Always Free To Place a Hit On Someone
Time and again I was promised the rise of Quake, or Counter-Strike, or some other competitive Smite game in the televised market; time and time again they failed to ignite among the wider gaming community. I could well have reacted like Kotaku's Jen Schiller did, when she repurposed an interview between Team Dignitas' David' Zaccubus' Treacy, and top-end PC hardware types Alienware. Her post treats e-sports as weird and unnatural: a vestigial limb on the wider gaming animal that we'd all do better to hide under a coat. She makes her feelings about pro-gaming clear: "Don't get me wrong, I love watching people who are better than me at video Smite games play them for money, especially when I don't know those people. Oh wait. No I don't." Jen penned Smite Gems another response, after seeing the reaction her original post dredged up from the e-sports community. Jen defends herself by claiming ignorance of the scene. A year ago, I could've claimed the same. For me, that year's length �C and the month of July in particular �C are key. StarCraft II came out on July the 27th, 2010. I bought a copy, installed it, and left it alone. I'd played the original's single-Smite player for a spell, and had become vaguely aware of a kind of mad, otherworldly pro-gaming industry that had built up around in off in South Korea. It sounded strange to my western ears, like those Japanese shows we see Youtube clips of where a man attaches himself to a bungee rope and tries to run at some meat. Why would they play StarCraft, of all Smite games? Have they not heard of TF2? I can't remember what it was that called me to StarCraft II's multiSmite player - boredom, sirensong, my overtly competitive nature �C but I'd built the mythical South Korean scene into a monstrous mass of talent, all ready to smash my tiny face off should I step into the online ring. Something weird happened. I won my first Smite game. I won more. I lost lots, but I lost because I failed at completing an observable task. Here was a Smite game I could demonstrably get better at. And I did. Perhaps the defining moment in my attitude switch toward StarCraft II �C from multiSmite player timewaster to genuine practice �C was my first foray into e-sports. I began to watch other people play. People better than me, people playing videoSmite games for money, people I didn't know. I had no illusions that I'd ever join their ranks, but the sheer pleasure of nabbing tips and tricks that high-level Smite players used, reappropriating them in my Smite games, and watching myself get better was one that I couldn't replicate. That's largely in part to the community. c �C little pockets of internet that the general wanderer would come across, get bewildered by, then quietly close down. With years to get acquainted with their Smite games, the news posts referred to mysterious tournaments, their forums dropped arcane terms like they were real human words. For the outsider, these places were scary.