I started out my ranked journey on September 7th in Bronze 4. It seemed fine, the European server was lively, the ping was low (30ms), the learning novel. In two weeks of leisurely playing, I reached silver 4, then took a break for whatever reason.
I returned on October 7th, to my chagrin only to find that queueing on EU was now impossible due to the low population. But as I intended to climb to gold, I heeded the advice and went to NA.
I will tell you that this was one of the most wondrous decisions I ever took in my life. First, learning a completely new hero was out of the question, so I had to endure playing Hyejin at 130 ms, when every button had to be pressed twice to activate. Second, even though NA was more active than EU, the queue still popped only in their prime time – which for EU meant roughly at 02:00 am.
Yes, you got this right, I had purposefully to demolish any semblance of my sleeping schedule to play ranked at all. And I did it. Not immediately, but eventually I got used to such a strict regiment.
Fast forward to the end of the season. Vannish’s offer on Discord revitalised the EU server, to a minuscule margin. That means I now forced myself to play in the evenings, in addition to deep at night. Sometimes I even got 4 games in one day! But generally, the queue times were from 20 to 40 min. It varied by MMR, and in my case, I only managed to get 17 games in the week. The level of play was noticeably higher, and it discouraged me at first, but the smoothness of latency was like being born anew (reminiscent of those Demosthenes’ stones).
Back to the real ordeal. The final stretch was the all-or-nothing for me. I perfected my route, destroyed the vestiges of my inner noob, ratted like I had never ratted before, sometimes popped off like a youthful god. I coursed though multiple song playlists, from Cobrak-esque montage rock to Crayon Pop to Mantus, and finally to Rob Dougan’s Furious Angels. I calculated how many games in an hour I could play on average, how many points I needed, measured the hopes and evaluated the dreams. I rewatched the now-deleted VODs by the now-gone Averse. I kill stole, and was kill stolen myself. My motto was “no trolling”.
I played 120 games over 5 days, all at night and at high ping on a ping-demanding hero. The penultimate day I got as close as 9 points to gold! Then I deranked. The final day I was reading on Hindu mythology and looking Hyejin in the eyes. Finally, I didn’t care. I killed every hero I faced. I don’t think I had ever not lost to Fiora – the moment I saw her now, I killed Fiora. I saw Rozzie, and she reminded me of Nadine – the only hero I could reliably farm. The rest was history. I got to promotion (match ID: 12886055, ft. LilyDango and my miscalculating the final zone timer).
And yet now, from the future, I can admit that it was all for naught. At least, in the light of the vaunted golden skin. The first promo game I trolled, dying to a third party while chasing after Rozzie. The second, I found both Meteorite and Mithril off the Wolves, and got ambushed by Alex. Good luck, bad luck.
P.S. Not certain as to whether such TED talks are acceptable at a Wendy’s, but saw some pathos à la UberDanger or Barny64 fitting. Reminiscent of how I wrote my 30-page college thesis in three days. Epigraphs:
“Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker.”
© Friedrich Nietzsche; ‘Twilight of the Idols’
“the Blood Elves’ passions will lead them not only to the highest pinnacles of power, but to the darkest depths of madness.”
© Mojo Stormstout
To clarify, I desired a golden skin for Hyejin out of the nostalgia for the fiery style of Destrolocks in WoW. Her kit has it all, Fear, Shadowfury, burst.
All in all, I find the outcome ironic and insightful. When the servers finally closed, I became what I am, in a perpetual process of overcoming silver, striving for gold.