A Nexus Night
Last night I went to the local arena that uses Nexus equipment in order to mix things up a little and get a better feel for some of the differences. I have played here only twice ever, so it is not as instantly familiar to me as the feel of the packs/phasers at the other arenas. There are different sound indicators, no courtesy shot that I could identify and a slightly different feel when taking a shot and making the tag. The bases are a bit different also and, though we did not take advantage of it, I know the system is capable of a much wider range of game functions than just the basics.
I've started and restarted writing about this experience several times, deleting and beginning again because, you see, last night felt really "meh". It was not because of the game...I was consistently pulling either first or second place, so this feeling isn't because of how I was doing personally. It's more a feeling of not being particularly welcome to this scene by some of the regulars...but I payed my money at the door so I was going to power through for as much practice as I could squeeze out anyway. Here's how it went...
This night was played with a handful of guys in their twenties, a handful of teen/young adult women, a couple parents and a few kids. And yet, for some reason the first vibe that hit me in the briefing room was apprehension and I don't really know why. They looked like they were regular players, but certainly no more formidable than anyone else I might cross paths with in another game. Certainly nothing that would intimidate me. Still, I immediately felt like the outsider. Since this is not really an arena where I plan to spend a lot of time it's not really a big deal, so I figured I'd just ignore the vibe and focus on practice.
The first game was a surprise to me...I lost the top spot because of something stupid. I know in this arena you can get each opposing base twice (that's four base hits in all). And if each base is worth 2001 points (which was new info to the game master who was insistent it was a flat 2000 until I pointed out the stray digit at the end of each player's score) then why did mine end with a three when I know enough to (and did) shoot all four? Either one of my base hits didn't register or I thought I got it when someone else actually did. Whatever the case, I did not have four bases on the screen, which knocked my points down. Meaning the base I thought I got that did not count/register cost me the points that would have been enough to win that first game for me. Instead I was shy about 1000 points instead of ahead by 1000. Sigh. Losing to a better player is one thing. Losing due to carelessness or error is something else entirely. I am not letting that happen again.
The second game I played as Marvel. I won it and proved my point about base values to the game master who had never before noticed or been aware of why the score would end with an odd extra number.
The third and fourth games I came in second to a veteran player at this arena named Douglas. He was good competition and a very nice person. We chatted a bit about the tournament, the differences in the game and the fact that I was clearly not very popular tonight among the teen girls. They have quite vocally expressed that they hate that I am tagging them and there are a couple who seem to think I am shooting them in particular and they have launched a little vendetta against me it seems...of course this is not the case, I'm just aiming for whomever is on the other team. Nothing personal ladies. Cue the music..."Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat some worms"...and show up in Philly better prepared. I am here for practice and that's all I am concerning myself with tonight. Yep, there's where I was picking up the vibe.
However, I do have one thing to address. Ok, there are a few players in here who have learned some terminology and seem to like to show it off. Unfortunately, their definition needs work. They are very vocal about "respawning"...in short, the point they are addressing is that if a player has been shot it's just not sporting to follow them around during the eight seconds it takes their pack to come up again. Absolutely, I'm sure we can all agree not to follow people and to play nice. However, that is NOT the same as shooting a player who makes no effort to move or hide and just stands right in front of you. Especially if while standing there they are aiming their phaser right at you. It's also not the same as tagging a player who inadvertently happens to cross your path at the same time their pack comes up. And it's not the same as you standing in one spot and sniping what you see if they run into your line of vision instead of seeking out a safe place to regroup. Following is not nice. But players over the age of 14 whining about being shot in fair game is also not nice...and damn annoying. The arena we are playing in tonight is one of the smallest I've ever played, so the game is fairly close quarters. The guys are great competition, but keep landing on my team. Meanwhile others are taking this game too personally when it is really not.
The fifth game I again took first with the Marvel pack.
The sixth game went back to Douglas and we went back and forth with it. He's quite good on his home turf. I started using the Phantom pack at this point.
This was about the point where I began to once again ponder scoring values. Every now and again I wonder how it is possible for the average scores to be so vastly different between arenas playing a similar game. So I made some specific inquiries to the management of my local arenas and these are the values they confirmed (although these values may not be the same for every arena)...
Nexus center: 50 shoulder, 100 front, 200 back, 50 phaser, 2001 base
Rift center: 50 shoulder, 50 front, 100 back, 50 phaser, 2000 base
Infusion center: 100 shoulder, 200 front, 100 back, 50 phaser, 2000 base
Until putting that down side by side I kind of thought they were all relatively equal. Well, that puts in perspective why the outcomes between arenas are what they are. Although, just as a side note, I appreciate that the Infusion packs from the night before have a feature to additionally compliment good performance. Beyond higher scores, the speakers in these packs will say the following things in periodic succession when you reach a certain amount of uninterrupted tags without being tagged out yourself...
Gender bias aside, I love when my pack calls me a "Zone God". However, my Nexus pack had no such compliments for me this night. But it's ok. I'll settle for a few good wins and a chance to shake up some new practice opportunities. And that was my Nexus night.
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