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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | Classic PQ | Ping Pong
    Ping Pong By Scumbag

So, you say you're tired of being kicked around by somebody with a faster internet connection. You're thinking to yourself: "This guy's not so good... if I had a connection like his, I'd kick his ass." In fact, you may actually tell these people that skill is not equal to ping, but let's face it - you want to be an LPB (LowPing Bastard) too. That being the case, let's do a little role-playing exercise.

An Editorial by Scumbag- by Scumbag

You're sitting at your computer getting ready for your customary hour (or two, or six) of Quake before you hit the hay. You log on to the 'net, fire up QWCL, and next thing you know CONNECT INFERNO.IDSOFTWARE.COM:27500 is scrolling up your console. Checking sounds... checking models... checking skins... You entered the game.

You think, "Wow...this is cool!" as you wade through your opponents. Pretty soon your name's up at the top, and you haven't died yet. You're really on a roll. Insults are flying, as are allegations of your lack of skill. Finally, somebody comes right out and says it. You're nothing without your ping.

Congratulations. You're a Low Ping Bastard. Johnny, show our lucky contestant what he's won.

Remember those other LPBs who used to smack you around? They're still going to. Oh, sure... you'll beat some of them, but the really good players are still, for the most part, going to pound you. Remember the little equation you came up with? "Ping is not equal to skill" applies to you too, Sparky. If you weren't kicking serious ass before, you're not going to kick serious ass now.

Hey, and remember those insults you were watching? Remember the insults you used to throw at all those LPBs who used to smack you around mercilessly? Get used to them. They're a part of the Quake experience for you now.

Yep, the fun never stops.

Don't like the sound of that? Going to become bitter? Go right ahead! Release your anger! Give in to the Dark Side of the Ping! Becoming a jerk is probably your best bet now, right? If they taunt you, taunt them right back! Find HPB newbie servers to terrorize. Kill somebody with a 400+ ms ping and 30% packet loss while they're typing. Bounce somebody else into the lava and laugh. Rack up a huge frag count and then tell them they all suck. Get revenge!

Wrong. All you LPBs who are saying "Yeah, you tell 'em! They do just suck!" knock it off. You're the ones who put the "Bastard" in "LPB." Responding to insults with juvenile behavior doesn't help.

All in all, there's really no use in arguing about ping when you're playing Quake. This may sound like heresy, but ping matters little. Like all other advantages, a good player can compensate, to a certain extent, for high latency. Some of the people I've played waste me repeatedly whether I'm getting 245, 145, or even 45 ms pings. The best of them use a modem connection and are pinging around 250. In the same vein, I've smacked some people around while pinging 45, 245, and even 999. It's mostly a matter of how well, and how intelligently, you play.

Now, to be fair, I did not say that differences in ping are completely meaningless. People with low latency have an advantage over those with high latency. Then again, people who play six hours a night have an advantage over people who play six hours a month. Mousers normally have an advantage over keyboarders. People with Pentium II computers had better have an advantage over people with 486 computers.

There's one big difference, though. People don't whine about those other things. In the relatively short time (8 months) I've been playing over the net, the most consistent and annoying complaints I've seen are about ping times, packet loss, server choppiness, or unfairness due to internet connection speed. It's the subject of at least one person's inability to get into first place, or even a single frag, on almost every deathmatch I've ever played.

My advice? We all need to grow up. I've played too many games where it seemed like the chat packets were bigger than the game packets. If you're an HPB and you're beating the pants off of an LPB player, don't say "You must really suck if you're losing with that kind of ping." And if you're an LPB, please remember that responding to "You're all ping" with "If you were any good you could deal with it" is not an effective answer. In short, be nice to other people, even if they're jerks!

LPBs should realize that they can, in fact, affect how much fun another person is having by doing too well. When you're up on a server filled with POTS players and you're outdistancing them three to one, it's probably time to move on to another server. When people start saying, "You're hiding behind your ping," don't taunt them back. And when you find a server where some HPB is kicking the tar out of you, don't leave in a huff. Even if they're taunting you, play them some more In the long run, it'll only make you better.

HPBs should either learn to deal with having a slow connection, or do something to change it. Don't just complain about it. If your percentage of packets lost is high, try reconnecting, or try another server. If your best ping ever is 350 ms, deal with it. Rewire your phone jack so you can get a clearer connection. Move closer to your phone company's central office. Go to work for a company with a T3 connection. But when you come across somebody who's got a lower ping time and is beating you, don't automatically assume the two are related. It's quite possible that they're not.

- Scumbag

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