Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: games

The problem is diplomacy is all your troops freeze in panic

I’m speaking, of course, of the skill in Heroes of Might and Magic 3.

When you are good at diplomacy, troops that would otherwise attack your army, may join it instead, “For greater glory.”

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Sound great? It is!

Near the beginning of the game, without spending a single gold, you can have a horde from every tongue and tribe and nation. Crusaders and dragons and dwarves and liches, all part of one glorious host.

But they generally do poorer than they should in actual combat. Soldiers tend to freeze in panic, and even when you win there are more losses than their needs to be. Troops from other cities tend not to love each other, and everyone hates the undead. Morale drops. Everyone starts to wonder what they’re even fighting for.

There are reasons for this.

The game’s campaign details bitter struggles between the nations.┬áIf you want this horde from every tongue and tribe, you to give them something higher than history to bind them together. Remind them why they joined you in the first place: Greater Glory.

The Seductions of RPGs

I didn’t have a lot of friends in High School. I blame a combination of poor social skills and acne.

Once a pretty girl sat across from me in the cafeteria while I was reading a book from the Incarnations of Immortality series. She tried to strike up a conversation with me. I guess she felt bad for me. I kinda ignored her. She got offended and left. So, yeah, not the best social skills.

But there was one thing I did well in High School. One place where I shone: Paper and dice role-playing games.

Never heard of them? Look them up.

This skill evolved into the more popular computer RPGs. Knight of the Old Republic. Fable. Baulder’s Gate. World of Warcraft.

Ever wondered why so many people get so hooked on these games?

Deep down inside there is always an interest in becoming someone mighty or special and going forth to conquer and achieve and do something.

It’s because there is an itch, deep inside. A itch, gifted to use through evolution or the spirit or God or both. A itch to go forth. To get. To win. To leave the world different than we found it.

Aren’t you itchy for that?

I am.

The games are popular because we itch. And anyone who has loved these games knows how mind-bogglingly itchy they can get.

I know a better way to scratch that itch, though, now.

To make my life an RPG.

That is, to go forth. To achieve. To leave the world different than it was when I found it.

Because each problem you solve gives you XP.

Each obstacle you overcome levels you up.

Each skill you attain is an achievement unlocked.

Each new friend is a party member, striving with you for whatever quests you choose to pick up.

Real life is so much more fun than any RPG.

Even KoToR.