Since I consider myself a competitive player (which doesn't mean I am a good player, to be clear), I started reading it. And the more I read it, the more I found written out clearly some concepts that I was trying to make in some posts on the boards.
Imagine a majestic mountain nirvana of gaming. At its peak are fulfillment, “fun,” and even transcendence.
There are a few, though, who are not at this peak, but who would be very happy there.
“Playing to win” is largely the process of shedding the mental constructs that trap players in the chasm who would be happier at the mountain peak.
A lot of people get rubbed the wrong way by this stuff because they think I want to apply “playing to win” to everyone. I don’t. It’s not that I think everyone should be on this particular peak or that everyone would even want to be. There are other peaks in life, probably better ones. But those who are stuck in the chasm really should know their positions and how to reach a happier place.
The derogatory term “scrub” means several different things. One definition is someone (especially a game player) who is not good at something (especially a game). By this definition, we all start out as scrubs, and there is certainly no shame in that. I mean the term differently, though. A scrub is a player who is handicapped by self-imposed rules that the game knows nothing about. A scrub does not play to win.
Now, everyone begins as a poor player—it takes time to learn a game to get to a point where you know what you’re doing. There is the mistaken notion, though, that by merely continuing to play or “learn” the game, one can become a top player. In reality, the “scrub” has many more mental obstacles to overcome than anything actually going on during the game. The scrub has lost the game even before it starts. He’s lost the game even before deciding which game to play. His problem? He does not play to win.The scrub would take great issue with this statement for he usually believes that he is playing to win, but he is bound up by an intricate construct of fictitious rules that prevents him from ever truly competing. These made-up rules vary from game to game, of course, but their character remains constant.
A common call of the scrub is to cry that the kind of play in which one tries to win at all costs is “boring” or “not fun.” Who knows what objective the scrub has, but we know his objective is not truly to win. Yours is. Your objective is good and right and true, and let no one tell you otherwise. You have the power to dispatch those who would tell you otherwise, anyway. Simply beat them.
The scrubs will play “for fun” and not explore the extremities of the game. They won’t find the most effective tactics and abuse them mercilessly. The good players will. The good players will find incredibly overpowering tactics and patterns. As they play the game more, they’ll be forced to find counters to those tactics. The vast majority of tactics that at first appear unbeatable end up having counters, though they are often quite subtle and difficult to discover. Knowing the counter tactic prevents the other player from using his tactic, but he can then use a counter to your counter. You are now afraid to use your counter and the opponent can go back to sneaking in the original overpowering tactic.
The scrub has still more crutches. He talks a great deal about “skill” and how he has skill whereas other players—very much including the ones who beat him flat out—do not have skill. The confusion here is what “skill” actually is.
I once played a scrub who was actually quite good. That is, he knew the rules of the game well, he knew the character matchups well, and he knew what to do in most situations. But his web of mental rules kept him from truly playing to win. He cried cheap as I beat him with “no skill moves” while he performed many difficult dragon punches. He cried cheap when I threw him five times in a row asking, “Is that all you know how to do? Throw?”(My note: he is talking about Street Fighter here) I gave him the best advice he could ever hear. I told him, “Play to win, not to do ‘difficult moves.’” This was a big moment in that scrub’s life. He could either ignore his losses and continue living in his mental prison or analyze why he lost, shed his rules, and reach the next level of play.I’ve never been to a tournament where there was a prize for the winner and another prize for the player who did many difficult moves.
What should be banned?
The world is full of players who think everything under the sun should be banned. The scrub believes that any tactic or maneuver that beats him should be labeled “cheap” and consequently banned. In actuality, very little ever needs to be banned.
............How does one know if a bug destroys the game or even if a legitimate tactic destroys it? The rule of thumb is to assume it doesn’t and keep playing, because 99% of the time, as good as the tactic may be, there will either be a way to counter it or other even better tactics. Prematurely banning something is the scrub’s way. It prevents the scrub from ever discovering the counter to the Valle CC or the diamond trick (my note: read the entire entry of the book if you want to understand what they are). It also creates artificial rules that alter the game, when it’s entirely possible that the game was just fine the way it was. It also usually leads to an avalanche of bans in order to be consistent with the first. When players think they have found a game-breaking tactic, I advise them to go win some tournaments with it. If they can prove that the game really is reduced to just that tactic, then perhaps a ban is warranted. It’s extremely rare that a player is ever able to prove this though. In fact, I don’t even have any examples of it.
And the main point is:
“It’s Too Good!”
Only in the most extreme, rare cases should something be banned because it is “too good.” This will be the most common type of ban requested by players, and almost all of their requests will be foolish. Banning a tactic simply because it is “the best” isn’t even warranted. That only reduces the game to all the “second best” tactics, which isn’t necessarily any better of a game than the original game. In fact, it’s often worse!
Result? Ban R&D and now ban Y.
thanks for reading.