Friday, January 5, 2007

The Lost Week

Forgot to post at all yesterday. I meant to but I logged in to Guild Wars to check on a few things and found myself invited to guest for some GvG. Since hot guild on guild action is "the" place to be if you're into PvP (Which I'd like to think I am, at least in part.) and the offer came from an old friend, I could hardly refuse. Not ten minutes later someone asked me if I wanted in on a Tombs run, too. I stuck with the GvG because they'd asked first and I hadn't played any yet but my point being that either way I'd have been sucked into playing for hours on end. Setting up builds, talking about strategy, figuring out what went right or wrong in matches, and on and on until the wee hours of the morning. Only to have to get up bright and early and try to get some work done.

It happened the first go around and every time I've played the game since - it just consumes me. I suppose it's more than a touch of obsession in me but I start thinking about the game even when I'm not playing, start researching all the little mechanics and quirks, worrying, caring, concentrating on something that's only supposed to be a hobby and not my whole life.

Like this morning, for example, when I could have been doing something constructive, I instead spent my time hunting down exactly what a "eurospike" is. It's something I've heard mentioned in whispers and slights yet have never had the opportunity to ask about it. While there are places like Guildwiki to catalog things they tend to concentrate on the PvE side of things. The PvP scene, for whatever reason, is just woefully underrepresented. That makes it difficult for people just getting into things (Whether, like me, they've been out of the loop for a while. Or they've just decided to start PvPing. Or they just picked up the game. Same difference, really, and it's not exactly a good thing as far as the overall health of the game's concerned.) so I had to hunt around forums and I still haven't found a really good explanation/guide for what one is. From what I can gather, though, it's nothing too special - co-ordinated adrenal spiking supported by other characters (Simple, right? Well, for those of you who don't play the game it's like this. Every so often a bunch of heavily armed Warriors will teleport into someone's face and unload on them while their caster friends hammer away, too.). Which, you know, is nothing that the top teams haven't been doing for a long, long time so I don't see why people seem to look down on it. Then again, I don't see why people are so adverse to spike teams, in general.

Anyhow, I think it's time I took a break from the game, at least for a little bit. It's just so tempting to throw myself into it whenever I'm sitting in front of a computer that can play it. This is, I know, not healthy but it's what happens to me. And I have to find a way to deal with it. Taking a day or two off to sit down, write, and get some other things done might be for the best - like, for example, since my last update, I've gone and done the next two missions. I have all the notes for them, I just need to sit down and write them out into something coherent. Obviously, my plan of trying to play only for a few hours a night just isn't working. But weekends are, general, if anything busier for me than the weekdays. At least during the week there's a routine I can follow and schedule around. But I'm just letting too many other things slip and, at the moment, I can't really say if it's worth it. I mean, the game's fun and all and people seem happy to see me again but it all seems so...pathetic. Compared to the world outside, that world inside my computer is full of people clinging to each other and to the game, grinding away, hoping for things to get better at the game or for the game to get better because that, somehow, will make everything better. I've run that particular red queen's race before and I guess I'm really adverse to running it again. Could be just the frustration talking but I need to set some limits, I think. And this time, stick to them.

Outlook: The plan isn't working so it's time to find a new plan.

[1] - 30 minutes


Clamatius said...

Eurospike is most easily characterized as a caster-assisted Shadow Prison adren spike. The reason that people think it's "cheap" is that it's much easier to manage the warrior converge & adren dump with Shadow Prison than it was previously - it turns a balanced build into a 3-2-1 spike build.

As to why people are hostile to spike builds, it's because it's generally easier to play a spike build than a pressure build. It's also much easier to play spike than defend against it. People tend to equate builds that are easy to run with weak players.

In my opinion, it is true that generally you'll personally improve your play skills more playing pressure over spike - but it's not necessarily the way to get most wins.

Sausaletus Rex said...

Hey Clamatius, thanks for the comment and the explanation. I actually went on to detail more about eurospike here. Would have had it up earlier but I got distracted by people pounding on my roof - they say they're here to fix it but the lack of progress leaves me in doubt. And sorry your comment got stuck in moderation for a bit but I've been having problems with comment spam lately - I should put in one of those verification dealies but I don't like them as they're another barrier to people making comments, I think. Everything goes to a moderation queue before it goes live but before it does so I need to, you know, actually check my e-mail or something.

Eurospike is most easily characterized as a caster-assisted Shadow Prison adren spike.

Right, I'd put it as teleporting Warriors with Mesmer support but, eh, same difference. Or, basically, the same thing I saw Last Pride running the last time I was playing (Say, about a month after Factions was released, if not earlier). The Shadow Prison and some other Night Fall skills make it a lot more effective than the old Aura of Displacement but it's the same general idea. So, my thought process went something like "okay, so it's an adrenal spike with teleporting? That's way too obvious, I must be missing something here that makes it particularly "European" and riles people up." I mean, I might not have thought of it myself but if I can put on my old grizzled GW veteran hat, converging Warriors and dumping adren is something we've been doing since before the game was released. And if you don't think there was some 3..2..1 going on there then you're mistaken.

Maybe it's just something I've noticed by skipping in and out of the game - it's almost like suspended animation because I leave and the game evolves while I'm gone - but there's been a definite trickle of skills and techniques from the top of the ladder, let's say, to the middle rungs. For example, the sort of kiting I had to remember how to do last night as a warder was, at one point, cutting edge, master level, advanced technique - the average player could be counted on to just stand there like a lump. However, by this point, it's a basic survival skill. It goes towards how much harder and complicated the game's become as it's matured for the average player to pick up, I think,. And that's not exactly something I think is a good thing because it creates even higher barriers of entry when just getting the in-game skills and equipment to play is big enough of a hoop for most people to take a pass on jumping through.

As for why it's "cheap" you mean someone figured out a good way of doing things? And people somehow think they're cheating. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that people would complain about something that's actually effective. Shadow Prison is nuts, though. I thought Dark Prison was good when Factions came out even with the overly long recharge and all but, man, now with things like Black Lotus Strike I could actually have made the alternative to Displacement that I wanted. But the Shadow Prison guys I've seen are even better at what I would have wanted - converge and snare in one easy go followed by PAIN.

Now, playing such a build on the other hand I probably never would have been able to do. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming and all.

People tend to equate builds that are easy to run with weak players.

I guess I'm weird then because I don't think they hand out style points for wins. And I think a build that's easy to run is indicative of smart players rather than weak ones - why make things difficult on yourself when you can make it hard on your opponents?

There is, after all, a word for people who stick with what they know when there are better options. Options they won't consider because of their own private rules. And that word is "scrub". Now, I might be a rank nub at the moment but as far as I'm concerned if it works you drive it into the ground and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Simplicity is the hallmark of good planning, and complexity is the mark of bad design.

And I say that having played pressure and spike builds and lots of other things. People are right that it's not the end all and be all of the metagame but the sort of co-ordination it represents is a good tool in the toolbox of any player and I think every guild (Well, every serious guild) should have and run a spike build every now and then if only to make sure that they can act as a team. If you ask me, most of the people who're hostile to spike builds just haven't played one with a good team yet. If they had, they'd realize that fielding an actually competitive spike isn't just as simple as it sounds.

And probably not much different than what they're already doing.

I agree with you, though, that a balanced build is the best way to improve skills. There are ones you learn by being part of a firing squad, true, but there are other ones. But if people want to get better they need to work on them all and not get stuck in a rut. The game constantly changes, after all, whether it's the metagame and rebalancing. The players and teams that will stay good are the ones who can be flexible and adapt. And that, I think, is the weakness of the average spike build - your bloodspike or fast-cast air spike, say - rather than the ease with which it does what it wants to do.