Electron Dance
21Aug/10Off

Conflicted On World In Conflict

This is a desperate plea for help.

I'd played Massive Entertainment's RTS Ground Control and found it enjoyable, even though I was forced into desperate micromanagement especially when those fucking beam platforms turned up. One misstep and suddenly my units are out of cover - everyone is under attack, people are dying, people are screaming and I'm wetting my pants. You couldn't replenish destroyed units, which was good because a level then played like a puzzle rather than simply an exercise in drowning your enemy with more units than he has... but bad because mistakes had negative implications for the rest of the campaign.

I finished the first half of the game, and stopped. There's this horrible HA HA SURPRISE moment in the final mission of the Crayven campaign when you're just seconds from victory and super-powered enemies emerge, tiny infantry that can wipe out all of your units in the blink of an eye. Think Mr. Super Butt Suit in Crysis, but lots of clones of him. I just about scraped by with gently gently centimetre-by-centimetre movements as most of my artillery had been shot to Swiss cheese already, and artillery would have been really quite useful at that point.

Ah, I ramble.

Anywho. I heard Massive's follow-up World In Conflict was the dog's dreadlocks so I pressured my sister into buying it as a birthday present for me.

Time passed...

I found the game confusing; none of my brain cogs snapped into place. Too many similar looking units, both enemy and ally, a giant blur of treads and wheels. And there were about six jillion special air strike combos you could apply. My guys got blown up all the time. I made it through scenarios not because I was an excellent field strategist but because I could keep on spawning reinforcements.

It was too disheartening so I tucked the game in a drawer somewhere, a cold, dark drawer in which a mutant culture of DVD-consuming mould was developing. But one of these days my sister will ask about the game and I'll have to make some shit up, studying YouTube videos so I can fictionalise the experience. I'll tell her this well-concocted story, doing my best to mimic the game's famous pyrotechnics with lots of fascinating hand movements and KABOOM noises, and then she'll roll her eyes and say, "God, I wasn't really interested, you know." Job done.

Is there a trick to World In Conflict that I am missing? Is my brain simply not up to the task? Are you going to tell me I'm too old for this game?

I want to enjoy games that other people enjoy. Well, except for Lost Planet, I'd rather shoot myself in the head with a blunt bolt from a crossbow than walk around in a drug-induced cloud of happy happy pretending that Lost Planet is the best game ever.

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Posted by Joel Goodwin

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  1. My brother (Lewis B over at Tap, he loves his RTS) wasn’t a fan of World in Conflict because of the unit spamming but at the same time Steerpike and Helmut (over at Tap) love it.

    Me personally? I’ve never played it but the slightest mention of micro-management makes me run for the hills (see Company of Heroes and Homeworld where engineers and repair units didn’t automatically repair other units). My brain is too slow for all that plate spinning.

    Bringing it back to AI War; most units and actions can be automated so that you can focus on the planning and strategy, that includes free-roaming, auto-repairing engineers. Which is nice.

  2. Play some World in Conflict 1 on 1 multiplayer. That’s where the game shines, at least for me and my little brother. The control point back-and-forth see-saw is a really fun thing.

  3. I’m going to give this another go… one of these days. Gregg – are you trying to summon the spirit of Park again?

    Switchbreak – sounds like I need to get Mrs. HM aboard the good ship Gaming again.

  4. Why not relax with a nice game of Neptune’s Pride?

  5. Ah, an imposter. I swear the real BeamSplashX would never say such a thing: Cross my Heart and hope to die.

  6. *Did you use a lot of infantry? Infantry is by far the hardest group to manage. Tanks are the easiest of anything, plus they’re the ones that force their way into hard situations.

    *Making different groups helps a lot. I usually make two groups for the tanks (so I can do flanking stuff, or retreat more easily), and one group for any other type of unit.

    *The tactical aid isn’t as complex as it seems. Generally, there are at least two different types for handling a situation, varying mostly in scale. Cluster bomb-Daisy cutter-Nuke or mortars-heavy artillery- air strike for instance. Mostly though, tank-busters are your truest friends.

    *Multiplayer is hard. Single player simply doesn’t come close, not even on the highest difficulty with the most units.

    *Keep it simple stupid. It’s much easier to throw every unit that can be roughly aproximated to a certain type into one amorphous blob, as long as you can get to the special abilities.

    *Neptune’s Pride sounds good. HM, you could give yourself an odd victory scenario, or act like the obnoxious adolescent that always deserves to be shunned, or some other kooky thing, and enyoy NP again. Probably not though.

  7. Egad, mwm, have you been digging through the archives? The days of yore when there comments were as thin on the ground as snow in the British winter.

    I wish I knew the answers to your question about infantry today but two years on I just don’t remember. I simply remember being confused: everything looked similar and because I won so easily, I didn’t feel like I was learning anything about better skills. After several episodes of the main campaign I thought: why am I playing this again?

    Maybe I will try again and note down your words of wisdom. One of these days. One of these days…

  8. Ah amorphous blobbing. Even AI War suffered from that, hence the Neinzul units that dispersed blobs (by teleporting your units all over the current star system so each one effectively became a sitting duck on their own). Technically speaking, blobbing’s realistic to a certain extent (armies, armadas etc.) but it seems like quite a cheap one-tactic-fits-all sort of thing in a strategy game. It’s something I usually associate with RTS and one reason why I prefer TBS. That and my brain is way too slow to juggle so many different things in real-time, that’s the real reason.


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