Thursday, June 30, 2011

A funy thing happened on the way to the tank fight

It appears that I have lost my nerve as a tank commander.

When opting to limit my investment of real cash in the game to the relatively small sum of €10 I predicted that I probably wouldn't play for more than a few weeks. That prediction appears to have come through because here I am a few weeks later playing other games (finished Crysis 2 and just started Hydrophobia) and my dedication to tank warfare has shrunk from several battles every day to a few sporadic battles over the course of a week.

While I predicted that I would soon lose interest in the game I am somewhat surprised at the reason why. It is not that I have gotten bored with the game. It is more that as I played more of the game I started to care more about winning and losing battles and that extra seriousness has greatly diminished my pleasure in the game. In a very real sense I have lost my nerve. I am afraid to  start a battle now in case I lose.

I cannot really explain this change of heart because individual battles in WoT are completely throw away affairs. The randomly selected teams pretty much guarantee a 50% win loss ratio and you still earn cash and experience from losses.

I think it all started when I shifted from playing just for the fun of driving a tank to actually trying to pursue some personal goals. WoT is not a traditional mmorpg with linear progression so you pretty much have to plot your own course. Realising that the heavy tank "end game" was far beyond what I would be prepared to grind to I opted for a more realistic goal of trying to get at least one of the signature tanks of WWII: either the Russian T34, The German Panzer IV or the US Sherman. Even without paying for premium status I figured that any one of these level V tanks should be grind-able within a few hundred battles.The Sherman would have been the quickest to reach but the German tech tree offers a lot more diversity so I set my sights on a Panzer.

To match my new goal directed focus I started studying game information and game strategy. Unfortunately my new found knowledge hasn't enhanced my enjoyment of the game and to be honest I am not sure it has improved my game play much either.  Whereas before I would play by instinct now I find myself analysing things based on what I have read.

"Don't go that route, it takes too long", 
"Attack along the Eastern edge", 
"Don't camp the Forest", 
"Be sure and secure the central plateau"

All sound advice that would work well in a game where the entire team communicated and followed an agreed strategy. In the randomly assigned teams it makes almost difference whether you follow a "sound" or an "unsound" strategy. As long as you avoid completely suicidal rushes across open terrain then any move you make is likely to be matched by an equally sensible or equally stupid move on the part of your opponents.  Unfortunately that doesn't stop the tendency to analyse what did and didn't happen and in particular to analyse what I should or shouldn't have done.

The net result of all this is that I find I now care more about winning and losing battles and as a consequence I play less, a lot less. Bizarre.

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