Monday, December 24, 2007

Snowball Fights: Fire Is the Only Way To Be Sure

If Saturday was lagtastic then tonight was drop-a-rific. I've begun to suspect that my mother's connection to the network is made from tin cans and a long string and said network is powered by narcoleptic hamsters. Although, I'm probably fortunate as thousands of people in the area lost power last night because of the high winds. I tend to blame my connectivity problems on the poor network but it's conceivable that wires whipping around in the breeze could have been the cause. Either way, it was unplayable as I'd get maybe five, ten minutes of everything seeming fine, then a few more minutes of connecting and reconnecting when I wasn't rubberbanding all over the place, my skill icons activated but not casting. Then I'd drop entirely only to have the connection come back, safe and apparently perfectly fine after only a few minutes. Eked out a few wins that way but felt like a total asshole for all the teammates I was stranding at random intervals so I quit early. Also why I didn't bother to blog yesterday, by the way.

A few matches early this morning brought my combined win total up to 20. Which puts me at around 100 since Friday or right at my daily goal of 25. With 5.6k Gamer points it's only 140 wins to go until my next rank and it's looking increasingly possible that I'll get there before the end of the holiday season. Stacks of candy canes and a fistful of keys to show for my efforts, too. Haven't managed to use any of those keys yet. I'm pretty much saving them up for one blow-out event of chest drop charting fun.

I doubt I'll get much playtime in tonight, though, although I might sneak in some matches late. Don't feel I've had a decent enough test just yet of the Warrior. At least, not compared with the Ele and Monk I've tried so far so I'll probably be sticking with that. Am itching to make a change, though. By now, I want to give every prof - even the poor, neglected Paragon - a whirl. It might seem otherwise because I'm making a big deal of noting my win totals but that's just a way of marking my progress and giving myself a reason to quit for the night. I'm past the point ofcaring, overmuch, about my victory total and I just want to have some fun with it. And, you know, sampling how each character plays and seeing if I can't figure out how to use them effectively is fun. To me.

Even sharpening my skills has become of secondary importance. Because, really, I know the level of competition is a concern but I feel like they're pretty sharp already. I'm definitely a strong player, definitely tough to play against (Still having a bit of trouble winning the scenario where I'm running the present and I'm running two attackers when I'm on Grenth's side. Just can't deal well with the snares without some support where, on the other side, I feel like, more often than not, I'm going to put that point on the board. Might take a while, might take some take-away cycles but it's a fight I can win. Not so when I have Shitball instead of Avalanche. And I don't have a good, go-to strategy for dealing with it and nothing I pull out of my bag of tricks really works well. But I suspect that's more of a structural problem - the inequality between Grenth and Dwayna's skills cropping up - instead of any personal failings.), and while I'm not going to single-handedly win the game, I'm making a solid contribution and I win the vast majority of matches I'm in.

In fact, I'm so confident in my skill(z) that I've entered into the newb hating phase of thinking I'm far better than I actually am. You know, the point where I look at my teammates and think the world could use a nice cleansing dip in a lake of molten fire because there's no hope for humanity. Sure, I've been on good teams with decent players but some of the randoms I get stuck with make me want to ragequit more than just the game. You know, like the ones who'll focus on running a present, valiantly holding off a single attacks like they should - if we weren't down 4 to something and the other teams has a runner moving down the pike while I'm trying to fight off half their team and desperately prevent the score. It doesn't matter if we cap ten seconds after they do because at that point, we've lost.

It's not things like the Warriors who don't use their shout at the beginning of the match in order to charge up their heavy snowballs or the teammates who run around the map, apparently exploring the place, who bother me. Those are hopeless causes, people who don't know what they're doing. But it's the people who are close to getting it but make those minor to middling tactical errors that just set my teeth on edge. The kind of mistakes that it takes to long to explain through the chat buffer, in other words. I'm sure it's because I've overestimated my mastery of the snowball arena and I think I know what I'm doing better than I actually do. But they just don't get it. And they could if they cared enough to get better.

Of course, when I started in the Snowball Fights last year, completely unsure of what to do, I'm sure I was much, much worse. The sort of mistakes that bother me are the ones that can be corrected, that you can learn to avoid, but the way I did it was to play through them. So, I think the sad fact is, that if I played with my self of a year ago I'd probably be just as frustrated.

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