What we might have been benefited from playing AOE2. ( A nub POV)

Dec 31, 2018
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RM - Team Games
And this is how I use my tea break today, VISITING AOEZONE.NET. Let's jump into the topic, here are just some casual thoughts about what I have learnt, and for these it's very likely you guys might have learnt them much better, you pro cunts. (In Australia, your mates and enemies are both cunts, so don't be offended.) I will be using chess as a comparison to AOE2 Voobly, so we can see what AOE2 provides that chess doesn't. As a 1.9k chess player on lichess.com, I think I am qualified enough just to use chess to reflect on AOE2 on a lower level. Frankly, two games are similar, however, in AOE2 , there are a lot more details and effort you have to put in order to become a better player.

Let's not waste our time. The thoughts are in the bullet points below:

1.) More logical and organised planning. First thing to do about learning AOE2 is definitely the build order, all the build orders have logical reasons behind them, you know what you are going to do since the opening dark age. If you make some stupid mistake like losing vills due to lag/ deleting your own vills, you will have to immediately come up with a new plan, " it's all part of the plan" like TheViper has said. In chess, you also have plans for opening, mid game variation and also the winning conditions. So, a good AOE2 player might acquire the potential to become a good chess player, but a chess player does not mean he/she will be a good player on AOE2 with equivalent effort paid, because every detail differentiates into new problem, and you will need a new plan for the worst case. I am an example, it seems to me that climbing to 1800 on AOE2 is going to be a lot harder for me than for what I had done on chess. Anyway, both games are just very good trainers of planning.

2.) Adaptability. In chess you do have to adapt a "weird" or unexpected move, same as AOE2. But again, in games of AOE2 you deal with lots of details and strategies and even these are changing as well. The frequent change of conditions really push your limit of ability of adaption. As you will see in the matches played by good players, they are more versatile in styles and the players react to them really well.

3.) Make better decision. In AOE2, timing plays an important role. When do you retreat, when do you take the fight, when do you research some certain tech, when do you click up etc, they can all be answered by timing. And of course,timing is also the part of your plan. At other aspects of life, when you make decisions, you ask yourself when the proper condition is, you just don't do it blindly.

4.) Habit of Risk Assessment and Prediction. We all know we make units that counter those from the opponents. But under pressure, various civilisation bonuses, upgrades, different possible combination of armies, you will have to survey the situation, knowing the risk of making certain moves, and calculate the loss and gain. Of course, the more experience you have, the more confident and comfortable you deal with these conditions. As a nub, I am absorbing a huge amount of information and experience in every part of the games.

5.) Strengthening Cognitive Flexibility. This is actually supported by research studies that had been done by psychologists. The link of the paper (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737212/) Have a read if you are interested in their methodology and results. TL;DR, it makes you a little smarter.

6.) Working under Pressure. Heartfelt feelings. I tend to make less xbows in an actual game than when I am practising against Attila the Huns. But however, as a nub, I am now able to make 24 archers before reaching castle age at 20:15 with a sustainable economy.

7.) Way of learning: Optimisation. AOE2 really summarises how you learn a thing. As a physics major, I used to apply different learning skills just to understand some certain physics equations. Working backwards, successive approximation and evening drawing diagrams. Unlike a physics book which will always sit on your table, in AOE2, you don't always get the second chance to play the identical game (same timing, same map,same places,same player...), and there are too many variables and situations to adapt. Therefore, I have just set up a way called optimisation (I named it like this 11111) to learn to improve; first, watch how experts/ good players do it, then repeat the skills in a different context, just like I said you don't always get the same situation, then you will know why it works/ doesn't work, and are there ways to even enhance the results. After that, try to do game analysis with others, see what others think as well. This positive feedback loop will eventually make you see clearly the patterns and is already helping me , although the improvement is not obvious yet as I don't have much time to play, I am sure AOE2 has taught me how to learn a non-quantitative heavy skill properly. Indeed, the core spirit of optimisation is keep looking for problems, like learning itself, if the learning method isn't doing its best, you optimise it.

There are also some obvious and trivial benefits like being more sensitive to details, quicker reaction time, communicating with the team and teamwork, etc. Tea break is running out and I will have to go soon, I hope you guys enjoy reading this summary of thoughts. So again this is just my point of view as a nub, I am nowhere near to tell people how to improve, this is about how much I have learnt from playing AOE2 so far.


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