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This is war, and it’s on tonight, so get up and fight

March 26, 2009

The past couple of weeks have been a blur to me. I had been focusing rather hard on perfecting my portfolio to show to a select number of faculty members and a graduate student. So many things had to be taken into consideration, such as paper quality, print quality, finding the right weight of matte board and adhesives, buying new blades for my various exacto and utility knives, spending time to matte everything together, creating a layout in which it would be presented, putting an outfit together for the review… Dear god, I’m rambling now! You get the point. I spent roughly 30-40 minutes setting everything up, talked to the professors and grad student for 3 minutes, let them critique for 15 minutes, and then it was all over. And the adrenaline high I was feeling once it was over probably rivals what I felt when I first met Pancakez.

And then I found out that some people weren’t as lucky as me in their review. Nope, they pretty much got slapped across the face and told they either need to retake classes (that’s another year in college, mind you) or should consider finding another major. It’s no joke either. One of my friends had came to me crying her eyes out after she was told her work was not up to par with the rest.

Despite the fact it sucks hardcore, I felt little to no sympathy. As a designer, I live in an extremely competitive environment. I’m surrounded by talented designers and constantly compete with them to create a better piece of work. Even though we know who the competition is, we still help each other out. We have to. If we fall behind for even a minute, may it be not keeping up with current design styles and exhibits or slacking in a project, it starts to show. If we do that outside of college, we’ll be just pushed aside and people will look for something better.

Now, if you read this far, you’re probably thinking, “What the crap, this is a WAR blog, not an art blog!” Just hang in with me a bit longer, I’m trying to make a point.

I see so many people in my major who just don’t care. They do the projects just to get them done and out of the way. I remember when I took Type 3 and our first project was put up for critique. We all couldn’t fit everything on one wall, so some of us had to place our art on the opposite wall. My professor looked over the first wall, pointing out so many details that were not thought out properly. She even skipped over someone’s entirely because they only printed out 2/3 of the project. Then she went over to the opposite wall, which had my work and work from 3 other students. I vividly remember her pausing, smiling, and said, “Now here’s where you have to watch out. This is where the competition is.”

I see less and less people caring about competition. Even in gaming (OMG, she finally stopped talking about art!). I remember when I was a wee-boo in middle school and went to arcades to play Soul Blade and DDR with fellow gamers. It was some intense action and it wasn’t even a tournament. When I hit college, I did Soul Calibur tournaments that were held on campus. The last one I did was a couple of years ago where they have two brackets: beginners and advanced. I clearly recall being the only girl in the advanced bracket. It was probably around 20 or so guys along with me, and out of all of us me and 3 other guys were actually competitive.

What do I mean by that? I went up against some guy who had beaten everyone else strictly by button mashing. He never blocked. He never side stepped. He never countered any of my moves that were easy to counter (I play Taki religiously, and come on, when I’m charging up my sword to do that unblockable attack, there are 10-20 different ways to interrupt me). Did nothing useful. Needless to say I kicked his ass. What struck me was the fact he had beat 4 other people before coming to me.

And then I faced off another player who was extremely competitive. He would swing his sword and I would side step out of the way. Then he immediately followed up with a counterattack, where I instantly countered that, and, you guessed it, he countered that as well. I have never walked away from a fight where I was shaking so much from adrenaline. While I did manage to beat him, he went on to win the advanced bracket, and it was well deserved.

I want to see more players like him. I want to see people actually get passionate about gaming again. MMOs as a whole have been dumbed down to the point that there is no sense in being competitive. I truly feel that this generation of MMOs (is it the third? I lost track) is coming to an end. Hopefully a new one will kick start everything again, but it hasn’t happened it. Right now, everything is dull. I know my brother-in-law (HI FALC!) plays WoW and is in a top Horde guild on his server and for the past two months the guild has had technically nothing to do because they have cleared everything.

Everything has become too easy. Everything is not being catered to the casual player, but to the poor player. Not poor in the sense that they don’t have money, but poor in the sense that they have no idea how to play. I’m not saying that people who are not competitive are automatically shitty players. I’m saying that a lot of people don’t have a drive for anything in the game. This applies to WAR, to WoW, to fighting games, to arcade games, to college, to life.

I am severely disappointed in the gaming community. It has nothing to do with the developers. It’s all about the apathetic attitude people are putting out. Maybe hardcore gamers, or whatever you wish to call them, are a dying breed. I tried to have a discussion with my roommate the other day about Street Fight 4 compared to the other ones. He had never played them and was absolutely clueless. 

For me, I’m not going to pour my time and effort into something I’m passionate about when there’s no sense of competition. It’s part of why I continue to be a designer. But as a gamer, I just don’t know anymore. Games are starting to dissolve into nothing but eye candy for people to enjoy in order to escape reality. I don’t want that. I want to see more tournaments, more people talking about mechanics, more enthusiasm, more passion.

I hope there are some of you out there who read this and get what I’m saying. If you’re out there, let me know.

omelettez

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2009 4:56 pm

    I hear and obey, my mistress…Im-ho-tep….Im-ho-tep…

    Seriously, I agree 100%. I jumped in fairly late last night, around midnight on Phoenix Throne with the hope of some scenarios and to move my main (Serica) a little further up the food chain. Well, there were some scenarios, but no moving for me. Order lost 4 out of 5 scenarios, badly, usually by a margin of 200 or more.

    To make it worse, both sides were largely made up of the same characters, over and over. It was like no one on the Order side wanted to take the time to figure out WHY we kepted getting stomped so badly. I pictured a bunch of overweight nerds that would get blinded by the refrigerator light just pushing buttons…over and over.

    Grr. That’s right, I said it. Grr. Rant on!

  2. Alex permalink
    March 26, 2009 4:56 pm

    First, great blog! Recently found you and I eagerly eat up whatever you put out. As to the topics you brought up in the article, I completely agree. I played Guild Wars for about three years, and those years I will never forget. I had a core group of good people who were also highly competitive players. Each night we would log on and group up together to play our game -competitively-. Now, due to several real life factors and several burn-outs, I have yet to reach r40 in WAR. When I do, however, I sincerely hope to find a similar group of quality people to play this game at a high level with. Without that drive and that community, I don’t think I could play any MMO long-term.

  3. Omelettez permalink*
    March 26, 2009 6:33 pm

    @Iridar. I suddenly thought of the South Park WoW episode when you mentioned the fat kids. You crack me the hell up.

    @Alex. Welcome to the blog! I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far =D

    Also happy you guys know what I’m talking about. Was a bit worried at first the post would fall upon deaf ears. If I could send hugs over the internets, I would.

  4. pancakez permalink*
    March 26, 2009 6:51 pm

    Side note, our body-switching process is now complete. I’m now in charge of fashion and pom-poms and she’s in charge of ranting. *flails*

  5. Omelettez permalink*
    March 26, 2009 7:24 pm

    Sweet deal, am I in charge of math, too?

  6. pancakez permalink*
    March 26, 2009 7:32 pm

    So now that I actually read it instead of trailing off to make a joke.. I totally agree. I’ve talked a little bit about it on the blog, but here’s some more detail… I’ve competed in 17 tournaments for fighting games and my last two years of high school my friends ran Quake CTF tournaments every weekend. Not just LAN parties, there was a 5$ per head entry fee with the host took 50$ for soda and pizza then we split the top two teams split whatever was left 75/25. Usually had 6 teams of 5 there, so the winning team usually got 15$ a piece. Not much, but it bought me my Playstation. The fighting game tournaments were at Socal arcades, first two were for SF2 CE (Sagat/Chun Li), then did two MVC2 tournaments (speaking of bad balance), then moved on to 6 SF3 tournaments (Ken/Yun) before doing 3 SCII tournaments (Nightmare/Ivy/Astaroth) then moved on to GGXX for the last 4 (Axl/Potemkin/Testament). I also did some tournaments for Halo, but none of them were cash-prize.

    After that… well… I guess I’m torn. There hasn’t been a tournament worthy game that caught my eye since then. Halo 2 fed off Halo’s casual-friendly attitude and its central online play killed a lot of tournament possibilities. Too many frat boys with an XBox. A lot of new fighting games don’t even come to arcades, meaning I have to dust off my Hori if I even want to play… not too excited over that. I guess I’m getting old enough to forget about games like Mortal Kombat, which were extremely casual. Some of it is the designers fault, trying to emulate things like Soul Calibur 3/4, or Halo 2/3. These casual friendly type games sell too damn well. Who cares if they’re not worth their salt in competition if they put asses in seats? The other side is the players though… as games hit mainstream more and more scrubs are added to the pool. *sigh*

    You know, there were a lot of scrubs back then too, but most players were aware of it and knew who they were. You couldn’t brag like scrubs do now and get away with it while button mashing. It didn’t work like that, you got laughed at. Not because you were bad, but because you refused to learn and let your ego talk for you. It reminds me of playing games with my ex-girlfriends and realizing that I just didn’t have it in me to throw a fight, even if it meant I had to sleep on the couch. I’m not sure what it is about ‘gamers’ today. Ask a kid at an arcade stick if he plays underhand or overhand, I bet he won’t know. Damn kids, get the hell off my lawn.

  7. ghaz permalink
    March 26, 2009 8:05 pm

    completely agree i’ve always played to win and tbh atm WAR’s pve does seem to lack much of a challenge the city dungeons are just laughable and LV’s good but after a couple of attempts its not really hard is it, don’t get me wrong its a good dungeon and i enjoy it immensly but its just not as hard as i hoped, as for pvp well i can only speak from my experiances but on burlok we got bugger all atm the populations screwed and we get maybe 1 or 2 scens a night which sucks but thats life, anyway the point is that pvp when it works properly does give that competivity and its fantastic when your fighting for your realm and stuff but i still think WAR could really do with a dueling system and then make tournaments etc out of that cause it’d be an awesome feature, i love guild wars pvp system and the touranment stuff for it was immense

  8. Omelettez permalink*
    March 26, 2009 8:10 pm

    Ghaz! Who ate all your punctuation and why!? D=

  9. pancakez permalink*
    March 26, 2009 8:11 pm

    All I could think was this: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/10/11/

  10. March 27, 2009 2:46 am

    And this is why I’m glad I’m in a great guild! Sure, we aren’t a hardcore-focussed guild, but when it’s time to lay down the law, we lay it down like the US did on Pearl Harbour. It helps that the Doodz have 150+ members and a great big alliance, always someone online to do different stuff 🙂

  11. pressie permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:20 am

    I think level caps within MORGS should not be accessible by all. To reach the upper levels should require a certain skill with your class/character and not just really be based on time invested.

    Maybe this could be done though PvP kill average (you only gain xp past level n if you average deaths/kills follow a certain tally) or difficult PvE.

    When I see a level capped character it should be oh they must be very skilled, instead knowing they just have lots of time on there hands.

  12. ghaz permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:29 am

    i’z an orc i’z not no wat punc..punc…punctuation iz. But seriously it was like 2 oclock in the morning when i wrote that leave me alone =P hehe

  13. March 27, 2009 8:38 am

    WARNING: INCOMING WALL O’ TEXT

    First of, I’d like to take credit for making Iridar the monster PvPer (at least in WAR) that he is today – you’re welcome bud! – Now load up some TF2 already so we can pwn some nubs!

    Second – I agree with Omelettez about competition or lack thereof within RL in general. And I blame the ’60s. (Wife will tell you I blame *everything on the ’60s*). That whole ‘everyone’s a winner’ mentality. I grew up with “What is 2nd place? The first looser”. The problem is, sometime long ago (in the ’60s natch) loosing at something became seen as bad and damaging to a child’s oh so frail psyche. Now I call BS on this but the powers that be who know better decided that lowering the bar was in the best interest for everyone (instead of simply telling the child to buck up, learn from the loss and do better next time). This is a talk I have continuously with my 14 yr old, bi-polar daughter – one which I’m trying hard not to replicate here. Let’s just say Yoda said it best, “Do or do not – there is no try.”

    As for why the current gen of MMOs lack significant competition (or at least the mechanics to entice said competition) the answer is pretty simple: To appeal to the widest possible demographic, and thus increase the potential for the largest bottom line, you must make it easy enough for the pansies and prats which means the less casual, more skilled and/or hardcore gamers won’t be challenged. This is why I think games like Darkfall will find, and fill, this niche.

    Now, I am by far the least 1337 player out there. I rarely pwnz and sometimes stiff competition and/or lack of general competence on my sides part gets me riled up (much to the chagrin of Iridar’s ears). My greatest strength, I feel, is that I am flexible and will heed good advice. Now if anyone can send me a link for the best KotBS/Chosen button layout maybe my fingers will heal and I can play better. I’m pretty much the button masher Omelettez described above – I have L.Index on ‘F’ to twist, L.Middle and L.Ring to hit my ‘1-5’ attack keys and L.Pinky on ‘A’ which, along with my R.Hand on mouse keeps me circle strafing. That covers my instant and DoT attacks but I then neglect my 30s and buff/debuff powers.

    BTW Pancakez – I played overhand – yeah, finesse waz notz mah middle name.

  14. March 27, 2009 8:41 am

    To: Grammar Nazies
    Subject: Apologies

    Typos were due to way too much caffeine within a very short period of time.

    Regards,
    V

  15. shadowwar permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:14 am

    I remember my first couple years in design classes. It quickly became clear who my competition was. We had multiple classes all on the same level, and the four professors would bring together their students, with a couple picked out to highlight the work. I was frequently chosen to be one of the few representatives. I remember having a class a semester with a girl from another classroom who partook in these collaborative discussions telling me how much they dreaded taking questions from me. It was one of those great feelings of knowing that you get it, and your peers recognize your worth.

    You’re spot on with the competition those kind of environments bread, sure, we’re all there to help each other out, but we also want to be the best, because at exhibition time, you’re ability to outshine the other means you get to keep going on, and get accepted into the higher courses.

    Design, faint of heart need-not apply.

  16. Omelettez permalink*
    March 27, 2009 9:47 am

    @pressie. That’s an interesting concept. I always think of games like Elder’s Scroll where in order to get a stat up you just jumped constantly for an hour. But I agree that when I see people capped at rank 40, I would like to think it wasn’t just because they had a crap ton of time on hand.

    @ghaz. lol! It’s all good. Was just making sure you weren’t drugged or something.

    @Wafflez. I think this very true for MMOs, but then I look at other games outside of MMOs and I see the same mentality, especially in fighting games and FPS. I really miss the days where people were passionate about the games they played. Also, you should give your caffeine to ghaz =D

    @shadowwar. Squee! Another designer! I’m glad to see my first couple of paragraphs weren’t off base completely. I really feel that being in a competitive environment like design has carried over into everything else I do. And yes, the faint of heart need-not apply at all, especially after this review session.

  17. pancakez permalink*
    March 27, 2009 12:01 pm

    @Wafflez: There’s nothing wrong with overhand, but kids these days don’t even know the difference. *shakes fist* I played overhand with Potemkin, but all the other characters I play are better underhand, so I played that way almost exclusively.

  18. ghaz permalink
    March 27, 2009 4:18 pm

    bah! i don’t need more caffine i’m an architect student i already have plenty of caffine tablets thankyou =D lol

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