Monday, 17 January 2011
My gaming habits have changed in several ways over the years, but one of the most notable has been that I no longer PvP. Be it in world or Battlegrounds in WoW or Halo multiplayer. At uni I was big on Xbox Live, even in the first 6 months of playing WoW I saw a lot of WSG and Alterac Valley while levelling up, even acquiring some disc PvP gear and often placing in the top 3 healing done among the twinks.
Then it all changed, I wasn't playing every day any more and all of a sudden I was getting some serious attitude off of 12 year olds who I could no longer pwn some respect into. I sometimes miss being good at PvP, but more than that I appreciate PvE play for those of us who can't afford the time to be on WoW every day. Sure there are hardcore raiding guilds who require 5 nights of your week, and fair play to them, but most guilds down the content equally as well but at a slower pace. The reason this is possible is because PvE, especially now, is more about what you know over how fast you can react to another real person, often behaving unpredictably.
Wipe after wipe on a raid boss makes the group better, you learn each other and you learn the boss tactics, there is comparatively very little variation from encounter to encounter of the same boss (Omnitron Defense System being an exception, even then it's a quantified variation). There obviously needs to be a degree of manual dexterity to push the right buttons in the right order at the right time and to not stand in shit, but raiding success in general is about what your group knows about the encounter, once you all know what you're doing and there are as few silly mistakes as possible, the boss should go down. A rogue who's in Alterac Valley for hours every day is going to stab me in the neck over and over no matter how well I know the map and my class.
What this means for those of us who don't play as often as we'd perhaps like is that we can be good, very good, among the best, through knowledge instead of honing our reflexes - which is like going to the gym in that it takes a lot of regular time and effort to develop and disappears very quickly if you stop.
This is one of the main reasons Warcraft is a game that's stuck with me and I think a fair few adult players with other responsibilities probably feel the same. So as much as I am reduced to spittle-inducing rage by kids with too much time and too little respect, I am grateful for the mechanics of the game allowing for extraordinary players with rich real lives too, if you know where to find them.