Sirlin’s essays have been around since the turn of the century, and they’re a great read if you want to understand the nature of competition. Although his background is in fighting games, it is equally applicable to anything that has some sort of competition to it. I never bothered buying the book, but I remember reading the essays as he posted them, and having long discussions about them.
The type of person his writing targets is very specific. I am one of those people. It doesn’t matter if I am playing a game, or a sport, or playing an instrument. I will use everything available to me to be the best I can be at any given time. When I used to do sudokus, I would write my time down on the page. Now I have a digital one that keeps track for me. I love playing solitaire on my laptop during TV commercials to see if I can beat my previous record. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I will try to give a better idea of the mind of an ultra-competitive person.
I believe so, but if you bring a knife to a gunfight, don’t complain when you get shot. Certain types of competition may be better suited to your style of play, or in giving you whatever fulfillment you are seeking. Unfortunately, any type of competition, regardless of the rule set, is seen as a challenge to a competitive person, so there is no way I can think of to actively discourage us. If you make a custom MWL or ban list, it’s just a different framework for me to prove that I am the best. Same with 126.96.36.199. Personally I would prefer no MWL, rotation or errata (other than corrections to cards that don’t work). I see this as the greatest challenge available as it is hard to predict and control card interactions from cycles spread far apart. It’s why I am probably attracted to playing the Vintage format in MtG. Even outside of Vintage, I will still try to build the best Commander or Pauper deck in order to be the best player I can be in a competition. You may play the odd game here and there, but I am watching multiple games on Jinteki, streams on youtube, reading every article I can and looking at decks every day on NRDB to see what trends are available for me to work with and/or exploit.
His statements are factually correct for the audience he is writing for. If you don’t find it relatable or applicable, you aren’t his target audience. A true competitive player does not care about what his opponent’s motivations for competing are. If their choices limit their chances of victory, that is their own decision. The only way it affects a competitive player is that by limiting their own chance of winning, they are limiting the competitive player’s challenge to victory and the chance to prove themselves the best in that competition. I don’t like tabling my opponent as that probably means it wasn’t a challenge for me, and I likely wasn’t given the chance to test my abilities and learn more about the game and my abilities.
His use of the term “scrub” has always been a problem for me due to the already negative connotation it has. He should have just chosen a different term for his interpretation, or created one himself.
The excuses he has given are all things I have heard Netrunner players say when complaining about matches. They complain about cheap cards, types of decks their opponents play, and about their pet decks not being competitive.
He never refers to them as children. He does point excuses often used and why they are unacceptable.
It is foolish to limit yourself with the use of additional personal rules to limit your chances of victory in a competition. If you don’t want to play in the 100% competitive way, that’s your prerogative, but you can’t complain when others do in a competition.
Blaming someone else for your loss (they’re cheap, theyre just a newb, etc) instead of using it as a chance to reevaluate and retrain is a failure as well.
Tilting before or during a match is self-fulfilling and deprives your opponent of a fair competition. As I said before, I want an opponent who is a challenge. Telling me you suck (and meaning it, not just trying to jedi-mind trick me) and then just going through the motions is a waste of both our time.
Are you allowed to get frustrated and have reasons for not enjoying yourself? Of course. But going to a competition and complaining about competitive players is like going to the movies and complaining about the price of popcorn. You really have no excuse unless it’s your first time going.
Coming from MtG and other CCGs, I would agree that many Netrunner players are not what I would define as competitive. I’m not sure why the game doesn’t attract as many true competitive players. I don’t think it’s FFG’s limited prize support as a competitive player is driven by the win, not the prize. I would love for someone to look into it to see why this has happened.
I would actually say it’s the opposite. Scrubs are the ones whom the prizes are more likely to appeal to. Things like alternate arts and playmats fill out their experiences. Competitive players only care about the competition and improving. While prize support can be cool, some of the best competitions I have been to had little prize support for the winner. Give me a plaque, and give the rest of the stuff out as door prizes so everyone has a shot at them. The only reason I have for wanting prizes for winning is so that I can convert them into cash to help subsidize any expenses the competition requires.
The game is irrelevant. It could be rock scissor paper, pogs, or mancala. The act of competition and proving you are the best is what is enjoyable.
For a competitive player, It is a double-edged sword. A win proves you are the best, but that also means that the competition is over. I have just as much fun during the game if it is a challenge. The essays are targeted at competitive players. He doesn’t care how other types of players get enjoyment.
Some players will play a single game because they like it, but other players play multiple fighting games because they like the competition, and the games are interchangeable. Going back to MtG, the majority of paper Vintage tournaments allow proxy (playtest) cards. Some limit them, but others have a no proxy limit. Many of us don’t care if you bring a bunch of pokemon cards sharpied to be MtG cards, as long as it is clear what they are. If you whole deck is proxied, you can use slips of paper. We just want the competition, and we don’t want money to be an excuse as to why you can’t build the best deck possible. Us owning our cards is a matter of pride and status, but that is something I see totally separate from the competition.
Dicks can be part of any group. I’ve met just as many dick casual gamers as “competitive” ones. I put that in quotes because very rarely do I meet a true competitive gamer who is a dick. Usually it’s someone who thinks there are one, but they aren’t. A competition is there to test your mettle, and there will always be winners and losers. A loss is a valuable experience because it gives you a chance to reevaluate your abilities and improve. A truly competitive player would see that.
The scrubs article is probably one of my least favorite in the series. I would highly recommend also reading the one on sportsmanship. There is a proper way to conduct yourself in victory and defeat.