mission door; if you kill enemies in a mission before the whole team gets in there, the people who are still outside the mission will not get any XP. Leaders who just run into a mish like they're soloing it, starting the fun before I get there, are VERY annoying--I feel like they're leaving me out for being slow.

Waiting by the door for teammates to assemble also gives the other players on your team a chance to use Recall Friend if the other team members would like a teleport to reduce travel time (don't just assume everybody wants a teleport, however!). While you wait, you can also have your Defender or Controller buff the waiting teammates with Fortitude, Speed Boost, Stimulant, or other types of buffs they have. If some on your team have the Mystic Fortune buff from the Magic Booster Pack, they can use that to grant other teammates a 20-minute random buff as well!

Rule #3: Build your team as balanced as possible.
Sometimes it is not possible to build a team that has all 5 basic archetypes represented; however, whenever you can, try to invite members that can each bring something different to the table in their powersets. A team full of Empathy/something else Defenders, for instance, may not die too often, but they also may not do enough damage to really count. A team full of Blasters, by contrast, no matter how offense-based, may not stay alive long enough to count.

In an ideal setup, you at least want a healer, two or three damage-dealers, and a neutralizer. Defenders often function as healers, having access to the Empathy power set, but Controllers also have access to it, so don't skip over Controllers when you're looking for healing! Damage-dealers are either close-combat (Tankers/ Scrappers) or ranged (Blasters/Defenders), so be sure to invite at least one of each type. Neutralizers are often Controllers due to the archetype's focus on Holding and Immobilizing in most of its powersets, but don't forget that Defenders and some Blasters often can come with some single-target neutralizing powers as well. Also, Tanks are very useful for teams, able to draw baddies closer to the team by Taunting and able to take more damage once the enemies get there.

When you're putting together a team, you can first put out a Broadcast and a Request asking for the types of characters you need (i.e., "Sewer team forming in Atlas, need a healer, a ranged-damage hero, and a close-combat hero, pst if interested"). Ask for people to send you Tells rather than replying on the Broadcast channel, so you know the screenname to invite later. When you reply to the Tell, politely ask what their powersets are, so that you know in advance what kind of abilities you're getting with this person. This will help you build a more balanced team.

Rule #4: Run a mission from everyone in your team.
When you are team leader, it's sometimes easy to start on your own mission arc and tend to want to stick with it all the way through. And this is okay--IF you ask your teammates first if they want to play the entire arc. As discussed in Rule #1, if you do all your own stuff without consulting anyone else, you're likely to end up in a team of one for being rude and inconsiderate.

One way I like to solve this problem is to do the "Mission Pass-Around." After the first mission you've done together is complete, ask the team members if any of them have a mission they would like to complete. (As team leader, you can see and select any mission that any team member has.) Most likely, there will be a team member or two who would like the group's help on completing a difficult mission--this is the perfect time to help another player get through an arc that maybe they have not been able to complete on their own. After this second mission is complete, ask if another member has a mission they would like for the group to complete, and so on. Doing this helps everyone feel appreciated, and it keeps the group play more interesting than having to slog through a whole arc from just one person (especially if the arc is full of Circle of Thorns...ugh).

Rule #5: Don't just talk business.
Running a team, especially if you're highly motivated to complete a mission in a certain time frame, can make a leader not want to talk a whole lot, except to type "we need to pull this boss" or "let's go back down the elevator and find the guy we left back there." But as much as you can, try to talk to your group members about more than just the mish. Yes, the mish is important, but this is also a voluntary social group--these people didn't have to be part of your team, but they chose to be. Make it worth their while by cracking a few jokes, asking how everyone's doing occasionally, and generally keeping a more positive tone.

If the worst-case scenario happens and everyone gets defeated, keep a cool head; allow time for the members to go to their Supergroup Base or the nearest Hospital and restock Inspirations, and use Recall Friend if you have it to reassemble the team faster. Most of all, don't blame any one teammate for the defeat--just move on, keep talking positive, and continue the smackdown as soon as everyone gets back to the mission. (Remember Rule #2: don't strut in there and start kicking butt as soon as you get back to the mish. Wait for your teammates, and instruct your other teammates to do the same.)

Staying positive and casually inquiring about your teammates' real-life pursuits helps you get to know them and makes your group feel more like a team. It encourages chat and camaraderie, which ultimately makes a team play tighter together and build off each other's strengths. I've seen what can happen to a team when negativity rules the chat--everyone ends up going their own ways inside the mission, often getting themselves killed in the process, and no one is able to get help from anyone else because they feel like they have to ask to be helped. Encouraging strong positive communication is a huge key to having a great team experience!