I could go in depth discussing what makes Warhawk, Warhawk. However, in the interest of keeping this a bit shorter, I’ll give a pretty short description of the game here. Warhawk is a third person shooter that was released with the PS3. There were three separate parts of the game: troop play, ground vehicle play and planes. These three things were all extremely versatile and each had specific things that excelled at beyond the others. There were 6 separate game modes: Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, Zones, Deathmatch, Collection and Hero. Most competitive matches revolved around the first three. Now that the general structure has been presented, let me go into what I think Warhawk accomplished better than any online game I’ve played.
Players were never put in a position where they could not accomplish something. This is the only game where I felt capable of achieving the overarching goal without anything standing in my way. I also felt like there was a perfect balance of team work and individual play – there were teams like Bomb Squad Kittens (BSK) that had a specific focus on team work that could utterly dominate the scene, but also teams like NME which had an infinite amount of individual talent and could completely take over a game with individual skill. I can think of so many times where my team would be outclassed by other teams in skill, but would still pull out a win. I can think of times where the opposing team would be exceptional talented with team work, but I could step into the game and completely dominate and drag my team to a victory. The point is that I never felt limited in my ability to make a difference.
This is one of the biggest underlying issues with a game like League of Legends. I love the game to death (#5 on my favorite games), but sometimes I just feel trapped. I pretty consistently play top lane or jungle and, sometimes, I feel like no matter what I did could have made a difference. Yes, I know, this is the classic excuse used in lower elo about why players can’t improve and move up, but I feel comfortable saying that (as a D1 player) there is the occasional game where you can completely dominate and lose regardless because you can’t make up for the ability of four other people in the game. I realize that as many games where I have a feeding team, I’m more likely to get a feeding team on the other side, and statistics are truly on my side – but this doesn’t make the game fun. I mean hooray, I get to win more because statistics, but no one wants to lose a game that’s completely out of their control to ever win. That’s bullshit and poor design. A player shouldn’t come out of a game saying ‘why did I play so well and still lose’. Part of this is simple perspective, but it was rare that I would come out of a competitive round of Warhawk pissed, and I don’t think I ever raged in a non-competitive Warhawk game.
I guess the general point is that a player shouldn’t feel helpless when playing a game. Yes, there are times where I will drag an entire team on my back to a win in League of Legends (I’m thinking of one competitive game where I was able to back door as Rengar before his changes and another where I literally dragged my entire team to a 4v5 win with Irelia), but usually when my team fails I’m forced to fail with them. Yes, it’s a team game. Playing as a team is literally part of the game. I just think finding a good balance between rampaging single player and flawless team work is something for which every game should strive, just like Warhawk did.