A casual look at either the GR.org chat channel, GR general discussions, or GR balance forums will reveal that our COH community loves to make generalizations about the game. At the time of this writing, there are no fewer than 5-6 threads in the general discussions forum that have sweeping generalizations in their title or original posts. Among them are such gems as “Cover is useless!”, “Why do Brits get their HQ truck back?” and “American snipers and Airborne blobs are unbeatable!” With such ridiculous notions, it is not difficult to see why so many players fail to overcome the problems they so loudly complain about. By failing to accept the complexity of COH such players are going to continue to hurt their chances of winning or getting better. This begins a vicious cycle of blame, defeat, and complaint (for the sympathy of other like minded players, leading to additional blame). The cycle continues until the “infected” player quits the game or wakes up and realizes that COH is not as simple as he thought (often writing extremely whiney and irrational posts on forums to gain sympathy from other like-minded people).
So far I’ve been doing a lot of talking down to a lot of people, but the reality is I understand why they do what they do – I just don’t agree with it and I think they are dead wrong. Humans instinctively generalize everything they see, it’s how we survived in the wild. In an increasingly complex world however, this generalizing holds us back.
Players will lose a few times to a certain strategy in a few similar situations, and become upset (naturally, I might add). They will then try the strategy out themselves, and might win a few games with it. The player then jumps into the illogical realm by assuming that his experience with the strategy is definitive and other players will surely have experienced it like he has. By making this assumption without proper experimentation (i.e., playing strong players with it and seeing how they beat the strategy), the player falls into a trap. Once in the trap it is unlikely the player will escape because he will now defend his generalizations with unexpected ferocity.
A player that has fallen into the trap of generalizations is extremely unlikely to come up with a suitable solution to his problem. By accepting the “fact” that his problem is unsolvable his brain appears to just stop trying. The player will often make symbolic efforts at countering it, however any serious chances have long been abandoned. The player will build up massive walls to defend his generalization against all evidence that runs contrary to his conclusion.
Replays showing a viable counter will be criticized because the player using the now assumed ‘op strat’ was playing poorly or was just a poor player (in the eyes of the original generalizer that is). If the generalizer uses the strategy is beaten, he will trot out many lines excuses, the most amusing of them being “well you are just a better player.” The player refuses to accept that the player that devised a counter to his problem strategy did it with a viable counter, instead believing the better player posses a ‘magic wand’ that wins his games for him.
Now that you are aware of the trap of generalizing in COH (and any other game!) it is important that you do not fall into it. If you catch yourself blaming losses on an “imbalanced strategy,” be sure to watch the replay and found out where you really lost the game. Shifting blame from yourself to the game is the first step toward falling in this trap.
If you know a friend that has gotten sucked in, it is also important that you pull him out or the fun you both have playing COH will likely dry up and become a negative experience of blame and complaining. Finally, if you have fallen into the trap, the first step to getting out is accepting that the game is more complex than you thought and also accepting that you have a long way to go in learning it.