External Validation / World of Warships

From Zarch to World of Warships, I've always been a keen gamer. This forum is a spiritual successor to the Frontierverse Forums (2000-2003).
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sharoma
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External Validation / World of Warships

Post by sharoma »

I have been conned! I used to video game for fun. That was the prime reason. When I returned to console gaming in 2019 after a 17 year break I had forgotten the whole point of it. I quickly became obsessed with proving my skills against other humans, despite this being a notoriously toxic experience. At one point I was within the top 2% in the world in Gran Turismo: Sport. Who cares? Absolutely no one! Racing other humans was rarely any fun, it was a hassle. It was stress and it was work. Playing the AI (we now call computer-controlled characters or enemies 'AI') was the norm until online gaming, unless you had a mate round. That mate was, literally, your mate, so it's unlikely he would indugle in the many toxic behaviours of anonymous online gamers. I played Gran Turismo: Sport until I achieved the Platinum tropy and that was only possible by winning an obscene amount of pole positions and races against other humans. It became such a drag but I had to keep going. Why? To prove to a mythical someone that I was good at this game. Fun was no longer a factor.

Summer 2020 I achieved my goal and guess what? I never went back to that game again. It completely sullied the Gran Turismo series for me. Whether it was other players intentionally smashing you off the track because they are poor losers, or the lobby afterwards where all kinds of abuse was hurled. I began to play a freemium game called World of Warships: Legends. I just wanted to have fun firing the guns of my favourite historical warships. I did that for a while but then realised the game is designed to reward only Standard battles, not AI battles. Standard means you play other humans. I had no idea what I was in for. Addiction, stress, anger, hatred, frustration. This game is so toxic that it is common procedure to mute everyone, mute yourself and change your privacy settings so that no one can message you, whether in game or through the console's own friend system. So much abuse! And such utter incompetence in the playerbase. Only yesterday I received a 'friend request' from someone the second after I sunk him. I didn't accept of course. I knew by instinct it would be an abusive tirade.

Why did I not stick to playing bots? It's pure fun. Bots attack, they go forward, you can depend on them, and they never abuse you. Well, because the game is sort of evil! If you play the AI, you can't win medals. You can't progress as far or win as many 'rewards'. Who the eff cares! I completely lost sight of my original intention: to sail a virtual ship, fire its guns, and have fun! Consistenly playing effectively against humans became one of the great intellectual challenges of my life (it made reading Hobsbawm seem like setting a wristwatch). The game is intensely difficult. I achieved a 58% winrate in just over 7,000 battles against humans and last night decided, I'm out. It stresses me out too much. Gaming is supposed to be a fun way to unwind, not a difficult, frustrating, anger inducing slog.

It was all for external validation. People must know I'm 'good' at this game. No one cares! Not at all. Validation must come from within. Just play the AI, have fun. Ignore all the currencies, resources, campaign achievements, medals, upgrades. Don't let the game bully you into doing what its developers want. Say Goodbye to All That. Caring about how much money, ship XP, global XP, commander XP, doubloons, insignia, promotion orders, oil, steel, etc, that you have is again seeking external validation. Worrying about your statistics is pointless. Only care about what you are here for, to have fun. It will help in life too. We cannot gain our validation externally. It has to come from within. I know I am awesome at this game. I don't need to prove it to anyone, least of all the game itself.

Another way in which gaming culture is now toxic and based around external validation is the karma system on Reddit. Why do we care if people up or downvote our posts? We should be free to express any opinion without fear of someone downvoting it out of spite. When I recently posted about how much I enjoyed playing an AI battle with a certain ship, someone made a mocking post about how I should play a Standard battle, even after I stated that I played an AI battle for fun. This is another reason I have abandoned such places.

I did have a friend with whom I played this game. It contributed to his mental illness. One day, we were sailing in formation towards the Cap. Unluckily, a full spread of torpedoes from a Shimakaze sunk him in one go. He mysteriously disappeared for days. When I finally heard from him, he told me he had smashed his monitor in fury and needed to stop playing this game because it made him so angry. It made him analyze his entire life. This really is not what gaming should be.

I am happy to say my toxic addiction to this game is at an end.
Robin Sharrock
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sharoma
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Re: External Validation / World of Warships

Post by sharoma »

I thought I'd post an update to my progress on breaking this unhealthy habit. Clearly the cold turkey approach never works. I've managed to reduce the time I play this game but am yet to quit playing against humans completely. I am currently playing a maximum of three Standard battles each session before chilling with the AI for a few more. It's working well and I've started enjoying the game again.

Here is a post I made elsewhere (I'll be posting here exclusively from now on):

The distinctions between an AI Battle and a Standard one are obvious to regular players:

1) You can earn medals playing humans.
2) The rewards of all resources are greater.
3) You need to play other humans to progress through the campaigns.
4) You hone your advanced skills by playing humans, whereas AI battles are for honing basic skills, such as simple aim and fire.
5) In AI battles, the enemy moves forward and attacks in a conventional (for video gaming) and predictable way. AI teammates also attack and go forward. Humans in AI battles likewise act more aggressively and therefore offer much greater combat support. In a Standard battle, you've no idea what your team or the enemy team will do.

There is no happy medium. AI battles are over in a few minutes and are not very rewarding at all, in the enjoyment sense and earning resources sense. Standard battles can be unenjoyable. You may waste 15 minutes just being stressed out, not having any fun. All for 'more resources', graphical medals or campaign progression to get yet more resources.

What I want is the ability to customize the AI battles more. There should be a difficulty slider. The AI already have a few tricks up their sleeve; for example, don't bother to launch a torpedo unless you are alongside, since they will definitely avoid it. If it's not possible to at least have a rudimentary difficulty slider (for example, reducing or increasing their accuracy), then I'd like the option to play an AI battle solo - that is, all my team and all the enemy are bots. The only actual difficult, and therefore rewarding, AI battles I've had were high tier ones where it was me alone or me and one or two other humans. If my entire team is wiped out, fine. I want the chance to go head to head against a lot of bots. Quite often my entire team is wiped out in a Standard battle in a few minutes, but I know I'm dead very soon. Against AI it's possible to get nine kills (I've achieved 8 a few times). I play this game because (in a gaming sense) I'm aggressive and want to fight, not indulge in all the tactics necessary to win against humans, most of which are actually work arounds to make up for the other humans not doing their job. This would be easy to implement. Playing with 17 other bots would require no waiting times and would lead to AI battles in which you were guaranteed a fun and difficult time. It also wouldn't be as predictable as the current AI battles, in which you know for sure you will win quickly and easily.

Scenarios: it's been said many times, but I want scenarios which would also consist of enemy bots. Historical battles, convoy escort, protecting a landing, etc. I would even pay money for a collection of historical scenarios. Arena style play is getting very old and stale, yet it's all we have and are likely to ever have. Imagine playing a Battle of the North Cape scenario in which you can act as Scharnhorst and have to evade and destroy not only the Duke of York and Belfast but other cruisers and destroyers too. It would be very difficult and very rewarding.

Mixed battles: the sting of poor human teammates could be mitigated with mixed teams. I found that mixed human-bot teams worked well when carriers were being tested. Sure, remove the ability to earn medals, or make it so only kills and damage against the other humans counts, or that damage and kills against bots counts as half toward a medal. In a team of 9, if one DD, one cruiser and one BB are bots, there is a guaranteed level of predictability and support. You know for sure it won't just be another red team rollover, and if it is, and all your bots die before theirs, well it's down to bot luck rather than human incompetence. The bots on each team would have equal chances to act stupid. Also, a new angle would emerge: playing to support a bot. If that AI DD rushes forward, you know it's going to die quickly against humans unless you support it. If you're a DD and a bot BB spawns beside you, you know he will go forward and absorb damage, backing you up more than most human BB players would ever think to do.

To sum up: this game needs to focus less on the external validation gained from acquiring medals, resources, skills, and more on pure fun. I originally installed this game simply because I wanted to fire the guns of my favourite historical ships, not fall down a rabbit hole which ended up being a supreme intellectual challenge which on many occasions wasn't even any fun at all.
Robin Sharrock
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Re: External Validation / World of Warships

Post by thatalex »

WoW is very addictive, I know I game too much but to me the point of games is relaxation, enjoyment, a low-energy way of cheering oneself up. Games that hook you in with addictive gameplay physically are not my bag, but WoW is strategic AND addictive in the milestones it sets! Bad combination for me....

I could write a point by point dissection of that, but Robin did that already and I agree with his analysis. Think of game companies as market hawkers after your money and it gets easier to say no, although I will say with Paradox Games I've spent A LOT on EU IV. With 3000 hours played however it's not like I haven't got good use of it! Now to get a life...
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sharoma
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Re: External Validation / World of Warships

Post by sharoma »

WoW was free to begin with but I ended up buying Hood and then Warspite simply for historical interest reasons. I've got my value out of them at least. I've bought the odd campaign here and there. I'd say they had perhaps $200 off me in total, and that's a high estimate. I could go back and look at my receipts but it's not worth my time, nor worth thinking about. Play time is 923 hours on PS4 Pro and as of today, 1,345 hours on PS5; a total of 2,268 hours. That works out to 8 cents per hour.

Gran Turismo 7 was a much bigger let-down in so many ways. I paid $120 to preorder it, proving Cartman correct. I played it for 128 hours which means I paid $0.93 for each hour of playtime. I reinstalled it the other day to try and get that number down and it crashed my console. Gran Turismo: Sport cost me $15 and I paid $15 for the Lewis Hamilton addon. I spent about 1,397 hours on that. That's 2 cents per hour, and I barely spent time with the Lewis Hamilton material, so really it should be 1 cent per hour!

I definitely miss RTS gaming. Consoles have never been about RTS, sadly. I can't see how it would work anyway since you need to be sitting up at a desk with a mouse and keyboard to properly play one.
Robin Sharrock
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sharoma
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Re: External Validation / World of Warships

Post by sharoma »

A further update! I reinstalled Red Dead Redemption 2 recently and have been enjoying hunting, reducing my bounty, and caring for my horse. As for 'Warships, I still play a bit, but mostly AI and only the content I want to interact with. Coincidentally, Wargaming made changes to allow completion of the campaigns entirely in AI mode. Previously, you had to play other humans to complete campaigns. Such is the hate of having to play other humans!
Robin Sharrock
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