Monday, June 13, 2011

Gaming personalities

I tend to regard myself above pop psychology at most times. So I shall make a very clear statement here right from the start: THIS POST IS NOT MEANT AS A SERIOUS PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILING TECHNIQUE. It's simply an observation I've made with myself, and others can feel free to add their own anecdotes here.

So, I was wondering about the correlation between your preferred gaming style and the way you interact with others. I've been a gamer since I was very young, and a lanner since I was 14. Some of my favourite games to play with friends include Counter-Strike, Warcraft 3 and Dota. I shall discuss each section below.

My favourite gun in CS was always the AWP/Magnum. I envied my friend Lee, because he could always kill people very quickly in CS with the AWP (one bullet meant a kill if you hit in the chest, stomach or head) and would tend to survive most rounds as a result. He didn't really have to go out looking for you, either. He knew where you were coming and would just wait for you. For other shooters, quite simply, a sniper class. He's a player that doesn't tend to get shot a lot. He won't have the most kills, but he'll probably have the fewest deaths.

However, another friend I know had his favourite gun as the AK47. I won't mention his name, but he had plenty of anger issues (defeat for him would often mean keyboard-bashing of epic proportions). He always said he liked the assult rifle with the highest damage. He would come out, fight and gun everybody down.

Warcraft 3
I can probably go more into personality here, since there are not that many varying playstyles. I don't think it makes any difference whether you prefer a ranged or melee army, nor much which race you pick (as the four races can all do completely different things with quite a variety of units. Orcs were the go-to for melee and night elf for ranged, but as it is a third-person view, using melee fighters is no more 'involved' than ranged.

However, think about the difference between THESE two: Turtling vs. Rushing. Rushing involved early and repeated attacks on your enemy's base. This would wear both you and your enemy(ies) down. Turtling, by contrast, was stacking your base full of defences, saving resources and teching to the highest level. Warcraft 3, along with many strategy games, probably to discourage turtling, would give players units like Heroes, in order to get them to fight more. Despite this, I was always more of a turtler than a rusher. I felt that walking armies across a map to fight your enemies, only to meet another waiting army plus defences, all while leaving your own base exposed was not worth it. I always seemed to have this belief in my head that the game's strongest units were put there for a good reason, and no decent army would begin a battle without them there.

I wonder if this in some way could be related to my rather passive outlook on life and general dislike of combat (turtling would minimise combat by having one intense battle at the end, which would usually be quite one-sided). I may be argumentative, but I hate physical combat in most forms. For me, if I lived in the Warcraft universe and could build an army and a base, my natural response would be to fortify my base to such an extent that it wouldn't be worth anyone's while to attack it. Then while the other forces beat on each other, I would simply tech up and mop up the remaining enemy forces at opportune times. I wonder what that says about me as a person.

 When it comes to player classes in Dota, things are a little more complicated. One can call the various possibilites of player class in Dota the following: support, carry, tank and assassin. Most people would think Carry would be the most fun class to play. They would probably be right - when you do well as a carry hero, you are unstoppable. But it is also the most risky class. A carry hero must have a good early-game as they tend to be very item-dependent. Assassin heroes generally run around getting sneaky kills and try not to die. They are what is generally needed to counter enemy carry heroes. Support is pretty self-explanatory, and so is tanking. I could generally enjoy carry or assassin heroes, but the role I always performed best in was tanking. As a tank hero, your job was to start fights and absorb the damage while your team killed the enemies. Your reward was that you would get to stay alive when they would often die. Since there is no avoiding battles in Dota, again, tank was probably my most appropriate role. Think about it - a passive player whose main job is to stay alive, someone who often gets to tech to good items because he doesnt't lose gold often - sounds like my ideal role.

In that vein, maybe what I should do in life is develop a tough exterior, so that I can reach my dreams and goals. But conversely, I always did value my sensitivity as a positive point. Perhaps I can do both, somehow. I just find it interesting that coumputer games may give you an opportunity to learn about roles of 'playing' life, as it were.

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