Posted by: L1H | July 21, 2009

There is no “i” in WAR.

Lately I’ve been playing WAR in smaller and smaller doses, and this I attribute entirely to AA3 and Battlefield Heroes.  If anything these two free FPS games represent a healthy alternative to help balance out my time in WAR and keep me from getting burned out.

I like choices and it’s hard to resist a free quality game.

If you add these two titles to my play-list: L4D, TF2, BFH, and AA3 – that’s four FPS games!

Also: I can launch all but one of these game from Steam which helps connect me to my friends who also enjoy a good FPS romp once in a while.

It’s shocking to go from such a balanced controlled environment like a Battlefield Heroes match to a tier 4 skirmish in WAR.  It’s like going from a ballroom dance to a mosh pit.

Likewise, to go from a “faction” based conflict like BFH and WAR to a smaller tactical shooter like AA3 can be baffling.  Ironic as it may sound, but in America’s Army you can indeed be “an army of one”, while in WAR and BFH you need your team-mates to lock down a victory.

In AA3 all the players are homogeneous avatars with similar equipment.  Your twitch skills are coupled with map knowledge and luck: the conflict is an equal playing field otherwise.  One round you could get killed in the first few seconds while the next round you could become a demigod of death and single-handedly take down the enemy team.  Achievements and Honor don’t impact game-play directly: the competition is left bare and stands on its own.

In BFH and WAR where objectives are as important as kills, you can’t be everywhere and do everything.  Your class determines your role and there is only so much you can do alone – even if you’re playing to your character’s strength.

What’s interesting to me is that in BFH my team might suck but I can have a good round.  We might lose a round, a match, but I can still rise to the occasion and score well.  Losing still sucks, but getting dominated isn’t a team sport: winning is, however.

In WAR, however, if my realm is sucking eggs one night, there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.  I can’t break off and feel heroic – even in a scenario, because in WAR “it takes twelve to tango”, if you get my meaning.

WAR is a tricky customer, I admit, because I could start barking in region chat, form a warband, push the alliance to drive the campaign, and try to turn things around, but sometimes you’re just not working with the numbers to make things happen.

Come to think of it, some of my favorite moments in WAR centered around a smaller skirmish where what “I did” seemed to have more visible impact because I was either alone or a part of a detached conflict.

There is something magical about a systemic realm conflict that everyone is tied into (RvR), but I am convinced that all these massive large conflicts, while epic, need to be balanced out with smaller but meaningful skirmishes.

Maybe that’s why some players organize dueling events, etc …

Moving forward, I would like to see WAR implement more opportunities for small parties to plug themselves into the campaign (other than scenarios).

Anyway, have a great week.

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