Guild Wars 2: Commandership

I’ve got to the stage on guild wars where I’ve got all the alts I really care about up to level 80 and kitted them out exactly how I want them. It’s cost a fair amount, but then I seem to have relatively cheap tastes. A good example is cultural armours, I use 3 of them in total and in every case they’re tier 2, costing around 1 gold in total, instead of tier 3 which costs around 120 gold in total. I appear to have cheap taste in these things, and that means I’ve had enough spare gold to consider a commandership.

The Blue Dorito:

Commanders are notable by the blue symbol over their heads, often referred to as the ‘blue dorito’, this is how other people can see where they are on the map. If you click on the screenshot below you can see two commanders in a world versus world battle I was involved in recently, visible on both the mini-map and in game.


The blue dorito is what the commander is all about, its the only symbol where other players can see an ally moving (with the exception of friends in your party, to a maximum of 5 players). Generally this means that large groups of your team mates will follow the dorito, and so that’s where the large scale fighting will be.

The dorito comes with some other benefits, such as being able to set custom map markers (a sort of tame way of giving orders) for those following you, but seeing as nearly every commander I’ve come across uses some sort of teamspeak, it really comes down to the visible marker as the crux of commandership.

A lot of the benefit to a commandership is pretty specific to world versus world, being able to command large groups of players from your server in the never ending war against the other servers. However, there’s been increasing use of commander doritoes in the general gameplay world as well recently. With champion farming really taking off in Forstgorge in particular, a train of players follow the dorito along a path to kill as many champions as possible in the shortest time possible (the more people the merrier generally).

So, the pretty price for this dorito is a princely 100 gold. I’ve seriously considered it recently, the draw of my own zerglings following me is very tempting. I also would probably be fairly good as a commander, having studied as a military strategist in real life there’s plenty I could bring to the table for my server in world versus world. What has finally put me off is a broader problem that I want to go in to.

Teamspeak and back seat commanding:

*I really must put in a disclaimer here, firstly this is representative of my server in particular, and also that I do not condemn anybody who practices what I am about to talk about. If you want to play that way I’m happy for you to do so!*

The problem I have, and which put me off commandership, is the people in world versus world, with world versus world being the only reason I would become a commander.

On my server in particular there is a culture of back seat commanding, where most people are commanders but are content to follow someone else who is prepared to have their dorito tag on and lead the battle, whilst criticising their every decision. Combined in to this is the insistence that a commander must be on teamspeak to command effectively and that is the reason why I have decided against becoming a commander.

TeamSpeak_LogoPersonally, I have had bad experiences with teamspeak which leaves me with the lasting desire to never use it again. As a more mature gamer, I have work and commitments in the day time and come home and play Guild Wars to relax. Teamspeakers do not accept casualness. Indeed, on my server there are several world versus world guilds that conduct interviews over teamspeak for any applicants. I’ve had enough of job interviews in the real world, I don’t want that when I come home! Equally, why should I have to? I am capable of commanding without teamspeak, with my zerglings following me wherever I lead. Yet, the back seat commanders would strive to make it as difficult as possible for me to do so and would bombard me with abuse through the team type chat in-game, which I see regularly directed against more casual commanders.

I would love to command, but the community has driven me away, at least for my server.

Broader thinkings:

This whole decision has brought up broader problems with online gaming for me, and with Guild Wars in particular. The abuse I see directed towards the casual commanders in world versus world appalls me, and makes me want to leave the game entirely at its worst.

Yet, I like the core gameplay of world versus world despite this. The trouble with online games is that both the gameplay and the community must both be enjoyable. What is more enjoyable than the mayhem of the fight in the screenshot below? That enjoyment is tainted when you see the chat in the bottom left lighting up with people complaining that people are resurrecting (many feel that this is a waste of time that would be better spent killing) or complaining that the elementalists in our team are not using the right elemental attunement for the situation, etc. This happens all the time in world versus world, and did on the occasion in the screenshot (again, there is some server specificity to my comments).


Will I become a commander? Probably not.

Will I continue playing world versus world on guild wars? Probably, on and off, without any particular loyalty to my server.

Does it make me reconsider how I view online gaming? Certainly, this decision has made me question whether I really enjoy playing with other people at all. I have made fantastic friends along the way in Guild Wars 2, but most have gradually faded away and stopped playing. I’m now left with a small core of the friends I once had and which I wished I could just transplant to another game with a nicer community. But then, is there a nicer MMO community out there? Do MMOs force the community to act like this? I fear that there is perhaps some truth in that, which makes me further question why I play MMOs.

Finally, I really want to reinforce that I don’t condemn anybody who uses teamspeak, you are totally free to. What I am writing about is the demands of the community that commanders must use teamspeak. I don’t mind if you choose to, but don’t force your choice on me. And, if you have a world versus world community of your server that isn’t plagued by these problems I would be more than happy to hear from you! Perhaps another server would like to see a commander Digital Salad!


Digital Salad –


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