Truth, Lies and Video Games

AKA, Why High Damage Does Not Matter in video games.

There are many beliefs that if a Player does not do X damage (or achieve some other result), that Player did not contribute to the team in a game based on team play and values. The following are all the reasons why this belief is bogus from the game MechWarrior Online. Except for the first one, the others are not in a priority order.

  • Math

The big killer, math shows how it is not possible for everyone to deal out the damage number required by some. The important numbers here are:

– Enemy total Center Torso, one of the ways to kill a Mech. With IS XL, you could do Side Torso but you never know exactly who has XL and who has STD all the time, you may figure out some but not all.

– Enemy total Leg, the other way to kill a Mech.

Damage Output of your team’s Mechs also matters but you need to know their loadouts and heat tolerance to know how often they would fire, unless you are on a premade team, this information is unknown so we will not look at it.

Let’s look at a sample team composition from a match I had.

Damage Example

Now we will total up the Center Torso & Leg values (Armor & Internals) of each side assuming full armor in those sections.

My Team

Locust-1E, 32 Center Torso, 48 both Legs

Raven-3L, 60 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Raven-4X, 56 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Enforcer-4R, 88 Center Torso, 144 both Legs

Blackjack-1X, 66 Center Torso, 132 both Legs

Shadow Hawk-2D, 96 Center Torso, 156 both Legs

Mad Dog-Prime, 106 Center Torso, 168 both Legs

Hellbringer-B, 110 Center Torso, 180 both Legs

Timber Wolf-C, 120 Center Torso, 192 both Legs

Battlemaster-1S, 150 Center Torso, 216 both Legs

Stalker-3F[C], 152 Center Torso, 216 both Legs

Dire Wolf-A, 158 Center Torso, 252 both Legs

Total, 1194 Center Torso, 1896 both Legs

This is the minimum values need to kill my team assuming full armor in kill areas. Divide that by 12 players gives 99.5 Center Torso, 158 both Legs each player would have to contribute to kill the enemy team efficiently assuming no damage was splashed around on other sections.

Enemy Team

Ember, 54 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Raven-3L[C], 60 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Huginn, 58 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Nova-B, 80 Center Torso, 144 both Legs

Enforcer-5D[R], 82 Center Torso, 144 both Legs

Hunchback-4H, 86 Center Torso, 144 both Legs

Fang, 96 Center Torso, 168 both Legs

Orion-M, 120 Center Torso, 192 both Legs

Timber Wolf-C, 120 Center Torso, 192 both Legs

Stalker-5M, 140 Center Torso, 216 both Legs

Banshee-3M, 146 Center Torso, 240 both Legs

Boar’s Head, 158 Center Torso, 252 both Legs

Total, 1200 Center Torso, 1980 both Legs

This is the minimum values need to kill the enemy team assuming full armor in kill areas. Divide that by 12 players gives 100 Center Torso, 165 both Legs each player would have to contribute to kill the enemy team efficiently assuming no damage was splashed around on other sections.

Compare these minimum values to those being tossed around by some users. 350, 400, 700, etc. per player, values that are 3 times or more the minimum to kill by CT, 2+ times to kill by legging. This inflation may be to accommodate splash damage and skill but honestly, they are still overvalued. If someone does about 100 damage, they still contributed based on minimum values needed to kill by Center Torso, 160 would be for legs though not many go for that route.

Remember, this does not take into account loadouts. There is no data on what the Mechs were carrying but players who know the Mechs can get a rough idea especially if you are on a team where you know your allies and their weapons. You know a Light Mech will not dish out damage the way an Assault can so those average values will usually be adjusted down for a Medium or Light and up for Heavy and Assault Mechs. Some Mechs like Ravens carry TAG or NARC that could have helped a LRM user get damage, even kills. You can also see the Enforcer I used got less than 500 damage, I know people who would say that sucked. That Enforcer used weapons designed to give strong alphas for its weight and I placed them where they needed to be as seen by the 2 kills.

In the match, you can see the Raven-4X, one of the Timber Wolf-Cs and the Ember did below 100 damage. The 4X can be excused due to being a Light, the Ember was probably a Disconnect or AFK so only the Timber Wolf with less than 100 damage can really be faulted for not putting out enough killing damage. Maybe it cannot though, the Timber might have gotten pinned down in a bad spot, that happens as well, I have even had it happen to me. Everyone else gave out enough and more to different degrees of the minimum needed to kill. What is pathetic is using the chosen damage values some players use, they would discredit 18 or more of the 24 players despite what the math clearly shows.

  • Stat Padding

Yes it is real. There are ways to screw around in this game to make you look more important and skilled than you really are.

Damage Stat Padding

One example is Damage Stat Padding, this is usually done by taking certain Mechs & loadouts such as an Enforcer-5D using LBX plus Lasers, this loadout that I have used will do a significant amount of damage and has a better chance of hitting fast Mechs but has a harder time actually killing an enemy. You can also take a loadout and use it in a particular fashion to make it look like you did a lot of battle damage but some does not actually count. One example, I once watched a Spider with 1 Large Laser find a Disconnected Mech, usually people shoot Discons in kill areas but this Spider took his time shooting up arms and other areas. Why? Because his damage score would be higher getting him more rewards and he could claim to have done more battle damage though a portion was against an unmoving enemy with no pilot. Another example, I once drove a Hunchback into an enemy force and weaved among them shooting various targets, usually Assaults. Spreading so much damage around on big Mechs will get high scores and rewards but is not actually killing them, it is only done to spread chaos and disorganize enemy forces. Here is an actual picture of players on an enemy team encouraging other players to Stat Pad for CB typically called Farming though it also will make the Padders look like better players than they are.

Stat Padding

Win/Loss Stat Padding

Another form of stat manipulation, this is done by bringing certain items that increase the chance of victory and using them correctly. Most obvious example, ECM. It does not matter how many counters are made and mentioned, I have actually done this and countered most of the counters showing they are not that relevant. I ran my first ECM Mech, 3 Kit Foxes that all used the same build with ECM on all 3. Just by positioning myself correctly to cover allies, I saw more team victories than when I ran non-ECM Mechs.

Kill Stat Padding

How to get easy kills, look for Discons at start, flank around and eliminate them, instant KDR manipulation. There seems to be plenty still available.

  • Role Warfare

On a team, there are roles (positions) people work in for the benefit of the team. MWO has been planned to have roles though some are unhappy what they picture as those roles has never come about. Thing is, there are roles and they are used, just some do not acknowledge them or know about them. MWO roles would include Tank, Alpha Striker, DPS, Shot Caller, Recon & Hunter. There may be others but these are the standout ones offhand. I have seen them done in game and done them myself. Here is how they work.

Tank – Usually the bigger Mechs on a team such as some Assaults and Heavies though tanking can be done by other Mechs depending on the situation. You basically go out taking some shots on enemies and moving to allow enemies to damage you a lot until you reach a point where you need to pull back. During this, your allies should be coming out to shoot enemies who should not be shooting those allies because they are shooting you.

Alpha Striker – A Mech build made to deliver a large amount of damage by firing all weapons at once. This can cause serious heat issues that force the Alpha Striker to pull back until cooling off for another shot.

DPS – The ability to rapid fire certain weapons on a constant basis, where the Alpha Striker delivers a large amount of damage all at once, the DPSer does it over a period of time. DPSers in MWO suffer from a serious problem that makes them weaker than DPSers in other games.

Shot Caller – Seen on some teams, this is the guy who calls out targets to be focused on by the team for faster killing.

Recon – The pilot who reports on enemy positions and information such as weapon loadouts, also will drop intel gathering devices such as UAVs.

Hunter – Seeks out key targets for elimination or harassment, also good when the enemy force is down to a small number, able to predict where this small number of enemies will go so they do not elude pursuit.

I have done these roles at times as have others, of them only the Alpha Striker and DPSer will really do significant damage regularly. It is possible for the other roles to cause high damage but not as often.

  • One Shots

I have seen a few of these lately. Right at match start, 1-3 fast players get the jump on someone and manage to insta-kill the target resulting in 0 damage for the insta-killed player. Is that the dead player’s fault that he got jumped so fast? Begs the question if game mechanics need be altered to prevent this as it can lead to NPEs (Negative Player Experiences) that can cause people to quit. Gaming is a business and the company plus good community members should not want One-Shotting or other NPEs. I also saw such One-Shotting in the game Transformers Universe when it was in BETA due to several reasons, it got so bad even high ranked respected players complained about certain game elements causing it. The big problem here is that there is a certain small faction of players that like this concept and do not want it removed even if it harms the greater community or even the game itself.

These are just 4 obvious reasons why a person’s worth should never be measured by the damage output in a video game. Too bad some people refuse to accept that and let this obsession colorize their judgment.

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