What's Up with WWIIOL?
I dunno. We started the Squad in WWIIOL just to take a look at another
"massively multiplayer" online war simulation. For a while we had pretty
good attendance, with most of our WarBirds members joining. One Saturday night we even had
our Squad Night begin in WWIIOL.
And then, everyone quit. Or as they say in the vernacular,
Well, almost everyone. As of this writing, there are still
three Haze members who play, but we have ceased to treat the game as an organized,
Squad-based endeavor (not that we were ever that organized in WWIIOL).
It's not clear what caused everyone to lose interest, but
it all happened about the time the developers implemented what they call "Brigade
Spawning" (which goes by the unfortunate acronym of "BS"). I won't go into
the details of what BS is (if you play, you know, if you don't, you don't care), but it's
basically a way of organizing the online players under a "High Command" (HC)
structure. It removed the reliance upon squads, and instead worked on the theory that hey,
everyone was in a squad now, only it's called your brigade. And squad guys don't run the
brigade, or have any say in what it does, or who is in it. The brigade doesn't officially
recognize squads. Instead, the brigades are run by the HC guys - but even they don't have
a say in who is "in" the brigade. Everyone is in a brigade.
BS was a pretty ambitious attempt by the guys who produce
WWIIOL (Cornered Rat Software) to bring some organization to the game which was not run by
or dependent upon traditional squads. I can't really say why they thought it necessary to
replace squads in order to do this, but they did, and BS did exactly that. After BS, we
saw a general disappearance of many squads, even some which had been there from the first
and were quite large . . . and a marked decline in the number of players online.
It's their business, not mine, but I think there's a good
argument that the social group we call "squads" are actually the heart of all
these online games, and without the squad, you just have a bunch of strangers running
around in the same general vicinity who will, in a short time, find some newer game to
play because the social fabric of the squad does not exist.
I can't really blame BS for the loss of interest by our
members. Frankly, we never had all that much organization in WWIIOL anyway, and we did a
lot of what they call "lone wolfing" even when we had a lot of members in the
game. The thing is, WWIIOL is more of a "first person strategy" game than a
simulation. For example, in WarBirds, taking or losing bases is meaningless - air combat
is the point, and the base capture game is just a way of putting us all in the same
location so we can have that air combat. In WWIIOL, the point seems to be to take towns
and move the map east or west, in whatever way you can. If there's a good fight, that's a
bonus. But people are happy to take undefended towns too, because it advances their
strategic position, which seems to be the focus of the whole thing.
So, that's the story of The Haze in WWIIOL. We came, we
saw, we drifted away.