Evaluating Your Mad Gamer Skills

Pictured above is the professional gamer Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, widely considered to be the unofficial ambassador for the sport of PC gaming -- though where he stands in the realm of console gaming is fit for speculation...

If you were online in the early period of the commercial Internet when the web was still new and seeing a URL pop up in a TV commercial gave you a heady feeling of being in-the-know as goosebumps formed on your arms and that shiver that your best friend in grade school (Meagan) said was someone walking in your grave... Then you remember a web that was largely one-dimensional and very much like a substitute for magazines in the nature of the content that it contained.

Things started to change when individuals saw potential in it that nobody else saw. In spite of the fact that Jennifer Ringley (of JenniCam fame) ended up going out in a blaze of shameful glory, having stolen the boyfriend of her best friend and then announced that fact to her by having sex with him on camera, on her site, for the world -- and her presumably ex-best friend -- to see... Ringley did something monumental to the web. She changed the way that the average person viewed it. More important than that, she changed the way we thought about it, ushering in an era in which it became increasingly more and more interactive.

The sky is literally the limit as people go to school online, go to work online, learn a new language, how to cook, how to fix their plumbing, rewire their toaster, and even fix their relationships -- online.

In addition to altering our lifestyles, adding variety to what traditionally defines social roles, and contributing to the creation of an entirely new frontier for videogames and gaming, the Internet has radically changed the way that we traditionally game in console -- let's put int another way: do you remember when you played games on your PS2 and it was fun? It did not have a net connection, it barely had a modem, and the idea of trying to coordinate play time with someone who was not physically present in the same room with you? Crazy man!

Today the world of video games is equal parts your room and the rest of the world -- it is not uncommon for you to slot a game and a few minutes later be playing a shooter with teammates who are in five different countries including a timezone that makes you sitting squarely in today while they occupy space in tomorrow.

Being thought good at gaming -- having a solid rep as a skilled gamer -- used to be a lot easier to define since all you had to do was show off your high scores. Today though, evaluating your own prowess as a gamer, let alone that of someone you do not know and have never met (in real life) who is little more than the flesh-and-blood puppet on the other side of their pseudonym? Most gamers think it is almost impossible!

Sure they may be great at COD4 or Black Ops, but when you get an email from them moaning that they keep getting killed on the overpass in New Vegas by the same blankety-blank sniper -- you realize that they are talking about being owned by an NPC -- yes, it can blow your mind.

So how do you determine your true skill as a gamer and that of others? While there is no perfect system yet, there are some pretty accurate measurements available -- some more accurate than others -- and as you develop as a gamer there is a natural path that you will tend to take in forming the methods that you use for evaluating your own skill and that of your mates -- and the strangers you game with online.

Gamer Score and Achievements
For most gamers the natural starting point in assessing skill is examining first the Gamer Score, and then the actual Achievements that appear as part of the data attached to each gamers Gamer Tag -- that being their online identity.

In fact the practice of using these two values for evaluating relative gaming skill is so popular that a large number of sites and individuals have created "Gamer Cards" that display this (and other information) that gamers can use as part of their signature on chat boards and on websites in order to communicate that information, basically broadcasting an assessment of their gamer skills even when they do not meant to do so.

Posted: 24th Jan 2012 by CMBF
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