So … I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a gamer. That’s not, actually, really all that true. I was unpacking my shit from a move I did a couple of weeks ago, and when it came to my PS2 box I actually have a decent number of games, most of which I’ve played and enjoyed and not sucked at.
The thing is, they’re all single player, because that’s really all I can do.
Give me a character with a tragic past and an obvious quest, and I’m great. I can swing and puzzle (kinda) and platform (not really) with the best of them, and have an awesome time. But as soon as you get more than three other people in the game, assuming we’re not talking about some hopped-up version of SSB or something like that, I crumble. I feel as though I’ve been teleported to a strange land where the aliens all look the same as I do and can’t understand why I don’t speak any of their languages and insist on breathing oxygen.
I know it can’t be true, but every time I enter an MMO setting, I feel as though I’m the only person in the universe who hasn’t done this before, preferably more times than can be conveniently counted, feeling stupid and clunky and effectively like a waste of space. After dying a few times in rapid succession I always end up feeling that simply by playing the game I’m letting down everyone else in it, probably even the entire server. My space, after all, could have just as easily been filled by anyone else at all, and chances are the person who would have played if I hadn’t wouldn’t have sucked half as badly as I did.
It makes it kind of hard to want to get better.
For the past few days, Durandal has been trying to convince me to play that Warcraftian game he was blogging about, and eventually I gave in – mostly because I wasn’t paying attention, and somehow missed the part where this was exactly the kind of game I don’t play. I played through the demo and a practice round against a few faceless bots, and decided that I probably sucked, but might not have been as bad at is as I was expecting to be. So, I let myself get talked into playing an actual game, and somehow, had a lot of fun. I died way more than I’d wanted to, but I saw at the end that someone else had died as much as I had and killed fewer people, so yay for that, I guess? Anyway, it was epic and confusing, but also satisfying.
Yay, I thought, maybe I can actually do this!
So, emboldened by my dubious success (my team lost, catastrophically, so I guess the term is relative) I joined a beginner-level game in which I didn’t know anyone — and suddenly found myself back at the beginning. Five minutes (and four consecutive deaths) in, I glance down to the in-game chat window to see the other players on my team talking about how much of a moron I am.
“Here’s a suggestion,” someone helpfully throws up. “DON’T DIE.”
Oh, my god, that’s brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that!
After the rest of my team tried giving me other tips, like telling me not to choose spells I didn’t think I had a choice but to choose or not to stand so close to the GUY CHASING ME, the fact that I was very, very new seemed to finally register. Because apparently being a level one user (not character, whose levels restart each game, but users, whose levels consistently grow based on, I think, how well they do in the number of games they play) in the practice area in a game that said it was for beginners isn’t enough of a clue? Their advice got a bit more helpful after that, tips on what armour I should be wearing, and why the items I had were useless, but the snide little comments didn’t stop entirely. And when I suggested that the only reason I was still around was because it would actually be worse for them if I quit, I was greeted with a very poignent silence in what had been a reasonably active chat channel.
I’m not saying they all hated me, or anything, and by the end I did get better at not dying, but the entire thing did very little to change my impression, that me in a multiplayer game is at best a waste of space, and at worst … a very bad thing.
I know that the practice game was just a game – and even League of Legends is just a game, and actually a pretty fun one, from everything I’ve seen and that one game that didn’t suck. And I’m going to throw myself into another round with a different group, and hopefully get a bit of my momentum back before I turn my back entirely.
Still, in the end, it’s frustrating.