A bad workman blames his tools, and so it is that Toby McCasker questions his latency.
By Toby McCasker on May 21, 2014 at 3:18 pm
I’m crap at games, but I’m not that crap. Man, if you play shooters for this long, it’s almost impossible not to be kind of OK at them. And yet there I am, getting shot up. Sometimes, yeah, I was eating chips and not giving a care. Sometimes though, I know what’s up because — the firefight I just bafflingly lost? Very obviously the product of lag.
“Lag,” someone said the other night, “is the great decider in modern online FPS games. There is no skill,” they asserted. “Only lag, and not-lag.” If that’s true that sucks for me, because my internet is worse than an itchy butt.
I find this idea of lag being the great decider in online FPS skills even more troubling than the questions my own itchy butt raises. It hadn’t really occurred to me until this nameless internet person insisted on its power. Could it be true? I think back to the number of times I swore I had the jump on that dude, but he aced me first somehow. Then I look over at the girlf breathlessly streaming Vampire Diaries or whatever she’s into and Hmmm, yeah, OK. This whole Illuminlaggy conspiracy might have some triggerlegs.
So I started thinking about how to beat lag at its own game — its own game being to ruin my game. Just short of “moving next door to a telecommunications provider and making friends with them,” I have decided to develop my psychic powers. It seems the only way to slay is to become Jean Grey and avoid the movies of Michael Bay / Hey, my favourite character in Neon Gen is Rei / What’s yours? Don’t bother, I know what you’re gonna say / Asuka FTW, and that’s OK / Redheads, you know, their lovin’ is like Fri-day / I’m sorry Tim.
So as I was saying before I mysteriously rapped to you about underage anime babes, I have begun the practice of reading my opponent’s minds. Now personally I don’t believe psychic powers are possible. You should read this, it’s hilarious. What I do believe is possible is noting behavioural patterns in certain contexts and mentally quantifying them. It is absolutely bizarre how similarly so many FPS players behave in situations common to the genre, and how so many of them will freak out in exactly the same way when confronted with the uncommon antics of a man on a bad lag wire.
It’s why the guy who immediately doubles back and comes charging at you after you get the drop on him more often than not succeeds in his kamikaze madness. Used to succeed, anyway. Interestingly, this sudden guns-to-the-wind approach has become normalised. I see it all the time now where once it was startling, just as I see you, guy with awesome connection, waiting ‘round the bend until after the tell-tale click of my parched killstick has sounded. I will be holding this live grenade tight.