Bit of a different approach for today's feature. It's a topic I've been thinking a lot about since last week's podcast, and I thought I'd open it up to all of you. As always, thanks for reading.
On last weekend's podcast, an interesting conversation came up about challenge in games. Obviously all games provide some sort of challenge, but our discussion was focused on online competitive games. I happen to be a big fan of the genre, even if I'm not capable of winning even a quarter of the time I play. Another podcast member finds the experience to be an extremely frustrating one, so much so that they're not capable of having fun. Two people having completely different experiences from the same game.
Whenever I'm playing an online game, or any game for that matter, I always appreciate a bit of challenge. I can certainly enjoy a game that's smooth sailing from start to finish, but having something to make me struggle a bit enhances the experience. You certainly get that when you play online competitive games. You're going to square off against real-life players, which means you have a potential base of millions of people who are easily better than you. You never know what you're going to get, and it makes for a much more intense experience.
I think we all know that you can have bad nights and good nights in online games. Sometimes you rack up the kills, score a bunch of wins, and feel like you're really contributing to the team. Other nights you can't seem to get anything together, and you're nothing more than fodder for the other players. Now it's not fun to lose over and over again, but those losses are what push me to keep playing. I want to work to get better, take on the challenge, and hopefully end the night on a win. Sometimes that doesn't happen, but I still have fun pushing to try and improve.
Certain games like Fortnite, Rogue Company, and Call of Duty: Warzone can create a pretty quick cycle of death. If you're jumping into these games and landing in hot spots, you could find yourself up against some serious opposition less than a minute after you land. If you're not ready for it, you could be dead before you even have a chance to get something going. Have that happen over and over again, and you can see how the frustration builds. You're not really playing a game, so much as you're sitting through a loading simulator.
With Rogue Company in particular, this feeling can be overwhelming. Matches are extremely quick, which leads to even more intense competition. With Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone, you have massive maps that you can hide out on for awhile and hopefully avoid major confrontations. You might not have an action-packed experience, but you're in the game playing nonetheless. Rogue Company's maps are very tiny compared to those titles, and you're going to be thrown into the action no matter what you do. If you're having a rough night in Rogue Company, your total playtime might amount to 10 minutes or less.
Again, I can see how this would be an extremely annoying experience for a player, and I wouldn't blame someone for turning off their console and calling it a night. That said, it's not the way I operate. When I get caught in a loop of doing really poorly, it just makes me want to play more. I want to go one more round in the game. I want to change things up and try a new plan of attack. I want to prove to myself that I'm better than the poor gameplay I'm putting up. This kind of situation actually makes me even more invested in playing.
The same could be said for traditional games as well. If you're playing a brutally difficult single player experience and getting beaten down time and time again, you might not be so eager to continue. Sure, there might be difficulty sliders and other options, but sometimes it's not enough to make the entire experience more manageable. If every step of the way is an arduous journey, it can be extremely hard to find the fun. Some people take this as a motivator to train in attempts to get better, and others look at it as a sign to walk away.
Obviously neither side of the conversation is wrong. If frustration in games leads to you playing more and trying to better yourself, that's great. If that feeling makes you step away from the game, that's understandable too. If you're playing a game and not getting any enjoyment from it, why bother pushing ahead? Take a break for a bit, regroup, and return to it another night to see how things play out. You might find a new way to approach things, or you might find that a specific game or genre isn't for you.
What kind of player are you? Do you stay away from online competitive games because they get you too frustrated, or do you like the constant pressure? Do you turn the difficulty slider down in traditional games, or do you crank it all the way up?