Cognitive Development in Real Time Strategy Games

Total War Warhammer 2 features turn based actions on a world scale but real time strategy based combat, this prevents it from being defined as a true real time strategy game but it this aspect features heavily in my experience. This Keeping track of several things at once is not an unusual feat for the average gamer, tracking ammunition, health, progress, timers, and mini-maps are all standard additions to what is happening on screen. Total War Warhammer 2 and other games with real time strategy properties take this multi-tasking to another level according to Glass, Maddox and Love in their paper,”Real-Time Strategy Game Training: Emergence of a Cognitive Flexibility Trait” (Glass  et. all 1). While true real time strategy games like Starcraft or perhaps more appropriately, Warhammer 40k Dawn of War 3 that include economy as part of the real time processing were likely the focus of the study, Total War Warhammer 2 likely has similar effects, even if mitigated. The importance of the real time strategy game aspect is that instead of keeping an eye on several things at once the player is required to rapidly switch and almost simultaneously process the progress of several scenarios playing out at the same time. In Total War Warhammer 2 during a battle this may play out by applying buffs and debuffs that are time sensitive to certain areas, gauging the process of an infantry brawl, and moving calvary or other fast movers into a more advantageous position, while making sure that your ranged units have not got line of sight issues or been engaged by melee units. While playing multiplayer matches in Total War Warhammer 2 it is not uncommon to play somebody that mismanages their units and leaves one aspect of their army forgotten and ultimately useless, as a response players will often limit the amount of things that require micromanaging and focus on quality over quantity. Ultimately this kind of gaming challenges the players cognitive skills, and improves them through exposure and use.

 

Work Cited

Glass, Brian D., et al. “Real-Time Strategy Game Training: Emergence of a Cognitive Flexibility Trait.” PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 8, 1 Aug. 2013, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070350.

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Source: Cognitive Development in Real Time Strategy Games