I need a hero!

Hello my friends, I hope today finds you well. So, what have I been up to? Looking at my xfire you could probably assume, not much, but that isn’t necessarily true as sometimes I close my xfire and forget to reopen it (mainly when I put on a movie and go to bed). I’ve been dabbling some in Battlefield 2 again which is still a pretty fun game. Compared to Counter-Strike it is a more full game. What I mean by this is that it has more facets such as ground, air, and water vehicles as well as zip lines and rope hook things for climbing walls and such. Counter-Strike just has shooting, but their aim/recoil system is much better than BF2s. But, BF2s shooting is more realistic. So it all comes down to personal preference. When I want to compete with just aiming and of course some smack talk then I’ll go play CS. When I want to run people over in cars, fight tanks on foot, or shoot down helicopters with a rocket launcher then I’ll play BF2. It really is satisfying when you take down a helicopter or a tank and capture/defend a key flag.

Yesterday I managed to get a little free time to play WoW. My friend and I were playing our low levels (Warrior and Mage) and I talked him into playing a round of WSG. Being level 23s we were of course some of the squishier players in the BG but there were a lot of low levels so it wasn’t very bad. I always like playing in a BG as one of the lowest levels due to the challenge, especially as a squishy caster. But I’m an Arms Warrior so my main role was to hamstring people chasing our FC and kill who I felt should die. There was a point when our FC was running up our tunnel to cap and had 5 enemies chasing him with me and my friend right behind them. He was throwing frostbolts to snare people and I charged another and began tabbing and hamstringing. It was at this moment when I realized (which may seem weird) that I really like PvP a lot more than PvE. The reason this realization was different is that it isn’t because the people are unpredictable and mobs are predictable, but that there was more to the PvP than just killing each other. PvE is just killing the monsters and at higher levels I guess there is more of a dance involved. So, even though both PvP and PvE are made more interesting with objectives besides just killing what you can attack, PvP is more interesting for me because you have the option to go individually and make a difference. As SynCaine would say, I like being able to be a hero.

The ability to be a “hero” is what keeps me playing games like CS and BF2. Since BF2 is more realistic it offers a greater possible feeling of being a hero. To illustrate this point, imagine that your team controls 3 out of 7 flags while the other team also controls 3 out of 7 which leaves 1 point available for capture. Whichever team captures this point will begin reducing the other teams points thus giving them an advantage. So you spawn at your uncappable base (safest spawn point) and hop in a car. You drive around the outside of the map staying out of sight of the tanks and helicopters and possibly even the enemies UAV (radar which will reveal you on your enemies map if you are in the area being scanned). You reach buildings with alleyways your car cannot fit through so you hop out. You toss your rope with hook onto a nearby roof and climb up, you’re now the closest person to the uncapped flag, you’ve just got a roof to jump to and a ladder to climb. Little do you know that an enemy is flying his helicopter there to hover near the flag and cap it. So as you’re sitting there capping the flag, the bar stops moving which means an enemy is near the flag, from this point it is only a moment until that enemy realizes you are somewhere near the flag. Now this is the start of the hero feeling, because your commander who is in charge of artillery strikes, UAV, and supply/vehicle drops notices that you’re doing what you’re doing and puts the UAV directly on your spot.

You can now see that there is a helicopter right next to you (as if you didn’t hear it) and now it is you versus a helicopter which may or may not have a gunner as well as a pilot and you’re standing on top of a building, not so great when you’re fighting a helicopter. Helicopters can take some beatings too, so you could hit it with 3 RPGs and it might not blow up, but if others have hit it as well you’ve got a better chance. So you shoot a rocket and miss because you’re a little rusty, now the helicopter knows your exact location because your rocket left a trail of smoke leading right back to you. You take cover behind some wooden boxes that happen to be immune to helicopter fire while you reload, then you pop your head up and let another one go, direct hit. Luckily the chopper had taken some damage and was now smoking heavily, the pilot in fear for his life decides to ditch the chopper and parachute near you. This gives you time to capture the flag which also gives your team time to spawn there before the enemy pilot can climb up to the roof which just further ensures that your team will hold this position. This is one of many scenarios that I have encountered which give me the feeling of being the hero. One of the most intense I can think of is capping a flag while artillery is falling in your area.

So how does the BF2 feeling differ from the CS feeling? Since BF2 is a constant fight with respawns after you die there isn’t time for chatter or praise for doing good that round. In CS there are rounds and at the end of each round one team wins a point. So in CS you receive praise via players typing and or talking to you whereas in BF2 you receive praise via attention from your commander and the final scores at the end of each match. Is one better than the other? I think it probably depends on how you’re feeling at the time. If you for some reason need to hear or see the praise and not just know that it is there then CS would be a better game to play. But if you’re feeling good and just want to know that someone else thinks you’re doing good then you could play BF2. Of course this all assumes that you’re going to do good, which is not always the case.

Where does WoW fit into this discussion? Well it contains some of the same elements as discussed above. The only problem is that the sense of being a hero is almost entirely fabricated in your head. In CS and BF2 you play on a single server with some strays and regulars, the longer you play there the more regulars you become aware of and the more regulars become aware of you, which enables the hero feeling to be greatly multiplied. This used to be the case in WoW until battlegroups came out. Now you can play games where you’re the only person from your server competing. This and knowing that there are tons of servers clearly shows that you are in fact not a hero. CS and BF2 also have lots of servers but you can only play on one at a time instead of playing with 2-5 people from 5-6 different servers. The main difference is the recognition you receive for being the “hero”. In WoW your teammates could praise you for doing good and it could actually grant you the feeling of the hero, however, you need plenty of like minded individuals on the same team for this to occur which is an extremely rare thing when all players are randomly matched together. I say you need like minded people because in order for the praise to come you have to feel like a team at first, the strangers on your team need to have some sort of camaraderie to band together and win, or band together and praise.

So, what is the point then? Well I guess the point is that for me to enjoy a game I need the possibility of becoming or being viewed as a hero by my peers. I’ve talked about the current games I’ve been playing and how they allow me to achieve this feeling, but now I’d like to view some other games and see if I can figure out how to get the feeling from them.

Darkfall. I know it is possible to achieve the feeling in DF because during the large guild fights I was in we had clear heroes on our team who kicked a lot of ass. I would have to powergame a shit ton in order to even be able to stand my ground against half the people playing, but it is always an option. Plus it’d do wonders for my e-rep mofuggas! The only problem is that it would be hard for an individual to shine very bright in this game.

Well, I was hoping I’d have a few more games to add to the list, but, I haven’t played so many of them in a while that I don’t feel comfortable commenting on them. Plus most are similar to WoW.

Anyways, that’s about it. Later beechays!

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