WoT: Compass or Mini-Map?

I needed more information and my own bias stopped me from understanding the other side of the argument, so what do you do… Ask other people! So I entered the dragon  Forums and found out what they thought on there.

This is in no way a scientific study, sample size is to small, I am strongly biased in my opinion etc.

I’d like to thank all the WoT Console Forum goers that replied, much appreciated.

On the World of Tanks forum I asked the question which method do they use the mini-map/compass and why do you use this method. I was happy to receive 49 replays to this question. I tried to ask the question in a way that didn’t bias any answers and get feed back from both sides to see if people used the mini-map for other reasons than why I do.

Results

  • Map                    27
  • Compass           17
  • Both                    5

It’s good to see that my bias is born out through the results. But I did ask why people used there preferred method and I was mainly interested the replies from the compass users.

The main reason seemed to be the close range detail of the map, but something I didn’t understand was that people would be confused by the minimap! Because the map is static they couldn’t read the map as it didn’t revolve as they spun their tank around. I’d never thought this would be a problem, because the thousands of children and adults I’ve taught to use a map the first thing you have to teach them is to orientated the map. When you orientate the map you make sure the ‘North’ on the map lines up with North on the compass. This gives you a bird’s-eye view and gives you the opportunity to pin point your location from surrounding features. Or if you know your location the direction you should travel next to reach your destination. So most people use a map how ever it’s presented to them as long as the names are the right way up, so generally north is up or points away from you. One of the last reply I got was about why the mini-map confused them because the direction they where looking on the map didnt gel well with their movement and direction of the gun pointing.

mini-map

Many of the map users brought up the amount of information available via the mini-map and made a point of saying the lack of supplied information was a reason not to use the compass, but I did get one reply from a compass user that he was able to see a flank collapse or break through just by looking at the red dots on the outside of the compass itself. I want to dismiss as just bravado defending their choice by over emphasising the use of their compass. But if I do ignore this idea is that just my bias dismissing because it does not fit with my narrative. But a few people brought up the idea that the mini-map was to complicated supplying too much information, which I can understand. There could be an overload of information for new/newish players.

Spatial awareness.

When I look at a map my brain turns the contour lines into an imaginary model in my head, I can estimate the steepness of the hills/mountains. This is a skill you gain through time and some people never get to see a map in this way. My little sister whose a maths teacher tested my spatial awareness. My little sister is very competitive, she didn’t like been younger than me, or 2-3cm smaller than me, etc. So any time she can ‘test’ me she really enjoys. In fairness she did tell me her time before I started so at least she no longer cheats to beat me… But I smashed her score, she was not happy, i’d infringed on her territory this was maths and her thing!!!  Oops, I got accused of cheating, having done the experiment before. Then she told my parents my results, which where in a totally different ball park to them. I’m rather proud of that, but I had to explain that my job is practical and applied and everything from guiding a 6′ wide raft through a 8′ gap on corner in a rapid or getting luggage to fit into the bottom of a coach (Tetris in real life.) To my playing computer games all have shaped my spatial awareness.  So could the results be altered by the person’s ability to deal with the spatial problem of turning a 2D map into the information that you can use on  a map you are familiar with. So it’s more than just knowing where the enemies and team mates are on the map, it’s about understanding the different elevations, the terrain between you and them. Is an area impassable, or a one way only path, where are the fields of fire. All of which you can glean from the mini map. So I will continue to use the mini-map over the compass. When I get close, knife fight range I’m normally engaging one or multiple targets and don’t have time to switch to the compass. Maybe something I will look at, got to look at the little things to improve my performance.

Results

The split between compass and map users didn’t surprise me. The compass/radar been familiar to players of CoD and FPS’s in general. Which will reduce the amount of new mechanics to learn by players transferring from console FPS’s to a much slower play style but with vastly more complicated mechanics. A few players mentioned that they started using the compass when they started playing but moved to the mini-map once they became familiar with the game.

I still think the mini-map is the superior option over the compass but I did say I was biased when I started this article!

 See you on the other side…

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About tothebreach

Gaming both on the PC and the Xbox One general game chat and including guides and coaching.
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