It turns out that most of my life, I’ve been a bit of a lone wolf. Yes, I’m a Medic main, but I don’t really play that much with other people, I’m more likely to play a game on my own and maybe invite people round later. It does depend on the game, but games with other people tend to have a lot of different obstacles to jump over, to the point where I just end up playing alone.
Getting the timing right is the big one. There’s people I genuinely enjoy playing with, but they’re never online, or one of us isn’t in the mood or something is going on and it stops or delays us from playing. Generally it’s real life that is to blame, especially as more and more of us are getting older and have full time jobs. I’m a very lucky person to be free for most weekends, but even then, I still have a schedule to keep and gaming with others needs to fit into it. Most of the time though, something pops up and needs to be dealt with before I can actually play. Then something pops up for other people. Then something else happens and so on and so forth. The same thing applies for events, especially when a lot of them are based in US times and not everyone can afford to get up at 1am and still be fit for work the next day.
Part of the timing issue is my fault though. I’m a person with very varied moods, and can swing from normal person to raving lunatic to depressed moron within a few minutes. I’d rather not upset friends. It’s better than playing with a grumpy puss like me.
By the time I’ve actually got someone to play with, the hurdles are less physical. The biggest one has always lag and the general connection between players. A lot of my friends live in the US or Canada, and it’s impossible to play a non-laggy game with them. even with closer friends though, connection issues are apparent, from my computer deciding to randomly disconnect from the internet, to power cuts and storms, to in-game connection problems and server issues. There’s always something.
But really, there’s another issue. The skill of the people I am playing with. Most of the time, the people I am playing with are a lot better than me. Especially in coop games. I find myself struggling to even keep up with other people.
Warframe is a prime example. Davjo has wanted me to play Warframe with him for ages, but he’s Mastery Rank 13, I’m Mastery Rank 1. By the time I’ve drawn my bow, he will have killed everyone in the area and moved on to the next room. My accuracy appears really high when playing with Davjo but that’s because I’ll only be able to kill 20% of the total number of enemies and most of those will be ones that Davjo missed. I admit that I play slowly, but come on, I’m playing as a Sniper, with enough energy for 4 abilities at most, and everyone else can kill things in one hit.
Playing TF2 is no better, whenever I played with the SPUF EU team, I’d get torn apart by everyone due to my inability to play anything but Medic at the same skill level as everyone else. Heavens forbid we’d get autobalanced while pubbing and Sham would end up on the other team – just leaving the spawn room becomes a challenge.
It’s pretty upsetting really, specially when a trained monkey could probably do some of the things I’m doing in-game.
But on the flip side, the few times where I am the better player at whatever we’re doing, I end up leaving them behind. When playing with some people, they’re too busy messing around finding new ways to blow themselves up that I end up soloing missions and essentially playing on my own, when I played Borderlands 2 with someone who had completed the game before, I spent more time picking them up than shooting things, and it seems as though I’m the only person capable of flying aircraft in Saints Row games.
The best person for me to play with is aabicus, since we seem to float at around the same skill level, no matter what game we play. Even though he’s a pro-ish L4D2 player, I can still keep up and follow his lead. And we’re both equally skilled at Saints Row 3. Failing that, LilSkully is great to play with because again, we’re similarly skilled.
Really though, all this just means I need to get better at video games, or otherwise spend eternity trailing behind everyone else.