It’s great to get a good turnout of 5punkers on a gaming night, and we’re regularly getting around eight these days. The problem with that is finding a game which all eight of us can play, exacerbated by our cat herd mentality and short attention spans. Free-to-play games come into their own under these circumstances, as we can all have a go together without necessarily having to commit.
We didn’t settle on a free game last night, well apart from the inevitable Game Whose Name We Shall Not Speak, but we did get the next best thing. The Ship is old enough to have been on sale a billion times and to have already had a few 5punky outings, as well as everyone who owns it getting a free copy to give away in an attempt to boost player numbers. The latter endeavour was unsuccessful it would seem, at least in the long term, because we managed to find only a couple of servers and only half a dozen or so people playing. So we descended upon them.
Our brief return to The Ship was made with some trepidation. Last time we did this we provided quite a boost to its near single-figures community, and they stalked us for months afterwards trying to convince us to come back. It’s not a game you can play for long though. As fun as it is – roaming a cruise liner hunting another passenger in order to kill them without either getting arrested or getting killed by your own hunter – it gets pretty overwhelming. Maybe you need to play it for longer than we do, learn the layouts of the handful of ships and the techniques behind tracking down your prey, but that’s not something we generally do.
As it was, it distracted us for a couple of hours and led to some comedy moments and wails of anguish from the slain or the arrested. Not taking these things seriously, we were never going to rule the leaderboard but we did pretty well against the (presumably) hardcore community. Proof again that 5punkers can actually be competent on occasion. The randoms, to their credit, didn’t bat an eyelid at us invading their server and playing a half-arsed game. We got tired of it before too long though and spent a while trying to work out what to play next.
It’s these intervals where the conversations take a peculiar turn. People wander off for beer or toilets, and undistracted by games our collective train of thought meanders. This is where the titles of my diaries come from, today’s being the consideration that Grimmie may have been AFK because he was using 3D printed replicas of his own arm to wank himself off, and that those arms could hold more arms, and so on. Also something about cocks spunking more cocks, which in turn spunk even more cocks. Fractal cocks. And that came from something about the great cat plague of 2055 (I think we were pretending to be our future selves talking to our grandchildren about how noobs were noobier in our day) which was caused by 3D printers disgorging cats.
Anyway. We played Dota 2 again after that. We managed four games, two 5punky randoms and two co-op bot matches. I swear those bots are getting tougher – we reached as point a few weeks ago where we were doing okay against medium bots. Now we’re getting battered by easy bots. We won our second bot game though, pretty comprehensively in fact. We put more effort into our character choice, and I think we’re starting to pick up a few favourites for various roles. The first bot match we were melee and ganker heavy, while the other team were exclusively ranged and stuck together tight. We just couldn’t make an impact on them. While the second game was strong on team fight skills and pushers, and we won both in kills and on towers.
There was a bit of a theme to the Dota 2 session, as usual. I’ve mentioned a few times that I think the characters are so well balanced that you’re better off going for ones you enjoy, and that the same character can be lethal for one player and shit for another. Fab picked up on that too, playing two of my favourites – Slark and Phantom Lancer. Both are very different: Slark is a hit-and-run ganker, while Phantom Lancer is an illusion spamming lane pusher. Fab didn’t get on well with Slark (although I played crap with him too in the first bot game), but was a destroyer as Lancer, playing him better than I do. It’s a funny old thing, and it’s great to see.
Humour me while I conclude with a little more Dota evangelism. It’s a hell of a daunting game, and there are a number of 5punkers who float round the periphery of it. It’s easy to become disillusioned when you play character after character and seem to always be behind. The problem, I think, is that the learning curve is long. It’s not necessarily steep, at least not the level we play at, but there are so many characters that it could be a while before you find one that clicks. When you do it’s a little bit special, and I think it’s worth sticking with them for a little while just to have a base camp to retreat to when you’re feeling hard done to. Don’t feel obliged to hit the random button unless you want to try new characters, there’s no shame in enjoying your special guy.