Friday, July 8, 2016

Verdun - 2/20 hours

Sometimes, you can tell right away when you're not going to like something. I knew, from about 10 minutes of playing Verdun that this was going to be an ordeal. I wouldn't say I noticed any particular flaw in the game, but rather it seemed like a well-executed example of something that was calculated to annoy the hell out of me.

I can't be entirely certain that in my first match I even saw the enemy at all. I kept dying so quickly and unexpectedly that I never even had the chance to take aim with my gun. Your character in this game is so fragile that your ultimate survival skill is a fast reaction time, and that has never been my strong suit. I'd say of my first 20 minutes, I must have spent at least 10 in the respawn screen.

But even worse than being an utter failure is the knowledge that I am not just terrible, but terrible as part of a team. Whenever you play on online match of Verdun, it automatically sorts you into squads of four players. The squads have predefined roles, where depending on which of the four slots you choose, you have a different loadout of weapons and special equipment. Which means that whatever I did in the game, I did with a nagging doubt "could someone else be using these weapons more effectively. By putting myself on this random team, I am simply taking the spot of someone more skilled and more deserving?"

I mean, I'm probably overthinking it, and long-time players of the game know to make provision for newbs in the hope that they blossom into useful allies, but then again, some of that chat got pretty heated, so I can only hope that my teammates were a little more chill and not simply stoically tolerating my presence.

Taken altogether, Verdun is a game in a genre I'm not very good at, has an unforgiving difficulty, and gives me no option but to be a massive liability to a team of strangers (also, there are about a dozen different nations represented, each with a dingy uniform of brown or grey, so aside from gaining intimate familiarity with a wide variety of WWI-era uniforms, there's no good way to tell friend from foe at a glance). It's like a perfect storm for making me feel bad about myself.

I suspect that Verdun is going to wind up being a challenge of endurance. How long can I stand to be totally ineffectual? How long can I put up with being at the bottom of the heap? I managed to play Takedown: Red Sabre for 20 hours, but I can't say it didn't but a squeeze on my spirit. If I fail in Verdun even half as much as I did in the other game, then I am not going to be very happy for the next few days.


  1. Ugh. I don't envy you this.

    Though I wonder if, at least, there's some alternate textures you could download that would recolor one side's uniforms green and the other side's red, maybe. Some might think of that as cheating (making it easier to spot snipers, maybe?), but I think saving your sanity is worth it.


  2. That kind of mod would be nice, but I'm pretty sure that in a competitive multiplayer game, any kind of modification, even a cosmetic one, would be flagged as cheating (and since so much of the game's tension comes from trying to spot the enemy crossing no man's land, they might have a point).