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Monday, August 9, 2010

A little of Me and Training in FPS Games

Yesterday I said I'd talk a little about my gaming habits and the little side business I started. I plan to make good on that promise. First, let me clear the air by saying that, yes, video games were the first games I ever played, but my introduction into pen and paper games was all but a foregone conclusion by 1997 when Final Fantasy VII came out and I, on a lark, rented it and loved it. I collected every game since (though I never played XII. Too much changed) and I haven't looked back on that. Fifth grade I started playing social RPG's and all through high school I continued. By college GenCon became my only outlet, and I think I can sneak in a change to that pattern here in the near future. I also dabbled in CCG's or collectible card games, namely Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh (blame the horrid anime, I suppose). Though nothing ever came of it and I've played all of one unofficial and one official game of Yu-Gi-Oh and MtG respectively, I amassed quite a collection of cards. Due to my quickly fading interest in card games entirely, I thought I might make a little extra cash selling them on eBay, at this fine location. The stock is currently very small, but I have a booster box in the mail and a plan in my head to increase and diversify stock on a grand scale here shortly.

Regardless, that isn't the main point of tonight's blog. Instead, I want to talk about training in FPS games. When you play these virtual soldiers, in Call of Duty, Battlefield and Medal of Honor, you use almost any weapon you want and your avatar knows the ins and outs of every one. For the record, this isn't realistic, but it's a game, right? Sure, let's go with that, but take into account the years of training that goes into each soldier on the battlefield. Then think about the special operations teams and the intensive molding and shaping they go through. Now think about Medal of Honor's advisers: Tier 1. These guys, according to the site (and I have no choice but to believe them, since I'm afraid of the guy with the epic beard and assault rifle), go through more training than even the best Spec Ops team. Their numbers fluctuate within a few hundred, with a classified exact number, and you wonder what they do that other soldiers do that others don't. Translating that into a game world seems almost like a moot point when you think about it, since soldiers in the big FPS brands already use every weapon they can pick up, every piece of equipment on the field and every vehicle they get their hands on. Everyone is Tier 1 in CoD4, MW2, Bad Company 2 and Halo. But that isn't true, because in the world of the game, it is a matter of simplicity and ease of use to have soldiers proficient with all weapons and equipment. This leads me to a point I noticed in the Medal of Honor of beta.

The weapon you choose is the one you stick with, and you cannot pick up enemy or ally weapons to use in place of your own. In an earlier post I said that DICE needed to implement this, but I retract that statement. Thinking about it again, I recall the Rifleman's Creed. In essence, the weapon you receive from your country is the one you stick with, through thick and thin, in the worst conditions, through repairs and cleanings, peace and war. Because both EA and DICE are going for the most realistic depiction of modern war in Medal of Honor, that they restrict which weapons everyone uses means they consider the training, time and emotional attachment that soldiers spend and accrue in their service. Think about a soldier on the battlefield watching his best friend die, then avenging him with the weapon he and the fallen knew back and forward, divided only by the set of hands holding it. Would the surviving Marine or Ranger or Seal or Tier 1 operative not wish to use that gun and only that gun in all mission to follow? I would think he would, in memory of his friend, and to show those who took his life what it means to feel the hot steel of vengeance.

And with that cheesy metaphor, I leave for another day.

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