Currently Playing (Blaugust #20)

psycheplays_blaugust15-day20_currently-playing-ffxiv

I read Jewel’s post on being a Crazy Game Lady this morning, and it kinda struck home for me. Up until very recently, I never had a gaming “home”. While I had a few games I played consistently, when it came to things like MMOs, I would hop from one to the next. I never reached level cap in any of the MMOs I played for a long time.

I have played almost every major MMO release since my early teenage years, and stuck to none of them. I’ve dabbled in WoW, dipped my toe in Final Fantasy XI (that one stuck a little more than most!), played Aion for a while and eventually pushed to the max level in RIFT before dropping it like a hot potato because its end-game didn’t appeal to me and my time schedule.

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How to not rage

How to not rage: Nerd rage shirt by J!NX.
Image courtesy of Jinx.com (Nerd Rage Women’s Tee)

Something I’ve been asked a lot is how I stay calm when playing video games. Considering I live with the world’s angriest gamer, I thought it’d be a good idea to talk about it! First of all, a disclaimer: I generally am very good, naturally, at playing games for fun even in a competitive environment, and am probably calmer than your average gamer because of it. I can laugh at mistakes I make, or those of my teammates, and still have a good time when I lose, so this will colour my post a little.

However, that said, even though I work in the games industry and often stream these days, I am not some paragon of calm and happy. I am not at all immune to raging, shouting, gritting my teeth at my screen or even having the urge to throw things around because of something that went wrong. The difference is I generally don’t voice my rage to other people, particularly not in the game, because one simple fact has stuck with me throughout my gaming “career”: flaming a person on your team does not improve their performance, nor does it make you more likely to win, and it does nothing to calm you down. In fact, if anything it makes that person play worse because they’re upset, it irritates your teammates thus making them perform poorly, and it’ll stoke the fire you’re holding in your chest making you more angry.

I am no stranger to competitive games. I have been playing FPS games since I was 12 or 13, and even played in local and national tournaments in Quake III and CPMA in particular. I was pretty good at Q3, but I often got psyched out and over time got frustrated when I didn’t win. It was not uncommon for me to stop after a 1v1 and close the game down, walk away from my PC and grumble to myself. I have even shouted in exasperation. Over the years, as my skill level has admittedly fallen, I’ve found myself getting more annoyed when things don’t go how I expected, particularly in FPS games where I feel like I can do better. They’re high energy and fast paced, so it’s a lot easier to feel explosive anger building up.

So what do I do? Well, first of all, I try to talk about it (or rant about it) to my fiancé. I tell him the stupid thing I just did, or the poor performance my team are putting on, or the ridiculous things the enemy seems to be capable of. I growl and I grumble. And if all else fails, I quit the game as soon as I can. If it’s a game where players can’t fill in for me, or there’s a punishment for leaving, I wait til the end of the match and then stop. After that? Get up and walk away from the PC. A change of environment can really encourage a change in mood.

One thing a coworker recommended to me was alt-tabbing out of the game. If you die, instantly alt-tab out. This way, you’re not tempted to type anything aggressive into chat that you may regret later. If you feel the need to say those things, type them into Notepad. You can delete it later. This is also a great way of breaking the cycle; alt-tabbing changes the environment a little, and allows you to calm down. Wait out your respawn timer if you have to and try to breathe. Four seconds in, six seconds out. Repeat. Then alt-tab back in and try again, refreshed.

Ultimately, I don’t think there’s a magical way to stop you from getting angry at games. Most passionate gamers do! But these were some tips to prevent it from impacting other people, and also to stop it from ruining your whole day.

How I fell for Titanfall

Titanfall Review: Wall-running is the coolest thing ever.

Titanfall Review: Some pretty cutscenes from the campaign.

I would normally do a First Impressions post about a game when I pick it up, but considering I’ve fallen head over heels for Titanfall since getting my paws on it last week, I don’t know if a First Impressions would honestly do it any justice.

While I have noticed some problems — there are some minor issues with hit detection, and I have already encountered a few blatantly obvious cheaters — I can easily look past the few flaws I’ve met, and the fact that it is kind of a rehashed Call of Duty with giant robots because the game makes me feel like a badass. I wasn’t sure if it would live up to the hype, but after five minutes in the tutorial and my first wall-running experience, I was legitimately giggling with glee.

For those of you who don’t know me, I played Quake III: CPMA semi-competitively (on a local level in local tournaments) and was pretty damn good at it. But without going into too much detail, movement was my jam. I loved rocket-jumping, strafing at ridiculous speeds, and drifting. Admittedly I was better at shooting rockets and grenades at other people than using them to propel myself, but I loved flying around corners and surprising people. With guns. So when I discovered I could run along a wall, bounce to a nearby wall, and then practically somersault from wall to wall for extended distances before landing on a roof and kicking someone in the face, I was sold on the spot.

Titanfall Review: Life is better with a titan.

My favourite moment of sheer badassery so far has been spotting a teammate fighting with an enemy in an upper floor room. I sprinted along one wall, sprang across to the wall of the building they were fighting in, climbed the wall sideways and flew through the window only to kick the enemy in the face as he tried to propel himself out the window in escape. I felt more like a boss than any game has made me feel in a long time.

A few gripes would be that all of the weapons are hit-scan, so pretty much point and shoot regardless of range, and matchmaking can be a bit frustrating at times. I’m also in the camp of people who thinks the smart pistol is silly, as it auto-locks onto nearby targets — this takes longer for pilots (ie other players) than for NPCs — making it a little easier in theory to use, however I don’t find it enough of a deterrent to stop me from having fun.

Do I think the game is worth it? Hell to the yes. However, I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea. Non-FPS gamers will probably hate it anyway, and if you really didn’t like Call of Duty you might find the weapons feel a little weird at first. I was always more of a Battlefield player, but I did play COD2 and MW1, so I was at least vaguely familiar with the “feel” of the game. Why did I end up loving it when COD wasn’t really my game before? One sentence from the TV advert really summed it up for me:

Life is better with a titan.