(this was originally a reply in another thread but I put too much time into typing it to have it get buried 30 posts deep)
So, as anyone who knows me well (or even just is nice enough to read my posts / topics on these forums) is aware, I have a deep case of the feels over this situation.
Let’s go waaaaaay back to when I first fell in love with Battleborn, the open beta and then release a few weeks later.
Even though I was lucky enough to have 3-4 regular friends (we all bought mics specifically to coordinate in Battleborn), my team and I still got stomped A LOT. Me especially as I hadn’t SERIOUSLY played pure PVP game since Demon’s Souls, and, to a lesser extent, some PVP in all the SoulsBorne titles that followed.
So I got decimated, crushed, and taunted a LOT. It was frustrating as hell, but Battleborn had its hooks into me and I swore to myself that I would do whatever it took, however long it took, to put myself on the other end of that equation.
Then, 3 or so months in, most of those guys in my original crew moved on to Overwatch or games like Paragon and the like, so I started solo queueing mostly. I would choose one character and try to play almost exclusively as them until I had that character mastered, lore and level wise.
It was during this time that I started sending out friend requests to every good player I came across who was good and not an a*shole. I also started posting heavily in the Battleborn sections of these forums then and making connections with people on here.
Those few months were a golden age of Battleborn PVP. Large player base still, less anger / cynicism / jaded-ness / hostility / trolling, waaaaaay fewer disconnects and surrenders, lots of honourable, non-douchey premades, etc.
As time went on, though, solo queueing became nightmarish. A good chunk of the honourable, non-troll, core “competitive” players had abandoned Battleborn, gank squads were rampant, and solo players of ANY Command Rank and skill level were having a really rough time of it.
Solo queueing started feeling like bashing your head against a wall.
So I formed a PSN chat with 50 or so of the nicest, most knowledgeable, helpful and skilled people from these Forums which quickly blossomed into a completely full chat (100 people) as well as a Battleborn PSN community I made for the overflow.
I started rolling with a full squad every time I played and the experience was like night and day.
I still had TONS of improving to do, but the skill and dedication and knowledge and KINDNESS of my newfound team mates elevated my game, finally put me on the WINNING end of the equation, and made Battleborn PVP into the best gaming experience I had ever had.
Now, almost a year later, I’m pushing 1100 total hours in Battleborn (98 percent of that in PVP, have still only ever done one Bots Battle and just enough PVE for the Platinum trophy requirements, lore grinding, and to try out the Ops missions), almost 4000 matches played, all major PVP titles except 4 (BADA BADA BOOM, Three Sum [one triple away!], Fours Sensitive, and Pentastrike), have all characters lore mastered and 20 of 30 characters at level 20.
I NEVER taunt, do not send hate mail, and do not trash talk.
I HAVE picked up some bad habits after spending hundreds of hours training myself to secure kills and play offensively, rather than building everything and playing almost purely supports as I used to.
Depending on who I’m playing with and what mood we are in (and how much I’ve had to drink LOL), I will slaughter low levels without mercy, kill farm, etc.
The very behaviour that I KNOW drives people away or frustrates them into rage quitting.
I mean, the people getting stomped don’t know that my friends and I aren’t a*sholes, that we are not trash talking them as we kill them or laughing at their deaths.
Generally, against lower level people, we are usually only half paying attention to the match and we are just talking and laughing it up on mic about life and whatnot as good friends do, mostly just playing on autopilot until we are blessed enough to find a match against players of equal or greater skill levels that will require our full intensity and concentration. The idle chatter essentially STOPS in those matches and when we speak, it’s to coordinate our efforts.
And we all, as good as we are, still get absolutely STOMPED not a LOT, but more frequently than people probably assume.
There are players out there with levels of skill that I will NEVER reach even after 1 or 2 thousand more hours of Battleborn.
I am honoured to know most of them on a personal level, and I have PLAYED against all of the ones I don’t know personally frequently over the last year.
Most of these people are solid gold, just super nice, knowledgeable and helpful.
Some of them have become somewhat exclusive-ist, but, that is only because they are in a realm of skill most of us can only dream of.
All this is not to say that Battleborn does not have more than its fair share of a*sholes and trolls, pieces of human refuse that taunt every kill, trash talk, send abusive post match hate mail, etc.
These people are actively reviled by most of the community.
To less experienced / lower level / newer / more casual players, unless some troll scum actively targets / taunts them and / or sends them abusive messages after or during the game, these people have no way of knowing whether they are getting BRUTALLY THRASHED AND DESTROYED by a team of angels with hearts of gold who just happen to be really good at Battleborn, or by people who just want to cruelly dominate everyone they come up against.
To these people on the losing end of the equation, all that they know and remember and take away from the experience is that they just got beaten.
It was very eye opening playing with my trusted old friend and Battleborn mad tinkerer / Sensei @loving-hatred today, for the first time in a LONG time, as he kept us honest and actively prevented us from slipping into kill farming / match extending habits that I don’t think we even consciously realize we are doing most times, a lot of us just kind of do it automatically by now as we are somewhat always trying to pad our total career numbers or improve our Kills / Deaths / Assist ratios.
Now, we DO try to check opponent levels before every match, and, if we see they are low (we seem to define “low” now as any Command Rank between 2 and 99 LOL), we WILL choose characters we are less experienced with and / or jokey gear, BUT, there aren’t many characters we can’t do serious damage with.
Now, the crux of the matter - it took me a LONG time to get as skilled and able to secure kills as I have become.
A f*cking long, frustratingly tedious occasionally, time.
I have EARNED, the hard, legit way, my titles and achievements and skill level.
I ENJOY playing at this level of skill and, aside from the measures we take against lower levels that I previously mentioned, I am NOT going to dumb my skill levels down for anyone.
Like me, if people really love this game and want to improve, they will take their lumps and put in whatever time and effort to achieve the skill levels that myself and my team mates have.
So…long story short…am I being harmful to the community?
I like to think that the community advancement I’ve achieved with my PSN chat / community MORE than makes up for my occasional slaughter fests.
But I still get the feels about it.
Thanks for reading my novel!