Playing as a Team

I take athletics for granted.  I was raised with sports all around me, though the majority was hockey.  I like to think I have an aptitude for nearly any sport, as long as I understand the rules.  I can certainly appreciate sport plays, more so the ones leading up to the great play on the highlight.  I’m mentioning this because I’ve gone to see my wife play some ball hockey lately.  She certainly has a solid understanding of the mechanics, but the nuances of team sports are not her bag.  Give her a golf club and she’s a maniac though.

Which I think is an interesting idea to explore.  Working in a team, it’s fairly easy to find the best and worst players within a group.  They usually stand out.  The folks in the middle, those are a bit harder to qualify and find their personal spot.  As good as Messi is, there are 10 other players on the pitch with him and their play allows him to shine.  Each one needs to understand their role in the team and what’s expected.  They need to meet that expectation.  And often times it’s about multiple split second decisions while trying to stick to a game plan.  If the team is focused on zone defense, then chasing the opponents is going to go poorly.  Possession-based teams shoot infrequently, in order to maintain game control.

So watching my wife play ball hockey, completely recreationally mind you, puts into sharp contrast individual skill and team skill.  The former you can certainly practice on by yourself, but the latter takes hundreds of hours of group practice.  And as an adult, when exactly are you supposed to find that time?

Vault 75

I’m slowly moving around the Commonwealth, stabbing out away from Sanctuary.  I’ve hit Vault 81, Hubris Comics (which was awesome) and last night headed east to Vault 75, which was in the basement of a high school.  The experiment here really relates to the previous topic of skill refinement.  They studied and found genetic samples of teens that showed high potential and got rid of the rest.  There’s a target practice spot within the map too, fully functional with timer and everything.  My guess is that it was like a mini-Hunger Games or Logan’s Run in there.

It was also the first time I’ve actually met enemies with the skull icon.  These are folk who are a higher level and pose an additional risk.  One even had a plasma gun, which I was smart enough to pick up.  So while my super trusty sniper rifle helped out to clear the stragglers, these 2 buggers really took me for a spin.  I mean, how many sniper shots to the eyeballs can a dude take and still not realize I’m hiding around some corner? (the answer is 5).

I’m certainly appreciating the challenge here.  I’m making more use of Dogmeat as a distraction for battles, to help flush out the enemies.  He’s great at poking Deathclaws from their burrows (you can hear them breathing, which is cool and disturbing) so that I can send a missile on their foreheads.  The game is slowly inching away from a lone survivor vibe to one of effective team play.  I have a better understanding of how the party AI works, how they can disable mines or collect some loot for you.

I rather like the discovery aspect of the small things that make the game tick.  Sure, there’s a crapton that’s the same as in Fallout 3 but the finer details are where the meat is at.  It makes the game seem fresh while being familiar.  That said if people want to play it just like F3/NV, then there’s certainly nothing stopping them.  They’d just be missing out.

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