Come fly with me

I’ve never been a competitive gamer. I don’t get much enjoyment from competition, although I do like a local multiplayer every once in a while; and titles such as League of Legends and Overwatch don’t hold an appeal for me. Adult responsibilities mean I don’t have enough time to improve my skills to an adequate levels to be able to compete and I don’t want to spend the free hours I do have being slated by my teammates for not being good enough.

This was something I pondered over in March last year last year after reading an article by a blogger about whether you could still enjoy gaming if you ‘sucked’. In that post I concluded that yes, you could indeed have fun but your teammates may make it extremely difficult if you’re playing in a competitive environment. It’s not the games or the genres themselves that are the issue, but the people we play with and our own attitudes when it comes to winning and losing.

It’s therefore understandable that I was hesitant when asked to step in for a round of Guns of Icarus Alliance while at Rezzed in April. My stepson had first encountered the game at the PC Gamer Weekender back in February and had fallen in love with both it and the guys from Muse Games straight away. They’d been extremely kind to him that day, taking the time to guide him through their project and giving him loads of trading cards which he keeps in his wallet even now.

They appeared again at Rezzed and, despite already having the game at home, Ethan made us go back to their stand six times over the course of the weekend. During the final match, my stepson and two other attendees sat down but they needed a fourth before they could start; and after being asked by the developer if one of us would mind stepping in (and my other-half nudging me forward), I found myself in front of the sort of title I wouldn’t normally touch.

Fortunately one of the team was on standby and told me what I needed to do to steer our airship after being put into the most difficult role of pilot. Once I had the dirigible in place to enable my teammates to blast the enemy from the skies, I dashed around bashing things with my trusty hammer to repair our equipment before leaping back to the steering wheel. The developer told me I’d not done too badly for my first go despite Ethan cheekily telling me I’d been rubbish.

The following weekend, he spent the entire evening playing Guns on my PC with us spectating from the sofa. A weird sensation took over as I saw him listening to his pilot’s orders and firing the ship’s weapons: I remembered what it had been like playing the game at Rezzed and had to admit I’d actually enjoyed myself. My other-half was watching me and asked me what I was thinking – and was amazed when I told him I thought I might buy a copy for myself.

A few days later I ended up installing it on our PlayStation 4. The developer had told us it had taken a lot of work but they’d managed to sort out cross-play, so I thought it would be cool if my stepson and I could play together. Obviously though I needed to get some practice in first so he’d no longer think I was bad and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past month. And I’m not going to lie: I’m completely hooked. I’ve not even touched The Elder Scrolls Online for ages.

I’m currently a level nine Engineer for the Anglean Republic and, although I prefer the co-op play mode, I’ve participated in a few PvP matches and even managed to win on a couple of occasions. There’s something about working as part of the team, focusing on my role of repairing our vessel while listening out for their commands and doing what I can to help, that’s strangely addictive. Women are in the minority but there are more female characters than I expected to see so I feel at home.

I wrote last year that games which inspire extreme competitiveness and players who take winning incredibly seriously weren’t my idea of fun. There’s some of that in Guns, but on the whole everyone has been lovely to play with and supportive of their team. There are some who drop out as soon as the match isn’t going our way, similar behaviour to that I picked up on with Rocket League, but an AI immediately replaces them and so you don’t feel at a complete disadvantage.

If it hadn’t been for Rezzed and the developer needing an additional person to be able to start a match, I’d never have realised that maybe I can find a competitive game enjoyable. I’m not sure I’ll ready to move on to another any time soon (despite Pete regularly teasing me now that next I’ll be taking on Call of Duty), but I’m content cruising the skies with my teammates. I can imagine how much fun it would be to play with a group of friends rather than strangers…

…if anyone wants to fly and needs an Engineer on their crew, you know where to find me.

20 thoughts on “Come fly with me

  1. Ahahah I completely understand you! I always said I prefer PVE games than PVP ones until I decided to try League of Legends while ago and, despite all the toxicity in there, I ended up having fun either I played good or bad, won or lost! 😀

    It is true that I decided to get away from League of Legends because I was completely hooked in that and well, because of the community. But, some monts ago I just went there to play one game or two and I was completely amazed. Don’t ask me how, but they were able to change their community to behave themselves! 😀

    I don’t know why, but more than winning or losing, it is really fun to work with a team of strangers working towards a comun objective! Even though you may get a troller here in there, by the end of it it is really fun! 😀

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    1. I’ve never tried League of Legends, mainly because I heard so much (negativity) about the community when I started blogging years ago. It totally put me off and I thought it would be safer to stay away!

      It’s changed now though, you say? I wonder what has brought this about. Do you think it would now be easier for a new player to get involved because of the difference in community?

      I’ve had some really good games in Guns of Icarus where I’ve been lucky enough to be placed on a team of great people and we’ve stuck together for the entire evening. I’m grateful I got roped into playing at Rezzed! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t play much, so I may just had luck. But, they have changed someways where having a good behaviour during the games will give you things and help you in the game, like unlocking new champions and so on.

        I can only say what I got. Basically, I came back to the game for a week after not playing it for 3 years and went to ranked games directly. Of course, that was not really smart of me since after 3 years there were things that I just forgot how to properly do it, such as farm. This way, I played horribly in the first few games and there was no negativity whatsoever. Yes, they commented that I was playing bad a few games, but always in a way to try to help me and in a positive way.

        However, of course there, in some guys I got one or another which still continue to be toxic, but it was not even the same it was 3 years ago 🙂

        Ahahah that’s just the best when it happens! I love when you end up getting into a team that everyone works well together and just have a good time 🙂

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        1. Oh that’s a good idea: rewarding good behaviour in the game and positive reinforcement for players. I like that.

          It would be interesting to see what it’s like for a new player to start League of Legends now, and whether any sort of gate-keeping or negativity are experienced… hmm… perhaps that could be a good idea for an investigative post in the future!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, instead of trying to just give consequences to the bad behaviour, they go and promote good behaviour 🙂 Normally it works better than the first!

            Honestly, I would read that 😀 It seems an extremelly interesting idea 😛

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  2. I know the feeling. I don’t have kids or anything but I know the feeling of getting discouraged from playing a multiplayer game because I keep getting wrecked. It’s sad sometimes because I used to kick some serious ass in Halo 2. But every now and then something happens that makes me go back to one MP game or another, and I don’t always regret it. I can still have a blast.

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    1. That’s totally it – I don’t want to always feel like the weakest link when I’m playing as part of a team, you know? But I’m having a really good time with Guns of Icarus of it’s making me think that maybe I should expand my horizons and try a few other multiplayers. Not quite sure I’ll make it to Call of Duty as my other-half keeps saying, but we’ll see. 😉

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      1. I used to be in the camp of cod haters until I realized I could simply just not play the game. I’ve gotten the last few in recent years and have really enjoyed them as long as I kept my expectations in check. They’re great fun.

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        1. One of my friends really enjoys CoD, although you’d never guess if you had a chat to him about video games. I might see if he’d give me an introduction to the game one evening… it could make for an interesting post… 🤔

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    1. It’s that pressure which has always put me off playing competitive games in the past. I’m never going to be the best player, and I don’t want to be the team member focused on when we lose.

      I have to say I’m not having that experience with Guns of Icarus however; in all the matches I’ve played so far, only one person expressed any kind of negativity when our team didn’t win. Everyone else has been supportive, or laughed at our mistakes, or made a plan for what we can do better next time. If you ever fancy a game, let me know. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do like competitive games and one of my favourite game genres is absed around competition, fighting games. I’m not much for Overwatch or Fortnite as they don’t appeal to me but if you offer me a game of Tekken, I won’t turn it down.

    Tekken is my main competitive fix. I play it every week, having several matches online. I used to take part in tournaments for Tekken a while back and they were incredible fun. Tournaments is something I would like to go back to at some point.

    When I lose online in fighting games of course I’m disappointed but I take what I learned from that match and apply it in the next one.

    Something I stand by when it comes to fighting games: “Every match is a lesson. Even if you’ve ‘mastered’ the game, there’s always something for you to improve upon”. I would imagine that this could be applied to any game with a competitive element .

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    1. You have the best games in Guns of Icarus when you end up being placed on a team with a pilot who has an attitude exactly like yours! Regardless of whether we’ve won or lost, they’ll say what we should try to do to become better and give the team direction throughout the next match.

      I’ve come to learn that competitive games can be fun, but a lot of that fun depends on the people you’re playing with and their attitudes. I’m not sure I’ll ever be good enough for Tekken but I can completely understand why you enjoy it now! 🙂

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  4. Ohai, I was one of the devs at both PC Gamer Weekender, and EGX Rezzed! I just wanted to say that this post absolutely melted my heart.
    I remember you guys fondly, and we were talking about you a lot after both conventions.
    Welcome to the family, and come play with me sometime!
    My handle is B’Elanna, and every Tuesday and Thursday at 10pm London time, we play with the community in an open lobby format 🙂

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    1. Hi Wendy! Hope you and the team are doing well – Ethan was really excited when I told him you remembered him. 😉

      I’ve been hooked on Guns on Icarus since coming back from Rezzed, so I owe you and your colleagues a big thank you for roping me into playing. I’ll join in next week (kissingthepixel) and no doubt I’ll be practising my skills over the weekend too!

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