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A Certain Kind of Chemistry in Co-op: Why mufujifi is a Splendid Gamer

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I'm writing this post partially because it's one of those precious gaming moments I had, which I simply must record. It's also partially because of an assumption that Cullen made about mufujifi and I not being able to complete the Hyperion Slaughter in BL2 easily. I take offence. Although the comment was made out of candour, it brought me to thinking that others could easily assume the worst out of mufujifi as a gamer. So let's set the record straight in case anyone should take that expression seriously.

I am the newbie. To not only BL2 but to gaming in general.

mufujifi is the pro. She is not going to admit it but she will concur to being labelled as more skilled than the average gamer. She is humble like that.

Now put the both of us in an equation, essentially a team. Surely, mufujifi holds more value than me and in order to reach an equilibrium (to at least be on par with the enemies), mufujifi would have to make up for the value I am lacking. Make that severely lacking.

Can you imagine the weight she has to pull to make us at least a decent duo?

She has played with me as a siren, in my solo play as a commander, from the Bright Lights, Flying City story mission onwards. At that point I really needed the help because I couldn't defeat the Constructor that was in the way.

Somehow, we just stuck by each other from then on and have beaten the game together. We decided to leave a few side missions to after we have beaten the main story because we thought we could gain more XP that way and level up before finally facing the Terramorphous.

The Hyperion Slaughter was one of those side missions.

We died a few times in round four. We were so frustrated by it that we completed Fink's Slaughterhouse (she has done it but I have yet to and I insisted she join for the giggles) before turning in for the night.

The reasons why we did badly for the Hyperion Slaughter:

1) I wasn't using a weapon type that would wear down the bots quickly such as a corrosive weapon;

2) I only had one turret;

3) I didn't use the right combination of relic and class mod. I concentrated those on health, which in retrospect, doesn't really help;

4) I had a weak shield with a base cap of only 4k; and

5) I wasn't communicating with mufujifi. Our communication was solely text-based because we are so lazy to use microphones to chat in-game. Using voice chat helps a lot because you can communicate your ideas and pleas for help instantly and the other party can react instantaneously and accordingly.

See, from the factors I listed above, it is pretty obvious that we were not succeeding in the mission due to me.

Of course, I may not be the best gamer nor the best newbie but I can definitely be pragmatic and so I took the following actions to combat the factors above:

1) I was still adamant on using my non-elemental pistol because it has decent damage with better recoil reduction, shorter reloading time, and I invested a lot of eridium into expanding my pistol ammo. On top of that, I find that I was able to aim with the pistol from a distance despite not having a cross-hair and still achieve critical hits. It may be weird that I use pistol as a long-ranged weapon but it works for me. Additionally, I put in a rocket launcher with a 9k damage and slag. This weapons serves as a second wind redeemer for me, should I start dying and mufujifi is unable to save my arse. I also became a whole lot more generous with the grenades, throwing when opportunity presents itself (when the enemies are in group and stationary). My grenade mod was corrosive so that made up for the non-corrosive weapon I had.

2) Upon mufujifi's recommendation to respec, I did so but not according to what mufujifi would've done. She would have invested in getting the turrets to shoot rockets. I, on the other hand, concentrated on the survival skill tree. In the end, I have two turrets with shield and my health recharges on its own. This proved to be a good decision because having two turrets defintely saved our arses a couple of times. Not only because of the damage it inflicts (one would assume two turrets equal to double hits). It is because we are able to use the turrets to our healing advantage. There was this one moment that really struck me but I would elaborate it further in point number five.

3) I was starting to think that having a lot of health and shield may not work out at all so I finally asked mufujifi if I should use a team shield relic or an action skill cooldown relic. (I am not going to bother putting in the right names of those relics, just stating the description for convenience.) She suggested the action skill cooldown and I accepted that suggestion because it would certainly give us a far better advantage if I am able to deploy two turrets within short intervals. The turrets are especially useful in taking out the enemies' turrets placed beneath the mid-air walkway to the slaughter arena and the flying drones (again, it's midnight already, please don't fault me for not using correct terms). After all, it is not easy to target them when they keep flying around like houseflies that irritate the crap out of you.

4) My weak shield problem was resolved when mufujifi gave me a better one with a higher base cap so in the end my shield was 7k. I haven't been successful in getting good shield loots so thanks!

5) mufujifi and I may not be frequent communicators during the game but that's what makes us a special duo. Somehow there were times whereby we really are in sync as much as there are times whereby we are so disconnected. However, lately, I felt that we have achieved a certain kid of co-op chemistry that is only possible by having known each other as friends, having known each other's general gaming skills, and having played as each other's characters in a separate co-op play with one to two other persons. Firstly, being real life friends gives an immediate advantage to a co-op play. We both know each other's temperaments, daily schedules, and we are able to quickly forgive each other (which can really affect the mood and flow of the play). Secondly, she knows I am not a very capable gamer so she is able to gauge the amount of work she needs to put in to make up for what I lack. Additionally, she wouldn't shove things up to my face, telling me that something has to be played a certain way nor assume that I have no idea what I am doing. Instead, she allows me to explore and experience because that really is how you learn best as posited by Jean Piaget (1962). Sorry, i was doing a school assignment last night so that theory is still sticking in my brain. Piaget also posits that children learn through play so needless to say, there is an implication that knowledge and understanding of the world around us is constructed from our experiences through learning opportunities, which can be found in any play-based activities. But then that's Piaget's view, which I personally adopt, and he's a constructivist and epistemologist. Thirdly, I have played as a siren and she has played as a commander and we were part of a team with other people. So we both have an idea of what each other is capable of doing. Now, Cullen said that the siren should preferably play the role of a medic because of her ability to give health during phaselock and restore some health to complete health. I don't disagree with that, it makes sense. However, mufujifi and I both know that she is able to inflict more damage than me due to her better gunz and more skilfull switching of those gunz to meet the needs of the situation. What happened was that our roles kept reversing according to the demands of the situation such as the following:

a) I would provide her some cover with the shielded turrets while she finished off the enemies.

b) When I'm dying, she would phaselock an incoming fiend and heal me first before destroying it for trying to kill me (good ol' vengeance, or not).

c) There was this one moment (as mentioned earlier, which I shall now get to telling), which made me feel proud of myself although it doesn't even mean much to anyone. Also, this moment occurs during the final round and it was the decisive match which led us to victory (LIKE FINALLY). I saw mufujifi dying, ran to her, and instead of instinctively pressing "E" to save her, I deployed a turret in front of us so we both could have temporary relief from geting hit under its shield while I heal her. Meanwhile, the slaughtering of enemies doesn't stop because the turret is going at them. She didn't even have to ask for help nor tell me to deploy that turret. We both know we will both die in vain if I did the former. I just did it all on my own as though I read her mind. So she crawled her way into the shield and I squeezed in as well before healing her. That is why I feel we are able to work well together. At least considerably better than we first started out during our first playthrough of Rayman: Origins on the PS3 (I invited her over to play at my house).

So yeah, I have seen mufujifi played in person, I have played in person with her, and I am still playing with her although not face-to-face. And playing with her, allows me to see her at action. I am always impressed by her.

All of the positive abovementioned truly makes mufujifi a splendid gamer -- her being a good friend, her gaming skillz and being a good gaming coach, and her reading my unexpressed intentions and ideas during the game.

This post took me two hours at the expense of me falling asleep in class tomorrow. But it really must be said.

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