I’ve always sucked at team based PvP. Whether in fantasy MMOs or whatever, team PvP requires an instinct toward knowing your abilities, the abilities of your team, of your enemy, and the map, all at once. This is why I’ve not been able to get into MOBA games like League of Legends and such.
I don’t like being terrible at stuff. Worse, I hate for people to know that I am terrible at stuff. Hence why I spent so long in MMOs playing support classes. The kind of people you bring to fill out the team. Druid and rogue in EQ, bard in EQ2 and Rift, priest and rogue in WoW. Priest in WoW might sound high pressure, but it was really just looking at a grid with everyone’s names on it and pressing the red buttons. I think that was before they nerfed WoW plugins. Back when I played, being a priest was just staying out of the fire and pressing red buttons.
Past few years, though, I’ve started trying for leadership roles. Tanking isn’t super hard, but usually party management falls to the tank. You pretty much always have to at least pretend you know what comes next, and party members have to have enough confidence in you that they will go along with your decisions.
I wasn’t enough tank in EQ2 to really take on the role (didn’t raid, didn’t like the single group instances much). In Neverwinter, though — you could get “good enough” gear fairly easily, and I started learning how to tank. FFXIV’s superior dungeon grouping and, honestly, superior dungeons made learning the mechanics of each one fun. Built up my confidence. Maybe I could take risks and not fail, after all.
The “World of…” games have been on my radar for years. I know nothing about tanks, so I didn’t really want to play it, but I was fascinated by the stories told by those who did. Same thing with World of Warplanes. I went as far as to download it and get through the tutorial, but I felt I was just button mashing ineffectively — wasn’t really that much fun. Then again, I played it just once…
World of Warships looked like it might be fun. I’d enjoyed the tactical ship combat in Pirates of the Burning Sea and in Sid Meier’s Pirates! Slower-paced tactical combat — in 2D — could just be the thing.
I downloaded it, watched some videos, got into a game and stunk. I’d just get shot up right away. Next game: terrible. Next game: worse. More videos. Also, when you get sunk, you can watch the game from one of your living allies’ perspectives, so I did that. Oh, don’t stop moving, ever? Oh, line up shots with binocular mode? Oh, make sure you don’t play the game from binocular mode?
Slowly, slowly, I’m getting better. I sometimes survive battles. I sometimes hit an enemy. Learned about stealth. Learned to use cover better.
I still suck. But now I don’t think there’s any reason that I can’t learn how to play this game. I learned how to tank. I should be able to learn how to steer a ship without hitting a rock. We’ll see.
Games are fairly short, which is a big benefit. I imagine the battles get more complex as you rank up. I’m Tier II now, still in cruisers, so I don’t have to keep track of much. No torpedoes, no AA guns. My first ride has gotten all its upgrades and is “elite”, meaning I need to play it occasionally in order to get free XP I can use to upgrade my new cruiser.
But, am I having fun? Well, nobody has started yelling at me yet. The game is perhaps still too new for that. My battlefield awareness is still shockingly low. But the matches are over so quickly that you can learn a new trick and then immediately put it into use in the next game. I always enjoy games the most when I progress every time I play. It’s why I hate the endgame grind, but enjoy leveling.
We’ll see if I stick with this. If I do, I’ll eventually have to join a team and get into voice chat and everything will probably get more intense than I like. So who knows. It was the transition from casual to serious play that killed EVE Online for me, after all.