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The MailBag:
Issue 2.2

Comments by Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman
Vol. 2, Issue 2 
November 19, 1999 

From: scoll
Subject: printing articles

Dear Bobbi,

After pasting the URL for your article about "Pro Gamers" to some buddies in IRC last night, we got into a huge discussion/arguement about just what exactly in our gnere of Quake FPS type games defines a "Pro Gamer". After playing just about every Quake type game and mod that has come out since Doom, I have come to the realization that one particular type of mod is the culmination of skill, Rocket Arena. I've been playing RA and RA2 for about 3 years now, and the very best aimers Ive found by far play it. Now here is where the arguement started, everyone started spamming "Thresh this, Thresh that", and it turned pretty ugly at that point. But after I explained why I thought DM was losing supprt, people started listening, and I had to give my RA speech, heh.

Rocket Arena takes more than camping the armor or weapons to win. No more getting to respawn after dying to find a RL and try to make a comeback. Ir RA if you die it's all over until next round. And this very statement is what has brought me back time and again, RA is kinda like Mad Max. 2 people enter, 1 leaves. So the only thing seperating you from death is how quickly you can take down your opponent, and not die in the process without worrying about being stuck with a crappy pea-shooter and no armor while the other guy is fully loaded. 8)

Now I know this kinda makes me crt's "Fan Boy", but I think its alot more than that, his vision of what brings out the best in a Quaker is something I hope is around for a long time.

My question to you is this. I know your clan, PMS, is active in the RA scene, and would like to know what you think of the idea of having tournaments for $$$ in the future that will use it as the official game/mod. I talked to Angel Munoz about this at the Frag3, and he kinda hinted that they will be doing something about a RA3 tourney in the future, but he could not say anything until they have everything finalized. Deathmatch games just seem to be so old and outdated, maybe sometime soon we will think of aim and moving/dodging skills as a true indication of who is truly a great player, instead of denying someone a decent weapon for 15 minutes. Who knows? One day we might find the RA concept the norm, instead of the obscure.

Redd B.{C-M}

Clan Marauders

Aah, Rocket Arena. So many of my clanmates are so heavily addicted to RA2, I think they need a support group. :) But you bring up a good point, and one I’m not sure about. On one hand, RA is very much about raw skill. Can you kill the other guy before they kill you. But there are strategic elements to a full 20 minute DM match on a full level that RA doesn’t offer, such as audio clues on where your opponent is, pacing yourself, timing weapons/item respawns, etc. They both test different types of skill. Which one is “Professional” is the big question, I suppose.

Remember the community summit?

From: Josh Forman
Subject: Roundtable

Hey, looni (or whoever's reading this). I read that long-ass roundtable article and thought I'd throw a few of my thoughts about it at you. First of all, there definitely is elitism in the gaming community. But I think the key point hinges on whether joost is right or not. Joost kept saying that big sites just can't post crap, and they _ought_ to focus more on the guys who have proven through time and experience that they can output content.

So the question isn't whether the community is elitist, it is. The question is whether that elitism is appropriate. But there's definitely a line that needs to be drawn between extremes. If a webmaster chooses to focus ONLY on the big sites, then theoretically it's nearly impossible for a new site to get out there (the exception being BitchX). But BitchX provided original content. What about the sites that produce content that's similar to the big news pages (the 50 bazillion out there as there are)? I have a case-in-point here:

I started working for Gamer's Alliance waaaaay long ago (Im out of the whole field now), and I watched the site grow from jack shit to a moderate sized page/hoster. This is a perfect example, though, of how a similar-content type of site actually did work it's way up the asshole of the industry and was able to get a small audience on its own. Now, the site has gown downhill since then (mostly because we employees who held up the site never saw a dime...a true shame, I love being involved), but the reasons for that I think are totally self-inflicted.

So that proves right there that we haven't reached the "critical mass" as joost put it of the online gaming industry. There's definitely still room for growth, since the online gaming industry is growing at a tremendous pace (actually, I have a prediction that it's going to explode in the somewhat near future), so there's still room for new pages. The reason not too many new pages haven't surfaced has more to do with the fact that most suck than anything else, in my honest opinion.

And then there's the opposite extreme of a site posting anything from anybody based solely on merit. There are logistic problems with this, though, since webmasters simply do not have the time to follow every link in their mailbag, especially with the few extremely large sites. But I do have counter-examples to the one above. I remember going to the QuakeCon-turned-CPL-event thing where Carmack spoke. Now, I was there with Gamer's Alliance, and I worked my ass off so hard-core that Tim Schuh at one point was like "dude, you need to like sleep or eat or something, you're shaking." We didn't even produce that much content from the weekend, but it was a fair bit for just one guy.

What I remember from that weekend though was that when I listened to Carmack's speech I took down very copious notes and put out a really really detailed account of what he said. Way longer than any other site's account that I found (cept for Avault that had it in .mp3 format). Now, Blue linked to me, but small sites didn't, they all linked to Blue. This is an effect I'm not sure that people talked about in the roundtable, that elitism isn't so much forced onto the community by the large sites, but emulated by small sites who want to think they're cool, they want to look like they hang with the big boys so they post stuff "from the man."

But whatever, this gave me an opportunity to bitch, which is why I wrote. It's been a while since I did anything related to gaming (went from GA to Avault, but they were hard as fuck over there, so that only lasted two months). I miss the whole thing a ton, but I have a little bit of an inside/outside perspective after all of this. First of all, it's nearly impossible to do shit unless you have a LOT of time, money, and patience.

Second, I think elitism is perpetuated just as much, if not more, by the little guys as the big guys. Third...I dunno. There's a lot of bullshit out there (like this letter, for instance) that wants to get published (well, I dont give a shit about that any more). I personally think the big sites do a fine job of covering it. Except for Red, which is why I stopped reading him ages ago, but whatever, maybe he changed.

And going to a news site regularly is a lot to ask of a person, if you think about the average laziness of an American. Whatever, that's my monthly bullshit, you had the luck of it coming to your mailbox.

Thanks :-)
Josh Forman

Thanks Josh, you bring up some good points. I should say as well that we will be doing another Community Summit this year, I’m just struggling a little with the format. See, I want to keep it irc-style as I did last year, but the most common criticism I got about the summit was that nobody who didn’t have a website was invited, no ‘Joe Schmoe’ gamers. So I want Joe Schmoe there this year. But how do I figure out which Joe to invite, and how many, etc. Any ideas, e-mail me.

- Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman needs to come up with better taglines.


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