Bullheaded or Annoying? Surrender in Strategy Games
I do not like Surrendering in Video Games, even when faced with overwhelming odds. I enjoy playing the game to the last province, base and unit. If I am to be defeated I want to be defeated completely. A surrender to me often feels like one step-short of a legitimate rage quit. With my recent experience in League of Legends I found that if the team agrees to Surrender the game will be over, but since a victory or defeat does not weight down on you too heavily Surrender is often turning a long “obvious defeat” into a quick one. I was never of the “Surrender” school though. I enjoy playing to the bitter end and in turn I enjoy winning “proper”. When it comes to victory in strategy games I want to lick the entire lollipop and be satisfied with the experience, rather than the lollipop simply appearing in my stomach. All the sweetness is gone, and while I know that the sugar is filling my veins do I have the same satisfaction?
On Surrender in Strategy Games
Then I looked at it from another perspective, how annoying it might be for people. In some Strategy Games “winning” could take a long time, especially if the enemy digs in and refuses to surrender. I admire that, but then, like I said, I enjoy a proper lengthy battle. Do most people like that however? Do you want to sit through an hour long battle that could be already decided in the first fifteen minutes? As a fan of Strategy games I rarely accept the possibility of a situation where one of the sides dominates the other permanently, after some point. How can you be certain that there will be no come back? You cannot, but since this round or game might look like a loss we could cut it short to the next one, in hopes that this time we will win.
It’s not an end of the world scenario. In fact, this topic would not bother me so much if it were not for League of Legends. I prowled through the Forums and I noticed a number of very angry topics where people would complain how their team mates refuse to surrender. That shook me a bit, since the last thing I would want on my team is a person accepting Surrender as soon as the first red light appears. In Chess it is possible to lose in three moves, but a losing game can quickly turn into a victory. The same tends to apply to Strategy games. Even when in a losing position there is always an option for a come back. How can that be a real option however if a part of your team is always ready to surrender?
Perhaps I am looking at this from the wrong angle. I might be slightly Bullheaded when it comes to defeat. I have a long history of playing to the end, no matter how good or bad the position was. I tend to cherish the small victories in bigger defeats. Most of all I make my enemy earn his victory. I do not know how many people share this view, but between surrendering and actually being defeated I see a substantial difference in strategic ideology.
The question is, when is it appropriate to admit defeat? The most obvious variable is time. A come back or turn around may take time. Even if the game eventually ends in defeat it will take time for the enemy to win. When you do not have the time to spare and it does seem that you are losing what other choice do you have? The other variable, though I would not say this is the ever present one, is your team mates. It might just be the case that nobody on your team knows what they are doing. Although it might be getting on your nerves and you are about to explode you may attempt to forfeit, or continue to play your own way. Now, I am not referring to newbies, people who have yet to learn the game. I speak of n00bs, people who refuse to learn the game. I would say that if you are unlucky, and you are the only sensible person around, admitting defeat may be your only option, especially if any name calling gets thrown your way.
As I write this Opinion Piece one quote by Sun Tzu keeps springing into my mind, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.“. I feel that is something that any strategist should take heed to, with a healthy dose of caution. Confidence is one thing but there is also over-confidence, and that can lead to some very bad decision making. Be it Defeat or Victory we have to at least remember about basic human conduct. Learn from our defeats, so that our victories may come in number. Whether you are Bullheaded, like me or whether you have nothing against finishing a losing game early is not important. It’s what we take from each game and how we use it that is.
So, the next time you want to leave the game early, or you want to start a Surrender Vote be free to do so, but also learn from the recent battle. Do not just clean your hands and then return to the operating table to perform the same mistakes. It is natural that victories will not come immediately. I always enter a new game with the thought that I will keep losing, until that moment when everything clicks into place and I understand what I am doing. Thus, I hope, all of you will be able to go through the same “experiences” as I do, and turn those defeats and surrenders into wonderful victories.
Alex “WriterX” Bielski