Starting today and lasting as long as I can keep power in my clutches, I’ll be serving as the Web Editor of The Meta. Accordingly, I feel like it’s my solemn responsibility to inform you of my skill rankings in the assorted esports I play, so as to establish my credibility beyond a doubt.
It’s never truly winter here in LA, but playing competitive Overwatch this season has been the closest I’ve gotten to sledding in years! After a respectable series of placement games, I landed at 2388 SR. That’s the high end of gold, within spitting distance of platinum! I felt so validated. Then, I lost the next nine games in a row. It was like the gods of MMR had spilled something on their championship jackets and, when they looked up from scrubbing it with seltzer, there I was, waving and grinning like an idiot. Anyway, they corrected their mistake pretty quickly; currently I’m ranked at 2089, still dropping like a stone in water.
League of Legends
I don’t play ranked League of Legends anymore because I have a fragile heart and can’t take the pressure, but back in my heyday I was banging my skull against the door of Silver, failing promotion match after promotion match.
Heroes of the Storm
I’m Silver One! For those of you that don’t, uh, know the ranking system in this game, that’s good! Very good. Trust me.
I’ve lost every bot game I’ve ever played!
Once I was so distracted watching someone play that I tripped on their carpet and spilled a pint of lemonade all over the walls.
So that gives you some idea where I’m coming from. Which begs the question: why should you trust a scrub like me with your esports coverage? Because, at an alarmingly quick rate for someone coming from the world of game criticism, I find myself caring less and less about games outside the competitive space. They feel to me, and I imagine some of you as well, flimsier, less real. They do not make my blood rush or my heart pound in my ears. Most importantly, I cannot watch them play out, guided by hands infinitely more skilled than my own, alongside an audience of millions.
Sometimes, I think about what it must have been like to be a basketball fan when Michael Jordan was playing in his prime. Was there a sense of history beginning the first time he sprung into the air with almost supernatural grace? Was Muhammad Ali flesh and blood to the audience when he took the heavyweight title off of Sonny Liston, or was he wind incarnate? It can be difficult to separate the mythical hero from the human athlete when your only perspective is rear-view.
That’s why earlier this year, I was trying to describe to Kill Screen founder Jamin Warren why we’re so fortunate to be watching Faker, the best player in the history of League of Legends, play. “It could have gone so many other ways! He could have been born to farmers in the Medieval age! Or we might be squinting back from the far future, after the corruption of all existing internet videos by our jealous AI overminds!”
He retold me a story he once heard: A man dies, and goes to heaven. When he gets there, he asks God if he can meet the greatest general who ever lived. God points over to a nameless, anonymous peasant, floating among the clouds. “There he is. Would have been the absolute greatest.”
Think about all the incredible Overwatch players that died in World War I, or the lost god of Smash who was eaten by wolves before we invented shelter. The Street Fighter legend who died fighting mutants in the street in the year 3000. But you and I, by blind luck, happened along at the perfect time. We have the privilege to marvel over Faker’s dominance. We get to sputter in disbelief when Daigo drops a game to Lupe Fiasco. The best moments in the world of esports are happening right now. What an age to be alive, and watch a whole new pantheon of myths be made.