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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ramming Speed

Overlord's newest poll is asking people if they like the Idea of receiving damage from friendly ramming. Not surprisingly the majority of players, 52% at the time of this posting, are against the concept. Anyone who has played World of Tanks for any length of time has had the unfortunate moment when a less than stellar tank driver has rammed into the side of their tank and consequentially exploded into a fire ball of death. The main problem here is finding the balance between a necessary game mechanic, ramming damage, and being the digital cops in finding who was at fault.

In the area where I live we have what is called a No-Fault law. In other words if a Law Enforcement person did not see the accident occur, then it is impossible to determine who was at fault in the accident. In a way WoT is not any different as it is near impossible to implement a system that can determine who, if anyone, caused the accident in the first place.

One might ask why it is we even have friendly collision damage in the first place? That can easily be answered by remembering the days of players treating their tanks as bumper cars and smashing into anyone they can find. Once the collision system went live, problems started to arise at the beginning of matches when tanks leaving the starting area looked more like a rush hour commute then a tank engagement. Damage was being dolled out on a massive scale and players were getting into arguing matches that would last the entire battle. The developers tweaked the system to disallow damage on low speed collisions and while this did help it doesn't do anything for those cases where two tanks are going at high speed. All it takes is that one time to receive a Team kill after some hapless moron rams you and dies before you are not a fan of the system.

So what is the answer to fixing this problem? Personally I don't believe there is one. How do you design a game mechanic that is both useful in preventing people from playing bumper cars and imposing penalties to the wrongful party when it is near impossible to determine fault? You could take speed into account and point of impact, but I wonder if that is even possible to do.

Since the poll only gives you three choices, my vote was for the "I don't like it" option, but I wish it was that simple. I like the game mechanic in a lot of ways, but don't believe that it is ultimately fair in determining fault. What about you guys? Do you like it or hate it? What can be done to make the system work better? 



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