Major Musings is a short blog article that will sporadically be posted on the website. I am just an admin in a gaming community, if the name of this article offends you I do truly wish other things in life do not drive you mad as well. The below thoughts are solely of the author’s and do not in any way reflect other Command Staff’s, or unit members opinions. The thoughts and statements listed below are my own.
Since September 3rd, 2018 I have had the absolute pleasure of being Command Staff within the Task Force 121 community once our friend Mauricio stepped down, and on July 24th, 2019 Cullen and I both moved into positions of ownership within the community. I would be lying to my friends and my constituents if I said that leadership within the community was always an easy role - it has not been. Being blessed with two years of leadership has forced me to grow in both my virtual presence as well as my day to day interactions with friends, peers, and the general public. Unfortunately my lack of ability to lead at times has led to stagnation within the unit, loss of friends due to inaction on my part, and a cultural shift within the unit. Over the past few months a good learning lesson has been that a “wait and see” approach to several problems is usually a poor option. While some problems in the unit have naturally worked themselves out, some problems should have been addressed in their infancy. An example of this would be having people that did not reflect the ideals of the unit, or those with poor leadership skills, in positions that directly affected the fun and enjoyment of our new and experienced members. Thankfully, with the help of good friends within this community we call home I have been able to grow and (from what I think) develop into a better leader to best serve this community. A large fault that has been brought to my attention is a lack of communication letting the community know where my head is at with where the unit is heading, so with the help of this blog and future posts I will do my best to paint a road map. I understand those we lovingly call “The Old Guard” are wanting a Sunday experience with more tactical competency, just as those who have joined over the last one and a half years have slowly slid the scale towards a more casual Sunday experience. My promise to you, my friends and loyal community, is to provide as close to a gaming experience that you are looking for as possible. In a sea of Arma 3 communities providing services to the playerbase we at Task Force 121 do our best to attract like minded individuals to our community. I am a firm believer that we have a pretty unique and spectacular group here - where else do you find a bunch of internet friends that drive cross country for airsoft events and unit hangouts, friends that sign up for Secret Santa every holiday season to send gifts to other friends across the world, friends that have offered to wire funds to unit members in dire real world need? Maybe there’s other online communities with that type of comradery, but I have yet to see it. Your time is the most valuable thing that you posses in this writer’s humble opinion, and the fact that you spend it reading this blog post, playing DCS and Arma operations, or just hanging out in TeamSpeak with other friendly faces speaks volumes and no amount of words can express the gratitude that I feel. It is my belief that we have a winning formula here within the community, we have more recruits joining and staying in our community than we have older members burning out, and I believe our success is based on the fact we do not have mandatory attendance and we are easily accessible to newer players. Now, those above positives on gaining and retaining new members do not come without consequence - without a more rigid attendance policy for operations and trainings, how would it be fair to expect newer members to play on the same level as those of us with several thousand hours of gameplay, real life experience, and countless training exercises? I think the answer is it is not, and I think if I asked any of my friends within this unit the same question they would reply in kind. Unfortunately due to lack of communication on my part my friends have come to believe, and fairly I might add, that I am pushing for a more casual unit. This is not necessarily the case - I am a firm believer that our success is from making our Sunday operations more accessible and with this accessibility has provided us with more members that we then divert into more niche sub-units/sub-cultures of our unit. Without strong attendance in Sunday operations we would not be able to provide members to the ODA program, the WWII operations, the AntiStasi players, etc. Building a unit following is tough, and takes months to years of grinding out 5 to 10 player ops before you hope to see any growth. My friends that have been here as long, or longer, than I have remember the days of yore of ten to fifteen players in a Sunday operation. This is the same roadmap my friends within the unit trying to stand up sub-culture groups will face, but they have the added benefit of being able to draw from our existing community. Take our DCS community for example - by being able to draw from an already active and like minded group of individuals they quickly amassed 37 pilots to kick off their community. To my friends, frustrated as they may be, who are looking for a more tactically rewarding experience, believe it or not I want the same thing as you. Nothing would please me more than to be able to provide you with that unique experience within our community. We all want the gaming experience we enjoy the most, and by making this unit more accessible to the dwindling Arma 3 playerbase I hope to be able to steer more tactically proficient members into your open arms. “The problem - when you cast with your net that is wide - is you inevitably catch something that you do not want to catch”, a quote from Edward Felten applies here. By casting our large recruitment net over the Arma 3 playerbase we will not always draw the tactically proficient members we aim to reach, but sometimes those members end up being the best community members we could ask for, the community members that always great us with a smile, the members that brighten our days just from their friendly hellos. In short, for those who are looking for a more tactically proficient community or sub-group to play with I am doing my best to provide you with that experience. What has frustrated me over the past six months to a year is having the same talk like clockwork despite what unit health has shown. However, just because the overwhelming majority is happy with how ops and the unit is conducted does not mean I am going to pigeon hole my friends desires. Instead, I would like to help you develop a plan to provide that gaming need to a not-so-small minority within our community that wants the same thing. What I ask from you, my friends, is to be patient with our generally casual community that plays operations and every Sunday and to take the time to teach the willing. Once upon a time we were all lost PV1’s playing our first operation and look where we are now. Still bumbling through operations at a times, but surrounded by friends.