On the latest episode of Guild Chat, Gameplay Programmers Jon Olson, Branden Gee, and Trevor Bennett joined host Rubi Bayer to walk through the features of the enhanced squad UI coming with the release on November 17. Guild Chat on November 20 will be about the first raid wing.
The goal for the enhanced squad UI was to provide the leader of a squad with tools that allow them to organize individuals in the squad. Prior to this, commanders had a limited tool set to work with. The functionality of the commander tag is expanded with the enhanced squad UI feature.
To make the most of enhanced squad UI, you should have a commander tag. You can still create a raid squad if you don’t have a commander tag, but your options are more limited.
To create a squad, go to your party UI as normal. The new UI shows everyone in the squad. Squad leaders now have the ability to organize their squad members into subgroups. Squads can have up to 15 subgroups, and the maximum number of people you can have in a squad is 50. Raiding subgroups are capped at 10 players, and players must be in a raiding squad to enter a raid.
Subgroups may be especially helpful for WvW commanders. A squad leader can move individuals into subgroups for organizational purposes. For example, a commander can put individuals together into a WvW havoc subgroup to track their status more easily. A commander can click and drag to place people into subgroups. Normally you can move yourself into a different subgroup, but a commander has the ability to lock subgroups so that individuals can’t move themselves around.
When in a squad, you can see your status and the status of everyone else in the squad. Status includes your health status, whether you are downed or defeated, and other status effects. WvW commanders can see the supply status of subgroups and the squad. You can see the professions and elite specializations of squad members. You can also see everyone in your squad on the map. Enhanced squad UI can be resized, but the smaller it is, the less information it shows, such as removing names in favor of showing profession icons only.
Boons are applied with the highest priority to those within your subgroup. Next in priority comes your party, the squad, allied players, and then your minions, pets, and turrets, followed by allied players’ minions, pets, and gadgets, and finally nonplayer allies.
Squad chat exists as before, but now you can chat within your subgroup. Commanders can use a broadcast feature that allows them to message everyone in the squad. The broadcast message will pop up in the middle of the game screen, in addition to being displayed in the chat window. Commanders can broadcast to a specific subgroup. Squad members outside of that subgroup will not receive the broadcast message.
A squad leader can specify how open the squad is: open, closed, or invite only. An open squad allows anyone to join. A closed squad is where people can apply to join and the commander must accept to let that player in. An invitation-only squad can only be joined if the commander invites you. If you’re in a party and the commander invites you, it will invite your whole party to the squad. If you’re in a party and it’s an open squad, the application will pull the rest of your party into the squad. If you apply to join a closed squad, the commander will receive the suggestion to bring the rest of your party along. If both the commander and the party agree, the party will be accepted into the squad. Raid squads without a commander are limited to invite-only mode.
The enhanced squad UI has a ready-check system. The commander can request everyone in the squad to “ready up,” and this feature lets them keep track of who is ready and who isn’t. You can change your own ready status in the party menu or click on your status icon in the squad UI to change it.
A commander can transfer leadership of the squad to another squad member. If a leader leaves the squad, it becomes a leaderless squad. Anyone else can step up to be a leader as long as they have a commander tag, and the first person to click “Lead” will become the leader. If multiple people click the Lead button at the same time, the person who has been in the squad the longest will be the new leader.
Trevor started working on enhanced squad UI on his own. Later on, more people were added to help develop this feature. The team will continue working to improve enhanced squad UI in the future.
If you missed the episode, check out the recording below.