Sometimes, people will mention an event that has long passed. Something that had drifted to the edges of your conscious memory and slid into a dark periphery never visited.
It’s not necessarily something bad, just something you haven’t thought about in so long. A plant you haven’t watered in weeks. Or months. Or, say, five years.
What I got instead was a response that threw me for a loop.
In all honesty, I had no clue what Cool_new_name was talking about at first. In fact, I actually had to Google wingspantt ultimate mesmer backstab to figure out what he meant. As I clicked the link into Guild Wars Online, my old haunt for the first game, I was flooded with nostalgia and glee. Cool_new_name had directed me back to one of my first public strategy posts on the internet. And, surprise surprise, it was high-level trolling tactics for Eye of the North multiplayer.
In essence, it was a character build for the Mesmer class (you know, the one that ArenaNet ruined in Guild Wars 2) that was designed to totally sabotage one’s own team in team-based matches. With a few clever skill interactions and purposefully self-destructive attribute allocations, the Ultimate Backstabber Mesmer could:
1. Heal enemies
2. Lower your team’s damage
3. Give foes full energy, and heals anneurysm damage
4. Rez teammates in a way that guarantees they die
5. Have a self destruct button!
You don’t need to play Guild Wars to understand that gameplay like this could quickly infuriate every single player on your team! The build was a little finnicky in practice, of course, but still fun… you can read the entire original post here.
As the years go by
It’s hard to believe so much time has passed… so much so that I forgot this douchey gem even existed. And yet… how much has really changed? I’m still online sharing a mix of serious and disruptive strategies, and I’m still plotting out my path in a new Guild Wars game. It would be poetic if it weren’t so thrillingly immature.
What really gets me, though, is how quirky memory can be. I didn’t recall my own ingenious tactics, but a random person on GameFAQs recognized my name from a message board I haven’t used in half a decade. It made me think about how people – even faceless internet strangers – can make a huge impression on the way we think, the way we see the world.
Many years before Guild Wars, back around the turn of the millennium, I spent a lot of time on the Diablo 2 forums at INC Gamers. The community there was tight, and it was there that I first closely followed the builds and strategies of other players. I don’t remember all the names (one guy was Lt. Shocker or something like that), but a few guys from that board helped me construct a few quirky builds. We formed a clan, The Defiant Knights, and ran underpowered, paladin-only games for months on end. It was a blast. Even after our leader was forced to leave due to serious family issues, the group soldiered on under my leadership for a few more weeks until low attendance eventually forced me to disband the clan.
What these guys probably didn’t know is that they basically sculpted who I am as a strategic gamer today. They were number crunchers and analysts, sure, but they were obsessed with squeezing power from terrible abilities and making the most out of gimmicky equipment. Their methods didn’t usually win, but when they did, it wasglorious.
I don’t know exactly who they are, and can’t imagine what they’re up to now, but maybe on a random Sunday night they’ll see something that sparks an old memory. They’ll remember the time we fought hell Izual for over an hour. Or the sad email that shattered our group. Maybe they’ll remember my name and find their way to this post.
Maybe, but probably not. After all, the internet is so vast and so quickly spreading in every direction, the odds of crossing swords with the good ol’ guys again is quite slim.
I guess that’s what makes little coincidences like the one I had yesterday so special.