The fortnightly Clan Spotlight is back after a short hiatus! This week's Clan is the winner of Campaign 2, Havok! This isn't their first time winning it big either, they also collected a good bit of Gold and some unique medals from Rise of the Americas. You sure to find the Havok logo somewhere on the Clan Wars map at all times as these tankers are not interested in sitting around. As the commander, callmesarge, puts it, "We put the 'War' in Clan Wars."
We interviewed these players to learn more about the history of Havok:
Callmesarge - Commander of Havok and Strategist
BlackCompany - Deputy Commander and Recruiter
Unknown0ne - Deputy Commander, Field Commander and Strategist
TofuSmurf - Deputy Commander
m5m5 - Strategist and Field Commander
Arty_Takes_Skill - Strategist
Henrik - Artillery Strategist
Tevix - Treasurer
The_Decoy - Strategist
togood2222 - Diplomat
Please visit the extended interview thread to see more from this interview
When and how did Havok get started?
Callmesarge - A group of us from the Brothers Grimm followed RumNcolt and Boots to Havok. As soon as we were formed we kinda had a foot in the door with the organization called NASA. Our spot was already set, in terms of where we were going to situate ourselves on the map. Thanks to Boots, we had a fairly solid player base from the start. He knew his players and he knew what he wanted. Anyways, we added members and I was calling battles with flashender. Basically, we set out to take Scandinavian panhandle.
Henrik - When we first started sarge was our main Strategy guy.
Callmesarge - I called a lot back then. I do have to highlight the excellent talent of the rest of the Battle Callers that we have had come throw our doors. We all had our own styles and I am very happy to have worked alongside them.
Henrik - I can't say enough about RumNcolt. When he started a meeting there was no talking. You could have the most brash 18 year old in here and he spoke like a lawyer, he was a lawyer, and everybody would follow him to the end of the earth. He set the tone of what the clan would be long term. He set it up to be a clan that would fight. We would be the working arm of NASA.
What were your goals as a clan starting out and what is your goal today?
BlackCompany - As far as Havok goes, a lot came here just to fight. That is one thing that a lot of other clans just didn't do. The whole Burning Legion was premised with that concept of let’s just go out there and fight. The whole NASA thing did not sit well with me. They only reason I came on board with Havok in the first place was because they were going to fight. That was the whole concept, we weren't going to sit on a plot of land; we were going to fight. I think that is what has made Havok so strong is that attitude of having a 100 guys that want to fight. They want to do it the best that they can and they are willing to put in the extra time.
Tevix - We definitely aren't farmers for sure.
The_Decoy - The best part of this game is blowing things up.
Henrik - We fight everyday too. If we didn't have a fight today, sarge would go find one for us.
Callmesarge - We want to fight. It is not easy.
What did the map look like when you first stepped on to it?
BlackCompany - NASA
Callmesarge - Yeah, everything was NASA with Red Sky kind of there with [AOD] in the middle with [MLP]. [IR] wasn't there anymore. There was one patch of territory that was really unclaimed for the most part and had some hostile clans to NASA. RumNcolt was the chair of NASA at the time, so with the creation of Havok, well a lot of newer clans would have had to go through a lot of red tape so to speak, a lot more bureaucratic stuff at the time with NASA being involved. As soon as we were formed, I was just a field commander and wasn't interested in politics. The only instructions that I was given was that we need to take the Troms landing. That was pretty much the first main objective that we had as a clan.
How do you prepare for a Clan Wars match?
The_Decoy - It depends on what we are doing. If it is a map we have done a lot, we just right into it; we know what we are doing. If it is a new map, we will go into a training room and figure out angles and timings and all sorts of things to know what we are getting into before the battle starts.
Togood2222 - Almost every time we do 15 on 15 practices, to make sure everyone understands what they are doing.
The_Decoy - Once we have the basic plan we run the guys through a couple times to make sure everyone knows their place and how the plan is going to go. We will come at each other with different strategies. If sarge has got a plan, unknown will try to beat it and vice versa.
Unknown0ne - It also comes down to how much time is available. If there is not much time available you just have to come up with a strat and just go with it.
The_Decoy - Oh yeah sometimes we wing it. If we have the ability, we try to plan things out especially if it is an important battle.
Is this how it has always has been done? Or has the process evolved over time?
Callmesarge - No, before for Clan Wars, as field commander, I would be notified of the map(s) we were playing on for the night. I'll come up with a plan and then go back to Boots (the recruiter at the time) and give him my tank line-up. 3 T30s 5 IS-7s and 2 artillery and a scout or a couple mediums. I didn't need to pick a team; I didn’t know the players too well back then. I would just get a roster but I got the guys best suited to the position. From there I would have my team and prep them. I'd do maybe a run though in ATC and we would be good to go.
Henrik - In the beginning, we were mostly playing on Erlenberg and Karelia. I think it was generally known by Boots that we were going to train all the time and because we had 50 guys that played almost every week so we have always been able to field 2 teams, sometimes 3 or even 4. But because we had a large player mass, which is unusual for most clans at the time, the combinations of players kept changing. You could have 5 great heavy tank drivers but hardly did they play together because we were running 2 or 3 matches at the same time. I think that is unusual compared to other clans out there. In that sense, we were always in training because let’s say a flank of 5 heavies is always changing and your cooperation is always changing between the 5 tanks because they don't know the guy next to them. About a year ago, we said we wanted to put together 4 trainings a week and that was the minimum to get your Gold pay, but what do you think sarge?
Callmesarge - I think it's the norm in Havok now to do a training room. All Field Commanders should know that the explanation of the plan is central to preparation for us in Clan Wars now. If we don't do it now we are in trouble. Everyone expects that we do a training room. Some guys have just come on and haven't had a chance to play yet today, so it’s nice to get into a training room and warm up and either, depending on which side you are on, get rolled over or win.
Togood2222 - Unless you are sarge's team!
Tevix - Be there until sarge wins because you are not leaving until sarge wins.
TofuSmurf - Whether or not we have time before Clan Wars...
Togood2222 - There have been so many times with 3 minutes left before battle starts and sarge is yelling ''One more! One more! ONE MORE!''
Callmesarge - There are lots of times where we have done the same strat that we are run in Clan Wars and it has just gone horribly wrong in training rooms and through feedback from players, I've changed it before the battle starts. “Ok this is what we are doing!” At that point I have a feel about how I want to call it. How I need to explain what a player needs to do. It also helps to go in to the real battle with a win under our belts.
Henrik - You aren't trying to win in a training session. You are trying to throw a strat against a strat.
How often do you change what strategies you run on a map?
Tevix - We vary quite a bit. Other clans now are too good now to be running same over and over again.
Togood2222 - They watch the replays.
Callmesarge - With replay's being implemented, that kind of changed the way a lot of strats were run for the whole community because clans can replay strats but when you actually see a replay and see how things are done, it's different from hearing how so and so did a strat.
What does it take to be a good FC and how do you go about developing a new strategy?
Unknown0ne - I think if it is a map you haven't done before, you go into a training room and see what it's like. You also look at how it plays out in pubs too. You can't apply all that but you can get a feel for how everything works and how different parts of map react. You can judge somewhat how a map is going it play by playing it in pub battles hundreds of times. You can take that knowledge into a training room and you talk to other field commanders. You get idea of what might work and if you have enough time take 15 people and go try that against 15 others. Or you go into a Clan Wars battle and hope for the best.
Callmesarge - What I have seen is that strategies for Clan Wars usually match the field commander calling it. I can tell that a strat is an Unknown strat. People can tell that a strat is my strat. We have had various field commanders over the years and I can tell even if I'm calling; this is totally not my strat.
What do you look for in replays to help you determine weaknesses in your opponent's strategies?
Henrik - You can't really phrase it that way because if you are going against someone like SIMP, that takes a real strat and they've seen everything and we have seen everything. So it comes down to how well you really execute the plan you were putting forth.
Tevix - It’s more making it look like something they have already seen and then turning it around into something else to surprise them.
Callmesarge - Some nights it just doesn't go that way. If it is a top tier team, your strat isn't going to turn out as you wanted it to.
The_Decoy - We force them to have to react to what we are doing. Like chess, we check them and see if they can counter it. There is never any specific weakness to any clan we are going for, we are trying to make the weakness.
Henrik - If they don't respond then we will continue to overwhelm them until we are in their backyard.
How do you think the recent changes such as to allowing shells to penetrate through walls will affect strategies in Clan Wars?
BlackCompany - I was thinking about that and a lot of times in Clan Wars you've got HEAT and Gold rounds and a lot of HEAT rounds are not conducive at all to taking advantage of shooting through a small barricade as AP or APCR can. So I think you are going to see tanks with selection of armament now. If you can use ACPR, tanks cannot use those things for temporary cover. APCR round is going to go right through and still hit him. I think it is going to come more into play as it goes.
Arty_Takes_Skill - I don't think it will make much of difference in Clan Wars.
Callmesarge - Depending on the map, most of those things get run over anyways. In my experience you say don't run over the car... ughhh someone ran over the car. As a player, if I'm in a fire fight and I am going to look around for objects that I can use as far as stopping the opponents from shooting me but from my experience you tell people to not run over it and they do it anyways.
What about in the future, do you see any changes coming that would affect Clan Wars?
Arty_Takes_Skill - When they allow you to penetrate through whole houses, that is going to change the game play a lot because it is going to make a lot more positions less viable. It is going to change how you are going to play the map but the stuff right now, like the cars and little fences, is not a big deal.
Callmesarge - It comes down to the players and their play style and it will also involve a lot more research of the map. For example, you don't want to be sending people to where they are going to die too quickly. You don't want them next to a house that is going to be down in a second and they are going to go next because they have no cover to go to. The ability to take some cover out entirely will change game play a lot and make strats more dynamic. Alot of strats you get a group of tanks in one spot and they are there for a while because they have cover to fight from.
The_Decoy - If you can shoot through big buildings, 261 AP rounds are going to be big.
What were your most exciting moments from Campaign 2?
BlackCompany - I like that the Campaign really opens up map. It had a lot of movement. We saw lots of clans moving around the map. We got to see a lot of different maps and opponents.
Henrik - It was those two days before the end of the campaign.
Callmesarge - The first night, everyone was excited and dialled into having to participate in the Campaign. I was excited to see that. The second to last day of the Campaign was exciting as well; it included our battle for the Gold Pot versus Guerillas.
Tevix - A day into Stage 1, we decided to raid riots instead. We knew we could make a lot of Victory Points from doing that. Me and Tofu came on every day to see where the riots were that we could hit.
TofuSmurf - Everyday once the riots processed we were looking at it and Unknown built a program that made things a little easier.
Tevix - Nobody else decided to do that until like 4 day before the stage was over. They realized that raiding the riot were where the Victory Points were at. I don't think we ever put our HQ down except for some of the trains and the last few days.
TofuSmurf - During all of the first stage it was never down. During Stage II it wasn't down much. Every battle during those last few days though.... the nerves.
Henrik - At one point we realized what they were doing and sitting on a multiplier. At that point we had a wakeup call
What was your plan going into the last few days of the Campaign?
TofuSmurf - I think we were doing the math. Any decision we made was based purely on the math involved. We all looked at the last set of Goldmines and we had to figure out how many different ways can we guarantee number 1. As easy as it would be go to another spot and get the gold and the tanks, sarge is a competitive person and we all are competitive people so settling for less than what we know we are capable of isn't our thing. So we looked at what we needed to do mathematically speaking and went about doing it. Just so happen on the last day, we had to take as many of the three Goldmines as we could and we had to keep [-G-] off of one.
What was going through you guy's heads when you realized you needed to hit -G- head on to keep first place?
TofuSmurf - It is one of those things that sucks to do but we have never been shy about who we face. It has never been about who we face.
Togood2222 - We were excited!
Henrik - When we win campaign sarge does sing.
Callmesarge - No, no.
Togood2222 - Yes.
Callmesarge - I've found karaoke brings people together.
If you had lost that battle for the multiplier, did you have another plan?
Callmesarge - I didn’t really want to have another plan. The night before I sat down with all the guys and said “we need to get this done.” It was going to come down to winning that battle. We acknowledged we did a few things that put us in this predicament and very uncomfortable situation but at the same time the opportunity to do something that wasn't going come around again was there for our taking. That's what made that battle the highlight of my Clan Wars experience.
We noticed you changed your logo. Care to explain why?
Callmesarge - Actually this logo was already made as mostly a joke and I had seen it and liked it. I didn't hesitate once the idea was dropped as a show of respect and recognition to SIMP's help in the last stage of Campaign 2. Thank You Drake!
Togood2222 - As a sign of gratitude.
Callmesarge - And it looks good too.
TofuSmurf - Short version, SIMP has been really good to us and continues to be.
Callmesarge - Proud to be the Best_Subclan_NA
TofuSmurf - As well as Best_Feeder_Clan_NA