In 2003, a documentary titled “The Fog of War” was released. The film was about the life and times of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and the eleven important lessons he learned about modern warfare. As strategy games and MMOs often simulate warfare in its many forms, these lessons can undoubtedly serve as an MMO guide for all players. Let’s go over them and see how they can help us become better players.
Try to see the situation through the eyes of your enemies before rushing into combat. It will help you understand the way they think and anticipate how they might react to your actions. This shouldn't be confused with sympathy. You don't have to feel bad for your enemy, or show mercy. After all - they brought it upon themselves by challenging you.
Not every challenge can be solved or overcome by rational thought alone. The smart thing to do isn’t always the right thing to do. Even when every brain cell in your head urges you to go down a certain path, there are times you need to rely on your instincts and what you gut tells you. Other times you just need pure dumb luck.
It’s important to remember that in an MMO, your actions never exist in a vacuum and can impact other players or your Combine. It’s also important to note that you yourself are affected by the actions of fellow players. For example, you might have never joined your Combine if it wasn’t for that friendly player who sent you reinforcements at exactly the right time.
Even the most common of game resources is precious, not to mention your own personal time. Wasting any resource or time in a strategy game is almost a crime. Make sure you use your resources in the best way possible. Don’t train Units or construct new buildings just because you can. Think about whether you really need them, or if there’s anything better you can invest your resources and time in.
Sometimes it’s easy to give in to our rage, and just go after an enemy with everything we got. However, there’s an old saying - let the punishment fit the crime. If someone raided you and stole some of your resources, that isn’t necessarily a declaration of war. Recon their Base to see if they’re someone worth engaging in combat with, or even send them a message letting them know you’re a live player. If they do it again - destroy them.
Simply put, you need to know what you’re up against. We’ve already mentioned recon in the previous lesson, but there are also other ways to collecting intel about your enemy. Are they a part of a Combine? Have any of your allies ever dealt with them before? Do they have any former allies you can squeeze information from? You can even scan the player’s Facebook page to learn more about his gaming habits. Data equals knowledge, and knowledge is power.
There’s a idiom suggesting that “seeing is believing”. However, lesson 7 claims that this is in fact not true, and that what we see is often distorted by what we believe. We often see what we want to see, and we ignore facts and information that point at a different conclusion. Check and recheck your info before making any big decisions, and make sure your sources are not biased in any way.
Being headstrong and assertive does have its advantages when leading other players to war, or brokering a diplomatic deal. However, it is also important to know when you’re in the wrong. If you’re unable to convince others of the correctness of our ways and actions, don’t just attribute it to them being fools. Reexamine your own logic before lashing out.
This is probably the most controversial lesson here. War is never pretty, even in the digital world. Sometimes you’ll have to attack other players you’re not sure deserve it, just because they chose to align themselves with an enemy of your Combine, or maybe they are in the way. Try to minimize these instances. You might not be able to avoid them completely, but you can at least make sure they don’t happen unnecessarily.
“Never say never” is not just a really annoying Justin Bieber song. It’s also a rather optimistic motto every MMO player should adopt. In many MMOs, there is no “lose condition”, so you can always overcome any challenge the game, and other players, throw at you. With dedication, a little help from your allies and a handful of Diamonds you can always get back on top in no time.
No matter how much you try, and how much you play, you can’t change the way other gamers play the game. Some like to attack everyone in sight, others plan a long and bloody campaign, full of back-stabbings, double-crossings and betrayal. The point is you will get burned by other players; it is inevitable. The trick is to never let it get to you. Find other people you enjoy playing with, form strong connections with them, and take the fight to all the haters.