Thursday, 16 September 2010

Money troubles

I’m a hoarder when it comes to virtual currency. There is no such thing as enough money when it comes to buying weapons, cars or safe houses. Yes, I have enough to buy it, but that will clean me out and leave me vulnerable when I need that something random chaos has deprived me of.

A real problem that I am finding in games at the moment is that I build up so much money through personal restraint, it becomes meaningless. I always deprive myself of the small upgrades that will help in the short term so I can get the bigger version that little bit sooner. I don’t re-purchase my weapons when I am arrested, I load a previous save game. I re-invest my cash in more ways to earn so that I become closer to having a sustainable passive income. It turns out I’m as boring in games as I am in reality.

Normally I hoard the most in RTS games, when I make my first priority after base defence to become economically sound. This lets me create a self sufficient mega fortress that can repel any attack thrown at it and lets me pump out my units in peace. If you’re an online RTS master, you can probably guess from this paragraph that I don’t play online much.

I’ve recently learned that when playing an RTS, having money in your back pocket is a bad thing. If you have a big bank balance it means that you could have a bigger army of tanks but don’t. This lesson was bashed into me when reviewing R.U.S.E. for Critical Gamer. I made the mistake of approaching my online opponents like they were the predictable drone like AI.

As soon as the game started I set about getting a base and supply routes established. All was going well. I had scouts out at a decent perimeter distance and was happily going about setting up base defences and researching units. This is when it went horrifically wrong, as my opponent started thundering towards me with a steam roller of pain. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he had the indecency to strike when my base defences didn’t quite have every area covered. Needless to say, I didn’t make a very good general.

The next game, I thought that I would be the fast striker, I would be the tinned lightening. I would be the winner. I wasn’t, but I gave it a damn good go. I spent all of my research and cash on getting into big aircraft immediately and managed to bomb the living crap out of my opponent’s base, taking out their main headquarters. Normally this would leave me to make a killing blow, but instead I had ran out of money and my supply routes had been cut off. I had simply slowed down my enemy and my inevitable demise.

I’m not very good with money in games and I still need to learn how to be better. The trouble with games like Grand Theft Auto is that I always struggle with money to begin with. This means that I get into the habit of never spending it. Unfortunately I stick to this habit when money is no longer an issue, and it just becomes an obsolete number taking up some of the screen. I need to learn how to manage my virtual finances better.

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