As I’ve mentioned previously, some friends and I have been playing World of Tanks as a platoon of 3 and tearing it up in the lower tiers. Although we’ve had some abysmal matches, for the most part we’ve been doing pretty well. Having three people coordinate over Skype can make a big difference, even if we’re not especially good and running around in flimsy, crappy tanks. We almost always manage to get at least one or two kills apiece, which in my experience is pretty damn good. We currently have a 60/40 win-loss ratio when grouped, but that will probably degrade over time as we run into more experienced players in the higher tiers, normalizing eventually to the expected 50/50.
Which, to one of my friends, simply isn’t good enough. He plays games to relax and have fun after a long day of work, not be a punching bag for other players. He made the apt observation that in a PvP game like WoT, his fun is no more important than that of his opponents. The game is balanced to hand you as many losses as victories, as many deaths as kills. It’s perfectly fair. But he doesn’t play games to be fair, he plays games to have fun. He works at work, he wants to play when he plays. He likes the game, he likes the tanks, the progression, the combat, the battling as a group. He just doesn’t like the PvP combat model. If WoT had a PvE mode, we’d be golden.
I couldn’t disagree with him, his point was perfectly valid and sensible. World of Tanks involves a lot of suffering. A lot. It hooks you, though, with the occasional shining moment of awesome, where you have a fantastic match and sweep your enemies before you like chaff before the wind. That’s not exactly a common occurrence though, and you’re not likely to get there until you’ve had a lot of experience with the game. Playing just one day a week though, that’s a lot of frustration to learn through, and a pretty sporadic reward structure if you might go weeks at a time without that really rewarding match to keep you hooked.
So I have to wonder, is there an “ideal” amount of time to devote to WoT to keep your blood charged with victories without grinding your bones to dust with defeats? What category of player expresses the most satisfaction with the game? The ones who play 10 hours a day? The ones who play 10 hours a week? Is it a simple case of more is always better, or does enjoyment to time spent map out to a bell curve? It’s easy to say someone playing 10 hours a day must be highly satisfied, else they wouldn’t play so much, but it could just as easily be someone addicted to the game and/or obsessed with being the best rather than someone that just really enjoys the game.
PvE games are quite simple – the more you play, the more you’re rewarded. More level ups, more loot, more money, more achievements, etc. A game like World of Tanks though, you get those things, but you also get more losses, more frustration, more screaming at your monitor that there’s no-way-that-punk-medium-tank-was-able-to-destroy-your-heavy-while-sitting-behind-that-rock-you-cheating-bastard.
I’m still an average World of Tanks player at best, and my own interest has fallen off in recent weeks in favor of single player games or PvE MMOs. I would gladly pay full box price for a PvE campaign in World of Tanks, something where you fight through battles on the side of a particular nationality against AI opponents, with varying goals besides just “kill all enemies or cap the flag”, perhaps with scripted events even. I’m sure I could sell my friends on it too. The PvP matches in WoT are fun, but there are only so many deathmatches you can participate in before it gets stale. I know for me, my satisfaction index would go up along with my time played if I could switch to some PvE gameplay when the PvP gets too frustrating.