Being a true account of the author’s trials and travails in Destiny 2 PvP
Playing against the best of the best. It’s a fantasy many people have in various competitive endeavors, but few ever get to fulfill it. After all, for the average rec league basketball player, getting the chance to go up against Steph Curry or LeBron James — or even an NBA benchwarmer — is unlikely. It’s one of the quirks of competitive video gaming, however, that every so often you may find yourself in a lobby with the digital equivalent of a pro baller.
Such was the fate of myself and three clanmates a few nights ago when, in the midst of a string of late-night quickplay matches, we found ourselves in a lobby with a six-stack. And not just any six-stack.
Normally, during the load-in to the match (which takes about 1 minute, give or take), I would’ve been looking at the lobby and checking out my opponents. This time, however, I was adjusting my loadout, and so didn’t get to look for myself.
“Huh, OK, Luna’s Howl,” one of our guys remarked upon scoping out the enemy lobby. No big deal. Luna’s Howl is a hand cannon and the current reward for fulfilling some quest steps, including reaching Fabled rank in the competitive playlist. While not common, it isn’t rare, either.
Then one my clanmates said, “This guy’s got Not Forgotten.” OK, now that got my attention. Not Forgotten is a variant on Luna’s Howl — but, to get it, one must attain Legend, the highest rank in the Competitive playlist, which is no small feat. “Yeah, a couple of them have Not Forgotten.” A couple of them? Damn. My teammates didn’t mention any of the opposing players’ names, and I didn’t think to ask.
Nonetheless, by this point my sweat detector was going off. Six-man team? Check. Some of them using a top weapon attainable only by elite players? Check. Still, I was determined to make a showing of it.
Finally we loaded into the match. Control on the Fortress. Not good. Control, a very objective-oriented game mode, really favors full teams. But I didn’t realize we wouldn’t actually be playing control, at least, not really.
I was running Sturm, an exotic 110 rpm hand cannon, and Drang, its companion adaptive-frame sidearm. With the 110 archetype being the slowest-firing hand cannons in the game, this loadout is admittedly challenging, but also very rewarding when one can do well with it.
The first showdown happened at the B point. I poked out and managed to grab a CQC kill with Drang, but instantly got melted by a Not Forgotten. I respawned in between A and B and poked a corner, only to get melted again. I glanced at the kill feed and saw “One_Second_Kill.” Woah. Could it be?
One_Second_Kill is an almost legendary Destiny PvP player. He holds several records, including being the first player in the world to obtain Not Forgotten in the competitive playlist. I’ve played against amazing players before, but this was the first time I could recall having (possibly) encountered one of the best players in the world.
“I wonder if that’s THE One_Second_Kill,” I remarked to my teammates. “Nah, nah, it’s not him,” another replied. Still, I had my suspicions.
Those suspicions soon reached maximum intensity. The rest of the match was a blur. Any idea of taking and controlling zones was mostly forgotten, at least for me. I was more concerned with merely staying alive longer than about 20 seconds. Even more impressive than their gun skill was their sublime map control. Everywhere I went, there they were. With map control like that, they could have won even with significantly less raw mechanical skill.
The final score was something like 150-20. After the match was done, I went to destinytracker.com and looked up our opponents. Sure enough, there he was, One_Second_Kill. The number five player in the world on Control, with an ELO of around 3100, which is far higher than anything I’d seen before.
Besides just being a fun story to tell, this match also reinforced an idea I’ve had for a while: You learn from playing superior players, but only up to a point. It’s possible for the skill gap between opposing players/teams to be so large that nothing is really learned, other than that I have a long way to go to get to where I want to be, in terms of skill, and not only gun skill. “Git gud,” they say; such an eloquent embodiment of what is perennially sound advice. But, as I was reminded through playing one of the very best, “gud” exists on a spectrum, and its bandwidth is vast.