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Strategy Games - Ed's journal
Strategy Games
I like strategy games. I really do. It's why I do most of my gaming on a PC - you just don't get the same sort of stuff on a console.
Things like Star Craft, Civilisation and Supreme Commander. Oh, and not forgetting most of the Total War series of games. These are the sorts of things I like - they're 'fair' but it's quite possible to achieve an unassailable position before crushing your opponent(s).

Well, mostly. Supreme Commander, I started playing multiplayer on the internet, which really was quite an experience - the various emergent dynamics of treachery and betrayal made the game really very interesting indeed, as your unassailable position .... well, could erode very quickly.

But to this day, it's why I like EVE Online. I mean, if you've ever tried it, or heard of it, you might have heard it described as 'a bit like Elite, but multiplayer'. And to a certain extent, that's true - you fly a ship, you can trade, shoot pirates, make your fortune.

But the thing that keeps me playing, is because underneath the covers, it's a strategy game. A very complicated and advanced one, that ... well, simply wouldn't work, if it didn't have a top layer of 'flying spaceship having fun'. In order to achieve things in EVE, you need to co-operate with your fellow pilots. You can only fly one ship at a time, and so you need other people to support whatever you're doing (or vice versa).

Success ... well, that relies on a confluence of factors. In many strategy games, you'll find there are mechanics for morale, supply, diplomacy, intelligence gathering, resource harvesting, training, production, attrition, unit caps...

Well, EVE has all these things automatically, as a result of how the game works - your ships aren't free, and you have to accumulate wealth to afford them. So do your comrades, so you need to encourage and inspire them (or someone does) in order for them to field something suitable for the style of combat doctrine you're trying to perform.
Leadership and morale is very relevant - the person commanding a fleet has to be able to lead and encourage. If a fleet commander loses the confidence of his gang, it's very apparent how it falls apart - because again, each person there has a ship that they've had to work for, and if it's 'going a bit wrong' they may back out, or otherwise fly badly, to try and preserve their interest above that of the fleet.

And then there's the larger scale - of getting your portfolio of combat ships to the places where it's needed. Resupply of 'key' ships - because they do explode, especially if they're certain critical functions - and ensuring everyone is combat ready when the call comes.

Diplomacy matters, because what you're fighting for 'matters' - you can control areas of space, and you can have alliances and organizations collapse due to a morale failure. Intelligence gathering matters for much the same reason - you don't need to be better on the field than your opponent, as long as you can inflict a crushing defeat when you are prepared, and evade a counter blow when you are not.

The thing though, that makes it so very different from most strategy games out there, is that you don't necessarily get to be 'leader'. Most of them, you're the commander, doing the strategy. EVE... you only get there if you can actually pull off the delicate combination of leadership. Form your own corp, by all means, but ... don't expect people to follow your lead, just because you say.

The diplomacy too - well, it's real people, with real interests. They'll maybe cede things, or maybe just have a grudge to iron out. Sometimes you'll be 'unpopular' because of ... something in the game world, other times less so. Unpredictable and complicated, and ... well, everyone will remember being betrayed, and grudges can last a very long time.

1 comment or Leave a comment
ammos From: ammos Date: December 22nd, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eve just marvelous, says the happy but broke pilot who might just have bought a Nighthawk, this carebear is getting less carebear by the day!
1 comment or Leave a comment