Today’s diary is late, you may notice. This is a sign of things to come. This week a new player will spawn in the game which is my life and that will put pays to both Frigames and diaries for a while. I’ll be back though.
I was a little late to the games too on Friday. I arrived to a thriving game of Chivalry where one player was dominating the game. Not a 5punker, obviously. I forget his name but there were variations which led to us referring to him as the velour egg. This went on for a little while, musing over the implications and settling on testicle stubble. In the meantime I was chucking javelins about, which I rather enjoyed. At one point I saw a Steam achievement pop up called ‘Cupid.’ Being Valentine’s day I thought I’d found some sort of easter egg, but as it turns out it was just coincidence that I’d impaled 40 hearts with missile weapons. I guess I’m not as romantic as I thought.
Apparently before I joined there was a noteworthy conversation which warranted entry in the diary. I don’t know how it came about, but the premise had been berserker burlesque. This involved erotic dancing and axes, culminating in the dancer leaping into the crowd and going on a killing spree. It made more sense at the time to me, but not much. Clearly the talk was more interesting than the game, because I also remember talking about porno guess who at some point. I still might try to make that.
There were some pretty tough players in that game. One guy was using a sling like a machine-gun, another was blending everyone with a knife. There was the odd accusation of hacking over Teamspeak. It might have been, might not. It did lead to the conclusion that gaming is like driving – anyone worse than you is a noob, anyone better is a hacker (in driving everyone faster than you is a lunatic, everyone slower is an idiot). Roman rather shrewdly attributed this to something called Dunning-Kruger Effect – that unskilled people think they’re much more competent than they actually are, but fail to identify skill in other people. Ergo anyone calling someone a noob is probably a noob themselves. Very highbrow, Roman.
During all this discussion into psychiatry I was trying to help a stuck teammate by storing javelins in him. He didn’t die like he wanted to, but he did escape with five javelins impaling him. Chivalry really is the game that just keeps on giving when it comes to weird shit. This event led to another of Roman’s interesting facts (where does he get this shit from?). You can google pretty much any name, followed by ‘the hedgehog’ and get a profile of a Sonic-style hedgehog character. As we moved on to Dota 2, as we do, Em entertained us by doing just this for each of us in turn. It wasn’t quite as horrifying as Roman had insinuated, but it was fucking weird. Try it with your own name. Your real name that is – I’ve tried ‘N00bKill4r69 The Hedgehog’ and it doesn’t exist.
Two 5punky practice games were had in Dota because we had a fairly large turnout, but both were dominated by one side or the other. Game 1 was a 33 minute victory to the Dire (Bali, myself, Buzz and MJ), mainly by Bali as Phantom Lancer and a bot playing Viper. Bits played well as Anti-Mage on the other side, but it was a whitewash. I have theories on why, but I’ll get to that later. Game 2 was a 46 min Dire victory for myself, Bits, Johnson and Roman. All played well, as did Bali playing Faceless Void on the other side. Of entertaining note was FatherJack confusing the hell out of me as Rubik by stealing Weaver’s Swarm ability and sending beetles back in my direction just after I used it.
I think the problem we’re having now is the skill gap. Because Dota 2 has such a long learning curve you’re constantly improving, and this means those who have played longer don’t hit a skill ceiling that can easily be caught. I’ve noticed for a while distinct skills levels forming among us – those who regularly play outside 5punky games, those who enjoy the game and have played a long time but only really play with 5punkers, those who have been playing for a while but aren’t that bothered about the game, and those who are trying to learn the basics. And then of course Bali, who has been playing the game in one form or another for about three hundred years.
Writing the diary late gives me the advantage of Saturday’s games to compare too, and in both of those the losing side struggled to get over 300 XP/min. I don’t really know what can be done about it – we’re not the sorts of people to put artificial handicaps on things. I know that I’m not the only one concerned though that the new guys getting ganked all the time every game are going to just get pissed off and stop playing (like a few already have). Aside from the fact that it’s a good game, it gets played so often that it might drive people away from regular gaming sessions. At the very least we can make sure we keep playing other things too.