Transmissions from the Depths

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  • The true brilliance of Steel Diver: Sub Wars is that, in a game where players command submarines, strategies are shared over closed circuits by way of Morse code. Teammates are linked together by channel: cryptic, for-your-eyes-only messages celebrate, warn and in some cases, shame.

    Unspoken strategy is the way of some teams, surveying the sea as they try to find teammates, then clanking around as they position themselves for battle. Individual prowess drives high-level players forward without the need to collaborate, for they know they will be followed once straying units catch up – if they’re not picked off first. At least the stragglers can be used as decoys for an ambush. Low-level opponents sail under the biggest targets, painted by those averse to going against expert captains alone.

    Teammates with awareness of the power they wield can help turn the tide, whether on or off the field. Fallen allies can feed surviving members information on who to gun for, on the health and location of certain units. When a group of foes emerge from the darkness of the ocean in formation, you can’t help but think they were fed a message.

    GET JOSE

    Yikes.

    The power of communication in Steel Diver: Sub Wars is pivotal, for both the teams where allies are highly communicative and the teams when you’re sending messages out into the ether. I’ve seen the following scenario play out many times:

    C4

    WHERE U?

    Radio silence.

    HELLO?

    More silence, followed by MAYDAY now that my safety has been jeopardized.

    Still, I don’t let that stop me.

    After hours of playing online during the week of its release, I developed an initial tactic of always consulting the radar and announcing where I am to the rest of the team. Do my teammates always respond? No, but on the occasions that I do get a response, I know that my messages will not be in vain. A partner to communicate with – this can only be a positive thing.

    SINK HIM

    SINK HIM

    SINK HIM

    You’ve been reading an excerpt from Unwinnable Monthly Issue 48.

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