Note: The current article has been written more than 10 years ago!
I’ve played some strategy games – mostly Heroes of Might and Magic III, but also Age of Empires 2, Red Alert (yes, first version), Warcraft I and II. Others too, of course. Let me share you one thought about them.
What strikes me most about a computer game is the fact that it asks for human touches which can get repetitive and boring. For example, I would love to create a script – first build a town, then, when you have enough money build a castle, then build a tower, then barracks, and so on.
Or program a character to automatically do stuff.
Don’t tell me it’s impossible – the computer can do these.
Yet the game producers most likely they don’t want this feature in their games. I think there are two explanations for the behavior:
- First of all, people like what they can touch; go in a store, and the seller will invite you to taste its goods, feel the fabric, try things on; once you touch something, you get more addicted to that;
- Another reason is this: people need control; to some point it’s justified – if you aren’t better at playing a game than the computer is, then you’ll lose the game; thus the solution may be to put your touch on everything; “I am the master in my own little Universe”.
In Heroes of Might and Magic III the aim is to manage a castle, conquer new things (explore) and fight battles. After a while, I’d wish the castle would build based on a script (it would be easier for me to manage). The game does let you to have the fights automated (so, the computer fights for you and only gives you the result). I activated this option and while the games are faster, there is more emphasis on discovering thing by exploring and the same boring tasks of managing the castle, I get a strange feeling – I don’t know my armies that well, I feel that they aren’t so much mine. I do get attached to my armies, so not seeing them and controlling them in battle is a bit strange.
To sum up, I think there are two opposing things:
- On one hand, some people would prefer automating tasks in games;
- On the other hand, even though some actions are very repetitive and boring, the feeling you get by doing them can’t really be replaced.