I’m Getting Too Old For Warzone

If you get shot in the head by a bullet, you’re dead in half a second. Maybe less? I’m talking real life here, if you’re in an active warzone or your best friend suddenly betrays you, pulls out a pistol, and BAM. Maybe I’ve been playing too many video games and that doesn’t actually happen in real life, but you get the picture. A bullet to the head will kill you instantly 99 times out of 100.

By comparison, it’ll take the average Warzone pistol three headshots to kill you. There are other factors at play here, like how much armour you’re wearing and which pistol it is, but it’ll usually take between two and four headshots for you to be deado and on your way to Gamer Heaven, otherwise known as the Gulag. But that still feels too quick.

Time to kill, or TTK, is an important statistic in first-person shooters. Better weapons have quicker times to kill opponents. Sniper rifles will, obviously, do the job quicker than pistols or SMGs – provided you hit your shots. But Warzone’s TTK seems so absurdly fast that I find it often becomes a question of seeing an opponent first, rather than actually outplaying them. To paraphrase Del Boy from Only Fools And Horses, “he who shoots first, wins.” And, despite improvements across the board (and a couple of deteriorations), it’s no better in the sequel.

Despite my reference to an ‘80s British comedy, I’m not as old as you might think. And yet, I think age is my problem here. I might just be too old for Warzone. There’s a reason esports athletes all seem to be aged between 16 and 22, retiring once they hit the ripe old age of 25 and moving into coaching or analysis positions. It’s because they have those razor sharp reactions, and can flick to hipfire headshot a flanking opponent in a fraction of a second. I can’t do that. I’m too old.

I’ll grant you that age isn’t the only factor. I’m okay at shooting games, but my gaming skills are more tuned to turn-based strategy like that of Pokemon or XCOM. I like having a bit of time to think about my moves before I enact my battle plans. Think of me as more akin to Gary Kasparov than Usain Bolt, but a Gary Kasparov who enjoys a little sprint on occasion, too.

I don’t think it’s entirely a skill issue, though. I’m far better at Apex Legends than I am Warzone, and I believe that’s down to the TTK. If I ping someone with three headshots from a pistol in Apex, chances are I haven’t even broken their shields, let alone killed them outright. It’s less realistic, sure, but Call of Duty is hardly the height of realism, is it? And this allows your opponent to reposition, restore their shields, use their abilities, or call for backup, and overall makes for a much more tactical fight.

Apex sits somewhere between a hero shooter and a ‘true’ FPS game, but the abilities aren’t just there for flavour. While there are too many wallhack abilities for my liking, generally abilities exist to create different engagements and encourage tactical fights. The newest map Broken Moon is proof of this, with each POI almost walled off entirely from the next, creating battle arenas that you’d more likely see in Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer than its battle royale cousin Warzone 2.

Most important for creating tactical fights, fights that I can actually do well in, is the high TTK. Knowing I can take some hits and then reposition and heal up before counterattacking or retreating is a core element of Apex’s gameplay, and one that suits my inferior reflexes. Sometimes I sneak up on opponents in Warzone 2, unloading a magazine into their back before they have a chance to return fire, but more often than not it’s the other way around. It’s a shame, because I do enjoy dropping into Al Mazrah, but I think I might just be too old for it.

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