Friends….How Many Of Us Have Them?

I have been gaming with a particular group of friends for over a decade and we’ve all gone from being young miscreants to pillars of our community. Our gaming habits have changed a bunch due to many reasons: children, marriages and work to name a few. So I find myself needing and wanting new people to play with who both are engaged in having fun, are around my age and most importantly NOT douchebags. Usually I would play with random folk but as any gamer who has picked up an Xbox or Playstation mic in the past decade knows, “It ain’t safe in them thar hills.” If I wanted to deal with misogyny, racism and homophobia I would just watch a Republican Debate.

So when deciding how to approach this article, I asked myself, “What makes a good teammate?” and, “Where do I go to find like-minded gamers?” I asked friends, did a little research and even spoke with a pro-gamer acquaintance for some ideas. I’m hoping that some of my findings might help you if you are in the same rut that I’m in.

First up is GameBattles, recently snapped up by Major League Gaming. This mega leaderboard is the place that many people who are looking to find clan-based competition would go. Those wanting to go pro in a game like Call of Duty, Halo or Gears of War seem to congregate here and find people to scrimmage against or recruit. Having used GB in the past I found it a great tool if you already have a group of people you like to play with and trust them to have your back in a firefight. Leaderboards and global rank I’m sure are great at building camaraderie (if you are winning) but don’t seem to help with finding new people to play with.

Next is a site that I was exposed to by YouTube sensation WoodysGamertag. Woody has been streaming his gaming exploits for a while now but would always refer to a site called Hupitgaming. Hupit stands for Helping Unite Players Into Teams; the sole purpose of it is to get folks who have similar play styles and gaming habits to play together. It’s like Match.com for gamers with more shooting and fewer walks on the beach. When you start using the site, you put in a bunch of information about yourself and how you like to play. Your particular gaming style, platform of choice and a few other details are needed. Once you’ve finished, your Gamertag or PSN name is uploaded and if other folks have similar tastes you can send them a friend request and a message.

It’s pretty genius and the process is painless. After setting up my profile I had a couple of friend requests on both my PS3 and Xbox and the folks were pretty cool to play with but after a couple of days we stopped playing with each other. Maybe it was due to the times I was on or not on for that matter. I will say that the people I “met” were nice and didn’t have the attitude that I see with many super competitive gamers. Many people I’ve come into contact with are just rude, not only to their opponents but to their own teammates. At this stage in my life I don’t have the time or energy to deal with that, so any way I can lessen that stress is welcomed. Overall I would say that Hupit is a great site to help with finding people to play with. I will definitely try it again and update this post with some of my findings.

Lastly, I reached out to Ritchie Martinez, who you may know better by his online moniker TeRRoR. He is a pro gamer that is just coming off of a huge win at one of the country’s biggest Gears of War tournaments titled “Hypefestation”. He and his team Infinity had an awesome come-from-behind victory and showed just what great communication and team play can do when implemented correctly. After watching, I reached out to him via email and I asked him some questions pertaining to how he found his Infinity crew and if he had any tips on recruiting better teammates. He also shared some insights on playing as a pro, here is our interview below:

SP: I see from a recent interview that you did at HYPEFESTATION, that you and the rest of Infinity have been together since Gears 2 came out and you guys are still going strong. How did you meet the crew that you run with now? Online, Real life friends?

TeRRoR: To clarify we started playing together at the very end of Gears of War 2 in which we only competed on Gamebattles which was an online tournament that we ended up winning. Ribs and I met online , we tried him out a couple of days before MLG’s (Major League Gaming) roster lock and felt like we meshed extremely well.  Atmo and Flamez we also met through online. A lot of us in the community know each other from competing the last few years.

SP: As a pro player are there different things that you look for in teammates that have evolved or are different since going pro?

TeRRoR: Well I think maturity and knowing how to take positive criticism is very important in this sport. It seems as if many teams fight and argue over losing scrims and that’s definitely not the case when it comes to Infinity. I just like to play with people who enjoy perfecting a craft so that we make strategies as routine and smooth as possible. I can finally say I feel like I found the right combination in my teammates.

SP: What is your gaming schedule like? How long do you guys as a team practice? Do you practice in person or only online?

TeRRoR: Unfortunately we don’t have the proper funds to practice in person as much as we would like to so we just wing it on XBL.  We all try to get on around 6:30pm EST and run at least one or two practice cycles before the night’s over. My gaming schedule is pretty open for the time being but I find myself playing other games outside of Gears of War in my free gaming time.

SP: Certain games seem to promote team-based gameplay more than others, since you and Infinity are mainly a GOW based crew. Are there things in GOW that help you guys to be a better team? Are there systems in the game that you would like to see implemented in other games or systems in other games you would like to see GOW adopt?

TeRRoR: The great thing about Gears Of War is that it’s a very tactical game, you aren’t going to kill me across the map unless you have a power weapon. This means that you have to develop a plan to try and find a way to slowly pick off the opposing team one by one. As opposed to COD it seems that if I see you before you see me, the majority of the time I’ll be able to kill you. I think that is a huge difference when it comes to tactical shooters.

SP: When you were getting Infinity together did you have a recruitment strategy? When my crew used to play MW we would do a lot of 1v1’s to see if people were good enough to join the team. How does it work on a pro level? Do you use any social media to look up or scout people?

TeRRoR: There was no true strategy involved, Ribs and Atmo are great friends and were pretty much looking for who they might wanna play with. The team belonged to Atmo since Gears 1 and since the brand is very important to the Gears community we kept the team name. Ribs recommended me to Atmo who then agreed it might be a great fit so for a little while we were a team of 3 looking for a fourth. The best way to try people out is by trying them out in a match, in our case an online match (Gamebattles). Social media can be a great way to communicate with free agents but unless you know how someone plays I don’t think it’s a great idea to recruit through it.

SP: How do you deal with internal team conflict on strategies and technique?
TeRRoR: Well since online play is very frustrating we do conflict a whole lot when it comes to strats and map placement, but everything seems to go out the window when we are playing side by side. It seems to feel like when we are together we have a better understanding of each other. It’s usually me starting the conflicts, getting on the guys cases being that I like to run things smoothly I’m sure they understand so they just let me go on a rant. LOL
SP: Do you have any advice for people when looking for people to play with, for competitive and/or casual play? I know that you guys scrim a lot of other pro teams, how is the pro community when not playing against each other? Are other teams usually friendly?

TeRRoR: Well we really try not to separate ourselves from the rest of the community, but it seems as if the quality of scrims seem to change when playing against a team who isn’t pro. They don’t take it seriously, they run around doing things that shouldn’t be done, and it can just be very frustrating because then we just get less practice from it. We have been doing a better job at mixing it up to try and prepare and counter all kinds of strats thrown at us whether its a pro team or not.

SP: Are there any other games you would like to see Infinity play on a pro level?

TeRRoR: I’m really interested in seeing if we can possibly compete in another shooter, but I don’t see it being a main focus point at the moment being all four members need to be on the same page.

SP: Are there any connections to the developers that you or other pro teams have to the games that you play professionally? We saw the additions of new cameras that would better show the game when played in competitions. Are there any other things you would like to see implemented?

TeRRoR: Well I feel as if the guys over at Epic are doing a great job with communicating with the competitive scene. They have already done some tuning for us and we appreciate it very much. We give them a lot of slack because everyone has a vision on how the game should be played, but our community is very strong and it seems as if  a lot of us are on the same page when it comes to what we are looking for in terms of competitive balance.
SP: What are your hopes for both competitive gaming and for the GOW community? Do you think having more tourneys would bring more light to E-Sports? Do you think there is anything a team like yours could do to promote it more?

TeRRoR: I do think that more tourneys would bring more light to E-Sports but we need to push for a bigger cause. I hope that one day gaming can be taken seriously and players on pro teams are getting paid on a salary. This would help so that they can focus on just doing that instead working a 9-5 job and not having time for the passion of gaming. I just personally hope to see the E-Sports community grow as a whole. (I don’t think I’m asking for too much)

Finding other quality people can be a daunting task and we are to a certain extent far removed from the days of having folks over for gaming sessions. Some of this is due to life just being in the way, the growth of online console gaming and even the lack of split-screen has lowered the chance of having gaming friends that are worth having around even after your system is off. I hope that some of you try a couple of these options if you are looking for cool people to play with, and if you have some stories of how you met awesome people to play with please share your stories in the comments below.

I wanted to send a HUGE thank you to TeRRoR for taking the time to be the Spawnpoint’s first interview. We really appreciate you being so awesome and giving us such great information for our article. Please shout him out on his Twitter page here and check out his TwitchTV channel here.

Kahlief Adams

Kahlief was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As an avid technophile and lover of all things video games. He set his career path in the direction of a life making games until he found out his arch nemesis, “Math,” had other plans in store. So instead of making the next Tetris he found himself writing and talking about games on his website The Spawn Point Blog and Spawn On Me. Check out what I'm blabbering about over @kahjahkins on Twitter. PSN = KAHJAH1 XBL=KAHJAHKINS

1 Comment
  • Marcness
    Reply

    You’re lucky that you have a band of brothers to always rely on….

    I’m a dinosaur when it comes to playing multiplayer games: I strongly prefer playing multiplayer games in the same room as the other people over playing online. It’s the anonymity of playing online that I don’t like. Also, because you don’t physically interact with someone, people play differently….many players lack consideration for others, whether they like do it intentionally or not. Kinda like people in front of the camera…if they know they’re on camera, they don’t act like themselves. This is the chief reason why I’ve long left my love for fighting games (I was once tournament-calibre, you know). Ever since my fellow tourney-calibre friends moved to PA, I’ve lost my fire to practice. I always have the option to log on and play, but it’s just not the same as heading up to the arcade and meeting friends and strangers to play and talk about the games you love.

    As for FPS/TPS games, this type of game I don’t mind as much playing online….it’s either playing online or give up a portion of your screen for other players (remember those days?). However, the reason why I don’t get into it as much as I’d like is because of the coordination involved with playing with a group of people. Being a 33-year-old with a full time job living with my significant other, it’s really hard to sync up with my friends, who are as old with similar life situations, to get a good game going. Moreover, by the time you’re getting into a groove, it’s time for bed, as you have to get up the next morning for work. Inversely, it’s hard to find people that are willing to coordinate strategies with you. The average player, in my experience, is all about winning for themselves just to brag about their stats. When you have a room full of these players, it’s just frustrating and boring. Where did good ol’ Capture The Flag go?

    I miss those days….I’m a dinosaur, indeed.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm

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