Last night’s Frigames introduced no new games – a free weekend for Chivalry gave us the chance to introduce it to a few low-G medieval combat virgins, and after that we defaulted to more Dota 2. That’s good though, it gives people chance to catch up with what’s going on, especially since not everyone can make Frigames all the time.
Diversity is simultaneously one of 5punk’s greatest attractions, and also one of its greatest hindrances. No matter what your taste in games you’ll probably find a kindred spirit or two, and nobody will judge you on your awful taste. We try games out, some we like, some we don’t, we stick with some and we move on. It’s eclectic, no pressure gaming. On the other hand, that can be kind of expensive if you try to join in with every fad, especially when we can go for weeks without playing the same game twice. On a grander scale, a lot of people like to find a game they like and stick to it, and that kind of makes us a little exclusive. Not deliberately – historically we’ve had large, dedicated following of Eve Online, World of Warcraft, and most recently Dota 2 – but we’re just not hardcore enough for some. That’s fine though. No pressure.
So. Chivalry epitomised the lightest side of 5punk. Completely unstructured, completely hatstand. I couldn’t tell you who won or lost any of the rounds, but that wasn’t the point. Much hilarity was had, along with our meme inducing conversations which included topics such as substituting the squid in calamari for pig anus. Oddly enough we still managed to play pretty well I think. I distinctly remember taking several objectives. It doesn’t matter though, good games were had by all, particularly those who haven’t played it before.
Getting on towards midnight the chaotic, unstructured sensory battering of Chivalry gave way to the intense concentration and pressure of our standard Dota 2 matches. You could argue that this is the opposite end of the scale, the antithesis of Chiv; Dota is where we make an effort to work as a team. 5punky matches are still casual affairs though, and victory or loss are both cause for equal amounts of amusement.
For our first match we managed six or seven, making up the rest with bots. It was a great game, extremely close. I thought our team was destined to lose for most of the game as we weren’t winning the team fights – Fab was lethal as the oft unappreciated Lifestealer, more proof that the difference between playing well as a character and playing badly is entirely down to the individual and their play style. We lost our bottom barracks and it looked like we were going to be fighting a rearguard until it was all over. Somehow though, we managed to pull it back. I was playing Phantom Lancer, or Fancy Lancer after the build I use. He can be a monster at higher levels as he spawns more and more illusionary copies of himself, but I just wasn’t in the groove that game and lost more fights than I won. However, we had a good team for pushing and I think in the end that was what did it for us. We were still losing the fights right until the end, but the other team couldn’t stem the tide of our creeps and attack our base at the same time, and ultimately we won on creep attrition. Among it all, songs were sung, bad jokes were told, and I’m sure I heard someone say they’d died because they’d alt-tabbed out to google Belgian toilets.
One game was enough for some, and we were left with five for the last two games, so we chose to have some vs bot matches. The difference between these and normal 5punky bot matches is that you can win experience (worth nothing really) and fancy goodies (looks pretty on your characters, nobody else cares) if you win. Now, I don’t know why it should matter, but this brings out the competitive nature in me. It’s something I rarely get, but I think part of the reason I love Dota 2 is because I get a competitive urge I just don’t feel an pretty much any other game, video or otherwise. I enjoy the sharp focus and close coordination with other 5punkers.
Unfortunately with coordination, concentration and competitive nature comes pressure, and with pressure comes frustration. To treat this as a little therapeutic confessional, I might have got a bit bossy last night. I might not have either, nobody mentioned anything, but I felt as though I was becoming critical of everyone’s performance (mine included). It’s a tricky line to walk, enjoying the competition and trying to improve, while being positive and remembering that we play to enjoy ourselves. And I think that’s where we stand out as 5punkers. When we lose a 60 minute game of Dota 2, wipe in a 10-man World of Warcraft raid, or get gang-ganked at a gate camp in Eve, we treat it as we do an accidental team kill in Chivalry or an inverted helicopter landing in Battlefield – or indeed a 12-man squad wipe in Planetside 2 from rolling a Sunderer APC, as I have done and been laughed at for.