Gamers are broken into two major categories, those who play alone, and those who enjoy the social aspect. If I had to choose, I'm defintely more of a social gamer. Don't get me wrong, I do play a lot of games on my own. I'm currently enjoying Castlevania Lords of Shadow among others. The social portion however, is my true love. If you've read the "about us" section of the site, you'll see my gamertag is APN Oshai. I am a part of a group called APimpNamed. You'll see the group split between APN and APimpNamed. This mainly has to do with Microsoft flagging some us and not others. I'm not going to complain about it here. If you really want to hear my "opinion" on it, you can listen to it here. I'm totally removing Microsoft from my friends list after that one.
The APN started back in Halo 3. The group was a lot smaller then. Over the years the group did develop into a real team. Let's see, there's Ashes, Ammo, Cairo, Taco, Panic, Nasty, Spree, Mojo, Army, and Oshai (me). Our main focus is big team battles in Halo Reach. There is plenty of organization within the team. We're broken down into strike team, advanced tactics, sniper, and heavy weapons. Each team is led by one member and includes 2-3 members per team. When the group is balanced, the matches go by quickly and we usually win. The only real problem comes into play when members of the strike team aren't all there. The snipers and the defensive positions are together and they have their acts together, but strike team, the grunts, are usually nowhere to be seen. I complain about this because I'm on the strike team...actually I run it. It's ok though. I may not be the best performing member on the squad without my team, but we still get the job done. If we're not in big team, usually you can find us in SWAT or objective matches. You need to mix it up now and then.
We will always have our off days, but the online experience is always enjoyable. These are some of the greatest guys I have ever known, and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. Recently we have been branching into other games and testing the online experience. We tend to move towards games that allow for more than four players. If we're not in Reach, we'll be in Halo Wars, NFS: Hot Pursuit, Marvel vs Capcom 3, or Burnout Revenge.
While we do enjoy the cooperative playstyle, every now and then you just need to go against each other. Myself and Ammo have been enjoying the competitive side of MvC3. I know he'll give me crap for bringing it up, but I embarrassed him last night. The final score was 24-2. The twitter and facebook accounts blew up after we logged out. It's all in good fun. We'll make fun of each other constantly while playing, but we're all friends in the end. That's the best part of the social aspect. We can beat each other up, but we know the other is just joking around. No need to be so serious about it. I can't stand that. Some people just make gaming this whole life or death scenerio. Somehow they'll be thrown out of their houses or be unable to eat the next day if they don't win every match. There will always be someone better than you. I learn that every single time I play Halo Wars. I won't lie, I get my ass kicked regularly in that game. It doesn't stop me though. I still like the game. I just know I'm not the best at it. The APN always takes care of its own. There is someone there that will be willing to help. It could be a team strategy or earning an achievement. Everyone helps. Everyone develops.
Having a team means having diversity. Everyone can't have the exact same playstyle. Take Reach for instance, if a standard game had nothing but people that are snipers, the team would fall apart. There are usually only two sniper rifles on the map, and they are on opposite sides. In a usual layout, one person will be the sniper and everyone else needs to be able to pick up some other role. The grunts need to be out there drawing initial fire, the vehicle drivers need to be able to prioritize targets and not get themselves stuck on a rock, and the heavy weapon people need to know exactly when to shoot to maximize damage. After years of playing together, the APN put together a diverse team that works well together.
I'll say it again, I love the social portion of gaming. Getting my friends together and aiming for a goal or having a little competitive fun always makes for a good night.