Tobold's Blog
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Can't hit myself

Wargaming is experimenting with the matchmaker, leading to more battles in which everybody is the same tier or there are only two tiers instead of the normal three. Unfortunately that mostly reveals a design flaw of the game: When tanks meet each other front to front, with a bit of angling, side-scraping or hull-down tactics, most shots bounce of tanks of equal or higher tier. I am currently playing Russian heavy tanks, and I have several tanks that wouldn't be able to damage the same tank in the turret. You die to shots from the side when you leave cover, but you can't do much while in cover. Unless of course the enemy is of lower tier, or less well armored tanks.

This is what I also observed when watching the (not so frequent) videos of good players as bottom tier heavy tanks on YouTube. The trick is to stay well away from the areas where the other heavy tanks are, because you are just cannon fodder there. In spite of being slow and inaccurate, you are better off pretending to be a tank destroyer or medium tank and go play in a different corner. World of Tanks considers all damage to be equal, you don't get more points if you are in a "fair fight".

I'm handicapped in that respect by having grown up before there were online video games, and by still playing tabletop role-playing games. Sitting around a table with friends, there is a value to playing nice, playing fair, because the social penalty for being caught playing unfair or cheating weights more than the win. Online that consideration isn't true. If your status symbol is a WN8 rating, and the game doesn't count who you won against, you'd better be bottom-feeding and seal-clubbing. Heroically holding the side against stronger tanks counts for absolutely nothing, even when it is strategically the right move.

I think the design flaw is that a frontal confrontation between two tanks of different tier in World of Tanks is so all or nothing. The weaker tank just doesn't deal any damage at all. It is much worse than let's say two fighters in D&D of different level fighting each other, because the weaker one there would still do a good amount of damage.


'World of Tanks considers all damage to be equal, you don't get more points if you are in a "fair fight".'

To be fair, this was a well-known concept in war, long before the advent of the internet.

The design flaw is that you're not on a 'team', you're on a 'side', and thus... don't care how 'the team' does, only yourself.

Even if you get more points for winning, you're better off letting some OTHER dumbass be the martyr that dies/gets less points so the team can win.

If you were on a team, you would have social pressure and actual strategy to make those sacrifice plays to win. Just like at the gaming table.

So ask yourself: Do you want to be on a team, an actual persistent team like at the gaming table, and tolerate all the limitations thereof... or is what you REALLY want a 'team' that joins YOU and plays like a team whenever YOU show up? You can't have both.
From the perspective of game design, "war" has a lousy design, bad flow, and isn't much fun.
While I agree in the 'in the turret's bit, I would argue that the bad gun depression of the Russians balances it out a bit. Plus the usual hatches, cheeks etc. softspots in combination with the magical 2 key.
But yes, red line camping and zero-risk playing is the way to WN8 ...and would get you shot in the real army.
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