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03 December 2012

The Seven Year Itch

For Tammy, Huayan, Cynthia, Kimberlyn, Eliza & Jacob.

I first got to know DotA when was still a young, impressionable undergraduate with too much time on her hands. Aside from the chore of being on time for lectures, and in between books, I was really quite free. Too free.

I was looking for something to occupy my mind, and so I took a step from leisure gaming into competitive, first starting off with the Warcraft III ladder, and then playing an international tournament in ENFO (a team game like DotA, which my team won).

A good friend of mine HCL then got to know a similar minded girl in his Geography lecture, and eagerly introduced me to her. He thought we were both very strange. This girl was Tammy, who was already in a DotA clan called rEvO. She invited me to join the clan, and started taking part in activities like LAN tournaments with the clan.

Me as an undergraduate, taking a photo with the webcam so I can be recognised when we meet up at LAN.
A month or so into the whole clan thing, to which I was very new, fellow clan mate and friend Jacob mVp-Dejected- Yong asked Tammy and me if we would like to do a WCG showmatch. Apparently, Rapture had some other girls from clan ALT who were interested and they needed an opponent.

Tammy and Jacob found three more girls, and we went for the game, won it, and the rest is history.

Throughout these seven years too much has happened for me to put it down in just a few words - disappointments, surprises, milestones. Girls came and left. Some stayed, but eventually parted ways.

Team Asterisk* at SMM, with hime*, viv*, kellymilikes* (as a sub), yan*, furryfish* and myself.
There were times when I questioned the cause, due to the time involved: a minimum of 4 hours a day, and 8-10 on Fridays and weekends which totals to around 46 hours a week. Multiply that by 52 weeks in a year and you'll get 2,392 hours a year. And that's a conservative estimate.

I could apply the same hours and possibly have written a novel. But I didn't.

Because DotA was really engrossing. It was fun, it was challenging, there were boundaries that could be constantly pushed. I was intrigued. Updates and new versions also helped pique my interest. Managing and keeping a team together kept me constantly on my toes. More importantly I learnt a lot of things from this seven-year adventure.

I came to realise that being a competitive gamer wasn't just a part-time thing that you could shelve off till you felt like dealing with it. It was a full-time job that needed a committed number of hours every day. Like a pet, a boyfriend. It required attention - and dedication, and a lot of people still don't quite get or realise this.

Not every team gets what it takes to succeed. Although many think they do.

I learnt the importance of teamwork and communication, in achieving a greater goal. I learnt that friendships don't come easy, and  people will take advantage of you for their own interests if you let them. I learnt how negotiations work, the importance of self-presentation, the need for consistency and discipline. I learnt that trying is not good enough, that pride can be a barrier to growth, and some things can never be overcome with practice.

I also made many friends, through teammates, fellow gamers and fans. I met many people, seen all kinds of backstage drama, witnessed betrayal and hypocrisy firsthand. I realised that many are in it for short-term gratification, for personal glory and self justification. That fanfare is something that can get addictive. Admiration can be double-edged, and jealousy and envy are as common as rain.

The gaming community is like a soap bubble. A universe in itself. Of galaxies, constellations and falling stars. 
PMS Asterisk* at SMM in 2011 - me, w4nderz*, furryfish*, yan*, kimchi*
I am glad to have been part of it. Wistful even, as I now leave it.

But I am ready for a different adventure.

So farewell to the many shoulders I have brushed, people I have met, lives I have changed or touched. To those who have loved me, hated me: I bid you well. To those who have become friends: let's still stay in touch, I'm just a phone call away. And to the rest, the spectators and strangers, the man in the crowd, the wallpapers: thank you being part of this journey, for supporting Asterisk*, and do continue this journey with them.

Have a wonderful, blessed Christmas. I'll see you when I see you.



  1. GG;WP

    And may the odds be ever in your favour.

  2. The world shall know pain.

  3. thus, a new chapter begin....
    good luck out there!! :)

  4. Go have some life and get some kids, that's a good choice.