Exploring the land of duels

Sunday 14th September, 2008 | Skip to comments (5)


July 2007, the fourth mechanic that the telecom company send in the past month left without tracing the problem. My good friend and I did our job well six months ago, getting a working ADSL line is impossible for both his ex-, my current, neighbors and me. Telling the mechanics that the outgoing telephone line of the three apartments, that have their front door in this alley, is cut one meter from the street, about 20 centimeters above the ground, is not an option. You can’t see the cut, there is no way of explaining it. Just my luck, like I would know I would live in this place myself.
At least I work at the ISP so I can get rid of my not working telephone line without too much trouble. The decision to go with the route of the least resistance has been made, I decide to get cable.

It has been about four months since I moved and had internet at home. The experience of not even being able to go online was surprisingly good, but having a connection again gives me some sort of a trusted feeling. As soon as I log on to IRC I notice something has changed, the feeling seems to last when playing quake. Without a doubt the break and the full focus on real life has caused me to put things in a different perspective. Where before there was a constant drive to play well, now there is a smile and joy even when playing nowhere near good. After a short while it is clear that not only the fun of playing has increased but on top of that I seem to play better than before.

After playing active for a couple of months with one the best and funniest teams I’ve been with, Slackers II, I went more or less inactive, just like everybody did for rather unclear reasons in the second half of October. What started out with hope on the best tournament for division one in years went out like a lone candle. Along with both Slackers teams, Fragomatic, KOFF, Clan MalFunction and Firing Squad all went very slow on activity, leaving only the Viper Squad somewhat active. A few months later we saw them win the heavily delayed playoffs while the site of EQL6 was still down. Looking back almost one year later there is no way of suppressing the feeling that this was our last chance on a tournament like we used to know it, with all the big names, all the great games and more than just a few contenders.

Quickly after Hawr1x brought us some light in darker days with a competition that sure did bright up my playing days. Featuring all the succeeder’s of the game we play, there was a cup that hadn’t been organized in three years, the Nations Cup. Ever since the 10v10 death32c nations cup in 2003 the national games were something very appreciated by me. No wonder I was excited that someone took up the burden to host it and along with the idea of playing in a team consisting of the flying dutchman himself, Reppie, together with Dragon and Murdoc with whom I’ve always played, talked and laughed a lot, it couldn’t get much better. Being happy that we didn’t receive close to the amount of walkovers some others did, the games itself were great to play. Despite that some of us barely played outside officials we did great and had a good laugh more than once. For example when Dragon won his first poker tournament while idling in a game because there was no other of the few remaining Dutch players online, or when Reppie was having nail fights with the Czech! Having good old Mja and the over active Skillah, who made his debut in the final map of the grand final, around made the picture complete.

Back in the days when I started playing quake, on a very old and bad computer, I played 320×200 windowed to get a decent fps and had no sound. Being just a little newb I had no idea how to fix the sound problem so I played without it for quite a long time. Dueling without it was not much of a pleasure so I focused on 4on4 and it stayed that way for years, playing maybe ten duels every year. This slowly changed when I joined Slackers II and someone named ParadokS told me that playing 1on1 would improve my 4on4 skills too. Once in a while I would take the time and play a few here and there, thinking about getting serious about it I started to play more for a week or two before I moved and the pause from internet came around, after which the dueling went back to practically being non existent.

Luckily our scene, being as old as it is, still features a lot of people that have played for a long time. People that have played duel, some for maybe over a crazy amount of ten years and definitely a lot for more than five. During those years players learned how to move, where to shoot prediction rockets and grenades, how to keep your opponent out of certain areas and getting better timing on items. Hearing every sound while building routine and gaining experience on strategy, learning the common routes people take to get to the point they want to be. Crawling into the mind of the one they are facing, figuring out their thoughts and anticipating to them.

The time was there to shake off the layer of rust that a combination of water and the summer sun left on me. In my first games two weeks ago, after being pretty inactive since the nations cup, dk invited me for some games, a player that has achieved a lot in quake 3. When he beat me on dm6 I realized there is a long road ahead of me. When playing different maps it looked a lot better but it became obvious I had to get back in shape would I want to compete with experienced players, I was not sure if I wanted to put the time and effort necessary into it. Just over a week later when I logged on to IRC and ran into virus, an old Dutch player, we dueled some and agreed to both sign up for QWDL.

After having played maybe one hundred duels over the length of years it felt like it was time to make a change, have a fresh look on the game when the opportunity arose in the form of the QuakeWorld Duel League. Thinking on one hand it would be fun, refreshing and a learning experience, on the other hand I saw a great challenge ahead. Not having the slightest idea of how my level of play was compared to others I played Mille, who was rather rusty, five days ago. After beating him on two maps and getting spanked on the third the competitive side of me came on top. Wanting to see how good I can get in a short relative short period of time I decided to give it a try and start playing more. An encounter with one of the most active players of today was inevitable. The fact that Cage quit several years ago is one of the reasons Slackers is still around, at least the way we know it now, because after he quit Leftovers was looking for a replacement, came across ParadokS and renamed to Slackers. So far he’s had no problems showing me all corners of the maps and giving me advice.

It have been an adventurous last few days to say the least. From the feeling of getting somewhere when giving players from high divisions a hard time to the idea of giving up after losing to people placed ten or more divisions lower. The ups and downs between games are huge, between winning with a good amount to losing with more. It is obvious that just like in 4on4 there are no real shortcuts, you need game time, experience and routine to get to a decent level. Especially when your aim isn’t working the way you’re used to, or would want to, these factors together with tactical play can make up for a lot. Luckily we’re blessed with the presence of challenge-tv where we can find a great amount of demos featuring top players of all times, giving everyone an opportunity to study their tactics and learn from it.

Over a year it has been, since Ownage was here, it is good to see that there are still new people stepping up to organize competitions, the community has waited quite a while for an all round duel tournament. The divisional system that has never been used for duels before looks interesting to say the least, I wonder how it will turn out to work.
The questions for me that remain are how long it will take to get rid of the rust and how steep the learning curve will be. Even though the luck of dot should be on my side I’m placed in division two with five others, Insane, Krab, Mille, Murdoc and Xalibur, who all have this too! Whatever the outcome of my matches I am, probably just like everybody, looking forward to the action, all the big and smaller games, the upsets and the drama.

5 responses to “Exploring the land of duels”

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Sunday 14th September, 2008

Interesting read - nice one :)

Sunday 14th September, 2008

weeeee a purity post!
nice read, hope you will post more while you experience your league:)

Sunday 14th September, 2008

Pur for div2 winner!


Åke Vader
Monday 15th September, 2008

I actually was thinking the same thing about QWDL when booting up QW the other day to check some demos, buuut perhaps next time.

An excellent read anyway, as always when it's coming from you.

Wednesday 17th September, 2008

purity for pulitzer award!

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