In my days as a young nerd, I was plagued with a constant state of indifference that I still carry with me today. If I liked the idea of something enough to try it, chances are I loved it. If I didn't, there was no amount of bartering or intellectual prodding that could accelerate my interest. If you doubt this as truth, I ate the same exact turkey sandwich for seven years. Yeah, I know. This infection of sorts did not isolate itself to my stomach, nor my brain. It is my every day, and it goes without saying that it's a love and hate relationship. While the aforementioned may sound awful and appalling to the majority of the academic community, there are several advantages, especially when it comes to competitive gaming.
The beauty of gaming is that there is always something to be done. I can log on any given day and have a craving for something new regardless of the previous days activities. Foreigners like me call this "variety". Five days ago I was in one of the previously described perpetually indifferent moods when I was messaged by our very own vVv Paradise. The timing could not have been better, and our rather brief conversation went something like this:
Paradise: "Hey bud, as I recall you've played TCG's competitively in the past, and I have a new one for you to try. Might and Magic: Duel of Champions. So get it done."
Myself: "Ok, sweet."
That was that. As soon as I started the download, I began researching this newest conquest. I was immediately struck by the similarities to Magic: the Gathering and knew it would be at the very least a fun venture. I assumed I would have a tough time picking up on brand new themes, deck building tactics, and strategies, due to my previous encounters with the TCG genre. My MTG learning curve was pretty extensive, some would say "slow", and I still don't consider myself to be good at the game. You could say I was feeling a wave of skepticism coming on based on earlier experiences. I have never been more wrong in my life.
The combat math, usage of spells, even concepts of card advantage and board position, it was all familiar. Everything felt like only a homemade gooey cookie could except the playing field. It looked like I was watching a chess board. Creatures were moving around like Othello pieces, jockeying for optimal position, prioritizing certain spells to get you that position, and attempting to put your opponent as far out of friendly territory as possible. This was a truly intuitive and crazy system of combat, but it made total sense to me the second I started playing the game. I have no idea why, but it did.
Over the next hour before I went to bed, I played several games, reaching roughly 250 ELO. I was hooked. There was no denying my excitement, and I didn't try to. I messaged Paradise back immediately after finishing my last game and sent what I'm sure quantified to several paragraphs of desperate fanboy letters, which had to resemble a calamity of schoolboy nerdhood crashing against a defenseless ginger colored rock, unable to escape. Thankfully, he was encouraging, and the fun continued early the next day.
I woke up to my usual routine of not having a routine, and sat down in front of my computer. I proceeded to open up my DoC client and clicked the matchmaking button. A friend of mine had jokingly said that I would probably be 600 ELO before he got home from work, to which I scoffed and chuckled sarcastically. He came over several hours later to see an 800 ELO sticker next to my name, at which point we both freaked out like small children and flailed dramatically. We quickly scurried to ignore what had just happened and kept playing.
The next day resulted in more of the same domination, reaching 1000 ELO on what was then day 3, followed by a much needed break. On day 4, 1105. Then today, 1243. I messaged paradise after each session letting him know where I had landed and how I was progressing, and I was greeted with a more morbidly shocked response each time. Things like, "Dude, go outside." and, "F*** that guy." were regularly mentioned around the Ubisoft office as I made my comical climb on what looked like a rusty one-and-a-half wheeled bicycle of a deck. While this was all new and awesome to me, I didn't really understand the magnitude of what I was doing until I looked at the surrounding victory totals on the leader board above and behind me.
I had taken a swim upstream and landed in shark infested waters in a matter of 100 victories and I still couldn't tell you the names of half the cards I'm playing against, or with for that matter. As embarrassing as that is I'm having a ton of fun, and I can't really stop at this point. I'll be sure to update the masses regularly via Facebook and Twitter as I continue my climb, and I'm sure there will be a prolonged streaming session in the very near future. Keep an eye out and if all goes well, I should be attending GenCon in mid August as well as continuing my online march for the Road to Paris qualifiers.
I would encourage everyone reading to take a stab at Might and Magic. Give it a download and allow yourself the opportunity to throw your arms everywhere like a wacky inflatable tube man. I know I have on multiple occasions. For those interested my IGN is "SolidBlak", but don't stop there. I will connect you with the people connecting with me if you do so much as ask, and I would love to see some new faces on an incredibly well designed game such as this. It is in fact free to play, so you really have nothing to lose. If you find yourself enthralled in such an experience, and want to take your game to the next level, there is a place for solid deck builders in this game. I will include links below, and as I did, you should get to it.
Off we go.
Main website: http://www.duelofchampions.com/en/index.aspx
Deck building and theorycrafting hub: http://www.mmdoc.net/
My twitter: @vVvRinzler
Ubisoft's Twitter: @Ubisoft
Duel of Champions Twitter: @DuelOfChampions