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Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Pros are Human

This is something I myself have never experienced, having no YouTube name, but I've heard quite a bit about. When we(the masses) watch high level video gameplay on the internet, our first instinct is, wrongly, that the results we see are the norm. A high K/D in a few games of CoD, BC2, MoH, TF2, anything where that kind of data makes an appearance, means, at first glance, that these are games that happen all the time. These YouTube commentators always, always, go 75/2 in MW2, 30/3 in BC2, 43/1 in MoH. It's routine for them and there is no frustration involved in getting these games. They are just naturally good and everyone who thinks they do anything less than 10.0 K/D is just a noob with no skills.

It isn't true, no matter what your thoughts on K/D, no one goes for any period of time without something to grow frustrated about. No one has a K/D of 30 all the time. If you look at the stats these very commentators post on their pages, the answers are right there, it's just that no one looks. Would SeaNanners have a measely 5.0 K/D if he always went 30/2? Would Sandy Ravage, who I'll talk about shortly, have a 3.20 CoD4 /3.50 MW2 (XBox 360) or 4.10 (PS3) K/D if those 78/4 gameplays he posts happened every night in almost all the games he played? No, it would be much higher.

On the topic of Sandy Ravage, I watched his live stream today, and I can say that he is just like the rest of us. Not every game is a complete domination (regardless of gametype). He died, he used Painkiller, he had trouble and he quit when he became frustrated with the game or someone in it. Granted, he did win quite a bit of the games he joined, but not all of them. Some you simply can't win, having joined too late. Quite a few of the games too were close calls, with only a point or two between victory and defeat, and Mr. Ravage spent a fair amount of time either looking for players or dying. It wasn't the AC130 fest or the Spas-12 fest that he puts up on YouTube. The reason is simple, and the real point of tonight's blog.

These players are human. They make mistakes, they have bad days, bad rounds and bad weeks. SeaNanners stated in one of his videos that he simply became to angry to continue, which for many of his viewers is all but inconceivable. But the emotions are there, the mistakes are there. No man is a god at anything. These people are good at what they do, sometimes even great or exceptional, but they are not perfect. Ask any of them about going negative. They will have stories for you. Oh, the stories they will tell.

And that leads to the title of the post: the Pros. Yes, what they can do is amazing, and what they show off at tournaments is beyond the ken of 99.9% of regular players. The reason? These guys practice, and they do it a lot. They don't go into public matches, generally, keeping to the competitive circuit as much as possible, keeping their skills sharp by playing against equal or better players and learning, yes learning, from them. Even the best players always learn as they continue playing. A new tactic on how to approach an old enemy, a new technique to surprise an unexacting foe, a new way to use the environment, itself known to a pixel, to the betterment of the game.

This does, of course, lead the the question of frag videos and top ten/five videos. Why aren't there more of them put out? The answer to this is simple as well: those moments are rare at best. Sure kills like those you see on PLDX might be somewhat regular, but the chains of kills, the exterminations, the total destruction is something that happens once in a while, not every day for any single player. The events must line up in just the right order at just the right time and that player must have just the right setting for his epic action. 

All this, of course, comes with experience. In established games like Halo 3 or CoD4 or MW2 or TF2, where most maps played competitively are well known and well explored with known troop routes and objective locations and weapon drops times (down to the second), you'll get some really good stuff. That's because the players know what to expect and they play, both sides, knowing exactly what will happen. They've done it before. Many, many times.

One last thing to remember is that every single gamer that has ever lived has been a noob at some point. No human who ever lived jumped into a competitive game with no prior experience with any sort of gaming apparatus and completely owned, that I know of. Any stories I hear I will not believe, simply because of the way humans are. We must learn before we can grow. No human looked at a book at could read at a college level. No musician never heard music and could simply play. Not even Mozart. He copied his sister after listening and watching, not completely cold. The same goes for competitive gamers. They don't just head into Counter Strike or whatever and start dominating. There is always a learning curve that, once surmounted, allows for great feats.

And still, no one does perfect or even excellent at every game. It simply isn't possible.

Thanks for reading,

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