NOTE: The following is a gaming diary entry I wrote a while ago for a videogame forum. For entertainment purposes I’ve made a few tweaks to the story, but for the most part it’s an accurate description of what happened. Names have been changed because … Reasons.
“xXRandomGamerXx has sent you a message”
The notification flashes up on-screen, a welcome distraction from looking at yet another respawn menu on Battlefield 4: Second Assault. Now, I recognise the name only because we’ve been shooting at each other for the past ten minutes. What could this stranger possibly want with me? Perhaps they wish to congratulate me on a particularly splendid headshot? Or a nifty knife kill? I seriously doubt that. It’s more likely that they are about to deride me for being such a mind-bendingly crap player. Intrigued, I crack open the message …
A fascinating, if slightly inaccurate, assessment of my playing style. I’m not a very competitive gamer, but I still pride myself on my gentlemanly conduct on the virtual battlefield. So this ridiculous accusation, accompanied with the unsavoury title, irked me somewhat. Instead of rising to the bait, however, I let it slide, determined to investigate my apparent unsportsmanlike behaviour once the tempers had cooled down.
Ten minutes earlier, Conquest on Operation Metro was about to commence. For the uninitiated, to succeed at Conquest your team has to hold more areas of the map than the opposing team. Operation Metro consists of just three of these areas, conveniently named A, B and C. In order to capture an area, you have to stay within a certain radius of that area’s flag. So, as you can imagine, the opening minutes are a dizzying blur of frantic activity.
My opening plan was to play defensively and use the Assault class. Equipped with a defibrillator and a health pack, I was happy to sit back, let my teammates advance ahead and I could just mop up the casualties. What could possibly go wrong?
Well … Everything. Apparently.
Within minutes, we had spectacularly failed to capture a single flag and, to make me feel even more inadequate, I couldn’t stay alive long enough to revive anybody. Never has the phrase “tits up” been more apt. We were being slaughtered and I’d been killed an embarrassing eleven times without so much as a sniff of a kill for myself. A new tactic was desperately needed.
After deciding where to spawn for the umpteenth time, I switched to the Support class. It’s amazing how much a huge gun with nigh on infinite ammunition can sway your decision. Whilst I was procrastinating over which equipment I should take with me, my squad had somehow managed to sneak out of our deployment and Sam Fisher-ed their way to the farthest control point. Not wanting to waste their hard work, I dived back into the action with the biggest gun I could find and a slack handful of Claymore mines.
The A flag was the control point that we were taking. Now, I knew that their entire team was at the C flag, which I figured gave me enough time to capture A and set up shop. There’s a cosy little room within the capture radius of, and overlooking, A. There are two possible entrances to this room, so, in an unashamedly cowardly move, I planted my Claymores in front of both, placed my unfeasibly large gun on the window sill and waited …
And waited …
And waited, all the while reciting, “A is mine. You shall not pass. A is mine.” Imagine Gandalf with a Pecheneg.
Apparently, this is what’s commonly referred to as “camping”. A tactic that is frowned upon in most gaming circles. How was I to know? I was merely seeking a respite from dying, while at the same time helping the team out. Surely this was a completely acceptable strategy, under the circumstances?
After what felt like an eternity, some poor bugger wandered into view, admirably checking to see if the surrounding area was clear. It was a pity he/she never thought to look up; otherwise they would have seen a bloody great big gun dangling precariously out of a window, with me desperately clinging on to the safe end. I couldn’t believe my luck, so I took careful aim and opened fire.
Naturally, with me being a thoroughly inadequate player, I managed only to suppress them while a squad mate did the actual killing. Defending the flag was more important than personal gain anyway. As the unfortunate soldier’s body slumped to the ground, a group of enemies emerged from out of nowhere. In the ensuing panic, I somehow managed to kill one of them. Once again, my squad saved my bacon by dispatching the rest of the group. Flag A was still ours, and I had chalked up my first kill of the round.
A few seconds later, another group of soldiers appeared from a side door, prompting yet more panic-firing from myself. As luck would have it, my overenthusiastic suppressive fire accidentally offed another soldier. Not only had I fluked a couple of kills in quick succession, it turned out that both occasions were the same player. xXRandomGamerXx. At this point, there had to be a bullseye on my back.
As I fired clip after clip at the flag, missing just about everything but the scenery, a teeth-rattling explosion erupted to my left. Upon turning, I saw a black smudge where my Claymore used to be, and the charred remains of xXRandomGamerXx. Within seconds, my safe haven was overrun by a swarm of mightily pissed off troops and I was toast, which denied me the opportunity to admire the gooey mess my explosives had created.
Then came the angry message.
By the time I respawned, we’d lost all the flags and our whole team was languishing lazily at our deployment. Slightly miffed that we had lost A so easily, I did my best Jesse Owen impression and high-tailed it over there.
You will never see a more daring run in your life.
Explosions rattled around me. Bullets whistled past my head and ricocheted at my feet. Walls were being peppered with heavy fire, but I was miraculously unharmed. Flag A was getting closer. Just forty metres away …
Yes! I got there unscathed, plus there wasn’t an enemy in sight. The flag started to tick down …
xXRandomGamerXx had placed C4 explosives on the flag. The Killcam showed them mercilessly emptying a clip into my disfigured corpse before squatting on my face for a good few seconds. The degrading act of tea-bagging.
The cheating bastard.