I'm Sorry, Spellbreak Player I Eliminated To Get My First Win

Illustration for article titled Im Sorry, iSpellbreak /iPlayer I Eliminated To Get My First Win
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I remember it like it was yesterday—even though it was, in fact, several days ago. You were a sprightly mage in a hood, as are approximately 70 percent of Spellbreak players, because the game doesn’t have many cosmetics yet. I was a tall sort of rent-a-hero looking dude. You might remember me because I threw several large boulders at you and ultimately banished you to another dimension. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry.

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You were the last player in the first Spellbreak solo match I ever won, minus my first match, which was full of NPCs and therefore doesn’t count. While I did prevail over you, I want to acknowledge that it was far from my finest hour.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d been having a good match up to that point. En route to the final circle, I’d eliminated five other players, which is a pretty good number considering my methodical approach to battle royales. I was in decent shape health/armor-wise and had solid gear. I was really coming into my own as somebody who mains Spellbreak’s rock gauntlet, so I was brimming with confidence that if anybody tried to 1v1 me (bro), I could get in their face and brawl them into submission with a series of well-timed, earthbending-like fissures and boulders.

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But as I soared toward the final circle—which I could do because I also had a legendary-quality flight rune, which let me fly like one of the many Gokus (if said Gokus occasionally had to worry about a cooldown timer)—it dawned on me that I was ideally positioned to finally win a match. All I had to do was keep my cool. So of course, my brain’s tendency to self-sabotage kicked into overdrive. The moment our fated duel began, my heart began pounding. And I mean, like, really pounding. It was kind of unnerving, to be honest. I feared that I might be having a cardiac event at age 31, and that this would be an incredibly silly thing to have a cardiac event at age 31 about.

I proceeded to whiff numerous easy boulder tosses, repeatedly aiming where you were instead of where you were going to be—the exact opposite of what I’d learned to do in my many prior hours of throwing rocks at people. Over and over, I flew up into the sky as high as I could to try and reset, collect myself, and find a rhythm that suited me in this staccato battle. This didn’t really work, because you could also fly. Still, I imagine that it made fighting me incredibly frustrating.

My palms were sweaty, my knees were weak, my arms were heavy, and though there was no vomit on my sweater, I will nonetheless intone the sacred words: mom’s spaghetti. But then I noticed something. Every time both of us hurtled back to the ground and began dueling, you whiffed most of your lightning and poison shots. And you kept flying up to the very top of the game’s map as well, even when I hadn’t. That’s when it hit me: You were probably also a ropy bundle of nerves, more a soggy pack of Twizzlers than a human being. We were likely hundreds of miles apart, but we were sharing the same bad brain experience.

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If you’re expecting me to say that this assuaged my anxiety and gave me the confidence to win, it did not. But eventually, you clumsily fell into my preferred combat range (close, so I can punch people with rocks), and I finally found my rhythm, at which point my main gauntlet’s armor-regen abilities helped ensure that you bit the big one before I did. I won, and in that moment, it was very exciting for me. I told my partner, and she briefly looked up from her reign as history’s most maniacal emperor in Crusader Kings III to congratulate me in a way that felt a little obligatory. But I appreciated the effort, because it’s not like I had just signed a multi-million dollar contract with an esports team or something.

In hindsight, though, I feel like the whole moment was kind of embarrassing for both of us, anonymous player I beat to pick up my first Spellbreak win. So I want to apologize for my role in that. Maybe it was your first time, too. We fumbled at each other in the darkness of our own inexperience. I wish that, at the time, I had the vast well of knowledge and experience that several more days of playing a game brings. Perhaps I could have made it better for you, or at least reassured you that it was OK to be nervous.

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I hope that we see each other again someday. We can meet at the top of the figurative mountain, multi-million dollar esports contracts clutched in our hands, and embrace. Then I will utter the (other) sacred words:

“1v1 me, bro.”

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Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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DISCUSSION

My wife & I tried Spellbreak the other day, and it was a wild experience. Neither of us are big battle royale players, but I’ve got a bit more of an edge than her in that category.

In our first game we found, to our elation, that ‘hey, we’re pretty good at this’. We won engagements, retreated wisely, and were generally running circles around the other players.

“Wow, Matchmaking must be doing pretty well if two noobs are doing this well on their first game.”

And then we won! (I think the last player standing died to the storm, sadly enough.) We were excited! A Battle Royale where we could do somewhat well! Imagine that!

Cue the second game.

I was dead within seconds, and my wife died not long after trying to meet up with our third player who deigned not to land with our squad.

Third game. I lasted longer, but the result was much the same. We got to the final circle carried mostly by the skill of our third player. But individually the two of us were about as effective as Dan from Street Fighter.

It dawned on me after the third game that they must have some sort of ‘Noob Island’ where you go if you haven’t won a game yet, and we immediately opted out of that accidentally in our first game by having the bare minimum of skill at games which was apparently enough to level the entire field.

We haven’t given up on the game yet, but man, that was some whiplash.