Are you amazing at any particular game? If so, what separates you from a "merely good" player?

dyre

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I've never played any one game long enough to become a top-tier player in it, but I've run into some players in the various games I've played who were so far-and-away better than the competition that I had to wonder what separates them from other experienced, pretty good players.

Since I don't have an example of me being amazing at any game, I'll give an example of a friend being amazing at one, at least in my adolescent (at the time) eyes...

About ten years ago, I attended summer camp with a couple of my friends who were Counterstrike: Source fans. Mostly we played the zombie mode, which doesn't exactly require much skill, but we had all played enough of the competitive modes to be half-decent at the game. We weren't good, but we weren't bad either.

And then, at camp, we met Brandon. Brandon was a kid from Taiwan whose parents sent him to camp in the US, and he too was a CS:S player. However, Brandon was also part of a gaming clan and played quite a lot. My friends and I figured that probably meant he was moderately better than us. We invited him to our evening LAN parties (they shut down access to the network but one of my friends "figured out" how to make LAN work).

Turns out it wasn't even close. Brandon wiped the floor with us. It got to the point where he would use the HK USP (the starting handgun) and wipe us out as we struggled in vain with our M4s and our AK47s. Since we outnumbered him, we at least had the good grace not to camp, use the AWP, or other cheap tricks, but even so, it was extremely embarrassing to run into the guy and get immediately wiped out by a pistol headshot. [footnote]It's worth noting that Counterstrike wasn't as twitchy as modern shooters. It seems that nowadays if you get the drop on someone in CoD, you can easily bring them down within a second. In CS, weapons didn't have ironsights aiming, and they would rapidly lose accuracy even after a short burst. Plus it took several body hits for a kill, and even grenades only did 60% damage on a direct hit. So overall firefights tended to last longer. Other than the AWP (an overpowered sniper rifle), your only insta-kill option was a headshot. Most fights resulted in us getting in a body shot or two before being dispatched with a headshot[/footnote] Eventually we got decent enough that when pitted 3 v 1, he would at least have to use an MP5 to beat us most of the time.

At the time we were certain that he was using an aimbot. He was offended when we mentioned it, and tried to give us advice like "stop aiming center mass and just go for headshots," "listen to the enemy footsteps," and "watch for shadows behind corners" but we were never sure if he was being serious or making fun of us. Watch for shadows, really? My taste in gaming has since moved towards RPGs so I never got good enough at FPSs to determine if he was telling the truth.

update: thanks to DoPo and Loonyyy for clearing up that people did in fact use shadows and directional sound in CS:S. Impressive stuff!
 

distortedreality

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I used to be quite a decent CSS player, spent a lot of time playing, couple of different clans over the years, but eventually life got in the way and I could only play it casually. Skills tend to deteriorate quite quickly with any FPS I've found.

Picked up CSGO a while ago, and while I'm probably above average, I've got nothing on the new class coming through, and don't have the time or motivation to sink into it.

What set me apart? Reaction time and hand-eye coordination are kind of necessary and a common trait amongst the better players, but the fact that I'm not a complete moron helped.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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I'm the best at Worms III: Armageddon.

That's the one game where I'm consistently awesome and unbeatable. I suck balls at every other multiplayer mode I've tried my hand in (shooters, mostly), but I can confidently say I'm nigh perfect at Worms III: Armageddon, and I'm in no small measure proud of that.

I haven't played in a while but back then I had everything down: how to deal with wind direction, which height constitutes fall damage and which doesn't, how to curve homing missiles, how to get anywhere with the Ninja Rope, which Worm to sacrifice, which Worm to keep burrowed as backup, how and when to waste a turn... I ruled.
 

Erttheking

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Eh...not really. I mean I guess I used to score pretty high on my team at Halo back in the day and overall I tend to be rather good at PVP shooters.
 

WhiteFangofWhoa

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Nothing online, and nothing recent.

The only one I'd consider myself untouchable at is Star Fox 64, both my scores in single player (Expert Mode of course- there's more targets then) and multiplayer. Why? Just a lot of practise on a favourite game that most people didn't spend that much time on, with several capable people around to compete against. As with most multiplayer games, timing in important in close matches. I eventually learned how to time my missile lock to hit someone in the middle of a loop, how to bank turn, and how to evade locked-on bombs among other things.

Come to think of it I'm generally better at PvP in flight games than any other type, at least when the ship is something nimble like an X-Wing or fighter plane.
 

Dreiko_v1legacy

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I'm a competitive fighting game player so those would fit the bill. Have won money in tourneys both offline and online etc. My main game is Blazblue but I dabble in a lot of other ones like Guilty Gear, Under night in birth, arcana heart, dengeki bunkou.


With fighting games a thing that makes you stand out is conditioning and yomi. Fighting games are a glorified game of rock paper scissors and there's instances where you have to guess. Being able to notice patterns in the play of your foe with which to inform your guessing as you go forward in the match is something no noncompetitive people do. There's also things like reactions and execution and whatnot, but those you can grind out with enough practice.


Overall, I find a lot of people think they're good when they suck so it's very difficult to answer what separates me from a "merely good" player because my definition of "merely good" in your eyes most likely also falls into "amazing".


Here's a an example of this (and my play):

 

dyre

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Dreiko said:
I'm a competitive fighting game player so those would fit the bill. Have won money in tourneys both offline and online etc. My main game is Blazblue but I dabble in a lot of other ones like Guilty Gear, Under night in birth, arcana heart, dengeki bunkou.


With fighting games a thing that makes you stand out is conditioning and yomi. Fighting games are a glorified game of rock paper scissors and there's instances where you have to guess. Being able to notice patterns in the play of your foe with which to inform your guessing as you go forward in the match is something no noncompetitive people do. There's also things like reactions and execution and whatnot, but those you can grind out with enough practice.


Overall, I find a lot of people think they're good when they suck so it's very difficult to answer what separates me from a "merely good" player because my definition of "merely good" in your eyes most likely also falls into "amazing".


Here's a an example of this (and my play):

Haha, I know so little about fighting games that I can't even tell if you're good or bad! Though you seem to be doing well judging by how excited the announcer is lolol. But anyway it makes sense that pattern recognition would play a big role for more advanced players, since reaction time can only go so far.
 

dyre

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distortedreality said:
I used to be quite a decent CSS player, spent a lot of time playing, couple of different clans over the years, but eventually life got in the way and I could only play it casually. Skills tend to deteriorate quite quickly with any FPS I've found.

Picked up CSGO a while ago, and while I'm probably above average, I've got nothing on the new class coming through, and don't have the time or motivation to sink into it.

What set me apart? Reaction time and hand-eye coordination are kind of necessary and a common trait amongst the better players, but the fact that I'm not a complete moron helped.
Wait...so you didn't notice people's shadows or listen to their footsteps with uber headphones? Damnit, I knew that guy was lying to me!

It's really just reaction time and hand-eye coordination? You didn't practice with the weapons and determine exactly the amount of time you had to wait between shots to minimize spread, or anything like that?
 

Aerosteam

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I don't care who you are, but I will thrash you at a stare contest.

Edit: Post #7000, woo!
 

Quazimofo

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I wouldn't say I'm amazing at Bayonetta, but I'm certainly more patient than the average joe since I managed to beat it on nonstop infinite climax. Haven't had access to my xbox in over a year though (woo college!) so I never did beat the Angel Slayer bonus level (got pretty close though, relatively speaking. At least halfway, but it's been a while I can't remember if I died to the 2 Jeannes or one of the Jeanne combos later in verse 3. I half-remember getting to the nonstop infinite climax levels once, but again, it's been long enough I wouldn't trust my memory).
 

The Wykydtron

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I don't mean to brag or anything, but I play the sickest W+M1 Pyro in Team Fortress 2. Man the skill it takes to find a few unlucky motherfuckers with their backs to you so you can unleash the power of the automatic multicrits from the Backburner is just next level.

I was pretty good at Persona 4 Arena a while back too, I never had the coolest swag combos but I got so good at reading all the other characters I could do serious work with Labrys. I'm ok at other fighting games but I got into BlazBlue too late so the only people who still play BB CSEX are those guys who are godlike and will stomp your face in every single time. Anyone who says "every loss teaches you something" has never had their character locked into a corner for two rounds straight barely managing to get hits in every single time they try to play the game.

I would love to get really good at Skullgirls too, I once spent an entire holiday aboard with friends hunched over a laptop screaming "FUCKING BIG BAND, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!" or "OH MY GOD THIS ELIZA IS A BROKEN PIECE OF SHIT" for several hours a day. Good times, best use of a summer holiday ever. To be fair I had a guy next to me playing online Yugioh going "yeah I got turn 1 Naturia Beast, get fucked! Yeah you better disconnect!" at the same time. Classic.
 

Flutterguy

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I'm good enough to beat my friends at chess, smash brothers and league of legends. I don't consider myself amazing, but they do, sometimes, after drinking too much, claim that I'm a dirty player and "this isn't fun anymore".
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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I ranked in the Top 10 in the Space Marine multiplayer back in the day. And it was mainly being good at dodging and you taking a point-blank meltagun shot to the face.

Also for whatever reason I always did better as a 13th Company Space Wolf with scavenged armor.
 

IceForce

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Kinda embarrassing, but... Papers Please. I can get through an ungodly amount of entrants without making a single mistake.

I tend to have a good eye for inconsistencies and errors, which is probably the reason why I'm also good at proofreading.
 

Zhukov

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These days I ever really have the time or patience to get genuinely good at a game.

As a youngster I was pretty damn good at Halo. Used to routinely dominate servers. My shotgun-pistol game was tight, my grenades were masterful and I could end CTF games in about four minutes with my zero-fucks-given ghost/warthog driving.

Nowadays I generally score above average, but I think that's less to do with me being good and more to do with a lot of people being crap. It's amazing how many people don't pay attention to the UI or who don't think to employ even basic tactics or positioning.
 

Dreiko_v1legacy

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The Wykydtron said:
Anyone who says "every loss teaches you something" has never had their character locked into a corner for two rounds straight barely managing to get hits in every single time they try to play the game.
Some characters are just built to do that. Ones like Valkenhain and Kokonoe especially. What you have to do is stockpile your resources (burst, meter for counter assault) and try to beat them before even getting cornered and then if you do end up there you use these resources to try and get out.

It's actually very common for even the best of players to get stuck there and die without being able to do anything. You can still learn in matches where this happens, too. The learning takes place not during the corner-rape but before that bit. That's the crucial bit you should examine in your replays. That's where you did whichever mistake you did that allowed your foe to corner you and by fixing this mistake you will avoid being cornered in the future...at least in that exact way that you got cornered in that specific match.
 

Charli

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I'm cursed to be good at sonic games.

I know, it's a shitty talent, I just have weird reaction times that only correspond to janky ass platformers.
 

pacouranga

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In theory I'm super competent at Dragon's Dogma. I know the best ways to raise up a pawn, the best augments and skill loadouts, the ways to balance good class growths with actual fun, which armors and weapons are serviceable and which are just for fashion, how to ace the most perplexing and well-hidden quests, even the best ways to take down the most difficult enemies and survive the most harrowing rooms in the game.

In practice, I only have the one character high-level character since the vanilla release in 2012, and I've made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of hard-earned victories, as well as sold some things I shouldn't have and spent mats upgrading truly worthless gear. The rest of my characters, ones I've started since becoming truly good at the game, are all low-level. But, I'm good enough now to recognize all the mistakes I've made and how to fix them. Knowledge is (more than) half the battle!