An interview with the COD4 Division Captain
Cod4 is one of the largest FPS Divisions in TOG with over 50 active members and still continuing to show strong growth, grimberror recently caught up with the quietly spoken Division Captain to ask him a few questions about the Division from the leadership perspective.
Salvationjane777,or SJ to most of us has great insight and respect for the Division as he explains below....
How long have you been in TOG?
I joined in April 2008 so almost a year and a half.
Did you think you would be in the the top job?
Yeah it was always part of my cunning plan...lol...no i didn’t actually. TOG is the first clan/gaming community I have ever been part of and I was just in awe of this new aspect to gaming that I had found in being part of it. Now I’m just happy to be giving something back.
How does one join the CoD4 Div?
It’s really easy. After becoming a TOG member anyone can post up a “hello” in our New Members sign up sticky in our Main Forum. Players in North America and Europe can post a hello in Mars Squad (NA/EU Squad) subforum.
When a new member joins TOG and the CoD4 div what do you expect from the new members?
We expect new members to simply enjoy themselves. Everything that we do as division leaders and squad leaders is geared towards ensuring our members can just have fun.
Your div captains play an important role in the Div,so does this make your role easier with the squads leaders you have?
Having great people to work with always makes a job easier and we do have great people in the leadership. Our squad leaders put a lot of time and effort into looking after their squads and making sure everyone is happy. So at a division level this really helps keep the whole thing fun and running smoothly. For me its great to be able to throw some issue out there for discussion by the squad leaders and have so much experience and knowledge to draw on. At the end of the day, decisions effecting the division fall on my head and having this support makes the decision making easier.
How many squads do you have?
We have 6 squads. Sparta is our AN/NZ social squad; Mars is our NA/EU social squad; Artemis, Hades, Wotan and Zeus are our competition (GA/CG) squads. Our NA/EU players don’t currently compete in any ladders.
OK so sparta is your casual squad,would you say that this is a stepping stone for joining a GA squad?
New members looking to join a competition squad need to spend 4 weeks in Sparta just so that we get to know them and they get to know us. After that they can apply to join a squad and will be allocated to a squad based on need and availability etc. So in that way Sparta is a stepping stone but we have many players that are not really interested in regular competition (or are taking a break from it) and so Sparta is their home so they can just chill and relax.
You were captain of Wotan,did this help with your transition into the top job?
Having some knowledge of the workings at the higher layers of the division has made it easier to slot in. I had been working closely with the DC and DVC as Server Ops also so this helped to. By far it’s been the support from the squad leaders, our FPS Administrator (303) and the division as a whole that has made it easier.
Do you still play GA?
Yes and I still enjoy it. theZee has taken over as Wotan squad leader and is doing a great job. RL has been hectic the past few weeks and it has eaten into my playing time but I dive in whenever I can to keep my noob skills sharp.
How do you like the top job?
Is it a Challenge? I finding it enjoyable and yes it is a challenge at times. Its just great to be able to continue to give something back to the division.
Do all the members get a fair chance to advance into leadership roles?
I think the division can go through periods where leadership positions are pretty static and so the opportunity for others can be somewhat limited. It’s the nature of things on the competition side that you don’t want to mess with the formula while things are working. We’ve got a lot of enthusiastic and talented people in our division and one of the things I want to try to do is provide those people with some experience of the higher level workings of the division.
With the new MW2 being with us soon,do you feel it will effect our current squads and division?
We did a poll a few weeks back now on who in our division will be playing MW2 and almost all said yes they would be. So there is going to be an impact on a number of fronts: social, competition etc. Time will tell if MW2 overtakes COD4 as the primary game but we are doing the planning now on how to ensure that our social ties between COD4 and MW2 are strong so that no one is left behind in the wake.
Recruiting, how have you combated against this, and do you feel its working?
The division has seen some ups and downs and in early 2008 there was a real issue with the number of active members. I can’t take credit for it but the previous Division and Sparta leaders started a program and recruiting on public servers and it has paid off as we began to see a large number of new members come into the division in the last 4 months or so. Every time new members join, it really energises the rest of us.
We have 2 servers,are they both the same?,and what interest do they generate?
We have 2 public servers that are made possible through contributions from our division members. They are called Alpha and Bravo. Alpha is our PAM4 S&D server; PAM4 is the GA competition mod. Bravo is our Hardcore and Custom Map server. We use Bravo for fun nights and for those that enjoy HC as opposed to the normal mode of play. What tends to happen is that we all congregate on one or the other for the first few hours of the night and as players go off to practices or scrims some may move to bravo or alpha etc. We also have two practice/scrim servers which are privately funded by two of our members. These have given our squads great flexibility in practicing and holding impromptu scrims.
Lets talk about GA.Do you find the competition challenging?
GA is challenging at a number of levels. Most importantly the game type (Search and Destroy) relies on teamwork. Whereas in a public Team death match game the object is just to spam and rack up points for yourself, GA competition is about playing your role in the team...which sometimes might mean be being bait and dieing so your team can win the round. There some many great teams out there that I’m often dead before I know whats going on but it’s a great learning experience.
What skills are required when you join a GA squad?
None are required to join....you just have to bring a good attitude and be ready for some fun. There is the expectation that if you join a GA squad that you commit to practising, learning and being part of the team. Now if you don’t have certain skills when you join a squad you certainly will learn them as you go. What tends to happen is while members are in our social squad there are so many opportunities to play the comp game type that the skills are picked up then anyway
How often do the teams play?
Tends to work out about 1 comp match per week. Add to that one formal practice session. In between though there are ad hoc opportunities for players to hone their skills with combined impromptu friendly matches.
When a recruit decides to move up to GA do skill levels also factor towards which squad they go to?
We don’t consider skill level when we allocate members. The key criteria is which squad has the most need and from an availability point of view, which squad practices etc at times when the player is available.
How often do the teams train?
Formally one practice a week is typical, but essentially there are opportunities for friendly matches every night which is good practice
If players miss a training session do they still play on the night/day of the challenge?
It’s really up to the Squad Captains. There used to be a rule in some squads that you had to attend the training session or you could not be in the run on team. This is probably important when maps are new to players but more or less the rule has been relaxed these days. It is important to warm-up with your squad before a match.
Do TOG have a nemesis team in the GA comp?
Hmmm...FTZ would be the only thing close to a “friendly” nemesis. Many of the boys from FTZ used to be in the TOG COD4 Thor Squad and so there si friendly rivalry there. I think we are fortunate in the COD4 community that we have good relationships with many of the clans we play. We take the time to foster those relationships and it’s great to be part of.
What is your best placed squad?
Artemis is currently the highest placed in GA, but all three squads are in the top 30 right now. Zues is our only CyberGamer comp squad and are doing well over there.
Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule SJ to answer these questions.So as you see the CoD4 Division is in great hands and is running smoothly which is filled with great people to help everyone have as much fun as possible.
Thanks to grimberror for doing this interview.