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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kill/Death Ratio: Skill or Useless Quotient? Also, iPad!

Yes. I got an iPad for my birthday. It rocks. I'll do a review in a few days, then another in a few weeks. I'll probably gush a whole lot with the first review, then tone it down with the second. Apologies to those Mac haters out there (and I know there are many), but personally, I like Macs and Mac products for what they are. I wouldn't use them for serious gaming, of course, but as a student, they work just fine.

That is not tonight's topic, however. Tonight I want to speak for a little bit about the idea of Kill/Death ratios and their measure of your skill. I won't talk about any specific game, but about first person shooters in general and the game modes that come with them. Here we go.

If you want to judge someone's skill based solely on their K/D, your view is immediately narrowed to a single number not supported by any other evidence than your own views on the matter and the figure in question. To say someone has no skill just because their K/D is 1.5 or 1.25 or 1 or whatever gives no credence to their actual play style, the game modes in which they play, why they play, who they play with, and how the luck of the draw plays out. Someone with horrible luck might have all the skill in the world but always join the worst team possible, leading to below average (for them, anyway) scores. If someone has a K/D like 1.5 and they play objective based games like territory control or progressive objective capture or capture the flag, that kind of score is fine and they may have the skills to do much better K/D wise. But they don't. Why? Because these people care less about their kills and more about winning the game type they're playing. The saying goes that no man is an island, and in an objective game mode, everyone must work together to the betterment of the team. Sacrifices must be made for the win, and if they are not, the only option is loss. I think, for me, I find it more enjoyable to boast a 1.5 K/D and play to win than post a 5.0 but lose. So I wiped my boots on the enemy team, goody for me. We lost, fooey. Now, the excuse immediately comes that the other team were total idiots and sat back doing nothing. Maybe, but probably not. In no game mode, save maybe team deathmatch with eight or less men on the side, can someone post up a huge K/D without the other teammates, and even enemies, doing something to assist in that giant K/D. Perhaps they drew fire away from our kill whore, or the other team were just not paying attenion, or he camped the entire time. It could be anything, but in most games, K/D's come from a team effort, whether planned or no. That team need not even be your own. The enemy team might have no skills and your team has just enough to let you, Mr. Killwhore, go on that rampage you so desire.

In the end, what I'm saying is this. Kill death ratios should never be the sole method with which you judge someone's skill at a game. Say "noob" or whatever to them only after you've seen them play, and then more than once or twice. Everyone has an off night or two. If Mr. Killwhore didn't, who knows where his K/D might be?

Thanks for reading,

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