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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | The Gauntlet: Pro Gaming

The Gauntlet
Are wannabe pro gamers draining the fun out of the community?
  — by F4nt0m45 and ConfusedUs

[Announcer spawns in the middle of Gen-Q2dm1]

Announcer: Today we're gathered here for a battle between two brave soldiers, well... two soldiers... ok, ok, two llamas - but that's not the point! It seems these two have came to a strong disagreement on the issue of professional gaming. To be more specific, is pro gaming sucking the fun out of casual gaming? It seems more and more gamers are hoping to make it to the "Big Leagues" of gaming. However, many don't realize they may have a better chance of finding the Holy Grail. Many of these gamers take their games way too seriously and suck a bunch of fun out of the gaming community. Now onto the combatants:

[ConfusedUs spawns by the Railgun]

In this corner we have ConfusedUs, the master of bizarre links that come out of seemingly nowhere. Nobody knows quite where he finds them, but legend says it has something to do with flying monkeys and the candy he gets from strangers. ConfusedUs wishes for the old gaming days where fragging was for fun, and not practice to make it to the "Big Leagues."

[F4nt0m45 spawns by the Rocket Launcher]

In the other corner we have F4nt0m45, who can often be found ranting about things ranging from annoying customers, to topics such as the countless realism mods wasting server bandwidth. Now F4nt0m45 thinks ConfusedUs is a paranoid freak that's just overreacting.

Now we know the combatants, and what they're fighting for, so let's get this battle started. Lets get ready to ruuummm...
[Announcer couldn't dodge F4nt0m45's rocket]

[Judge Mills Lane spawns in the middle of Gen-Q2dm1]

Mills Lane: I want a good, clean fight. Now let's get it on!

F4nt0m45: My llama friend, ConfusedUs, seems to think that the Pro Gaming movement is taking a lot of the fun out of just the casual "join the fray and frag" fun of game. To me, it's just like playing baseball with a bunch of friends now. Do I think I'm going to make it to the Majors? No, not really, (it involves way too much running) but I'd still enjoy playing the game for the pure fun of it. Granted, there are many people out there that hop on servers and lay down serious ownage and take the game WAY to seriously. If I'm not mistaken, this happens in high school sporting too. Most kids are there to play and have fun, but some jock thinks everyone's holding him down from making it to the "Big Leagues." So there's a pro league for gaming now, it doesn't really affect casual gaming. Then again, maybe you're just jealous cause you can't make it to the Pros, J.

ConfusedUs: Llama? I saw a butter sculpture of a llama once. Complete with a butter farmer! But I digress...

Personally, I think the whole movement towards the 'pro' scene sucks. I miss the days of hopping on a server, and everyone's on there just to play, to have fun. Now everything is "competitive." The game should be FUN, not something to fret over. My current clan was active in Rocket Arena 2 OGL for a very long time. We were in the top ten for almost 6 months straight. Every match was a fight over servers, pings, players. The matches were just not fun. We'd get done, and whether or not we won, everyone would end up PO'd because of all the hassle involved.

I'm not saying that pro gamers themselves are bad, but with most of the community moving in that direction, I see an end of 'hop on and play' gaming.

F4nt0m45: A butter sculpture of a llama once, with a butter farmerÖ I wouldn't suppose they were serving any sorts of bread were they?

There are still plenty of servers to hop onto and just play. Back when I played online a lot more than I do now, there were some rivalries, and a bit of fuss between clans. That just added to the overall excitement of throwing down with them on a server though. We had no intention of being "pro", it was just fun, with a ton of flaming. I know people fret over servers, ping, players, etc, but thatís typical anytime there's any sort of competition. Back to my baseball analogy, I don't know if you ever played baseball as a child, but at the end of the game there would always be bickering even though we were there to just have fun. Hell, I remember one time at the end of the game when we were suppose to shake hands with the other team that I spit on my hands before shaking. It's silly things we do when there's competition.

Can you really say that when you play on your favorite server that you don't want to dominate the game? Deep down thereís got to be a fire burning in you to make you want to frag everyone to tiny little gibs, so that you'll be sitting atop the scoreboard. It's all for fun, but isn't winning more fun?

ConfusedUs: Baseball.... *shudders at the memory* I was a ball magnet. If it was exposed, it got hit at least once.

Oh, there'll always be fuss between clans and such. That's a given, as you said. However, it seems like the community as a whole is starting to ignore the casual gamer and focus on the hardcore players. Everything is tweaked with those players in mind. From weapon respawn times, to splash radius, to armor values, things are being made for what the PRO gamer wants, and not average Joe Quaker.

My opinion of the pro gamers themselves isn't all that high either. Most of them think WAY too much of themselves, and rely on their "twitch" skills to win. But that's another argument entirely...

F4nt0m45: My father liked baseball, so I ended up playing it. I wanted to play football, but I didn't want to ruin my gaming career by risking a broken hand, you know?

The community is somewhat sliding towards the "Pro" gaming aspect I agree with you on that. The gaming developers, like Raven and such, aren't making pro games though. Itís the community that does it, so really Joe Quaker can play Quake 3 right out of the box without this pro mindset. I enjoy Challenge Pro Mode Arena quite a damn bit, not because I plan on going pro with my uber sweet skills that I donít have, but because its fast paced action. As far OSP, *shrugs* who cares? It hasnít affected my freedom to play in an unprofessional manner. Why not take a look around? I see two or three "Pro" modes of play, so why fret?

As for the pro gamers, well, they are a teensy bit arrogant. If I was to get paid for playing Quake though, I'd be quite arrogant too. I don't know about these "twitch" skills, though. I think there's quite a few gamers that have serious skills, not just twitch luck... but like you said, that's another argument.

ConfusedUs: I enjoyed CPMA in its early stages. It was DM done right. But now its all about uber-tweaking the weapons, making things *just* so, and every new tweak causes a riot among the gamers.

Sure, Raven and the others don't make 'pro' games out of the box. Who does anymore? But on the flip side, how long does out of the box gameplay last? For most, not very long at all. We want mods, and most of the modifications that actually get PLAYED online are these ubertweaked piles of cow dung. Where'd all the fun little mods go? Where's q3's Chaos Arena? Its sitting in a barely playable beta stage. Where's q3pong? Dead in the water. CrateDM? No one plays it.

I'd like to state again that I don't mind having the pro gamers around. I just don't want them to drag the rest of us into their self-gratifying little world, where everything has to be EXACTLY the way they want it.

F4nt0m45: I hear ya on the fun little mods. I want happy, laughing, proxy mines! As far CrateDM it couldn't last too long. There's only so much of that you can play before it loses it's novelty feel.

I still don't feel like the pro gaming scene has warped the gaming scene that much. If anything's warped the gaming scene it's this crap of a realism wave, to where we can only play realism games now. The wannabe "pros" will keep striving towards getting a paycheck to play, and never attain it. There's only a few gamers that are going to get paid for their skills, the rest are just arrogant digital jocks. I just wish I wasn't the little geek those real jocks picked on... *flashback*

Now can you tell me where to find this butter llama?

ConfusedUs: Amen to the crap realism games. Counter-Hack anyone? I'll take the pros over the realism guys ANY day. I suppose you're right, in that the "pro" movement hasn't hurt creativity and fun-factor as much as the "realism/tactical shooter" movement has. Of course, that's a lot like saying that man-eating lions are worse than man-eating sharks... And the butter llama? Was the mascot for the Tulsa, Oklahoma State Fair in 2000. Here's a link. Enjoy!

F4nt0m45 is a PQ newsie who is currently looking to be paid for his mad ChaosQ3 skillz.

ConfusedUs runs the website for Wirehead and is currently trying to convince the coders to take all the guns out of Generations because they're "too realistic."

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