As I am slowly but surely approaching one of my greatest goals in S4, reaching the Pro rank, my mind seems to wander off to all kinds of trivial matters. The one moment you are inserting an exp+5% eSper chip in your (temporary) premium shoes for ‘just that bit’ extra, the next moment you find yourself in a SO Chaser room in the Rookie channel, spamming a dagger and frantically trying to vote a hacker while wondering what you are doing here. The story behind this is that one of my clanmates registered an account with a rather awkward username for me to try out this little thing known as ‘combi farming’. This was a few days ago, as recently I have been attending Uni and pondering over this one question: Where did S4 go wrong? Two words: space cowboys.
Apparently the answer to above question is partially with the new generation. Compared to the past, where one would see diverse and enthusiast players with different clothes / weapons scattered across many different maps, life in the Rookie channel feels a bit dull these days. Predictable almost. Like a movie that has received too many sequels and lost track of the things that originally made it great, despite it still being the same thing.
The new generation of rookies is known for their 7-day AP premium-set, holding apparently a deep admiration for the Wild E-West as their lv6 / lv12 costume of choice is usually the white version of the ‘Western Boy’ set. The combination of a stylish hat, pair of shackles for the wrists, cattle hoarder pants and mountain boots is a killer; not only for the wearer, but also for his targets. And if not? No problems. There are now Homing Rifles, Spy Daggers, Twin Blades and Smash Rifles to get the job done, as opposed to the relics known as Training SMGs/PSs. We will just this new generation of Rookies Space Cowboys for the remainder of this article, as they dress like cowboys and are just as trigger happy, the only difference being they are online cowboys. S4 cowboys.
So, as it turns out I logged onto my alt first today. The new patch did not really catch my interest, so may as well combi farm instead of going to bed and having nightmares which consist of me falling to my death, caused by playing too much Azit-EX in DM. I find a DM Square in Beginner1, and after a while I encounter the first space cowboy.
Dressed in his white coat and holding his precious Twin Blades, he was rearing to go. He just rounded up someone with a well-aimed spam slashfest, so obviously I am glad I got this badass killing machine named ALbe..uhh..something on my side. I move around the map, observing the game’s future players while practising my new Smash / Shotgun / Plasma sword setup. The first thing I notice is that the new generation rookies are community people. Half of the room were Philippine (PH) players, and the other half looks like they were in neighbouring countries going by their pings. There were no complaints or insults, which would be a great thing if not for one fact: there were only SMG/Smash/Assault Rifle/Twin Blade/Spy Dagger mixes. Five weapons out of the entire arsenal I saw in this room. And no one complained. The weapons that can often trigger a QQ-flag on sex-deprived or work-stressed Pros were being accepted like they had always been here.
We are about to Lose The Game, but I cannot really blame my team and call them noobs because well, they are. I look over my shoulder to witness a fight between two players downstairs, identically dressed and both spamming their Twin Blades like madman. Suddenly a feeling of nostalgia struck me, where I see myself running around in Neden-2 or Tunnel on my first character with my +1 SMGs, getting some kills and having a great time with my recently won first permanent, a New Sphere Suit. It was +2 Mind Shock attack, but I didn’t mind. It looked wicked. I wake up again. The fight between both space cowboys ended in a tie, their Twin Blades were equally strong.
This is something I often find on the new generation. From day #1 rookies are encouraged to try auto-aim weapons and melee stuff, but when they finally do manage to crawl out of the lower regions and join the Free channel they get smashed right back into it. Aim developed through Homing Rifle does not match aim developed through SMG. Skill with Spy Dagger does not match skill with Plasma Sword. Rookies with AP do not match veterans with AP. Result: unmotivated players. The matches in the lower channels are whack, dull and infested with hackers, and then in the Free channel there are all these lv50+ (semi)pros loaded with Triple FP/Smartpack/AP Costume etc. putting them back in their place. I find it rather worrisome, as players do not get appropriate weapons nor a good environment to develop themselves in. As harsh as it may sound, going to the Free channel right away may be best for learning.
So, what did brighten up my day in the end? Hacks. Before seeing this as your ‘grand chance’ and rush to the Ticket system, hold your horses. I joined a match in Ironheart and got killed by a hacker who used a Mine Gun. This is the first time I actually saw the weapon in EUs4, along with the killing icon. It looked like this:
Besides that is the fact that Rookies are insanely lucky. The other day two ‘R’s in the same room both walked off with a S card after one match. And then today there was another. So, if you ever wondered why alts are so lucky — I don’t know. They just are. I know, you know, we know. Scio, scitis, nos scire and more of that fancy stuff.
For those pondering about venturing in the Rookie channel, be warned. Although the source of new players is not drying up anytime soon, you may not get much more out of your brief stay than two things. Space Cowboys and Twin Blades.