Being Looked Up To – Leaving the Realms of the Newbie

Everyone starts out as a newbie in a game. You’re flailing around, not quite sure what to do. Very few people manage to get right into a game straight away, and even fewer are genuinely not bad when they start a new game. As you progress through your chosen game, you slowly get better, you climb the ranks, you leave the realm of the newbie and become a more experienced player.

For most, leaving the realms of the newbie is a subtle one. You don’t really see it happening. As I played Borderlands 2 for example, I never noticed that I was holding my own better, I didn’t need to be picked up all the time, I was making better choices in weapons. It all happened naturally, following the normal progress of the game.

When it came to Skyrim, things were a tad slower. With no other people to judge myself by, I spent most of the game sneaking from one place to another. That doesn’t really matter because Skyrim really is a game you take at your own pace. It wasn’t until I started exploring media outside of Skyrim, like its subreddit, Nexus Mods and other places, that I realised I a normal, almost typical Skyrim player.

I was this Heavy once.
I was this Heavy once. Now I’m the Medic.

Normally, leaving the realms of the newbie is hardly even noticed. Even in Team Fortress 2, the first shooter I actually put effort into, the point where I wasn’t a bottom-scoring noob wasn’t obvious. Of course, with so many variables, it depends on the day, but normally, I can keep up with my team, I’m not dragging anyone down, and at times, I carry the team. Or I heal the guy who’s carrying the team.

Of course, there are times when it suddenly occurs to me that I’m no longer a newbie. I’ve spent plenty of time explaining things to new players, to the point that four of them have given me the Professor Specks (people helped: 4). I’ve also given away weapons and all sorts. I HAVE to be a normal player now, I’ve played competitive 4v4 and 6v6 (even if I didn’t like it), I have most of the weapons in the game, I’ve owned several unusuals, I’ve given away so many weapons, it’d be silly to still consider myself a newbie. Heck, I’ve been playing since 2010, I’m almost a veteran player. Shame I still can’t play Scout, Sniper or Spy.

Even in Saints Row, I’ve noticed it. But there, it’s different. It’s the small nuances, the little things, that make a Saints Row player not a newbie. Being able to drive well, knowing when and where to find cover, knowing how to fly planes, small things like that, people don’t always get.

You can almost hear the cogs going round in Volt's head, as he tries to work out if he's sneaky or not.
Ah, the joys of being an MR6 idiot…

In Warframe, the game I’ve been playing the most recently, the realization was far less subtle. I mean, I’ve noticed that I don’t go down as much as I used to, but it wasn’t until the other day that I noticed people were asking me for assistance, and I was actually of use to them. Their first question was “what weapon are you using, Retvik?” and it went on from there. I helped them do some excavation missions, before attempting to do a quest with them. It later turned out, after half an hour of fighting, that there was only a chance of finding what they were looking for, and I recommended that we extract, as my team mates were struggling to fight the level 35 enemies.

But it felt very out of place. I’d always been the player needing help, asking questions and things like that, and suddenly my role had been reversed.

There’s a question to be asked here. Is this feeling the same feeling that other people get while playing games? Or is it just me who notices this?

I guess that’s what comments are for…

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