@cynicalquagmire Hi this is working as intended! In order to use a character in a platoon or combat, that character has to be deployed to that zone first. Characters selected for combat are automatically deployed to that zone at the very beginning of combat.
You can see this by watching the zone log- it will show you that a player "deployed X gp" to the zone, and then a few minutes later they will post a combat score.
You can deploy characters first, and then assign them to combat our platoons in that zone. Be careful though - after they are deployed they cannot be used in another zone!
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