Home Editorial Trolling by tradition: My trip down memory lane

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.

Case in point… Yesterday I was shamelessly promoting my Guild Wars: Hall of Masochism articles on GameFAQs, hoping to get some traffic and some useful feedback. The usual.

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.

5 replies to this post
  1. Wow, your trip down memory lane gave me my own trip down memory lane.

    When I was working at Circuit City (another trip down memory lane), there was four of us who played D2 together. We decided to make a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse party made up of four hardcore paladins with different auras so we all have four auras on at once. We also each had our own gems to put in our weapons, but that was quickly abandoned as we found better weapons.

    I only lasted till level 30 or so and died. And with me so did the Four Horsemen.

  2. SON. OF. A. BITCH.

    I ran that build in team arenas to confuse my old guild mates. In fact, it’s why I changed to Me/Mo from Me/E a.k.a LOLOLOLOLO METEORITE SPAM.

      • Not a word of a lie at all, I was a bastard in Guild Wars. My favourite pass-time was aggroing melee mobs in late game areas and just throwing Conjure Phantasm, Conjure Nightmare and Empathy on them. Since then, I’ve never seen a party go from “YOU FUCKING IDIOT” to “Wait… uhh… so…. right, never mind” so quickly.

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