Introducing the Scrub.

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    Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by swordiris on Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:12 am

    I've heard quite a bit of people complaining about certain things in Dark Souls pvp. This is a post made by a Street Fighter player but it applies to all forms of competitive gaming including Dark Souls.

    I would encourage you all to read this and give your opinion.

    Here is the link in case you do not want wall of text in the next post

    http://www.sirlin.net/ptw-book/intermediates-guide.html


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by swordiris on Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:12 am

    The derogatory term “scrub” means several different things. One definition is someone (especially a game player) who is not good at something (especially a game). By this definition, we all start out as scrubs, and there is certainly no shame in that. I mean the term differently, though. A scrub is a player who is handicapped by self-imposed rules that the game knows nothing about. A scrub does not play to win.

    Now, everyone begins as a poor player—it takes time to learn a game to get to a point where you know what you’re doing. There is the mistaken notion, though, that by merely continuing to play or “learn” the game, one can become a top player. In reality, the “scrub” has many more mental obstacles to overcome than anything actually going on during the game. The scrub has lost the game even before it starts. He’s lost the game even before deciding which game to play. His problem? He does not play to win.

    The scrub would take great issue with this statement for he usually believes that he is playing to win, but he is bound up by an intricate construct of fictitious rules that prevents him from ever truly competing. These made-up rules vary from game to game, of course, but their character remains constant. Let’s take a fighting game off of which I’ve made my gaming career: Street Fighter.

    In Street Fighter, the scrub labels a wide variety of tactics and situations “cheap.” This “cheapness” is truly the mantra of the scrub. Performing a throw on someone is often called cheap. A throw is a special kind of move that grabs an opponent and damages him, even when the opponent is defending against all other kinds of attacks. The entire purpose of the throw is to be able to damage an opponent who sits and blocks and doesn’t attack. As far as the game is concerned, throwing is an integral part of the design—it’s meant to be there—yet the scrub has constructed his own set of principles in his mind that state he should be totally impervious to all attacks while blocking. The scrub thinks of blocking as a kind of magic shield that will protect him indefinitely. Why? Exploring the reasoning is futile since the notion is ridiculous from the start.

    You will not see a classic scrub throw his opponent five times in a row. But why not? What if doing so is strategically the sequence of moves that optimizes his chances of winning? Here we’ve encountered our first clash: the scrub is only willing to play to win within his own made-up mental set of rules. These rules can be staggeringly arbitrary. If you beat a scrub by throwing projectile attacks at him, keeping your distance and preventing him from getting near you—that’s cheap. If you throw him repeatedly, that’s cheap, too. We’ve covered that one. If you block for fifty seconds doing no moves, that’s cheap. Nearly anything you do that ends up making you win is a prime candidate for being called cheap. Street Fighter was just one example; I could have picked any competitive game at all.

    Doing one move or sequence over and over and over is a tactic close to my heart that often elicits the call of the scrub. This goes right to the heart of the matter: why can the scrub not defeat something so obvious and telegraphed as a single move done over and over? Is he such a poor player that he can’t counter that move? And if the move is, for whatever reason, extremely difficult to counter, then wouldn’t I be a fool for not using that move? The first step in becoming a top player is the realization that playing to win means doing whatever most increases your chances of winning. That is true by definition of playing to win. The game knows no rules of “honor” or of “cheapness.” The game only knows winning and losing.

    A common call of the scrub is to cry that the kind of play in which one tries to win at all costs is “boring” or “not fun.” Who knows what objective the scrub has, but we know his objective is not truly to win. Yours is. Your objective is good and right and true, and let no one tell you otherwise. You have the power to dispatch those who would tell you otherwise, anyway. Simply beat them.

    Let’s consider two groups of players: a group of good players and a group of scrubs. The scrubs will play “for fun” and not explore the extremities of the game. They won’t find the most effective tactics and abuse them mercilessly. The good players will. The good players will find incredibly overpowering tactics and patterns. As they play the game more, they’ll be forced to find counters to those tactics. The vast majority of tactics that at first appear unbeatable end up having counters, though they are often quite subtle and difficult to discover. Knowing the counter tactic prevents the other player from using his tactic, but he can then use a counter to your counter. You are now afraid to use your counter and the opponent can go back to sneaking in the original overpowering tactic. This concept will be covered in much more detail later.

    The good players are reaching higher and higher levels of play. They found the “cheap stuff” and abused it. They know how to stop the cheap stuff. They know how to stop the other guy from stopping it so they can keep doing it. And as is quite common in competitive games, many new tactics will later be discovered that make the original cheap tactic look wholesome and fair. Often in fighting games, one character will have something so good it’s unfair. Fine, let him have that. As time goes on, it will be discovered that other characters have even more powerful and unfair tactics. Each player will attempt to steer the game in the direction of his own advantages, much how grandmaster chess players attempt to steer opponents into situations in which their opponents are weak.

    Let’s return to the group of scrubs. They don’t know the first thing about all the depth I’ve been talking about. Their argument is basically that ignorantly mashing buttons with little regard to actual strategy is more “fun.” Superficially, their argument does at least look valid, since often their games will be more “wet and wild” than games between the experts, which are usually more controlled and refined. But any close examination will reveal that the experts are having a great deal of this “fun” on a higher level than the scrub can even imagine. Throwing together some circus act of a win isn’t nearly as satisfying as reading your opponent’s mind to such a degree that you can counter his every move, even his every counter.

    Can you imagine what will happen when the two groups of players meet? The experts will absolutely destroy the scrubs with any number of tactics they’ve either never seen or never been truly forced to counter. This is because the scrubs have not been playing the same game. The experts were playing the actual game while the scrubs were playing their own homemade variant with restricting, unwritten rules.

    The scrub has still more crutches. He talks a great deal about “skill” and how he has skill whereas other players—very much including the ones who beat him flat out—do not have skill. The confusion here is what “skill” actually is. In Street Fighter, scrubs often cling to combos as a measure of skill. A combo is a sequence of moves that is unblockable if the first move hits. Combos can be very elaborate and very difficult to pull off. But single moves can also take “skill,” according to the scrub. The “dragon punch” or “uppercut” in Street Fighter is performed by holding the joystick toward the opponent, then down, then diagonally down and toward as the player presses a punch button. This movement must be completed within a fraction of a second, and though there is leeway, it must be executed fairly accurately. Ask any scrub and they will tell you that a dragon punch is a “skill move.”

    I once played a scrub who was actually quite good. That is, he knew the rules of the game well, he knew the character matchups well, and he knew what to do in most situations. But his web of mental rules kept him from truly playing to win. He cried cheap as I beat him with “no skill moves” while he performed many difficult dragon punches. He cried cheap when I threw him five times in a row asking, “Is that all you know how to do? Throw?” I gave him the best advice he could ever hear. I told him, “Play to win, not to do ‘difficult moves.’” This was a big moment in that scrub’s life. He could either ignore his losses and continue living in his mental prison or analyze why he lost, shed his rules, and reach the next level of play.

    I’ve never been to a tournament where there was a prize for the winner and another prize for the player who did many difficult moves. I’ve also never seen a prize for a player who played “in an innovative way.” (Though chess tournaments do sometimes have prizes for “brilliancies,” moves that are strokes of genius.) Many scrubs have strong ties to “innovation.” They say, “That guy didn’t do anything new, so he is no good.” Or “person X invented that technique and person Y just stole it.” Well, person Y might be one hundred times better than person X, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the scrub. When person Y wins the tournament and person X is a forgotten footnote, what will the scrub say? That person Y has “no skill” of course.

    You can gain some standing in a gaming community by playing in an innovative way, but that should not be the ultimate goal. Innovation is merely one of many tools that may or may not help you reach victory. The goal is to play as excellently as possible. The goal is to win.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by swordiris on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:18 am

    Nobody yet?

    This is interesting stuff.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by WhatDoesThePendantDo? on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:20 am

    I get it.

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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by RANT on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:21 am

    Probably cause this has been discussed to the point of exhaustion.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by LunarFog on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:23 am

    Wow. Beautiful essay. I loved reading it. I always agreed with it and even envisioned how skilled players are in the exact same way.

    Now by this essay, the grand majority of this wiki are scrubs. I always had a feeling...

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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by Kirk-Barb on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:25 am

    It's a game. I play to have fun. Win, lose, draw, I don't care what others think of my play style. If I'm not having fun, I'm not going to play the game.

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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by Animaaal on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:41 am

    RantFromRant wrote:Probably cause this has been discussed to the point of exhaustion.

    ^Yep.

    Winning is everything....we get it.

    Why do people get cannonized for these articles? Hitler exemplified the theories just fine and is in just about every history book. Its all been said before. Old news man.

    On a brighter note I find it hilarious people are using these theories in games...whats next? Let's allow facemasks in the NFL...damn scrubs.
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by swordiris on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:47 am

    It is a beautiful essay now here is what I'm curious about.

    Why is this play to win ideal that I apply to all my games lacking in the DkS community?

    Usually the play to win people are the ones who go on the forums while the people who complain [insert] is OP stay off. With this community it seems the opposite.

    Now I'm not attacking anyone but it's pretty sad we had to make a specific rule stating that something is OP.

    If you are too honorable to do anything, you will never be better than the people who play to win. Like the essay said, the two groups are playing different games.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by Animaaal on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:05 pm

    I don't think any real Dark Souls player "looks down" on people that use the most optimized builds. I think the frame of mind is, "Ya...I got that build too. How original and fun."

    Thats all it really is. There's nothing wrong with it, but like others have said this conversation is about as new as, "are backstabs op?"

    Imo, winning at all costs is fine, in cash tourneys, or cancer recovery, or...I guess if you find that kind of thing fun.
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by xenon_nobelium on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:13 pm

    in a fighting game you have a much different premise. frame perfect gameplay that is the exact same for both players bacause they sit side by side. this alone allows for a real competetive scenario. dark souls functions as a fighting game only in theory:
    a.) for fighting game standards it's horribly unbalanced
    b.) it mimics fighting game mechanics to a certain degree but stays really shallow
    c.) the nature of how the multiplayer works negates any serious competitive sense
    dark souls is more like this:
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by DigitaLinsanitY on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:17 pm

    Didn't read all the responses. My 2 cents.
    I think we should do both. Lets merge the two. Do what you like but still play to win.


    Last edited by DigitaLinsanitY on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by Emergence on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:18 pm

    LunarFog wrote:Wow. Beautiful essay. I loved reading it. I always agreed with it and even envisioned how skilled players are in the exact same way.

    Now by this essay, the grand majority of this wiki are scrubs. I always had a feeling...

    Says the poster who serially gripes about mages.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by Nybbles on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:23 pm

    i think it comes down to the difference between sportsmanship and winning and if winning means being a douche, well i guess i'd rather be a scrub.
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by Emergence on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:26 pm

    The beauty of this game compared to other fighters is that it can accomodate all tastes via FC's, events etc. Some want to push the envelope, some want to mix things up with special rules, some just want to go fists only no crits. All approaches are valid. The game is fun and can be fun for all tastes. We don't need limiting labels that marginalize like scrub, tryhard, min/maxer, honour brigade. If anything we should try our hand in as many different rules formats as possible if for nothing else but variety. Some nights I want to bust out of chainstab a hundred times, some nights I want to wear disco pants and buff/bow.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by Animaaal on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:28 pm

    Nybbles wrote:i think it comes down to the difference between sportsmanship and winning and if winning means being a douche, well i guess i'd rather be a scrub.

    My sentiments exactly.

    I had a lot of mage builds...but I NEVER used the Pursuers-->CSS combo...ever.
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by DemonOfFate on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:35 pm

    Fine, i suppose you can call me a "Scrub" because i don't use the best build, the best weapon, the cheapest moves because i don't find it fun. Stating that in dark souls PVP your objective is to "win" i find this false, my objective when i play a game is to have fun, and that doesn't include using cheap moves.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by DigitaLinsanitY on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:41 pm

    I can respect that. The random in the burg doesn't seem to care.

    I'm still learning quite a bit and struggle the most against sorcery of all kinds. I'm thinking about making a mage in the future (still a ways off as I'm enjoying my "quality" atm) to see how other players deal with some of the things that trouble me. When / If i do decide to make it I hope someone absolutely destroys me. Shows me how it's done by example. And doesn't think of me as a douche or w/e in return.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by User1 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:52 pm

    I could not care less for the definition of a "Scrub". If I'm playing a game, I want to have fun playing it, and I could not care less about someone else's opinion on how I play, as long as I'm having fun. Me and two random invaders in the Township started punching eachother with Pyromancy Flames, just because we wanted to mess around, am I a scrub for that?
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by DigitaLinsanitY on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:55 pm

    I don't think so. You're doing what you like and not worrying about it. I'm at a point where I'm trying to improve. To improve I actually have to try hard in a fight... or I get destroyed. Once I get better I hope to enjoy a more laid back form of PvP. If that's what I'm in the mood for.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by User1 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:57 pm

    I forgot to mention, if you want, get some friends to use broken weapons on you in a serious manner. You can learn the parry timings without risking too much harm, and as long as they can wield the weapon, just tell them to not hold back, make it as natural as possible.
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by ResIsBestStat on Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:01 pm



    I am the true scrub
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by DigitaLinsanitY on Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:01 pm

    That's good advice. I've actually summed some random RSS in the painted world. All he did was try to bs/perry me the whole time with rapier + hornet ring . Whe had a couple friendly back and froths and now he's on my friends list. We spend a good hour practicing fishing/counter fishing and perry timings.

    Was very helpful.


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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by User1 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:03 pm

    Well, I'm glad you got help in some way. silly
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    Re: Introducing the Scrub.

    Post by ResIsBestStat on Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:06 pm

    DigitaLinsanitY wrote:That's good advice. I've actually summed some random RSS in the painted world. All he did was try to bs/perry me the whole time with rapier + hornet ring . Whe had a couple friendly back and froths and now he's on my friends list. We spend a good hour practicing fishing/counter fishing and perry timings.

    Was very helpful.

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