“A poor workman always blames his tools.”
Most everybody has a handful of aphorisms that they carry with them through life, and this one happens to be one of mine. I don’t know where it comes from, or where I picked it up, but with a brother who actually does work with his hands it’s gotten a lot of use over the years.
As a happy consequence of giving him so much grief, I’ve developed an aversion of my own to blaming things for any shortcomings I have or mistakes I make. It’s not always easy to maintain, because- believe it or not- sometimes the tools are the things to blame.
But knowing how lame it sounds, you just have to suck it up.
When I switched to Sprint a couple years ago, I got a “free” Android tablet (the hardware was on the house, I just had to pay for the data plan). I didn’t have much of a use for it, but figured it would be useful to have. As it turned out, it was never really useful until the Pixonic Anniversary Event, when- as I’ve noted before- I dusted off a moribund Level 6 War Robots account, dropped a bill on chests, and have been playing Android as much as iOS now ever since.
But I’ve harbored a secret frustration with my LG LK430 tablet: lag.
It’s truly bloodboiling, mainly when there’s lots of explosions. And with the recent update, buffing a bunch of rocket-based weapons, it’s been even more acute. At precisely the time when you want clarity of vision and the ability to react to what’s going on around you, my damn tablet would lag out from the graphics overload and next thing I knew, I’d be picking a new robot.
It was my own cross to bear, but every now and again it would be especially heavy.
This one stung a bit. See the color of TinTheFiend’s name? Green. He’s what’s called a “Trusted Contributor” on the Wiki Forum, a “source of truth” from having a track record of helpful and accurate guidance. And there he was, calling me out not once, but twice.
Now, let’s be fair. I can’t put that all on my piece of crap LK430. In any situation in life, there are factors you can control (how you respond, your strategy and tactics, hangar choices, etc) and factors you cannot (equipment performance, skill of your opponents, etc). There’s a human tendency to blame the latter rather than the former, for reasons I hope are obvious. There are tons of reasons I haven’t made it to Gold 3 yet. That time I overcommitted to a beacon, or the occasional tendency to kill-focus when I should have disengaged to safety. The times I’ve failed to notice I’m being flanked by an RDB Griffin, or the insistence on bully-bellying to the bar on Canyon and Springfield when I drop into my Thundorkan Lancelot.
Being honest, I’m not the game’s best player. But I can work on that. I can’t work on the lag.
…or can I?
I hadn’t seen my friend Maroof in awhile, and he greeted me with a hug as my son and I entered the Sprint store earlier this week. “How can I help you,” he asked.
“Well, I’m looking for an upgrade to this piece of crap Android tablet I’ve been saddled with,” I replied, handing it over to him.
“Sure, no problem, I can help you wi…”
“And an iPad.”
A few months ago, I made what I thought was an extraordinarily indulgent decision when I opted to upgrade my iPhone 6s for a 7 Plus. The Plus is the larger-screened model, and while I would ordinarily be disinclined to get a larger phone, there was this game I’d really gotten into that might be even more fun on the Plus. You know, the one involving robots? At war?
At the time, it seemed borderline crazy. Here I was, making hardware decisions not on what best suited me and my lifestyle, but what best accommodated a mobile game. And not just a few months later, I was upgrading my Android and iOS experiences- for the same game, and no other reason.
Maroof put the order in for me. “I can get them here to Louisville this Saturday.”
“That’s fine,” I replied, “I”ll stop by Monday after work.” It was a lie, and I probably knew it was a lie. Because I was on the phone yesterday calling the Sprint store, then seeing which of my kids wanted to make the one-hour drive to go get my new toys.
It took awhile to get them fully updated and synchronized with my existing equipment, but once they were I fired up War Robots on each.
As I recall it was the Christmas of 1982 in Connecticut when my older cousin Billy got an Atari 2600 for Christmas. I was all of eight years old at the time. We played Combat and Pitfall, Yars’ Revenge and Defender, and to me it was pure miracle and magic.
Now I can’t compare the experience of playing War Robots on an iPad Mini 4 versus an iPhone 7 Plus… or the experience of playing it on a Samsung Galaxy Tab E versus the LG LK430… to the Christmas I discovered what video games were.
But it’s worth noting that that wintry Christmas day of 34 years ago came to mind when trying to articulate what it felt like. The iPad’s gloriously larger screen made it so I wouldn’t have to wait until the end of the game, or a lucky glimpse to see who I was playing with. No more squinting to see what my opponents were gearing up with across the field of play.
And the new Tab E… I’ve endured explosions galore on Moon, and haven’t noticed the lag that was so nettlesome on the first one.
In the final analysis, perhaps I’m not as good a player as I’d like to think.
Maybe I’ve been relying on an excess of hangar strength to make up for the shortfall in player skill.
If I’m going to be scientific about this, I have to consider those possibilities.
But this much is clear. With the play experience of both platforms significantly upgraded, I’m excited to see the difference.